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School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up- Following The Naming (2005) and The Riddle (2006, both Candlewick), this volume in the quartet focuses on Hem, Maerad's brother. An orphan under the care of Bard Saliman, he discovers that he can communicate with birds, and a friendship with a white crow proves very useful. War against the forces of the evil Nameless One is imminent. Orphan Zelika, angry and vengeful, joins them but is caught and imprisoned, and Hem resolves to rescue her. Through all this, he discovers that both he and his sister are prophesied to destroy the Nameless One. The Books of Pellinor are introduced as translations of ancient texts. The heavy reliance on Tolkien techniques, conventions, and characters, including maps and appendixes, is obvious. Occasionally, there are long, awkward segments of detailed description. However, epic fantasy enthusiasts will savor the richness of this world, especially if they have read the previous volumes. Naive orphan Hem gradually transforms into a skilled, educated, disciplined warrior. Readers who persevere to the end will feel satisfied with this intricate volume and eagerly await the next.-Amy J. Chow, New York Public LibraryCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.