Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Review: The Naming by Alison Croggon

Book: The Naming by Alison Croggon
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: A-
For: Read along
From: Paperback Swap

It seems like I heard about this one quite awhile back from a friend on Goodreads. So I decided I wanted to read it and began to accumulate all the books of the series (I think I'm actually still missing #4) but still I didn't get to them. Finally, a month or so ago, Danielle from There's a Book decided to do a little contest and read along, which of course I decide to jump into.... because you know, I haven't jumped into enough things already or anything.

However, I'm thinking the timing was just not right for this book, for me, simply because I just finished that huge Shadow Rising major fantasy story, and maybe I just needed a break from the fantasy thing for a bit. And since that one was so enjoyable for me, I had a hard time not comparing.

That's not to say I didn't enjoy it, just not as much as I expected to. 

It's a familiar plot. There's girl who begins the book as a slave, but then is rescued by a mysterious man who tells her she is actually a powerful Bard (which I understand to be the same thing as a sorcerer.) And then they are off on a journey to, I'm not sure what, to save the world! 

Oh man that was a cynical summary!

I really enjoyed the richness of the writing, the descriptions and the weaving of words. I'm still not totally invested in the characters though I think I will get that way quite soon, and I found my attention wandering during some of the back history and world explaining parts.

Of course my favorite part of this story so far is the dark and mysterious man! Yes, he has a story that was touched on, but not very much delved into. I look forward to getting to know him better and to see what becomes of him and his new charge.

Here's a few questions that were put up for discussion as part of the read along:

What did you think about the introduction to the book and the possibility of its basis in reality?
I guess my book doesn't have an introduction, because I don't know at all you are talking about! I just went and looked to see if I missed something and nope, there's no introduction. There's a bunch of stuff at the end... maybe I should read that? :)

What did you think of the characters? Primarily Maerad, but also the supporting cast as well.

I  thought Maerad was great, very strong and very powerful. It did seem, though, that she figured out that whole power thing awfully quickly. I would have liked to see her struggle with understanding it all a little longer.

Was there any person in particular you cared for more than the others?

I'm very drawn to Cadvan. I think we've just seen the tip of the iceberg with him. It's going to be fun to get to know him better in subsequent books.

Having read the book, would you have made the choice Maerad did to leave Gilman’s Cot?
Oh yes, for sure! Anything would be better than staying in that awful place.

Are you surprised by Maerad’s choice to leave with Cadvan knowing where she came from?

I think she was desperate to get out no matter the way. I think she felt drawn to him from the first and felt quite willing to leave with him. 

If you’ve read The Lord of the Rings Trilogy in part or in it’s entirety did you draw any similarities?
 Yes, there are lots of simliarities, with both Lord of the Rings and the Wheel of Time that I'm currently reading.It makes you wonder how much authors all influence each other. I'm sure it's just something that happens. But the self isolated city in the forest reminded me of Rivendale, the elf city from Lord of the Rings. Of course, that story has no Maerad counter  part, but Cadvan is a bit like a mixture of Gandolf and Aragorn.

 The Naming is primarily a fantasy novel, how would you compare it to other popular fantasy novels out currently and to which ones?

It's basically a main stream epic high fantasy type and follows the pattern very closely for that type of book. However, urban fantasy is very popular right now, and this is nothing like those.

What aspects of Allison Croggon’s writing did you enjoy the most or least?

Very rich description, a lot of depth. I really enjoyed it for the most part. Very beautiful writing.

Bottom line: I enjoyed it, despite its few slow moments.

Other Reviews:
There's a Book
The Elliott Review
Bird Brain(ed) Book Blog


  1. I just had a student review this book for my Popular Fiction class! How funny. :) It must be getting some buzz for me to see it twice in one week.

  2. I have yet to participate in a read along, but think I would enjoy it. I definitely enjoyed reading about this one. Enjoy the rest of this series!

  3. I've had this on my TBR pile for a while now, but I don't think that I realized it was a pigboy parable. Not that I've got a problem with pigboy parables in general (I love Wheel of Time, and Rand is pretty much a quintessential pigboy, except sheep instead of pigs), but I do have to be in the right mood for them. I'll be interested to see how the rest of the series goes for you!

  4. I finally have the Maze Runner...it is sitting on the piano awaiting its reading turn. I did not read this post in full, but enough to know that you think this book was a page-turner. That is good to know.

  5. Very weird that this last comment of mine wound up under this post when I know that I was commenting under Scorch Trials. I did not even have The Naming post open. Weird.

    Anyway...I think I may enjoy this book but based on what you had to say...I do believe that I shall wait to start this series until I am done with WoT or...maybe when I take a WoT break because I do have what...something like 10 more WoT books to read. ::sigh:: :)



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