Abigail Hartman's Reviews > The Riddle-Master of Hed

The Riddle-Master of Hed by Patricia A. McKillip
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's review
Jun 21, 2016

really liked it
bookshelves: fantasy
Recommended to Abigail by: Jennifer Freitag
Read from August 20, 2012 to June 21, 2016

Reread: June 2016
So I said in my first review that it's a cliff-hanger ending and you should have the second book on hand, but I a) didn't go on to read the rest of the series back in 2012 (why? I can't remember) and b) failed to have Heir of Sea and Fire on hand when I finished Riddle-Master this time around. Do as I say, not as I do. At any rate, while I had a few more quibbles with the writing than I remember having four years ago (it's very omniscient with some occasional head-hopping: not enough to be incredibly irksome, just not quite my style), I still enjoyed the story. It has some of the hallmarks (okay, cliches) of fantasy -- unpronounceable names, too many people and places to keep track of, complicated destinies -- and I found myself exclaiming over it in frustration a few times ("Dude, could you just accept your destiny already? We all know you're going to so please hurry up and do it oh my word."). On the other hand, it's also got some fascinating and original aspects that kept me going.

...I'd also forgotten about 85% of the story, so it was like reading it for the first time. Embarrassing, but enjoyable. I've picked up the next book and this time I plan to finish the trilogy. Just don't quote me on that.

First Read: August 2012
Despite the covers, which make these books look no better than pulp fiction, the Riddle-Master trilogy is (thus far) very clever and written in lovely prose. Of course there are some cliches that are unavoidable when writing a high, quest-and-destiny fantasy, but McKillip writes in such a way that the cliches are of no consequence. What stands out is the originality: things like riddling and Great Shouts and land-rule and Morgon's tie to the land of Hed. This does have a cliff-hanger ending, though, so make sure the second novel is on hand.
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Reading Progress

05/27 marked as: read
06/09 marked as: currently-reading
06/09 "This is the problem with a series: when you want to read the next books you find you've got to read the first one to remind yourself what was happening. Oh well; it /has/ been four years."
06/21 marked as: read

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