Read The Riddle Box by G. Derek Adams Online


Agatha Christie plays Dungeons & Dragons. Our Heroes Investigate A Series of Murders. Poorly.Jonas and Rime return for their second adventure. Of course they aren't actually aware that it's the 'second' adventure, how does one categorize sequential happenings after all? Jonas would consider this at least his 11th adventure, if you count that time he fell into the pig tAgatha Christie plays Dungeons & Dragons. Our Heroes Investigate A Series of Murders. Poorly.Jonas and Rime return for their second adventure. Of course they aren't actually aware that it's the 'second' adventure, how does one categorize sequential happenings after all? Jonas would consider this at least his 11th adventure, if you count that time he fell into the pig trough. Rime refuses to distinguish between the discrete moments of death-adjacency in her life, so merely thinks of them as 'Oh, Another Thing I Have to Deal With'.Fans of the first novel, Spell/Sword, know the deal. Jonas is a squire, reasonably competent with a sword and not much else. Rime is a wild mage - unfathomably powerful,physically frail,doomed to madness, and really a pain to be around most of the time. Having narrowly escaped the brutal Hunt, the two travelers arrive at the House of the Heart-Broken Lion, an elegant manor deep in the dark woods. They interrupt a banquet and watch a play and also witness a murder. The doors are locked so one of the guests is a killer. You see where this is going, yes? Don't be so sure...there are many secrets waiting inside the Riddle Box....

Title : The Riddle Box
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780692224274
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 292 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Riddle Box Reviews

  • Robin
    2018-12-26 23:49

    I liked this book more than the first; (Spell/Sword). Here's why: The characters were better developed. The plot of this novel and frame story of the series were both fuller. For the plot there was a clear problem, the struggle to deal with the problem and then the solution. Many of the unanswered questions of the frame story were reintroduced; some answered and some still open but with more background laid out for the reader. The descriptions, allegories, similes and metaphors in this novel really stood out for me. They were sharp, well-formed and added so much humor. I felt like I had the opportunity to get know most of the characters in the book and got a deeper understanding of Rime. Jonas, however, I still visualize as a black lab with his tongue hanging out. Maybe that the Author's point, I don't know. I do know I found it hard to reconcile the author's description of Jonas then see Jonas solve mysteries like opening the metal cow. Everyone, including the author and narrator, seem to underestimate poor Jonas.I was happy that so many of the story lines left hanging in the first novel (which pissed me off) were at least partially answered in this novel. Though I still want to know how those crystals got in that cave...I thought the shift in tone from adventure to murder/mystery was a little weird, but it did still work for the most part. The shift certainly allowed for better character development and introspection than the first novel's pure action. Overall, I felt like this book should have been part of another longer book and the days spent at the House of the Heart-Broken Lion were more like an obstacle to the larger quest rather than a stand alone novel. Meaning the sub-plot to the frame story shouldn't have been the main story of the novel, but rather a part of it, but I also prefer the epic type novel to the quickie, so this could be a personal preference. I really like the library of Rime's mind. In Spell/Sword it wasn't readily apparent that the library was a description of how Rime's 'wild magic' works until the middle part of the book. In The Riddle Box I grew to appreciate the complex allegory of the library much more. It really opened a 'window' into the character. Also, Adams' other descriptions in this book really caught my attention. They were unique and refreshing, excellent at setting tone for both the character's and the situation they were caught in. The name 'Geranium the Eruption' is vulgarly hilarious, as is the character. All through the novel the underlying irreverent humor of the narrator works well to offset how seriously Rime takes herself and the overall seriousness of the situation.I really enjoyed this book, want to read more of the series and will be looking for the next book Asteroid Made of Dragons.

  • Christopher
    2019-01-22 00:52

    Full disclosure: G. Derek Adams is a personal friend. With that in mind…Adams' follow up to Spell/Sword is fantastic, almost completely self-contained adventure in which his protagonists Jonas and Rime find themselves solving a Sherlockian murder mystery. I was delighted by his world-building in Spell/Sword and a wee bit concerned I’d struggle with the blend of mystery and fantasy. (I’m a dyed in the wool, speculative fiction guy and mysteries aren’t normally something I gravitate to.) However, Adams' excellent characters (Oh Geranium, you saucy bard), dialogue, and yes, mystery left me not only intrigued throughout but also craving more adventures of our hero and heroine. This is a page-turner! There’s a lot to love for both mystery and fantasy fans. Adams' style of writing and humor reminds me greatly of some of my favorite genre writers, Robert Asprin and Terry Prachett. At times with more depth and seriousness but more often than not, nailing some wonderful laugh-out-loud dialogue. With his second novel, Adams' writing feels more knowing in it’s application of both humor and intrigue. It’s an exciting progression as a fan of his work to see! The self-contained nature of the story gives Adams a brilliant opportunity to flesh out both Jonas and Rime. It also hints at the outside world and lives of the new characters in quite an ingenious way. A neat and I suspect intentional trick, I found myself both enjoying the single setting and craving more stories and characters outside of it. I would easily recommend this to not simply fans of fantasy but equally those of mystery novels. Folks who’ve read the first book will be very pleased with the new adventure and will be treated to some excellent surprises near the end of the novel. As long as Adams writes the adventures of Rime and Jonas, I’m along for the ride! Bring forth the Asteroid Made of Dragons!

  • Eric Wagoner
    2018-12-28 22:56

    There were many things to love about this book. Adams explores fantasy tropes in a novel, thoughtful, and entertaining way. The book takes place in a high fantasy world, with magic and elves and sweeping history and landscape and somehow Adams immerses us in all this while telling a story where not much actually happens. Sure, a good portion of the cast of characters don't make it to the end of the book, but compared to most fantasy epics that people walk a lot over the course of months or years, the characters here are all locked into one house and the events unfold in a matter of hours.This lets Adams focus on the characters, and what marvelous characters they are. Even most of the the minor characters were people worth getting to know, and I relished learning about them. Throughout the book, Adams provided little mini-chapters focused on characters who got short shift by the events of the story, and I loved that.This is the second book set in the world, with the same two main characters. However, they are standalone stories that reference each other but do not depend on each other. The first book, Spell/Sword, showed us this world in a rush, whizzing by car-chase style. This book had time to slow down and tell us more, and did so in a way that didn't become mired in exposition or seem like an encyclopedia. I'm really looking forward to seeing what the third book will bring.

  • Dave
    2019-01-09 01:51

    The second installment of the Rime/Jonas book is a huge leap forward for the author. I found the writing much tighter, the characters more fully developed, and in all ways this book improved on the first. I'm tickled pink to discover that the book by the author I supported on is the third in the series, and I'm totally bummed I have to wait four months to pick it up. Great job, Derek!

  • Kristen
    2019-01-07 06:08

    This is the second book in the Spell/Sword series, and is basically a more or less self contained murder mystery after the events of the first book. I REALLY enjoyed the story, and felt like I got to know Jonas and Rime a lot more, and became more interested in following their adventures. I also felt like the author was more comfortable in the world, and because there was a little less world building to do (but still enough to keep my intrigued), I could relax a little and get a little more lost in the adventure. I still have a lot of questions, but I feel like we are getting answers and I'm looking forward to the third book.As I mentioned in my previous review of Spell/Sword book 1, I highly recommend reading both of these books together. I felt this second book had a much more even flow, and clearly the author continues to improve in his craft. It was an excellent weekend read curled up on the couch with some tea and a blanket!

  • G. Derek Adams
    2019-01-09 04:06

    Yes - book is out! In both Paperback and Kindle. Now let me know what you think!

  • Christopher
    2019-01-06 02:55

    Much better than the first book, and I can forgive the author from the problems/plot points of the first book being in the third still as this is kind of a .5 sequel in that it's more of a side story. We figure out some more about Jonas and Rime (the constant "My Name is Jonas" refrains notwithstanding) and that was interesting, but we also ran into the Gray Witch again and she didn't say anything that we didn't already know. The author says he has ideas for books 4 and 5 and that this isn't a trilogy so I'm interested in reading more. I know that's an amazing about-face from the first book but it's actually the non-trilogy aspect of it that makes it 'better' for me. As long as everyone gets some face time - I really want to know what's up with Linus - I think this will be an enjoyable trip.

  • WarBiscuit
    2018-12-28 23:15

    A wonderful followup to his first book. Great mix of mystery and fantasy setting, replete with meta-jokes about the genre. The writing has definitely expanded - deeper characterization, and a great creepy murder-mystery atmosphere. The interstitial backstory chapters were wonderfully placed, managing to expand the world without interrupting the immediacy of the main story.

  • Tyrannosaurus regina
    2018-12-29 03:06

    Stronger than the first book in the series, particularly in the pacing and characterisation, which gives me high hopes for the third. There's still some tonal whiplash, but combining a fantasy story with a locked room mystery goes a long way for me.

  • Patrick
    2019-01-24 06:08

    I thought this was the third book in the series, but it turned out to be the second book. The third book is stronger than this one (indicating the writing is improving), but this is worth reading. I recommend this book for readers interested in Fantasy with a modicum of Science Fiction.

  • Ryan Boros
    2019-01-13 04:10

    A fantasy locked room mysteryClever writing, great characters, interesting worldProbably my favorite new series at this point

  • Phillip Bost
    2019-01-02 02:11

    Really enjoyed this book!Even better than the first in the series. Now that the protagonists have been developed, they're free to get into some interesting (and unpredictable) situations.Looking forward to the next episode.

  • Siobhan Armstrong
    2019-01-18 04:07

    A vast improvement on it's predecessor, The Riddle Box does not suffer from the same lack of characterization, plot, and pacing as Spell/Sword. However, there is still much room for improvement. I can't expect a Tolkien or a Douglas Adams every time I pick up a novel, and it eas enjoyable for what it was.

  • Brent Thomas
    2019-01-05 03:14

    As I said when I reviewed Spell/Sword this author and I go way back. Boon companions and all that. Just so you know. I'm going to try and not let that color my review. And to convince you I'll soon get to the three things that I have a gripe with. But first:Synopsis: Rime and Jonas, our protagonists, find their way into a castle just in time for there to be a murder. Then they try and solve the mystery. That's basically the plot.Analysis: As I said I want to start out with the three things that I have a gripe with. I am going to be spoiler free. But beware!Gripe 1: The final battle. Or actually the final solution to that battle. It just felt too quick. To be fair the thirty-plus pages leading up to that final moment and the direct follow up was fantastic. It melded genres beautifully. I'm talking murder mystery, fantasy, and even some cyberpunk vibes (but Adams calls his wares Swordpunk, so there you go.) But the culmination felt a little quick, let there was good tension to milk but he elected to let it go unmilked. Don't get me wrong, it is still a very rewarding ending. But it was a touch too quick for my tastes.Gripe 2: There is a chapter or two just after the beginning that serve as "setting the stage chapters." These pages drag when compared to the rather quick pace of the rest of the book. Their are a lot of introductions in quick succession without that much character work being done. Great character work comes later and the pace returns to normal, but at first it is just different colored silhouettes.Gripe 3: This, and Spell/Sword before it, is formatted in block paragraphs. Much like this review. It is such a small thing, but I do wish it was in more standard novel format. This is more to do with personal preference rather than actual quality, but block paragraphs make me think of internet articles not novel. There I said it.Those are basically my gripes about my friend's book. So believe me when I say that what is left is pretty awesome. Adams does a great job with his characters and also in presenting fantasy situations in their least pretentious way. This is a fun, fun read with a lot of those trappings drizzled on (schools of magic, lost civilizations, multiple races and cultures) but he does so in a more naturalistic and fun way than I see in a lot of books that veer more to purple prose. Which, has its time and place, but it is rewarding to read about characters that do feel more modern. And don't confuse modern for too-cool, snide or just winking at the audience, that doesn't happen here even if the characters can be genre aware. Because what makes a lot of this work is that it is a murder mystery where the characters (or maybe just Rime) are genre aware that they are in a murder mystery. Not that this necessarily helps the characters but it does add a nice level and it certainly rings true to Rime's love of books. Also, that this is a fantasy novel through and through adds a nice dimension to the traditional detective story. Have there been many other fantasy murder mysteries? I feel there must be, but I can't think of any.All in all this is a great follow up. It might not move ahead the over-arching story, but it gives us great characterization of the main two as well as the supporting characters. It also supplies clues to Jonas' past and while making Rime more and more likable. It is a slight detour that fills in many holes along the way. This combined with Adams ability to turn a phrase and just the rhythm of his writing makes it a very satisfying read.This is a self-published novel and as far as I know it is only available on Amazon both as a paperback and as an ebook for the kindle. If you like mysteries, pick it up. If you like fantasy, pick it up. It you kind of like fantasy but are tired of uber-heavy, end-of-everything tomes, the certainly pick it up. Although it is a sequel, you might not need to read Spell/Sword to follow what goes on, but it will be more rewarding if you do, so pick that up as well.

  • Chris Carey
    2018-12-24 22:50

    The Riddle Box is a really interesting sequel. Whereas Spell/Sword (Book 1) was zany, fast-paced fantasy story, The Riddle Box is a murder mystery. For the entirety of the story, the heroes are trapped in a mansion and working to solve the mystery. It wasn't what I expected, but it still managed to exceed expectations - mostly due to the strength of the characterization. Rime and Jonas are every bit as lovable in this book. The humor, again, is really great. And the mystery is good too - I'm usually pretty adept at solving mysteries before they unravel, but author G. Derek Adams crafted a really good one that kept me guessing until the end.The only thing I was disappointed in was the lack of villainy and battles. The genre shift in The Riddle Box really makes the absence of those things (which were stellar in Spell/Sword) missed. And yet, The Riddle Box ends with an epilogue that was so good I'm surprised I'm taking the time to write this review and not immediately diving into Book 3 (Asteroid Made of Dragons). Seriously, what a great ending!

  • Tyler Hill
    2019-01-14 03:01

    I wish I could rate this book 6 stars, because Spell/Sword was amazing and this one was even better. G. Derek Adams somehow takes the same characters from the previous book who had just finished a land-spanning fantasy adventure, sticks them in the same house for 250 pages and manages to craft a delightful murder-mystery in the process. A curiosity about Rime from the first novel - her tendency to retreat into an eidetic-memory fueled headspace - becomes a magnificent tool for her investigation of a murder in the House of the Heart-Broken Lion. As she drives the novel forward, we also begin to discover more things about Jonas, who we learn may have an even more mysterious past than our Wild Mage. The slow reveal of the pasts of the main character creates an over-arching suspense, which connects and fuels the shorter-term mystery of each novel.The main reason I loved this book, however, was the descriptive language. Spell/sword was an entertaining read, but The Riddle Box transcends good writing and reaches Rothfuss-level emotional attachment to the printed text. There are a few specific chapters in the novel (view spoiler)[the 'eulogies' after each victim's body is found (hide spoiler)] that after reading, I had to put the book down because my heart was pounding so heard. It's absolutely excellent, the kind of literary talent that deserves awards and honors. I cannot wait to read Asteroid Made of Dragons, the next book in the series, I have extremely high hopes.6/5 stars, highly, highly recommend the book, author, and series.

  • Rebecca
    2019-01-11 01:58

    A great second book about Jonah and Rime, with all the strengths of the first: wonderfully snarky conversation, likably flawed characters, and a world that only gets more interesting as more of its background is revealed. The author obviously has a gift for characterization, and though he makes use of cliches and stereotypes, he and the characters never fall prey to them, each having their own twist that makes them interesting and new. The "princess" in the book has good ideas and is not the girl-to-be-gotten. The foppish bard can more than defend himself and holds a secret that is never even revealed while he's alive. The author obviously has thought about all his characters immensely, such that even the murder victims get chapters about their characterization AFTER they are dead (a technique I've never seen before but which I quite liked, as each of their stories were well worth reading).The only con I'd give is what another reviewer has mentioned: the ending feels weak. It's ok. It's serviceable. But like the last book, it is simple and merely comes about as the main characters Trying Harder and somehow that Trying Harder was able to beat the Incomprehensible Thing of Immense But Obviously Not Too Immense Power that was arrayed against them. I know that most books' endings are merely the way they are because the author decided that at a crucial moment the heroes' efforts should be good enough, but I feel like it needs to be a little more hard-won than it's been for Jonah and Rime so far.But, great read, highly recommended. Can't wait for the next book (which is Asteroid Made of Dragons, and pre-orderable via Inkshares, by the way.)

  • Andy Coleman
    2019-01-22 21:53

    A SIMPLE MAN'S REVIEW:Jonas and Rime are on their way - somewhere - and decide to stop at a castle. But they are soon waist-deep in a mystery involving murder and magic. But here's the thing...I was hoping for more backstory on our traveling duo. We still don't know why Jonas is on the run and even less about the wild mage. This story almost touches on it, but then quickly diverges. It does, however, give us some insight into the first civilization that built all the cool technology.I really want to like this series, but I need more from the author. The stories are fine and the characters are entertainingly quirky, but I need depth. Two books in and I still don't know why Jonas is running (his side of it)? Rime has to have a story as to why she is such a beast at times. And what does the witch have to do with all this?I get that hiding information might encourage people to pick up the next book in hopes of learning more, but just as often, I think people fail to get engaged in the first place. Why do I care about these two and their quest? What the hell is their quest? Honestly, I don't know if I'm going to continue with this series. I don't think about the characters once I've finished the books as I often do with other good stories. I'm just not that invested. Quirky is fun, but quirky with depth in memorable.

  • Tim Mcleod
    2018-12-26 01:05

    Characters. This guy is so good at building interesting characters. I burned through the book in two days. There's something about they way each is described that makes you want an entire story for each of them. The world(s) he hints at are tantalizing as well. I'd love to see a more fleshed out description of Aufero and its history.You can also see an improvement in Adams's writing from this sophomore effort- descriptions are less cumbersome, but could still benefit from a little fat trimming (I have an idea of what a "cucumber nightgown" is intended to be, but it comes off as humorous rather than artful). That being said, I'm currently reading a New York Times bestseller which should have been a simple obituary rather than a maudlin "memoir". Adams writes rings around that schlock. If he can bite off a little style from Flannery or Cormac and tighten up his language, this series will sing out.

  • Matthew
    2019-01-05 00:56

    There is just something about G. Derek Adams and the way that he writes. You will so often see people describe a book as being unpredictable, but let's be honest, we tend to still know how it's going to end. Not the case here. I can't put my finger on it, but Adams writes a book where all the typical actions of characters just aren't there. If there is a true unexpected way out of a scenario, he will write it that way. The novel is just something completely new.Anyway, this book expands on the oddball world that we were introduced to in Spell/Sword. Instead of more of the same getting chased across the kingdom shenanigans, Rime and Jonas are instead stuck in a mansion where a girl dies and from there it becomes a great homage to Agatha Christie.The book is witty and fun and worth a read. If you liked the first book, I recommend this one. If you didn't read the first book and want a fantasy-esque scifi-esque book, pick the series up.

  • Nicole
    2018-12-28 23:54

    Here's a thing most people don't know about me: I HATE Mystery novels. Seriously, I loathe the genre. I find them tedious at best and trite at worst. Which is why I am pleasantly confused by The Riddle Box. It's a Mystery novel, yes, but with a delicious core of Grade-A Surprise Science-Fantasy Plot Twist. Having read the first novel in the series, Spell/Sword, I thought I knew what to expect, but I was WONDERFULLY WRONG. There was a point in the middle of the book where I actually forgot I was reading The Riddle Box because it read so perfectly like something LeGuin might have written for her Hainish Cycle books. Add to that an actually terrifying antagonist and what may or may not be an extended metaphor for mental health issues, and you've got one hell of a book. Kudos -- I can't wait for Book 3!

  • Mckenzie Richardson
    2019-01-12 01:13

    I received this book from Goodreads in exchange for an honest review.This was a very interesting book. This is the first of the series that I have read, but from what I can tell it is not absolutely necessary th read the first book (although based on this one I would like to go back and read it). I think the summary of this book is quite accurate: "Agatha Christie plays Dungeons and Dragons. Our Heroes Investigate A Series of Murders. Poorly." I loved the genre mashup and the crazy twisted plotlines. It's a story that keeps you guessing ask the way to the end.I really enjoyed Rime's character. As a mage discovering her full powers and the main crime solver in the story, she was an intriguing character.

  • Cheryl
    2019-01-03 03:12

    Lady Rime and the squire Jonas arrive at the castle Heart Broken Lion during storm. They join the household and other guest watching a ;lay, and finding on of the actors somehow murdered on stage. Rime is determined to solve the murder quickly so they can leave the castle at dawn before the Regiment arrives to arrest someone. But is she over her head when the other guest are being murdered or going mad. This was a Goodreads first read.

  • Steph Schleicher
    2018-12-30 02:04

    The murder mystery format of this book did not particularly work for me, likely because I'm not a huge fan of that genre. While there are a few insights to the world, there wasn't much in the way of character development. It was entertaining, and I like Rime and Jonas enough that I stuck around to the end. However, this felt more like an interlude for me than a progression of the larger story.

  • Drew Wheeler
    2019-01-10 23:46

    I would still laud this book even if I didn't know the author. Sadly, if I didn't know him, I probably would have missed out on both of his terrific novels. This fantasy murder mystery is an outstanding follow-up to the wonderful Spell/Sword. Be sure to read both.

  • Bob Belcher
    2019-01-03 22:15


  • MJ
    2019-01-16 22:52

    Through a mistake I'm also half way through this one and didn't want to forget to note it here. I wonder if Derek Adams needs an elderly groupie?

  • Sherry Vaughan
    2018-12-24 22:09

    Not as good as the first book.