Monday, May 30, 2011

Page 49: The King Killer Chronicles

Patrick Rothfuss has published the first two books of his fantasy series. The first is The Name of the Wind and the second is The Wise Man's Fear. I have been reading fantasy ever since I discovered Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings many years ago. I have also read many of the books by Terry Brooks and David Eddings.  Both have created wonderful worlds populated by great characters. Patrick Rothfuss has joined their ranks with The King Killer Chronicles. So, why do I think he is that good?

Patrick Rothfuss has written two books that have not only received good reviews, but have a loyal cadre of followers who are salivating for the third book. In the first book we are introduced to Kote, an innkeeper in a remote village, who is more than he appears to be to the locals. He is in fact "Kvothe the Bloodless", "The King Killer", and several other names that have made him a legend at a young age. A scribe named Chronicler discovers his whereabouts and comes to the Wayside Inn to write down his story.  Kvothe agrees to tell his story much to the surprise of Bast, Kvothe's current student. Book one covers the first day of the telling of the story. There are several pauses or interludes in the story in order for Kvothe to do the kinds of things an innkeeper does.  He prepares food, pours drinks, and banters with the locals.  Here is what Publishers Weekly has to say about the first book.

Starred Review. The originality of Rothfuss's outstanding debut fantasy, the first of a trilogy, lies less in its unnamed imaginary world than in its precise execution. Kvothe ("pronounced nearly the same as 'Quothe' "), the hero and villain of a thousand tales who's presumed dead, lives as the simple proprietor of the Waystone Inn under an assumed name. Prompted by a biographer called Chronicler who realizes his true identity, Kvothe starts to tell his life story. From his upbringing as an actor in his family's traveling troupe of magicians, jugglers and jesters, the Edema Ruh, to feral child on the streets of the vast port city of Tarbean, then his education at "the University," Kvothe is driven by twin imperatives—his desire to learn the higher magic of naming and his need to discover as much as possible about the Chandrian, the demons of legend who murdered his family. As absorbing on a second reading as it is on the first, this is the type of assured, rich first novel most writers can only dream of producing. The fantasy world has a new star. (Apr.)  Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

The second book continues the story as recounted by Kvothe during the second day. One of the more poignant  themes of the first book is continued.  It appears that Kvothe is losing his ability to practice the magic that has been the basis of much of the legend surrounding him.

As the story moves on Kovthe is still at "the University", but takes a sabbatical after much urging from the faculty.  His travels take him to another part of his world to work for the the most powerful man in Vintas.  He is given the task of leading a group of mercenaries to kill a band of bandits in the forests of Vintas who are stealing from the tax collectors.  While in the forest he manages to enter the realm of Fae when the group sees the legendary Felurian bathing in a forest pool.  Men have not usually survived an encounter with her, but Kvothe manages quite well and returns with a special cloak made for him by Felurian.  He also travels with his friend Tempi, one of the mercenaries searching for the bandits, to Adem.  Adem is a warrier culture that reminds me a lot of feudal Japan.  In Adem he learns both the physical and spiritual art of the warrier.  While in Adem, Kvothe must overcome challenges that are quite different from those he faces at the University. The book ends with a recounting of the three silences that surround the Waystone Inn.  You will find out what they are when you read the book.

Here is the review from Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. As seamless and lyrical as a song from the lute-playing adventurer and arcanist Kvothe, this mesmerizing sequel to Rothfuss's 2007's debut, The Name of the Wind, is a towering work of fantasy. As Kvothe, now the unassuming keeper of the Waystone Inn, continues to share his astounding life story—a history that includes saving an influential lord from treachery, defeating a band of dangerous bandits, and surviving an encounter with a legendary Fae seductress—he also offers glimpses into his life's true pursuit: figuring out how to vanquish the mythical Chandrian, a group of seven godlike destroyers that brutally murdered his family and left him an orphan. But while Kvothe recalls the events of his past, his future is conspiring just outside the inn's doors. This breathtakingly epic story is heartrending in its intimacy and masterful in its narrative essence, and will leave fans waiting on tenterhooks for the final installment. (Mar.) 
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

I hope I have enticed you to read these books whether fantasy is your genre or not.  One caveat before you begin.  They are long, but read quickly.  I listened to the Audible version of the second book.  When I downloaded it there were five sections of approximately 8 hours each.  I enjoyed every minute!!

No comments:

Post a Comment