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The Wise Man’s Fear

The Kingkiller Chronicle, Day 2

Author: Patrick Rothfuss

Format: unabridged audio book

Reader: Nick Podehl

Publisher: Brilliance Audio

Length:  42 hrs and 59 mins

Release Date: 03/03/2011 (Hardcover published by DAW: 03/01/2011)

Acquired: purchased from Audible.com


Publisher’s Summary:

My name is Kvothe, pronounced nearly the same as “quothe.” Names are important as they tell you a great deal about a person. I’ve had more names than anyone has a right to. The Adem call me Maedre. Which, depending on how it’s spoken, can mean The Flame, The Thunder, or The Broken Tree. 

My first mentor called me E’lir because I was clever and I knew it. My first real lover called me Dulator because she liked the sound of it. I have been called Shadicar, Lightfinger, and Six-String. I have been called Kvothe the Bloodless, Kvothe the Arcane, and Kvothe Kingkiller. I have earned those names. Bought and paid for them.

But I was brought up as Kvothe. My father once told me it meant “to know.”

I have, of course, been called many other things. Most of them uncouth, although very few were unearned.

I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.

You may have heard of me.


My thoughts, which include spoilers… thou hast been warned:

Since I had a super-awesome friend from Indiana picking up an autographed hardcover for me from an author signing, I bought the audio book from Audible as soon as it was released (two. long. days after the HC release!) and set to it. But as I started listening, I was torn between plugging in my headphones day and night to get through it as quickly as possible so I could find out what was going to happen and the alternative… taking it in small doses to make it last.

I had this same issue with Robert Jordan’s (& Brandon Sanderson’s) Towers of Midnight last November and ended up doing the same with this book as I did then. I tried to take it in small doses but then plowed through the last third of the book in a day or two. I just had to hear one more chapter… had to get through this scene… HAD to see what Kvothe would do next. Since finishing the book, it’s taken me a while to collect my thoughts, and get proper spellings for some names as I only heard them and was guessing, but I’ve got the book in my embrace… erm, I mean in my hands (thank you, J!) so it’s time to review!

Again, I do discuss spoilers for this book and most likely the first so if you’ve not read either book and are wary of spoilers, now would be a good time to stop reading. On with it!

Knowing before even reading The Name of the Wind that Kvothe would be kicked out of the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in, I was anxious as Day 2 of his recitation of his legendary story to Chronicler would start. I really enjoyed hearing of his time at the University in Wind and was worried that he’d be ousted from that revered place of arcane learning early on in Fear and that I’d not get to see much of Wilem and Simmon, Auri and Elodin. Kvothe did end up leaving the University in the course of this book but it was by his own choice, and he had many adventures before returning. So I get to experience that OMG what’s going to happen that will result in his explusion?! anxiety again at the start of Day 3 of Kvothe’s story, when that book is published. Thanks, Pat!

All kidding aside… okay, some kidding aside, a LOT happened in this book as one might expect from a 43 hour long audio book. The hardcover is a massive 1,000 pages that you could most likely use to clobber a troll, or Ambrose, to death. As for the audio and my listening experience, I was fully used to the reading of Nick Podhel so I didn’t have a hard time getting into the story as I did with Wind.

On the morning of Day 2 of Chronicler’s stay at the Waystone Inn, Kvothe continues his story of his time at the University.  The pace easily settles back into Kvothe’s life as a student at the Arcanum and we again see him struggling to pay tuition and dealing once again with Devi, struggling in his feud with Ambrose and trying in vain to become closer to Denna while not crowding her and scaring her away. One of my favorite parts of this book was Kvothe planning and executing some much-deserved revenge on Ambrose. This took place after, of course, Kvothe kind of did a stoopid thing and made himself a target of malfeasance. He had to find a way to protect himself from Ambrose’s revenge and then pulled a hell of a whammy on his hated nemesis. It. was. fabulous!

Things escalate between the two and Kvothe decides to take a semester or two off which was a fortuitous decision as his friend, the nobleman Threpe, has a proposition for him. It would seem that Threpe received a letter from the Maer Alveron of Vintas a very rich and powerful noble, who was looking for a discreet and well-spoken person, preferably a musician to assist him in a delicate matter. Kvothe happily accepts the challenge, thinking that the Maer may be able to assist him with his search for the Amyr, the better to seek his revenge on the Chandrian. And so he sets off on what turns out to be rather a perilous journey that we unfortunately don’t get to hear much about.

Upon his acceptance into the Maer’s employ in Severen, Kvothe promptly foils an assassination attempt, reunites with Denna, learns a secret about her, helps the Maer woo a would-be bride and assists some mercenaries in the annihilation of a group of bandits that have been stealing the Maer’s taxes. I enjoyed Kvothe’s time with the mercenaries and found that the Adem, Tempi was  quite entertaining as well as an adequate substitute for the comic relief that had been absent since Kvothe left his friends Simmon and especially Wilem behind at the University. Kvothe displayed some incredible bindings during the altercation with the bandits and proved himself to be quite formidable and a little bit scary in that respect.

Shortly thereafter, Kvothe has a rather drawn-out visit with Felurian, the incredibly beautiful fairy of legend that is known to lure human men into her reality and very literally pleasure them to death. Kvothe composes a less than flattering song about Felurian and manages to convince her to release him so that he might gain more experience with women in order to better praise her many talents. He convinces her that he’s being truthful in saying that she’s the first experience he’s had and goes on to explain that he can’t very well tout her superiority over human women as he’d never been intimate with one. And so he escapes her clutches with some new skills, a promise to return to her, a pretty bad-ass cloak made of shadow and some disturbing words from the Cthaeh, a being he encountered while in the land of the Fae who seems to know a great many things about Kvothe.

At this point, we experience an interlude that’s very unlike the previous sort, when Bast interrupts Kvothe’s re-telling with an outburst. He’s very upset that Kvothe never mentioned his talk with the Cthaeh and predicts doom upon anyone who seeks advice from it and on anything that person does henceforth after meeting with the being. I’m guessing that we’ll see or hear more of this in the next book but the interruption was a bit disjointed and left my curiosity on the matter unfulfilled since there was no more mention of it in the book.

Shortly after leaving Felurian, Kvothe travels to Ademre with Tempi, who has been teaching Kvothe of the Lethani and the ways of his people… and is kind of in trouble for it. So Kvothe, intending to defend his new friend, lands himself in a trial during which he must prove himself worthy to learn the Lethani or… die. Once he learns a few fighting skills and shows that he understands the Lethani, thus proving himself, he is gifted with some very valuable information about the Chandrian. Content with his newfound knowledge, he returns to the Maer in Severen for a short time before returning to the University to continue his studies. He has another solo adventure on his way from Ademre to Severen and is touted a hero though he must seek a pardon from persecution from the Maer.

While he was unable obtain the patronage of the Maer before leaving Severen as he had hoped he would, having revealed his ancestry and forever alienating the Maer’s prejudiced young wife, he was gifted with his University tuition paid in any amount for as long as he was to attend. So despite the unfortunate cessation of his time in Severen, Kovthe was in a much better place financially upon his return than he had been since losing his parents to the Chandrian.

There’s not much revealed about the goings on in the world during the interludes when we revisit “Kote” and The Waystone Inn. A few villagers saunter in to have Chronicler write up wills for them and we see Kvothe set upon by bandits but other than that, we don’t hear any more of what’s happening in ‘current times’ and I hope to see some more of that aspect of the story in the next book.

I absolutely loved this book and I suspect that I’ll reread it and book #1, The Name of the Wind at least once more before book #3 is released. I hope the wait isn’t too terribly long!

 

Fave quotes:

‘We love what we love. Reason does not enter into it. In many ways, unwise love is the truest love. Anyone can love a thing because, that’s as easy as putting a penny in your pocket. But to love something despite? To know the flaws and love them, too. That is rare, and pure, and perfect.’

“Ambrose, your presence is the horseshit frosting on the horseshit cake that is the admissions interview process.” ~Kvothe

“Your next assignment is to have sex. If you do not know how to do this, see me after class.” ~Elodin to Kvothe’s classmate

“After all this is done we can have a symposium on how stupid I am.” ~Kvothe to Simmon and Wilem

“Do all of the women in the world secretly know each other? Because that would explain a lot.” ~Simmon

“All I want is someone who likes me.” “All I want is  a clear sign.” “I want a magical horse that fits in my pocket, and a ring of red amber that gives me power over demons, and an endless supply of cake.” ~Simmon, Kvothe and Wilem, while drinking

‘I don’t mind being called a liar. I am. I am a marvelous liar. But I hate being called a liar when I’m telling the perfect truth.’

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The Name Of The Wind

Kingkiller Chronicle, Day 1

Author: Patrick Rothfuss

Format: audio book

Publisher: Brilliance Audio

Narrated by Nick Podehl

Length: 27 hours, 58 minutes

Release Date: 05-15-09

Acquired: as a gift

 

Publisher’s Summary:

“My name is Kvothe. I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I have burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during the day. I have talked to gods, loved women and written songs that make the minstrels weep. You may have heard of me.”

So begins the tale of Kvothe—from his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, to years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-riddled city, to his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a difficult and dangerous school of magic. In these pages you will come to know Kvothe as a notorious magician, an accomplished thief, a masterful musician, and an infamous assassin. But The Name of the Wind is so much more—for the story it tells reveals the truth behind Kvothe’s legend.


My thoughts:

Before I talk about the story, I want to mention my experience with the audio book. I had rather a hard time getting into this story and I think it was due mainly to the reader, Nick Podehl. I just could not maintain interest and found myself wishing for the book in my hand so I could give it my own voice. Once I got used to the new-to-me reader however, I enjoyed the hell out of this story!

I have a friend that restarts her audio books several times until she gets a feel for the reader and while I’ve never really found that necessary in my own audio book experiences, I wish I had tried that tactic with this book. I missed out on a lot in the first third of the book because I just couldn’t get a feel for it and when I had to pause for whatever reason, I didn’t find myself anxious to get back to it like I began to do once Kvothe arrived at the University. Now that I’m used to  and thoroughly enjoy Podehl’s reading, I’m more than ready to listen to him read The Wise Man’s Fear when it’s released next week. Look for that review soon!

Moving along… as the blurb states, this is essentially a story of Kvothe Kingkiller’s childhood and education, as told by him. However, when we first meet Kvothe, he’s not “Kvothe” but “Kote” and he’s an innkeeper in a small village. He gets the same customers in the inn for dinner every evening and occasionally he gets to listen to Cobb, the eldest of them, tell stories about the legendary Kvothe. On one such evening, one of the regulars staggers into the bar, bloodied and terrified. He’s been attacked by… something. A demon, the townsfolk think but Kvothe knows better.

While he’s out one night, intent on killing the other somethings that he knows must be about, he meets a traveler. Meets him and saves his life from the aforementioned somethings. This traveler happens to be a scribe. He’s The Chronicler, in fact, and he very much wants to get the story of Kvothe’s remarkable life, straight from the source. Despite having another engagement, Chronicler agrees to stay and spend three days with Kvothe in his little inn, writing the story of the legend in his own words. This book, of course, is the first day of that recitation and nearly the entire book is Kvothe recounting the events of his childhood.

Which was wrought with tragedy and loss, might I add. As the blurb states, Kvothe is an orphan and the circumstances surrounding the deaths of his parents instill in him a desire to find those responsible and somehow, to take his revenge. In order to find them, not to mention the whole revenge thing, Kvothe needs to be educated and to do this, he needs to attend the University. So he sets out to do just that.

I absolutely loved Kvothe’s University experience, especially scenes with his mentors and his friends, and the way Kvothe begins to work on building a reputation for himself. His time at the University was interesting and funny, sprinkled with a bit of injustice and some infuriatingly nasty people. I love that teenage Kvothe is so clever and brilliant but the unfairness he encounters is extremely frustrating for me to read. I found myself angry that he was judged so poorly at times and that one certain, vindictive and petty person was allowed to cause him so much misery and grief.

Sadly, that individual will wreak more -and worse- havoc in the next book and while I’m not looking forward to that, I am very anxious to see what comes next for Kvothe. Very anxious to see more of what makes him such a legend. And very anxious to see more of what’s going on the the present-tense of the story, especially after a disturbing visitor comes to the inn on the evening of day 1 of Kvothe’s story. Looks like there’s much to look forward to next week!

 

Fave quote:

“I will walk back to Imre this very night and set fire to your house. Then, when you run out the front door in your night shirt and stockle cap, I will kill you, cook you and eat you, right there on your lawn while all your neighbors watch!”

(there were more chuckle-inducing moments than this but I didn’t get them written down… there was a lot of funny in this book!)


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