Mark's Reviews > The Riddle-Master of Hed

The Riddle-Master of Hed by Patricia A. McKillip
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Apr 28, 08

Read in April, 2008

A lovely trilogy that somehow manages to balance an epic scope while being focused on just two people trying to figure out who they are. This first book is about Morgon, a farmer with a knack for answering riddles (a bit more like Zen koans) who was born with three stars on his head.

Yes, this is the "Chosen One of the Ancient Prophecy" trope that I hate so much. I think there are a number of reasons it works for me here. First, there isn't a concrete prophecy looming over each action. Morgon doesn't know who/what he is supposed to be, and no one else does either. Second, he is very reluctant about seeking his destiny, honestly preferring to remain the leader of a small farming community rather than going off and likely getting himself killed. And in this first book he is nearly powerless -- I had a real sense that he could be killed. Third, he isn't an annoying brat that everybody falls over themselves to help out for no reason (I'm looking at you, Golden Compass). He doesn't accumulate a Fellowship of The Riddle to follow him around. The lords of the realm are pleasant to him, but the only time he gets so much as an escort it is to forcibly bring him to a place he doesn't want to go. To summarize I would say that Mr. Deus Ex Machina keeps his chariot off stage for the vast majority of the book.
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message 1: by Joe (new)

Joe Wow, I've got this series but bailed out of the first volume. On your recommendation I'll give it a second chance. It just stank pretty formulaic to me.

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