The Kingkiller Chronicle (Rothfuss)

Discussion in 'Non-WOT - Literature and Fiction' started by Eluial Aldaran, May 22, 2013.

  1. Eluial Aldaran

    Eluial Aldaran A real gaydin Aes Sedai

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    I didn't see a thread about this series. This is about the Patrick Rothfuss books The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man's Fear.

    Apparently Book 3 (for now titled "The Doors of Stone") is set to come out in 2014. He's also said these books will be a complete story arc. Makes me think he plans on writing more books about the world that will follow a different arc

    And maybe be about Kvothe's present/future -- like, he finally hunts down the Chandrian? I'm guessing based on comments he's made that up to the present day, ie the time when he's telling the story, he has not yet actually found them.

    So, I just finished reading book 2. I've enjoyed the books so far, and they're very different from most other things out there, both because of the magic system and because of the style of the narrative. What do other people think about them?

    Some specific comments (contains spoilers for both books):

    I felt like the story got a little repetitive at times, especially when he was at the university. It's like, there were three main conflicts: Ambrose, money and Denna, and he just kept putting in slightly different variations on the same problems over and over again.

    I find the system of magic really interesting because it's basically just their version of science. You aren't necessarily born with or without the ability to do it. Some people seem to be naturally better at it than others, but I think it's implied than anyone could learn to be an arcanist.

    I find it odd that this kid who is basically a nobody has such a crazy world-wide reputation by the end of the 2nd book, and that he's totally unsurprised by it. Like, he doesn't find it weird at all that people all across the country, and even in a big city, are telling stories about him.

    Denna drives me nuts. I feel like Rothfuss really tried to make her into this strong yet troubled female character, someone who had problems but was also not your typical insipid love interest... and he failed at it completely. It's not so much that she doesn't have her act together -- she's broken in a lot of the same ways that Kvothe is broken, I think. It's just, I'm sick of the female character love interest to the main character archetype who constantly plays mindgames and crap like that.

    I really, really enjoy all the folklore and information about the fae and the songs and all that stuff. Usually I get bored with songs and poetry in books and just skip them (like in LotR :p). But I think Rothfuss has done a good job in integrating them into the story and making them interesting.

    I love Elodin. :lol
     
  2. Taika Vinh

    Taika Vinh Aes Sedai

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    I love these books. Really.

    In fact I think The Name of the Wind is the best fantasy book I've ever read. That said, I agree with most of what you criticized about it. :lol The Wise Man's Fear is not as brilliant, but really good nevertheless. BUT I'm not sure it's possible to finish the whole story arc in three books, but then again Rothfuss might know better. :p It's super good news that the last one's coming out so soon, I was kind of prepared to wait for ages for it. :D

    100% agreed about Denna. And Elodin!

    I love Bast, too.

    And 100% agreed about the magic system!

    Music is important to me (I'm an ex-musician), and that is perhaps why I'm so smitten with the books, Kvothe himself and especially his past.

    About Kvothe's reputation, I don't know. He's done extraordinary things after all, a lot of them. From his start in the University and on.

    Btw, I really enjoyed Kvothe's time at the university, even though he so frequently made stupid decisions and acted the fool, and even though it was kind of a repetitive-ish part of the book. :p

    It's been a while since I read the books, so there's probably a lot of stuff I've just forgotten. But I wanted to post here, because, well, I love these books.
     
  3. Lenore Carvoe

    Lenore Carvoe Aes Sedai

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    I love the series as it combines so many things I like (I'm an eager semi-professional musician) and as it is so wonderfully written languagewise. I'm definitely up for a re-read before the next book comes out - I'm just not sure that it will be the last one in this series, there still seems to be so much left to tell.
     
  4. Ealandrelle Melyma

    Ealandrelle Melyma Aes Sedai

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    Thanks for starting this thread, Elu! I was looking for one on this series :) I've just started The Wise Man's Fear. I'm about a third of the way through, I think. Don't have my Kindle to hand to verify that. So far it's not grabbing me quite as hard as book 1 did, but I am still enjoying it. I'm beginning to wonder where it's going though... :look

    I don't know how many years there are between Kvothe at the University and Kote the innkeeper, but right now I'm thinking "There are a lot of tales to live up to and things to do, and he's got a book and two thirds to do it? Hmmmm.... Now I know from what Kvothe has said that he'll get kicked out of the Uni at some point, so for all I know that could be tomorrow... But still.

    I love Bast and Elodin. And Auri too.

    Denna frustrates me greatly, but I take that as a sign that she is written well :lol When a character annoys me that much it's often because they've become "real" enough to me that I'm irritated with them, not with how the author has written - if that makes sense? :look

    I just want to see Ambrose get his comeuppance at some point. Hemme too, if possible!
     
  5. Eluial Aldaran

    Eluial Aldaran A real gaydin Aes Sedai

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    Eala, yeah, without spoiling anything, there are still quite a few tales that we've heard rumors about that we haven't heard first hand about yet by the end of book 2. So I'm also curious how that's all going to fit in.

    One thing I forgot to mention that I really enjoyed (minor, non-primary plot related book 2 spoilers)

    When he's with the Adem, and he has the conversation about fathers (man-mothers). That part was brilliant. I really felt Kvothe's frustration when he was trying to explain how pregnancy works and they just weren't buying it. It's something I'd never really considered, but if you have a society with no sex taboo and no modern medicine, what would their ideas about where babies come from be? It would be really difficult to know who the father of any particular baby was, since presumably the mother would have had many partners withing a short span of time, so there wouldn't be a good way to draw connections based on children looking like the mother's partner. And if you're having sex regularly, it's also going to be hard to correlate it with ovulation. So yeah, I can totally see how they'd end up thinking pregnancy just happens when it needs to happen.
     
  6. Aleyna Kay'merin

    Aleyna Kay'merin Citizen

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    I love these books! I read The Wise Man's Fear cover to cover in the 2 days immediately following its release... so that being said, I'm struggling to remember all of the little details for the sake of conversation. Since I've read it I've also plowed through Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy (which I also love, and if you haven't read it you should!), done a lot of reading for school, and started a reread of WoT. That being said... I'll keep my comments in a spoiler tag.

    I love Kvothe as a character, though he's come under fire as a "Mary Sue" kind of character. Though he has a flawed and troubling past, and we know he's kind of hunkering down and in hiding in the future, he's got a plethera of traits that fit the "Mary Sue" mold. Tragic orphan, narcissist, know it all badass genius whom we all know is going to land on his feet no matter how hard he blunders. Kvothe is always the center of attention, and in truth, really isn't that great of a friend to his companions who hang on his every word. Also, he's the prodigy who always seems to get what he wants...

    That being said, I still really enjoy these books. Rothfuss' writing is captivating, the prose gorgeous, and the world interesting enough to keep me hooked.

    Deanna drives me crazy. She just doesn't do it for me as a character on a whole.

    Bast is adorable.

    I agree with the previous comments that there seems to be too much left to tell to cram it all in one last book. I have faith though that Rothfuss is taking the time to craft a story as amazing as the first two installments. We shall see!
     
  7. Taika Vinh

    Taika Vinh Aes Sedai

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    I agree, but he is also supposed to be a genius. That's why it all fits his character. And I totally wouldn't want to know him (or anybody like him) personally in rl. :eek It's not a very unknown thing that geniuses, who achieve marvelous things in art, or music, or whatever can be self-centered and not too good a friend. I love to read about him! :D
     
  8. Aleyna Kay'merin

    Aleyna Kay'merin Citizen

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    Agreed Taika Sedai! Savants and geniuses aren't exactly known for their intensely good people skills! :lol I love following Kvothe's adventures because of how he handles everything that's thrown at him, how he comes out on top, and how ridiculously smart and smarmy he is. I know a lot of people criticize the books for those traits though, and I felt compelled to mention it. I had a friend completely rip the first two books apart because he didn't like Kvothe's "Mary Sue"ness, for lack of a better term. I just told him that I enjoyed them anyways, and that he should avoid the third book. :giggle
     
  9. Elays Saeryn

    Elays Saeryn

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    hmm

    I agree- I love Elodin and Auri as well. However I was disappointed in the second book. It has nothing to do on how Kvothe is perceived by people and more do with the fact that I was expecting Kwothe to be older when he had all those encounters with the fae and such... and that there would be more adventure in the between.
     
  10. Aran Cherubim

    Aran Cherubim Resident Citizen

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    I read The Name of the Wind back in 2010 when I was in the army, and read Wise Man's Fear in 2012, I think. The first is by far my favorite, though the latter isn't bad either.

    The Name of the Wind is more tender, in a sense. I found Kvothe much easier to sympathise with. The humiliations and tragedy created an general feel of overcoming great adversity, and his relationship to Denna was very moving, and frustrating in a good way.

    Later on... eh, he's becoming a bit of a douche. I know people above here have been talking about how he's essentially Batman, and is attractive for the same reasons - but I don't know. Part of it, I think, has been the 180 degree turn on sexual matter; the first book has none of it, and in the second book he more or less literally becomes the best lover in the world and gets ton of tail and suddenly every girl is lovesick for him. I'm sorry, it's just too jarring a switch of tone/pace for my tastes. And there's a alot of stuff just happening, I feel like. All in all the second book is more poorly paced and feels kinda overpacked with ideas, and reads more like a collection of stories rather than any coherent narrative, like the first book did.

    As a student of anthropology, I found the Adem interesting. The way they viewed showing emotions as being childish and uncivilized, their view of music being more intimate than sex, etc was probably an eye-opener for many readers when it comes to potential cultural variety (although I'm skeptical to an entire culture without music. Rythm is a very fundamental part of human existance. I'll ignore my niggles and move on, however). Their beliefs regarding pregnancy aren't completely unrealistic (they remind me of certain peoples that believe pregnancy is initiated by the female, and the male only provides extra nutrients through his sperm) - however, their way of handling STDs is very naïve, considering that many STDs can be virtually undetectable. I'm allowing it to pass, by only with a good dose of suspension of disbelief. :p

    I'm also critical to their Proud Warrior Race schtick (Also We Provide Convenient Exotic Sexual Experiences). I get their view of females being better fighters than males because their cultural views - that's a cool touch - but the representation of fighting techniques (and how effective they are) is a bit overly idealized. I suppose we are talking about fantasy, so it's something else I've just got to accept. I mean, the Sword-leaf tree will probably frustrate a botanist or something, but whatevs.

    All in all definitely worth a read. Looking forward to the last book - unless it crazily drags out like Wot or aSoIaF. :lol
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2013
  11. Tazren Talamar

    Tazren Talamar Gaidin

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    On Kvothe being a Mary Sue:
    Kvothe has a lot of Mary Sue traits, that is true ... but that is also the point, that he's supposed to be this wonderchild that is a genius and learns things extraordinarily fast, and his troubled background isn't just there for the sake of being there, it is critical to the story and his motivations for doing what he does. The story is all about a character who's become a true legend and done all of those things. I'm not sure you could do that without a character that has a lot of Mary Sue traits. I mean, just reading the backside of the cover gives you a pretty good idea that that's the kind of story it's going to be: about someone who's done a lot of things nobody else ever has. Reading it and expecting something else is just a bit naïve.

    But he isn't a Mary Sue, despite those traits, imo. I don't see him as an idealised character representing Rothfuss. He has a lot of issues, and is in no way perfect. He's not the best at everything he does. Naming, for instance, does not come as easily to him as others (that girl in the Naming class outperforms him, for instance). The woman who runs the pawn shop outclasses him in terms of splitting the mind and using Sympathy. He does not come up with a perfect solution for everything. The fact that he's an impulsive, self-centered pompous ass a lot of the time is one of his biggest flaws, that seems very much intentional on Rothfuss's part.

    He's a lot Mary Sue traits, but he's not a Mary Sue. Like, say, Wesley-fracking-Crusher in Star Trek: The Next Generation. There's a Mary Sue if ever there was one.
     
  12. Naomi al'Moranwin

    Naomi al'Moranwin Aes Sedai

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    My brother bothered me to read these for months, and I finally understand why!

    I listened to the first two books on tape, about a year ago. I got them from the library originally, but I'm trying out Audible and actually buying them now. I highly recommend the recorded performances. :D

    With good pacing and dramatic emphasis the first book read aloud is 28 hours and the second is 43 hours. I'm not sure how Kvothe is telling this whole story in 3 days. Maybe the days are longer in this world? :look

    I'm not bothered by the boy genius bit. While you can arguably write a compelling story from anyone's point of view, is it surprising we're getting the story of the Kingkiller as opposed to Joe the Arcanist? Kvothe screws up. He has questionable morals, even when he's not on the street (remember he cheated to get in to the university in the first place). He's obviously doing the wrong thing now, standing around pretending to be (and sucking at being) an innkeeper when things are obviously still going on in the world.

    Come to think of it, he's not always smart. I think he's a good researcher but a bad experimenter. Point him in the right direction with a reasonably clear path and he'll figure it out. That's how he did his music and lived on the street and learned artificing. Point him in the right direction in the middle of a field and he'll put on a blindfold, spin around in circles, and charge until he hits a wall. That's how he screws up with Denna... strike that, it's how he screws up with all interpersonal interactions. I think it's also why he sucks at Naming. Too many variables, not enough data.


    And I admit, I like the man-mothers bit. I laughed my ass off at Kvothe's sputtering.
     
  13. Tazren Talamar

    Tazren Talamar Gaidin

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    I think Kvothe's flaw, all things considered, is that while he's extremely intelligent and clever and witty, and very charistmatic, he's got no good old-fashioned wisdom to back it up with.
     
  14. Taika Vinh

    Taika Vinh Aes Sedai

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    Yeah, I agree. If he gets to live long enough, maybe he'll learn. :p
     
  15. Erin al'Denael

    Erin al'Denael Ban Hammer, Scourge of Spambots Everywhere Aes Sedai Director of Community Outreach

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  16. Enelya al'Morna

    Enelya al'Morna Aes Sedai

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    This thread made me buy the audiobooks with my Audible credits ^^
     
  17. Eluial Aldaran

    Eluial Aldaran A real gaydin Aes Sedai

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    Ergh. Honestly, not a fan of the TV-ification of all the fantasy. And not only because it makes the authors not write.
     
  18. Arecias Dezell

    Arecias Dezell

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    I've just bought this book. The reviews were good, but I'm more excited to read it after browsing through this thread! I am looking forward to see how music is tied into the story.
     
  19. Naomi al'Moranwin

    Naomi al'Moranwin Aes Sedai

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    :D :D :D
     
  20. Jodea Kegan

    Jodea Kegan Aes Sedai

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    I finally picked up the first one last year after everybody on facebook kept on going on and on about the second one being good.

    I enjoyed both of them a lot. The second has a different feel to it, but I can totally roll with that. While I did enjoy the firs tone more I think the second gets too much criticism. They are both totally worth a read if you enjoy fantasy. The magic system is great.