Thursday, October 9, 2014

Thursday's Favorites Spotlight: The Kingkiler Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss

Some weeks ago, I created a post for these books, then I did a little cleaning on my post dashboard, deleting drafts I never published.  As it turns out, I accidently deleted this one, and I didn't create a backup draft (Grrrr!)

So this week, I've rewritten my favorites post for the Kingkiller Chronicles.

The Kingkiller Chronicles
by Patrick Rothfuss
# of books: 2 published, 2 more on the way
Genre: Fantasy
Words To Describe This Series: Awesome, Creative, Sad, Entertaining, Original, Action-Packed, Intriguing, Epic, Beautiful

Years ago, back in the college days, I made money by lifeguarding at the local YMCA.  To make some extra cash, I mainly did the super early shift at 5:30 in the morning.  That shift was the easiest one to do, because the only people crazy enough to swim that early were constant regulars that needed very little supervision.  So, to keep ourselves from dying of boredom, the other lifeguard and myself would guard the pools side by side and chat about stuff.

One day, I was talking fellow lifeguard Amy, and we were talking books (I can always get books into the conversation somehow).  We both have a taste for fantasy, so we were comparing notes, and Amy recommended I try The Name Of The Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss.  She keep insisting I would love it, that it was an amazing novel.  I was intrigued, but I didn't get around to reading it until about 2 years later, just a few weeks before my wedding.

The book was a-maz-ing!  There's so much I could say about this say about this book, it's not even funny.

Before I begin, however, let me give you a sample of this story.  This is an excerpt from the book that was used for the synopsis inside the book flap:
My name is Kvothe, pronounced nearly the same as 'quothe.' Names are important as they tell you a great deal about a person. I've had more names than anyone has a right to.
The Adem call me Maedre. Which, depending on how it's spoken, can mean The Flame, The Thunder, or The Broken Tree.
'The Flame' is obvious if you've ever seen me. I have red hair, bright. If I had been born a couple of hundred years ago I would probably been burned as a demon. I keep it short but it's unruly. When left to its own devices, it sticks up and makes me look as if I've been set afire.
'The Thunder' I attribute to a strong baritone and a great deal of stage training at an early age.
I've never thought of 'The Broken Tree' as very significant. Although in retrospect, I suppose it could be considered at least partially prophetic.
My first mentor called me E'lir because I was clever and I knew it. My first real lover called me Dulator because she liked the sound of it. I have been called Shadicar, Lightfinger, and Six-String. I have been called Kvothe the Bloodless, Kvothe the Arcane, and Kvothe Kingkiller. I have earned those names. Bought and paid for them.
But I was brought up as Kvothe. My father once told me it meant "to know."
I have, of course, been called many other things. Most of them uncouth, although very few were unearned.
I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during the day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.
You may have heard of me.

So begins the tale of Kvothe - from his childhood in a troupe of traveling players to years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-riddled city, to his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a difficult and dangerous school of magic. In these pages you will come to know Kvothe as a notorious magician, an accomplished thief, a masterful musician, and an infamous assassin. But THE NAME OF THE WIND is so much more - for the story it tells reveals the truth behind Kvothe's legend.
Intriguing, right?

Personally, I love the writing.  It's a little abrupt yet still poetic.  You can tell Rothfuss put a lot of work into the writing, carefully choosing each and every sentence in order to ensure smoothness and flow.  I find the writing different, yet comparable to, J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord Of The Rings.

The plot flow is impressive too.  I do admit it slows down in parts, but it still moves fluidly, without areas that bog the story down to gradual halt.  The Name Of The Wind doesn't have a whole lot of action, admittedly, but despite that, the story still holds your interest.  Kvothe's journey is truly epic, and frequently entertaining.

Of course, you can't enjoy a plot without loving the characters first.  You can't fully enjoy the story if the protagonist is a bit of jerk.  Kvothe is a prodigy, but his story is tragic.  You feel so awful for him, and based on how the story was introduced, you know Kvothe is going to reach a really dark and hopeless point in his life, so you want to keep reading to see what happens next in his journey.  The other characters are enjoyable too; there's something about each of them that seems rather normal, making the story feel more grounded and real to the reader.

Oh and the creativity!  The world-building!  I'm sure every fantasy reader has experienced this, but have you ever read a fantasy/sci-fi novel where you become awed by the amount of depth the author's world has?  For me, it's all in the details: the culture of the "countries", the history, the hierarchy in government and society.  As readers, we don't often appreciate the amount of thought that goes into the making of a story, particularly a fantasy story, but with this novel, we can see and appreciate the amount of imagination that went into it.

...And this was just about the first book.

So after I finished reading The Name Of The Wind, I went off and got married, but I still wanted to read book #2, The Wise Man's Fear.  Unfortunately, weddings have this awful tendency to short out the bride's brain, so by the time my new husband and I returned from our honeymoon, my poor muddled brain couldn't remember anything that happened in the first novel.  So I read the first book again (I loved it even more the second time around), and I quickly moved on to the sequel.

The sequel was just as good as the first, if not better.  There was definitely a lot more action this time, with Kvothe going to more exotic places and having greater adventures than before.  What I especially loved was Adem culture.  The thought process that went behind their matriarchal society was incredible.  Anthropology majors would absolutely love this bit!

This series so far is just simply amazing, and for now there are only two books out, which for me is tragic, because I so want to re-read the books, but I don't want to until the new books comes out.  Apparently, there's a side-story novella coming out about a timid character from the Chronicles named Auri.  And Patrick Rothfuss is taking his darn time with the final book in the trilogy (they keep saying it'll come out in 2015).  Until the new books come out, I need to hold off, but I'm really looking forward to reading the conclusion of this trilogy (although, Rothfuss is probably going to say that the trilogy is going to turn into tetralogy, and we're going to have to wait even longer--Gah!).

Would I recommend this read?  Absolutely!  This is a wonderful series for fantasy lovers.  I put these books right up there with LOTR, Harry Potter, and all the other greats in fantasy.  If you haven't read it yet, you really should.  Trust me, you won't regret it!

For more information on these books click on the links below:
Details From Shelfari
Details From Goodreads

Enjoy everyone!  Happy reading!
-Lisa the Dancing Bookworm

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