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The Riddle: The Second Book of Pellinor (The Books of Pellinor #2)

4.1  ·  Rating details ·  18,838 Ratings  ·  544 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—a ...more
Audio CD, 0 pages
Published May 18th 2011 by Candlewick on Brilliance Audio (first published November 1st 2004)
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We begin right where The Naming left off, with Cadvan and Maerad escaping the Edil-Amarandh mainland on a ship bound for the islands. Among the Islanders they find many allies, but witness frightening omens. On the open sea they are harassed by magic, sent by an entity whom Cadvan identifies as the Winterking.

Having now escaped into a different part of the Edil-Amarandh continent, the two Bards are still pursued by agents of the Dark, even as they search for something they don’t know how to id
May 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  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.
Nov 13, 2011 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
Catherine Ford
Jan 19, 2016 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
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
Apr 04, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 15, 2011 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
May 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Apr 02, 2012 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
Emma Rose Ribbons
Really five stars but I'm not sure I can reread it soon (it was really gloomy at times), which is my criteria for five. Very haunting, epic book in which the main characters are so, so beautifully drawn, even more so than in the first book. Maerad is an unconventional heroine, she's annoyed most of the time, but she's also very endearing. The mythology is very interesting and I can't wait to read more. The end's gorgeous, very emotional. I've already begun the next book.
April Grey
Jun 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful Story! Great use of vocabulary, fabulous use of mystery, and fantasy!
Cloie Rainilla
So much better than the first!

This book didn't have those dragging info dumps like the first book and so it was not difficult to finish it. I still love the story's writing, world, and characters. Some moments made me tear up because it was so touching or because it was sad. There were a couple things that confused me but it's not a big deal. Anyways I'll be reading the next book. :D

4 Stars.
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
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
Cian Brown
Sep 20, 2015 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
Dec 31, 2014 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
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
Sep 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, to-buy, favorites
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
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
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.)

Joey Woolfardis
[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.]
Weh, what a story. So beayoudeeful. ;o; In a way, I enjoyed this book more than the first. ...I think? I'm just glad this series is finally starting to grow on me. It had a slow start, but now it's just.... eeeeee~ I have warm feelings.

Cadvan and Maerad... Go get married already, please and thank you.
Jeff Wheeler
Aug 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Tessa in Mid-Michigan
Jun 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, fantasy
Less derivative but still well-done. Getting better!
Amazing series! I just can't get enough of it.
Kristin Koski
Exciting story and beautiful descriptions. The story moves slowly for my tastes, though.
Mar 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Just as good if not better than when I first read these books. Still one of my favourite series....
Your Common House Bat
I think this book takes an acquired taste (much like the first). A lot of people don't like how there is so much detail about the scenery and the journey; they want more action. But the vivid imagery is what I loved the most. To be honest, the very reason I bought book 2 was because I adored the poetry of the first one so much. I loved the parts with little action and more meandering through a fantasy-scape. The journey and descriptions of it are one of the main things I seek out in fantasy. I w ...more
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Pellinor fans!!!: The Riddle Read-A-Long Discussion Questions 18 22 Aug 20, 2012 09:52PM  
Pellinor fans!!!: The Riddle 3 18 Jul 25, 2011 07:26PM  
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Alison Croggon is the award winning author of the acclaimed fantasy series The Books of Pellinor. You can sign up to her monthly newsletter and receive a free Pellinor story at

Her latest Pellinor book, The Bone Queen, was a 2016 Aurealis Awards Best Young Adult Book finalist. Other fantasy titles include Black Spring (shortlisted for the Young People's Writing Award in the 2014 N
More about Alison Croggon

Other books in the series

The Books of Pellinor (5 books)
  • The Bone Queen (The Books of Pellinor, #0.5)
  • 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.” 309 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.” 46 likes
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