1.29.2012

Book Chat: Patrick Rothfuss

The Name of the Wind
The Wise Man's Fear

I've heard that Rothfuss's books, known collectively as The Kingkiller Chronicles, were originally written as one book. If so, it was gigantic, because The Name of the Wind runs over 600 pages and Wise Man's Fear over 900 and there is a third one waiting in the wings.

Of course, a grand, epic tale can't be told in a few hundred pages, can it.

And The Kingkiller Chronicles are just that: A grand, epic tale filled with mystery, intrigue, wizards, witches, magic and music.

The hero is Kvothe, currently known as Kote, a mild-mannered inn keeper. When a wandering scribe known as Chronicler recognizes him, however, Kvothe agrees to tell his tale in order to set the history straight.

The mild-mannered innkeeper, you see, is something of a legend; he is both hero and villain, actor, singer, story-teller, and magician. He survives the slaughter of his parents, members of a traveling troupe of performers, by the mysterious Chandrian; survives as an orphan on the streets of Treban, and then cons his way into the university, a place where he can learn 'the name of the wind' and about the Chandrian.

The magic, as it turns out, isn't that hard; the Chandrian prove to be another matter.

Kvothe makes friends and enemies. He meets a girl who will play an important part in his life. He has adventures, successes, and failures...

And there is still another book to come.

It is a grand story, as I've said, and I'm looking forward to the next book. Given, however, that book one was published in 2007 and book two in 2011, I'm not expecting to read it any time soon.

That said...

There's something about these books that puzzles me.

If you go to Amazon and read the comments, you will find something of a controversy which, to me, seems silly.

It seems the people who like George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series believe you can't like both. They trash Rothfuss's writing, his characters, basically everything about the book, mostly without offering anything definitive as to why they don't like it. And they are rabid about their hatred. It's an 'us vs. them' mentality and I really don't get it.

For the record, I read Martin's "Game of Thrones" and found it tedious and in need of a good editor. I mean, for example, paragraph after paragraph of what sort of armor the knights are wearing? Not my idea of a grand read. I like things parred down a bit. Martin is not my cup of tea but I wouldn't go out of my way to trash him. To each his own is my motto.

Is there not room out in the book reading world for both men, both styles?  I should think there is...  I would hope there is.

One final thing about the "I hate Patrick Rothfuss" club...

One of the most repeated negative comments I've seen has to do with the inevitable 'boy wizard goes to school to learn magic' sort of comment. All I can say to that is good ideas get retold; sometimes in better ways, sometimes in worse and sometimes in different ways.

Rothfuss does an excellent job of retelling an old story... and that's good enough for me.

2 comments:

Kailana said...

I loved the first book and still really need to read the second book. I think I am a bit slow because who knows when the 3rd book will be out...

cj said...

Kailana -

I almost wish I'd followed your lead because I'm dying to know what happened to put Kvothe into the role of innkeeper and what happened with Denna...

Hopefully, it won't be four years!

cjh