By Kyra Smith-Cullen
February 7, 2013
Fans of epic fantasy adventures will enjoy Greg Hamerton’s ‘The Riddler’s Gift: Tale of the Lifesong’ because it will always leave them wondering what the next twist in the plot will be.
The story focuses on the struggles of Tabitha Serannon, a young singer in the land of Eyri. When her mother finds a ring that is a prized possession of the darkest power, Tabitha can’t resist the urge to wear the ring and begins a search that will change her life forever. Magic isn’t new to her, because her mother is a member of the Lightgifters, who work as healers. However, a new force arises with the Darkgifters, who seek to spread despair and death through Eyri.
Eyri is a sheltered land, where the only magic that has existed for years is that of the Lightgifters. Many of its inhabitants are unaware of the Darkgifters, or the dangers that exist in the long forgotten lore. Hamerton contrasts the opposing sides’ capitals to show the division of the two worlds – Kingsrim is a shining metropolis by the sea while Ravenscroft is hidden in the dark caverns of the mountains. The imagery of the land is vibrant and symbolic, going through as much of a transformation as the characters.
In the book, the reader gets to see Tabitha doubt if she can shoulder the burden the ring offers. Traveling with her is the Riddler, who seems to know the most about the magic she is facing. By interacting with him and the other characters, Tabitha realizes what she must do to survive. But each choice she makes is countered by the fact that there are traitors everywhere, each with their own motives.
Despite the fact that the story centers around Tabitha, Hamerton uses multiple third person character perspectives to give readers information. It is a risky move, because of how convoluted the storylines become; however, with ‘The Riddler’s Gift’, the technique is handled with mastery and even adds to the suspense.
The biggest problem with the book is that it begins slowly while Hamerton sets up the story, explaining the origins of Eyri and introducing Tabitha. However, the information is valuable for the plot and afterward, it becomes difficult to put the book down.
While the basic plot may be similar to that of Tolkien’s ‘Lord of the Rings’, it is only because Hamerton was inspired by the classic.‘The Riddler’s Gift’ stands on its own as a terrific fantasy novel. I recommend the book to any fan of an epic journey.