Download Audiobooks The GiftAuthor Alison Croggon – Albawater.co

Maerad is a slave in a desperate and unforgiving settlement, taken there as a child when her family is destroyed in war She is unaware that she possesses a powerful gift, a gift that marks her as a member of the School of Pellinor It is only when she is discovered by Cadvan, one of the great Bards of Lirigon, that her true heritage and extraordinary destiny unfolds Now she and her teacher, Cadvan, must survive a punishing and uncertain journey through a time and place where the dark forces they battle with stem from the deepest recesses of other worldly terror


10 thoughts on “The Gift

  1. Sarah Sarah says:

    Remember when authors talked about landscapes, and you could tell that they might have actually stepped outside once or twice in their lives Remember when the male lead and the female lead in a YA book were allowed to develop a strong friendship and partnership, and any romance was left for the later books in the series Remember when male characters admired the beauty of female characters but didn t act like pigs about it Remember when not every YA novel featured a love triangle I remember two s Remember when authors talked about landscapes, and you could tell that they might have actually stepped outside once or twice in their lives Remember when the male lead and the female lead in a YA book were allowed to develop a strong friendship and partnership, and any romance was left for the later books in the series Remember when male characters admired the beauty of female characters but didn t act like pigs about it Remember when not every YA novel featured a love triangle I remember two series from the last decade that were really popular among my elementary and middle school friends that could be described as Star Wars in Middle earth One was Christopher Paolini s Inheritance Cycle The plot of its first novel,Eragon , was traced over from Episode IV, while book two,Eldest , wasinterested in dwarf mythology, scantily clad Elvish women, and narcissistic descriptions of the author s self insert character getting progressively hunkier andmagical For over nine hundred pages I want to give that series a snarky re read soon, but that s a story for another time.If the Inheritance Cycle were a person, it would be a stereotypical nerd boy who likes dragons, mistrusts women, and is not nearly as clever as he thinks he is And if the Books of Pellinor were a person, they would be the IC guy s reserved, introspective, gloomy yet idealistic twin sister Of the two, I would much rather be friends with her than him.In a vast land, studded with peaceful cities amid desolate and ruined stretches like stars and the darkness between them, there s a petty walled village near the base of the mountains Thane Gilman is a tyrant in his tiny domain The servants and slaves are afraid to make a run for it, because Gilman keeps fierce hunting dogs and the mountains beyond are full of evil entities and bloodthirsty beasts.One of these slaves is a young girl named Maerad, a dairymaid who also entertains the Thane and his friends by playing upon her lyre Maerad s mother died when she was little, and the other slaves are hostile to her, believing her to be a witch She has no support network and no hope of escape Her luck changes when a strange man from distant parts enters the cow byre, and she is the only person who can see him His name is Cadvan, and he is one of the Bards, a group of wise and ideally benevolent mages whom Maerad had always believed were myths But it turns out su prise, su prise, su prise that Maerad s bursts of witchery mark her as a Bard, too.Cadvan s path will take him across a dangerous landscape, and now he knows he s morally obligated to take the girl with him They will learn that a dark power, once thought vanquished, is rising again no way and that corruption has reached the highest ranks of the Bards themselves.Content Advisory Violence Cadvan and Maerad are frequently attacked, and sometimes seriously wounded, by supernatural beings, Bards, humans, animals, and monsters They come across a slaughtered family in a wasteland that includes a baby Some evil creatures order a child to murder his friend, and when he refuses they kill the second kid anyway A traitorous Bard sets a harbor and most of its ships on fire Maerad has scattered, disturbing flashbacks, about the sack of her home before she became a slave a little girl of about five years, she saw her father beheaded, her mother sapped of her powers, and her home burned As a slave, Maerad is frequently beaten, and her fellow slaves once tried to drown her in the duck pond Sex Shortly before the story begins, a male slave jumped Maerad while she slept and tried to force himself on her He did not get far in his attempted rape before she snarled a word of power at him that sent him flying and blinded him for three weeks She remembers this incident and panics after a nice young man named Dernhil gets a bit too excited and kisses her She panics, he apologizes, and they part as friends.Once they get to a hospitable place and are given baths and clean clothes, both Cadvan and Maerad are struck a bit shy, because they never noticed how good looking the other one was before This is not sexual content per se, but I m not sure where else to put it Maerad s menarche has been delayed by poor nutrition, and it hits her unexpectedly Poor Cadvan is the first to see her after this, and gets almost as panicked as she does Croggon brings it up three or fourtimes for no apparent reason Language Nil Substance Abuse There s a lot of wine at feasts, but no one ever gets drunk Anything Else In Croggon s historical notes at the back of the book, she takes strange pains to clarify that, despite their talk of Light and Dark and Good and Evil, the Bards did not follow any monotheistic notions of a personal God This was fairly obvious from the way Light and Dark are discussed in the book much closer to the abstractions of Star Wars than theBiblical Creation mythology of Tolkien So I wondered why Croggon had to phrase it like that It sounded rather disdainful of the Abrahamic faiths, and I thought that was unnecessary However, one can easily skip the appendices without missing anything interesting.Conclusion The Naming is an odd, hard to classify book Contrasted with other, similar Aussie YA high fantasies from the same general era, it s much less inventive than Garth Nix s Old Kingdom series, has almost no whimsy or romance compared to Juliet Marillier s Shadowfell, and is wordy and dour compared to Kate Constable s The Singer of All Songs Then there s the small fact that this 466 492 only including the appendices page book has no twists and very little plot, and frequently lifts similes and occasionally even dialogue right out of Tolkien.So what kept me turning pages Why the high rating Because Croggon created two wonderful characters in Cadvan and Maerad They are noble, they are flawed, they have seen far too much death and darkness and it shows in their behavior They want to help the downtrodden, they want to be bulwarks against the encroaching Dark, but they also know how badly a well meaning plan can go wrong, and they are wary of everything and everyone It is beautiful when two souls like theirs begin to open timidly up and trust each other In this book, it happens with perfect timing, with a lot of sweet, tiny moments of respect and friendship that I think and hope might blossom into romantic love Instead of manufacturing sexual tension and decoy love interests view spoiler Dernhil dies hide spoiler , Croggon simply stands back and lets the reader observe what a great team these two make in every way.Recommended to anyone who s getting sick of the instalove and drama that comes part and parcel with YA these days, and doesn t mind slow paced chapters with lots of landscape description.You may also like The Old Kingdom series by Garth Nix The Shadowfell trilogy by Juliet Marillier The Chanters of Tremaris trilogy by Kate Constable The Annals of the Western Shore by Ursula K Le Guin The Books of Bayern by Shannon HaleChaliceby Robin McKinley


  2. Hope Hope says:

    I really enjoyed this book, and I look forward to reading the next book It is a fairly standard fantasy story orphan is rescued from a horrible life and is found to be the holder of great power and the possible savior of the nation world There are bad guys and treachery and so on It is a bit uneven in places and there is a bitrepetition that I would like, but otherwise quite good.My biggest quibble is not with the book but with the many reviewers, here and elsewhere, who compare it to I really enjoyed this book, and I look forward to reading the next book It is a fairly standard fantasy story orphan is rescued from a horrible life and is found to be the holder of great power and the possible savior of the nation world There are bad guys and treachery and so on It is a bit uneven in places and there is a bitrepetition that I would like, but otherwise quite good.My biggest quibble is not with the book but with the many reviewers, here and elsewhere, who compare it to The Lord of the Rings series Apart from the dark big bad, the plot has very little in common with LOTR The main character is a GIRL for one thing, a creature that is very rare in Tolkien Yes, the author has made up a language and a history, with appendices, for her book and country, but this is not exclusive to Tolkien There are no Hobbit like creatures, no ring of power, etc, etc Heck, there are not many modern fantasy writers who DON T have elements of Tolkien in them, and many who create whole worlds I think it does the author a disservice really, and doesn t let the book s own merits shine And I see fartraces of other authors, like Garth Nix and Kate Constable to name a couple, than I do of Tolkien


  3. Ryan Ryan says:

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here The Pellinor Series 5.5 10 The Naming Book One I found Alison s writing to be rather obvious, full of clich s, and on the whole unsatisfying When one of the main protagonists almost died, I found myself indifferent as the main characters were of a relatively uninteresting sort Her analogies were overused e.g., eyes as wide as saucers The conversations seem contrived, and the emotional state of being of her protagonists are volatile and explicitly stated rather then revealed by th The Pellinor Series 5.5 10 The Naming Book One I found Alison s writing to be rather obvious, full of clich s, and on the whole unsatisfying When one of the main protagonists almost died, I found myself indifferent as the main characters were of a relatively uninteresting sort Her analogies were overused e.g., eyes as wide as saucers The conversations seem contrived, and the emotional state of being of her protagonists are volatile and explicitly stated rather then revealed by the characters actions.I think the book is geared towards a younger audience as I imagine a 13 year old girl might enjoy the book and better connect with things like her repeated references to a the newly discovered woes of a woman s menstrual cycleHer invented language of the Speech is a fairly un original magic system , and while she may have gone through some effort to develop that language, I don t care or appreciate it Overall, the book was a bit formulaic and slow, although not bad


  4. Alice Alice says:

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here If it weren t so good, I would say this book is a mixture of every other fantasy book on the block Test can you match each plot line with another famous work The chosen one is raised in a secluded farm, identity hiddenThe girl was trained in musicianship by the local bard, and her prodigious talent allows her to be named as a bard when she finally arrives at the schoolWhile travelling together, the neophyte receives instruction from a famous bard with a slightly sinister pastUnde If it weren t so good, I would say this book is a mixture of every other fantasy book on the block Test can you match each plot line with another famous work The chosen one is raised in a secluded farm, identity hiddenThe girl was trained in musicianship by the local bard, and her prodigious talent allows her to be named as a bard when she finally arrives at the schoolWhile travelling together, the neophyte receives instruction from a famous bard with a slightly sinister pastUnderstanding the words of the ancient speech are crucialThe evil black riders, each a hull of a person turned to the dark side, pursue the travelersThey receive hospitality from a beautiful but immortal queen who rules over a hidden nationWhen they finally arrive at the great city, which is a fortress built in nine circles, they are shocked to find evil has penetrated to its heartCroggan has potential as a fantasy writer but she needs to invent her own plot lines


  5. Kerry Kerry says:

    A great read, I thoroughly enjoyed it and have gone straight onto Book 2 in the series.A tale of a young woman rescued from slavery, who is found to be someone special with hidden talents Her rescuer helps her find out who she is and to develop her skills and talents Their journey is arduous, thrilling and fraught with danger at times A thrilling magical fantasy story and a great start to the series.


  6. Debbie Debbie says:

    This book is very slow paced Most of it is a travel log of the scenery, and the level of detail is muchthan is needed Any potential tension is completely lost in these sections.I didn t feel like I knew or understood the world very well by the end We re told a great deal about the landscape, a bunch of intricate but insignificant objects furniture, etc , and some ancient history, but very little about the current history and politics which are supposedly driving the character s action This book is very slow paced Most of it is a travel log of the scenery, and the level of detail is muchthan is needed Any potential tension is completely lost in these sections.I didn t feel like I knew or understood the world very well by the end We re told a great deal about the landscape, a bunch of intricate but insignificant objects furniture, etc , and some ancient history, but very little about the current history and politics which are supposedly driving the character s actions Note Some of this information is included in the 21 page Appendices, but I didn t read them The characters were not uninteresting, but the reader is kept at a distance from the main characters and their secrets until the end Then, they get interesting Unfortunately, I m not willing to slog through the over descriptions again since the next book appears to also be mostly a travel log on the hope the characters will stay interesting.On the positive side, there was no sex or cussing All that said, if you like slow, fat books, then you probably will enjoy this book


  7. Becky Becky says:

    I truly loved reading this book, and I re read it constantly The plot is teased out through out the book in an expert manner with characters that are believable and loveable With so many twists and revelations it would be easy for a lesser writer to waver, and yet The Naming or The Gift as I know it in the UK is an amazing work of fiction which captures my imagination and heart every time I read it A once slave is liberated from her morbid life and thrown head first into a battle between go I truly loved reading this book, and I re read it constantly The plot is teased out through out the book in an expert manner with characters that are believable and loveable With so many twists and revelations it would be easy for a lesser writer to waver, and yet The Naming or The Gift as I know it in the UK is an amazing work of fiction which captures my imagination and heart every time I read it A once slave is liberated from her morbid life and thrown head first into a battle between good and evil, yet the author does not fall into the trap of then portraying her characters as either wholly black or white, but there are many grey areas in between The world where this epic takes place is a land where magic resides in Bards, a musical bunch of magicians essentially, which gives the story a different side which is both refreshing and timeless The plot unfolds at just the right pace, allowing for everything to happen without everything happening at once, which shows true skill.Overall this book is a gem, and has pride of place on my bookshelf, along with a few others I can t imagine ever being bored of reading this book, as it is just too good to only read once


  8. C.L. Walker C.L. Walker says:

    I LOVED these books If I could give them 10 stars, I would The writing was BEAUTIFUL I have never felt so at home in a book before as I felt in these Rich, vibrant descriptions and characters and amazing story


  9. Allison Allison says:

    The Naming is a traditional style fantasy with many familiar fantasy elements that are regardless fresh to my mind , although others might not think so This is an epic tale of the sort that made me love fantasy in the first place, and I can t say I mind the nostalgia for classic fantasy that this familiarity evokes In many ways it did remind me of the LOTR in the formal tone of the language, the songs, the descriptions of nature particularly woods , the mood that presses in on you from the The Naming is a traditional style fantasy with many familiar fantasy elements that are regardless fresh to my mind , although others might not think so This is an epic tale of the sort that made me love fantasy in the first place, and I can t say I mind the nostalgia for classic fantasy that this familiarity evokes In many ways it did remind me of the LOTR in the formal tone of the language, the songs, the descriptions of nature particularly woods , the mood that presses in on you from the memories of the land itself, the rising conflict between Light and Dark, the travels through often hostile countryside, and the havens full of light and wonder that break up the danger and darkness of the journey.These are all aspects of the LOTR that I love, and while reading The Naming, I relished that feeling which I have found is rare in other fantasy Actually, I can t really think of anything that has so pleasantly reminded me of Tolkien s work in tone and description before I especially love the juxtaposition of light and darkness throughout the book danger, injury, and low spirits are contrasted with the growth of new friendship, the opportunity to rest, eat and bathe, and to take in some of the beauty of the world I quickly grow tired of fantasy that focuses mainly on the dark Here we also have light, and not just a sliver of it All of that said, this is enough its own story not to be a Tolkien ripoff The feeling and tone is there, but the plot itself is completely different First of all, the story focuses on a girl, and the storytelling also feelspersonal, dealing with her emotions and internal struggles It starts out with Maerad, a slave girl, who is discovered and rescued by a bard, Cadvan bards are mages The rest of the book reveals who she is, and why the Dark and the Light care who she is It deals with her struggles to find her sense of self when everything she knows has been completely turned upside down She must learn to read, to fight, to trust, to discern whom not to trust, and to control the magic that she s not even aware she has The only constant in her life is her music.In the midst of Maerad s attempts to adjust to a new life, the Dark is already ahead of her and all around her, attempting to stop her before she realizes her power and finds her purpose She is protected and guided by Cadvan, who is also trying to figure out who she really is before it s too late There are prophecies, dreams, and visions There is a sense of urgency, of time running out There is betrayal, and there is loyalty It s a lot of fun to read In short, I loved it, and I ve already started the second book


  10. Kumakani Kumakani says:

    I admit, I kind of judged a book by its cover with this one The cover art was pretty and the spine design was also pretty The blurb on the back cover made the book sound intriguing and I went home and read reviews The reviews for this book were mostly positive, so I thought, Hey, why not POTENTIAL SPOILERS READ AT OWN RISK.In a word, this book is boring So extremely slow going The book clocks in at nearly 500 pages While fantasy is known for its longer books, I ve read some books where I admit, I kind of judged a book by its cover with this one The cover art was pretty and the spine design was also pretty The blurb on the back cover made the book sound intriguing and I went home and read reviews The reviews for this book were mostly positive, so I thought, Hey, why not POTENTIAL SPOILERS READ AT OWN RISK.In a word, this book is boring So extremely slow going The book clocks in at nearly 500 pages While fantasy is known for its longer books, I ve read some books where the 500 page length is pulled off well and seems justified But at least 50 or so pages could have been cut without losing any essential plot Too many unnecessary scenes and details We are treated to a description of nearly every landscape the characters come across We learn about many different traditions different cultures had While it helped with the world building and created a storng fictional world, I think some of this information could have been conveyed without an info dump As an extra bonus, readers also get a scene describing Maerad s first period Fun.The characters weren t very interesting Maerad was okay at first, but she quickly became a cliche Chosen One She was also very whiny Yes, she s sixteen, but she became annoyingly whiny.Cadvan seemed like a typical Gandalf Obi Wan Dumbledore mentor While not unlikable or annoying like Maerad, he simply didn t feel original or interesting.I liked Hem s character While his whole view spoiler being related to Maerad thing hide spoiler was completely predictable, he was still one of the most interesting and well rounded characters in the book.One thing that bothered me was how the whole Chosen One thing played out While it was blatantly obvious that Maerad was the Chosen One since no good fantasy book was ever about the Non Chosen One , it was handled poorly Cadvan spends most of the book speculating that Maerad might be the Chosen One and then it s revealed that she is It was anti climatic We all ready knew she was going to be the Chosen One It wasn t a moment of, Oh, cool It was a moment of, Kay, I knew that all ready Can we move on now The writing style in this book was okay I ve read Croggon is a poet and it shows She definitely wrote some very beautiful descriptions and lines in this book and the poetry was, for once, not painfully cheesy However, she would sometimes get waaay too into the whole Ye Old Medieval Tymes talka and it got annoying.Overall, The Naming is not a book I recommend It was slow going, plodding, and lacked likable characters