Saturday, April 21, 2012

Librarian's Pick of the Week: The Naming

Title: The Naming
Author: Allison Croggan
Genre: Fantasy
Published: 2005
Age: 13+

Synopsis: In the classic spirit of epic fantasy comes this glittering saga of a young girl who learns she possesses an uncanny gift - and is destined to use it to save her world from a terrifying evil. 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. The first book in a projected quartet, Alison Croggon's epic about Maerad and her remarkable yet dangerous gift is a beautiful, unforgettable tale. Presented as a new translation of an ancient text, The Naming evokes the rich and complex landscape of Annar, a legendary world just waiting to be discovered. Sequels are The Riddle, The Crow, and The Singing.

Review: A mysterious stranger comes to the miserable mountain outpost where Maerad is a slave and offers to help her escape. She leaves and finds herself in great peril. The adventures that follow revolve around Maerad's true name and her extraordinary magical powers; prophetic signs point to Maerad as the one who will defeat the Nameless One. As Maerad travels, finding allies and confronting enemies, she discovers her heritage, recovers certain memories, and endeavors to use her powers to help her newfound friends. Most writers of high fantasy are indebted to Tolkien in one way or another, but few incorporate so many elements of his writing and his secondary world into their own: verse within the story; invented history as back matter; and the Nameless One or Dark power, long ago defeated, who rises again to threaten civilization. There are, of course, differences in Croggon's handling of these elements, as well as her choice of a female protagonist. An Australian poet, she makes good use of imagery in her writing. Despite the derivative elements, many fantasy fans will look forward to following Maerad's adventures in the next volumes of this fantasy quartet. -Booklist

If you're intrigued, don't forget to check our library's catalog for this book!


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