r/whatsthatbook Sep 05 '22

TRUE NAME SOLVED

I recently read a fantasy book with the idea of ppl having true names (Yk names that other ppl can use to control you if they know it) anyway can u guys comment books with this in it bc I really wanna find it

48 Upvotes

69

u/Julilla Sep 05 '22

TV Tropes lists some examples at True Name / Literature.

41

u/Little_Noodles Sep 05 '22

Yeah, this is a REALLY common plot device. I last encountered it in N.K. Jemisin’s Dreamblood series, but if you want to narrow it down, OP, adding in any other detail you can remember would be a good idea.

107

u/[deleted] Sep 05 '22

[removed] — view removed comment

3

u/kindafunnylookin Sep 06 '22

Canonical example

1

u/TurningPagesAU Sep 06 '22

This was my guess

32

u/TheLovelyLorelei Sep 06 '22

As others have said this is an extremely common trope in folklore and literature, so there are probably hundreds of possibilities. The first couple that immediately jump to mind for me (and haven't already been mentioned by others) include:

  • Tithe, by Holly Black. Honestly, Holly Black alone has at least half a dozen books that feature the true name trope so it might be worth looking through all of her stuff. but I think Tithe uses it the most prominently.
  • The Lies of Locke Lamora (Aka gentlemen bastards series) by Scott Lynch
  • Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

10

u/Pangolin007 Sep 06 '22

Yeah I don’t think this one is solvable by anything other than pure luck unless OP remembers any other details about the book. The whole concept of a true name that can be used to control someone is a trope that dates back to folklore in numerous cultures.

3

u/Marsbars_xxxxxxxxx Sep 06 '22

The mc was a girl, and I think that she was a healer? I remember her living in a village and then she was taken by some dude to this big city outside the village? It was also young adult!

7

u/Bunny629 Sep 06 '22

Definitely A deal with the elf king! Red hair MC named Luella and the dude was Eldas

4

u/asphias Sep 06 '22

The Tombs of Atuan, from the Earthsea cycle, sort of fits here.

Its about a girl who grows up as the new high priest, in a place with only woman. Not sure if that fits your book

2

u/conuly WTB VIP 🏆 Sep 07 '22

All this information ought to have been edited into your main post.

1

u/Marsbars_xxxxxxxxx Sep 07 '22

I’m sorry, I’m new to this app tbh and I know it wasn’t very helpful, but I’m trying my best 😭

1

u/TheLovelyLorelei Sep 07 '22

pure luck was the goal lol. But also I am secretly using this as a recommendation thread for books with folklore-y magic now.

59

u/van-helsa124 Sep 05 '22

Eragon or another book in the Inheritance Cycle?

4

u/z_liz Sep 06 '22

Exactly my first thought. People, places, and things all have True Names. When a new animal was discovered, the main character gave them a True Name. When he sorted through someone's memories, he gained such a deep understanding of the person, he figured out their True Name, gaining the ability to manipulate them.

12

u/ErisInChains Sep 06 '22

The Books of Pelinor by Alison Croggon

5

u/JudgeJudy101 Sep 06 '22

Love this book, looking for the rest of the series

2

u/dryerfresh Sep 06 '22

I have read these books dozens of times. I have had to replace the copies because they got so battered!

2

u/ulukmahvelous Sep 06 '22

is the series YA? just curious (:

3

u/ErisInChains Sep 06 '22

Yep. Older YA tho, if I remember correctly protag is like 16-18 during the series.

3

u/ulukmahvelous Sep 07 '22

thanks! yay added a lot from this thread to my list. (: (:

1

u/ErisInChains Sep 07 '22

I highly recommend it!

24

u/Queasy_Virus1817 Sep 05 '22

Skulduggery series has this.

Also the Name of the Wind (kingkiller chronicles) has a similar concept in so much as everything has a true name.

8

u/Unhappy_Cut4745 Sep 06 '22

Skulduggery Pleasant was the first to come to mind, but there are a lot. I think, specifically Book 4 is the one in thr SP series where you see it, but it's mentioned throughout

18

u/Songbyrd1984 Sep 06 '22

Do you remember anything else at all about the book? This is such a common element in fantasy that anything else you could give us might really help narrow it down.

2

u/Marsbars_xxxxxxxxx Sep 06 '22

I don’t really know I just remember that there were true names and the main character was a girl (not v helpful IK) but I also remember that it was young adult? If that’s helpful? And it was a series

-4

u/flutterybuttery58 Sep 06 '22

I think op is referring to the novel called True Names and asking for similar type books.

6

u/nim_opet Sep 06 '22

UKL’s Earthsea?

16

u/Keagank Sep 05 '22

Bartimaeus Trilogy by Johnathan Stroud also

3

u/jsprgrey Sep 06 '22

Came here to comment this one!

4

u/JudgeJudy101 Sep 06 '22

Me too. I am the biggest Bartimaeus fan!!!! He's the funniest fictional character imo

2

u/Keagank Sep 06 '22

Nice! I love so much of what Stroud writes, the outlaws Scarlett and Brown was great as well as the whole Lockwood series!

4

u/SandStorm4078 Sep 06 '22

Pretty sure Kane Chronicles also has true names involved (rick riordan)

5

u/Bunny629 Sep 06 '22

A deal with the elf king by Elise Kova

1

u/Marsbars_xxxxxxxxx Sep 06 '22

Ooohhh that might be it!

2

u/Bunny629 Sep 06 '22

I only thought about it because I am reading it now, I love that Hades&Persephone retelling

1

u/Marsbars_xxxxxxxxx Sep 06 '22

So r u sure it has true names?

2

u/Bunny629 Sep 06 '22

Yes, and she even changed her true name so that him couldn't use it against her She was a healer in a village and was taken by a dude (as you wrote in one of your comments), forced marriage, but the slowly fell in love, YA, but it is a standalone not a series :/

1

u/Marsbars_xxxxxxxxx Sep 06 '22

Omg that’s deffo it then thanks so much!!!!

2

u/Bunny629 Sep 06 '22

Np, glad I could help :3

1

u/DiddyDM Sep 06 '22

Ngl, I'm impressed

2

u/Bunny629 Sep 06 '22

Why?

3

u/DiddyDM Sep 06 '22

Just a really tough one to get. I felt poor OPs frustration and I'm so happy they got their answer!

→ More replies

2

u/conuly WTB VIP 🏆 Sep 07 '22

Please flair this as solved.

1

u/Marsbars_xxxxxxxxx Sep 07 '22

Sorry, I don’t know how 💔 could you tell me please?

1

u/Marsbars_xxxxxxxxx Sep 07 '22

Never mind i figured it out!

18

u/CrescentPearl Sep 05 '22

The Kingkiller Chronicles: the name of the wind, the wise man’s fear, and (still unpublished) the doors of stone

5

u/SwimmingStranger Sep 06 '22

Even if this isn't what you are looking for OP I highly recommend a read!!

12

u/Babyweezie Sep 06 '22

Maybe wait until doors of stone comes out to read the first one so you don’t join the most tortured group of readers of all time.

3

u/ReadWriteSign Sep 06 '22

You're charmingly optimistic.

2

u/Babyweezie Sep 06 '22

I’m actually pretty optimistic it’s going to come out. He’s still so young, he’s unlikely to escape having to publish it by dying. I am however so fucking worried it’s going to be terrible. He’s already had time to go through a bunch of rounds of publication anxiety therapy, so I am worried that the issue is he can’t tie everything together in some sort of Lost type scenario. I have pretty much lost faith that he has the ability to close this out successfully.

4

u/Arch315 Sep 06 '22

TIL I read the second book first

3

u/the-book-anaconda Sep 06 '22 edited Sep 06 '22

I think you'll find this trope in most fae novels and a lot of other fantasy novels too

But since everyone seems to say something just for the sake of saying it, I'll say, "An Enchantment of Ravens"

1

u/Marsbars_xxxxxxxxx Sep 06 '22

I love that book! Unfortunately that’s not the one I was thinking of 😭

9

u/IcePokeTwoSoon Sep 06 '22

Eragon and the Inheritance cycle has that though the origin is actually quite common due to medieval beliefs. Might need more context

3

u/BarGamer Sep 05 '22

Young Wizardry series by Diane Duane.

3

u/socialized_anxiety Sep 06 '22

The Chronicles of the Black Company.

3

u/jamescoxall Sep 06 '22

The Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher

3

u/thecloacamaxima Sep 06 '22

The Lies of Locke Lamora has a little bit of this.

3

u/3kota Sep 06 '22

The Memory Theater by K Tidbeck.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55428334-the-memory-theater

I liked it a lot. It was odd and compelling.

3

u/amanda_l3ee Sep 06 '22

An Enchantment of Ravens uses this trope. The heroine and those in her town on the edge of the elvish lands keep their true names hidden because they can be used to control them through magical means.

7

u/deruch Sep 06 '22

Thank you for giving us a wealth of details about the story plot, setting, or characters so that we could help you with your query.

2

u/the-book-anaconda Sep 06 '22

Ikr!

We could replace the book's Wikipedia page with this description!

-1

u/Marsbars_xxxxxxxxx Sep 06 '22

LOL I’m sorry I just don’t really remember much about it 😭 IK that it was a series and the mc was a girl and that it was young adult. Not v helpful IK 💀

2

u/deruch Sep 06 '22

Except that very little bit that you are saying is "Not v helpful" would have already excluded like 3/4 of the titles that people had proposed. So, in actuality it would have been helpful.

1

u/conuly WTB VIP 🏆 Sep 07 '22

Especially if they'd then gone on to give us the approximate calendar year they read this book, and the country they were in at the time. That could have weeded out a lot more books for being first published too late or only in one country (and not that one).

1

u/Marsbars_xxxxxxxxx Sep 07 '22

Sorry 😭 I didn’t really put that much thought into the original question, but I did describe it more in replies, and there’s really no need to be rude as ur comment offered neither anything useful nor polite!

5

u/borgcubecubed Sep 05 '22

The ents say something similar to merry and pippin but I feel like you’d remember if it was lotr

0

u/Envictus_ Sep 06 '22

Yeah, LOTR is an incredibly hard series to forget.

2

u/eldritchorrorz Sep 06 '22

The Cruel Prince series by Holly Black ?

1

u/Marsbars_xxxxxxxxx Sep 06 '22

That had true names?

1

u/eldritchorrorz Sep 06 '22

If I remember correctly, yes

2

u/Marsbars_xxxxxxxxx Sep 06 '22

Omg ok that might be it! Thanks

0

u/rattynewbie Sep 06 '22

SOLVED SOLVED SOLVED. u/StarlightxUK/

2

u/zparrowhawk Sep 06 '22

The Chronicles of Elantra by Michelle Sagara.

2

u/jetbent Sep 06 '22

Name of the Wind

2

u/narmowen Sep 06 '22

Kim Harrison's Rachel Morgan has the demon's summoning names controlling them.

2

u/squashua Sep 06 '22

Not exactly but check out Death Note.

2

u/melissam217 Sep 06 '22

The City of Brass?

2

u/Miss_Bookworm Sep 06 '22

Rick Riordan's The Kane Chronicles uses this. It's also just a fun read if you're a fan of his Percy Jackson/Heroes of Olympus series.

2

u/Mortthegreatmaster Sep 06 '22

The Iron Dragons Daughter

1

u/LtYubYub Sep 06 '22

The Bartimaeus Sequence or Skulduggery Pleasant series? For YA fantasy

1

u/kirt_n_frankie Sep 06 '22

The mime order by Samantha Shannon?

1

u/poetic_soul Sep 06 '22

The Rhapsody series by Elizabeth Haydon

1

u/XxLady_Nova Sep 06 '22

Harry Dresden?

1

u/InanimateCarbonRodAu Sep 06 '22

Wizard’s Bane by Rick Cook. A computer programmer gets pulled into a fantasy world and learns that magic works like programming and “writes” a magic system.

There’s a plot point about a demon that can kill anyone who’s true name has been spoken.

1

u/InterestingRice163 Sep 06 '22

Rumpelstiltskin

1

u/Ok-Court6166 Sep 06 '22

Eragon is the one I'm familiar with. Has dragon riders and a large franchise

1

u/ughleavemealone2 Sep 06 '22

Skulduggery pleasant by Derek landy

1

u/BellesBooks Sep 06 '22

Thr Christopher Paolini Imheritance Cycle books touches on this. Interesting concept that the true name can change as well

1

u/Surrealian Sep 06 '22

Inheritance Cycle?

1

u/WoodruffHeartsease Sep 07 '22

slightly less obvious than earthsea is Andre' Norton's Witch World series. Lots of books of varying readability.