Friday, 15 June 2012

Kate Reviews: The Kingkiller Chronicles

So I finally reviewed the Kingkiller Chronicles. ...Only not here.

Mookychick, an online magazine that is basically an explosion of all that is counter-culture feminist and awesome, featuring a wide range of articles on everything from how to pull off a corset or become a magazine editorto how to how to defend your right not to have children  to weaning the baby you did choose to have. They're all-inclusive like that. I've contributed in the past and thoroughly urge anyone who wants to write professionally and is interested in... well anything really to submit something. They don't pay for submissions but it is good experience.

Until recently I've been too busy with dissertation panic to write much of anything at all and when I did manage to submit something it ended up being caught in a backlog. But finally, here is the article on the Kingkiller Chronicles that I've been meaning to write since I first put down the book some time in early December/ late January.

Unfortunately I can't reproduce it here but I can give you a copy of my initial reactions from my former, soon to be deleted blog (which sadly expired for the same reason an article I planned in January finally got published in June i.e. DISSERTATION PANIC).

 From the vault:

So Santa brought me something special this year. The something special being A Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. And Santa being my sister. Needless to say there will be SPOILERS.

Merciful Tehlu. THIS. IS AWESOME. Remember when The Name of the Wind came out and it was ridiculously brilliant and it revolutionised fantasy and made even the mainstream critiques sit up? Well this one is better.

At times during Book One I found myself feeling the odd twinge of guilt reading about Kvothe. Was he a Marty-Stu in training, effectively the thinking geek’s Bella Swan? His cluelessness with women and his lack of common sense make up for this even early on but I couldn’t shake the feeling that if Kvothe was in my class aged fifteen he’d annoy the hell out of me. (Which is actually kind of the point: Kvothe is not exactly diplomatic.)

But in Book Two he gets a crash course in humility: not only has he reached a level of University that he finds challenging, he gets the snot beaten out of him by a ten year old martial arts prodigy and hits a block in his Naming lessons (though not necessarily in that order). This makes perfect sense: his training with Ben prepared him up to a point and now he’s on his own. Or not, because the supporting characters really step up: Wil and Sim continue to be awesome, Fela gets some character development and even Denna becomes likable once she starts interacting with Kvothe’s friends. Also, now it’s been strongly implied that she’s a (very) high class courtesan (to the point the only way to imply it more strongly would be if she tattooed it on her forehead) I find myself liking her better than when she was just this wandering waif getting fawned over by random men. And of course it doesn’t hurt that Kvothe has got over his single target sexuality and got laid elsewhere. I mean personally I’d still rather he ended up with Auri but only because I love her more than chocolate and it’s a sad day when your completely insane friend who lives in an abandoned basement and won’t tell you a real name is more dependable than your wandering on/off love interest who also won’t tell you her name. Maybe Kvothe just has a type.

I also like the slightly cracky way the atmosphere changes from student hijinks, to Boy’s Own adventure story, to political intrigue, to a Dungeons and Dragon’s party in the woods, to fairytale, to martial arts film and back to student hijinks. Seriously, he even takes a year out to study martial arts with the mysterious mountian people of Ademere. I think Elodin may be based on Patrick Rothfuss: I kind of imagine him dancing round in wizard’s robes mixing martial arts cliches with tabletop RPGs and Dangerous Liaisons to create something fresh and original and cackling madly while he does it.

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