My Rating: 5 of 5 stars Summary (from Goodreads): Maerad is a slave in a desperate and unforgiving settlement, taken there as a child after her family is destroyed in war. She is unaware that she possesses a powerful gift, one 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 unfold. Now she and her new teacher must survive a journey through a time and place where the forces they battle stem from the deepest recesses of otherworldly terror. Oh my goodness. THE EMOTIONS. I seriously have nothing bad to say about this book. I have never read a journeying book that has impressed me so much as The Naming. Croggon did an absolutely lovely job writing this book. Oh, where to begin? When Cadvan finds Maerad, she has no idea that she's a Bard. He helps her to find her way to the city of Innail, where she can begin her lessons in Barding. But travelling there, Cadvan begins to see that Maerad may be far more important than she appears. Together, they start a journey that could effect both of their futures, as well as the fate of all of Annar. Maerad is a character that you get quite attached to from the very beginning. I love her. She is such a strong character, though she has had a daunting past. With Maerad, Croggon managed to capture the delicate balance that a female lead should have: the right amount of strength mixed with the right amount of vulnerability. She has all the feelings of a teenage girl, yet she neither whines nor complains incessantly (as you see quite a lot with some other lead females). Maerad is a truly relatable character that makes you fall in love with her from the start. Cadvan. Thank you, Mrs. Croggon. Cadvan is awesome. He is an extremely interesting character, and personally, I am just as intrigued (if not more) by Cadvan as I am by Maerad. Croggon does a beautiful job of giving the right amount of background information of Cadvan so that the reader is not ceaselessly plagued with curiosity, but she still leaves room for us to wonder about his past. Also, not to forget, this novel was beautifully written. Croggon speaks with a beauty that is quite hard to match. For example, there is a scene when Cadvan gets into some trouble and Maerad does not know what to do. An excerpt from the scene: "Suddenly the torrent of grief became an all-consuming anger, and as if her anger tore aside a veil, a new awareness blazed inside her. Despite her extremity, she was possessed by a fierce, wild joy. Her blood sang through her veins like a silver fire. At last she understood her power, and she knew, with a clarity like that of a dream, what she had to do. (Page 353)." I've seen many different kinds of writing, and Croggon's is among my favorites. She never failed to impress me. The Naming allowed me to fall in love with Croggon's writing. I felt as if every aspect of this story was completely beautiful and eloquent, and few books leave me feeling as such. From the plot, to the diction, to the characters, this book will meet few matches in its genre. Croggon did an absolutely wonderful job, and she left me begging for the sequel. Favorite quote from the book: "She had thought hope was dead inside her, but now she realized that it merely slumbered, like ash-gray embers that held yet a glowing heart, which the merest breath might fan into flame."