Tag Archives: Fantasy

“The Wise Man’s Fear” by Patrick Rothfuss

At 993 pages the second book of the Kingkiller Chronicle is an epic in and of itself, let alone when combined with 672 page first book, “The Name of the Wind.”

Even more to the point, the audio book version of “The Wise Man’s Fear” took over 43 hours – which translates into multiple weeks listening to the life and adventures of Kvothe (the main character).

I mention the length of the book up front as it is usually the first thing that people see when look at the book. However, please don’t let the page length stop you from reading this book. It is, like its forbearer, a phenomenal book that pulls you into a different world and allows for the characters to evolve according to the culture and situations presented.

In a lot of ways, the Kingkiller Chronicle is more of an autobiography then a typical fantasy novel as the main character is narrating his life story to “The Chronicler” who is writing it all down. This means that the majority of the book is written in the first person with occasional jumps forward to the ‘present’ time where Knothe and the Chronicler are sitting in an inn.

While I enjoyed the book, I do have to say that it drag a bit in the middle… it was almost as if the details of Kvothe’s life too over from the primary story line of Kvothe’s search for the Chandrian who killed his parents. I also found myself holding my breath waiting for Kvothe’s expulsion from the University as mentioned on the back of Book One and Two – only to find out that nothing happened…

Patrick Rothfuss is going to have a lot of loose ends to tie up in Book Three…so much so that I wouldn’t be surprised if he (and the publisher) add a fourth book to the series like Christopher Paolini did in his “Inheritance Cycle.”

I guess we are all going to have to wait for until Rothfuss finishes Book Three (which if he continues at the same publication rate, should be out in 2015).

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

As the first book in the Kingkiller Chronicle, “The Name of the Wind” does a good job of setting the stage and developing the characters that will then (I’m assuming) play a bigger role in the two following books.

The interesting thing about this book – well, the Chronicle in general – is that it is split between two different time frames. In the ‘present’ time, the main character is an inn-keeper hiding on the edge of civilization. He is fairly happy in this new role…except that deep within himself there is a longing for the glory days of old. So he begins to tell the story of this life to a scribe who wanders into the inn on accident….

This is where the second time frame comes in – the time frame of the past. It is in this time frame that takes up the lion share of the book as it is full of daring adventures, romance and history (the history is important as it helps one to understand the new world created by Rothfuss for his characters).

Being a fantasy novel, there is magic and the like – only in this series, the magic is more along the lines of Clarke’s third law:

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

Continue reading The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

“The Return of the King” by J.R.R. Tolkien

My journey through middle earth is complete – Frodo has destroyed the ring with the help of Smeagol and Samwise… all is now well in the world.

Some thoughts:

1) The books had a lot more detail in them then I recall… for some reason, I remembered a lot more action / journeying and less poems and history. This may have been because I skipped/skimmed those parts before…something I really couldn’t do while listening to the audio version.

2) Along those lines, I have come to the conclusion that the poems and songs of Tolkien were not meant to be read silently. No, they were meant to be read aloud with heart. To this end, I HIGHLY recommend listening to the audio book as Rob Inglis does an amazing job bring these parts to life! 🙂

3) Through out the series, Tolkien continued to highlight the strength of hope – hope that one day all will be set right; hope that darkness will be overcome; hope that rescue would come; hope that the grief experienced now would be worth it…

4) The other big theme in the series was the question, “What will you do with the cards given?”  Basically, while we may wish we could live like our fathers and our fathers’ father, sometimes life calls on us to live a different life – one full of pain and sorrow. In Frodo’s case, he had to destroy the ring even though he wished he could have lived a life of peace back home.

Continue reading “The Return of the King” by J.R.R. Tolkien

“The Two Towers” by J.R.R. Tolkien

Spurred on by the filming of the Hobbit in New Zealand, I have been reading listening journeying through Middle Earth.

Even though I have read the famed works of J.R.R. Tolkien many times before, this is the first time I have read them since Peter Jackson’s films came out.

In listening to the unabridged books, I find myself imagining the characters looking and acting similar to the ones portrayed on the big screen…it is also interesting to note that my mind keeps looking forward to certain events – only to find out that Jackson actually added or left out or changed that part.

Take for example, the climb up the black stairs near the tower of Cirith Ungol. In the movies, Frodo turns his back on Samwise after Gollum threw the rest of their food. This, as LOTR nerds could tell you, did not happen in the “Two Towers” – instead, they walk into the tunnels of Shelob side-by-side.

Yet, I will forgive Jackson as the movies where amazing! (Plus there is only so much you can say/show within three hours!)

Now that I have finished the “Hobbit, “The Fellowship of the Ring”, and the “Two Towers” – it is own to the “Return of the King” and the grand finale of Tolkien’s Middle Earth.

Dragons and a World Called Pern

dragonsingerA month or so ago Em came home with a book about dragons. This in and of itself is not really surprising as she has done that before. Yet, this time there was a small difference.

Namely, she brought home Dragonsinger by Anne McCaffrey.

Yelp – one of the Dragon Riders of Pern books.

ah….the memories of yesteryears…. =?


Seeing how it has been over a decade since I last read any of Dragon Rider books, I decided to join her in reading the book and the others in the series. I mean – there are only 19 books out there – surely we can read them all (or listen to them as we tend to get audio books).

As of today we have read three of the books (Dragonsinger, Dragonflight, and Dragonsong) and are working on number four (Dragonquest – yeah…so we are a tad out of order)  😳

Nation by Terry Pratchett

Nation by Terry Pratchett
Nation by Terry Pratchett

Ah. Pratchett – the crazy Discworld genius from the UK who writes some of the best social commentaries in print.

This time he wrote a novel set in a world similar to our own – abet in a parallel universe. Nation is a look into different cultures, human nature, religion, and science.

The book starts off with a huge tidal wave destroying the human population of a small South Pacific island – save one young boy named Mau. Yet, as the book cover states, when something is taken away, something else is always given.

I don’t want to give away too much of the story line as it is a good book – especially the first half in which we find ourselves watching the meeting of two vastly different cultures. Continue reading Nation by Terry Pratchett

Eldest by Christopher Paolini

The second of the three volumes Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini was pretty dang good. (click here for a review of the first book)

My greedy hands obtained the audio book on Thursday and didn’t let go until Monday evening – 20 CDs and 12 plus hours later…. much to my demise as the time set aside for my paper got taken up listening to the book. Undecided


  • Excellent writing
  • Similar to LOTR, Paolini creates a land with tons of history and multiple back stories
  • The culture of each race is described and talked about


  • As the main character visits the homeland of each race, Paolini describes each of the races religious beliefs. For the most part, this is very good as it helps set each race apart – however, I feel that he kind of over did it with the elves. In a nutshell, the elves – who are portrayed as the “top” or highest race – hold to very atheist, material-base mindset in which they gain immortality through scientific and logically means. I wouldn’t mind this so much except Paolini spends more time on this view point then all the others combined…
  • Similar to The Empire Strikes Back, the Eldest focus more on filler then moving the plot forward..

Overall it’s a great book. Laughing

Eragon by Christopher Paolini

Dragons. Elves. Magic. Heroes. Novel. Written by a 15 year old boy.

Those are the rumors that reached my ears about Eragon.

So, I did what any self respecting book worm would do – I checked the book out the library and proceeded to listen to it. (audio books rock!!) Cool

In a word: Awesome!!

Paolini weaves a beautiful story within a masterful prose of descriptions, feelings and excitement. I love the way he develops the depth of the characters as they live their lives across the pages.

Note that it is a thick book – but once you’re into the world of Eragon, you lose yourself into a tapestry of adventure and excitement. *smile*  Time found me wondering around working on the house with headphones and a CD player… Tongue out

It’s a good read. I would recommend it – especially as I move on to book two (of three): Eldest.

A Hat Full of Sky – Terry Pratchett

Ah – the fun filled, wacky world of Terry Pratchett. It makes the day go smoother and faster. (not that the day actually walks or otherwise moves).

Yesterday I had to pleasure of spending half an hour browsing the local Library – which can be a bad thing if your name is Ardell and you have a love of books, CDs, DVDs and audio-books. It can also be a good thing if your name is Ardell and you… oh, you get the jest.

One of the treasure I walked away with was an audio-book by Terry Pratchett – as you might of guessed from the post title and the picture to the right.

Listening to the book brings out new pictures and characters as they jump across the sound waves into one’s mind. And being Discworld – the characters actually do jump from sound waves to brain waves.

Off to the sky with ye.