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Posts Tagged ‘Rothfuss’

I’m trying to fill in a job application form. The difficult bit where I have to actually put down in coherent sentences why I’m suitable for the job. I’ve read the spec. I know I could do the job. But telling them that in a convincing way is more difficult to do. “I can do the job. Trust me” isn’t going to cut it somehow.

And I’m very easily distracted. Cos it’s boring. And tedious.

Therefore this blog post is tripping off my fingertips at the moment. Writing something other than “I developed the website and blah blah blah….”

Plus the second Rothfuss book – the wotsit of fear. Name of Fear? No, that’s not right. I’ll have to check*. Anyway, that’s in my head a lot at the moment. I really want to keep reading it, I’m about ¾ of the way through. I do hope it ends well – the final book I mean – and not some weak and unsatisfying ending – “and he lived happily ever after in the inn with Bast”. We already know Kvothe is alive after everything that happens, because he’s telling the story, though what happens between him and Denna is more intriguing. I’m pretty sure her patron is somehow wrapped up in the Seven too. But maybe Rothfuss is actually just putting clever hints in that direction to make the reader think that. And there’s no hint of where “King Killer” comes from yet either – which king, how, why, etc.

So, as you can tell, I’ve got quite into it now. It was a bit slow to get going. I think there was probably too much time in the University at the beginning of the book. Beautifully written, of course, but the story wasn’t actually moving forwards at all. Once Rothfuss moved Kvothe out of the University and into the wider world it gathered more pace. It’s slow to read for another reason too though. I bought the hardback book (no way I was waiting for a paperback version to come out) but that means it’s a hefty tome. There’s almost 1000 pages. In hardback. It’s like doing weight lifting each time I pick it up. It weighs 1300grams! – as a comparison all five books in the Belgariad weighs 1002 grams (in paperback). (Is it really, really sad I bothered to weigh them just so I could add that?)

Have I mentioned Rothfuss blogs too. Mainly about signings, conventions etc (all in America – boo!) but also entertainingly written little snippits about his little boy. And a cartoon synopsis of book one, (but do read The Name of the Wind first!). How cool is that. He didn’t want to write a prologue (fine by me, they tend to be far too dry to bother with) so instead there’s a very high level comic summarising the first book in one of his blog posts.

Time to check out The Guild now, Rothfuss is the latest of several people to tell me I must watch it. Yes, the job application is back on the to-do pile for now.

* The Wise Man’s Fear.

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Many fantasy books include maps showing the position of towns, coastlines, borders between countries and sometimes even town centres.

I love having a map in a book. It’s something I’ll pore over before starting the book and refer back to during the story. It gives a sense of place to a foreign land, helping the reader picture journeys and locations in their mind. Especially if there are different countries and borders playing a role in the story; for example Hobb’s Six Duchies and Eddings’ Aloria both cross borders and have different nationalities playing a far bigger role than, say, Rothfuss’ Name of the Wind (so far at least)).

Some authors go far further and development geography and weather systems as well. Eddings covered some of these aspects in his Rivan Codex. But Terry Pratchett is the author that mainly springs to mind here. He has created a series of maps of his very well-known Discworld, some spanning the disc, as well as more detailed town maps of Ankh-Morpork; the country of Lancre and even Death’s Domain (there can’t be many authors who have drawn a map of Death’s house and gardens!) Not to mention his books explaining science in the Discworld and “Roundworld” (Earth) – but that’s heading a little off topic.

But is a map necessary for a good fantasy book? A quick discussion with fellow fantasy-fans didn’t result in any books springing to mind that didn’t have a map. Do all (fantasy) authors create a map whilst writing? And do they need to share it with their readers? Is an author better if they can share their ideas of distance, location, layout etc with words rather than resorting to a drawing?

I read an (unpublished) fantasy story a few years ago that a friend wrote. The main character was never described physically in much detail. Deliberately so that each reader painted their own picture. It used to drive me mad asking him for a description and never getting one.

He did sit down and sketch a map of the world though for me. In just a few minutes too, so he clearly had the map in his head even I had the first (and possibly only) drawn version!

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Have you ever been totally entranced by a book? It’s like a drug. The story is lurking in the back of your mind even when you aren’t reading it, waiting for you to go back to it and sink into that new and magical world and characters.

It’s been several years since I’ve read a book so good it digs its claws in and doesn’t let go. Happily I’ve found another stay-up-all-night read. I’m at a desk downstairs as I write this, and I can feel it whispering from the bedside cabinet: “read me, stop what you’re doing, curl up on the sofa, and read me”.

Impressively, I’ve resisted all day, and even more impressively this book is not only a new author for me, but also the first story he’s written. Patrick Rothfuss is the man keeping me up all night, and The Name of the Wind is the book doing it.

It’s fantasy again, but has a slightly different angle so far, to the usual young child is orphaned by baddies of some sort, discovers he has magical talents, finds an old man to guide him and some sidekicks to help out. Kills the baddies who killed his parents, lives happily ever after, probably marrying the young girl he’s been besotted with from the outset. In fact Kvothe, our main character, whilst telling his own story to two companions, slightly mocks this standard format.  It’s an amusing little acknowledgement by Patrick of the somewhat formulaic pattern fantasy stories can take under an unskilled hand.

I’m only about 200 pages in, so have another 300-400 to go yet. The story starts (more or less) with Kvothe sitting in a backwater inn telling his story.  The reader thinks he’s around middle aged, but there are hints that could be much older (or actually, far younger) than that and not a simple inn keeper at all. He begins his story with his early childhood, and yes, his parents are killed in rather strange and mysterious circumstances. However rather than just then reverting into a typical tale of a child growing up etc, Patrick breaks this story up every few chapters by having Kvothe stop telling his story and chat to his listeners, bank the fire, eat lunch and other small realisitic things which adds a nice touch.

Patrick had been working on the first book for 14 years (according to the blog on his website). His second book in the trilogy came out at the beginning of March (and was top of the NY Times best seller list last week), I think that makes it about 5 years since the first one was published… I’m very glad I don’t have to wait that long to read the second, and hope his third is a little quicker.

And now I’ll resist the call of the Name of the Wind no longer. Book, cuppa and sofa await.

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