(Cover picture courtesy of MuggleNet.)
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 dark forces they battle stem from the deepest recesses of otherworldly terror.
Alison 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.
Alison Croggon is one of those writers who can create an amazing epic fantasy world using a mixture of old tropes and new ones and still makes the world seem completely unique. She has used the bards of old and some folk legends to create her version of Bards, which are unique to the Books of Pellinor. Anyone can tell from the Appendices at the end of the book that she put tremendous effort into her world-building and it really shows as Maerad and Cadvan travel throughout Edil-Amarandh.
Maerad is a great character, shaped by her rather traumatic past and her present situation as a slave. Naturally, she has trouble trusting Cadvan, even though he’s the one who rescues her. Through the motherly Silvia and the help of a few others, Maerad is able to adapt to a somewhat normal life—well, as normal as the life of a Bard can get. Especially since it turns out Maerad isn’t any ordinary Bard.
Although it does follow your typical fantasy plot, The Naming is an amazing book. Maerad, Cadvan and Silvia are all three dimensional, sympathetic characters and readers will fall in love with them. The best part of Alison Croggan’s writing is her amazing world-building: because of it, I can’t wait to read the next book (The Riddle) just to see more of Edil-Amarandh.
I give this book 5/5 stars.