Celebrate February by falling for a new fantasy world


Shelby Foster

“The Naming” follows Maerad, a former slave, as she uncovers her destiny just in time to help save her new world from evil. This novel is one of many that can be found in the Starr’s Mill Media Center as part of February’s Blind Date with a Book.

Dana Gould, Staff Writer

Fantasy novels create enchanting worlds filled with magical creatures such as wizards, witches, and goblins. Along with a brand new world to discover, the stereotypical fantasy involves a protagonist with some profound power that has the ability to save an intriguing new land. “The Naming,” while some may call it stereotypical, brings back the classic fantasy genre that many know and love. The underlying format may follow that of other fantasy tales, but the world, characters, and descriptions make this novel one-of-a-kind.

Maerad believes the entire world to be the same wretched waste in which she lives, but she couldn’t be more wrong.”

— staff writer Dana Gould

Maerad has been a slave for as long as she can remember, at the age of sixteen, she is living in an unforgiving settlement called Gilman’s Cot. Her miserable life in Gilman’s Cot proves uncertain, as she is under constant threat of being beaten or tormented by Gilman’s men. Maerad believes the entire world to be the same wretched waste in which she lives, but she couldn’t be more wrong.

One day, while completing her daily duties, Maerad comes across a mysterious traveler. This strange man convinces Maerad to leave Gilman’s Cot with him to pursue a life of something greater. Together, the two travel to distant lands that were once whole and pure, only to find an evil corrupting both the land and the people that live on it.

Maerad soon discovers, with the help of Cadvan, the mysterious stranger with supernatural abilities, that she possesses an extraordinary gift, even for this realm. As Maerad’s true identity and magnificent power is revealed her destiny also unfolds. Together she and Cadvan must travel through these corrupted lands to extinguish evil and restore the world to its previous beauty.

Instead of containing only well-developed main characters, in this story, each of the minor characters is given a clear personality, motives, and morals. The reader can quickly distinguish the supposed “good guys” from the more villainous characters based on actions and stated facts and opinions, while also being able to relate to both types of characters.

The descriptions are another high point of this novel, as the reader can create a vivid image of what the characters are seeing and encountering. Each detail adds something to the book by further building this beautiful, intense fantasy world. At some points the descriptions may seem like overkill, but overall they add more to the story and the reader’s perspective.

This novel contains many characteristics of Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” series. “The Naming,” much like Tolkien’s books, contains a large amount of walking. After reading extensive steps and detailed descriptions of the setting and characters, it may make the novel overly slow-paced for some readers. Along with the long walking scenes, this book also uses many made-up languages to show the different classes and groups in the society.

“The Naming” is beautifully sculpted as the world itself is extraordinary, the characters are well-developed and relatable, and the descriptions are pristine. Not only does it paint authentic images of the world itself and the characters within the world but it also creates nostalgia for the classic fantasy novel. While this book may not be for the fast-paced adventure lover, it is perfect for patient fans of the fantasy genre. People looking for a quality fantasy novel should definitely check this one out.

“The Naming” along with many other wonderful books can be found this February in the Starr’s Mill Media Center as part of Blind Date with a Book. This exciting opportunity gives people a chance to pick up a book without having a chance to judge it based on the cover. Blind Date with a Book will continue through the month of February.