Have you heard of the Inheritance series? Christopher Paolini is the author and he wrote the first of the series- Eragon- at the age of 16, publishing at 18. His books are Fantasy– filled with elves, dwarves and epic struggles… Good winning in the end. So of course we love them. And we were all beyond impressed that he wrote these books at such a young age. Imagine having a child like that? Or should I say: Imagine having parent’s like that? (for the sake of my sanity, I’ll say the former)
It was interesting to see the growth in Paolini’s writing and ideas as he became 18 then 22, 24… He is a talented storyteller, remarkable for his age. Todd and I both enjoyed the books as we would a good apple pie, but to Jack and Kaite it topped their lists. One day, after Kaite and Jack had read the series for the second time, we jumped on the internet to see when the final, the fourth book of the series would be out… and to get a little more real-life information on Paolini. Turns out he was homeschooled, his parents and sister helped him publish his first book (they are this quirky, very cool family) and unfortunately, he looks more like a….. homeschooler than a dragonrider. After reading his wiki page, we imagined he has a difficult time living in the 21st century, enjoys fencing and talks with a medieval accent. I think we were all hoping for a more swashbuckling Paolini, but quickly repented and appreciated his talent as vicariously as apparently he does.
BUT, this is a lengthy introduction to how I came upon one of my very favorite fantasy books….. since Tolkien. Though let me declare that Tolkien is King and cannot be touched. But since Tolkien…
There was a Youtube clip of Paolini interviewing a guy named Patrick Rothfuss about his book “The Name of the Wind” at some Fabulously Geeky Fantasy Conference. I clicked on it to see how Paolini sounded. He obviously liked Rothfuss and his new book, so I wrote the title down and ordered it from the library… for Jack. Cause I’m always on the lookout for books for the kids as they read voraciously- to tamp down their childhood boredom.
The Name of the Wind came and Jack read it. He read it at breakfast, then lunch, then afterschool, by the heater in his room, late in the evening, early in the morning. He was quiet, could be easily found and Kaite and he had a natural rest from their feudal feuding. He declared it a great book.
So then I read it (wait, wasn’t the good parent supposed to read it first?- prescreen..) and was instantly transported to another time and world and people and lived vicariously, happily, indulgently in the imagination of Rothfuss and his stories. After the first 100 pages, I couldn’t put it down. It’s one of those books.
I read a lot, but usually at the end of the day, at the appropriate time, when I feel too tired to do anything else. But occasionally these kinds of books come along where I just can’t help but read it, denying my (so-called) responsible life, throwing out bread and water to the kids, rushing through anything I HAVE to do, in order to steal just a few minutes more of time in Rothfuss’s mind. It’s as unproductive as I get and there’s something delicious about it. I start talking proper English and throw out clever phrases from the book and imagine if it was real.
Todd sensed the change in the wind and it didn’t take him long to know there was something good in those pages. He started reading before I finished and thus a real-time battle began. But, in our unspoken code of couple’s book ethics, since I was the first to start the book, I had the power. I taunted him, would laugh outloud and make little gasps of astonishment and such, as I read beside him. One night, I selfishly took the book from him, declaring that under my rights as the first to start the book, I would read it the rest of the night. He was downtrodden, but knew my rights. And there was nothing else for him to read- he desperately searched my parent’s library of biographies and history books (that’s all my dad reads). Meanwhile, I was sumptuously reading- and so comfortable with the kids to bed and warm covers over my pajamas. Todd came in to read and after an hour or so, I tore my head away from the book’s spell, only to tell Todd something about one of the characters, and noticed what he had finally decided on reading instead of The Name of the Wind: “The Life of Greece; The Story of Civilizations 2”. It had a stone bust of a greek philosopher on the cover. I couldn’t help put shake with laughter. I did feel a little guilty with how much I was enjoying my book as compared to his laborious, snoozy read.
Anyways……………………………… I’m highly recommending this book, if you love fantasy, or if you love a great story, especially if you love adventure and magic, but above all if you insist on excellent writing. Just beware- it’s a little consuming. It’s mostly just high-handed adventure, banter and nonsense, but very entertaining.
And as a sidenote, even if you aren’t particularly a Tolkien fan (gasp!), you still might very well enjoy Rothfuss. He’s different- not quite as epic or as full of the races (no elves or dwarves), more into the human side of the story. Tolkien is downright godly, so Rothfuss was wise not to try and come near his territory. Tolkien will always own Fantasy, but since him…. my favorite has to be Rothfuss.