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Heir of Sea and Fire (Riddle-Master #2)

4.18  ·  Rating Details ·  6,087 Ratings  ·  141 Reviews
Second book in this fantasy trilogy; which also includes "The Riddle-Master of Hed" and "Harpist in the Wind."
Paperback, 161 pages
Published March 12th 1980 by Del Rey Books (first published 1977)
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Oct 23, 2014 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
McKillip pulled off a real coup with this book. The first one was told from the typical male hero POV & it was excellent. Instead of keeping that same POV, she switches to another character, a strong woman at that. Fantastic, especially given the time. Off hand, I can't think of another trilogy that did this & certainly not so well. It allows her to fill in the world & develop characters that rounds everything out. It also puts a real point on the love interest & drives it in dee ...more
Oct 28, 2014 C. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The ‘Heir of Sea and Fire’ is perhaps my favorite fantasy book of all. (‘The Forgotten Beasts of Eld’ is serious competition for title.) It is a little unusual for the second book of a trilogy to be the strongest, but that is the case here. I found the book richer, faster paced, and more vivid than the first book in the trilogy (or the third). It takes your deeper into the world and shows you more of its secrets—and its bones.

Then there is Raederle (“the second most beautiful woman of An”), sur
So, two quotes. One from Faulkner (a famous one): "The past is never dead. It isn't even past." In The Riddle-Master of Hed, Morgon is dragged out of his comfort zone and into the realization that the ancient riddles he studied at the School of Riddle-Mastery in Caithnard are not just riddles. They are truths of a former present that now simmers beneath the surface of everything he thought he knew about the High One's realm. In this second book of the trilogy, Raederle, Morgon's "betrothed," lea ...more
Abigail Hartman
Jun 27, 2016 Abigail Hartman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Abigail by: Jennifer Freitag
Shelves: fantasy
These books have such ridiculously cheesy covers. Also, had the person who wrote the back cover copy even read the book? It combined spoilers with inaccuracy in a way marvelous to behold.

Anyway, if "second book blues" exist, I don't think Heir of Sea and Fire had them. In fact I'm pretty sure I enjoyed this one more than the first book: the writing seemed less choppy and I noticed less head-hopping, both of which were pleasant to me; also, the plot has thickened considerably, and while there is
Jan 12, 2011 Desclian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
More of a 4.5 than a 4 (out of five). McKillip's writing, I believe, improved since "The Riddlemaster of Hed," though also did some small part of the mysteriousness. One of the brilliant aspects of the first part of the trilogy, for me, was the acuteness that McKillip's writing found in the abstract and the wordless and although this novel got at some very interesting aspects of the world, I don't think it was as effective as the original. Still, Raederle came out to be a very interesting charac ...more
I think I liked this more than the first, but ohhh, I did think I'd like this trilogy more and I'm sad I don't. The writing isn't quite clicking and I feel like some of the story telling is too subtle for me, like I'm missing stuff. (view spoiler)
Umbes sama köitev kui esimene, ehkki tore oli see, et esimese raamatu kangelane jäetakse suuremalt jaolt kõrvale ja tema õde, võimalik mõrsja ja wannabe-ihukaitsja lähevad ise teda taga otsima, kõik teismelised plikad ja väga hakkajad - esimeses raamatus punnis kangelane seiklustele väga vastu ja ähvardas vähemalt kord peatykis kõik sinnapaika jätta ja minna koju kartuleid kasvatama.
Robert Beveridge
Patricia A. McKillip, Heir of Sea and Fire(Ace, 1977)

McKillip's follow-up to The Riddle-Master of Hed somewhat surprisingly avoid the middle-novel-of-the-trilogy doldrums, which is a welcome change from most fantasy trilogies, and it does so in a somewhat novel way; rather than continuing on with the story of Morgon, the hero of the first novel, McKillip focuses on Raederle, Princess of An and Morgon's betrothed, who sets out to find out what happened to Morgon at the end of the first book. (As
Amanda Kespohl
Apr 21, 2014 Amanda Kespohl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I'm on book three right now and so far, I love these books beyond reason. I want to pull each of the characters out of the pages and hug them, then release them to go back about their business. This world is so beautiful and complex and rich that I could not stop turning the pages, even though I never wanted the books to end.

I'll do a more detailed write-up once I'm done with book three, but honestly, it would take a mighty plot catastrophe to make me change my opinion now. Basically, to make m
Stephanie Herron
With the Riddle-master trilogy just become available on kindle I re-read all three (The Riddle Master of Hed, Heir of Sea and Fire and Harpist in the Wind. I first read these books back in the 1970s and they, together with (inevitably) the Lord of the Rings, are largely responsible for my starting to read fantasy. It is now many years since I read these books as they are in storage in NZ while I work in Africa, so I was delighted to find them available as e-books and then even more delighted to ...more
Sheryl Tribble
A friend of mine in high school loaned me The Riddle Master of Hed, which I devoured rapidly and then demanded he loan me the next one. Heir of Sea and Fire also ended on a cliff hanger, and when I demanded the third, my friend blithely replied, "It isn't out yet. I needed someone else to suffer with me."

I Was Enraged. Then I pulled the same stunt on my sister, because I am evil.

Finishing it this time, my response was more a puzzled, "Huh. That isn't much of a cliffhanger." Different ages, diff
Jun 04, 2016 Simona rated it really liked it
Not the page-turner that the previous one (The Riddle-Master of Hed) has been, but still full of poetry and charm, interesting characters (if slightly annoying), twists, mystery. As usual, the middle book in a trilogy cannot hold as much mystery and excitement as the first, and neither can it offer resolution to any existent situation - it is like a link between the first and the third. This one is no exception, but for the many extra elements added to the story. All the same, it's very good fan ...more
Heir of Sea and Fire by Patricia A. McKillip is the second book in the Riddle-Master trilogy. Just as the first book is the story of Morgon and his path to self-discovery, this book is the story of Raederle of An, the second most beautiful woman of the Three Portions of An.

A year has elapsed from the events of The Riddle-Master of Hed. Morgon, along with the High One’s harpist, has disappeared after leaving Danan Isig’s house. Because Morgon has not come to claim Raederle as his wife, other lor
Josh Forbes
This book accomplishes a really fun switcheroo in changing the POV from the hero-in-training from the first book, Morgon, to the damsel-in-wait, Raederle. She is a lot of fun. She's plucky, resourceful, and refreshingly modern in the face of the antiquated patriarchy. She was betrothed to Morgon in the first book because of a bet, essentially, but McKillip smartly course corrects and makes their bond more one of shared destiny than arranged marriage.

These books are quite short and yet still fin
Just A. Bean
Nov 13, 2016 Just A. Bean rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Even better than the first one, with a tighter plot and a second look at a lot of minor characters from the first story. I love that it was the adventure of the off-page fiancée from the first book, one of the warrior princesses, and the previous main character's little sister. The book again had a fabulous voice, though slightly different from the first, and taking a different perspective on the same characters we'd already met. I still love the sort of water colour tarot deck feeling of the my ...more
Julia Hendon
I enjoyed this second book in the trilogy much less than the first. The pacing and plotting seemed slack with a lot of dithering by the main characters, three women connected to the central figure in the series, Morgon. However, my reaction also reflects my disappointment with the narrator of the audiobook. I guess because the protagonists are women, the decision was made to switch to a female reader. She mispronounced names and was also inconsistent in how she said them. Her efforts to distingu ...more
Carol Colfer
It should have been one I'd like, but I found the characters confusing, and was never entirely clear what had happened in the book. Maybe too fantastical for me?
Jan 06, 2017 Indi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
wow! fantastic second book of a trilogy. I loved all the lady power and grouping up and fellowship. this was even better than book 1!
Brian Koser
Dec 13, 2016 Brian Koser rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, read-2016, audio
As good as the first. Looking forward to the third, and to eventually reading these to Lydia.
Nov 13, 2016 Michele rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent. A compelling second book in the trilogy.
Jul 11, 2013 Audrey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Audrey by: Beth, Quark
I'll try to do a more thorough review of this volume, but it's still highly subjective and less for others to get a sense of the book and more for me to have a record of what I thought upon reading it for the first time.

I'll caution you against spoilers in this review. If you haven't read the book, you may want to skip over it.

With that out of the way, I loved it. One of the main reasons I loved it? Raederle

From the first or second page, I loved her. I can't even say exactly what it was, but m
Oct 15, 2016 Alleyne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Loved revisiting this fantasy. On to book 3!
The character of Raederle of An is not very well fleshed out in the first volume of this trilogy. She's seen in people's memories, mostly as a hopelessly romanticized object of desire, a sort of princess on a hill of glass type.

That's remedied in this volume almost from the first line: "In Spring, three things came inevitably to the house of the King of An: the first shipment of Herun wine, the Lords of the Three Portions for the Spring Council, and an argument."

It's not amazing that Raederle w
Matthew Galloway
Sometimes I have to leave modern fantasy behind for a bit and lose myself in an older one -- where things are sometimes simpler, usually less concerned with overt "realness" of experience and yet, despite that, speak to real life more powerfully anyway. Yes, much of the danger in the book has more to do with emotion or identity and other internal struggles than all the blood and gore and sudden shocking character deaths of many popular modern fantasies, but it means a lot more to me. I think mos ...more
Dec 18, 2015 Yve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
At first, reading this was confusing as I'd already forgotten some of the names mentioned in the first book - McKillip isn't as bad as your stereotypical fantasy author with the ridiculously long historical Anglo names, but still I needed recourse to my kindle's search feature to recall some of these anecdotal wizards. All in all, I quite like her naming though. Especially people's names like Raith and Deth (and place names like Hel) had me questioning at what point an individual character expan ...more
Ryan Middlebrook
Mar 12, 2015 Ryan Middlebrook rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Teen fantasy reader
Recommended to Ryan by: audible
Shelves: fantasy, series, novels
The continuation of the Riddle-Master trilogy, Heir of Sea and Fire, gets going with a little more steam than the first book of the series did. That selection, The Riddle-Master of Hed, just seems to lag from the beginning and only developed a decent pace more than halfway through. This was not the case with this book. The pace starts steady and builds throughout to not a dramatic conclusion, but at least, a fitting one.

The heir mentioned in the title is Raederle, the promised bride of Morgon, t
Mar 13, 2014 Onefinemess rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
As far as faults go (might as well start with the bad), this book suffered from the same strange malady I remembered from the first book - there were, occasionally, scenes that I just couldn't make sense of. A paragraph or three that I would read three or four times then finally shrug and move on. These odd patches of editorial failure felt like I was missing a sentence, or even a paragraph. Like the author got lost in the richness of her words for a bit and forgot to fill in the blanks, and the ...more
Paul Fergus
An improvement over the first book, mainly because the protagonist is better developed and has more agency. The author finally has control of her writing style such that she can begin to let her ideas flow into the text with real imagination.

What surprised and delighted me was that this is a kind of girls' camping trip style of adventure. The main character decides to find out what happened to the man she was promised in marriage to, and brings along both the man's little sister and a warrioress
Vote: 3,75
Class: L-A2 (FP)

(second book of the Riddlemaster Trilogy)

The first book was an enjoyable reading and little more and in this one it's slowly getting better: it's not that this is not a good Epic Fantasy, but... it's not in the same league of the great classics of the High Fantasy.

The world (3,50) is a fantasy world well built but it lacks... normality: when more than half the people we meet are several centuries (at least) old or are shape-shifter or are several years dead (but somewh
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Feb 17, 2012 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of High Fantasy
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: A Reader's Guide to Fantasy: Seven-League Shelf
Heir of Sea and Fire is the second book of the Riddle-Master Trilogy, and I liked it even more than the first book, The Riddle-Master of Hed. The trilogy was recommended on the "Seven-League Shelf" of the "cream" of the fantasy genre. It's fairly standard high-fantasy in being set in a quasi-medieval or renaissance setting of lords and swords with shapeshifters, wizards and ghosts. Morgon of Hed is a Farmer Prince and Riddle-master. In the first book we learn that he'd won a riddle-game that won ...more
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Patricia Anne McKillip is an American author of fantasy and science fiction novels, distinguished by lyrical, delicate prose and careful attention to detail and characterization. She is a past winner of the World Fantasy Award and Locus Award, and she lives in Oregon. Most of her recent novels have cover paintings by Kinuko Y. Craft. She is married to David Lunde, a poet.

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Other Books in the Series

Riddle-Master (3 books)
  • The Riddle-Master of Hed (Riddle-Master, #1)
  • Harpist in the Wind (Riddle-Master, #3)

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