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The Riddle (The Books of Pellinor #2)

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4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  15,314 ratings  ·  458 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 leads Maerad over terrifying seas and vast stretches of glacial wilderness, ever closer to the seductive Winterking ? ...more
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Published May 18th 2011 by Candlewick on Brilliance Audio (first published November 1st 2004)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Monica
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
Allison
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
...more
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
...more
Kristen
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Heather
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
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.) Also, his touch causes cold thrills to go down Mae's body?... Isn't that just a ...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
...more
Maggie
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
...more
Lisa
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
Chris
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 Rebirt ...more
Emily
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 moods..is the
...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
...more
Maryam Wakili
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
...more
Samantha Gies
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
...more
Rebecca
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
Liz
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
...more
Magali
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
...more
Kelsey Hanson
This series frustrates me. It's only an okay series when it could have been a great series if there was a little better execution. I think I've finally figured out a few things that keep me from loving this novel.

1. This is a big one for me. Every character seems to have the same voice. Regardless of class, culture, age or education level every character speaks like he or she is a high lord/lady. There isn't a whole lot distinction in the ways that these characters communicate with each other a
...more
Lauren
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
Stephen
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
Emma
I feel like the author managed to get a grip on the fact that Maerad was a bit too perfect and good at everything and she managed to give her a few believable weaknesses that breathed some realism into her as a character.

I would also say that the writing has improved, the slightly poetic, high-fantasy language which reminded me of Tolkein and something which she wasn't quite hitting the mark on all the time has slackened off and I think the dialogue is better for it. I enjoyed her attempts in th
...more
Emily
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jeff Wheeler
Finished The Riddle this week and enjoyed it as much as the first book. It was less Tolkien-esque than it's predecessor and really increased the tension in the plot and between the characters. It was a good read and I've already started on Book 3. It's lived up to my expectations so far. Well done.
Natalie
Just as good if not better than when I first read these books. Still one of my favourite series....
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
...more
Tammie
Amazing series! I just can't get enough of it.
Matt
This one may have been a little faster paced than the first, or I might have simply settled into the pace of these books. There is a certain creative maturity to these stories that unfolds at its own pace, and the pace makes sense. Travel on foot or by horse or sled can be tedious and reality, even in times of war, is a little terror in moments of action, a lot of apprehension and a lot of "else" where the humanity resides. I have grown very fond of the humanity of these Pellinor books and I loo ...more
Timmmmy!!!
Alison Croggon does not disappoint with The Riddle, the second book of Pellinor. Picking up where the first book left off she keeps the action going throughout the entire book. In my opinion The Riddle is even better than The Naming. There are some added aspects that allow you to get to know the characters better. This and certain events help make the story more believable. The occasional awkward spots that were in the first book were mostly removed. It is an excellent intriguing book that I wou ...more
Jen Book Nook
This book was a little difficult to get through, particularly the middle section. A majority of the book was just a lot of travelling and not much else happening, so those parts moved very slow, with the exception of the occasional attacks from the enemy. There is one major event that takes place, but it is not as it seems, as we find out in the end.

For me, the plot didn't really pick up until towards the end (view spoiler) bu
...more
Kayeb
Yes, it is technically sci fi...but written is such a way that it doesn't seem like it, but then again, bokos written from centuries ago that do call on magery etc, often don't seen that out of the realm of sci fi to me. I liked it as well as the first book and look forward to reading the next two in the series. Vivid descriptions of scenery, and place......and I enjoy the trip to this world.


Maerad is a girl with a tragic and bitter past, but her powers grow stronger by the day. Now she and her
...more
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Pellinor fans!!!: The Riddle Read-A-Long Discussion Questions 18 15 Aug 20, 2012 09:52PM  
Pellinor fans!!!: The Riddle 3 15 Jul 25, 2011 07:26PM  
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Born in 1962, Alison Croggon is one of a generation of Australian poets which emerged in the 1990s. She writes in many genres, including criticism, theatre and prose.

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 nam
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More about Alison Croggon...

Other Books in the Series

The Books of Pellinor (5 books)
  • The Bone Queen (The Books of Pellinor Prequel)
  • The Naming (The Books of Pellinor, #1)
  • The Crow (The Books of Pellinor, #3)
  • The Singing (The Books of Pellinor, #4)
The Naming (The Books of Pellinor, #1) The Singing (The Books of Pellinor, #4) The Crow (The Books of Pellinor, #3) Black Spring The Friendship

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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.” 293 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.” 38 likes
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