Riddle-Master trilogy // by Patricia McKillip

  • Riddle-Master of Hed (1976)
  • Heir of Sea and Fire (1977)
  • Harpist in the Wind (1979)

Somehow I landed a book that has all three books from the Riddle-Master trilogy in one volume.  While I’m not usually a fan of this method, as it means I have to lug around a giant brick of a book with me, in this case it worked – mainly because these definitely read as one long book with three parts, rather than three separate-yet-connected stories.

Overall, this was a 4* series for me.  The world building was excellent and the story was engaging.  I liked the characters and wanted to know what was going to happen.  The writing is lovely.

I’ve mostly enjoyed the McKillip books that I’ve read to date, but she has a habit of never explaining anything.  The reader just has to muddle along as best he can, hoping that things become more clear as the story continues.  At times, this makes the story intensely engaging.  At other times, it’s incredibly aggravating.  In this case, it was definitely a mixture.  While it sometimes added to the magic and natural flow to the story, it also frequently just made things feel more muddled and confusing.

The pacing for the entire trilogy was definitely on the slow side.  While I mostly didn’t mind the meandering pace, there were places where the story dragged quite a bit.  Combined with the way that the books didn’t remotely stand on their own, it really just felt like this whole trilogy should have been given a hard editing and combined into one book.

Still, I enjoyed it.  While some aspects of the story seemed really obvious to me, I still enjoyed the journey, and I liked the way that everything wrapped up.  While I’m not sure that this will be a classic series that I read time and again, I can see myself picking it up again somewhere down the line for a reread.