I’m beginning a new feature on Andilit today. Each Saturday, I will post a book review. Many of these reviews will include giveaways of the book reviewed, so I hope you’ll check in on the weekend to discover new books and have a chance to win them.
I’m a sucker for an adventure story that involves a journey. Maybe it’s a longing for the Jungian archetype, or maybe it’s just that I come from a family of epic travelers . . . whatever it is, I love stories that involve landscapes and peoples. Whether it’s a journey of a furry footed hobbit or Christopher McCandle, travels in literature speak to me of life in the way that many more stationary writings don’t.
Couple that with something magical – speaking with animals, special potions, and supernatural beings – and you have encapsulated my favorite stories. I was raised on this stuff, too – Middle Earth and Narnia especially.
So when I came across Alison Croggon’s books about Maerad, the young woman who is to save her people, I was hooked immediately. The first book, The Naming, engrossed me on audio, but when it came time to take this trip north to New Brunswick, I picked up the second book in the quartet – The Riddle – and spent my lazy afternoons by the lake reading my way through Edil-Amarandh. The basic premise of the books is that Maerad must discover who she is in order to live into her destiny as The One. She has true companions – Cadvan, her mentor; Darsor and Imi, the horses she comes to love; and another young boy, Hem, who becomes important in ways I cannot tell you without giving away an important plot point.
While I found the ending of both books frustrating because they were clearly written to lead to the next one – no resolution, no summing up – this practice rings true to the larger world that Croggon is creating around the books. In the world of the novels, these books are translations from an ancient, lost culture. So it makes sense that the text do not get summed up as discrete stories; they are meant to be read as a larger tale.
These novels do not have the depth of Middle Earth or the magical spirit of Narnia, but they are fun for anyone, teenager and on into adulthood. If you like fantasy and enjoy young adult fiction these might be books you’d enjoy.
Have you read any of the The Books of Pellinor? If so, what did you think of them? What were their strengths? Their weaknesses? Did you have a favorite character? If you’d like to participate in an ongoing discussion of the books, check out the Pellinor Fan Group on Goodreads.
If you’d like a chance to receive my copy (slightly read but still in great shape) of The Riddle, please post a comment below telling me why you’d like to read this book or this series in particular, or why you enjoy stories of this nature in general? I will randomly select a winner this Wednesday, the 24th, and announce that person’s name on my blog post for that day. You can get additional entries for sharing this giveaway via Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or your own blog. Just let me know where you’ve shared it in your comment. Thanks.