An Evening with Pat

I’ve been slow about getting this up, but better late than never, right? For the past few months, I’ve been hooked on author Patrick Rothfuss’ blog. While there is not a lot of information regarding book 2, there are many other entries that will have you laughing out loud. (And if you do visit his website, try to refrain from snarky comments about the lack of information about book 2.)

A few entries ago, Pat announced that he was taking a road trip, and that he would be stopping at a few places for readings and book signings. Luckily, one of these events was a mere three hours from where I live! (Being somewhat sarcastic, as I did, briefly, debate attending.) So, on St. Patrick’s Day, I set off for Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Lexington, stopping in Louisville to pick up my cousin, since he is also an avid fan of the fantasy genre. I did force a book upon him, but I don’t believe he has had time to read it yet.

When we arrived, there were probably about 150 people in attendance, which Pat said was his largest crowd to date. He introduced his girlfriend, Sarah, and their son, who is known simply as “Oot” in order for him to maintain some anonymity, and then began the evening taking questions and generally having a friendly conversation with everyone. When it was time for the readings, he read three short pieces, the last being the prologue of book 2, which was very reminiscent of the prologue of book 1.

And then it was time for the book signings. Here is a picture of Pat signing my book.

I let Pat pick a quote for me, and he chose one from Bast. Then, jokingly, I told him that I thought my cousin needed to know those seven words. (In book 1, it is said that there are seven words that will make a woman fall in love with you, but we’re never actually told what those words are.) Here is what Pat wrote in our books.

All in all, it was a very fun evening, even if I did get home at one o’clock in the morning. I hope that Pat will come my way again when The Wise Man’s Fear hits the shelves.


The Name of the Wind

I recently read The Name of the Wind for the second time. This is definitely one of my favorite fantasy books. Patrick Rothfuss, the author, does not follow that same pattern that I discussed in a previous blog about the whiny hero chosen to save the world, which is a nice change. The originality in this book was well received and greatly appreciated.

This is the first book, or day 1, in the Kingkiller Chronicle. It is a story within a story. The book begins by introducing us to Kote, an innkeeper with many names, and his loyal friend, Bast. In their world, there is a war raging, and the townspeople are becoming increasingly fearful of demons. New faces in town during these times are rare, and so Devon Lochees, the great Chronicler, is met with some suspicion when he enters the Waystone Inn. He has heard a rumor about Kvothe, the man with the fiery red hair, who is famous for being a myth yet still being alive. Chronicler wants very much to record Kvothe’s story, and after a bit of negotiation, Kvothe agrees to tell it with the conditions that Chronicler not change a single word and that it will take him three days. And so, day 1 of the Chronicle is recorded in The Name of the Wind.

Kvothe begins his story when he was a child, one of the Edema Ruh, a traveling troupe of players. His parents love performing and writing songs, which his father would perform while accompanying the words with music from his lute. Along the way, they meet Abenthy, or Ben, who becomes Kvothe’s private tutor and taches him quite a bit of what he learned when he was studying to be an arcanist at the University. When Kvothe first meets Ben, he witnessed him call the name of the wind, something that he desperately wants to learn. After traveling with them for a while, Ben then leaves the troupe when he meets an attractive widow. Meanwhile, Kvothe’s father is collecting stories concerning the mysterious Chandrian, who are both feared and considered mythical at the same time. One evening, the rest of the troupe persuades Kvothe’s father to perform part of his song. A few days later, Kvothe is sent to gather wild sage away from the troupe. When he returns, he finds everyone slain, the iron wagon wheels rusted through, and blue fire. And then he even meets a couple members of the Chandrian, and one even says to him, “Someone’s parents have been singing entirely the wrong sort of songs.” Luckily, the leader, Lord Haliax, seems to know that they must immediately leave, for a reason unknown to the reader. This is definitely in Kvothe’s best interest, as it leaves him alive.

Newly orphaned, he takes his father’s lute and a book given him by Ben, and travels to the city of Tarbean, where he lives as a street urchin for three years. Here, he develops his quick wit and survival skills. At the end of the three years, he decides that it is time he goes to the University, as Ben expected him to do. On his way there, he meets a girl named Denna, who flits in and out of his life unexpectedly for the next few years, leaving him dizzy with each encounter. Reaching the University, he undergoes admission interviews and is even paid to attend his first term, something unheard of. At the University, he struggles to plow through his studies, knowing that he must accomplish as much as he can in a short amount of time since he doesn’t know how long he will be able to pay for his tuition.

The University Archives hold a special appeal for Kvothe, as he knows he can find answers to his many questions regarding the Chandrian. As luck would have it, though, due to some trickery by a new enemy, Ambrose, he finds himself banned from the stacks, his greatest disappointment of all during this stage of his story. However, he does make some very good friends while at the University, and actually calls the name of the name of the wind himself at one point, although he doesn’t understand how he actually did it. This marks the beginning of his education with Elodin, Master Namer, who is definitely crazy.

At the end of the first day of his story, Kote the innkeeper tends to his usual customers. Again, a new face appears at his door and begins to fight and wreak havoc, even killing one of the towns people. He is eventually killed, the generally consensus being that the crazed man was a denner addict. However, one person believes he was a demon. Only Kvothe, Bast, and Chronicler know him to be one of the fey. Kvothe spends the evening cleaning up the bar and mopping the floor, cleaning up all the blood spilled. He reflects on how he will continue his story the next day. Bast, meanwhile, has an encounter with Chronicler, threatening him and telling him that he will not bring up Kvothe’s lack of sympathy (magic of a sort) or his music, as it would only hurt him.

The book leaves the reader with many more questions than answers, and a hunger for day 2 of Kvothe’s story. Pat Rothfuss is definitely a talented author, and I can’t wait for The Wise Man’s Fear.

In a Slump

Just another writing update. As the title to the post suggests, things are not moving as quickly or smoothly as I would like with my story right now. However, I have made a little headway, and my word count is around 14,000 words at the moment.

I really need to work to get more out of my characters. They are, in all honestly, becoming a bit boring and losing some personality. But that can be fixed in revision. Right now, I’m still working on banging out the actual story.

The Sword of Shannara

I love the fantasy genre, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, the Sword of Truth, etc. However, usually fantasy involves a long epic tale, sometimes spanning for numerous books and thousands upon thousands of pages, not that I’m complaining. If a story is well-written and engaging, I love that it doesn’t end quickly. My only issue is trying to decide if I want to devote enough time, at the moment, to starting and finishing a series. Yes, I know that I don’t have to read the entire series basically back to back, but that’s just one of my compulsions. I have to finish what I start, (with a few notable exceptions, whose titles may not even make it to this blog because they were so horrific).

So, I embarked upon Terry Brooks, and read The Sword of Shannara.

It begins with two brothers, Flick and Shea, being visited by a mysterious stranger, Allanon. He tells them that Shea is the last living heir of Shannara, an Elven king, and as such, is the only one who can use the Sword of Shannara, the only weapon that can hope to stop the evil Warlock Lord who is trying to extend his empire to envelop the entire world. Allanon also warns them that they are in terrible danger, as emissaries of the Warlock Lord, great black monsters known as Skull Bearers, are already hunting for Shea. Spotting one later that evening, the two brothers flee for the kingdom of Leah, to seek the help of Shea’s friend, Menion, the Prince of Leah.

Allanon had told them where to meet him, so the three journey to meet at Anar, where a dwarf, two elves, a man, and Allanon join them. Together, they journey through ancient tombs, forbidden lands, and dangerous mountains and passes, only to finally be separated as each must individually determine what role he must play in this final war to save the world.

Overall, I enjoyed this story. I’ve read some reviews that declare it a “knock-off” of The Lord of the Rings, and while I can understand that point of view, the story does have merit. That being said, it was far from one of my favorite fantasy novels. I actually found parts of it a bit boring, perhaps because this was written early in the writer’s career. The typical epic fantasy summary still holds true: “A whiny person without much confidence must convince himself that he is the only one who can save the world or prevent some huge evilness from spreading, and then do so by lots of help from others and a lot of sheer luck.” Not that fitting into this mold is necessarily a bad thing. Like I said, I enjoy the fantasy genre.

While definitely a good read, The Sword of Shannara did leave me a bit disappointed and wanting more from the story. Perhaps the story will be redeemed when I read further in the series.