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The Riddle of the Wren Paperback – September 16, 2002


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 16 years
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Paperback: 295 pages
  • Publisher: Firebird; Reissue edition (September 16, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142302236
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142302231
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 4.2 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,151,316 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Charles de Lint and his wife, the artist MaryAnn Harris, live in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. His evocative novels, including Moonheart, Forests of the Heart, and The Onion Girl, have earned him a devoted following and critical acclaim as a master of contemporary magical fiction

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 24 customer reviews
I read this book religiously once or twice a year.
Moofin
I've many highly intelligent or fantasy-expert friends - adults and peers alike - that have read Riddle of the Wren in comparison to the Newford series.
Moorchild-Blue
Along the way, she goes on a worlds-spanning odyssey and meets some colorful characters.
JFBeilman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia J. Smith on November 23, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Out of all de Lint's books this is my favorite. I have a battered thrice owned copy that's been dropped in the river and worse...I still read it every year or so. Minda Sealy is plauged by dreams sent by the "Dream Master" who oft dream kills individuals. To escape destruction Minda goes yondering through the gate stones to other worlds to ultimantely fight the Dream Master and discover her own potential. I need another copy of this book! Mine is about worn out.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By E. A. Lovitt HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on December 15, 2004
Format: Paperback
I read "The Riddle of the Wren" a few decades ago and loved it. I recently reread it and realized I'd forgotten how talky the badger and the elves were. I still think it's a good fantasy, but with a complicated theology that the author needs lots of print to explain.

The background is pseudo-medieval, beloved of many fantasy authors although usually not of de Lint who evolved away from sturdy peasants, trebuchets, and trade fairs into urban fantasy settings. "The Riddle of the Wren" is one of his earliest publications. Like another great Canadian author, Farley Mowat, the call of the wild rings through de Lint's novels, including this one. If his character has horns on its head or assumes the shape of a northern mammal, you can be pretty sure it is on the side of the good.

The 'wren' of this story is innkeeper's daughter, Minda Sealy who must flee from world to world through magical megalithic gates resembling Stonehenge. She is pursued by the evil Dream-master, Ildran although we don't know why until nearly the end of the book. During her travels, she gains many allies both human and fae, were and hobogle. There are also Lore-mistresses, erlkin, harpers, and Wyslings such as the badger, Grimbold. There were at one time Dark gods and Gray gods, although hardly anyone wants to hasten their return to Mid-wold.

I never did quite figure out the difference between Walkers and Wasters, although they were both extremely bad dudes.

A trickle of Celtic harp weaves in and out of the Wren's story, along with encounters with horned lords and (possibly) the Great God Pan. Even as she acquires powerful, magical friends Minda realizes that she alone can confront and destroy the evil Dream-Master. I think you'll want to follow her story to its end, in spite of the over-rich tapestry of characters (beware of fantasies with glossaries).
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By frumiousb VINE VOICE on March 14, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I picked this up reflexively, thinking that I had found a new De Lint. I had not realized that I had found a re-release of his second book, nor that it was intended for a YA audience.

For serious De Lint fans (me!) it is interesting to see how his themes have developed over the years. This is much more representative of his later work than something like Wolf Moon. Unfortunately it is nowhere near as polished as something like Forests of the Heart or Moonlight and Vines and the age is visible from the state of the craft. The plot is overly complicated for the length of the book, and the character of Minda is a shadow of the female characters who appear in later novels.

First time readers of De Lint probably want to begin elsewhere. De Lint fans should expect an enjoyable read, but one not quite up to the level that his work normally achieves.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Cybele A. Baker VINE VOICE on December 17, 2002
Format: Paperback
One of CDL's first novels and delightful read is finally back in print. If you were lucky enough to have a 1st printing of this as I was you will, I'm sure, agree with me.
For those who haven't read this but have read other DeLint books this is definitly worth the purchase.
A bit simpler and not as dark as some of his later works it is still unmistakably DeLint and is a lovely tale of magic and fey worlds for the delight of readers everywhere.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 18, 2002
Format: Paperback
The first De Lint I read was this book, I still have the copy. It is a great introductory to De Lint's style and the world(s) he creates. Full of Fey creatures, you are told the tale of one girl (Minda) who is sought by a dream master seeking to raise himself to the rank of the dark gods. There are the standard problems of pitfalls, though the twists of the plot are quite intriguing.
I highly recommend any book by Charles De Lint
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By EmBee on February 29, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is meant for the teen crowd, and was bought originally for the teen fantasist in our household. It contains excellent themes for young women, but it has a broader appeal. Adults, too, will enjoy this quirky little imaginary-world fantasy, so unlike the Urban Fantasy that has made Charles de Lint such a popular guy.
Though it does betray itself as an early work, not so finely turned a tale perhaps as de Lint is capable of in his maturity, this book is really, really good. The heroine is sympathetic, believable, and complicated - like a real seventeen-year-old trying to puzzle out the hidden pattern of her life. Why would someone want to torment her in her dreams - and how will she keep the promise she made to help the fey being who helped her?
The universe turns out to be more complex and magical than she could have dreamed - and in the end, of course, she answers the riddles put to her and finds her place in the grand universe. It's triumphant - and it's fun - and it's really just a lovely gem of a book. It merits a place in your permanent collection. I recommend it highly.
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