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The Naming by Alison Croggon (Book One of The Pellinor Series)

Published by Candlewick Press

Pages: 528

Ages: Young Adult

Publishers Summary: 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.

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.


For Maerad, much of her life has been cloaked in darkness – not only mentally, but physically as well. As a slave in Gilman’s Cot she’s thought less of than the animals that provide sustenance to the owners there. She’s merely a means in which they use to avoid the “dirty work” of running a small settlement and hardly given a second thought. When an outsider suddenly appears and offers her freedom it turns out to be more than she could have hoped for and perhaps not exactly what she would have anticipated. This is because living within Maerad are the answers to an age old struggle between good and evil, light and dark. Before she knows it Maerad is on a journey she never thought possible and the holder of the destiny of an entire nation. A brilliant beginning to a fantastic series.

How would you handle knowing you carried the weight of an entire civilization on your shoulders? Now imagine you were just rescued from a life of slavery you thought you would always be bound to. Impossible, right? It’s almost exactly like that for Maerad. Even in the early stages of the book she finds it hard to believe that she is more than a mere “witch”, a girl who can knock vases over with her mind to avoid vile encounters. It’s this attitude, her humility and surprise that makes Maerad so believable. Alison Croggon knew exactly who Maerad was when writing her character. A girl with an unbelievable ability who doesn’t believe in it or is, at the very least, apprehensive about everything and everyone around herself. Though at times her apprehension grated on me, it was still absolutely in line with her character and by the end of the story I felt like Maerad was someone I knew.

Beyond the main character of Maerad lays an entire cast of characters eager to set the stage for an incredible journey. In the fore front is Cadvan, Maerad’s rescuer and greatest supporter, a Bard from the North with many of his own secrets and struggles. I was absolutely taken in with Cadvan from the very beginning, his humor and whit, he was so real to me that I thought to reach out and hold him. This was something I found in each of the characters, I either deeply cared for them or abhorred their very existence. It has everything to do with Croggon’s writing, she made each of them so very real in their description and connection to Maerad, beautiful. From Dernhil to Hem to Silvia and then of course Saliman I was drawn in and couldn’t let go.

This is by far one of my favorite novels and I’m surprised it’s taken me this long to read it. You know that feeling you get after you’ve finished a really great book? The one where you can’t stop smiling and thinking about it. The story continues on in your head long after you’ve finished because you connected to it in such an emotional way. This is exactly how I feel about this book. Generally, I’m not a gusher, I don’t mention in my reviews (too heavily) that I’ve absolutely loved a book, but this is the exception. The Naming is one of those books I would stop people in a book store or a library and offer them hoping they’d make the decision to take the plunge into this incredible world. It was just that good!

Alison Croggon’s Pellinor series is one not to be missed. Readers of fantasy, magic, paranormal and young adult genres will adore every last page of this chunk of a book series. Yes, it’s quite long, but don’t let the page count frighten you. Once you begin your journey with Maerad into the lands of Innail and Rachid and then to Norloch you won’t be able to stop until you’ve finished. A story of a brave girl rescued from a mundane life milking cows and sleeping in haystacks to a life of adventure and magic. The Naming is the beginning of a long journey no reader should miss and one I’m personally eager to continue.

The1stdaughter Recommends: Ages 10 and up. A fantasy based in ancient lore about a girl destined for greatness in far away lands. Every reader, no matter what genre you typically read, should read this series!

Make sure to stop by later today for our discussion post for The Naming and join in for the chance to win a great giveaway!

Want to know more? Take a look at The Books of Pellinor site, blog and even find the author Alison Croggon on Twitter.

This book and the prior giveaway was provided for by the publisher, Candlewick Press. Thank you! Follow them online via Facebook or Twitter.
Purchasing products by clicking through the links in this post will provide us a modest commission through our affiliate relationship with
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12 Responses to Book Review: The Naming by Alison Croggon

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Stephanie McKeehan and Danielle Smith, Danielle Smith. Danielle Smith said: Book Review: The Naming by Alison Croggon http://bit.ly/8Z5kNa […]

  2. Gina says:

    So glad to hear that this book reached such heights of bookish delight with you! ^_^ Can’t wait to check out the discussion post about this first book….it should be interesting….
    Happy reading!

  3. Ooo sounds amazing. She sounds like the kind of heroine I enjoy reading.

  4. […] A Book reviews The Naming, part of a series steeped in ancient lore, written by Alison […]

  5. The Fated One says:

    This is one of my fave books! Dude, do you know anything about connections the author has with this book? It would really be a good idea to use that when recommending books! : )

  6. The Fated One says:

    Hello the1stdaughter. Can you please help me with this problem: What are some connections the author has with this book?
    This is part of my school project, and the internet isn’t being nice. 🙂

    • My best suggestion would be to read the author’s website and also read the information provided in the book. Alison explains it there quite well. Outside of that I’m not sure there’s much else I could offer. Sorry about that!

  7. Olivefred says:

    I’m doing an essay on this book and i need to know where to find a quote about this book:(

  8. dillon says:

    honestly a very inspiring book i love it.

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