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The Riddle Box

(Spell/Sword #2)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  126 ratings  ·  31 reviews
Agatha Christie plays Dungeons & Dragons. Our Heroes Investigate A Series of Murders. Poorly.

Jonas and Rime return for their second adventure. Of course they aren't actually aware that it's the 'second' adventure, how does one categorize sequential happenings after all? Jonas would consider this at least his 11th adventure, if you count that time he fell into the pig troug
Paperback, 292 pages
Published 2014 by Lodestar
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Average rating 4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  126 ratings  ·  31 reviews

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Nov 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book more than the first; (Spell/Sword). Here's why: The characters were better developed. The plot of this novel and frame story of the series were both fuller. For the plot there was a clear problem, the struggle to deal with the problem and then the solution. Many of the unanswered questions of the frame story were reintroduced; some answered and some still open but with more background laid out for the reader. The descriptions, allegories, similes and metaphors in this novel rea ...more
May 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Full disclosure: G. Derek Adams is a personal friend. With that in mind…

Adams' follow up to Spell/Sword is fantastic, almost completely self-contained adventure in which his protagonists Jonas and Rime find themselves solving a Sherlockian murder mystery. I was delighted by his world-building in Spell/Sword and a wee bit concerned I’d struggle with the blend of mystery and fantasy. (I’m a dyed in the wool, speculative fiction guy and mysteries aren’t normally something I gravitate to.) However,
Eric Wagoner
May 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
There were many things to love about this book. Adams explores fantasy tropes in a novel, thoughtful, and entertaining way. The book takes place in a high fantasy world, with magic and elves and sweeping history and landscape and somehow Adams immerses us in all this while telling a story where not much actually happens. Sure, a good portion of the cast of characters don't make it to the end of the book, but compared to most fantasy epics that people walk a lot over the course of months or years ...more
Dec 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The second installment of the Rime/Jonas book is a huge leap forward for the author. I found the writing much tighter, the characters more fully developed, and in all ways this book improved on the first.

I'm tickled pink to discover that the book by the author I supported on is the third in the series, and I'm totally bummed I have to wait four months to pick it up. Great job, Derek!
Dec 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second book in the Spell/Sword series, and is basically a more or less self contained murder mystery after the events of the first book. I REALLY enjoyed the story, and felt like I got to know Jonas and Rime a lot more, and became more interested in following their adventures. I also felt like the author was more comfortable in the world, and because there was a little less world building to do (but still enough to keep my intrigued), I could relax a little and get a little more lost ...more
G. Derek Adams
May 19, 2014 marked it as to-read  ·  (Review from the author)
Yes - book is out! In both Paperback and Kindle. Now let me know what you think!
Lillie Alice
Apr 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Riddle Box is a vast improvement over Spell/Sword, and I mean vast. For starters, the biggest problem with the first book, being the lack of a strong plot, is completely fixed in this book, with a very strongly written murder mystery being the central plot in this book. It takes unexpected twists, and you don't figure out who is killing everyone until a very dramatic conclusion. It also completely eliminates the problem with the first book not really getting started until halfway in, which m ...more
May 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Much better than the first book, and I can forgive the author from the problems/plot points of the first book being in the third still as this is kind of a .5 sequel in that it's more of a side story. We figure out some more about Jonas and Rime (the constant "My Name is Jonas" refrains notwithstanding) and that was interesting, but we also ran into the Gray Witch again and she didn't say anything that we didn't already know.

The author says he has ideas for books 4 and 5 and that this isn't a t
Jun 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
A wonderful followup to his first book. Great mix of mystery and fantasy setting, replete with meta-jokes about the genre. The writing has definitely expanded - deeper characterization, and a great creepy murder-mystery atmosphere. The interstitial backstory chapters were wonderfully placed, managing to expand the world without interrupting the immediacy of the main story.
Charles Galvin
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A very enjoyable second outing! I discovered this series through the third book Asteroid Made of Dragons. I wound up reading that one first and am now coming back and reading through the others. Rime and Jonas are much more relatable in this adventure and you get a much better sense of their characters.
Tyrannosaurus regina
Stronger than the first book in the series, particularly in the pacing and characterisation, which gives me high hopes for the third. There's still some tonal whiplash, but combining a fantasy story with a locked room mystery goes a long way for me. ...more
Aug 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, kindle, fantasy
I thought this was the third book in the series, but it turned out to be the second book. The third book is stronger than this one (indicating the writing is improving), but this is worth reading. I recommend this book for readers interested in Fantasy with a modicum of Science Fiction.
Ryan Boros
Feb 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fantasy locked room mystery
Clever writing, great characters, interesting world
Probably my favorite new series at this point
Phillip Bost
Oct 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Really enjoyed this book!
Even better than the first in the series. Now that the protagonists have been developed, they're free to get into some interesting (and unpredictable) situations.
Looking forward to the next episode.
Siobhan Armstrong
Mar 18, 2017 rated it liked it
A vast improvement on it's predecessor, The Riddle Box does not suffer from the same lack of characterization, plot, and pacing as Spell/Sword. However, there is still much room for improvement. I can't expect a Tolkien or a Douglas Adams every time I pick up a novel, and it eas enjoyable for what it was. ...more
Brent Thomas
Jul 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
As I said when I reviewed Spell/Sword this author and I go way back. Boon companions and all that. Just so you know. I'm going to try and not let that color my review. And to convince you I'll soon get to the three things that I have a gripe with. But first:

Synopsis: Rime and Jonas, our protagonists, find their way into a castle just in time for there to be a murder. Then they try and solve the mystery. That's basically the plot.

Analysis: As I said I want to start out with the three things that
Mar 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
Book 2 in the Spell/Sword series - Another fun entry in the series, I quite enjoy the characters that Adams has created. The writing in book 2 is better that in book 1, and having started with book 3 I found that it continued to improve. I would recommend this book if you are looking for something a little different and quite entertaining.

Spoiler....Don't read below....

Did anyone else get a kick out of it being the left hand of darkness? Gonna go read me some Ursula now

Apr 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: woman-protag, fantasy
Reread July-August 2019

Still Very Good!

The same chapters that I mentioned in my original review are just as captivating as they were the first time. I adore the characters in this book, not only Rime and Jonas but every supporting character is so interesting and well-fleshed out, and when you get the opportunity to learn more of their backstories it just makes it even better. It's hard to find opportunities to recommend this book because it's the second in an unfinished series, but man do I wish
Chris Carey
Feb 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
The Riddle Box is a really interesting sequel. Whereas Spell/Sword (Book 1) was zany, fast-paced fantasy story, The Riddle Box is a murder mystery. For the entirety of the story, the heroes are trapped in a mansion and working to solve the mystery. It wasn't what I expected, but it still managed to exceed expectations - mostly due to the strength of the characterization. Rime and Jonas are every bit as lovable in this book. The humor, again, is really great. And the mystery is good too - I'm usu ...more
Oct 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
A great second book about Jonah and Rime, with all the strengths of the first: wonderfully snarky conversation, likably flawed characters, and a world that only gets more interesting as more of its background is revealed. The author obviously has a gift for characterization, and though he makes use of cliches and stereotypes, he and the characters never fall prey to them, each having their own twist that makes them interesting and new. The "princess" in the book has good ideas and is not the gir ...more
Andy Coleman

Jonas and Rime are on their way - somewhere - and decide to stop at a castle. But they are soon waist-deep in a mystery involving murder and magic. But here's the thing...

I was hoping for more backstory on our traveling duo. We still don't know why Jonas is on the run and even less about the wild mage. This story almost touches on it, but then quickly diverges. It does, however, give us some insight into the first civilization that built all the cool technology.

I really wan
Tim Mcleod
Dec 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Characters. This guy is so good at building interesting characters. I burned through the book in two days. There's something about they way each is described that makes you want an entire story for each of them. The world(s) he hints at are tantalizing as well. I'd love to see a more fleshed out description of Aufero and its history.
You can also see an improvement in Adams's writing from this sophomore effort- descriptions are less cumbersome, but could still benefit from a little fat trimming (
Nov 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is just something about G. Derek Adams and the way that he writes. You will so often see people describe a book as being unpredictable, but let's be honest, we tend to still know how it's going to end. Not the case here. I can't put my finger on it, but Adams writes a book where all the typical actions of characters just aren't there. If there is a true unexpected way out of a scenario, he will write it that way. The novel is just something completely new.

Anyway, this book expands on the o
Jul 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Here's a thing most people don't know about me: I HATE Mystery novels. Seriously, I loathe the genre. I find them tedious at best and trite at worst. Which is why I am pleasantly confused by The Riddle Box. It's a Mystery novel, yes, but with a delicious core of Grade-A Surprise Science-Fantasy Plot Twist. Having read the first novel in the series, Spell/Sword, I thought I knew what to expect, but I was WONDERFULLY WRONG. There was a point in the middle of the book where I actually forgot I was ...more
McKenzie Richardson
I received this book from Goodreads in exchange for an honest review.

This was a very interesting book. This is the first of the series that I have read, but from what I can tell it is not absolutely necessary th read the first book (although based on this one I would like to go back and read it).

I think the summary of this book is quite accurate: "Agatha Christie plays Dungeons and Dragons. Our Heroes Investigate A Series of Murders. Poorly." I loved the genre mashup and the crazy twisted plotl
Nov 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Cheryl by: goodreads
Lady Rime and the squire Jonas arrive at the castle Heart Broken Lion during storm. They join the household and other guest watching a ;lay, and finding on of the actors somehow murdered on stage. Rime is determined to solve the murder quickly so they can leave the castle at dawn before the Regiment arrives to arrest someone. But is she over her head when the other guest are being murdered or going mad. This was a Goodreads first read.
Steph Schleicher
May 31, 2016 rated it liked it
The murder mystery format of this book did not particularly work for me, likely because I'm not a huge fan of that genre. While there are a few insights to the world, there wasn't much in the way of character development. It was entertaining, and I like Rime and Jonas enough that I stuck around to the end. However, this felt more like an interlude for me than a progression of the larger story. ...more
Drew Wheeler
Jul 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I would still laud this book even if I didn't know the author. Sadly, if I didn't know him, I probably would have missed out on both of his terrific novels. This fantasy murder mystery is an outstanding follow-up to the wonderful Spell/Sword. Be sure to read both. ...more
Sherry Vaughan
May 07, 2016 rated it liked it
Not as good as the first book.
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