Monthly Archives: February 2014

KayKay #CBR6 Review #08 Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

 Wisemansfear

This is my second time reading this book, and I have to say it’s better than I remembered.  It is one of those books that once you pick it up, it absorbs you completely.  It was the first thing I picked up in the morning and the last thing I put down at night.  This story picks up with Kvothe’s at the University.  He ends up taking some time off, due to his notorious misadventures, and he extends his story beyond the University.  Like it’s predecessor, I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

Here’s a breakdown…

**SPOILER ALERT**

My book reviews are written as a discussion of a book, and not as an advertisement.  Please be aware that there may be information that some would consider spoilers.  Continue on at your own risk!

What is this book about?

The misadventures of Kvothe.  Exceptionally bright.  Perennially in trouble.  He is studying at the University, living hand to mouth, when one of his misadventures causes him to take some time off from the university.  He goes into the service of the Maer Alveron (who is very wealthy) and saves him from being poisoned, helps him catch the girl he wants, and rids his road from bandits.  Along the way he is educated sexually by Felurian(this is where he gets his shaed), and he is educated in the art of fighting by the Adem (this is where he gets his sword- Caesura).  Sometimes it seems to be a string of misadventures strung together, but these stories will add up to whatever causes Kvothe to run and hide as an innkeeper.  And possibly the triumph of Kvothe over the Chandrain.

New pieces to the Chandrain puzzle:

“Lanre spoke to the Cthaeh before he orchestrated the betrayal of Myr Tariniel.”

“Cyphus bears the blue flame, Stercus is in thrall of iron, Ferule chill and dark of eye, Usnea lives in nothing but decay, Grey Dalcenti never speaks, Pale Alenta brings the blight, Last there is the lord of seven: Hated, hopeless, sleepless, sane”

Kvothe realizes that (like Lord Voldermart) the Chandrain know when their name is spoken, and saying their name repeatedly will lead them right to you.

Who’s in it?

Well, Kvothe is the star.  Proud.  Stubborn.  Loyal.  And smart as all get out.  A dangerous combination.   I’m curious to know how he loses his abilities.

Bredon- a noble in Severen.  One of the only friends that Kvothe makes while he is there.  He teaches Kvothe how to play Tak (which requires tack, which Kvothe doesn’t have, but is slowly learning).  He also explains the giving of rings in their culture.

Felurian- Fae, Lady of Twilight, Lady of the first quiet.  She basically has sex with mortals until they die.  She is Kvothe’s first.  He gets away by telling her he needs something to compare her to, and she lets him go (after making him an awesome cloak made of a shaed to protect him so he comes back).  He also calls the name of the wind when he is with her, and calls her name as well.  Also, while Kvothe is in fae he talks to Cthaeh, which sees all futures and always tells people the worst path.

Tempi- An Adem mercenaries who joins Kvothe in hunting down the bandits.  The rumors about Adem mercenaries are that they never speak because they store their words and burn them as fire when they fight.  And they are always fidgeting.  The truth is that they consider showing emotion on their face as uncivilized, and they express emotion with their hands.  They are great fighters because they follow ‘Lethani’ (which is the path, but not the path!)

Bast- I can not wait to hear how Kvothe meets Bast.  Bast is doing his best to pull Kvothe out of his funk, but it isn’t working.

Denna- I am curious to know where she ends up.  Is she dead?  Is that why Kvothe runs and hides as an innkeeper?  Did she just do her normal disappearing act?

Was it written well?

At one point I skimmed a chapter- not because it was slow, but because I was so anxious to see what happened.  I ended up going back and re-reading it.  Every word was cared for and is worth reading.  It is done so well that the world he creates stays with you, and it is hard to even start another book after this one is finished.   

One of my favorite things about this book is that it’s about rumors and reputations and the truth behind the myth.  Seeing the man behind the legend.

There are such clever lines, like:

“Much of the evening is lost to living memory”

“…avoided the subject the same way a cripple learns to keep the weight off an injured leg.”

“People are forever watching things.  They should be seeing.  I see the things I look at.  I am a see-er.”

Patrick Rothfuss has truly brought back the art of story telling.

What are the best lines of the book?

“Anyone can love a thing because.  That’s as easy as putting a penny in your pocket.  But to love something despite.  To know the flaws and love them to.  That is rare and pure and perfect.”

“There are three things all wise men fear: the sea in the storm, a night with no moon, and the anger of a gentle man.”

“There are two things you must remember.  First, our names shape us, and we shape our names in turn.”…”Second, even the simplest name is so complex that your mind could never begin to feel the boundaries of it…”

“The desire of knowledge shapes a man”

“It’s the questions we can’t answer that teach us the most. ..That way, when he finds the answers, they’ll be precious to him.  The harder the question, the harder we hunt.  The harder we hunt, the more we learn. “

“When you love something, you have to make sure it loves you back, or you’ll bring about no end of trouble chasing it.”

Final Thoughts?

I love the name of Elodin’s classes, this time “he said the name of the class was the name of the class”

I love it when he sees/calls the name of the wind.

What is in the Lackless box?  “In a box, no lid of locks / Lackless keeps her husband’s rocks”

What’s up with the different types of silence?  And why is Kote/Kvothe wrapped in a deep silence?  Is he under a spell/curse?  Is that way he can’t react as he should?

How does Kvothe get to and from Cthaeh without being stopped?

Myths that we haven’t heard the ‘real’ story behind:

  • How Kvothe had gone looking for his heart’s desire.  He had to trick a demon to get it.  But once it rested in his hand, he was forced to fight an angel to keep it.
  • I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings.
  • I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in.
  • I have talked to Gods

KayKay #CBR6 Review #07 The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

 TheNameofthewind

Someone recently asked me what this book was about.  I wanted to say it is about a journey, and there’s magic and a magic school…but that sounded too much like Harry Potter.  I decided I couldn’t properly remember, and I needed read it again and write a proper review.  I write these reviews because I have a terrible memory.  I mostly remember the feeling I had when I read a book (and this one left me with a great feeling).  Needless to say this book is a 5, if you haven’t read this…get it!  Read it!  Now.  Seriously.

Here’s a breakdown…

**SPOILER ALERT**

My book reviews are written as a discussion of a book, and not as an advertisement.  Please be aware that there may be information that some would consider spoilers.  Continue on at your own risk!

Plot

This is a story of stories- but all the stories tie together, as Skarpi says “I only know one story.  But oftentimes small pieces seem to be stories themselves.”

In the simplest words, the story is about Kvothe-  “I trouped, traveled, loved, lost, trusted and was betrayed.”

Kvothe has quite a reputation- “I am a myth…A very special kind of myth that creates itself.  The best lies about me are the ones I told”.  “Reputation is like a sort of armor, or a weapon you can brandish if need be.”

The story starts with Kote working in a small town at an inn (“…he’d only been in town a year or so.  He was still a stranger”)  He “seemed rather sickly.  Not exactly unhealthy but hollow.”  When The Chronicle tracks him down to get his story, we get the real scoop behind some of the stories going around.  The telling of his story is meant to remind him who he is, because, hiding as an innkeeper is affecting him- “there’s a fundamental connection between seeming and being.”

Plot Score: 5/5 

Characters

Kvothe (pronounced Quothe)- The man had true-red hair, red as flame.  He is of the Edema Ruh.  A story telling people who travel around entertaining.  He is a genius.  He is not a perfect character, he makes enemies and plenty of mistakes.  He forgets who he is and what is potential is, and we spend a lot of time wanting him to be bolder, to pursue his girl and to play his music and, most importantly, to start naming things!

Nicknames: Kvothe the bloodless (when he gets publically whipped at school, he takes medicine prior that restricts his blood flow and stops him from passing out).

Abenthy (Ben)- one of the first mentors for Kvothe- the first one he saw speak the name of the wind.

The Chronicle-  Related to the duke, he is documenting Kvothe’s story. One of the few people who know the name of iron.

Bast- son of Remmen, Prince of Twilight and the Telwyth Mael.  Kvothe’s student and friend.  He tells The Chronicle “You are not wise enough to fear me as I should be feared.  You do not know the first note of the music that moves me.”  We don’t get to find out who he is and how he ends up with Kvothe, but I can not wait to hear this story!

Skarpi- When Kvothe was homeless on the streets, he heard Skarpi tell a story and it reminded him who he is and what he needed to do (go to the university).  I hope he has a bigger role later, as when The Chronicle first comes to Kvothe, he says he’s been traveling with Skarpi.

Elodin- the master namer at the university, he sponsors Kvothe to Relar (a higher level of student).  At one point he has a class called “Unlikely Maths” – the time of the class was ‘now’ and the location was ‘everywhere’.

Diane/ Denna- Kvothe’s love.  I love this book in the same way Kvothe describes his love for Denna- “…she was beautiful.  That is all that can be well said.  That she was beautiful, through to her bones, despite any flaw or fault.  She was beautiful.”

Amrbrose- Kvothe’s nemesis.  A rich student who doesn’t take well to Kvothe’s not cowering to his bullying.  “To deem us simply enemies is to lose the true flavor of our relationship.  It was more like the two of us entered into a business partnership in order to more efficiently pursue our mutual interest of hating each other”

Characters Score: 5/5

World Building

My favorite part of this world is the stories.  The way the stories and rhymes that are told have a kernel of truth.

The History of the world

“The beginning, as far as I know, the world was spun out of the nameless void by Aleph, who gave everything a name.  Or, depending on the version of the tale, found the names all things already possessed”

Then there is Telhu, who made the world and who is lord over all.  Who comes to the world to kill the demons.  There is one demon who eludes him (Encanis), and he ends up killing him, but also dies in the process (at least his human incarnation).   (This is the story Trapis told in his basement)

Lanre/Lyra- Lyra knew the name of many things and Lanre was a fierce warrior.  During a major battle Lanre is killed and Lyra calls him back from the dead.  But something happens to Lyra and Lanre seems to lose all hope (unable to kill himself because he had already come back from death).  At this point he becomes Haliax.  He traps his friend Selitos while burning his city.  Selitos curses him so his face is always covered in shadows.  Selitos puts a knife in his own eye as his punishment for not seeing Lanre for who he was.  He wants revenge and asks Aleph, who does not give his permission.  Selitos forms a new group called the Amyr in memory of his ruined city to fight Haliax and the Chandrian (Telhu is the first to join the Amyr).  Aleph grants the Amyrs wings of iron and glass, or stone and blood to help with their mission.  (this is the story Skarpi tells)

The Chandrian- The bad guys, working with Haliax.  There are signs they are near (blue fire, rusted iron) There are seven of them (Chaen means seven, Chaen-dian means ‘seven of them.’).   In the Trapis tells there is one demon named Encanis, who is ‘the swallowing darkness’, his face hidden in shadows, sounded like Haliax who is described as ‘wrapped in shadow’.

The magic

The magic system involves knowing the name of things and being able to call them.  In this story Kvothe doesn’t master it, but we do see him (inadvertently) call the name of the wind.

Words/Names- “There are seven words that will make a person love you.  There are ten words that will break a stron man’s will.  But a word is nothing but a painting of a fire.  A name is the fire itself.”

Sympathy- Imposing your will on the world.  One of laws is that the more similar two objects are the greater the sympathetic link.  Reminded me of voodoo with objects other than people.

Heart of Stone- a mental exercise that let you set aside your emotions and prejudices and let you think clearly about whatever you wished.

World Building Score: 5/5

Style

Sometimes I wonder if authors keep list of clever little phases they think of or hear and then use them in their novels.  My favorite clever lines:

  • “Five fingers and flesh with blood beneath.  One could almost believe that on the other end of that hand lay a person of some sort.”
  • “Everyone thinks chemistry and alchemy are so similar, but they’re really not.  They’re not even related.  They just happen to live in the same house.”

This entire book is written so beautifully.  I feel like every word was purposefully chosen.  And there was no skim reading at all.

Style Score : 5/5

Life Lessons (fka Bigger Meaning)

“The difference is between saying something to a person, and saying something about a person.  The first might be rude, but the second is always gossip.”

Our minds ability to cope with pain “First is the door of sleep.  Second is the door of forgetting.  Third is the door of madness.  Last is the door of the death.”

“Isn’t that the way of the world? … We want the sweet things, but we need the unpleasant ones.”

“Wisdom precludes boldness”

Life Lessons Score:  1/5 

Final Thoughts?

Is Patrick Rothfuss really Illien?  The most famous story teller of the Edema Ruh?

Myths that we haven’t heard the ‘real’ story

  • How Kvothe had gone looking for his heart’s desire.  He had to trick a demon to get it.  But once it rested in his hand, he was forced to fight an angel to keep it.
  • I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings.
  • 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 have tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day.
  • I have talked to Gods

Total Score and Recommendation

21/25- If you are reading this review and haven’t read this book – read it!