The Naming: The First Book of Pellinor by Allison Croggon

It is a tough call to review fantasy books. The first reason being that they all begin to blend into one another. The second is that some, not all, but some are blatant ripoffs of Tolkein. That is my problem with The Naming. The Ranger like character, the mythic quest, the evil that awaits, magic, music, and even wood elves make this into a female driven Lord of the Rings. What is wrong with that you might ask. Well, the first problem is that although the story is written well, it comes off as wholly unoriginal, without thought or design. The second is that the story itself is slow. Agonizingly slow. So much time is spent on the characters plodding through the wilderness. Tolkein did it well, Croggon not so much. Much time is spent building the character of Maerad but so much time is spent that I get bored by her. I feel like the book could have been cut in half and I would have gotten the same information. What irritated me mist if all was Croggon's handling of magic in this fantasy world - called "the Light," and manipulated by way of "the Speech." The Speech cannot be learned - it comes to you one day, resulting in instant fluency. Maread's use of magic is chaotic and uncontrolled at first, but after a certain point she starts performing complex spells without any instruction or preparation. It's all too easy - and that makes it harder to like Maread, who has such incredible gifts but never really seems special. The Naming has all the characteristics of a gripping adventure novel, but I was never sucked in, never desperate to turn the pages, never afraid that things would go badly for our heroine, never thrilled by acts of heroism.