George R.R. Martin and Patrick Rothfuss books are selling like hotcakes. Together they make up 9 of the top 20 Amazon books this week, between hardcover, Kindle editions, and audio books. A Game of Thrones moves into first in the top 5 this week, with Rothfuss capturing two slots with the Kindle editions of the first and second books in The Kingkiller Chronicles.
Posts Tagged With: The Name of the Wind
After appearing in the top 5 in hardcover format, then dropping off for a week, The Wise Man’s Fear makes a return in Kindle form. In fact, all 5 books in the top 5 are Kindle format this week. The hardcover version of Pat Rothfuss’ latest is actually down at number 10. Interestingly, the Kindle version of A Game of Thrones lands in third place, while George R.R. Martin’s latest is actually down in 14th place in the bestseller list. Both Rothfuss and J.R. Rain have two books in the top 5 this week.
A Dance with Dragons and The Wise Man’s Fear both drop off the top five, with the Kindle versions of the first books in the respective series making appearances. Looks like everyone is playing catch-up. J.R. Rain owns 40% of the top 5 this week, with Charlaine Harris’ latest rounding out the top 5.
The week that George R.R. Martin’s publisher announces a release date for A Dance with Dragons, it premiers in first place. With the release of A Wise Man’s Fear, sales of Rothfuss’ The Name of the Wind have rocketed the first novel in the series back into the top 3, in Kindle form. Overall a rare fantastic week for epic fantasy.
In honor of book blogger appreciation week 2010, I’m submitting some of the best reviews from Fantasy Book News. Below is a sampling.
Best Literary Fiction Blog
We’ve got reviews of Mistborn, The Name of the Wind, and Leviathan this week, along with a great post over at SF Signal that features a great summary of quality sword & sorcery novels. GRRM fans should get ready to have scenes with Dani in the new A Game of Thrones HBO series shine as its rumored that they’re breathing life into the dothraki by creating a language to be used on the show. We’ve also found a few great author blog posts this week, from both Pat Rothfuss and Guy Gavriel Kay. And finally, check out the cool box set of art inspired by Stephen King novels.
- Review: Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson @ Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell
- Review: The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss @ Arts & Faith
- Review: Leviathan by Scott Westerfield (and other steampunk opinion) @ The Barnes & Noble Review
- Reviews: The Best Sword & Sorcery @ SF Signal
- TV: Dothraki language to be created for A Game of Thrones HBO series @ GeekTyrant
- Interview: Peter V. Brett @ Writer’s Grove
- Author Blogs: Pat Rothfuss on fan fiction @ Patrick Rothfuss’ blog
- Author Blogs: Guy Gavriel Kay on magic realism (4/12 post) @ Under Heaven blog
- Art: Stephen King art box set released @ Missions Unknown!
Okay, so I want to make sure we’re clear before diving in: this is not a list of the best fantasy books released in 2009, but rather the top books read and reviewed here at Fantasy Book News in 2009. That said, there are some newer books, and some classics, but overall this is an elite list of fantasy novels that any avid reader should check out. And away we go.
A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
While this series is going on fifteen years, I gave a re-read to the first novel in the Song of Ice and Fire series in 2009, in audio book format. The book still has the same enchanting effect as the first time I read it, and is still the standard to which I compare most other fantasy books, and absolutely any epic fantasy books. Check out the full review of A Game of Thrones.
Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch
The second book in Lynch’s seven book Gentlemen Bastards series delivered what many creative people struggle to accomplish time and time again: give the audience a better experience than the original. Red Seas Under Red Skies upped the stakes from The Lies of Locke Lamora, and hit ended up hitting a grand slam. Read the full review of Red Seas Under Red Skies.
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
This whopping freshman fantasy novel by Rothfuss completely transports you to another world, which is one of the goals that every fantasy novel aspires to. Believe me, I read most of it while lounging poolside in Araxa, Brazil, and I can’t tell you how many times I forgot my beautiful surroundings for the world that Rothfuss creates. Check out the full review of The Name of the Wind.
The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
The quintessential fairy tale, The Last Unicorn is simply a beautiful story. Get lost in a world of fantasy and magic, complimented with a fantastically original plot and a genuine sense of humor. Read the full review of The Last Unicorn.
Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
Mistborn is an absolutely beautiful novel. Its got everything that a fantasy reader looks for: insanely original devices, characters you can identify with, tons of action, and wholesome undercurrents. We have a full review of Mistborn over here.
Book review of Patrick Rothfuss’s The Name of the Wind
Before cracking open The Name of the Wind and reading one word, I had some pretty high expectations. This is supposed to be the series that eclipses The Lord of the Rings and redefines the genre. Patrick Rothfuss has been hailed as a master of the craft, and this is only his first venture into the genre. Generally, with hype of this magnitude, I’m almost unavoidably let down with the presentation. Kvothe has some pretty big shoes to fill.
This novel is of the epic high fantasy genre, and while its scope is rather grand, weighing in at 722 pages and set to span 3 books, the book is presented as a first-person narrative. If you’re not accustomed to this perspective of storytelling, you may want to be wary. However, how Rothfuss accomplishes this is creatively done to say the least.
The book is presented in a completely linear fashion. If you’re used to the constantly shifting perspective of a George R.R. Martin tale, the flashback-style of The Lies of Locke Lamora, or even the triple plot split of The Lord of the Rings series, you won’t find any of it here. The fact that Rothfuss could write a novel of this size, mainly from the perspective of one character, make it linear, and keep it as interesting as he does is a feat in itself.
And keep it interesting Mr. Rothfuss does. The pace is rather quick for a novel of this size. While Rothfuss is able to keep the pages turning, he writes in a extremely detailed and descriptive fashion. The settings are lavish, from the countryside to the city scenes to the University where the main charatcter Kvothe eventually finds himself. Where Rothfuss really shines is with his descriptive powers surrounding characterization. The details radiate in a circle out from Kvothe. I found his parents to be extremely well-developed, as well as his love interest and professors at the university. Even the bad guys get some fine treatment:
The voice came from a man who sat apart from the rest, wrapped in shadow at the edge of the fire. Though the sky was still bright with sunset and nothing stood between the fire and where he sat, shadow pooled around him like thick oil. The fire snapped and danced, lively and warm, tinged with blue, but no flicker of its light came close to him. The shadow gathered thicker around his head. I could catch a glimpse of a deep cowl like some priests wear, but underneath the shadows were so deep it was like looking down a well at midnight.
While the characterization is extremely well done, it is a bit concerning that the best descriptions seem to come with the characters that Patrick has probably dealt with in his own life. Parents, your first love, teachers; these are all individuals that all of us have intimate experiences with and could probably do a decent job of transferring into a work of fiction. It will be interesting to see how Mr. Rothfuss fares when taking his work in a different direction, by stepping into the minds of other characters, or dealing with characters that are not as easily identifiable to the average person. This aside, the characterization accomplished in The Name of the Wind is a job well done.
The dialog is average, without too many stand out or memorable passages. Like any great novel or work in any genre, The Name of the Wind is chock full of ideas and commentary that holds true in life. This is possibly the most important part of fiction novels to me, as I feel that when I get to the end of a novel not only did I have a fun time getting there, but I’ve also got something to take with me and use later on in life. Here are a few samples:
“Did you learn the whole language?”
“No. Of course not,” Kvothe said rather testily. “Only a portion of it. A large portion to be sure, but I don’t think you can ever learn all of anything, let alone a language.”
Toward the end of the summer I accidentally overheard a conversation that shook me out of my state of blissful ignorance. When we are children we seldom think of the future. This innocence leaves us free to enjoy ourselves as few adults can. The day we fret about the future is the day we leave our childhood behind.
Once I knew what the problem was, it was just a problem, nothing to fear.
And my favorite:
My parents danced together, her head on his chest. Both had their eyes closed. They seemed so perfectly content. If you can find someone like that, someone who you can hold and close your eyes to the world with, then you’re lucky. Even if it only lasts for a minute a day. The image of them gently swaying to the music is how I picture love in my mind even after all these years.
The novel also places a heavy value on music: how it gets into a person’s blood and can consume them; the details of the life of the musician on the road; all the aspects of the first performance. I won’t spoil any of these moments here, but it can be comical in its truth at times:
A poet is a musician who can’t sing. Words have to find a man’s mind before they can touch his heart, and some men’s minds are woefully small targets. Music touches their hearts directly no matter how small or stubborn the mind of the man who listens.
Overall, I believe Patrick Rothfuss’ The Name of the Wind completely lives up to the hype, and takes it a step further by connecting personally with me on a musical and emotional level. I found myself reflecting after closing its pages on how I wish I had got my hands on it as a teenager, prior to attending college. I think this book would have totally changed my outlook, and I would have treated the overall experience of schooling and knowledge with more respect and reverence. It was interesting transitioning from reading The Sword in the Stone, which is a novel about a single relationship between teacher and student, to The Name of the Wind which details one student’s extreme passion and desire for knowledge. That I’ll be returning for the next installation goes without saying. I can’t wait to see what happens when Kvothe’s past catches up with him.
You can purchase The Name of the Wind over at Amazon.com.