The Singing


Alison Croggon


Science Fiction / Fantasy


Date Reviewed:

December 29, 2019

am awarding The Singing a five star grade, but in truth, that is really a score for the entire Chronicles of Pellinor quartet, I really enjoyed the whole series. The Singing is actually the weakest of the four books. I thought there were too many loose ends, and the grand finale seems too easy, and too rushed. Why isn't that when the leader of the bad guys is vanquished, that there is never a lieutenant to ready to step in and seize control? Roman didn't end with Julius Caesar's death. The Soviet Union survived the demise of Stalin. It seems that an overwhelming army of invaders would still be a huge problem, even if leaderless.

The Singing starts out well. Maered and Cadvan are in the bard village of Innail, what the Landrost, an powerful Elidhu, attacks with a sorcerous army. The bards rally to fight, but an Elidhu is a powerful being. Fortunately, Maered has grown ever more capable of wielding her own immense power, and is able to lead the bards to withstand the attack. This is one aspect I don't really like of the Chronicles of Pellinor. The magic system merely seems to be "willing" something hard enough. If you have more willpower, your magic wins out. Yes, the bards have training and study, but being a successful magician comes down to simply having enough belief in yourself to keep trying.

Hem, Saliman and Irc are racing northward. They have half of the Treesong, the secret that will destroy the Nameless One. At their heels marches a vast host of enemy soldiers, including the child soldiers that almost entrapped and enlisted Hem in the previous novel. They are nearly trapped in the city of Til Amon by the Nameless One's advanced troops, but, realizing that they must meet with Maered to unite the two halves of the Treesong, they escape by joining a small troupe of actors. Floods and storms lash the land, as the Nameless One has thrown nature out of balance. Diseases unleashed by the Nameless One ravage the towns - a deadly plague called the White Sickness infects Saliman. The actors flee Saliman, they know he is as good as dead, but Hem refuses to admit that Saliman will perish. Hem attempts to heal Saliman...and once again, the magic seems to be that if the user just tries hard enough, then he will succeed.

Maered and Cadvan are searching for Hem and Saliman, but the flooded lands and roving bands of Hulls make moving around perilous. Yet Maered's new formidable powers make the Hulls too easy to vanquish, which isn't exciting.

I think this story succeeds only if you have read the first three novels. It is the emotional investment in the characters of Maered, Hem and company that carries the story forward. The plot itself isn't as good as the first three books. The ending seems rushed, and too easy. And what is the fate of the corrupted chief bard, Enkir? It seems he should have shown up at some point in the later three books. I also wish the motivations of the Elidhu were given more explanaton - why would the Winter King help Maered in the battle with the Landrost? Why was Nyanar, the forest Elidhu, so helpful to Hem? I thought the Queen Ardina would make an appearance before the end of the adventure. The Elidhu were up to something, but what?

Overall, the series is a good read. The characters are strong, the world building is terrific, and Croggon does a good job of giving the series an epic feel. It is a grand read. I have looked to see if Croggon has written any thing since, but there is only a prequel novel, The Bone Queen. I am not sure I want to read about events that are already history in the Chronicles. This series is recommended reading!