Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Name of the Wind

Boy oh boy am I looking forward to today's blog entry! Patrick Rothfuss has written a masterpiece, or at least the first third of a masterpiece, in The Name of the Wind. This book is the first part of a projected trilogy, called the Kingkiller Chronicle, and unlike other fantasy authors lately, I believe this to be a true trilogy. From the way the story unfolds, it is obvious that the author has the entire story well planned. It won't be one of those series that keep on growing as the author/publisher sees best seller revenues pile up.

The author himself says the story is about the myth of a hero seen from backstage. The protagonist of the novel, Kvothe, (pronounced Qwothe) is essentially telling the story of his life to a chronicler although we do occasionally cut back to snippets of the present. We know he is a hero of some sort at the beginning but how that came to be is a mystery. This novel has everything that makes a fantasy novel (or any novel for that matter) great. It has great characters who we profoundly care about. It has a great, well thought out setting, a complete society that fits together logically. It has a steady pace with highs and lows of action. It has comedic moments as well as tragic moments. It has mystery, particularly with the characters of Dianne and Bast. The protagonist is very intelligent but does make mistakes and must deal with the consequences. We are caught up in the emotions of the characters as they interact with all that happens. And the prose itself...it is written in such a way that is easy to understand and yet is not "simple"; the words paint the proverbial picture we always look for in a good book. It flows and that, along with the rest of the aspects of this book, makes us want to keep on reading and ignore our bedtime.

Patrick Rothfuss is considered one of the bright new fantasy authors out there and I can easily see why. He resists cliches and even makes fun of them. The good news is that supposedly all novels in the trilogy are written and they plan to publish them one per year. The bad news is that this was published in hardcover in March 2007 and we have yet to see the second book here in 2009. Amazon has it listed as coming out in April 2009 but the author's own blog tells of how he has isolated himself in a cabin to speed up the process of finishing the second book...that was as of last week so I doubt the April 2009 date. At any rate, whenever it does come out, I will have great difficulty in following my "no hardback purchases" policy and waiting for the paperback. It's that good!

I also finished another Deaver short story last night in the More Twisted collection. "Tunnel Girl" was a nice little story even though the twist came about half way through and was predictable once again. I was hopeful there might be a double twist as the protagonist's wife seemed to be figuring out the real mystery but she fell short of that so it was a bit of a let down.

Next up, a dependable author for me and my first Western of the year: Cherokee Trail by Louis L'Amour.

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Top 10 Books in no particular order (Well Known Authors)

  • "The Stand" by Stephen King
  • "Kane and Able" by Jeffrey Archer
  • "The Killer Angels" by Michael Shaara
  • "The Dark Elf Trilogy" by RA Salvatore
  • "Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss
  • "River God" by Wilbur Smith
  • "Mortalis" by RA Salvatore
  • "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card
  • "Centennial" by James A Michener
  • "The Repairman Jack" series by F. Paul Wilson

Top Books/ Series in no particular order (Lesser Known Authors)

  • "The Sculpter" by Gregory Funaro
  • "Power Down" by Ben Coes
  • "Revolution at Sea Saga" by James L. Nelson
  • "Black Rain" by Graham Brown
  • "Top Producer" by Norb Vonnegut
  • "Prairie" by Anna Lee Waldo
  • "The Wild Blue" by W. Boyne & S Thompson
  • "Unsolicited" series by Julie Kaewert
  • "Freedom" by William Safire