There is something to be said about being the lead-in entry for George R.R.’s story in this anthology, which of course, is exactly where Rothfuss’ “The Lightning Tree” is located. And can I mention Rothfuss, a newcomer, without also mentioning the other powerhouse newcomer in this collection, Joe Abercrombie? I think not. And in that note, there is something to be said about being the lead story, which Abercrombie was.
But Abercrombie fell a little flat, unfortunately–which is insane to say, really–and Rothfuss absolutely did not. But what was it about? Bast? Was Kvothe in it? The Waystone in? TELL ME!
I’ll tell you what I can, without giving it away. I’ll make it seem like it is something sweet, like that faint taste you get when there is crisp air in the morning. Something sexy, like that little knowing look you get from a perfect stranger, yet in that moment, you’ve known them for all of time. That familiarity you get when you try on that old joke but everyone still laughs. Rothfuss undoubtedly has a way with words, and he didn’t hold anything back, giving you exactly what you want: poetic and flowing prose, Reshi, the Waystone Inn, and of course, his fair-to-say heartthrob rogue, Bast.
I should mention this, as not everyone will have read his other work: Bast is an important supporting character in Rothfuss’ flagship series, The Kingkiller Chronicles. If you enjoy things that are awesome, go read those books right now. Like, close this article and get started right now. (Wild to think that this might be the first bit of Rothfuss some people get!)
When they introduce Rothfuss, his accolades are impressive, yet still somehow manage to fall mountainously short of literally everyone else in this collection, but he stands strong among them. Some of his fatherhood comes through too. There is an observance of the juvenile, the innocent, and the wonder that comes with watching and being with kids–and this struck a chord with me, being the father of young daughters.
This is a story about Bast–a typical day, as Rothfuss would have you believe–and yes, it’s everything you want it to be, including several scenes of surprising eroticism! Are you going full soft core on us, Rothfuss? Are you?! Haha.
Do. Not. Skip. This. One!