“This is the third and final part of the Riddle-Master Trilogy, and you should definitely read the two earlier books first, this is definitely no standalone, you should really think of it as one novel in three parts. The first book, The Riddle-Master of Hed belongs to the title character, Morgon of Hed, Riddle-master and Farmer-Prince who finds the most challenging riddle of all is his own identity and destiny. The next book is the story of Raederlie, Morgon's love who in Heir of Sea and Fire goes in search of him and finds out much about her own identity and powers.
Now in Harpist of the Wind they're together trying to find out what has happened to the "High One" the "sustainer of the land-law of the realm" that ties the rulers to an awareness of their lands. Despite the multiplying of mysteries in the books, by the end of this one they're all tied up neatly--and with a fairly unpredictable but logical twist. I'd also say that Mckillip develops her world deftly--like most high fantasy it definitely has a medieval European feel, but it feels it's own place. Even minor characters are well-drawn, and the style is smooth and the narrative flows well.
It's a good read. Not a great read. I read this trilogy because it was recommended on the "Seven-League Shelf" of the "cream" of fantasy. I don't think it rates as among the best in the genre I've read. I wouldn't place this with others on the list such as The Gormengheist Trilogy, Lord of the Rings, The Once and Future King, Carroll's Alice books. I don't consider it extraordinary in style, nor did it move me to tears or laughter nor did I find it gasp-worthy. But entertaining? Yes, certainly. And some have told me that McKillip's best book isn't this trilogy but The Forgotten Beasts of Eld. I'd certainly be interested in trying that someday after reading these.”
“3rd book in trilogy. Though Morgon the Riddle-Master was reunited with his beloved Raederle, his purpose in life and the reason for the stars on his forehead remained a mystery. All around him, the realm shook with war and disaster as mysterious shape-changers battled against mankind. A wonderful ending to the tale of the Riddle-Master.”Karen K (K2) wrote this review Friday, March 15, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“The amazing end to the amazing trilogy that brought riddles and harping and a mystery of three stars to its conclusion. The language and the world are pure McKillip, and the lead-up to the final confrontation/meeting between Morgon and Ohm is everything it promises to be.
My only question on this book is how neatly the threads are tied and the battle is finished. In the world of this book, Morgon repairing the wall by becoming stones is too easy; in the writing of a young author, it is a good way to bring a book to its close and move from one difficult situation to the conclusion.
And the final meeting with Deth the Harpist is heart-wrenching. The love that he shows is finally explained in such a way that it still brings tears to my eyes. Great writing and great emotion.”
“I forgot how good though at the same time confusing the end of the series is. No wonder I forgot everything...”Liz S wrote this review Saturday, December 31, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“One of my favourite books, re read for the 3rd time”Fede wrote this review Friday, May 6, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“An excellent and surprising ending.”Meredith wrote this review Sunday, February 20, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“From my notebook:
Morgan goes to Lungold to meet the wizards and learn his destiny. The Shape Changers follow him and destroy Lungold. Morgan finally meets the High One and learns of his destiny.”
“Very good book - still Morgon's character didn't lose the annoyance that bothered me in the first book, "The Riddle-Master of Hed", namely his remarks every time he appears in the story that he has no idea what he's doing or why he's doing it. I would have supposed that after so many things have happened, even if the whole tangled mess didn't clear up a lot, that he would try and WANT to look for answers - somehow this attitude of "I have no idea who I'm supposed to be and I don't even want to know" prevents the character from developing smoothly and instead Morgon fluctuates between decision and indecision, with no explanation whatsoever why he should be one way or the other (i.e., find out what he has to do and do it versus look forever back at his old life) - a random game that settles on one of the two possibilities in the end - but we still don't know why.
Besides, phrases like "I don't know what in Hel's name I am doing", however ingenious the use of the name of the region Hel might be, become quite tiring and even exasperating as the story progresses.
And speaking about the story, it was full of twists and turns and new stuff always popping up, but it requires a patient reader because you never really know what's going on - you have to assimilate all the information and store it up till the last 30 pages or so where everything is cleared up nicely. In the meantime, enjoy the exquisite imagery and poetic quality of the writing, because in the end the story is very simple and all that remains is a feeling. The whole trilogy is more like a collection of brilliant bits and pieces of writing, mostly descriptions and metaphors that take your breath away but don't describe and differentiate consistently between time and place. Because of this, there is a lack of homogeneity and action is the only thing that keeps the writing together - so that by the end when all action dissolves and you don't remember all the meaningless little things that the people actually did, it is the lyrical, if disjointed, prose that still leaves an otherworldly echo in your mind.”