• Hey, guest user. Hope you're enjoying NeoGAF! Have you considered registering for an account? Come join us and add your take to the daily discourse.

The Slow Regard of Silent Things - A novella by Patrick Rothfuss

Status
Not open for further replies.

Veelk

Banned
Dec 6, 2008
16,922
0
0

I'm a big fan of Patrick Rothfuss' Name of the Wind and Wise Man's Fear. I think he might be my favorite author. Which shouldn't imply that NotW and WMF are my favorite books, but he's the most fun author to follow on his blog and twitter I know of and his books are still really damn good regardless.

So when he is putting out a new work, even if it is merely a novella centered around a character I don't find as interesting as his others, I'm pretty excited. I wish there was more to talk about, but the fact is that there is we don't have much information surrounding the novella. All we have is the promise of trademark Rothfuss goodness. And that's enough for me.


Release date: October 24th

NOTE TO EVERYONE WHO HAS READ THE BOOKS OR THE SPOILERED SECTION BELOW: SPOILER YOUR POSTS APPROPRIATELY


F.A.Q.

So what is it about?
Not much is known. All we know is that it's centered around Auri, who lives in the Underthing at the University.

Whose Auri? Whats the Underthing? What University?
These questions indicate you haven't read Name of the Wind and Wise Man's Fear. Unfortunately for you, they're kind of required reading for this story, according to the author himself.

Well, I still want to go for it blind anyway.
Alright, well here's the skinny, spoilered for anyone who wants to discover these things through the main series:
Auri is a girl who lives in some kind of abandoned tunnel system under the only school in the world. The school is the University, and the tunnels are called the Underthing. Auri seems to have been traumatized by some kind of experience she has had, and is very scared around people and has a very odd way of looking at things, which leads to lots of cutesy dialogue such as this.

She grinned. "I have an apple that thinks it is a pear," she said, holding it up. "And a bun that thinks it is a cat. And a lettuce that thinks it is a lettuce."
"It's a clever lettuce then."
"Hardly," she said with a delicate snort. "Why would anything clever think it was a lettuce?"
"Even if it is a lettuce?" I asked.
"Especially then," she said. "Bad enough to be a lettuce. How awful to think you are a lettuce too."

Basically, think of her as a character somewhat similar to River Tam from Firefly, except less psychotic and more whimsical. It's either your thing or it's not, but if your worried she's going to be one note, don't. Rothfuss knows when to get serious and even in the main series she has moments that are played more for emotion than cute humor. You can trust him to write a fully developed character.

But I still recommend you read the books first.

Okay, what are those books about?
Another character entirely. Broadly speaking, it's about a barkeep that is telling the story of his life to a biographer, and his story is part coming of age, part comedy, part romance, part fairy tale, part travelogue, part epic adventure...but the best way I found of describing his story is that it's a story about stories, in all it's various features and forms. It's about Kvothe, you may have heard of him.

Kvothe? I've heard of him. Isn't he that Mary Sue protagonist?
*sigh*...okay. I wish this topic could be avoided, but since the book isn't out for another week, whatever discussion is going to be had is going to be about the main series this stems from, and it's main point of contention is about whether the main character is a mary sue. This is the direction the thread is going to head regardless of whether or not I want it to and it's a criticism that's particularly annoying to me, so I'll just clear things up now: To put it simply, no. People will tell you otherwise. They are wrong. Understandably so, as at first glance he has all the mary sue traits. However, close examination makes it clear that the answer the only way he is a mary sue is if your definition of it is so broad as to be useless and apply to most characters in fiction. He's a prodigy, and that makes him quite talented, but there is usually a well supported reason for why he succeeds at whatever ridiculous accomplishment he does, and he makes mistakes. Lots of mistakes, several of which are irrevocable. He has blindspots and prejudices and hypocrisies and anger and weaknesses. And the story itself acknowledges this. He's not the center of the universe by any means, even if he is a shining star in it. So if that's what is preventing you from reading the books, it shouldn't.

Any other reason I should read it?
The best thing I can say is about the book is that the prose is phenomonal. It's the only book series I occasionally open up to read one little snippet from here or there, just because it 'sounds' good and is really pleasurable to read. It's a book whose various passages will get stuck in your head and have you reflect on them. That's why I'm excited about this novella: As long as Rothfuss brings the writing A game he always has up until now, I'll leave satisfied. In terms of plot structure, it's very....experimental, is perhaps the best word to use. Have you ever played Halflife 2? You know how it tries all sorts of things? First a zombie horror game scenerio with Ravenholm, then you go go karting, then transfer over to a sniper mission across a bridge the next, then onto some other creative set piece. That's how this story works, spending some time with one kind of conflict, then moving onto another in a seamless transition.

I could recommend various aspects of it, but it starts heading into spoiler territory and you want to discover a lot of this yourself, trust me. That's a big part of the story as well, discovery.

Anything else?

Um....you'll learn to understand Kvothe memes without it spoiling your experience? Here's a few relatively safe ones.

 

gdt

Member
Oct 20, 2007
40,449
1
0
30
Pennsylvania
Kvothe memes? Dear lord that's some try hard right there.



Not particularly interested in this but I'm there for the end of the trilogy.
 

ZAK

Member
Feb 5, 2007
3,058
0
0
www.drunkduck.com
Moderate nitpick about your explanation of things:

Is the University really the only school in the world? It's probably the only school in its area, especially with a name like that; but I thought that in Vint, when Kvothe says he goes to the University, he's asked, "which university?" And that does make a lot more sense than all education on this large continent happening in a single place.
 

Veelk

Banned
Dec 6, 2008
16,922
0
0
Moderate nitpick about your explanation of things:

Is the University really the only school in the world? It's probably the only school in its area, especially with a name like that; but I thought that in Vint, when Kvothe says he goes to the University, he's asked, "which university?" And that does make a lot more sense than all education on this large continent happening in a single place.
Uh....I'm not 100% on that.
It's definitely the most famous and sought after as a scholarly enterprise. When Kvothe talked about it, he essentially made it sound like the only one worth going to. I don't remember if it mentioned other universities, so I can't answer that, but this is THE University regardless. Or maybe it's the only one that teaches technology and magic?
 

Talka

Member
Feb 6, 2007
762
0
0
Wise Man's Fear lost me. Felt like Rothfuss gave up deconstructing fantasy tropes and just started using them with a straight face. Cringed a lot reading it.

Might give this a shot, though. Could be different without Kvothe.
 

tokkun

Member
Jan 29, 2007
16,092
0
0
Madison, WI
I really liked the first book, but the second one was kind of embarrassing. Auri is also the most annoyingly written character in the series, so I will probably pass on this unless I see some glowing reviews.
 

Deified Data

Banned
Jul 6, 2011
26,140
0
0
Wise Man's Fear lost me. Felt like Rothfuss gave up deconstructing fantasy tropes and just started using them with a straight face. Cringed a lot reading it.

Might give this a shot, though. Could be different without Kvothe.
I never even noticed if he started.
 

Veelk

Banned
Dec 6, 2008
16,922
0
0
I never even noticed if he started.
The story is a mishmash of both deconstruction and reconstruction. Sometimes they're played as quick jokes, sometimes they're whole plots. The example that comes to mind most immediately is
Kvothe's relationship with Denna and how despite the whole love at first sight thing, they are not getting together for various reasons. Hell, the entire fact that the second book ended with Kvothe thinking he was going to rescue her from her suffering, before realizing he'd be a hypocrite to take away the thing she was working so hard for (whatever it was) when he took pride in the fact that he endured and stayed at the university after the lashings they gave him is one in and of itself.
 

GDJustin

stuck my tongue deep inside Atlus' cookies
Jun 7, 2004
15,451
8
0
San Francisco
Loved Name of the Wind. Maybe the best Fantasy book I've ever read, and if not, it's definitely in the top 5.

Wise Man's Fear though.... eh. I mean I enjoyed it. I was entertained the whole way through, in a page-turning sorta way. But it doesn't feel important or classic in the way NotW did.
 

Veelk

Banned
Dec 6, 2008
16,922
0
0
To be honest, I'm genuinely surprised that most seem to consider WMF's to be the lesser of his two entries.
NotW was more predictable and had a similar structure to most stories, with the character moments being more artificial. Denna and Kvothe falling in love on the wagon seemed more contrived, for example, but in WMF, they actually do things for one another, have fights...it felt more like a real relationship compared to the interactions in NotW. Similarly, Ambrose felt like a generic Draco Malfoy ripoff, but then turned into a more substantial threat in WMF. Simmon and Wil seem to have more presence than in NotW
.

Idk, various aspects of WMF felt better to me. I thought that it was maybe just because I had gotten used to the characters, but the same thing occured when I reread NotW. Just my opinion, I suppose.
 

GDJustin

stuck my tongue deep inside Atlus' cookies
Jun 7, 2004
15,451
8
0
San Francisco
To be honest, I'm genuinely surprised that most seem to consider WMF's to be the lesser of his two entries.
NotW was more predictable and had a similar structure to most stories, with the character moments being more artificial. Denna and Kvothe falling in love on the wagon seemed more contrived, for example, but in WMF, they actually do things for one another, have fights...it felt more like a real relationship compared to the interactions in NotW. Similarly, Ambrose felt like a generic Draco Malfoy ripoff, but then turned into a more substantial threat in WMF. Simmon and Wil seem to have more presence than in NotW
.

Idk, various aspects of WMF felt better to me. I thought that it was maybe just because I had gotten used to the characters, but the same thing occured when I reread NotW. Just my opinion, I suppose.
The problem for me is that WMF turns into a more generic power fantasy. He learns sex from a goddess of sex. He learns fighting (and sexes up people from) a crazy ninja kingdom. And so-on.
 

Veelk

Banned
Dec 6, 2008
16,922
0
0
The problem for me is that WMF turns into a more generic power fantasy.
He learns sex from a goddess of sex. He learns fighting (and sexes up people from) a crazy ninja kingdom.
And so-on.
First off, please spoiler your comments for the benefit of new readers.

The subversion of those scenes is that the power dynamic is very unusual.
The sex scenes with Felurian and the Adem have the women being as largely in power and in fulfillment as Kvothe. Felurian doesn't see Kvothe as anything but a new toy and later as a way of basting her glory. She seems to imply she does care about him to some small extent, but it doesn't not eclipse her love for herself, and she could crush him the moment she felt like it. Kvothe's time with Felurian was an empowering one for him, but only to the extent which Felurian allowed and he never rose to be her equal in terms of controlling the situation dynamic. With the Adem, it's the same thing. Sex is viewed as a very casual thing and for that reason, it's not male empowerment, it's just a recreational activity that is has nothing resembling slutshaming. Penthe went on a bit about how if she were diseased or raped, she would not be shamed in any way like is so often the case in our culture. She would bring the one who victimized her to justice, heal herself, and no one would speak a single word against her for it. There would never be any 'well she was asking for it' or such. And then she would go heal herself in whatever way was necessary, before coming back, and continuing her life without being judged for that occurance. If there is a power fantasy aspect to it, it's for women, since gender social justice has never happened this way.

This is something that was praised by other feminists.

https://twitter.com/kleinlain/status/485515062304841728

It was very much not for Kvothe's benefit alone that
all that sex happened
. It's only a power fantasy if you look at what Kvothe is solely getting out of it, which isn't a sufficient enough argument. You need to look at the context in which he's getting it. Claiming that it's a power fantasy just because Kvothe
enjoys his sex with them is reductive
. Look beyond that and you'll see that there's more interesting stuff going on.
 

Coriolanus

Banned
Jul 24, 2013
12,373
0
340
Brazil.
The problem for me is that WMF turns into a more generic power fantasy. He learns
sex from a goddess of sex. He learns fighting (and sexes up people from) a crazy ninja kingdom.
And so-on.
No no, he not only
learned sex from a goddess of sex, he lost his virginity to her (i might be misremembering this bit) and mastered sexing so much that he came to understand her completely as a consequence of all the sexing. And became a half-elf or whatever in the process.
 

Veelk

Banned
Dec 6, 2008
16,922
0
0
No no, he not only
learned sex from a goddess of sex, he lost his virginity to her (i might be misremembering this bit) and mastered sexing so much that he came to understand her completely as a consequence of all the sexing. And became a half-elf or whatever in the process.
Yes, you're misremembering it quite significantly.

But not the part about virginity, ironically enough. She taught him how to perform sex, but this isn't different than how actual couples interact. I mean, the more you have sex, the better you get at it (as with everything else), and she's an expert, so she gives him tips. And while it's mentioned he's good at it, no one ever says he's the best ever or anything. His sexual experiences have been stated to be satisfactory, but not overwhelmingly so. And he leaves admitting he would never fully understand Felurian, not the opposite.

And he doesn't become a half elf through her. That might be a thing that's revealed later on, but that's foreshadowing that's been in development since the Chandrian fucked up his life.
 

Kieli

Member
Aug 11, 2013
8,730
0
395
I find the beauty of the language in most fantasy novels lacking.

Especially so in Name of the Wind, which disappointed me greatly.

The synopsis on the back was so promising. It tantalized me with the thought of following a mature, capable, intelligent protagonist as he ventures across many landscapes battling beings both small and grand. Fucking dueling with angels? Sign me the fudge up for that.

What I got was an exceedingly mediocre magic school story about an infallible MC with a hard-on for some mysterious waif. The climax of the story
with the drunken komodo dragon smashing down trees was beyond disappointing. Like, wut.

Perhaps more importantly though, I'd call the artistry of the words mediocre, if even that. Some of the metaphors, descriptions, and visual imagery were very difficult to read without wanting to face-palm. I saw where he was trying to go with the whole "Silence enveloping oneself" near the end of the prologue with adult-Kwothe, but it really didn't work.

Perhaps he gets better in his second book and beyond (because I haven't read past Name of the Wind). And also maybe I'm being unfair by comparing his work (in terms of aesthetics of language) to the likes of Shakespeare, Milton, and McCarthy (who made the desert, of all the places in the world, beautiful). I dunno.
 

Coriolanus

Banned
Jul 24, 2013
12,373
0
340
Brazil.
Yes, you're misremembering it quite significantly.

But not the part about virginity, ironically enough. She taught him how to perform sex, but this isn't different than how actual couples interact. I mean, the more you have sex, the better you get at it (as with everything else), and she's an expert, so she gives him tips. And while it's mentioned he's good at it, no one ever says he's the best ever or anything. His sexual experiences have been stated to be satisfactory, but not overwhelmingly so. And he leaves admitting he would never fully understand Felurian, not the opposite.

And he doesn't become a half elf through her. That might be a thing that's revealed later on, but that's foreshadowing that's been in development since the Chandrian fucked up his life.
Really? That's odd, I seem to remember that that's how his teacher explained what he did to her.

Also recall that as soon as he got back from the
fuckzone
, everybody went all "woah, you
look kinda elfish
breh".

Been a while.

Either way, i quite enjoy the books. Shame that he based the new one on the weird person instead of the loan shark.

Perhaps he gets better in his second book and beyond (because I haven't read past Name of the Wind). And also maybe I'm being unfair by comparing his work (in terms of aesthetics of language) to the likes of Shakespeare, Milton, and McCarthy (who made the desert, of all the places in the world, beautiful). I dunno.
Second book is pretty much as the first.
Kvothe fails left and right in both, tho. Dude is an avatar of hubris, after all.
 

Veelk

Banned
Dec 6, 2008
16,922
0
0
Really? That's odd, I seem to remember that that's how his teacher explained what he did to her.

Also recall that as soon as he got back from the fuckzone, everybody went all "woah, you look kinda elfish breh".

Been a while.

Either way, i quite enjoy the books. Shame that he based the new one on the weird person instead of the loan shark.
Elodin told him that he must have learned to understand her to some extent, but that was more due to the fact that he spoke her Name, not her having sex with him. And the Name part was one of the few inexplicable things Kvothe has accomplished so far in the novel, which means I think we're getting an explanation for it later on. The prevailing theory is that Kvothe has been made one of the Amyr when he was found by whatever drove off the Chandrian as a child.

A girl told him that he has a faeish look about him, but that wore off pretty fast. It was just a residual effect from being in Fae that long.

I'd have liked a Devi story myself. Her tale of how
she got kicked out of the university would be pretty interesting to read about.

Edit:
I just read up on the part where Elodin talks about Felurian. Elodin says Kvothe's sleeping mind understood her name. For him to call it a highly unusual thing and wonders what the cause could be. Again, the instance of Kvothe's Naming is highly strange in how it occurs, so it's likely it's going to be a plot point soon. It is unlikely, however, that it's because of all the sexing.
 

ElectricMonk

Banned
Jan 28, 2014
726
0
0
I sometimes wonder if books should be made like TV shows, because Rothfuss could use some help.

Love the man's writing writing, and his ability to set the scene, and his ideas; he needs serious help on characters, plotting, and pace. Nor do I remotely believe that he can properly wrap this story in one more book, alas.

That said I love Auri (and if Kvothe has to have a romantic interest better her than ugh the actual terrible one) so I am super excited for this and for some more lovely writing.

Edit: This is the place for a seriously excellent deep look at the books, interesting theories, and some really good comment threads.
 

milquetoast

Banned
Mar 11, 2014
884
0
0
e grinned. "I have an apple that thinks it is a pear," she said, holding it up. "And a bun that thinks it is a cat. And a lettuce that thinks it is a lettuce."
"It's a clever lettuce then."
"Hardly," she said with a delicate snort. "Why would anything clever think it was a lettuce?"
"Even if it is a lettuce?" I asked.
"Especially then," she said. "Bad enough to be a lettuce. How awful to think you are a lettuce too."
I will.. pass.
 

Rushersauce

Banned
Jun 22, 2013
4,415
0
0
I loved "Name of the Wind", but I kind of disliked "Wise man's fear". Why? Because it went wayyy overboard with Kvothe, transforming a believable character with awesome traits into a straight overpowered super human. I almost dropped reading the book.
 

ryseing

Member
Jun 16, 2014
9,440
1
0
Is there going to be another terrible 40 page section about sex?

I really wanted to like WMF but that section was so cringey. I will most likely end up getting this novella though.
 

Yonafunu

Member
Oct 28, 2012
5,141
0
440
Name of the Wind was a god damn disappointment. What a boring piece of work. Wise Man's Fear was actually more enjoyable to me, just because more stuff happened.

This is the one series I really really don't get the praise for. I dislike pretty much everything about it.
 
Jul 28, 2014
2,516
0
0
www.dualwieldsoftware.com
Name of the Wind was a god damn disappointment. What a boring piece of work. Wise Man's Fear was actually more enjoyable to me, just because more stuff happened.

This is the one series I really really don't get the praise for. I dislike pretty much everything about it.
I'm with you on the "dislike pretty much everything about it." Though I thought WMF was downright boring. There's a giant chunk of book with mercs patrolling and telling stories, and god damn did that section DRAG
 

Veelk

Banned
Dec 6, 2008
16,922
0
0
Name of the Wind was a god damn disappointment. What a boring piece of work. Wise Man's Fear was actually more enjoyable to me, just because more stuff happened.

This is the one series I really really don't get the praise for. I dislike pretty much everything about it.
As I said in the OP, the language is the series greatest asset. Most people really like how he words a lot of the things that happen in the book. Otherwise, they just like the characters and world. In particular, realizing Kvothe is probably
an Amyr
is was a big revelation. For me personally, It's the fae. I like how they're portrayed and Kvothe meeting
the Cthaeh
was the highlight of the series so far for me. It's a big question though. The Kingkiller Chronicles is a series that does A LOT of things. It's hard to articulate why people like it just by going over them bullet point style.
 

Yonafunu

Member
Oct 28, 2012
5,141
0
440
I'm with you on the "dislike pretty much everything about it." Though I thought WMF was downright boring. There's a giant chunk of book with mercs patrolling and telling stories, and god damn did that section DRAG
That was terrible, yeah, but I prefered it to almost an entire book of "fuck, how am I going to pay for school now?".

edit:

As I said in the OP, the language is the series greatest asset. Most people really like how he words a lot of the things that happen in the book. Otherwise, they just like the characters and world. In particular, realizing Kvothe is probably
an Amyr
is was a big revelation. It's a big question though. The Kingkiller Chronicles is a series that does A LOT of things. It's hard to articulate why people like it just by going over them bullet point style.
I didn't like, or rather, love the writing. The fact that it was Rothfuss' debut novel is extremely apparant (so maybe I'm being too harsh), and not in a good way. He uses a lot of the same writing patterns throughout the entire book, I mean almost literally down to exact sentences. A lot of the flowery prose just didn't feel genuine to me, if that makes sense. It's like he tries to write beautifully, instead of just writing.
 

ItAintEasyBeinCheesy

it's 4th of July in my asshole
Aug 26, 2007
21,325
0
0
Australia
Might check it out, though I have literally read nothing for a couple of years now. I enjoyed his stuff and Peter V Brett has been pretty ok as well for some of the newer guys.
 
Jul 28, 2014
2,516
0
0
www.dualwieldsoftware.com
As I said in the OP, the language is the series greatest asset. Most people really like how he words a lot of the things that happen in the book. Otherwise, they just like the characters and world. In particular, realizing Kvothe is probably
an Amyr
is was a big revelation. For me personally, It's the fae. I like how they're portrayed and Kvothe meeting
the Cthaeh
was the highlight of the series so far for me. It's a big question though. The Kingkiller Chronicles is a series that does A LOT of things. It's hard to articulate why people like it just by going over them bullet point style.
Good language only goes so far. Both novels need to be trimmed down by at least a hundred pages. Second could use a good two hundred page removal.
 

Veelk

Banned
Dec 6, 2008
16,922
0
0
Good language only goes so far. Both novels need to be trimmed down by at least a hundred pages. Second could use a good two hundred page removal.
The problem is that we are 35 posts in, no one really provided a detailed analysis for why it's bad (or good. I've done my best in the OP, but usually these things require spoilers, which I'm trying to avoid for the benefit of new readers). I've learned to let these things play out, as some people come in and get into actual depth with their impressions eventually, but no one has done that so far. What needs to be cut? Why? How do you know it won't play a significant role later on? The website linked earlier shows how many scenes that I previously thought were excess actually have hidden significance.

I could write up an analysis for why I think the Kingkiller Chronicles are awesome on multiple fronts, but I don't want to do that, partially because this is a thread about the novella coming out (I'll probably post a detailed review of that though). I am willing to engage in an argument for it, but for any comment, good or bad, to be refutable, it needs to be backed up by some kind of reasoning. Simply saying "It's filled with filler" or "Auri is a good character" is meaningless until you write up a few reasons explaining why. Otherwise, all I can say is "No it's not"/"no she isn't", which is equally meaningless unless I explain why.

I didn't like, or rather, love the writing. The fact that it was Rothfuss' debut novel is extremely apparant (so maybe I'm being too harsh), and not in a good way. He uses a lot of the same writing patterns throughout the entire book, I mean almost literally down to exact sentences. A lot of the flowery prose just didn't feel genuine to me, if that makes sense. It's like he tries to write beautifully, instead of just writing.
Well, some patterns are intentional.
Denna is supposed to be likened to the name of the wind, ever changing and uncatchable
. If it doesn't work for you, then I get that, and even agree to some extent. WMF however I felt was very artfully written without coming off as trying too hard, but I'm one of the wierdo's that like WMF better as a whole.
 
Jul 28, 2014
2,516
0
0
www.dualwieldsoftware.com
The problem is that we are 35 posts in, no one really provided a detailed analysis for why it's bad (or good. I've done my best in the OP, but usually these things require spoilers, which I'm trying to avoid for the benefit of new readers). I've learned to let these things play out, as some people come in and get into actual depth with their impressions eventually, but no one has done that so far. What needs to be cut? Why? How do you know it won't play a significant role later on? The website linked earlier shows how many scenes that I previously thought were excess actually have hidden significance.
http://wethenerdy.com/the-name-of-the-wind-book-review/

http://wethenerdy.com/a-wise-mans-fear-book-review/

My thoughts on both books. The reviews are long because I talk a lot.

The first book had way too much hamfisted world building in it with Kvothe telling all sorts of stories that his listeners should very much know about. Things about the religion and the like. His narration of those stories wasn't believable, and they weren't interesting to boot. Also, he spends way too much time being a poor child in Tarbean. Half of that should have been cut. I get "he's poor and lonely" I don't need eighty pages on that.

But the first book really devolves into "I need to pay for school!" which was amusing for awhile, but once again, got way too repetitive and meaningless. More cuts.

Second book was worse off, mostly because half of it felt like characters telling stories that didn't do anything other than take up space and my time. The sex scenes as well were just...ugh. Also worth cutting! Kvothe's stay in the first city in book two was also mostly boring and went on for too long.
 

Yonafunu

Member
Oct 28, 2012
5,141
0
440
The problem is that we are 35 posts in, no one really provided a detailed analysis for why it's bad (or good. I've done my best in the OP, but usually these things require spoilers, which I'm trying to avoid for the benefit of new readers). I've learned to let these things play out, as some people come in and get into actual depth with their impressions eventually, but no one has done that so far. What needs to be cut? Why? How do you know it won't play a significant role later on? The website linked earlier shows how many scenes that I previously thought were excess actually have hidden significance.

I could write up an analysis for why I think the Kingkiller Chronicles are awesome on multiple fronts, but I don't want to do that, partially because this is a thread about the novella coming out (I'll probably post a detailed review of that though). I am willing to engage in an argument for it, but for any comment, good or bad, to be refutable, it needs to be backed up by some kind of reasoning. Simply saying "It's filled with filler" or "Auri is a good character" is meaningless until you write up a few reasons explaining why. Otherwise, all I can say is "No it's not"/"no she isn't", which is equally meaningless unless I explain why.



Well, some patterns are intentional.
Denna is supposed to be likened to the name of the wind, ever changing and uncatchable
. If it doesn't work for you, then I get that, and even agree to some extent. WMF however I felt was very artfully written without coming off as trying too hard, but I'm one of the wierdo's that like WMF better as a whole.
I don't even mean those kinds of patterns, those are fine. I mean things like ending chapters in exactly the same way multiple times, almost down to the exact same sentences used. It's just a lack of variety in his writing, it's all kinda one flavour. Now, here I'm hesitating to get specific, because it's been a while since I read the books and I don't want to get things wrong, especially when I'm criticising something.

Regarding the pre-edit part of your post, I agree it's hard to debate this here. First of all because this thread isn't really the place to discuss this, and second, as I just said, the books aren't as fresh in my mind.
That said, a seperate thread or OT would be cool, sometime. Seems like a good time to reread the books, get all my thoughts on paper, etc.
 

Veelk

Banned
Dec 6, 2008
16,922
0
0
Alright, lets have at it. I'll do the first novel and see where the conversation goes from there.

First off, your complaint about Kvothe's narration is justified within the story. Kvothe is explicitely stated to have an excellent memory, a flair for dramatic storytelling (something he displays within the framed story often), and a day's preparation for how he wants to tell his tale. Plus, people of the ancient times developed oral storytelling skills that we now lack thanks to recorded media, but Kvothe's abilities to recount here aren't out of the ordinary save perhaps for his lack of need for a drink of water between these sessions and the time distilation. His storytelling is unusual, but entirely justified within the narrative. He specifically sets it out as his goal to tell it unembellished as a point of principle, so the criticism that he's not embellishing is not valid. He's not trying to. He's trying to avert it. Kvothe wouldn't stutter or stammer due to his Troupe training (and even if I granted you that it'd be realistic, it's a narrative convienence present in almost all stories of every medium. Few people actually talk the way they do in stories, present or otherwise, and no one wants them to either). And he remembers everything because his memory is explicitely stated to be a key characteristic of him and the source of most of his skills in general.

Second, on Kvothe being a perfect character, no. See the OP, but no, he doesn't overcome everything with ease or self reliance (or atleast he doesn't do so with unjustified ease/self reliance. For example, the reason
he progresses in the university as fast as he did is because Albenthy taught him the basics earlier in the novel. It's not just "Oh, he's just that smart, that kvothe". That's reliance of past experience with a teacher that he was lucky enough to meet early in his life, not self reliance.
). One of the first things he does while in the university is
fuck up and takes a candle into the archives
because he let his overeagerness cloud his judgement, as is a recurring trait of his. And that's one example of several. I'm sorry, but this criticism has been hurled at the books so often, and it's just not true. It's not even that I think the books are perfect or anything, but it's just an inaccurate assessment of the novel. Obama may not be a perfect president, but he's not a secret muslim terrorist and a cursory examination of the novel will prove that.

Third, on pacing....eh, maybe. Kvothe obviously considers those parts important to tell, and I didn't mind reading about that play and the priest that helps him out. The point about his shoes is important to understanding Kvothe's moral character.
He steals nearly everything he has, but he pays for free shoes. It informs you how the character responds to generousity
. If you can point out the chapters in particular you feel are irrelevent, perhaps I can offer a counter explanation for why they're not.
 
Jul 28, 2014
2,516
0
0
www.dualwieldsoftware.com
Alright, lets have at it. I'll do the first novel and see where the conversation goes from there.

First off, your complaint about Kvothe's narration is justified within the story. Kvothe is explicitely stated to have an excellent memory, a flair for dramatic storytelling (something he displays within the framed story often), and a day's preparation for how he wants to tell his tale. Plus, people of the ancient times developed oral storytelling skills that we now lack thanks to recorded media, but Kvothe's abilities to recount here aren't out of the ordinary save perhaps for his lack of need for a drink of water between these sessions and the time distilation. His storytelling is unusual, but entirely justified within the narrative.

Second, on Kvothe being a perfect character, no. See the OP, but no, he doesn't overcome everything with ease or self reliance (or atleast he doesn't do so with unjustified ease/self reliance. For example, the reason
he progresses in the university as fast as he did is because Albenthy taught him the basics earlier in the novel. It's not just "Oh, he's just that smart, that kvothe". That's reliance of past experience with a teacher, not self reliance.
). One of the first things he does while in the university is fuck up and takes a candle into the archives because he let his overeagerness cloud his judgement, as is a recurring trait of his. And that's one example of several. I'm sorry, but this criticism has been hurled at the books so often, and it's just not true. It's not even that I think the books are perfect or anything, but it's just an inaccurate assessment of the novel. Obama may not be a perfect president, but he's not a secret muslim terrorist and a cursory examination of the novel will prove that.

Third, on pacing....eh, maybe. Kvothe obviously considers those parts important to tell, and I didn't mind reading about that play and the priest that helps him out. The point about his shoes is important to understanding Kvothe's moral character.
He steals nearly everything he has, but he pays for free shoes. It informs you how the character responds to generousity
. If you can point out the chapters in particular you feel are irrelevent, perhaps I can offer a counter explanation for why they're not.
So being dramatic, super smart, and a good storyteller are just more things to add to Kvothe's huge list of "super good at" then.

He learns Sympathy early on yeah, but he masters it really, really quickly for being a child. The whole book is him getting things too quickly. Like I said, there's few struggles to his struggles. Even when he does screw up, it feels so minor and inconsequential. It makes him boring. The most uninteresting character in the novel is the one telling a story. That's...strange.

I haven't read the book in awhile. That review was posted sometime this year, but it was actually written about two years ago for a random blog I keep. I don't remember too many specifics anymore, though I have no interest in picking the books back up again.
 

Coriolanus

Banned
Jul 24, 2013
12,373
0
340
Brazil.
Edit:
I just read up on the part where Elodin talks about Felurian. Elodin says Kvothe's sleeping mind understood her name. For him to call it a highly unusual thing and wonders what the cause could be. Again, the instance of Kvothe's Naming is highly strange in how it occurs, so it's likely it's going to be a plot point soon. It is unlikely, however, that it's because of all the sexing.
Oh yes. Totes unlikely.
Glad i didn't misremember.
 

Veelk

Banned
Dec 6, 2008
16,922
0
0
So being dramatic, super smart, and a good storyteller are just more things to add to Kvothe's huge list of "super good at" then.

He learns Sympathy early on yeah, but he masters it really, really quickly for being a child. The whole book is him getting things too quickly. Like I said, there's few struggles to his struggles. Even when he does screw up, it feels so minor and inconsequential. It makes him boring. The most uninteresting character in the novel is the one telling a story. That's...strange.

I haven't read the book in awhile. That review was posted sometime this year, but it was actually written about two years ago for a random blog I keep. I don't remember too many specifics anymore, though I have no interest in picking the books back up again.
Yes, he is good at those things. Because he was raised in a troupe, where they hammered these things into him from a young age. He wasn't just born good at them.

He's a prodigy, so yeah, I'm not saying he's not talented. He is, but the argument that suggests he's a mary sue relies on whether his talents are unjustified. But the author goes out of his way to justify it via his parents raised him, he developed a love of learning most children do not as well as various mnemonic devices to develop memory skills. That's really his greatest strength, rather than some innate talent. You'd be amazed how easy it is to go far in anything as long as you love doing it and can recall things. It's how many real life prodigies are made.

And the things Kvothe screws up are hardly inconsequential.
He gets banned from the library (which was his whole reason for coming to the university), he makes a mortal enemy out of a powerful teacher and student, he jumps off a fucking roof in an idiotic attempt to impress his teacher.
He makes the most out of these failures instead of sitting around crying about them, but he fails and fails a lot and fails hard.


Analyzing things is really, really hard. I'd like to say I'm pretty good at it, but it's an investment, both in time and effort to really pin down if a story works or does not. It requires sometimes going over known material again and again. But it's where the truth of matters lie. I'll probably write up a review of the entire KKC series when the third book comes out, but I've yet to hear a satisfying explanation for why these books suck or have mary sue or are otherwise broken on some fundamental level. The most I'll give you is pacing issues, but they bothered me far less on second read through, where I learned the more subtle meanings of things.
 
Jul 28, 2014
2,516
0
0
www.dualwieldsoftware.com
Yes, he is good at those things. Because he was raised in a troupe, where they hammered these things into him from a young age. He wasn't just born good at them.

He's a prodigy, so yeah, I'm not saying he's not talented. He is, but the argument that suggests he's a mary sue relies on whether his talents are unjustified. But the author goes out of his way to justify it via his parents raised him, he developed a love of learning most children do not as well as various mnumanic devices to develop memory skills. That's really his greatest strength, rather than some innate talent. You'd be amazed how good you get at anything as long as you love doing it and can recall things. It's how many real life prodigies are made.

And the things Kvothe screws up are hardly inconsequential.
He gets banned from the library (which was his whole reason for coming to the university), he makes a mortal enemy out of a powerful teacher and student, he jumps off a fucking roof in an idiotic attempt to impress his teacher.
He makes the most out of these failures instead of sitting around crying about them, but he fails and fails a lot and fails hard.


Analyzing things is really, really hard. I'd like to say I'm pretty good at it, but it's an investment, both in time and effort to really pin down if a story works or does not. It requires sometimes going over known material again and again. But it's where the truth of matters lie. I'll probably write up a review of the entire KKC series when the third book comes out, but I've yet to hear a satisfying explanation for why these books suck or have mary sue or are otherwise broken on some fundamental level.
Analyzing books is fun, but I'll only bother with it if the book is worth it. I don't think either of the Kingkiller novels are.

Even with your justifications, I cannot get over the fact that Kvothe overcomes all of his problems too easily in the books. It felt like a glaring flaw, and I really shouldn't have to read into the book too much to figure out he isn't a damned superhero.

But I don't think the first book is terrible or broken on any fundamental levels. I hate the narrative framing technique though, but mostly because it feels like a forced way to write most of the thing in first person which is the THING TO DO now. At least it isn't in first person present.

Honestly, my biggest gripes are with the second book. kvothe's superhero status really takes off there.
 

Veelk

Banned
Dec 6, 2008
16,922
0
0
Analyzing books is fun, but I'll only bother with it if the book is worth it. I don't think either of the Kingkiller novels are.

Even with your justifications, I cannot get over the fact that Kvothe overcomes all of his problems too easily in the books. It felt like a glaring flaw, and I really shouldn't have to read into the book too much to figure out he isn't a damned superhero.

But I don't think the first book is terrible or broken on any fundamental levels. I hate the narrative framing technique though, but mostly because it feels like a forced way to write most of the thing in first person which is the THING TO DO now. At least it isn't in first person present.

Honestly, my biggest gripes are with the second book. kvothe's superhero status really takes off there.
What you are experiencing is a kind of confirmation bias. Most of the time, when characters are unusually prodigious without being crippled by some other major flaw, they are mary sues. So when you read on, you see the marks of it as that, while ignoring the justifications that actually make that event narratively valid. It doesn't require some intense examination, it just requires remembering "Oh, yeah, he mentioned he has X" or understanding the significance of how negatively an event affects him. You just have to force yourself to look at the actual text instead of your expectations of it.

As far as the second book, I wouldn't say it does, but again, I'll have to see your justifications for that one. He encounters crazier things, but superhero implies that he's getting better at countering them, which I don't think he did. If anything, he's often under the thumb of superiors more often in that book than otherwise.
 
Jul 28, 2014
2,516
0
0
www.dualwieldsoftware.com
What you are experiencing is a kind of confirmation bias. Most of the time, when characters are unusually prodigious without being crippled by some other major flaw, they are mary sues. So when you read on, you see the marks of it as that, while ignoring the justifications that actually make that event narratively valid. It doesn't require some intense examination, it just requires remembering "Oh, yeah, he mentioned he has X" or understanding the significance of how negatively an event affects him. You just have to force yourself to look at the actual text instead of your expectations of it.

As far as the second book, I wouldn't say it does, but again, I'll have to see your justifications for that one. He encounters crazier things, but superhero implies that he's getting better at countering them, which I don't think he did.
I've never said he was a mary sue. I don't think he goes that far. I'm currently reading a book with one of those, and yeah, Kvothe doesn't go that far.

But I dunno how many times I rolled my eyes as Kvothe once again surpassed a problem by playing a musical instrument, picked up on some core concept remarkably fast, or just acted like a general annoying smartypants. Justifications or not, I didn't find him interesting or an enjoyable character to follow a novel through. He felt too good at everything, even if there was some basis.

Plus, I really feel like, given the frame of hte narrative, he spent way too much time on his days in school and being poor. He's gotta kill a king. It's the subtitle of the series.
 

Kieli

Member
Aug 11, 2013
8,730
0
395
He's gotta kill a king. It's the subtitle of the series.
The synopsis of the first book was false advertising. So egregious I ain't even mad.

Lol. Was expecting badass genius travelling a Dark Souls world and getting into all sorts of wicked shenanigans. Was not expecting a children's novel with magic schools 'n stuff.
 

Veelk

Banned
Dec 6, 2008
16,922
0
0
I've never said he was a mary sue. I don't think he goes that far. I'm currently reading a book with one of those, and yeah, Kvothe doesn't go that far.

But I dunno how many times I rolled my eyes as Kvothe once again surpassed a problem by playing a musical instrument, picked up on some core concept remarkably fast, or just acted like a general annoying smartypants. Justifications or not, I didn't find him interesting or an enjoyable character to follow a novel through. He felt too good at everything, even if there was some basis.

Plus, I really feel like, given the frame of hte narrative, he spent way too much time on his days in school and being poor. He's gotta kill a king. It's the subtitle of the series.
Well, the main characteristic you attribute to him (Being too talented, no challenge, getting away with everything) is the mary sue trait I am saying isn't a valid criticism. Same difference. It's just semantics.

If you don't find him personally entertaining for that, that's a different beast altogether, and not really part what should be an actual analysis of his character. Personal likes and dislikes are too subjective and irrational to be meaningful criticism. Personally, I know a few series I absolutely loath that I could write up a very positive review for because, on analysis, they are well written. I know several series I enjoy that can be torn a new asshole in 5 different places. Saying you don't like something or find it interesting or entertaining is valid to your own personal experience, but not something you can generalize to a bigger population.

On the issue of pacing, I could potentially agree with you, but you have to point out what parts specifically so I can go and check if offer nothing to the narrative. Right now, you're simply saying you didn't like the part he spent as a poor child as engaging, which, as said above, is valid to your personal experience, but if you want to say it's worthless, you have to verify that statement somehow.
 
Jul 28, 2014
2,516
0
0
www.dualwieldsoftware.com
Well, the main characteristic you attribute to him (Being too talented, no challenge, getting away with everything) is the mary sue trait I am saying isn't a valid criticism. Same difference. It's just semantics.

If you don't find him personally entertaining for that, that's a different beast altogether, and not really part what should be an actual analysis of his character. Personal likes and dislikes are too subjective and irrational to be meaningful criticism. Personally, I know a few series I absolutely loath that I could write up a very positive analysis for. I know several series I enjoy that can be torn a new asshole in 5 different places. Saying you don't like something or find it interesting or entertaining is valid to your own personal experience, but not something you can generalize to a bigger population.

On the issue of pacing, I could potentially agree with you, but you have to point out what parts specifically so I can go and check if offer nothing to the narrative. Right now, you're simply saying you didn't like the part he spent as a poor child as engaging, which, as said above, is valid to your personal experience, but if you want to say it's worthless, you have to verify that statement somehow.
Eh. There are levels to being a mary sue. Kvothe isn't one, but I still think he's too good at everything. I honestly don't think you've given enough examples to prove that wrong. You've given some justification, but you're looking at an 800 page book where he overcomes a lot of crap pretty easily. Honestly, his most trying time was when he was poor and in Tarbean, but I still think that section was boring and went on for too long.

But I listened to the book via audio, and I certainly don't have the time or care to go through it to find the boring parts I feel need to be cut. If I liked the book more, I'd be apt to do that, but if I liked the book, we wouldn't be having this conversation.
 

Veelk

Banned
Dec 6, 2008
16,922
0
0
Eh. There are levels to being a mary sue. Kvothe isn't one, but I still think he's too good at everything. I honestly don't think you've given enough examples to prove that wrong. You've given some justification, but you're looking at an 800 page book where he overcomes a lot of crap pretty easily. Honestly, his most trying time was when he was poor and in Tarbean, but I still think that section was boring and went on for too long.

But I listened to the book via audio, and I certainly don't have the time or care to go through it to find the boring parts I feel need to be cut. If I liked the book more, I'd be apt to do that, but if I liked the book, we wouldn't be having this conversation.
Do you want me to go through the whole book, listing each accomplishment and how it was justified within the narrative? As you said, it's a long book, it'd be easier for you to do since you only need to provide a few instances to prove your case, while I'd need to go through the majority of the book (books, if we include the sequel) to establish that the majority of his accomplishments are valid to prove mine, when we are obstensively checking for the same thing.

It seems to be it'd be easier for all parties to have you do it. Besides, as the original claim is yours, the burden of proof is on you anyway.

Of course, you don't have to do all that, but then you have to admit your leaving the conversation without having proven your case outside your own mind. I don't say that as a challenge, but as I said, I've yet to see an account that proves the things your claiming, not just here, but anywhere through the various reviews of the book I've seen through the internet. Given that, it feels like maybe it's more likely the case just isn't true, and I want people who read this thread to know that. And the only way to disprove that is provide said account and hope I can't find a justification for it. And that's the unfun part of analyzing things, which is why only crazies like me do it.
 
Jul 28, 2014
2,516
0
0
www.dualwieldsoftware.com
Do you want me to go through the whole book, listing each accomplishment and how it was justified within the narrative? As you said, it's a long book, it'd be easier for you to do since you only need to provide a few instances to prove your case, while I'd need to go through the majority of the book (books, if we include the sequel) to establish that the majority of his accomplishments are valid to prove mine, when we are obstensively checking for the same thing.

And, besides, as the original claim is yours, so the burden of proof is on you to provide examples of unjustified accomplishments anyway.

Of course, you don't have to do all that, but then you have to admit your leaving the conversation without having proven your case outside your own mind. I don't say that as a challenge, but as I said, I've yet to see an account that proves the things your claiming, while I have seen and written various justifications for his abilities.
To provide such a claim would take me like three god damned hours, which I'm so not gonna do. Longer, probably.

I wish I had listened to the book more recently to actually do this, since I'm all for discussing books, but it's been a few years and I just don't give enough of a fuck. Maybe when I finish Dr. Sleep and need something else to listen to at work, but I've been meaning to re-listen to a few other things to review for the site I linked above. There's no real priority here.

My biggest justification for pointing people away from these novels (aside from the second one being really not good) is that the entire existence of them hinges on the ending to the third novel, which isn't out yet and hasn't been started. To tell people to get into a trilogy that won't see a conclusion for at least two more years is kind of cruel.

Edit: and no, I don't want you to go through the whole book. Tha'd take just as long and wouldn't really get us anywhere. I really cannot see us agreeing on this one way or the other.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.