The Naming: The First Book of Pellinor

The Naming: The First Book of Pellinor
Alison Croggon, 2006

Premise: Girl has never known anything but the life of a slave. when a mysterious man claiming to be a Bard offers to take her away to a new life, she leaves without another thought.

Urgh. This is only sort of a review. I didn't finish this book. I was skeptical from the start, when the prose lurched awkwardly between too cliche and too purple. The mixed metaphors made me wince.

“Freedom was a fantasy she gnawed obsessively in her few moments of leisure, like an old bone with just a trace of meat, and like all illusions, it left her hungrier than before, only more keenly aware of how her soul starved within her, its wings wasting with the despair of disuse.”

I was having trouble putting my finger on what bothered me at first. It seemed okay for a while, I mean. Well until the characters luck into a crazy unbelievably perfect under mountain passage to a magically perfectly timed meeting of ridiculously good wizards, I'm sorry, Bards, (only they’re really wizards/elves because they love life! and they love music! and they love the world! yay!) and she immediately is super special and heir to mysterious powers and fated to be important and starts remembering her infant time in an impossibly good city of impossibly talented people. That...started to bug me. Sure there are suspicious characters working against the self-evidently good protagonists, and she sucks at swordplay, but the impression of unending wish-fulfillment was too hard to shake.

I just didn’t connect to her at all. The narration kept saying things about her like ‘she had never had a bath before’ and yet she never ever acted like that person. There was a evil bad guy who was obviously coming back, and yet, I didn’t care. I just had to stop, finally.

Plus if I wanted to read a badly disguised reworking of Tolkien I have other options. It was when Cadvan mentioned that his horse was from a race of magic horses and had come to his call that I had to put the book down and move on to something else before I flung my Kindle at something. There's just not enough hours in the day for truly boring books.



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