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The Riddle (The Books of Pellinor #2)

4.09  ·  Rating Details  ·  17,252 Ratings  ·  495 Reviews
Maerad is a girl with a tragic and bitter past, but her powers grow stronger by the day. Now she and her mentor, Cadvan, hunted by both the Light and the Dark, must unravel the Riddle of the Treesong before their fractured kingdom erupts in chaos. The quest to solve this ancient puzzle lures Maerad ever closer to the seductive Winterking — author of her sorrows and the all ...more
Paperback, 490 pages
Published July 10th 2007 by Candlewick Press (first published November 1st 2004)
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Catherine Ford
Feb 01, 2016 Catherine Ford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I'm really falling in love with this series. :) The characters are all so vivid and well thought out. Of course we mainly spend our time with Cadvan, apart from Maerad, we follow Maerad all the time. I love Cadvan, he is such a deep character, so many layers. Maerad is an amazing female character, she is kickass, yet she has her flaws, and under it all she is just a lost little girl who has the weight of the world on her shoulders. I really enjoyed watching her character development continue in ...more
Nov 13, 2011 Monica rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ugh this series is so hard to get through! I like the actual story, and I appreciate the amount of work it must've been for the author to create this world--heck coming up with the names alone must've been exhausting--but gosh! It was ridiculously tedious to read. I thought the second installment would've been easier to get through because by then the author had the background laid out, but...nope. I just can't remember all those names, and the descriptions of every little detail of her surround ...more
Jun 07, 2016 Kerry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful second adventure for Maerad and Cadvan as they now search for the Tree Song. A story filled with danger, thrills, death, magic and love. There are many difficulties for Maerad to overcome and she faces loss, despair, confusion and has to do some deep soul searching to keep herself alive.
I can't wait to find out what happens next. A great read and wonderful series.
The Riddle starts out exactly where The Naming left off. It is still largely a travel-quest story, but the havens are fewer and the stakes are much higher than before. I found this second installment did not remind me as much of Tolkien as the first. I believe it's because the story leaves the haunted lands of barrows and wights and the enchanted forests, and pursuit by the Dark is less immediate.

The story grows in leaps and bounds, really taking off in its own direction, and Croggon outdoes he
Ticklish Owl
I'm commenting on the entire series as a whole, not just this book.

I liked this series and might read it again at some point. The writing is good, the plot is (mostly) well paced, there are plenty of likable (albeit predictable) characters, and some interesting world/myth building. The appendix in The Singing touches on the background of a few characters. I would have enjoyed it if those details had been integrated into the story.

The problem with the majority of fantasy novels is that they all d
Mar 22, 2016 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pellinor
Christopher Booker’s The Seven Basic Plots suggest that the more different archetypal narratives a novel includes the richer it becomes (Booker admires The Lord of the Rings for this), and on this basis Croggon’s Pellinor series must be rich indeed. The Riddle includes the themes of the Quest, Overcoming the Monster, Voyage and Return and Tragedy, while it is only a matter of time and two more novels before we must surely encounter Rags to Riches, Comedy (in the classical sense) and Rebirth. On ...more
Apr 09, 2008 Kristen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 06, 2010 Heather rated it it was amazing
I loved The Riddle, Croggon's second in the Pellinor series, even more than the first. For one, she worked through that tricky issue of pacing that plagued her first book. Admittedly, The Riddle is best read and followed in large chunks of time -- it's not the kind of story that's easy to pick up in little 20 page snatches -- but there's still a much steadier, more enjoyable pace happening here. And second, while Croggon convinced me to give Maerad a chance to be enjoyable in the first book, she ...more
Adam Veeser-Johnston
"The Riddle"

Maerad had been on a quest to find something called the Treesong which had relations to the Splitsong. On a search to find part of the Song Maerad had to venture to Murask with Cadvan. Things went wrong, however, when earth and snow elementals attacked the two Bards. Cadvan was lost and Maerad on her way to freezing. Maerad however started to play a small song on her reed flute which made her ancestor, Ardina, appear and save her from the icy hand of death. Once in Murask, Maerad her
Cian Brown
Oct 22, 2015 Cian Brown rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finding the truth of who you really are.

In the second book of the Books of Pellinor Series, Croggon spells out the long and troubling hardships of Maerad yet again. Focusing more on the personal battles Maerad must face rather than physical this time, she begins to lose control over her Bard powers, and begins to doubt herself as time goes on. Cadvan and she must travel in search of the Treesong--not knowing what it is, nor where it may be, only knowing that it is somehow the key to saving the L
Apr 20, 2015 Maggie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2015
Did I enjoy it? Yes. It picked up directly where The Naming left off, and was a satisfying continuation of the story.
Would I read it again? Possibly. I wouldn't rule it out. It's one that I would probably go in and read sections of again.
Who would I recommend it to? Fantasy fans, if you like Tamora Pierce, Mercedes Lackey, Tolkein, or other authors along those lines you'll probably like this, it's got a somewhat similar feel to it.
Any other thoughts? This started out slowly again. I predicted th
Recently I decided to re-read the Books of Pellinor series by Alison Croggon. Currently, I am on Book 2 The Riddle. This re-read adventure was mostly inspired by the fact that I had received the final 4th Book in the series as a present at Christmas time and when I finally got around to picking it up to put an end to the series I realized I had no clue what had happened in the previous books. This is one of the reasons I try to shy away from series books until most if not all of the books have a ...more
Eloise Kindred
Mixed feelings about this one. After the first 150 pages I was sorely tempted to give up. The story wasn't progressing and I was getting sick of reading about two characters wandering across varying landscapes while refusing to speak to each other. It felt like I was reading a travel guide instead of a novel.
Then, spectacularly, the story changed and Maerad found herself without Cadvan and forced to continue her quest alone. This is where the story really picked up and I found myself glad I kept
Apr 09, 2012 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, magic
This particular book had a few more...'boring spots' than the last one, yet was more exciting than The Naming...maybe this is because i like the whole Maerad+Arkan=<3? thing ( but it wasn't profound or a big deal really ).

i liked the fact that this book takes place in an entirely different environment than the last one, seeing Maerad travel through the icy cold of the North and the seas of the...West (i guess)?? I hope the third one will keep that up.

I am also afraid at Maerads the
Amy Umlah
This book was everything I could ask for in a sequel. From action and the mystery of the treesong to the relationships between the characters (which was beautifully played out) and the descriptions of the many new places that we get to explore with Maerad and Cadvan as they continue their journey. This second book has some of my favorite scenes in it and starts to give us more insight into both Maerad's heritage, but also how she is going to continue to grow as she meets new people and discovers ...more
Dune Elliot
I had enjoyed reading The Naming far better than this book and finished the first pretty quickly, however I just couldn't get into this second of the series.
Croggon continues Maerad and Cadvan's quest but it feels like one LONG continuous journey that really isn't getting anywhere. So much of the book is "let's go here" and then "what we need isn't here, let's go there" and so on. It got to the point where I wanted something important to happen and nothing did. I know that the end of this book i
Apr 12, 2016 Angeliki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, favorites, to-buy
The story continues, and it does so well. We see new lands, meet new people and flirt with villains. I really enjoyed the book, and it was a bit different from the first. I think it was less "Tolkienish", but it still retained that old-fashioned camaraderie, that authors like Tolkien infused in their books. Still lots of travel, which I really love when done well, and in this case it is. And of course more of Maerad and Cadvan, who turn out to be really well-shaped characters, and became favouri ...more
Selena Yukino (The Lioness: hear me roar)
That awkward moment when you thought the main character was falling in love with the man you were hoping for. Oh, and let's not forget he's 21 years older than her. But, at least he's not an asshole! But guess what? SHE FALLS IN LOVE WITH AN ASSHOLE. Oh, and he's a king. But, not just any king. He's the king of winter. <--(Of course, no wonder he's such a jackass. The cold must've chapped his ass over the years.)

I have to say, knowing Croggan's dirty little secret certainly made the introduction entertaining.

But I got bored with the never ending Maerad-on-the-run plot device, and pretty much Maerad in general. And I was getting impatient with the inconclusive relationship. Especially after the epic ice pass battle, in which he obviously doesn't die like she instantly assumes.

It was at that point that I decided to look up the next two books to make sure I was right about him not dying (he doesn't), but
Maryam Wakili
Feb 11, 2015 Maryam Wakili rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Tedious. After i finished book one i thought surely things ought to pick up in the next one. Nope. it just drew on forever and then as much as i hate to admit it i skipped ahead. Got to the part where she's separated from Cadvan and is being held prisoner by the Winterking who finally teaches her the rudiments of the missing runes - the tree song which turns out to be etched on her lyre (what are the odds?)

She manages to escape, finds Cadvan again they talk about their adventures apart. Then th
Samantha Gies
Jan 17, 2015 Samantha Gies rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Continuing Maerad and Cadvan's journey, The Riddle is an excellent addition to the Pellinor series. Once I started this novel, my thoughts and eyes were glued to its pages. It is full of exciting adventure and tragic events. The character growth Maerad experiences during The Riddle is amazing to read about. It is easy to relate to the character and truly understand what she must be feeling.

This book is much darker than The Naming, and the danger that Maerad and Cadvan face becomes much more clea
At the end of 'The Naming,' Chosen One Maerad had just discovered her Bardic name, and she and Bard Cadvan were on the run from Enkir of Norloch, who has turned to the Dark. Barely surviving their journey to the island country of Thorold, they are able to rest and recuperate and Maerad can learn more about her unusual magical gifts, which combine Bardic talents with Elemental powers from her Elidhu ancestors. With Enkir in pursuit and the Nameless One once more rising to cover the world in darkn ...more
I am really enjoying Alison Croggon's Pellinor series, which focuses on Maerad, a Bard who was once a slave, and who now must bear responsibility for finding the Treesong, the key to peace in her fractured and beleaguered land.

In some ways the books feel very much like a tribute to Tolkien, but with a female lead. Croggon both hits and subverts the clichés - I am so very tired of reading fantasy novels in which female characters are relegated to the innocent/hag dichotomy while the hero goes on
Jan 16, 2015 Magali rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I feel like the story starts to come into its own in this book (or at least stops being quite so recognizable as a near cousin to other, better known stories). I love the way Alison Croggon has woven a tapestry out of song and story and framed it as if she is a mere scholar, translating an obscure epic for the masses. It's quite elegant.

Maerad's adventures in this book pick up where The Naming left off; she and Cadvan seek answers to an ancient riddle known as the Treesong. This is their only c
Michaela Bedel
I read the first of the series and liked it, and was looking forward to this one. For me, it really fell flat. Very repetitious, predictable and no stakes. Maerad is "the special", and because she is the special, she does not have to work to build up her powers, she is naturally brilliant. Everyone loves her wherever she goes. An orphan, she discovers she's related to at least one character everywhere she goes. She spits at people and yells a lot, and acts like a brat but everyone thinks this is ...more
The Riddle is long and good and deceptive. But I actually quite enjoyed it! Seeing the world that Alison Croggon has created was pretty cool. I loved the adventure, the fact that it never got repetitive, and all the emotional scenes that were so well written.
This pretends to be a translation (but isn't) and it's really all about the adventure. Rather like Star Wars movies, The Riddle operates on a series of fight/chase scenes punctuated by emotionally fraught moments. But it's not as repetitive
Sophie Constable
May 27, 2016 Sophie Constable rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like LOTS of description and boring books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 27, 2014 Lauren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I definitely still really liked this one and the storytelling element of it, but it seemed to kind of drag in places. I also think a few areas could have been explained a little more in depth, such as the Treesong and its runes, as well as the return of Maerad's access to her powers. Those kinds of things seemed to be sort of brushed over when they happened and just sort of accepted without much thought into why or how. The characters are still really three dimensional and dynamic, showing numer ...more
Saoirse Sterling
[Quick and short review before I re-read and re-review at a later date:

Again, I have little memory of the singular book story, but as a whole I know I enjoyed it. Felt it was quite a quick read, but with a bit more depth than a lot of escapist fantasy. No memory of the characters, either, though it was years ago.]
Jul 31, 2014 Stephen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Maerad is a girl with a tragic past, but her powers grow stronger by the day. Now she and her mentor, Cadvan, hunted by both the Light and the Dark, must unravel the Riddle of the Treesong before their kingdom erupts in chaos. The quest leads Maerad over terrifying seas and glacial wilderness, until she is trapped in the icy realm of the seductive Winterking. There, Maerad must confront what she has suspected all along: that she is the greatest riddle of all. Book two continues Maerad's story bu ...more
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Pellinor fans!!!: The Riddle Read-A-Long Discussion Questions 18 19 Aug 20, 2012 09:52PM  
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Like Alison's Facebook Author Page for updates and for details on forthcoming books.

Alison Croggon is the author of the young adult fantasy quartet, The Books of Pellinor. The first volume was nominated in two categories in the Aurealis Awards for Excellence in Australian Speculative Fiction in December 2002 and named one of the Notable Books of 2003 by the Children's Book Council of Australia.
More about Alison Croggon...

Other Books in the Series

The Books of Pellinor (4 books)
  • The Naming (The Books of Pellinor, #1)
  • The Crow (The Books of Pellinor, #3)
  • The Singing (The Books of Pellinor, #4)

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“Love is one of the true mysteries,' he said at last. 'The truest and the deepest of all. One thing, Maerad: to love is never wrong. It may be disastrous; it may never be possible; it may be the deepest agony. But it is never wrong.” 305 likes
“Never be ashamed of your love," he said gently. "The only thing to be ashamed of is denying your love. That is what makes the shadow grow within your heart; that is the darkening of the Light. And we all have many loves.” 43 likes
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