Welcome to our very own series! It’s called Notebook Sisters Approved (because we’re modest about our opinions like that).
Basically: we pick one thing out of a book or series that we approve of and talk about it! That thing, hopefully, breaks trends or is revolutionary to its genre, or involves delicious food.
Up on the chopping block today, we have Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Mass which
is my new most favourite book ever has broken the norm with..
Can we all clap and say YAY now?!
I don’t know about you, but I get mildly frustrated when I launch myself into a fantasy book and can’t even pronounce anyone’s names.
Names are fascinating things. They can be original or average or glitzy or wild. They mean intriguing things, and that can often label you. PLUS you’re most likely going to be stuck with it your whole life!
Giving people, aliens, and characters good names is tough! I appreciate that.
But, seriously, knowing the gravity of names:
J.R.R. Tolkien is a great culprit of this. Rohirrim? Lothlorien? Glorfindel?! Are you kidding me?! Look, they’re pretty and all, but I just…I can’t even begin to say them.
And since Tolkien did it, I feel like a lot of fantasy authors jump on this train until I want to jump off and never touch another fantasy again.
Rachel Hartman wrote Seraphina in 2012. The main character’s name is: Seraphina Dombegh. Oh my. We also have names like Lady Clarissa Corongi and Queen Belondweg. Oh, don’t forget Maurizio Foughfaugh! (Seraphina puked all over Maurizio at one stage in the story. I can understand why.)
Melina Marchetta wrote Finnikin of the Rock in 2008. She was quite reserved calling her characters Lucian and Froi and Evanjalin. A little weird, but palatable. But, OH BLAST IT, let’s have Lumatere and Balthazar and Trevanion!
Wayne Thomas Batson wrote a neat little copy Lord of the Rings knockoff for Christians, called The Door Within. I totally enjoyed them when I was twelve. But the names. I was pretty cool with Aidan and Gwenne. But he had to go add Mithegard and Alleble and Captain Valithor. My favourite town was The Blue Mountains. I could actually say that!
Christopher Paoloni wrote Eragon in 2002. He was a teen author and become famous and all of that, but can we take a second to critically analyse his naming skills? Eragon Shadeslayer. Saphira Bjartskular. Arya Dröttningu. Galbatorix. Nasuada. Roran Garrowsson. Ajihad. Jörmundur. The Ra’zac. I kind of like the tree though. The Menoa Tree. Whoohoo!
– Calaena Sardonthien
She’s the main character and probably the worst offender. My brain just dismissed her last name
– Dorian Havilliard
Now that’s something I can say! “Dorian” is very easy to pronounce (though he sounds like a Tolkien dwarf) and while “Havilliard” is as long as a Blue Whale, the syllables actually make sense.
– Chaol Westfall
What bliss is this name? Of course, I couldn’t decide whether to say it “Ch-oll” (with the “ch” as in “chicken”) or “K-oll” (with the “ch” as in “kite”). Either way, though. It’s short. It looks a bit exotic. And his last name is pure awesome. Westfall! Yay!
– Nox Owen
“Nox” looks kind of exotic, you know, with the whole mysterious X thing happening (X’s are very in in fantasy), but OWEN. Owen is great. I like Owen.
– Lady Kaltain
Again, it has the looks of something wow-worthy, but it’s surprisingly easy to get the tongue around. Although she was kind of a slippery sneak in the book. I didn’t like her. You can always mistrust the K-named people in books.
– Princess Nehemia
I wouldn’t label this a favourite, simply because it’s hard to tell how you pronounce the H. STILL. It’s not a kilometre long, which is marvellous.
– Other names: Cain, Xavier, Lillian, Grave, Verin, Brullo, Pelor, Bill (ha!)
Ones like “Verin” and “Brullo” are still weirdly fantastical, but they’re pronounceable! I don’t see them on the page and shudder.
When I talk about fantasy books I like, it’s very unfortunate when I just have to say “the characters in Seraphina” because I don’t remember any of their names. Maybe it’s just me who struggle with this! After all, it is popular in fantasy to have fantastical names.
But you know what? Bob can fight dragons too. He doesn’t just have to fix houses. I particularly love combinations of weird and wacky names. It breaks things up! Like in Throne of Glass. We can have Calaena…but we also have Cain and Nox.
Cait used to make lists of Gaelic and Celtic names for her fantasy books. She realised she might have a problem when she tried to explain a character to Mime and she couldn’t say his name. Neither could Mime. Now Cait can’t even remember the name. Poor character. Currently she’s reading V IS FOR VILLAIN and thinking about evil plans.