Whenever I go to the library, I have a set routine. I walk past the used book store and skim over the books, then go pick up my holds. A few weeks ago, I was excited to find Robin McKinley’s Beauty for sale. I read it a few years ago and loved it, and have been wanting to read it again. Of course, I bought it. When I went to pay for it, the librarian assisting me was excited to see what I was buying, and showed me a few other books she thought I would like.
Her first choice for me was Patricia McKillip’s Riddle-Master trilogy. I had never read any Patricia McKillip before, but simply reading the introduction, I knew I would love her. The version I got contained all three books from the trilogy in one volume, but you can get them individually as well, which is what I generally prefer. However, it seems a lot more difficult to find the books separately. The individual titles are The Riddle-Master of Hed; Heir of Sea and Fire; and Harpist in the Wind. They were beautifully written, and reminiscent of both J.R.R. Tolkien and Robin McKinley. How could I not love them?
The story follows the journey of Morgon, prince of Hed, as he seeks answers to the riddles that haunt him. It was a slow moving story at times, with a lot of moments of confusion and not really knowing what was going on. But I think some level of that is acceptable in a high fantasy story about answering riddles, and it kept me reading in need of discovering the answers. Why are these riddles so important? What is the meaning of the stars? Who is the High One, and who is his harpist? Questions abound to keep you wondering and reading on, but don’t expect to get many answers for a while. The prose is beautiful, but slow moving. I enjoy that at times, but it isn’t for everyone. If you enjoy epic high fantasy in the style of Tolkien, read The Riddle-Master trilogy. I picked up McKillip’s book The Bards of Bone Plain at the library a few days ago, but haven’t started it yet. I look forward to reading more of her work.