Thursday, March 24, 2011
Review: The Naming by Alison Croggon
by Alison Croggon
4 of 5 stars
Maerad is a slave in a desperate and unforgiving settlement, taken there as a child when her family is destroyed in war. She doesn't yet know she has inherited a powerful gift, one that marks her as a member of the noble School of Pellinor and enables her to see the world as no other can. It is only when she is discovered by Cadvan, one of the great Bards of Lirigon, that her true identity and extraordinary destiny unfold. Now, she and her mysterious teacher must embark on a treacherous, uncertain journey through a time and place where the forces of darkness wield an otherworldly terror. - from Goodreads
I loved the ride. It feels like it has been a while since I sank my teeth into a good epic fantasy. There was meat here. I loved the world, the history, the descriptions, and the characters. I've been reading a lot of YA (which is usually sparing on description) and found myself salivating over the passages that fully described a room, a forest, or a fight. I love the paintings the words create in my head. I was submerged in that world. The world building wasn't overdone to me. I was never overly confused, and certainly not bored. I especially loved the relationship of the two main character, the former slave girl and her inadvertent rescuer. They liked each other, usually, trusted each other, but didn't, and loved each other, but refused to show it.
Now, for the record, no one is going to hand you this book and say, "Here! You've never read anything like this!" This book is archetypal fantasy to its core. It's all there: light vs dark, endless journeys, prophesied savior, apprenticeship, magic, hidden kingdoms, ambushes, secret identities.... But it is what I love about epic fantasies. World building. Escapism. Seeing how far you can take a human character.
I am heading to the library today to pick up the next book. Can't wait.