Continuing on with my reread of the series which inspired my bookish handle, I moved on to The Riddle! Starting where we left off at the end of The Gift, the journey through Edil-Amarandh by Maerad and Cadvan continues and we get to see more of this world and more about these two characters.
This book focuses even more heavily on Maerad than the first, and we learn a lot about her and through her we learn a lot about the world she is travelling through. On her trek to find out more information, carrying little more than her lyre, a sword and some sustenance, we follow the young Bard throughout Edil-Amarandh and into realms we haven’t explored in this world before.
I hesitate about going into any depth on any of these topics because they would most likely be spoilers for book one and maybe even for this book. So instead everything here will be vague and I hope you can forgive me. We travel to so many different places within this book, exploring a wide variety of cultures across the world and finding similarities and so many differences through Maerad’s still naïve eyes. I adored learning more about different cities and locations, and seeing how this magical system interlinks with the “normal” folk in different areas and how various schools interact with the light.
There is a lot more focus on Maerad in this book, and the story revolves around her alone. This means that we get to see her grow and develop a lot in her emotions as she is subject to trials and tribulations, as well as love and loss. Throughout this we learn more about not only Maerad as a person, but also about her special powers that set her apart within this world. How these work, where they may have come from, and how she can best harness them.
For me this is unfortunately a 4 star read rather than 5. I did find that the story was lacking slightly. Once again this is difficult to explain without spoilers, but I’ll struggle through! There’s a plot line with someone powerful, but I found personally that I couldn’t believe in their strength, both physical and emotional. There just wasn’t enough built up around it. My memory had this aspect of the book lasting longer but it was over within a relatively short number of pages and I do think that this was a mistake. In order to be fully impactful it needed more depth to it.
My second and final issue which cause the book to drop a star is that in places it seemed kind of… unnecessary. Don’t get me wrong, I adore these books so much. But there’s a lot of meandering that doesn’t feel entirely fruitful and I feel like this book could’ve been edited down to remove those portions. And if a certain wordcount was wanted to keep it in line with the other 3 books in the series then adding in POV from Cadvan would’ve been really constructive to the story and I feel like it would’ve made the book much faster paced and much more enjoyable.
As it is, I still adore this series and what this book brings to it. There are so many specifics within this book that are some of my favourites throughout the series as a whole and I’m so excited to get to the last two books!