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Heir of Sea and Fire

(Riddle-Master #2)

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  7,003 ratings  ·  180 reviews
By the vow of her father and her own desire, Raederle was pledged to Morgon, Riddle-Master of Hed. But a year had passed since Morgon disappeared on his search for the High One at Erlenstar Mountain, and rumors claimed he was dead.
Raederle set out to learn the truth for herself, though her small gift of magic seemed too slight for the perils she must face. The quest led th
Paperback, 213 pages
Published December 1989 by Del Rey Books (first published July 1st 1977)
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4.17  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,003 ratings  ·  180 reviews

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Sep 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
Jan2019 review: As much as I liked this book years ago, it didn't grab me this time. I think that's me, though. I've gotten grumpier about realism in fantasy. It was good, quite lyrical, but just not what I'm interested in any more. I won't be reading the last book in the trilogy. I remember it well enough.

Original review from 2007 or so
McKillip pulled off a real coup with this book. The first one was told from the typical male hero POV & it was excellent. Instead of keeping that same POV
May 26, 2018 added it
Shelves: fantasy
Druga knjiga ove trilogije je na izvestan način bolja od prve. Malo se udaljuje od zacrtanog plana i programa kembelovskog monomita i posvećuje veći sav prostor ženskim likovima. I ovde imamo retko lirske momente, ali je radnja prilično zgusnutija (i dalje postoje neverovatni propusti u zapletu jer eto, bilo je neophodno da se neko prošvercuje s jednog broda na drugi, ko sada da sedi i smišlja kako). Najdivnije (spojler sledi) jeste što je otprilike poslednja trećina knjige doslovno kao da je Pa ...more
Feb 24, 2017 rated it liked it
I picked this one up as part of my reading project for this year. I'm really trying to read more books written by ladies pre-2000 in SFF. This definitely fit the bill, but unfortunately it didn't grip me anywhere near as much as I had hoped for...

This follows on from the story of Morgon, Prince of Hed, by instead following his lady love, Raederle. She is the second-most-beautiful lady in the world and she's also a fairly intelligent and progressive young lady who's not just going to sit and wai
So, two quotes. One from Faulkner (a famous one): "The past is never dead. It isn't even past." In The Riddle-Master of Hed, Morgon is dragged out of his comfort zone and into the realization that the ancient riddles he studied at the School of Riddle-Mastery in Caithnard are not just riddles. They are truths of a former present that now simmers beneath the surface of everything he thought he knew about the High One's realm. In this second book of the trilogy, Raederle, Morgon's "betrothed," lea ...more
Sep 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, read-in-2018

This is my main complaint about this book. The book is 207 pages, and the blurb talks about a plot point that doesn't emerge until p 170. This is a huge pet peeve for me. The blurb is literally a spoiler-filled synopsis of the book.

Yet ironically, it was this book's blurb that made me interested in the series to begin with, so maybe I shouldn't be caps-yelling at people not to read the blurb.

That aside, I enjoyed this book. Raederle is a great character. Please see my re
Abigail Hartman
Jun 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Abigail by: Jennifer Freitag
Shelves: fantasy
These books have such ridiculously cheesy covers. Also, had the person who wrote the back cover copy even read the book? It combined spoilers with inaccuracy in a way marvelous to behold.

Anyway, if "second book blues" exist, I don't think Heir of Sea and Fire had them. In fact I'm pretty sure I enjoyed this one more than the first book: the writing seemed less choppy and I noticed less head-hopping, both of which were pleasant to me; also, the plot has thickened considerably, and while there is
Jan 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
More of a 4.5 than a 4 (out of five). McKillip's writing, I believe, improved since "The Riddlemaster of Hed," though also did some small part of the mysteriousness. One of the brilliant aspects of the first part of the trilogy, for me, was the acuteness that McKillip's writing found in the abstract and the wordless and although this novel got at some very interesting aspects of the world, I don't think it was as effective as the original. Still, Raederle came out to be a very interesting charac ...more
I think I liked this more than the first, but ohhh, I did think I'd like this trilogy more and I'm sad I don't. The writing isn't quite clicking and I feel like some of the story telling is too subtle for me, like I'm missing stuff. (view spoiler)
May 11, 2018 rated it liked it
When I started reading the Riddle-Master trilogy, it seemed to me like a very straightforward fantasy novel: a Special, Chosen man must go on a Dangerous Quest to save his kingdom and marry and/or rescue the woman he loves.

Book two in the series turned all that on its head. It became this story of very compelling, complicated women. I liked it.
Luke Burrage
Full review on my podcast, SFBRP episode #369.
Jul 27, 2017 rated it liked it
It was better than the first book. I liked the second half of it more than the first half. There were some good quotes toward the end.
Heir of Sea and Fire by Patricia A. McKillip is the second book in the Riddle-Master trilogy. Just as the first book is the story of Morgon and his path to self-discovery, this book is the story of Raederle of An, the second most beautiful woman of the Three Portions of An.

A year has elapsed from the events of The Riddle-Master of Hed. Morgon, along with the High One’s harpist, has disappeared after leaving Danan Isig’s house. Because Morgon has not come to claim Raederle as his wife, other lor
Robert Beveridge
Patricia A. McKillip, Heir of Sea and Fire (Ace, 1977)

McKillip's follow-up to The Riddle-Master of Hed somewhat surprisingly avoid the middle-novel-of-the-trilogy doldrums, which is a welcome change from most fantasy trilogies, and it does so in a somewhat novel way; rather than continuing on with the story of Morgon, the hero of the first novel, McKillip focuses on Raederle, Princess of An and Morgon's betrothed, who sets out to find out what happened to Morgon at the end of the first book. (As
Amanda Kespohl
Apr 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I'm on book three right now and so far, I love these books beyond reason. I want to pull each of the characters out of the pages and hug them, then release them to go back about their business. This world is so beautiful and complex and rich that I could not stop turning the pages, even though I never wanted the books to end.

I'll do a more detailed write-up once I'm done with book three, but honestly, it would take a mighty plot catastrophe to make me change my opinion now. Basically, to make m
Stephanie Herron
With the Riddle-master trilogy just become available on kindle I re-read all three (The Riddle Master of Hed, Heir of Sea and Fire and Harpist in the Wind. I first read these books back in the 1970s and they, together with (inevitably) the Lord of the Rings, are largely responsible for my starting to read fantasy. It is now many years since I read these books as they are in storage in NZ while I work in Africa, so I was delighted to find them available as e-books and then even more delighted to ...more
Sheryl Tribble
Feb 26, 2013 rated it liked it
A friend of mine in high school loaned me The Riddle Master of Hed, which I devoured rapidly and then demanded he loan me the next one. Heir of Sea and Fire also ended on a cliff hanger, and when I demanded the third, my friend blithely replied, "It isn't out yet. I needed someone else to suffer with me."

I Was Enraged. Then I pulled the same stunt on my sister, because I am evil.

Finishing it this time, my response was more a puzzled, "Huh. That isn't much of a cliffhanger." Different ages, diff
Jun 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not the page-turner that the previous one (The Riddle-Master of Hed) has been, but still full of poetry and charm, interesting characters (if slightly annoying), twists, mystery. As usual, the middle book in a trilogy cannot hold as much mystery and excitement as the first, and neither can it offer resolution to any existent situation - it is like a link between the first and the third. This one is no exception, but for the many extra elements added to the story. All the same, it's very good fan ...more
Julia Hendon
I enjoyed this second book in the trilogy much less than the first. The pacing and plotting seemed slack with a lot of dithering by the main characters, three women connected to the central figure in the series, Morgon. However, my reaction also reflects my disappointment with the narrator of the audiobook. I guess because the protagonists are women, the decision was made to switch to a female reader. She mispronounced names and was also inconsistent in how she said them. Her efforts to distingu ...more
Umbes sama köitev kui esimene, ehkki tore oli see, et esimese raamatu kangelane jäetakse suuremalt jaolt kõrvale ja tema õde, võimalik mõrsja ja wannabe-ihukaitsja lähevad ise teda taga otsima, kõik teismelised plikad ja väga hakkajad - esimeses raamatus punnis kangelane seiklustele väga vastu ja ähvardas vähemalt kord peatykis kõik sinnapaika jätta ja minna koju kartuleid kasvatama.
Apr 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
I love Patricia McKillip but I have enjoyed her standalone novels much more than the Riddlemaster books so far. Riddlemaster feels like very traditional and quest-driven fantasy, which I am less interested in than the exquisitely beautiful, fairy tale-esque little gems that I am used to from her.
Carol Colfer
Nov 22, 2016 rated it it was ok
It should have been one I'd like, but I found the characters confusing, and was never entirely clear what had happened in the book. Maybe too fantastical for me?
Josh Forbes
Dec 20, 2016 rated it liked it
This book accomplishes a really fun switcheroo in changing the POV from the hero-in-training from the first book, Morgon, to the damsel-in-wait, Raederle. She is a lot of fun. She's plucky, resourceful, and refreshingly modern in the face of the antiquated patriarchy. She was betrothed to Morgon in the first book because of a bet, essentially, but McKillip smartly course corrects and makes their bond more one of shared destiny than arranged marriage.

These books are quite short and yet still fin
Dec 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
I liked parts of this book much better than the first Riddle-master book. The protagonist, Raederle, seems less flat and more realistic. (Watch out though. Morgon appears in this book and a stiff odor of dull implausibility swirls around him whenever he appears.) The adventures are also most exciting and less repetitive than the previous book. There is some interesting magic and the fantasy universe is getting bigger, but the narrative often doesn't introduce its world-building in an engaging wa ...more
L.D. Colter
Dec 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As the middle book in a single story, this has the odd role of needing to continue a tale already begun but being unable to bring the story to a climax or conclusion. It also has the additional challenge of shifting to a different protagonist, Raederle, the woman promised to Morgon. Despite this, the story and the writing continue to be marvelous and compelling. For a set written in the 1970s, it has a wonderfully strong and well-written female protagonist, one I'm happy to discover continues to ...more
Shannon Appelcline
Oct 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, read-aloud
The fact that Heir of Sea and Fire has not just a strong female protagonist, but indeed a whole coterie of strong female protagonists is pretty cool, especially for its era. It's also a very interesting plot twist, to move away from the point-of-view of the first book's hero, while still continuing his story.

The problem is that not a lot comes out of it.

A full 80% of the book is spent aimlessly wandering, with Raederle pointlessly coming together with her companions, heading northward, and then
Joe Kessler
Sep 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
This middle volume in the Riddle-Master trilogy is probably the strongest, but it still moves to the strange internal logic of a dream, often leaving its readers grasping after oblique shades of meaning in under-explained references to this world's history and culture. What does manage to sink in, though, is intensely compelling. Whereas the first novel detailed a fairly typical hero's journey to power, this story takes the more interesting step of following the hero's betrothed as she grapples ...more
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this second book in the series even more than the first. Again with this book as with the first in the series, The Riddlemaster of Hed, I had to slow down reading in order to really follow and enjoy the story. It is not that the writing is unclear. It just feels like the author does not waste any words, and each word is important. I had to slow down and be careful to read each one. Put another way, the narrative style is much different from many popular books I have read and requires m ...more
Oct 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Well it surprised me, I wondered at one point if I'd missed out a book. Beginning with the point of view of the women who love Morgon, it seems like an interesting new direction is developing, but the story zigzags around and the strong women kind of fade out.

I wasn't as keen on this as the first book, but middle ones are often difficult. There is always a sense that at any moment the carpet might be pulled from under the reader, important action happens off stage, we are told things are signif
Mar 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Book two in the Riddle-Master trilogy. Strong, as the first, starting one year after we left Morgan at the end of the first book. Interesting in that we get to follow what is going on in the land and with its people while Morgan's away; specifically we follow Raederle, the woman Morgan is to marry. As others, she sets off to search for Morgan, discovering her own powers and some surprising information about her ancestors along her journey.

Good story that ends strong, with good excitement, more q
Malcolm Schmitz
May 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, favorites, sff
I read this book for the first time when I was too young to understand it. I had trouble keeping track of who was where, in what shape, and when. But I enjoyed it nonetheless- there was something in it that spoke to me. Now I'm older and I understand what that 'something' was, and why almost as soon as I read this, I started writing my own silly little story about shapeshifters and being hated for what you were.

...I'm not going to call this disability lit, exactly, because it isn't. But this bo
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Patricia Anne McKillip is an American author of fantasy and science fiction novels, distinguished by lyrical, delicate prose and careful attention to detail and characterization. She is a past winner of the World Fantasy Award and Locus Award, and she lives in Oregon. Most of her recent novels have cover paintings by Kinuko Y. Craft. She is married to David Lunde, a poet.

According to Fantasy Book

Other books in the series

Riddle-Master (3 books)
  • The Riddle-Master of Hed (Riddle-Master, #1)
  • Harpist in the Wind (Riddle-Master, #3)