Nicole Reads A Lot

so many books, so little time

The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

Title:
The Wise Man's Fear: The Kingkiller Chronicles, Day 2
Author:Patrick Rothfuss
PublisherBrilliance Audio
Publication Date:March 2011
Publisher's Description"My name is Kvothe. I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I have burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during the day. I have talked to God's, loved women and written songs that make the minstrels weep. You may have heard of me."
So begins a tale unequaled in fantasy literature - the story of a hero told in his own voice. It is a tale of sorrow, a tale of survival, a tale of one man's search for meaning in his universe, and how that search, and the indomitable will that drove it, gave birth to a legend.
My rating:****

Wise Man's Fear
The second day of Kvothe’s story is more interesting than the first! For one thing, we now have some understanding of who he is, so his recitation of his life means more. For another thing, more happens. The events that comprise the myth of Kvothe began in the first novel, and here we see more of what made Kvothe a legend in his own time. We also get the first inkling of how it was for Kvothe to be confronted with his reputation whilst going about his daily life.

We also get more of a juxtaposition between the younger, powerful Kvothe and present-day Kvothe, who seems greatly altered and reduced. The mystery of how he went from being the person in the stories to being the person telling the stories is a tantalizing one. His relationship with Bast is also rounded out here. Bast is an interesting character in his own right, and I am looking forward to hearing how he became Kvothe’s student.

One thing that bothered me is that Mr. Podehl’s narration wasn’t consistent. He pronounced names such as Fela and Devi differently in this book than he did in the first, but then alternated between the two pronunciations of Fela throughout The Wise Man’s Fear. This was initially confusing, but then just annoying.

Although the audio version of this book was 42 hours long, I listened to it in the span of several days, because it was just that interesting. I completely understand how Mr. Rothfuss isn’t churning these books out every year, due to their length and awesomeness, but I am eagerly anticipating the third book in this series.

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The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Title:
The Name of the Wind: The Kingkiller Chronicles, Day 1
Author:Patrick Rothfuss
PublisherBrilliance Audio
Publication Date:May 2009
Publisher's Description"My name is Kvothe. I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I have burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during the day. I have talked to God's, loved women and written songs that make the minstrels weep. You may have heard of me."
So begins a tale unequaled in fantasy literature - the story of a hero told in his own voice. It is a tale of sorrow, a tale of survival, a tale of one man's search for meaning in his universe, and how that search, and the indomitable will that drove it, gave birth to a legend.
My rating:****

Audible edition

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I was skeptical when a friend recommended this book to me. In general, I don’t end up being particularly drawn to fantasy books written by men. I have zero interest in wizardry and protracted fight scenes, and I usually hate the way that women in these books speak and act. That being said, I’d ignored enough of this friend’s book suggestions that I was starting to feel impolite. I picked up the print edition at the library, but 700+ pages of something I already wasn’t into didn’t help me become more motivated.

On a whim, I checked to see if there was an Audible edition of this book, and purchased it when I saw that there was. I am now patting myself on the back for this. With the obstacles that I mentioned earlier, I might not have read this book otherwise, and I would have missed out on a real treat.

Kvothe is such a great protagonist! Mr. Rothfuss does an excellent job at capturing a smart, funny character who is nevertheless very young. Kvothe is the very definition of somebody who is at times too smart for his own good. I laughed at his wit, then winced when it got the better of him. A lot of what happened to Kvothe was due to other people’s misdeeds or simple bad luck, but some of it was simply Kvothe having to learn time and again that pride sometimes hurts more than it helps. This book is a marvel; there are so many beautiful passages, and Mr. Podehl did a great job with the various accents and inflections in this book.

This book is so many things. As soon as I finished it, I started the second book, which was, if anything, even better. I highly recommend this series, even to those who wouldn’t normally read this type of book.

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Faith Hunter’s Rogue Mage series

Note: I wrote this nearly a year ago and don’t remember anything about this series, but I’m going to take my word for it that this review still reflects my feelings.

I’m a fan of Ms. Hunter’s Jane Yellowrock series, so I decided to give this, her earlier series, a try, too. I read the first and second books in this series, but gave up when I got about 40 pages into the this one. I never really got into this series, but kept reading, expecting that something would happen to make me like these characters and their world. It never did. I’m not saying this series is bad, it’s just not to my taste.

Ms. Hunter was rather parsimonious with explanations that would have enhanced (my enjoyment of) the first book, doling it out in the second and even third entries in this series. I’m aware that authors often explain the worlds they create throughout the books, but waiting until the second book to describe how the world even came to be is a bit much for me. By the time I got the background information on this world that might have deepened my enjoyment of these books, I was already beyond that.

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A Blood Seduction by Pamela Palmer

Title:
A Blood Seduction
Author:Pamela Palmer
Publication Date:May 29, 2012
Publisher's DescriptionVampires live only for lust and pleasure in the eternal twilight of Vamp City. But the city’s magic is dying. The only person who can restore it? A beautiful woman from the mortal world...one who knows nothing of the power she wields.

Quinn Lennox is searching for a missing friend when she stumbles into a dark otherworld that only she can see—and finds herself at the mercy of Arturo Mazza, a dangerously handsome vampire whose wicked kiss will save her, enslave her, bewitch her, and betray her.

What Arturo can’t do is forget about her—any more than Quinn can control her own feelings for him. Neither one can let desire get in the way of their mission—his to save his people, hers to save herself.

But there is no escape from desire in a city built for seduction, where passion flows hot and blood-red. Welcome to Vamp City...
My rating:**

I chose to review this book because it seemed like something that I would really like. A lot of the action takes place in a world parallel to our own, and I’m always interested to see how authors handle a world that is at once familiar and new. In Ms. Palmer’s case, I would say, not well. I was horrified by so much that happened in this book. Vampires as a story element are certainly au courant, but the gender and power dynamics of this novel could easily have come from any less progressive bodice ripper of the 70s or 80s. “What the…” was a common refrain as I read this.

First of all, Quinn was ENSLAVED and end up feeling all gooey and warm toward her captor. Almost immediately! The phenomenon of Stockholm Syndrome was named after a course of events that unfolded over six days. Quinn was already making an ass of herself over Arturo on day one. Second, and maybe I’m just sensitive about this, I really hate how acts of mental and even physical cruelty toward women in this book are seen as negligible, because at least they’re not sexual violence (although there was plenty of that to go around, as well). Really???

I understand what an anti-hero is, but I think that Arturo’s really just a jerk. The source of his conflict was inane, and Kassius served as an embodiment of why Arturo’s supposed unshakeable loyalty was even dumber than it initially appeared to be. Then again, maybe Arturo is perfect for Quinn, because she’s an idiot. She’s supposed to be intelligent enough to be a scientist, but seems pretty slow on the uptake. She gives her trust too easily, to a person she should not, who (rather sportingly) warns her against doing so, then betrays her; to get an idea of the rest of the book, lather, rinse, and repeat. Even after he proves himself untrustworthy and admits to lying when it is expedient to do so, she still continues to take Arturo at his word! What does it take to get her to wake up and realize that the only person she can depend on is herself (answer: I don’t know, she does’t reach this conclusion by the somewhat hilarious end of this book). Furthermore, Quinn observes the speed and strength of vampires relative to that of humans, and still manages to completely underestimate them. What does it take to get through to this woman?

I didn’t feel at all invested in Quinn’s emotional connection to Arturo, which I was really glad for as I reached the end of this book. Maybe I’m just not in the target demographic for this book, because I didn’t get or enjoy it at all.

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