The Name of the Wind
This is one of the books I found in 2013 when I was just coming down from quitting a PhD program. About six years of reading had been totally geared toward the degree, or feeling guilty about reading something not geared to a degree. This book appeared on some Buzzfeed list of something something recent fantasy novels, and I was down. So along with a handful of other series I bought a bunch of the books and jumped back into reading for fun for the first time in years. I also had this book in tow while I was doing a long stint of student teaching, and having a book to help me break from that stress in school was really nice. The problem was that I ended up reading this book in like two days, even while putting in time at school, and well, that backfired. I quickly picked up the second book of the series as well, and finished it at the same pace, which was great! It felt pretty nice to blitz through a book I was thrilled to be reading, but of course that had it’s own issues. I will talk about that in reviewing that book soon.
So this is the second time I’ve read this one, and this time, I am listening to the audiobook. The audiobook is solid. The basic narrating voice of the reader is more than competent, and then he ends up being able to do fairly well with accents. It turns out that some of the accents of this fancy fantasy world are just Italian, Scottish, Russian, and Swedish, but I will take it.
The book itself also captured me this time through just as it had before. There’s a tension throughout the book between the truth of something and the stories about it. So that comes up repeatedly in this first part. We learn the real story not only in more depth than the myths and legends of Kvothe, but we learn the real stories first. So it’s interesting to see that difference. Kvothe is partially a “mary jane” or might be called one, but I do think the book is a little more subtle and strategic than that. He simply only ever really pursues things he’s likely to be good at, or has already worked on before, or is being shunted into something specialized. Also, it’s his story, so he can do what he wants.
The Wise Man’s Fear
The ending of this book already feels a little like the end of The Sopranos. I don’t get the idea that the trilogy is purposely finished with after just two books, nor do I necessarily assume there won’t be a third book. It’s just that watching people demand demand demand demand more more more more is a little disconcerting. But the end with a broken Kvothe is a lot to deal with.
One thing that’s really fascinating rereading this book is that I first read it in 2013, just two years or so after the book came out, and thinking, oh boy, not much longer til the next one. But at the same time, I feel like there were rumblings already in the fan world. Regardless, I think this book illustrates a few interesting things. Not much time has passed in the story even near the end when some things move faster. It’s just not that fast. Also, there feels like a LOT more than one more (even a long) book’s worth of stuff. That’s both wonderful for us, but clearly daunting of a prospect. This feels more so now than before a four book problem, not three. And may yet prove to be the case. Regardless, moving us away from the university is dicey, but really works here. The classic problems of the mayorlty I think are great, and just removing a few sources of thorns really opens up the world. More than the first, this book feels more and more like the Witcher than before, and that really opens up some freedom for the series.