The Wise Man’s Fear – Patrick Rothfuss


Unfortunately, Goodreads doesn’t allow zero stars for a book and so this one gets a bonus star.

Following on The Name of the Wind, The Wise Man’s Fear is like the really attractive blonde that you just want to spend more time with. The sad realisation is that one you start to spend time with her you find that the only thing she can talk about is the same old topic as that other blonde, her sister. She knows the conversation downpat and recites it verbatim. But nothing ever changes in the conversation and she can’t shut up. She just talks and talks and never gets to the point of any story she’s trying to tell… ever!!

If you’re looking for something with a plot forget about reading The Wise Man’s fear. As already mentioned, this novel prattles on and on and never gets to the point. Rothfuss defies critics by saying that in life there are no convenient plot points, no easy to define split between the different acts. He argues that because his book is about the life of Kvothe that there needn’t be such literary contrivances. He loves the details… like giving you a grocery list of what Kvothe goes to buy while they’re hunting bandits.

The author forgets that people read to escape from the mundane facts of life without plot points or easy to define splits between the different acts. There are enough lists in normal life without having to get another meaningless list.

The book jacket provided a brief history of what we can look forward to in the series and after two tomes in the series, I believe we may have touched on two items. Isn’t this a brilliant example of breaking promises to the reader?

Gone is the fantastic writing that was present in The Name of the Wind and its place is more than a thousand pages of waffle.

I doubt whether I will be back for the third novel, or the fourth, five or fifteenth that it might take before the story is finally done.

The Way of Kings – 2011 Book of the Year


Yes, yes, I know that I’m a little behind the times and that Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings came out in August 2010, but I was only able to get the novel this year. Before we go any further let me admit this – I’m a fan of Sanderson since I opened the first novel in his Mistborn trilogy. Admittedly, I didn’t enjoy the second and third novels in the series as much as that first one, but he had me hooked.

 

To be more honest, if it hadn’t been for the fact that he had been tipped to finish Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series, it might have been several more years before I discovered him. Any of you who have been following my blog for a while will know my dislike of the series, but everyone has their own tastes and one can’t fault the man for accepting the mantle to finish a project as big as The Wheel of Time. In fact, I admire him for the courage to take the torch from a man he admits as being his inspiration.

 

But, this isn’t about his work on The Wheel of Time but instead the first chapter in his own epic series, The Stormlight Archives. The man has taken what he learned while he wrote The Gathering Storm and applied it to his own writing style to refine his work even further.

 

It’s important to remember that this novel was the first act in what is reportedly a ten book series and any resolutions found in the novel are relatively small ones and there are definitely more questions posed in the novel than resolved. There are some characters which are only introduced and shown in the interludes between the different books and you just know that these characters will come to the fore in the rest of the series.

 

The best thing I can say about the novel is that it is the first one in a long time that I want to re-read.

The Hero of Ages: Letting the team down


The Final Empire grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and made me pay attention and I found it was my read of 2010 because it was the only book which made it incredibly difficult for me to put down. The Well of Ascension, while not as jaw-droppingly awesome as the first in the trilogy was still a brilliant and fantastic read. It’s maybe because of this expectation that I came to the conclusion of the Mistborn trilogy with far too much expectations. One of the gauges I use to test how much I’m enjoying a novel is the test whether I could put the book to one side to read something else. Unfortunately, this is a novel I’ve put down twice to read other novels. The first time was for Sanderson’s own The Way of Kings, which was almost as brilliant as The Final Empire and then again for Steven Erikson’s Deadhouse Gates. Of course, I also read other books after those two so it should demonstrate how much I was enjoying The Hero of Ages.

I haven’t finished it but find myself frustrated at several things in the novel. The pace seems to have slowed down to something which could almost be described as glacial. I’ve also found that somewhere between the end of Well and Hero, I stopped caring about Vin and Elend. I wanted to find more people to care about in the novel and so far the only other characters in the novel I find to be rather flat and lifeless. All of them have their jobs to do but I find that I have no empathy or sympathy for them. One of the main characters from the previous two books has been raised to the status of a main character in the novel but I find him too “wishy-washy” and he always seems to be flipping between wanting to carry on with what he was doing before Tindwyl’s death in Well and not wanting to because he feels some sort of guilt or hopelessness because of her death.

Another problem is that while the first two books centred around Luthadel, Hero takes the story out into the rest of the Central Dominance. I believe it was Sanderson’s attempt to show the threat Ruin poses as being bigger than a threat to only Luthadel. The feeling I get though as I read the novel is that I’m walking down the set of a town in a Western movie. All the buildings are there, but they’re only facades to simulate an actual town. I think what I’m trying to say is that it feels as though the world seems to be flat without any proper depth. I think the reason why it’s so shocking in the third book is that I didn’t feel the same way in the first two novels.

I will definitely finish The Hero of Ages but it’s more for being able to say I finished the trilogy rather than the pure enjoyment of the third book. Furthermore, I’m hesitant to say I’m looking forward to The Alloy of Law set in the same world which is due to come out later in the year but I’m confident Sanderson would have been able to inject a little more life in the stand-alone novel.

Rating 4/10