The Riddler's Gift is the first volume in the Lifesong series by Greg Hamerton.
There is a song that drifts on the breeze through all the world. Its rhythms are echoed in our breath, the music is caught in our laughter, hidden in our language, woven through our life...
Most of the old world has been ravaged by Chaos, led by the wizard Ametheus. Knowing they face defeat, the last 7 most powerful wizards create a strong shield of Magic around the only untouched Kingdom, Eyri and send one of their number to maintain the shield, keep the Chaos out and hope alive.
Isolated from the evil and ancient power that threatens to destroy all in it's path, the inhabitants of the Kingdom are blissfully unaware of the raging chaos outside their own fair land. Even here the though the agents of chaos plot to bring an end to peaceful order led by the sinister Darkmaster and his Cabal of twisted Shadowcasters.
The young daughter of Lifegifter Trisha Serannon - Tabitha is a very gifted musician and after awakening an ancient power her whole world changes suddenly. Hunted for her talents by evil Shadowcasters she is found by the enigmatic Riddler, but just who's side is he actually on? Relentlessly pursued she must learn how to control her growing magical talent before she loses her grasp of the Lifesong and the realm plunged into darkness.
I, like my predecessor TC find it all the more difficult to write a review for a book i've really liked without it sounding over the top or just too gushing with praise. Greg Hamerton has not made this any easier at all, there are moments in this novel that are sheer magic, vividly evoking my imagination and encouraging that "i'll just read one more page" feeling.
This is very much an epic tale with a very impressive back story and detailed world building. The magic system is well developed and easy to understand while the descriptive narrative really does bring the book to life. Greg Hamerton has managed to create a very unique and individual style, I am at times reminded of Robert Jordan's work alongside JRR Tolkiens but only really in passing, The Riddler's Gift is very much on it's own with a living breathing, vibrant world that's inhabited by unique, interesting characters that you can't help but care about. The plot is rich and detailed and yet easy to follow and most of the time the pace is fairly quick. There are a few slow moments in the novel but as these are "world building" moments this can be forgiven.
The more books I read (and as you can probably tell from this site I read many), the more I have come to understand that without trying to "pidgeon hole" anyone authors can generally be split into 3 main groups. There are people who write, writers who create and very rarely natural "story tellers" who share their dreams in a written form.
Being a "story teller" is an extremely rare talent and they appear very infrequently. When one does come along they can be easy to point them out, Robert Jordan was one as was JRR Tolkien, Patrick Rothfuss is another.
Greg Hamerton can now be added to that very exclusive list and I feel honoured to have shared the beginning of his literary journey with The Riddler's Gift. (you can expect the next volume in the Lifesong series - Second Sight to be reviewed here soon).
Written on Monday 6th September 2010 by Antony.
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