Saturday, November 8, 2008

Review of Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie

Superior Glokta has a problem. How do you defend a city surrounded by enemies and riddled with traitors, when your allies can by no means be trusted, and your predecessor vanished without a trace? It’s enough to make a torturer want to run – if he could even walk without a stick.

Northmen have spilled over the border of Angland and are spreading fire and death across the frozen country. Crown Prince Ladisla is poised to drive them back and win undying glory. There is only one problem – he commands the worst-armed, worst-trained, worst-led army in the world.

And Bayaz, the First of the Magi, is leading a party of bold adventurers on a perilous mission through the ruins of the past. The most hated woman in the South, the most feared man in the North, and the most selfish boy in the Union make a strange alliance, but a deadly one. They might even stand a chance of saving mankind from the Eaters. If they didn’t hate each other quite so much.

Ancient secrets will be uncovered. Bloody battles will be won and lost. Bitter enemies will be forgiven – but not before they are hanged.
This is my second read through of the First Law Trilogy. The second book definitely does not disappoint as other tween-er books I have read in past. The plot is well laid out for the third and final installment. Ever since I have read through this series the first time, I have thought about the characters and scenarios often. A true testament for how character driven the novels are. After re-reading the Last Argument of Kings I will post a more in depth review of the overall series. In the meantime, this is a great series with some of the best writing you will find. If you have not read the it, pick up The Blade Itself immediately and "Get on with the bloody work".

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Review of The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

The story revolves around Kvothe, an enigmatic red-haired innkeeper who, as he shares his incredible life story with a renowned scribe, turns out to be much more than he appears. Born into a family of nomadic court performers, Kvothe's unconventional education was broadened by spending time with fellow travelers like Abenthy, an elderly arcanist whose knowledge included, among other things, knowing the name of the wind. After his parents are brutally murdered by mythical beings known as the Chandrian, Kvothe vows to learn more about the godlike group, and after suffering through years of homelessness, he finally gets his chance when he is admitted into the prestigious University. But the pursuit of arcane knowledge brings with it unforeseen dangers, as the young student quickly learns.

With the release of his first novel, Rothfuss (who has already been compared to the likes of Terry Goodkind, Robert Jordan, and George R. R. Martin) is poised to be crowned the new king of epic fantasy. The Name of the Wind won't just impress longtime fantasy fans; it will absolutely blow them away -- an unprecedented, utterly breathtaking storytelling tour de force. Paul Goat Allen
Dear Mr. Rothfuss, Pat if I may... Simply put, I am having a love affair with your book. This first part of a planned series has the consistency, taste and appeal of my Mom's mashed potatoes. Please don't get me wrong and hear me out. The perfect blended texture of butter, sour cream, lightly shredded cheddar cheese is all the mouthwatering happy a mash potato loving boy like me could ever ask for. These things just stick to your insides with a deep rooted love meant to warm the spirit. After four reads and dozens of times picking it up and perusing my favorite and most memorable passages, I still don't think I can even scratch the surface of the elation I get from it. So please forgive my slight injustice at expressing how your book has affected a single life. At times it is truly like the wind the way you have woven your words together with only what I can imagine is the instinctual touch of patience, wisdom and natural/raw talent of a master craftsman. I think that if you look into this book as I have, you can quite literally see the blood and tears that went into it. It is truly something amazing in my opinion when you can read a few sentences, then again slower in your mind read them again and it is as if those words sink deep into you, become a part of you that you can breathe them out and smile because somewhere there is someone that can put down on paper what it is really like to feel. Just one of the ingenious aspects that makes this book so interesting is that, while our astute author can weave words together like an unknown to our world magic, he is writing about the life and experiences of a man that makes it his goal in life above many, many, many other things to understand the power of words and names. And to put the cherry on top of the proverbial sundae, said master namer is the one recollecting the events in only the way a story teller of his caliber can... Perfectly. Like Kvothe's family the Edema Ruh (traveling performers) the stage of this story is laid out with vibrant colors, precision detail and a world that jumps off the page at you. There are so many intricacies to this story that it would be impossible for me to relate the wonderful world that opens up to anyone searching for the greatest story ever told. In conclusion, there is something that I feel that I cannot leave out. Something that pushes the respect I have for the author above all else. A connection to which makes all the above jumbled adoration certain. That in the very heart of this story there is a very humbled boy that is in love with a girl. And with that love an unspoken knowledge of how he feels for her and the crystalline pedestal he has placed her on. That same knowledge that whispers its hints that despite the thousands of poems, songs, and declarations that have spoken it, there are no words that will ever describe the love you feel for her. In the words of Forrest Gump, "That's all I have to say about that." With the release of day two of the Kingkiller Chronicles fast approaching, my anticipation has me almost completely off my book reading rocker. There is not a worry in my head that the future of kvothes life will keep me blissfully entwined in the words he speaks for many years to come. Truly, a story for the ages. Thank-you Pat, your awesomeness knows no bounds.