Sunday, May 15, 2011

reviewlet: Name of the Wind II: The Wise Man's Fears

(Edited: penny arcade also noted that the most notable feature of the book was all the sex)

I got tricked into reading name of the wind, for all the hype it was getting from friends but also penny arcade. I didn't realize it was just part 1 of a new series. Given I haven't read much fantasy in like a decade, I have
lots of choices of complete series, but I was left stuck with the old problem (like with George RR Martin) of reading and waiting for years or decades for the series to finish.

It was quite a good book. Not great literature by any means, and not especially deep, but a richly constructed world, with believable magical technology, and a carefully thought out social structure.

Also, nice lyrical writing: "It was night again. The Waystone Inn lay in silence, and it was a silence of three parts."

I always liked bards in D&D, and the main character is basically a bard, complete with spells, and now some monk levels. The book has a somewhat satisfying love story, and uses the device that since this is the heroes' autobiography, its "ok" if it becomes cliched. I appreciated that the book was self aware enough to acknowledge these cliches, and excuses them as the liberties taken by the bard.

The Wise Man's Fear (Kingkiller Chronicles, Day 2)Book 2, The Wise Men's Fears, got somewhat tepid reviews, but I quite liked it. The writing is smoother this time (much like how rowling got smoother with each book) and while it got a bit self indulgent with the sex stuff, I appreciated that it tried. Some of tt was a risk, and a risk that didn't quite payoff, but a bold risk.

It had an extensive trip to the east (it is interesting that like Feist, the part of the fantasy world that is clearly inspired by the east--budghism, taoism, yoga--is populated by white looking people). But it was an interesting reminder of eastern philosophy and a nice new way to look at it.

All in all, the book is populated by charming characters, particularly the women (an affectation that the book acknowledges--one character interrupts the narrator to note that somehow all the women in the story are beautiful). A favorite  is Auri, (Rothfuss' version of Rowling's Luna Lovegood). Book 2 was a satisfying continuation of the story. Nothing mindblowing. But can't wait for the hopefully final installment.

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