First of all, allow me to say that this was a beautiful story, even though (as Mr. Rothfuss says) it does not do the things a traditional story does. It is nonetheless pure delight, and hard to put down because of it. Some people were disappointed in this novella because of it’s lack of focus on Kvothe, or because they feel Mr. Rothfuss should only work on the next novel of the King Killer Chronicles- this story is not for them.
As the Afterward says, this book is for all the fucked up people, you can look into this fragmented story and see a reflection of yourself, like a mirror shattered on the ground. There were moments I had to put the book down and simply be amazed at how perfectly Patrick Rothfuss got it, how he captured in words the frantic-bird-flight of the heart, the way the world suddenly turns on it’s head, comes rushing at you all at once, and every press of cloth, every shaft of light, feels like daggers to the throat. But he also captured moonlight with his words, cartwheels and soft songs. You have to read it to understand, and even then you might not- but I firmly believe it’s worth it to dive into the darkness with Auri, to see and feel the world alongside her, as she waits for a visit from Kvothe…
The second entry into Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicles finds improved supporting characters and Kvothe still fluctuating between being annoyingly perfect and annoyingly stupid. The narrative is saved by the incredible readability of Rothfuss’s prose, which flies and dances like the bladed leaves of a sword tree.
We’re taken far beyond the limits of the University, Imre, or Tarbean in Day Two, the history and cultures of the lands and it’s people given more detail, the lines of building mystery pulled ever more taught. A discussion of the novel lies behind the cut, I’ll start with my feelings on the book, then discuss the story itself- so if you don’t want to read spoilers you can be safe for the first half of the review (I’ll note where the spoilers begin).
The Wise Man’s Fear is a story of questions, secrets, and song; the tale is strung with harsh iron, woven with lute strings, lit with moon glow and washed in blood. Here we see a hero move from the travails of youth to the hardships of adulthood and the choices it forces one to make. The tides of myth and poem are the rhythms that pull the narrative forward, and I feel hints of the stories of Tam Lin and Fionn mac Cumhaill running through the veins of this tale, with promises of sacrifice and suffering hidden just below the journey’s ice…
Where to begin with a tale such as this? A story that is so much more then the sum of it’s parts, a narrative woven into a grand tapestry of heroics and every day moments, a hero as human as each of us, but as mysterious as a god.
I begin to write this review with only the first few pages of Wise Man’s Fear read, allowing me to look at the book as more of an island, instead of the edge of a continent. There is so much to say, I am sure I will miss much, but the writing of Patrick Rothfuss begs to be spoken of, begs to be read aloud from, begs to be carried with you and shared with others.
So, where to begin? I suppose at the beginning. A quick summary of our tale for those who have somehow still avoided picking up the book. And with Lionsgate having made offers to complete not only a movie and TV adaptation of the extensive world, but a video game as well, my question is- what are you waiting for?
Star Wars- I was introduced to it at such a young age that it feels like it has always been part of my life. The Original Trilogy held a time honored place in the pantheon of Most Important Movies, especially Return of the Jedi. The first notes of John William’s score would wail and shake as the worn VHS played through the quiet beginning, a hooded Luke approaching the Hutt den to free Han. I can remember the thrill as both Lando and Leia revealed themselves, the triumph of Boba Fett dropping into the sarlaac and the Princess killing Jabba. The end was just as spectacular, the battle of Endor played out in the redwood forests my family would visit almost every summer. Speeder bikes screaming through the undergrowth, Ewoks fighting back against the interlopers who sought to occupy their forest. And Luke, his loneliness a weight as heavy as his father’s body, watching Anakin burn.
I won’t talk about the prequels (everyone else already has), and I can’t claim to have read any Star Wars novels before this or any other works by Chuck Wendig. So there are probably many things I’m missing out on with my initial reading of Aftermath, but I enjoyed it regardless, and really appreciated what Mr. Wendig attempted to do here.
There are poems, and then there is poetry- there are pieces you read that do not effect you, or that you enjoy but never think about. Then there are poems that are poetry- words strung together that seem to grab whatever it is that feels like a soul inside you and rips it open, squeezes it dry. Demands that your eyes consume it again and again, in it’s entirety, in certain lines, or stanzas or coupling of words. There is poetry that builds a fire inside you and it burns with a heat the demands your attention. Makes you want to grab people, shake them awake, screaming, “This! This!” while jabbing at the words that are articulating what you never even knew you felt, you believed in.
The first poem I read by Jamaal May was “There are Birds Here”, found in an issue of Poets and Writers. I’ve harbored a fascination with Detroit that most likely stems from my grandmother being born in Michigan and my love of derelict buildings. But lately it’s the locals who have grabbed my attention, those who called it home and never left. Those who take care of their families, their neighbors, regardless of what the media says about their communities, what outsiders believe they know.
“There are Birds Here” tore me open. I must have read it a dozen or more time when I first discovered it. Over and over, hungry for it in pieces, in it’s entirety. It begins with a series of refusals to the darkness outsiders first perceive and ends with a song of light and shadow that illuminates the world. You can read it here.
Jamaal May has two bodies of work in publication; Hum and The Big Book of Exit Strategies. But how do you even begin to review them? There is so much here that demands attention; from the simple scene of three men clustered in a cold driveway, examining a nonworking car, to Jamaal pushing past marine recruiters in school hallways, hoping others will choose words over war. His poetry doesn’t just show you a point of view, it gives you his literal vision, distorted by earlier struggles, it gives you his wants and needs, his pain and his past. What his hands feel, what his heart perceives.
Published in September of last year and written by Hugo Award Nominee (and Doctor Who writer), Paul Cornell, Witches tells the story of a small town torn apart by magic and change.
When the Supermarket company of Sovo seeks entry into the rural community of Lychford, locals are split between the much needed job offers and the desire to keep their town unaffected by modern development. What most people of the town don’t realize is that Lychford rests at a crossroads, a place where parallel worlds of all kinds meet and are accessible, and Sovo plans will tear open the barriers from those worlds, allowing entry into our own.
The year is 1895. Sylvan, a night soiler and street fighter, discovers an infant girl in the muck of a privy one night in Manhattan. Haunted by the ghosts of his adopted family, he takes the girl on, unable to bear the guilt of another lost human life. Little does he realize, but the girl is the center of many other stories, and will bring together a flurry of misfits as they try to make the pieces of their lives fit.