I read The Lightning Tree in Rogues anthology.
The Lightning Tree by Patrick Rothfuss
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Series: The Kingkiller Chronicle (Book #0.5 of 3)
Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy
Pages: 58 pages (Available in Rogues anthology)
Published: 6th July 2015 by Titan Books (UK) & 1st July 2014 by Bantam (US)
Cozy, sweet, and memorable, The Lightning Tree is a must-read novella for every fans of Bast and enthusiast of The Kingkiller Chronicle.
The Lightning Tree is a short novella in The Kingkiller Chronicle series by Patrick Rothfuss, and the plot revolves around a day in the life of Bast—Kvothe’s apprentice and one of my favorite characters from the main series—that takes place roughly a month before the start of The Name of the Wind. You can read this story in an anthology called Rogues that’s published in 2014. Honestly, I’m going to admit that I can’t go through a year without reading something in The Kingkiller Chronicle. I have a serious withdrawal from the world of Temerant, it’s been three years since I first ventured into Kvothe’s story, that’s much shorter than many other readers who have waited more than a decade, and I can’t help coming back to this world and Rothfuss’s writing; I love every story in The Kingkiller Chronicle so much, and The Lightning Tree is no exception to that notion.
“Then the wind stirred and Bast saw something white. He felt a sudden chill, fearing it was a page torn free from the book. Few things angered his master like a mistreated book.”
Ah, Kvothe, I understand your feeling regarding books with all my heart.
It’s incredibly magical how ALL of Rothfuss’s works in The Kingkiller Chronicle series improved significantly on reread; I liked/loved them on my first read, but I absolutely loved them on reread. There are so many amazing intricacies to the world he has crafted, and it’s only on reread you begin to notice just how much details Rothfuss has imbued into the world of Temerant. Now, The Lightning Tree doesn’t move any part of the main story within the series forward; as I mentioned, it’s a day in the life of Bast, and it happened before the first novel even begin. And yet still, there’s a new detail to discover, especially regarding the Fae, their magic, and of course, Bast’s personality. Rothfuss doesn’t waste words; prose-wise, I personally think he’s one of, if not the, best in the entire genre. This particular quote that I’m going to show you next is just a very tiny glimpse of the enormous talent in his writing:
“So much was so easy. Glamour was second nature. It was just making folk see what they wanted to see. Fooling folk was simple as singing. Tricking folk and telling lies, it was like breathing. But this? Convincing someone of the truth that they were too twisted to see? How could you even begin? It was baffling. These creatures. They were fraught and frayed in their desire. A snake would never poison itself, but these folk made an art of it. They wrapped themselves in fears and wept at being blind. It was infuriating. It was enough to break a heart.”
I loved reading every page of this story, and I can sing with utmost confidence that The Lightning Tree is one of my three favorite novellas of all time, the other one being The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson. Every moment of silence in the plot intensified the scene effectively, the emotions of the characters were evocatively written, and the banter made me smile, and the tribute to George R. R. Martin—let’s not even get started with Bast’s errand to find carrots—made me laugh. They say that lightning doesn’t strike the same place twice, but there’s an exception to Rothfuss’s books. From my perspective, the second lightning that strikes The Lightning Tree ended up being more impactful and powerful than the first occurrence, and this phenomenon is applicable to all of his books.
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