Posts Tagged With: Patrick Rothfuss

The Five Best Fantasy Authors You Should Read and Why

by T.L. Gray

by T.L. Gray

As an author I’ve had the honor and privilege of not only getting my hands on a some of the best literature this world has to offer, but I’ve been very blessed to get to know many of the authors behind those great works of art.

Writers are a strange and peculiar brand of people.  They see the world with wide, yet narrowed eyes.  What I mean by that is that they can see beyond boundaries, borders and boxes to view bigger pictures and brighter scenes.  That broad vision comes with an acute precision, able to pinpoint what others can easily pass over or pretend doesn’t exist.  We see the beauty and the ugliness, the gift of hope and the curse of doubt.

There are a few people and books that haven’t simply touched my imagination, but reached deep into my soul and stirred my very being.  I’ve laughed and wept with their stories.  Some have fueled my desire to write, others intimidated me and pushed me to reevaluate everything.  Some have made me so jealous of their gift, I literally weep with appreciation just to be able to call them my friend.  Some have become my true friends, inspiring and pushing me in personal ways.

There are many, yet simple but complex, reasons for these five particular novels/authors.  I hope you will give them a chance and allow them to touch you as they’ve touched me. They’re in no particular order:

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss – I’ve never had a book move me through every emotion more than this one. I’ve cried, laughed, been excited, angry and outraged while reading this fabulous tale.  Rothfuss is one of the few authors who intimidates me as a writer.  I know when I meet a good, talented writer, but Rothfuss’ skill makes me feel inadequate.  Then he goes and reproduces that same feeling of awe in the sequel – The Wise Man’s Fear. I don’t particularly like feeling inadequate, and everything in me wants to fight against it, but I admire his skill, imagination and genius so much – I’m truly in awe. I’m truly a fan – not just a colleague.

That leads me right into The Emperor of Thorns by Mark Lawrence.  Actually, you should start with book one, The Prince of Thorns and read through The King of Thorns to finish with The Emperor of Thorns.  What impressed me most from this writer wasn’t necessarily the plot, but the wisdom, personal reflections, platitudes and proverbs he planted in these books.  I’d sincerely consider this a philosophical series more than an epic fantasy.  Some readers only read for adventure the plot offers, but to me, I find myself meditating on certain phrases, often forgetting the plot for a time as I grasp for deeper meanings and pearls of wisdom.  Lawrence blows me away as much as Kerouac or Bukowski do.

My third selection is from writer Jeff Suwak, author of the novella Beyond the Tempest Gate.  While Tempest Gate is a beautiful heroic tale that stretches the imagination and fuels the warrior spirit within me, it is an unpublished short story called “Rusted, Busted, Beautiful Things” that moves me most.  There was sadness, need, a crying out from a thirsty soul in that piece that has stayed with me for many, many nights.  I’ve cried often because this story came to me at a time when I felt my lowest, when I felt Rusted, Busted, but also Beautiful, deserving to not be forgotten and discarded as many of those pieces and buildings listed in that story.  I’m getting emotional thinking about it.  His words touch my soul.  There have been many other short stories I’ve read from this particular author that also moved me: one about a man on the edge of a crisis of doubt taking a walk in the middle of the night and finding a friendly cup of coffee, polite conversation, and the meaning to life, another about boy coming of age and stepping into his destiny under the mysterious music of a guitarista,   Exceptional talent.  He’s destined to be one of the greats.

My fourth selection is The Riyria Series by Michael J. Sullivan.  To know a man is to know his heart, and I absolutely fell in love with Sullivan’s characters Hadrian and Royce.  Their chemistry, their connection, their stark sense of humor pours off the page.  I love these two characters.  I’d want to know them in real life, and I’m sure they come from various parts of Sullivan’s own personality.  He’s one of the nicest and helpful people I’ve met in this business.  But, these two protagonists stole my heart and I find myself often thinking about them and wanting to know more, revisit their adventures, and read them all over again. Theft of Swords, Rise of Empire, Heir of Novron,

My last selection was really hard to narrow, to define, to highlight, because there are so many great authors out there right now, so many whose works I’ve fell in love with, whose craft and artistry I admire.  But I have to stick with the ones that totally move me in a very deep, almost spiritual, way.  So, rising to the top amongst a sea of favorites is Blood Song by Anthony Ryan. Valen al Sorna snatched my attention, stole my heart, and didn’t let go until I turned the last page, and then left me wanting more. Even now I feel a bit overwhelmed.  You’ll have to check out my review on my blog to see how I really felt about the story.

Well, folks… those are my top five.  They may change in the coming years or months, but for 2013 those would be my favorite picks.  My advice would be to read these books and form your own opinion. Some of you will agree and some will not, but that’s not really my problem.

Thank you for reading.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

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Review – The Wise Man’s Fear – Patrick Rothfuss

Review – The Wise Man’s Fear – Patrick Rothfuss

Book: The Wise Man’s Fear (The King-killer Chronicle – Day Two)

Author: Patrick Rothfuss

Publisher: DAW

Genre: Fantasy

 

 

Publication Date: March 6, 2012

Book Description:

In The Wise Man’s Fear, Kvothe searches for answers, attempting to uncover the truth about the mysterious Amyr, the Chandrian, and the death of his parents. Along the way, Kvothe is put on trial by the legendary Adem mercenaries, forced to reclaim the honor of his family, and travels into the Fae realm. There he meets Felurian, the faerie woman no man can resist, and who no man has ever survived…until Kvothe.

Now, Kvothe takes his first steps on the path of the hero and learns how difficult life can be when a man becomes a legend in his own time.

Review:  

I’m absolutely intimated at the level of cleverness and whit that Patrick Rothfuss has ingratiated into this second installation of the King-killer Chronicles.  Not only is he a talented story weaver, but these two novels are filled with such knowledge, whit, and character development that it would make any fantasy nerd blush.  I did quite a few times, actually.

If you love a simple story with the regular fantasy formula, this isn’t a tale for you.  However, if you love a good puzzle, an over-abundance of science, history, philosophy, mythology, magic – well, a dire thirst for cleverness, then this is a must read.  Yet, the genius of Rothfuss is not in the level of intelligent ingredients he weaved into this tale – it’s that he makes his work of art look easy.

I love Kvothe, not for his genius, his quick wit, or his talent with music and magic, but for his fallibility, his naivety, and his ignorant innocence.  Most of all, I love his drive, his hope, his bravery in the face of adversity, his failures and weaknesses – and despite his confessions, I love his desire for justice.  These might be all the traditional elements of a fantasy hero that have been written out thousands of times before, but what makes that formula great is the fact it works.  Rothfuss, along with a few other authors I’ve read lately like Michael J. Sullivan, Anthony Ryan, and R.T. Kaelin, really have learned the secret to good character development.

In a story about heroes, it’s not always what must be done, or the powers they have, that make them great, but who they must become as a person in order to fulfill their destiny.  The process from discovering destiny – to the point of fulfilling it – that is the story.  In the King-Killer Chronicles, The Name of the Wind, Kvothe is introduced at the height of his innocence and the beginning of his thirst for knowledge and wonder of the universe around him.  He is full of all the awe, wonder, and wild-eyed amazement of childhood as he steps lightly onto the path of his destiny.  Then, controversy and adversity descends upon him with the murder of his parents and the introduction of the Chandrian, disrupting that innocence, and introducing him to the path of development of his character.  In The Wise Man’s Fear, Kvothe begins to grow up and face the hard realities of his decisions, life and what lay ahead for him.  THIS is what I love about his series.  Rothfuss doesn’t tell us a story, he allows Kvothe to reveal it to us in a slow development that involves all emotion and intellect.  The result:  readers become emotionally and intellectually invested, rooting for the hero because of the hero, not the quest.

It is this formula that I’m discovering and loving in the epic fantasies I’ve read lately.  I hope I can apply it to my own stories, and with authors like Rowling, Rothfuss, Sullivan, Kaelin and Sanderson, I think I’ve got some great inspirations to use.

I highly recommend this series, and I want to again thank Michael J. Sullivan for his recommendation.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Author of the Arcainian Series

 

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Review – The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss

Review – The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss
Book: The Name of the Wind (The King-killer Chronicle – Day One)
Author: Patrick Rothfuss
Publisher: DAW
Genre: Fantasy

Book Description:
Publication Date: March 27, 2007

The riveting first-person narrative of a young man who grows to be the most notorious magician his world has ever seen. From his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, to years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime- ridden city, to his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, The Name of the Wind is a masterpiece that transports readers into the body and mind of a wizard. It is a high-action novel written with a poet’s hand, a powerful coming-of-age story of a magically gifted young man, told through his eyes: to read this book is to be the hero.

Review:
Being so impressed and absolutely enthralled with Michael J. Sullivan’s Riyeria Series, who better to ask for a recommendation for my next read? So, that’s exactly what I did, and the result was The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.

The more I read good quality epics, the better I like them, and appreciate the skill, talent and creativity it takes to write them. It’s no easy task creating a whole new universe. God himself found it so tiresome of a job He rested after every six days. Unfortunately, there are many who fall flat on their faces in their attempts to create successful epics, but I’m learning that it’s not so much these authors had a lack of imagination, but more of a lack of patience and discipline. I’ve been extremely blessed these past few months to have come across some really great epic writers and truly wonderfully crafted stories, part of me keeps wondering when the other shoe is going to drop.

The Name of the Wind is an excellent example of the masterful strokes of a truly talented story weaver. For those who’ve followed my reviews for a time, you know how I’m more drawn to character-centered and character-driven stories. My favorite writing/reading style is active/third-person. Too many times I find that stories written in first person are often pregnant with too much telling and not enough natural character and story development. Nothing irks me more than a character that “knows it all (no offense to Kvothe and his genius intellect)– knows the right things to say – always makes the right decisions – and always saves the day”. Kvothe is full of mistakes, wild with fears and though highly intelligent, he’s highly naive. That’s awesome! A character that has plenty of room to grow??? Wow! What a concept. (Please note the dripping pools of sarcasm).

I love fantasy, not faery tales (my apologies to all fae). Saying all of that, I was a bit weary of diving into a story, being told by one of the characters, however, this is why I call Rothfuss a masterful weaver, because somehow this author was able to keep this story engaging, active and spell binding. I know those terms are overused by other writers in the industry, especially when it comes to the marketable blurb, but in this instance, it is the simple truth.

While the ‘present day’ part of the story is engaging, interesting, had me asking a million questions, it wasn’t until Kote started telling his story with young Kvothe, that I was not only intellectually, but emotionally absorbed into this story. The little, street rat has pick-pocketed my heart. His song calls out, not just to be heard, but to be felt and remembered. The way he yearned for knowledge, music, and magic felt so familiar, and so daunting at the same time, I am forever hooked.

This is a story, for story-tellers. I believe Rothfuss’ greatest praise will come from other writers like me, because this story is the story of a story-weaver, told by a story-weaver. I feel like I know this character, as well as I know myself.

So, thank you Michael J. Sullivan for your recommendation of this series. This was a good one. I would definitely recommend it to others.

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray

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