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The Naming: The First Book of Pellinor (Pellinor Series) Hardcover – May 10, 2005


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Australian poet Alison Croggon brings an eye for sensual detail to this heroic fantasy that follows the genre's familiar formula: A humble person is caught up in extraordinary events and led (or sent) on a journey by a wise figure, only to discover eventually that he/she is destined to save the world in an ultimate confrontation between the powers of good and evil. In this case the young person is sixteen-year-old Maedra, who is rescued from slavery by the Bard Cadvan. They share an exhausting journey toward Innail, one of the Bard schools and strongholds that govern the land, and Maedra grows to trust Cadvan as he reluctantly reveals his magical powers in several ambushes from evil creatures. But under duress she, too, begins to discover that she has a Gift--and more. After she has learned to read, ride a horse, and handle a sword at Innail, they set out on another dangerous trek to the prestigious city of Norloch, where Cadvan hopes to consult with his mentor Nelac to confirm his conviction that Maerad is the One who was Foretold. Many other characters and creatures come into this tale, as well as mystical intimations and dreams, and lavish descriptions of landscape, food, clothes, and room furnishings. In the tradition of Tolkien, a whole history of an ancient language and culture undergirds the story, and Croggon has even provided appendices of that history, a pronunciation guide, and an invented bibliography of her sources. Die-hard fantasy fans who can forgive its slow pace will enjoy this richly imagined story and look forward to its sequel, The Riddle. (ages 12 and up) --Patty Campbell

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 7 Up–In this first volume in a projected quartet, Croggon has created a world that is both authentic and exotic, welcoming and frightening. When 16-year-old Maerad meets a man named Cadvan, she is catapulted from her life as a slave to an epic destiny. Cadvan is a Bard, one of the magically gifted Starpeople, and he begins to teach her about her own gifts and abilities. He believes her to be the prophesied One who will oppose the Nameless, the dark power working toward the destruction of the Bards and the Balance of the world. As Maerad and Cadvan travel, they join forces with Hem, a mysterious orphan, and learn that the Nameless's influence reaches far into the world of the Bards. Encounters with great mythic figures of their world and threatening evil forces add to the epic flavor of their journey. Maerad's story is presented as a translation of the great epic of a lost civilization, and explanatory appendixes add to this fantasy's realistic feel. Maerad is a strong, bold, and appealing character, and her lack of knowledge about her world provides a framework for Croggan's background explanations. Supporting characters, including the Bards and those who oppose them, are given realistic traits and flaws. While some coincidences in the plot may stretch readers' belief, they are integral to the story. Maerad seems a kindred spirit to Tamora Pierce's Alanna, and her story will find a welcoming audience among readers looking for a challenging and fully realized epic adventure.–Beth L. Meister, Pleasant View Elementary School, Franklin, WI
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 870L (What's this?)
  • Series: Pellinor Series (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; First Edition edition (May 10, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763626392
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763626396
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (122 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,267,008 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Alison Croggon writes in many genres, including criticism, theatre and prose. She is the author of the acclaimed young adult fantasy quartet, The Books of Pellinor. The first volume, The Gift, was nominated in two categories in the Aurealis Awards for Excellence in Australian Speculative Fiction in December 2002 and named one of the Notable Books of 2003 by the Children's Book Council of Australia. The US edition, The Naming, was judged a Top Ten Teen Read of 2005 by the editors of Amazon.com. Her new novel, Black Spring, is due for publication in 2012. In 2009, she was named Geraldine Pascall Critic of the Year for her theatre criticism. She is a prize winning poet, described by the Australian Book Review as "one of the most powerful lyric poets writing today."

Customer Reviews

The heroine is interesting and believable, and the other characters are also well written.
CheddarburgMom
I enjoyed the books thoroughly, and will not hesitate to recommend them to several people I know who read fantasy.
S. A. Cain
Another thing that really drew me to this book was its very well written words and sentences.
Katie-Bell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

81 of 91 people found the following review helpful By C. Flanagan on August 27, 2006
Format: Paperback
The scenario: An orphaned young protagonist is whisked away from a bleak existence by a mysteriously powerful stranger, introduced to a world of magic and intrigue in which she has by birthright a special place. In addition to her previously undiscovered, unpolished, and innumerable talents that stagger everyone with their power, she also happens to be the Fated One, named in a mysterious prophecy as the hero to bring down a terrible villain so evil he is Nameless.

Sound familiar? It should, as it's impossible to skirt around the fact that The Naming is awash in clichés that evoke shades of every popular young adult fantasy series on the shelf today. But it would be a mistake to write this one off as just another would-be Tolkien-- despite the familiarity of the plot (and yes, a few settings ripped straight from Middle Earth), this particular attempt somehow manages to rise above the ranks of fellow imitators to become the real deal.

Surprisingly well-written (despite an arsenal of adverbs that would make even J.K. Rowling blanch, she said bewilderedly), the narrative is compelling even though one has the distinct feeling they know exactly where this one is headed. It's the characters, however, that drive this one, and though they might not be terribly original, they are nuance, complex, and compelling. Maered is a genuinely fascinating heroine, plucky and sympathetic, troubled and strong. Young girls looking for an inspiring fictional role model need look no further-- this is a girl who could twist Harry Potter into a pretzel, and then make him blush while discussing her menstrual cramps. Girls age twelve and up will most likely enjoy this series immensely.
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63 of 71 people found the following review helpful By S. A. Cain on May 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Alison Croggon is obviously a writer of great talent. I was sucked into her world and held riveted. Her language is lyrical and characterization is very strong. She's obviously put a lot of thought into her world.

Unfortunately for me, some of this was overshadowed by what I felt were unfortunate influences by Tolkien. Of course everyone who writes fantasy is influenced in one way or another by Tolkien. The Hulls didn't bother me as they did another reviewer--they're very obviously human and not nearly as powerful as Ringwraiths. But Ardina's forest hold did smack strongly of Lothlorien, and Cadvan, though I loved his character deeply, was more than a little reminiscent of Aragorn. There are numerous examples of times when, in my opinion, Croggon probably wrote what felt right to her without realizing how similar it was to Tolkien.

Does this mean the book isn't worth reading? By no means. I have read the Lord of the Rings so many times I can recite parts off by memory--there are doubtless many readers who aren't as obsessed with Tolkien as I am, and I am certain that those readers will be unhindered by these similarities. I enjoyed the books thoroughly, and will not hesitate to recommend them to several people I know who read fantasy.

Admittedly, I dislike fantasy stories that purport to be about this world in a long-gone age--that's a personal bias of mine, and for that reason I chose not to read the introduction. I don't think it takes away any of the pleasure of the books. I think Alison Croggon is very talented, and obviously, as a poet, she has a strong command of language. I do wish that there were fewer similarities, but I will point out that the first book bears much more similarity to Tolkien than the second book.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By innoxious on October 30, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I am a very big Tolkein fan. The style in which Alison writes "The Naming" reminds me in many ways of Tolkein. The Speech is spelt and sounds a lot like the Elven languages in Lord of the Rings, as well as all the poems that tell a story (and don't necessarily rhyme) but say so much in a few words.

However, I do not like Alison's books just because they remind me of Tolkein. They books are strictly Alison. I love them because you can tell they were crafted with thought and by someone who really loves to write.

I don't believe a story like this comes often. The Pellinor series is one of those rare books that come along that you just have to tell someone about, that you just have read over again, that you just have to scribble on your calendar the date the next book comes out and that you feel like you'd just go to pieces if you didn't have the books in your posession.

The imagery is fantastic, yet leaves so much for our imaginations to run. The story is timeless, yet it's one we've never heard before. The characters are endearing, no matter how brooding or tempered they are. The world it is set in is strange and so different from our own, but it feels like home.

I love this book simply because it gave me back the joy of reading and that elation that comes with being part of a wonderful story.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Katie-Bell on August 21, 2007
Format: Paperback
I didn't expect what I would get out of this book when I first picked it up. When I started reading it, from start to finish, I was entranced in a world of fantasy. I will agree, there are some things about it that will turn some people away, which is understandible if you don't like how some books relate to others. For one, I immediately thought of the The Lord of the Rings. I don't think, however, that the characters or plot derived from the Lord of the Rings books. I honestly just think that it was written in a Tolkien fashion, as it was quoted by Tamora Pierce on the cover. But I think that some people will either like it or not like it because of that reason. Another thing that really drew me to this book was its very well written words and sentences. Because of its neatness and non-modern way of talking, the book had a very serious atmosphere. I wouldn't think that I would love reading about descriptions of landscapes in a book so much. I usually don't care too much for that. But in The Naming the author describes everything beautifully. If you don't exactly like detailed descriptions in fantasy books, I'd say give this one a try anyway. If you don't like it I understand. I was kind of surprised myself that I liked it so much. I felt like, by the end of the book, that I knew the characters that I had been journeying with throughout, which is a very good thing and sometimes for hard for authors to do. The central theme is, of course, good vs. evil. But I think that it goes a bit farther than even that. I think that, in the end, as it leaves it open for a second book, that Myraed will need to choose between that theme. I really don't have anything negative to say about this book. Myraed is very different from any other female heroine I've read about in books.Read more ›
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