I admit, I kind of judged a book by its cover with this one The cover art was pretty and the spine design was also pretty The blurb on the back cover made the book sound intriguing and I went home and read reviews The reviews for this book were mostly positive, so I thought, Hey, why not POTENTIAL SPOILERS READ AT OWN RISK.In a word, this book is boring So extremely slow going The book clocks in at nearly 500 pages While fantasy is known for its longer books, I ve read some books where the 500 page length is pulled off well and seems justified But at least 50 or so pages could have been cut without losing any essential plot Too many unnecessary scenes and details We are treated to a description of nearly every landscape the characters come across We learn about many different traditions different cultures had While it helped with the world building and created a storng fictional world, I think some of this information could have been conveyed without an info dump As an extra bonus, readers also get a scene describing Maerad s first period Fun.The characters weren t very interesting Maerad was okay at first, but she quickly became a cliche Chosen One She was also very whiny Yes, she s sixteen, but she became annoyingly whiny.Cadvan seemed like a typical Gandalf Obi Wan Dumbledore mentor While not unlikable or annoying like Maerad, he simply didn t feel original or interesting.I liked Hem s character While his whole view spoiler being related to Maerad thing hide spoiler A great read, I thoroughly enjoyed it and have gone straight onto Book 2 in the series.A tale of a young woman rescued from slavery, who is found to be someone special with hidden talents Her rescuer helps her find out who she is and to develop her skills and talents Their journey is arduous, thrilling and fraught with danger at times A thrilling magical fantasy story and a great start to the series. Maerad Is A Slave In A Desperate And Unforgiving Settlement, Taken There As A Child After Her Family Is Destroyed In War She Is Unaware That She Possesses A Powerful Gift, One That Marks Her As A Member Of The School Of Pellinor It Is Only When She Is Discovered By Cadvan, One Of The Great Bards Of Lirigon, That Her True Heritage And Extraordinary Destiny Unfold Now She And Her New Teacher Must Survive A Journey Through A Time And Place Where The Forces They Battle Stem From The Deepest Recesses Of Otherworldly TerrorAlison Croggon S Epic Fantasy, The First In The Books Of Pellinor Quartet, Is A Glittering Saga Steeped In The Rich And Complex Landscape Of Annar, A Legendary World Ripe For Discovery If it weren t so good, I would say this book is a mixture of every other fantasy book on the block Test can you match each plot line with another famous work The chosen one is raised in a secluded farm, identity hiddenThe girl was trained in musicianship by the local bard, and her prodigious talent allows her to be named as a bard when she finally arrives at the schoolWhile travelling together, the neophyte receives instruction from a famous bard with a slightly sinister pastUnderstanding the words of the ancient speech are crucialThe evil black riders, each a hull of a person turned to the dark side, pursue the travelersThey receive hospitality from a beautiful but immortal queen who rules over a hidden nationWhen they finally arrive at the great city, which is a fortress built in nine circles, they are shocked to find evil has penetrated to its heartCroggan has potential as a fantasy writer but she needs to invent her own plot lines I truly loved reading this book, and I re read it constantly The plot is teased out through out the book in an expert manner with characters that are believable and loveable With so many twists and revelations it would be easy for a lesser writer to waver, and yet The Naming or The Gift as I know it in the UK is an amazing work of fiction which captures my imagination and heart every time I read it A once slave is liberated from her morbid life and thrown head first into a battle between good and evil, yet the author does not fall into the trap of then portraying her characters as either wholly black or white, but there are many grey areas in between The world where this epic takes place is a land where magic resides in Bards, a musical bunch of magicians essentially, which gives the story a different side which is both refreshing and timeless The plot unfolds at just the right pace, allowing for everything to happen without everything happening at once, which shows true skill.Overall this book is a gem, and has pride of place on my bookshelf, along with a few others I can t imagine ever being bored of reading this book, as it is just too good to only read once This book is very slow paced Most of it is a travel log of the scenery, and the level of detail is much than is needed Any potential tension is completely lost in these sections.I didn t feel like I knew or understood the world very well by the end We re told a great deal about the landscape, a bunch of intricate but insignificant objects furniture, etc , and some ancient history, but very little about the current history and politics which are supposedly driving the character s actions Note Some of this information is included in the 21 page Appendices, but I didn t read them The characters were not uninteresting, but the reader is kept at a distance from the main characters and their secrets until the end Then, they get interesting Unfortunately, I m not willing to slog through the over descriptions again since the next book appears to also be mostly a travel log on the hope the characters will stay interesting.On the positive side, there was no sex or cussing All that said, if you like slow, fat books, then you probably will enjoy this book. I LOVED these books If I could give them 10 stars, I would The writing was BEAUTIFUL I have never felt so at home in a book before as I felt in these Rich, vibrant descriptions and characters and amazing story The Naming is a traditional style fantasy with many familiar fantasy elements that are regardless fresh to my mind , although others might not think so This is an epic tale of the sort that made me love fantasy in the first place, and I can t say I mind the nostalgia for classic fantasy that this familiarity evokes In many ways it did remind me of the LOTR in the formal tone of the language, the songs, the descriptions of nature particularly woods , the mood that presses in on you from the memories of the land itself, the rising conflict between Light and Dark, the travels through often hostile countryside, and the havens full of light and wonder that break up the danger and darkness of the journey.These are all aspects of the LOTR that I love, and while reading The Naming, I relished that feeling which I have found is rare in other fantasy Actually, I can t really think of anything that has so pleasantly reminded me of Tolkien s work in tone and description before I especially love the juxtaposition of light and darkness throughout the book danger, injury, and low spirits are contrasted with the growth of new friendship, the opportunity to rest, eat and bathe, and to take in some of the beauty of the world I quickly grow tired of fantasy that focuses mainly on the dark Here we also have light, and not just a sliver of it All of that said, this is enough its own story not to be a Tolkien ripoff The feeling and tone is there, but the plot itself is completely different First of all, the story focuses on a girl, and the storytelling also feels personal, dealing with her emotions and internal struggles It starts out with Maerad, a slave girl, who is discovered and rescued by a bard, Cadvan bards are mages The rest of the book reveals who she is, and why the Dark and the Light care who she is It deals with her struggles to find her sense of self when everything she knows has been completely turned upside down She must learn to read, to fight, to trust, to discern whom not to trust, and to control the magic that she s not even aware she has The only constant in her life is her music.In the midst of Maerad s attempts to adjust to a new life, the Dark is already ahead of her and all around her, attempting to stop her before she realizes her power and finds her purpose She is protected and guided by Cadvan, who is also trying to figure out who she really is before it s too late There are prophecies, dreams, and visions There is a sense of urgency, of time running out There is betrayal, and there is loyalty It s a lot of fun to read In short, I loved it, and I ve already started the second book. I really enjoyed this book, and I look forward to reading the next book It is a fairly standard fantasy story orphan is rescued from a horrible life and is found to be the holder of great power and the possible savior of the nation world There are bad guys and treachery and so on It is a bit uneven in places and there is a bit repetition that I would like, but otherwise quite good.My biggest quibble is not with the book but with the many reviewers, here and elsewhere, who compare it to The Lord of the Rings series Apart from the dark big bad, the plot has very little in common with LOTR The main character is a GIRL for one thing, a creature that is very rare in Tolkien Yes, the author has made up a language and a history, with appendices, for her book and country, but this is not exclusive to Tolkien There are no Hobbit like creatures, no ring of power, etc, etc Heck, there are not many modern fantasy writers who DON T have elements of Tolkien in them, and many who create whole worlds I think it does the author a disservice really, and doesn t let the book s own merits shine And I see far traces of other authors, like Garth Nix and Kate Constable to name a couple, than I do of Tolkien. The Pellinor Series 5.5 10 The Naming Book One I found Alison s writing to be rather obvious, full of clich s, and on the whole unsatisfying When one of the main protagonists almost died, I found myself indifferent as the main characters were of a relatively uninteresting sort Her analogies were overused e.g., eyes as wide as saucers The conversations seem contrived, and the emotional state of being of her protagonists are volatile and explicitly stated rather then revealed by the characters actions.I think the book is geared towards a younger audience as I imagine a 13 year old girl might enjoy the book and better connect with things like her repeated references to a the newly discovered woes of a woman s menstrual cycleHer invented language of the Speech is a fairly un original magic system , and while she may have gone through some effort to develop that language, I don t care or appreciate it Overall, the book was a bit formulaic and slow, although not bad.
alisoncroggon.comHer most recent book is Fleshers, the first in a dazzling new SF series co written with her husband, acclaimed playwright Daniel Keene Her latest Pellinor book, The Bone Queen, was a 2016 Aurealis Awards Best Young Adult Book finalist Other fantasy titles include Black Spring shortlisted for the Young People s Writing Award in the 2014 NSW Premier s Literary Awards and The River and the Book, winner of the Wilderness Society s prize for Environmental Writing for Children.She is a prize winning poet and theatre critic,, and has released seven collections of poems As a critic she was named Geraldine Pascall Critic of the Year in 2009 She also writes opera libretti, and the opera she co wrote with Iain Grandage was Vocal Choral Work of the Year in the 2015 Art Music Awards Her libretto for Mayakovsky, score by Michael Smetanin, was shortlisted in the Drama Prize for the 2015 Victorian Premier s Literary Awards She lives in Melbourne..
- 492 pages
- The Gift
- Alison Croggon
- 28 November 2019 Alison Croggon