THE BOOKS OF PELLINOR, by Alison Croggon (Candlewick 2005-2009)(12+), comprise THE NAMING, THE RIDDLE, THE CROW, and THE SINGING. Framed around the conceit of lost (and recently translated) archaeological writings, THE BOOKS OF PELLINOR have an unusual freshness and depth. Appendices at the end of each volume (not unlike those at the end of LORD OF THE RINGS), provide additional background and layers.
In THE NAMING, Croggon introduces us to orphaned sister and brother Maerad and Hem, who, unbeknownst to them, are the last survivors of the sacking of the bardic school of Pellinor; and at least one of them may be destined to save Edil-Amarandh from the Unnamed One.
THE RIDDLE follows Maerad and the bard Cadvan to the north, where they seek the solution to the riddle of the Treesong, sundered long ago and at the root of many of their difficulties. In the meantime, Hem travels with the bard Saliman to the city of Turbansk, soon to be facing the armies of Dark.
In THE CROW, Hem and Saliman withstand the siege and fall of Turbansk, and discover that Hem's role in the defeat of the Unnamed One may be larger than any had suspected.
THE SINGING, the final volume in the series, follows Maerad, Cadvan, and Hem as they seek to find one another and re-join the Split Song, in the midst of civil war and as the Unnamed One grows stronger.
In THE BOOKS OF PELLINOR, Croggon has created a truly epic and compelling adventure in a richly-textured and believable world. Highly recommended.