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I just joined Dreamwidth this week and I was looking for an interesting book-review community, as I like reading book reviews :)
This summer holiday I'm trying to write as many book reviews as possible. Except for a few manga and French comic books, I have written a review for every book I read in July. It's fun and I'm going to try and continue writing reviews after the holiday as well!

Here is my latest review, of a fantasy book:

I took care to give no obvious spoilers about the story and there aren't even real spoilers in the back cover description...

Title: The Wise Man's Fear (on Librarything)
Author: Patrick Rothfuss
Format: hardcover
Pages: 994
ISBN: 9780575081413
Back cover text (actually on the inside of the dust jacket):
The Kingkiller Chronicle Day Two

'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.

My name is Kvothe.
You may have heard of me.'

The man was lost. The myth remained.

Kvothe - the dragon-slayer, the renowned swordsman, the most feared, famed and notorious wizard the world has ever seen - vanished without warning and without trace. And even now, when he has been found, when darkness is rising in the corners of the world, he will not return.

But his story lives on and, for the first time, Kvothe is going to tell it...

First alinea of the prologue (third person):
Dawn was coming. The Waystone Inn lay in silence, and it was a silence of three parts.
The most obvious part was a vast, echoing quiet made by things that were lacking. If there had been a storm, raindrops would have tapped and pattered against the selas vines behind the inn. Thunder would have muttered and rumbled and chased the silence down the road like fallen autumn leaves. If there had been travelers stirring in their rooms they would have stretched and grumbled the silence away like fraying, half-forgotten dreams. If there had been music... but no, of course there was no music. In fact there were none of these things, and so the silence remained.

First alinea of the chapter where Kvothe continues with his story (first person):
Every term at the University began the same way: the admissions lottery followed by a full span of interviews. They were a necessary evil of sorts.
I don't doubt the process started sensibly. Back when the University was smaller, I could picture them as actual interviews. An opportunity for a student to have a conversation with the masters about what he had learned. A dialogue. A discussion.
But these days the University was host to over a thousand students. There was no time for discussion. Instead, each student was subjected to a hail of questions in a handful of minutes. Brief as the interviews were, a single wrong answer or overlong hesitation could have a dramatic impact on your tuition.

It was the best book I've read so far this year! Also the first book to keep me reading (deep) into the night since July 2009 (when I read the last few volumes of the Inuyasha series).

It is the second book in the series, but it was also two years ago (August 2009) since I'd read the first book. Instead of giving a summary of the first book in the text (which makes me think the author presumes the reader has forgotten a lot of things from the previous book), the author subtly reminded the reader of events in the first book. After a 100 pages or so (maybe less), the hints about the first book stopped and the story really was just "in this book". I think it is possible to read this book without having read the first book, but you'll probably wonder about some things that are explained in the first book (and some things won't make a lot of sense, or maybe you won't even notice that those things are explained more in the first book as you don't know what was and wasn't explained in the first book...).

I liked the structure of the story. In the first book Kvothe (the main character) starts telling his life story to Chronicler, who writes it down. The parts describing the conversations between Kvothe and Chronicler and such are written in third person. The chapters where Kvothe is telling his story are written in first person. It's the same in the second book, which contains the second day of Kvothe's story-telling. At several parts in Kvothe's story, he or someone else tells stories as well. When characters interrupt the story-teller then, their comments and actions are written in cursive font inbetween the story as well. It really gives the feel of "story-telling".

It felt as if the ending of this book was already ten pages or something before the last page. The last pages gave some hints about what would be described in the next book, but it was nice to read a book that didn't end immediately after the "ending" of the part of the story in the book.

Writing style:
I think the parts where Kvothe is telling his story read like you're actually listening to someone telling a story. Quite a relaxing style of writing, I think. The parts in the inn (where Kvothe is telling his story to Chronicler, the third-person-chapters) are a bit less interesting to read, I think, because I was just curious to the rest of Kvothe's story! However, reading the last chapter, I think the third-person-parts might get more interesting than Kvothe's story itself in the next book... Still I wonder if it'll be a trilogy or not. I hope there will be more than three books, as
a) the way the story is written is certainly suitable for MORE than three books.
b) a trilogy is "standard fantasy stuff" lately (it seems to me) and this story really isn't structured like any standard fantasy, so why should it be a trilogy? I'd be happy with four books, like the Night Watch tetralogy by Sergei Lukyanenko, which was also fantasy but not really "standard fantasy" (and I liked the fourth book of that series best!).

Yes!! I'd re-read this book separately from the first book as well. There were a lot of interesting language-things in this book as well (for example a knot-language (though only introduced near the end of the book, so it might play a larger role in the next book) and a sign-language which reminded me a bit of the sign-language in The Clan of the Cavebear, though combined with speech, so the signs weren't used for everything in the language).

March 2014

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