Ok so a couple of months ago my girl and fellow goddam nerd Sam wrote a review of the Kingkiller Chronicles and I in no way want to distractfrom her thoughts about the the two novels that Patrick Rothfuss has released thus far. HOWEVER, >_> <_< , I have my own. FIGHT ME SAM!!
Spoiler free overview: so this section of the review has to be called the “spoiler free” section, bc the second section pertains particulary to the second novel and therefore offers spoilers and i FUCKING HATE THAT so, ahem. yeah.
Sam and I agree: I have no idea how the shit to say this dude’s name. It’s spelled Kvothe, but pronounced “Quothey”? regardless, my mans is a washed up hack when we meet him. his hole in the wall, backwoods, 2 bedroom-1 bath inn is “busy” in the sense that a grocery store bathroom is busy. people use it but only when they, like, gotta i guess. his companion Bast is FULL of mysteries, and this bro he comes across, the Chronicler, has a reputation that precedes him. what’s more, he suspects that Kvothe has more in him than the capacity to baste a mutton chop and pour a shitty brandy for the literal sheep-fucking locals. in fact, Kvothefonzwhatever has a an incredibly full and vibrant history. i mean the “KingKiller” series is ostensibly named after him and when we meet him, he’s polishing bottles of rum. so. yeah. something the fuck is going on here.
The Name of the Wind is a clever framed narrative wherein Kvothe tells his story to this Chronicler as Bast watches on. we meet his family and watch (as sam eloquently describes in her review, from which i will not pilfer) as he and they get their shit fucked up by some like demon people called the Chandrian. it’s wild. Kvothe’s recovery involves extreme poverty and an incredible, irreverent, and recurring brilliance that carries him towards his life’s goals and beyond them.
Ok so. I rarely read a book in which very little seems to actually happen. upon reflection, this is an inaccurate assessment of this novel, however, considering that our protagonist is an “old” man sitting at a table throughout it’s entirety (save one badass spider-demon slaying thunderstormy scene) I find myself finishing Name of le wind really interested in what Kvothe manages in the second novel.
Characters: the strength of this novel and the series as a whole is the awesome supple brilliance of these dymanic characters. they grow, man. they surprise, they are evocative, they remind me of myself way to often for me to not personally hear the rebukes they receive. When Kvothe struggles to figure out if a girl likes him, i catch myself saying “SAME, BRO” aloud on the metro, when he’s a trifle too confident and errs on the side of conceited, i feel my own cheeks (theoretically) turn red at the rebuke
Writing style: ingestible af.. at times overwrought but not so heavy handedly so that i want to put it down. just a lot of adjectives and advebs in the typical fantasy style. (In this he is MUCH improved in the second novel, btw. Vastly.) He sneaks ciritcal pieces of info in any seemingly trivial passage so watch out for easter eggs as you read, they are def there. Rothfuss’ similes are quite evocative, as are his feel for the end of a paragraph or chapter.
Spoilers aka I hate this aka the second (read: better) novel
So the scond novel is Kote (Ovothe’s) second day telling his story to chronicler, and here’s where i think he starts lying.
there’s a whole school of thought that asks whether you trust your narrator; interestingly, i trust Qvothe (Kote) but I think he’s embellishing some parts. NOW does that make him less impresssive? not necessarily. does that make him more compelling a read? absolutely. the function of his lies does not, to me, diminish their effectiveness. lets talk about examples.
APPARENTLY, according to lore, deep in the forst lives a fairy, who is so beaurtiful that any man who sees her is smitten and goes to her. she subsequently fucks him to death (sign me up.) well. um. Qvothe finds her.”DECIDES” to go to her, deposits some dick and eventually tricks her into letting him go. like fam. we all have lied on our stick before, but you are saying you were a combo of so clever and so competent that you were the first dude in the history of the world to escape this literal sex demon???? SHE DOES THIS FOR A LIVING
he has other interesting and somewhat more believable feats such as killing 20 marauders on his own by calling lightning down from the sky, being the youngest student to basically do anything ever at his wizarding university, and being basically the 2nd best lutenist of all time.
he does learn this pretty cool thai chi/kung fu thing whole he’s on his adventures and surrounded by this aweome AWESOME culture of people, and i believe that part. he’s a cunning linguist and driven to be awesome at everthing, so that bit fits the narrative.
(End of Spoilers)
i’ll give some credit to Rothfuss. he creates some in depth and awesome languages in these novels. and that’s why i find myself unbothered when considering the reliability of the narrator. there are so many moments where we get some truly gorgeous prose, whole paragraphs are compelling and painful and gruesome and infuriating. Rothfuss evokes all these in me while telling a what is really a pretty cool story. Ultimately,because of the events outside Kvothe’s lil framed narrative, i think we’re gonna find out whether he’s full of shit or really, truly, about that action. Though i suppose I’ll resign myslef to wait until the third novel is released to get that answer.
What it rates: NoTW: 3.75/5 guinesses; TWMF: 4.9/5 Bell’s Two Hearted Ales (bc favoite beer and this second novel warrants such praise)
What to pair it with: well how long do you have to read? are you a “finish this work in a weekend reader? if so, a light american POS millerlite might be the move just because of the sheer volume the series will occupy, even just two books in.