When my girlfriend informed me that I would be reading Alison Croggon’s ‘The Gift’ and subsequent sequels, and would enjoy it, I found myself under a modicum of pressure. What if I weren’t to like it? What if Croggon has the same writing abilities as a cockroach named Paolini (was that too low?). I was a little worried, and the first part of the book didn’t engender me with much confidence.
Thankfully, at the completion of Croggon’s first book in her Pellinor quartet, I can sit here and say that I really rather enjoyed it.
Alison Croggon, a Melbournite like myself, has created a world that – akin to Janny Wurts’ The Wars of Light and Shadow – puts the focus away from simple stereotypical hero-ing. The Gift introduces us to the land of Edil-Amarandh, where Bards are the practitioners of magic and music is the ultimate expression of their talents.
The story focuses on Maerad, a 16 year old slave who is rescued by one of the lands greatest Bards, Cadvan. However it doesn’t take long for Cadvan to realize that Maerad is not just the untrained Bard he had thought he had found, but rather the fulfilment of a long forgotten prophecy.
There isn’t much with which I can find fault with in this book. Croggon does have a tendency to revert to the thesaurus a little too much, but there are those who enjoy the continuing revolution of words.
I mentioned in the intro that the “first part of the book didn’t engender me with much confidence.” Croggon splits The Gift into four “parts”, to help distinguish the storytelling. The first part is smaller than the rest, but also seems very rushed. It appears that Croggon didn’t want to really tell that part of the story, and just wanted to get Maerad to one of the School’s as fast as possible.
And sadly, there are some instances where comparisons to Lord of the Rings are a little too loud too ignore. Thankfully, however, the rest of the book does hold up on its own.
One particular aspect of the book which has provided a great deal of joy to me (and to my girlfriend, the linguistics fanatic) is Croggon’s attention to the language within the book. Unlike some books (which I won’t name, but you can probably guess at), Croggon has actually put a lot of work into the language of the story, and is warranted the small appendices she has at the back to explain. A definite Welsh-ness exudes from the names on the page, and adds great depth to the story that might have otherwise not existed in such quantities.
This is a real gem of a book which deserves to be read by more, and I’m really excited about reading the following three books. Whether your an Australian or just a lover of good fantasy, The Gift by Alison Croggon is definitely a book for you.
Review by Joshua S Hill
7 positive reader review(s) for The Gift
Felice from New Zealand
I really enjoyed the whole series, had me up reading late into the night!
Faith from Kenya
The book was really good and I loved the descriptions. I too found it very very similar to the Inheritance Cycle by Christoper Paolini. I don't understand how the reviewer finds two very similar books so different. I find it very pretentious on his part!
Eilidh from Cumbria
I love the Inheritance cycle, and think that it is quite similar to the books of Pellinor.
Laura from England
I found it one of the most interesting books I've ever read. Croggon has done an amazing job of creating a whole other world-the description is perfectly detailed and created clear images in my head whilst I read it. Cannot wait to read the other three!
Roweena from India
It's a thrilling read and the fact that it has so much description in itself made it special. Describing a world that was fabricated, even if she was the one who made it, is not that easy. I loved it!
Mark from Scotland
The books are great. "too detailed" you say? That's a load of rubbish. The detail allows you to envision the world and so appreciate its beauty and loss. Too many people nowadays just want: "He killed a hundred orcs whilst blindfolded, then went to sleep. The next day he killed 500 orcs for breakfast".
Robert from England
The first review pretty much summed it up! Sometimes a little too much detail in places where it isn't really necessary..... Loved all 4 books and I started and finished them in 2 weeks, so now im going to read them all again at a slower pace...
9.2/10 from 8 reviews