BOOK REVIEW: The Name Of The Wind – by Patrick Rothfuss

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Title: The Name Of The Wind
(The Kingkiller Chronicle #1)
Author: Patrick Rothfuss
Genre: Epic, Fantasy
First published: 2007
Finished reading: August 15th 2014
Pages: 662
Rating 5

“Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts.”

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I don’t hand out the full five stars that often, but The Name Of The Wind just deserved it. It’s been a while since I have been this absorbed into a story that I just forgot everything around me. Patrick Rothfuss was able to put me under a spell with his story about the adventures of Kvothe. I can easily say this is one of my favorite reads this year! When I first read the description of this first book of The Kingkiller Chronicle, I thought it would be just another Harry Potter spin-off… But the story ended up being SO much more. I can conclude out of the mixed reviews I’ve read that you either hate or love this book. I definitely belong to the second group, and I’m dying to get my hands on a copy The Wise Man’s Fear so I can continue reading about the life of Kvothe. Magical, spellbinding, dark and mysterious… A definite must-read for fantasy fans!

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We get to know the red-haired and infamous wizard called Kvothe only after all his adventures already had taken place. He was forced to disappear after what happened and became an Inn keeper… But his helper Bast cannot live with the fact the real Kvothe is slowly starting to disappear, and secretly sends out messages calling for a scribe. And so Chronicler makes his appearance, and Kvothe agrees to start telling the story of his life which takes in total three days to complete (and thus form the three books in The Kingkiller Chronicle). Kvothe didn’t have an ordinary nor easy life. When he was younger, he travelled around with his parents and a group of travelling performers. They found him exceptionally bright and Kvothe was able to learn things at an impressive speed. When a tinker joined the troupe, the man introduces him to the basics of symphathy as well as many other useful knowledge. And it was this same man that introduced him to the University and inspired him to be come an arcanist.

His life turned around completely when one night his entire family and fellow performers were brutally murdered… Killed by members of the Chandrian who were supposed to exist only in myths. Kvothe was left all alone and had to survive on the streets for various years, now learning different lessons than before. But he never gave up on his goal to join the University of magic, and because of his boldness and intelligence he was accepted at an incredible young age. Problems didn’t cease to exist there. Not only his lack of money causes problems, his is also unfortunate enough to set various Masters and the high born Ambrose against him. Banned from the library, he has to search in different places to get his information… And the lovely Denna who keeps appearing and disappearing in his life doesn’t help much in trying to keep him out of trouble.

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Myths, adventures, dangers, magic and a little pinch of romance thrown in… This book is definitely mindblowing and the story is beautifully written. The songs, the use of invented languages, the prose itself… It’s hard to properly describe the feelings when reading The Name Of The Wind, and it has been some time since I’ve read a book with so many ‘quotable’ and interesting phrases. In short, it’s definitely not the typical fantasy book and absolutely worth the try if you haven’t read it yet. Trust me, you will discover soon enough if this book is for you, and when you do, I hope you will enjoy it the way I did.

BOOK REVIEW: A Feast For Crows – by George R.R. Martin

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Title: A Feast For Crows
(A Song Of Ice And Fire Series #4)
Author: George R.R. Martin
Genre: Fantasy, Epic
First published: October 17th 2005
Finished reading: April 12th 2014
Pages: 978
Rating 2,5

“A man does not need to be a wizard to know truth from falsehood, not if he has eyes. You need only learn to read a face. Look at the eyes. The mouth. The muscles here, at the corners of the jaw, and here, where the neck joins the shoulders.” He touched her lightly with two fingers. “Some liars blink. Some stare. Some look away. Some lick their lips. Many coer their mouths just before they tell a lie, as if to hide their deceit. Other signs may be more subtle, but they are always there. A false smile and a true one may look alike, but they are as different as dusk from dawn.”

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Here I am staring at the last page of this fourth book in the A Song Of Ice And Fire series. Before I started reading, I had promised myself this would be the last one of the series, since I find them increasingly less interesting and confusing, partly because of the amount of characters George R.R. Martin introduces in the series. The fact that he cut the story in half made me wonder if I should read the fifth book after all. In a A Feast For Crows, Martin only tells the story from the point of view of a select group of characters, leaving out important names as Tyrion, Jon Snow, Daenerys and Stannis. The only way to know the whole story is read the fifth one too, unless I want to wait for the tv series reach this part of the story… For now, I would say no to book number five, but I’m sure somewhere in the future my curiosity will win. Until then, I will content myself watching the fourth season of the tv series.

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It is hard to summarize a book with so many different storylines, but in short you can conclude the war between the multiple kings is taking its toll. Many people died or are dying, including some of our main characters. The threat of the Others and Daenerys and her dragons are being pushed to the background. Instead, we follow mainly the women of Westeros: Queen Cersei, the princess of Dorn, Sansa or Alyssa, Arya or Cat, Brienne… Book number four is mostly focused on the adventures and effects of the war on their lives. Parts of the story are missing, and others are touching the border of too much repetition. Seriously, how many times we have to read Brienne is looking for a highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair?

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I feel I’m slowly distancing myself from this series. Although I now know this is only the first part of what he ment as one book, I’m not sure if I can bring it up to read the second half. I don’t mind the amount of pages, but I’m not up for another week and something of almost forced reading in order to finish it. For now, I won’t be touching another Martin, but who knows, maybe in a few months…