Book Chat: The Kingkiller Chronicles

“I have stolen princess 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 the day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written song that make the minstrels weep.
You may have heard of me.”

And thus begins a tale as old as time; a tale of revenge, magic, stupidity, and a young man fumbling to understand women. Our narrator is right, you’ve probably heard it.

The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss is one of those stories that attracts a following, a cult if you will. It is a story that inspires artists, fan theorists, and fan fiction writers. It is the perfect story, so much so it makes me want to rip my hair out.

The tale begins with The Name of the Wind and is told as a story being recited by Kote, the innkeeper in Newarre, and recorded by the Chronicler, who collects true stories. Each novel comprises one day in the present time allowing us to see the troubling events of today as well as hear the story of the man who claims responsibility for it all. The war, the demons, the poverty, Kote says it is all the fault of the man he used to be, the legend who is said to be dead; Kvothe Kingkiller.

If you go looking for reviews of these books you are going to find one of two attitudes; it is a “classic” or “cliche” depending on who you ask. It is convoluted; it is clever. The narrator is unreliable giving the story depth, flavor, and mystery. The narrator is a typical humble brag twat who is too good at everything and is designed to make you hate-love him. Rothfuss is building to the plot twist of an age, or Rothfuss is capitalizing on an age old, well worn story model. The only things everyone seems to agree on for sure is the The Doors of Stone is never. Coming. Out.

Personally I love the novels, novella, and short story that make up the Chronicles. I think the story-telling framing devise that Rothfuss uses is perfect for creating just enough uncertainty among readers that we can enjoy the story for what it is while still never truly trusting that we are getting an accurate depiction of events. This slight mistrust add depth like you wouldn’t believe, I honestly hate it. Not because it’s bad but because it’s so good you almost don’t see it. I want to rant and rave about the shallowness of some aspects of the plot but if I think about it for more than a minute I start to see that maybe this isn’t all it appears to be. Fan theories add to this convoluted overthinking of every detail, and spending a bit of time discussing “clues” with others always opens my eyes to things I had over looked, or things I hadn’t quite connected before.

Basically these books are the definition of a humble-brag.

Don’t get me wrong, they aren’t perfect. There is clever and then there is trying to hard to be clever and I think Rothfuss crosses that line a few times. There are several places were I couldn’t help but roll my eyes and go “But of course.” and shout “Unreliable narrator” at me all you want if I’m not enjoying to story because of something, that’s more an excuse than a plot devise. I also adore the way Rothfuss writes. To a point. When I say there are whole sections of The Wise Mans Fear that are written in rhyme I fucking mean that there are whole sections of The Wise Mans Fear that are written. In. Rhyme. Rothfuss writes pure poetic word porn but he also has a hard time not using adverbs every single line. I’m with Stephen King on this one; “The road to hell is paved with adverbs.” Not only are they lazy when overused but they don’t sound great. They are like one sour note in an otherwise perfect harmony.

The second book in the series, The Wise Mans Fear, has one of the worst cases of Middle Book Syndrome I’ve seen in a while. It’s not that Rothfuss seems to be rambling or is even a little unsure of himself; it’s more that he has X, Y, and Z that need to be accomplished but they are in no way related so he has to play Connect The Dots with various plot points. The result is me having to take a minute part way through the book to go “And this is where he ran out of ideas and went ‘Fuck it!'”

While the two novels tell us the story of Kvothe and events surrounding the telling of the tale itself the other two additions to the series are focused on two mysterious and well loved side characters. I say “side characters” but what I mean is they are life itself. Plain and simple. They are beautiful fae children and Kvothe does not deserve their love. (This is me warning you about my bias)

The first is Auri, the enigmatic (gods I can’t ever use that word without thinking of Aysl) young woman Kvothe finds living underneath the University. In the novella The Slow Regard of Silent Things we follow Auri for a seven day period in her solitary life in the Underthing. This book made 3# in my Top Books of 2016 because of the beautiful word porn and unique, single character plot…if you can call it a plot. I didn’t mention in that post that Auri, our only character, exhibits signs of severe mental illness, namely Obsessive Compulsive Disorder brought on, in theory, by the same stresses of University that cause a few students each term to “crack”. Rothfuss himself says it is not a book for everyone, it is a book for the broken people. It makes a lot of things about Auri clear though so if you are even a little bit interested it’s worth knuckling through.

The second is Bast, Kotes fae student and the only person in any of the books that is good enough for Kvothe. Even if Kvothe doesn’t deserve it. His story is told in The Lightning Tree, a short story that appears in the Rouges anthology. His story is also pretty Day-in-the-Life, showing how a fae princling amuses himself in the middle of Newarre. It does give a good look at the type of person Bast is but not much more that you’d get from his actions in the second novel. It is, if I’m being honest, a story of no consequence but if you love Bast, and you should, it is well worth your time.

Then there is The Doors of Stone; the novel that is never coming out (I’ve gone on about this before). If you want to get into this series I wouldn’t blame you if you waited for the last book before diving in. That being said not having an ending and being able to get caught up in discussion and fan theories is half of the fun of these books.

If you love fantasy, if you love to hate your protagonist, if you love a book written in poetry and rhyme, and most of all, if you want to hear a good story The Kingkiller Chronicles is for you.

All told I give the whole lot 5/5 stars. Have you read Kingkiller? What did you think of it?

Inside Out Book Tag

Still no internet! (It’s Feb. 5th as i type) I’m spending this whole day stocking up on posts to queue.

I found this TAG! at A Backpack Full of Adventures and since I LOVE doing TAGs I decided to steal it 😛


Inside flap/Back of the book: Too much info? Or not enough? (Discuss)

FAR TOO MUCH! I like going into things blind; books, movies, video games, I don’t want to know anything. Obviously I can’t always go into something 100% blind but you’d be amazed by how often I manage it. I have bought books knowing as little as one person saying they hated it (yes, hated it so vehemently that I had to see what the fuss was about). Books like The Name of the Wind and The Lies of Locke Lamora I read knowing only that my friend told me I had to. I even have a bunch of naked hardcovers on my shelves that i picked up secondhand with nothing but the title, and maybe a quick glance at the first paragraph to go on.

This is probably why i have never read Harry Potter; I have done a PHENOMENAL JOB avoiding spoilers for that series for so long “just in case” I decided to read it one day and then, in the last few years, random people kept spoiling things for me and now I literally don’t give a shit anymore. It’s also why my reviews tend to skirt around even basic plot points. I just can’t handle any information besides “It’s historical fiction, set in this place”.

New book: What form do you want it in? Be honest: audio book, e-book, paperback, or hardcover?

Paperback or hardcover but I am partial to hardcover if it’s a book I feel like I’m going to want to keep for a while. I’m hard on my books 9and everything else in my possession) so they need to stand up to being tossed in a bookbag, lugged around, thrown, dropped, packed up, moved around, etc. Hardcovers just stand up better BUT paperbacks are lighter and more portable so sometimes it’s just a matter of the size of the book.

Scribble while you read? Do you like to write in your books, taking notes, making comments, or do you keep your books clean clean clean? (Tell us why)

Eh. Okay here’s the thing, I don’t give a shit about writing in books. I know. I know. Blasphemy; I’ll go find a stake you get the fire going.

I honestly think that scribbles and notes add to a book. I buy mostly used books and when I find scribbles and underlined bits it makes me feel connected to someone I will never know who read the same words I’m reading. I personally tend not to write in my books though because I usually find I don’t have much to say until after I’m finished reading it and then I’m not going to go back and take notes. The most I would want while reading is to highlight passages I like but I find sticky tabs work best because I can easily go back and find them. Maybe one day, with my favorite of favorites I will go through with a highlighter and a pen and permanently mark the pages but for now it never happens. Except reference/nonfiction books. Those i take notes in.

In your best voice read for us your favorite first sentence from a book.

I’m going to skip this one. 1) because I cannot read to you and 2) because I only have 188 books at my disposal right now and not a one of them has a first sentence that i could claim to be my “favorite”. I don’t remember if i have a favorite first sentence.

Scratch that, I keep coming back to it so here it is; “Marty was dead, to begin with.” Something about it always makes me chuckle.

Does it matter if the author is male or female when deciding on a book? What if you’re unsure of the authors gender?

I usually don’t pay attention to the authors gender when deciding to pickup a book. I do find that I tend to read more books by female authors but I tend to like books by male authors more.

Ever read ahead? Or have you ever read the last page way before you got there?

I used to always read the last sentence of a book before I started the book; I have no idea why it’s just what I did (I’m talking elementary/middle school age). That evolved into me just reading the last 3 words because it was less spoilers but I kept my tradition. It’s weird. I really have no idea why i did that.

Nowadays I will look ahead if a book is getting dull or is at a part i really hate; I never read ahead i just look to see when some dialog might be coming up, or a change of narrator or something.

Organized bookshelves or outrageous bookshelves?

Always organized. In my previous home I had them organized by purpose; my fiction (organized by color) was in my bedroom, on another shelf in the room was my fairytales/childrens books. Downstairs were nonfiction/reference organized by subject, then by author. On another shelf were graphic novels and comics organized by series/author and stand-alones were by color.

Now i only have one self so most of my books are in a giant rainbow with some reference books to the side.

Under oath; have you ever bought a book based off of the cover alone?

Oh hell yeah. I do it all of the time seeing as i don’t read the backs ever.

Take it outside to read, or stay in?

Depends on the season; i love reading in the hammock when it’s hot out but i do a lot of reading outside all year long because I take public transportation everywhere; it’s pretty common to find me reading on a bus top somewhere i the city.

What about you? As always i tag everyone!

Writing Prompt Challenge Week 3

A couple of friends and I have been doing weekly challenges to write based off of a random prompt pulled from a cup. So far I am having a ton of fun with this. I am writing so much lately and it’s bleeding into other projects like my novel, or some short stores I have been wanting to work on.

This weeks post is late. I did not have internet for an amount of time and was unable to post so this prompt was for the week of Jan. 29th-Feb. 4th. Since I have chosen, for reasons, not to participate in the prompt for Feb. 5th-11th I’m posting this prompt now. It’s well over 3,500 words again.

Week 3: Outside the cabin the wind howled, while inside the old womans fire was almost out.

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Writing Prompt Challenge Week 1

As part of my 2017 Bookish goals I have challenged myself and two of my good friends to write a piece, preferably a full short story but anything will do, based off of a writing prompt I pull from a cup. The prompts are a random mix of things I found online or on random prompt generators. We started last week so there will be 50 total; the rules are there are no rules. Just write words. We do not have to share but I want to, so here we are.

Week 1: Mermaids are the women thrown overboard by sailors afraid of having women on a ship. They lure sailors to their deaths as revenge.

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Book Chat: Heartless

“How is a raven like a writing desk?”

At this start of 2016 I had 3 books that I was anticipating more than anything else; A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir, Three Sisters, Three Queens by Philippa Gregory, and Heartless by Marissa Meyer. Three Sisters, Three Queens was like have a tooth pulled, and ATAtN was nothing short of terrible, so when I finally held Heartless just before Christmas I begged the books gods to prove the old adage  “Third times the charm.”


Spoiler alert; they did.

You have probably seen Heartless called an Alice in Wonderland retelling but it’s not; it’s a prequel to events of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. It’s an origin story for the Queen of Hearts, you know the OFF WITH HER HEAD one?

15808287I haven’t much to say about the story honestly; it’s YA but cleverly crafted, funny, the characters don’t make me want to claw my eyes out and one of them even manages to be genuinely deep. I won’t tell you who but it hits right in the feels at the end there. My biggest complaint about the story as a whole is this one section near the end that completely ruined the pacing for me. It was as if the story had been building up and up to a predictable but nonetheless exciting ending when all the sudden everything stopped for a few chapters so Meyer could, and I wish I were joking, tell you exactly what’s going to happen. It was all the things we had been building towards and I could feel the inevitability of some of the outcomes but it wasn’t boring predictability it was more dread at seeing where this is heading and hoping you’re wrong. I guess Meyer didn’t trust her ability to lay that groundwork though so she went with blatant foreshadowing a scene before the big climax when all of the things come to a head and it ruined the impact for me. Not just a little either, my excitement level plunged and I read the big climax without interest or emotion.

Even with all of that I loved the story, I loved how she wove each of the characters into the narrative in a way that did not feel forced and set the backdrop for events from the Alice books perfectly. Prequels written by other people are a difficult thing but this feels like a natural extension and I couldn’t be happier.

Now. The meat of this review.

I am a huge Alice fan. I have read both books 4 times, I can recite the poem Jabberwocky by heart and I have seen several of the movie adaptation enough to tell you exactly why they are wrong. I am an Alice snob. I take my Wonderland seriously. Going into this book I did not have high expectations for the world building. I haven’t enjoyed a Wonderland adaptation yet and I didn’t expect that to change. The Disney cartoon was nice, it captured the whimsy but fell into the trap of creating a Frankenstein’s monster out of bits of two separate novels; something the Tim Burton adaptation did with stunning disregard for any piece of the original story. I applaud it really.

Meyer is amazing at building complex yet story accurate fairy tale worlds and she built her Wonderland with attention to fine detail. She understands that the world down the rabbit hole and the world through the looking glass are separate. She understands that the fanciful nature of these worlds is normal for the residence so she doesn’t make a big deal out of any of them but makes sure we understand that there are rules to this reality as well. Because she understands these things she is able to create a Wonderland that makes sense while maintaining the accuracy of the source material AND the whimsical feel of the world. Mad Hatter's Party

Other adapters look at what Lewis said of Wonderland and try to paint us a picture of it; Meyer looked at Wonderland itself and painted her own picture. Now I understand many other adapters are not trying to recreate the original story they are trying to write their own, loosely based on the original. That’s well and good, they can do as they please but keep in mind I’m a snob. I won’t apologize for being happy to finally get the accuracy I have been dying for.

I highly recommend if you love fairy tales, or Alice and I think even other Alice snobs will adore it.

4 stars.

Finishing My Novel

Don’t let the title fool you; I am not finished my novel.

I am, however, finished with the rough draft of my novel. 😊 It is the roughest of drafts, most of it having been written during this past National Novel Writing Month (wanna read about my time in that level of hell?) and the rest eeked out over the dreaded holiday season. I just finished on January 16th. Okay, technically seven minute into the 17th but sue me.

I’ve mentioned before that this story has been living in me for years, so now that it’s out, even unpolished and terrible, I feel a little loss. Now what? The characters are written, the story is told, well shit.

My plan is to let it sit for a few weeks so I can forget about it that way when I come back through with my red pen I will feel less protective of the words in the page. Kill your darlings and all that. Once I run through and rewrite most of it to, well, to make sense (yay NaNoWriMo cut corners and retconning!) then I’m going to hand it over to some friends so they can tell me what a shit writer I am, and then I’ll rewrite it again, rinse, repeat until I’m either happy with it or so full of despair I give up. Either works.

In the meantime my friends and I have begun a weekly shirt story challenge. Each week I draw a random prompt from a jar and we all write a story based on it. The prompts are either randomly generated online or ideas I found around the internet as writing exercises and such, nothing special. I believe I will share my creations here so be in the look out for rough short stories!

What are your writing goals this year?