The Riddle-Master of Hed

Patricia A. McKillip
The Riddle-Master of Hed Cover

The Riddle-Master of Hed


Most of the book reminded me very much of The Earthsea Trilogy, mostly in the characterization, and the atmosphere. However, while the Earthsea books were great reads, this was not.

The least problem is that the book ends on cliffhanger, after the identity of the, I'd guess, main villain is revealed. While I don't enjoy that a multi-part book ends without an ending, I can understand.

However, what I don't understand is the constant namedropping of places and peoples that are not even remotely relevant to the plot. On the other hand, some things that turn out to be important a bit later in the book, are glossed over when explained. Was I expected to remember who the wolf-king is when he was first mentioned in passing? And of course, I was supposed to guess that he was a shape-shifter, but not the bad kind, but the good kind.

Alright, that is manageable with some turning pages back and forth - if the story had some coherency. Characters are appearing and disappearing at more-or-less, random intervals, being crucial in one chapter, and completely missing after that. What happened to the Lyra? What happened to the guy who lost an eye? Why is the girl the hero supposed to marry even important to the plot, in any way, shape or form?

OK, at least the main character is very likable, even though most of his "quest" is him trying to go home, than changing his mind, traveling some distance, than changing his mind again, and so on, and so forth.

But, the most jarring thing that I cannot really forgive, or understand, is the timeline that is given. We are given to understand that some event happened a long time ago, several centuries, perhaps, and then, we casually meet some of the people involved with it. And they have young children, that were mentioned in the legends of the past. I've read the book, and I still don't get whether these people just can't count the years very well, or what...