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Review: The Kingkiller Chronicle

There are two great fantasy series as yet incomplete. There used to be three, but Sanderson helped finish Jordan’s Wheel of Time series after Jordan’s death in 2007.

The first is A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin, which has been adapted by HBO into what is now better known as Game of Thrones.

Lesser known, but just as good (some would argue, perhaps better although I don’t want to take sides) is Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicle. Just as Martin’s fans long for the day he completes his series, Rothfuss’s fans impatiently wait for the third and final book in the Kingkiller trilogy.

Rothfuss has a decent excuse for taking years to finish his books. They are massive. The first one, The Name of the Wind, clocks in at almost 700 pages. The second one, The Wise Man’s Fear, at nearly 1,000. And they are outstanding.

The books are sandwiched in a “modern” time. A scribe who goes around taking down people’s stories has found the legendary Kvothe (pronounced “Quothe”), who is trying to live out his days as a village innkeeper far from anywhere significant. Strange things are happening in the world, though, and Kvothe seems to know what’s going on.

An arrangement is made, and Kvothe agrees to tell his tale, starting from as far back as he can remember. At this point, several pages in, the book shifts to first person. On occasion, the story stops and reverts to modern time as everybody takes breaks, etc. The tale will take Kvothe three days to tell. Thus the first book comprises Day One, the second, Day Two. We await the completion of the third book which will complete the third day of Kvothe’s tale.

I won’t go into detail on the intricacies of the plot. Suffice it to say, it’s very well done and keeps readers’ attention for page after page. If it ever is adapted for the screen, it will surely need to be a series like Game of Thrones. It’s far too detailed for a two hour movie to do it justice.

Grab your copies of the first two books and enjoy them. When the third one comes out, you’ll want to reread the first two. Give yourself a long weekend or two to get through them. And savor every moment.



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