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The Singing
The Fourth Book of Pellinor

Alison Croggon

Average Review Rating Average Rating 6/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Walker Books Ltd

Published : 2008

Copyright : Alison Croggon 2008

ISBN-10 : PB 1-4063-0802-1
ISBN-13 : PB 978-1-4063-0802-0

Publisher's Write-Up

This book presents a stunning conclusion to the epic 'Pellinor' series - four books telling an extraordinary tale of another world.

The Singing follows the separate journeys of Maerad and Cadvan, and their brother Hem, as they desperately seek each other in an increasingly battle-torn land. The Black Army is moving north and Maerad has a mighty confrontation with the Landrost to save Innail. All the Seven Kingdoms are being threatened with defeat. Yet Maerad and Hem hold the key to the mysterious Singing and only in releasing the music of the Elidhu together may the Nameless One be defeated. Can brother and sister find each other in time to fight the Nameless One, and are they strong enough to defeat him?

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Reader Reviews

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Review by Carie (310809) Rating (6/10)

Review by Carie
Rating 6/10
This is the conclusion to a sometimes galloping, sometimes lolloping series following gifted Maerad of Pellinor and her brother Hem. Training under the wings of experienced Bards in order to harness their innate powers, they are ultimately fated to use elemental magic to release the power of the Treesong and defeat an all-powerful enemy the 'Nameless One'.

I was quite excited to see the fourth book published; it had been a long wait since the third book The Crow, and because that focused entirely on Hem I was particularly keen to reunite with Maerad and Cadvan.

Oddly it was the story of Hem that kept me more enthralled this time. He grows in subtle ways, oppressively scared, not so much for himself - but for Irk, Saliman, his companions and feeling the loss of innocents like Zelika, whom he was unable to help. He develops his power as a healer to fight off the deadly 'White Sickness' [zombie-inspired-infliction] showing true selflessness and bravery in the process.

Overall, the fourth book is a little less suspenseful. The threat of the Nameless One was painted in extremely dark terms in the prior books and constantly seeped into the characters thoughts, directed their actions - it is genuinely not clear how our heroine will prevail. In this book Maerad is becoming demonstrably and frighteningly powerful, and it is almost her struggle to stay herself - stay a simple woman - that takes centre stage. It is quite touching, particularly the way in which she relies on Cadvan to stay anchored, finally realising what we all knew - she is in Love with the Bard. But somehow it makes the entire pace slower, the danger less present and therefore the climax not nearly as gripping as it should have been.

The Singing was a thoroughly enjoyable read, but equally had moments where I - God forbid, sin of reading sins - wanted to scan sections that seemed a little overwrought and skip to the action. I think it is something about Croggon's style of writing, and perhaps I just didn't notice it as much in the first three books. There is the Rowling tendency to repeat prior events, or come back to something that has already been discussed at length by the characters and still lacks resolution on the second, third airing. It's almost as if the characters (or Croggon) apologise for this with frequent lines like "I suppose I've just talked a mountain of nonsense." Or "I'm sorry - I really don't know what I'm talking about." Er, quite.

Something that Croggon does do incredibly well is describing the source of magical power, and creation of spells. So many fantasy novels rely on one-word incantations and Lo! - stuff happens. Or just the drama of spontaneous combustion, levitation, projectile weapons, and all sorts of other powers erupting from wands or hands sans explanation. Whereas magic in Edil-Amarandh is a primal or psychological battle. And some of the thoughts are brilliantly imaginative and simple. When attacked by the Landrost, a mountainous and powerful being, Maerad does not meet power with power: she imagines herself a small pebble, and lets the strength wash over her - knowing that in an avalanche whole buildings are destroyed, but smallest things are simply moved somewhere else. Later, Maerad uses her elemental power to destroy Hulls [read Nazgul] by inhaling “the icy mists, river winds and summer storms, high still air beneath the stars” then blowing at them. Yes, you read that right.

If you are a fan of the previous books you will not be disappointed (although you may think wistfully of what could have been). If you've not read any, then what are you doing looking at a review for the Fourth book? Start at the beginning :).
Carie (31st August 2009)

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