So, the best book I read last year is The Wise Man’s Fear- the second book in the Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss (The Name of the Wind being the first). I am very rarely truly blown away by fantasy these days- after you’ve read a few in the genre, things start getting incredibly predictable and forgettable- pleasant in the moment, but nothing more. These books are everything but. They are exquisitely written (rare in this genre) as well as having intricate characters, fresh ideas and intricate plot lines- for me, an under-sold Tolkein of its time. If you want more info on the actual plot and characters of this novel, just read my review of the first book– but more importantly, go out and buy both of them. Epic epic epicness of epicosity (That is a word)(Check out wantoncreation as the inspiration for this challenge).
I was lent this book by a friend for a ‘short time loan’ but it took about a year before I actually got round to reading it and another year before I returned it (moral of the story- don’t lend me your books). Not because it was bad- far from it- it took me forever to return it because it was so damn good. These days, as I have probably already mentioned, fantasy rarely really grips me. The ideas are the same, the plots are the same- the writing is just fluff- but this book was phenomenal. Its so complex that I wont explain, just read this excerpt (copyright, patrick rothfuss’ blog), go out and buy it and then you can come back and thank me:
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 have 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 have 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 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.