Book Thoughts: The Name of the Wind

I may have to retract last week’s statement where I thought that this semester would be lighter than last. It’s the second week in, and I’m already turning to red wine at the end of the night. I barely have had time to do little else but run around between classes, interviews, asking for letters of recommendation, and the odd jobs I have. My reading and writing have sadly suffered, but I did manage to finish a book last week , and as per usual I decided to share my thoughts. Hope you enjoy!

186074This book has been majorly hyped in my circles, so even though I was excited to pick it up, I did so with a bit of trepidation. It took me nearly a month to finish this 722 page monster. Now that I have I can see why The Name of the Wind is getting so much hype.

I only recently started getting into reading high fantasy, and in this short time I’ve begun to notice a pattern. Typically the beginning is very slow and drawn out. Authors try to give us a sense of the main characters, the world, and the conflict. Once these key factors are set aside, there is usually some gruesome scenes of violence, death, torture: some nobles thinking their better than everyone,  a dash of misogyny, maybe a love interest, and magic sprinkled in to give things a little flair. Despite the repetition I am a huge fan of the genre. However, I like a little change every now and then, and Patrick Rothfuss manages to pretty much bypass all of these tropes and produce such a rich and complex story.

The Name of the Wind follows Kvothe, a legendary sorcerer who has been made so either by deeds he did and are widely blown out of proportion, or by complete fabrications. Now Kvothe is setting the record straight and telling his story in his own words. From his childhood growing up the son of troupers, his first teacher, his time spent living in the slums, and his admission into the prestigious University. His voice is eloquent and at times beautifully poetic.

While I’ll say that I didn’t entirely love Kvothe in everything, I did respect him and was intrigued by his story and the mystery behind his name. He can come off as little full of himself which annoyed me at times. Yes, you’re clever, but no need to keep reminding us of that. However, putting that aside he is a very complex character who is so different from any other character I’ve come across in a fantasy novel. He is the underdog who you really want to win. He has flaws that he doesn’t try to hide them He is also giving and kind to those he loves. However, I wouldn’t recommend getting on his bad side. This is the first in a trilogy and I’m very interested to see how Kvothe changes throughout his adventures.

The world that Rothfuss created on the surface isn’t anything special. At least I thought so at first. I thought it was very standard nothing out of the ordinary in a fantasy novel. However, when you factor in the magic, mythology, and culture you start seeing how much detail was put into this world. I was fascinated by the magic in this book. It has an almost mathematical and scientific quality to it. Also the Fae or Chandrian just made my hair rise thinking about them. The University was interesting and being the huge nerd that I am I couldn’t help but just want to be transported there and roam the archives. However, I’m not entirely sure I would like to be a student there. The power trip among the professors is very cringe worthy.

The size of this book can be daunting especially when you factor in its companion novel which is even bigger. As I said it took me nearly a month to get through it. Some of it was because life got in the way, and another part was the slow start. I feel like much of the passages could have been condensed, or cut out entirely because they were more like filler material rather plot development. The plot does have a nice even pace after the initial slow start. The ending isn’t a cliffhanger, but it does leave questions unanswered. Question which I am guessing will be answered in A Wise Man’s Fear Rothfuss foreshadows and gives the reader an indication of where the story might be headed, but doesn’t reveal anything.

Overall I really liked it. It had everything I loved about the fantasy genre, yet it it was in a category all on its own. I can’t wait to read the  The Wise Man’s Fear which my helpful bookseller says is EVEN BETTER!!

Have any of you read this books? If so what did you think?

Thanks for reading

-Anasylvia

Advertisements

Book Thoughts:Omens

Hey everyone I hope you’re all doing well. I started school this week and it already seems like it might be a bit more relaxed then last semester, but it’s way too soon to tell. For those of you who also started school this week, I wish you a good semester:) I recently read  Omens by Kelley Armstrong and thought I’d share my thoughts.

16101040

A great start to a series. I’ve never read anything by Kelley Armstrong, but after this one I not only added the sequel to my most anticipated books of 2014 list, but I plan to start reading more of her work.

Olivia Taylor Jones a.k.a. Eden Larsen is the main character of Omens. She is a rich girl from Chicago who has had everything in her life handed to her. However, she isn’t a princess. She is fully aware of her advantages in life and doesn’t necessarily feel guilty, but she also isn’t comfortable doing nothing. As the novel begins, Olivia is engaged to a decent guy, and she is preparing to go back to school to earn her PHD in Victorian Lit. That is until she discovers that she is really the daughter of two notorious serial killers both serving out life sentences in prison. Suddenly Olivia is the focus of media scrutiny, and her family doesn’t prove to make matters better for her. Frustrated and feeling alone she decides to take a break from of it all and discover her past. She ends up in Cainsville, a small and mysterious town where she meets Gabriel Walsh, her mother’s former lawyer who offers her assistance in her search. Together they uncover old secrets about Olivia’s parents, and about Olivia herself.

Omens is divided between fantasy and mystery. The combination works great. The fantasy is sprinkled in every now and then to remind you that this isn’t your average solve-the -crime story. The lore behind the town of Cainsville is rooted deeply in Welsh history which I found fascinating. Many questions are left unanswered which is a bit frustrating, however, keep in mind this is the first in a series. The first half of the book really drew me in, and I couldn’t put it down. However, I will say the middle portion did drag a little, but sped right back up towards the end. I also wasn’t expecting the book to go in the direction it went, and in typical mystery fashion, I was surprised to discover who was really behind the crime.

The characters are different and complex even some of the side characters. I loved Grace’s humor, and Rose is intriguing. Gabriel was a fantastic male lead. By the way there is no romance here, well at least not between Olivia and Gabriel. There is chemistry though and hints of something. Which I’m sure Armstrong will touch on later which I prefer. I also really liked Olivia. She was naive many times, but smart and quick to solve her problems. She matured throughout the course of this book, and I’m interested to see where this journey takes her.

Overall I really enjoyed Omens and I would recommend it to fans of Fever Series

Thanks for reading!

-Anasylvia

Book Thoughts: Chronicle of a Death Foretold

23878

Everything I’ve come to love from Gabriel Garcia Marquez is in this small but powerful story.

Chronicle of a Death Foretold is a tragedy and you know instantly that nothing will end well. I mean it’s called Chronicles of a Death Foretold and Marquez wrote it, so what more would you expect from it right? However, as the story progresses you find yourself wanting the story to surprise you and switch directions from the obvious tragic route it’s going.  The novel leads you into a haunting look at society. It forces us to look at our own participation in our communities, our voices, and what we chose to do with them.

The novel takes a close look at the murder of Santiago Nasar which occurred in a small town more than twenty seven years ago. The narrator interviews the towns people many of who could have prevented the murder had they simply spoken up or stepped up to the plate.

Marquez presents this tragic tale with elements of magical realism, a cast of kooky characters,and beautiful writing. The imagery in the last pages of the novel really hits you hard, especially as you realize the truth of the story.

Overall a good read with a very important message.

Top 5 Books of 2013

So I know I said I would be posting every Wednesday, and I didn’t this week. Shame on me I know. I couldn’t even do the first week of January. I had an impromptu visit from a friend and got caught up being social. It’s known to happen every now and then.

Anyways 2013 was a very good reading year for me, so I thought I’d share my favorite reads of the year.  Picking was very difficult. I thought about doing top thirteen, but then I actually want to talk a little bit about why I liked each, and thirteen would be just too much.  As I said going through my list and picking 5 was hard, but ultimately I went with  what surprised me or what I enjoyed the most.

17333319   5. Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

This book stayed with me for days after I put it down. That ending I swear. It’s a historical fiction that recounts the life of Agnes Magnúsdóttir who was the last person to be executed in Iceland. Agnes along with two others is accused of murder. Agnes is often represented as the mastermind behind the murder, the dark lady, and temptress.  Hannah Kent wanted to depict a different side of Agnes. From what I read about Hannah Kent’s writing process, much of what we read is entirely her speculation and not real factual accounts. I still enjoyed the story and the writing which showed how beautiful the rigid cold of Iceland can be. I enjoy historical fiction, and this is a departure from what I usually read.

9711714 4. Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King

The wonderful thing about A.S. King is that even though her books are targeted for young adults, they are really for everyone at every age. Everybody Sees the Ants was the first book I read by her, and I instantly knew that I would read more by her. This novel deals with bullying and the ramifications of that on a child’s life. Lucky the main character has been bullied his entire life. The school administration as well as his parents take on the “kids will be kids” mentally, which leaves Lucky alone to suffer. Finally things go to far, and Lucky finds himself at his aunts and uncles house trying to figure out what to do.  There he learns about sticking up for yourself and learning how to be your own protector. From the writing, to the main character,  this book dealt  with so many complex subjects, while still keeping a light tone. Lucky is one of the best protagonist of a YA novel I have read in a while. His transformation throughout the novel was such a pleasure to see. I loved the dream sequences, and  I thought that fantasy element added such richness to the story.

2595138     3. The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson

This one surprised me quite a bit. The Gargoyle is a love story but definitely not your average kind. The main character is retelling his story. There is that tinge of nostalgia that colors the narrative. He starts off with an accident that left him severely burned and disfigured. Once a beautiful man who relied on his looks to obtain success, he is now entirely dependent on others. He begins to contemplate suicide, when a mysterious woman named Marianne shows up in his hospital room and tells him that in a previous life they were lovers.  This is multiple stories within one, and it takes you  to so many places while reading it. The ending is not a happy one, but it isn’t an entirely sad one either. It’s oddly hopeful and mystifying. This book doesn’t answer many of the questions you form along the way, and usually that drives me crazy. It still did with this one, but it also adds to the ending. While I would have liked my questions answered, I can see why Davidson chose to end the novel the way he did. You as well the protagonist are left wondering what is true and what is false.

 49628 2. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

I read this back in April and I wanted to see it before I watched the film. Funnily enough I haven’t seen the film yet. I’ve heard great things. Cloud Atlas is difficult to summarize.  It’s part Sci-Fi/ historical Fiction. It’s told through six different narrations each from different time periods.  At some point in these people’s lives they have connected in some ways. I thought that was really neat. You see the echoes of the same themes in each of the narrations no matter how far apart the time period is. It represents how much are lives are connected whether we know it or not. David Mitchell has written a book that expresses the wrongness of slavery and exploitation. As well as the absolute power that the corrupt have over the weak. He is a fantastic writer who writes such rich dialogue that you have to read it a few times to truly understand it. In his futuristic narrations, he invents a different kind of English that shows how the language could easily evolve in the future. I thought that was very interesting to see.While those were the most difficult passages to read, I appreciated the brilliance behind what Mitchell created. David Mitchell’s writing ties everything together so seamlessly.  How he came up with this idea, and how he executed it so well blows my mind.

 18664342 1.The Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning 

I lost a week of my life to these books. Don’t care. Karen Marie Moning can keep it. If you’ve heard of these books or read the description your reaction might go like this “Ew Fairies no thanks” which I’ll be honest was my reaction. I swore off fairy books awhile ago after reading some really bad and repetitive ones.  Then came the Fever series. Many of the people I follow on Goodreads had  this  on their favorite shelves, people who I tend to trust their opinion because often time their taste are similar to mine. So on one of my trips to the library I picked up Darkfever, the first in the series. It didn’t suck me in right away, but I was intrigued enough to keep reading… and reading until eventually I looked up and it was dark out and the book was almost half way done. I probably would have finished the whole thing in one sitting if school doesn’t have that nasty habit of getting in the way. Reading these books felt like watching Buffy. Which is one of all time favorite shows.   The Fever series is so much more than a book about Fairies. It’s a dark and mysterious world with a few moments of  sunshine. The main character Mac  is strong, independent, and funny. She likes pink, and carrying her trusty spear with her. There is romance but it is so well done. It doesn’t suck out the plot, or take our focus away from the important issues  All of the characters are complex, no two-dimensional cardboard cut outs here. The plot will send you on a wicked ride. These books have ruined all other Urban Fantasy for me. I feel like I started at the top and now don’t know where to go.  I think anyone can enjoy these books regardless of taste. They are just so good, and I can say more, but it will just be more gushing love. Just read them!

So there you have it. 2013 was a fun year of discovering new reads, and I am excited for 2014. Feel free to share you top books of 2013, and any recommendations for me.

Thanks for reading!

-Anasylvia