06 May 2011

The Naming by Alison Croggon - NR

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.

* NR = Not Rated:  Because I have not finished this book, I cannot judge it in its entirety and will not give it a rating.

(Please note that this is a bit of an informal review and also a very short one.)

First thing’s first: Alison Croggon is a fantastic writer.  She’s got a vivid taste for describing things.  She knows how to bring to life a scene.  Everything about Gilman’s Cot was nerve-rackingly real.  The third-person omniscient point of view works well for the story—not as erratic in changing from character to character as say, John Flanagan (Ranger’s Apprentice: Ruins of Gorlan) but her writing doesn’t take on the quick consistency of action while still maintaining form like say, Christopher Paolini (Eragon).

So there is my point: lack of action.  The book is incredibly slow.  While the writing maintains this for the first hundred pages, it begins to slack when it reaches the point that you expect action to happen.  For things to start picking up and the plot to start becoming tenser and suspenseful.  

I really enjoyed the world that she’s creating and there are some truly hilarious scenes as well as some exciting ones, but once I got to two hundred pages and nothing was really happening, I lost motivation to read it.  So after that point, the glamour of the writing sort of wore off.  Instead, it began to drag me down and I began to skim over whole (very long) paragraphs.

So this is not to say I won’t pick this book up again.  But it will be only when I want some sustenance for some really good writing.  I could really take a note on Alison Croggon’s style, but I’d lend it more towards action then description of the countryside and the development of the history of the Schools.

The plot is very promising and it was the hunger to find out what happened in the end that drove me forward, but really, the lack of action bogged me down, so I’m leaving Myraed and Cadvan for another time.

Book Info:
  • pages – paperback, 466 (not including the indexes)
  • published –
    • US – March 2006
    • AUS – September 2001
  • publisher – Candlewick Press
  • genre – fantasy
  • series – Books of Pellinor
    • The Naming
    • The Riddle
    • The Crow
    • The Singing
  • progress – 207/466 pages