Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Gift - Alison Croggon

Rating : 2.0/5
Number of Pages : 494
Series : #1 Pellinor
Format : Teenage Fantasy Novel
Reason for Reading : Challenge with Mariel

Maerad is a slave after both of her parents and younger brother were killed in the sacking of her home town Pellinor. One day in the cow byre she meets Cadvan, a Bard who is fleeing from an evil who had been torturing him for weeks. He recognises in her a Gift, she too is a Bard but the gifts have not yet awoken in her. She posesses a lyre which looks to be special and left over from the Dhyllic people. He decides to take her with him on a dangerous journey which will change her life. A dark power is arising, the Nameless One is suspected to be back even though the Light had thought him defeated. Maerad may just be the Fated One to defeat him once and for all.

I'll stop here with the description of the plot as anyone who has read a fantasy novel ever has read this book before. It borrows heavily from Tolkien with a lot of scenes and events taken from Fellowship of the Ring. The author also uses The Snow Queen as the basis for the tale of the evil Ice Witch. She puts her own spin on the telling, but I couldn't help feeling I had read it all before.

There were elements I enjoyed. It was fun having a female lead character and I liked that they were Bards and there was a musical element, although they did magic pretty much like a wizard. From reading reviews and the authors comments online it seems that she pays her homage to Tolkien in the first book and the rest of the series is more her own original ideas. Part of my issue was perhaps I had too high expectations as Mariel loves this series and raves about the books constantly. I have agonised over how to rate it and have given it a really low one after much internal debate. I think I will read the next book in the series and see if it does live up to the hype as a few series I have started lately have begun weak and then from book two onwards they have been amazing. Fingers crossed...


Annie the Superfast Reader said...

I didn't enjoy this series, either. I gave it a chance through book 3 because I liked the main character, but the story just didn't hold my interest. Here's my review of The Gift:

Unknown said...

I thought the second book was the weakest of the four, actually, but found the third to be one of the most powerful fantasy books I've read in a long time. I was pretty invested in the story by that point, though, and thoroughly enjoyed this one, so I'm not sure if you'd feel the same way.

Jill said...

Oh, I'm sorry you were disappointed! I love this series - I think it's the best high fantasy I've read in years, combining all the traditional things in a new and interesting way, with such well-developed, complex characters. I'll be curious to see what you think if you continue with the series, but I have to imagine that if this didn't really do it for you, the next one probably won't, either. :-(