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Cover of The Riddle-Master of Hed.

The Riddle-Master of Hed

author: Patricia A. McKillip (1976)
series: Riddle-Master #1
date read: 2021-04-16
pages: 240
lists: fantasy
rating: β˜… β˜… β˜… β˜† β˜†

Reluctant heroes are a bit overdone, but this one is honest and plausible (though, as all reluctant heroes, a bit tedious). That’s the good part, possibly. The characters are not exactly one-dimensional, but the book is certainly reluctant to show you more than one dimension at a time.

Protagonist from modest upbringing on a deliberately peaceful fantasy island sets out to solve riddles that this world is structured around. (The riddles are a very strong choice both for style and for world-building. I enjoyed them throughout the trilogy). He finds out that the world is not run the way he thinks it is, and it’s all a mix of extremely slow and dramatic. Good twist, good drama, but everything is so veiy slow and feels anti-climactic no matter what happens.

I’m not sure how much of this is the book’s age. Or rather, I think the book’s age gives way to the oddly distanced slow pace, but I don’t think its age is all the reason there is. It reminds me of Earthsea, though le Guin is never quite this distanced.

Bonus points for learning to become a tree by thinking like a tree.


38/ The Riddle-Master of Hed by Patricia A. McKillip. Unconventional fantasy, reminded me of Earthsea. Glad I read it despite the oddly distanced storytelling. https://books.rixx.de/patricia-a-mckillip/the-riddle-master-of-hed/
38/ The Riddle-Master of Hed by Patricia A. McKillip. Unconventional fantasy, reminded me of Earthsea. Glad I read it despite the oddly distanced storytelling. https://books.rixx.de/patricia-a-mckillip/the-riddle-master-of-hed/ #rixxReads

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