The Name of the Wind Review (2014 High Fantasy Challenge 1/10)

The Name of the Wind
The Name of the Wind

(The Kingkiller Chronicle #1)
By: Patrick Rothfuss
First published in 2007
Book 1/10 of my 2014 High Fantasy Challenge

The most notorious wizard the world has ever seen, famed dragon-slayer, feared swordsman, his tale is part myth, part hearsay, part wild speculation… but Kvothe himself has vanished, taking the truth behind the flamboyant rumours with him. The world has settled without him, without a catalyst to bring change and innovation, into a quieter, darker, more dangerous place. But his story still lives. And, for the first time, Kvothe is going to tell it…

Okay, I stayed up until 3 A.M. to finish this book, so it’s safe to say I liked it. In fact, I loved it. The characters were interesting and the story just whisked me away. Even though The Name of the Wind is a hefty book at over 600 pages, the writing style isn’t heavy at all; in fact, it’s very effortless to read. Rothfuss doesn’t go for long descriptions, and he writes a lot of dialogue.

The book was certainly very different from what I expected! I was expecting the legendary adventures of a fully grown hero. Instead, the story starts with Kvothe’s childhood, and goes through his teenage years, delving into how some of the legends about him got started. This storytelling style reminds me of classics – the way that Jane Eyre starts with the main character as a little kid, or the way The Count of Monte-Cristo spans a long period of time. It was unexpected, but it’s something that I really love with classics. It helps to separate the book from other fantasy books, while also being a great way to make the reader emotionally invested. When we learn what is important to the character early on, later developments pack more of a punch. For example, we quite quickly learn that Kvothe loves music, so everything pertaining to music, be it happy or tragic events, had a stronger impact on me later on. I got so emotional over some scenes that wouldn’t have been as touching if there wasn’t such a strong history of the character to back it up.

The characters were very interesting. I liked how Kvothe differed from the usual “hero” type by being willing to lie and cheat to get ahead. Still, there weren’t many times when these unethical actions felt unjustified to me – most of the time I was on Kvothe’s side.

Other memorable characters include Master Elodin and Bast. The bit crazy, happy-go-lucky, yet very intelligent Elodin, a master at the magic University Kvothe attends, had some of my favourite lines in the book, and might even have been my favourite character! The mysterious and protective Bast was very intriguing, and while we didn’t learn much about him in this book, I hope the next one delves more into where he came from and how he met Kvothe. I also had a penchant for Master Elxa Dal, who is described as looking like the archetypal wizard villain with his lean face and trimmed dark beard, but who is in fact a quite fair, if strict teacher. I just kept imagining him looking like Jafar, one of my favourite Disney characters, which was a lot of fun for me!

For most of the book, I was captivated by the story, but there was one side plot that didn’t quite work for me. It only lasted for about 50 or so pages near the end. I think it sidetracked the plot a bit and could have been dealt with quicker. It definitely slowed my reading down by taking me out of the story, because I just wasn’t that interested. As fast as that side plot was done, though, I was eager to read on, and back to loving everything.

The Name of the Wind was a great start to my 2014 High Fantasy Challenge, and I give it 5 out of 5 stars. I can definitely see myself rereading this in the future.

Favourite Quote
“Noble’s sons are one of nature’s great destructive forces, like floods or tornadoes. When you’re struck with one of these catastrophes, the only thing an average man can do is grit his teeth and try to minimise the damage.”

Next up in the challenge
So, as I’m already caught in the Kingkiller Chronicle net, I think I’ll just continue to the second novel in the series. The next book on my challenge list can wait for a while more – it isn’t like I’m straying from my chosen high fantasy path by reading The Wise Man’s Fear. After that, I’m done with this world for a while (since the third book isn’t out yet), and perhaps will feel more ready to move on.

(Also, welcome to the 100th post on this blog! I just had to mention it.)


Waiting for Courtney Crumrin Vol. 5: The Witch Next Door

Courtney Crumrin Vol 5

Holly Hart is new to Hillsborough and witchcraft. When her family moves in next to Courtney, the two girls quickly become friends. But as Courtney watches Holly making the same mistakes she once made, she begins to have second thoughts about teaching the girl magic. And when Holly sees the aftermath of the other children’s “adventures” with Courtney, her suspicions cause her to make a dangerous decision.

Aaaah, it’s finally coming! The second-to-last volume of the Courtney Crumrin graphic novel series will be published on April 30th, and I already pre-ordered it.

The last collected edition, Courtney Crumrin’s Monstrous Holiday, came out in 2009 – that’s 5 years ago, now! I’ve been waiting all this time to find out what happens next. Courtney’s newest adventures started their monthly run on 2012, and the whole series reached its end last year. Since I don’t get those monthly comic issues here in Finland, I had to wait for the collected edition to come out. This fifth volume will collect half of that monthly run, so after this one, I will still have to wait for the sixth volume to read the conclusion. Deep breaths, Maija, deep breaths.

This post is linked at “Waiting on Wednesday”, a weekly meme that tells us what books the blogosphere is most anxiously waiting for. It hosted by Breaking the Spine.

Musketeers & Usurpers – Bookish trailer madness

Dudes! You might know that The Three Musketeers is one of my favourite books, and that my Kindle is named Richelieu. Well, even if you didn’t, you do now.

The reason for this burst of seemingly random knowledge about me is the fact that The Musketeers, a new BBC series, is premiering this Sunday (Jan 19th) on BBC One! It will also premiere on BBC America sometime this spring, for you people in the U.S. I’m hoping that the series stays truer to the original story than the most recent movie adaptations. So far, I like the casting – especially Porthos (Howard Charles), Aramis (Santiago Cabrera), and Richelieu (Peter Capaldi).

Have a look at the trailer!

I’m also really stoked on the new Game of Thrones trailer (who isn’t?)! It’s been a long wait for a glimpse of the new season, and now we finally have it along with the season 4 premiere air date (April 6th). It feels like such a long time to wait, but seeing the trailer helps a bit. Even though I know that I will be complaining about stuff they changed from the books, like I did with earlier seasons, I do enjoy the show a lot. Words can’t explain how happy I am that we finally have a good high fantasy series on TV!

Game of Thrones has also been posting lovely animated gifs of the trailer on their Vine account. But watch out, both the Youtube and the Vine comments are dark and full of spoilers. I wouldn’t suggest going to the Vine account at all if you haven’t read the books.

So, how excited are you?

2014 Resolutions: High Fantasy Challenge

For the year 2014, I chose 10 adult fantasy books that I’ve been meaning to read for a while, and set myself a challenge to read them all. This comes after my epic fail of 2013, when I read only 3 (!) adult high fantasy novels during the whole year. So these books are all set in a separate fantasy world, unlike the modern/urban fantasy that I’ve gravitated more towards the past couple of years (which features fantastical elements in our modern world).

This post is linked at “Top Ten Tuesday”, a weekly book list meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.

Maija’s Top 10 Adult High Fantasy Books to Read In 2014

The Name of the Wind The Lies of Locke Lamora Ship of Magic Prince of Thorns The Well of Ascension Furies of Calderon The Last Wish The Blade Itself The King of Elflands Daughter The Last Unicorn

1. The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle #1) by Patrick Rothfuss *
2. The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard #1) by Scott Lynch *
3. Ship of Magic (Liveship Traders #1) by Robin Hobb *
4. Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire #1) by Mark Lawrence * (turned out not to be high fantasy)
5. The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2) by Brandon Sanderson
6. Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera #1) by Jim Butcher *
7. The Last Wish (The Witcher #1) by Andrzej Sapkowski *
8. The Blade Itself (The First Law #1) by Joe Abercrombie
9. The King of Elfland’s Daughter by Lord Dunsany
10. The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle (might change, as this could be counted as a children’s book)

The asterisk after the title means I own the book. The links read to reviews of read books.
Check out the challenge shelf with all the books on GoodReads.

So, most of these are pretty new books, ’cause I somewhat dropped out of the high fantasy loop during the 21st century (apart from A Song of Ice and Fire). There are a couple of fantasy classics thrown in, which are great for not being part of a series! So I do realize that almost all of the books listed are the start of a series, but that is just how it goes with high fantasy novels. Perhaps I’ll get excited enough with one or more of the books that I’ll end up reading the whole of that series this year! And if I don’t care for some of them, I’ll just drop the series, but I really don’t see that happening.

What are your resolutions for the year 2014? What do you think about the books I’ve chosen to read?

Current Reads: Whispers Under Ground

How has your new reading year begun? Gotten off to a good start? I’ll be posting about my resolutions for 2014 tomorrow, so tell me / link me to your resolutions if you want!

This post is linked at “It’s Monday, what are you reading?”, a weekly meme that tells us what the blogosphere is currently reading. It is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. The links in the cover images take you to GoodReads.

I am currently reading

Whispers Under Ground
Whispers Under Ground
(Peter Grant #3)
By: Ben Aaronovitch
Genre: Urban fantasy police procedural

A whole new reason to mind the gap.

It begins with the dead body of an American exchange student at the far end of Baker Street tube station – and the victim’s wealthy, politically powerful family is understandably eager to get to the bottom of the murder. The trouble is, the bottom – if it exists at all – is deeper and more unnatural than anybody suspects… except, that is, for London constable and sorcerer’s apprentice Peter Grant.

This week I’m reading the third book in the Peter Grant series. I fell in love with the series last year, and the first two books made it to many of my top lists for 2013 (e.g. Best new-to-me authors).

I’m only two chapters in, and I’m enjoying it a lot already. The characters and the dialogue are always so good and lifelike. All the side characters feel like real people. I strongly recommend this series, the books are fun & exciting urban fantasy mysteries/police procedurals.

Last week I posted

End of the Year Book Haul
December Wrap-Up
The Best Books of 2013

Last week I finished reading

Over Sea Under Stone
Over Sea, Under Stone (Dark is Rising #1) by Susan Cooper
I enjoyed this very much! What a nice start to a children’s fantasy adventure series, I’m surprised that I didn’t read this when I was a kid.

The Year in Review

GRbadge_2013 It’s time to take a look back at my reading year. I had set a Goodreads challenge to read 60 books this year, and I aced it! I read a lot of graphic novels, which in part explain the 84 books that I managed to read. Here are some stats about the books I read.

Out of the 84 books, 32 were graphic novels, and 52 were “regular” books.

Among those 52 books were:

  • 41 speculative fiction books and 11 books of other genres
  • 35 adult and 17 YA/middle grade/children’s novels
  • 28 male authors and 24 female authors

As much as I read last year, I only set myself a challenge to read 50 books this year. I want to focus on quality vs quantity after realizing that I only gave a few books 5 stars last year. What I mean is that this year I will try to choose my books more carefully to suit my tastes, and try to actually use the 5 star rating in Goodreads.

Other Challenges

In the year 2013 I wanted to try and read more classics as well as to go “back to my roots” and read more adult high fantasy. I made a loose pact with myself to try and read one of each per month. Here’s how I did:

8 Classics
Mansfield Park Great Expectations The Island of Dr. Moreau The Scarlet Pimpernel
The Hunchback of Notre Dame The Turn of he Screw War of the Worlds Peter Pan
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen | Great Expectations by Charles Dickens |
The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells | The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy |
The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo | The Turn of the Screw by Henry James | The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells | Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

If you count We Have Always Lived in the Castle and the short story collection The Tooth by Shirley Jackson as classics, then I read ten classics. I’m overall very happy with this result.

A lowly 3 adult high/epic fantasy novels!
Throne of the Crescent Moon A Feast for Crows A Dance with Dragons
Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed | A Feast for Crows by
George R.R. Martin | A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin

The worst fail ever! Even if you count the 1 YA high fantasy I also read, that only makes four! This brings me to my new year’s resolution: to read those high fantasy novels that I’ve been meaning to read for years. I’m going to make a list of 10 books, and challenge myself to read all of them in 2014. I will be posting the books I chose tomorrow, January 7th.

How did your reading year go? Did you meet your challenges? Did you make a re-cap or a wrap up post? Let me know!

End of the Year Book Haul (2013)

I have so many unread books on my shelves that I was trying to curb my book buying during the end of the year. This haul post is for the past three months put together. In October and December I only bought one physical book, as well as some ebooks from winter sales. In November, though, I went to London and picked up quite a few books… ’cause, you know, London.

London Haul

December Book Haul 1
Antigoddess (Goddess War #1) by Kendare Blake
Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire #1) by Mark Lawrence
Courtney Crumrin’s Monstrous Holiday (Courtney Crumrin #4) by Ted Naifeh
Sorcery & Cecelia, or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot (Cecelia & Kate #1) by Patricia C. Wrede & Caroline Stevermer
William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope by Ian Doescher

Yeah, I went a bit overboard in London. That’s what comes from visiting both Forbidden Planet and Waterstones. I ended up spending most of my trip budget on these books, but honestly, I didn’t have anything else in mind to spend the money on. Sorcery & Cecelia is a book I’ve read a couple of times and loved, so I wanted my own copy. And I already own one copy of the fourth Courtney Crumrin graphic novel collection, but that didn’t stop me from buying the hardcover, coloured special edition. The other books I haven’t read yet, though I glanced at the Shakespearean Star Wars book and found it awesome & hilarious! (I also bought and instantly read the first issue of the new Sandman series, not pictured here.)

Other Bought Books

December Book Haul 2
The Red Tree by Caitlín R. Kiernan
All These Things I’ve Done (Birthright #1) by Gabrielle Zevin
Snuff (Discworld #39) by Terry Pratchett

In October I grew my Kiernan collection by ordering a used copy of The Red Tree from Better World Books. It is in wonderful condition, just like new. In November, I was going to travel by train, and realized at the station that I had brought nothing to read for the journey! That’s when I picked up Snuff from a little pocket book shop at the station. :) Disaster averted! And in December I bought All These Things I’ve Done on sale from Bookdepository, since I’d heard Misty from The Book Rat say good things about it in her videos.


December Book Haul 3
The Mislaid Magician, or Ten Years After (Cecelia & Kate #3) by Patricia C. Wrede & Caroline Stevermer
Engraved on the Eye by Saladin Ahmed
Seed to Harvest (Patternmaster #1-4 omnibus) by Octavia E. Butler

Then were the Amazon Christmas sales, and I bought a couple of Kindle books. Despite disliking the second novel, I bought The Mislaid Magician to finish reading the Cecelia & Kate series. And since I’ve never read Octavia E. Butler, and I got the whole series for $2.99, I bought the Patternmaster omnibus to try her out. I also picked up a collection of Saladin Ahmed’s short stories for free.

This haul is linked at the weekly haul memes Stacking the Shelves, hosted by Tynga’s Reviews, and Showcase Sunday, hosted by Books, Biscuits, and Tea.