When we left off at the end of THE RIDDLE-MASTER OF HED, Morgon seemed to finally have come face to face with the High One, only to get an unpleasant surprise: Ghisteslwchlohm has been impersonating the High One, and Deth, Morgon's friend, has betrayed him.
So, naturally, HEIR OF SEA AND FIRE picks up in a completely different spot, following Morgon's sort-of-betrothed, Raederle, as she journeys to discover what exactly happened to Morgon.
While it was frustrating to see it start in a completely different place, the opening was so much stronger than THE RIDDLE-MASTER's. The characters were clearer, and there weren't quite so many mentioned in the first few pages. But that being said, all the lords of the lands ran together and I never got a good sense of the difference between them. Indeed, I never got a clear understanding of the relationships of the three smaller kingdoms in An. So...blurgh.
So, Raederle leaves, hooks up with some secondary characters from THE RIDDLE-MASTER OF HED, and takes off in search of Morgon. The plot is a bit easier to follow since all the locations are familiar now and we're being reintroduced to the characters, but here's the thing: Riddles are only satisfying if the answer is satisfying. The story was still maddeningly opaque at times, and the payoff was insufficient to make me forgive it.
There were several chapters where all people did was talk and nothing got resolved.
At least this book had a more satisfying ending. And I think, at last, we got closer to the heart of the philosophy the trilogy is trying to convey. If only it could do it a little more clearly...