Monday, April 30, 2007

A decent writer? Try amazing . . .

A.E. Sacco, an avid reader, 04/16/2007 Customer Rating for this product is 2 out of 5
O.M.G.!!!! I believed the hype and picked this book up and it was the worst piece of crap I have read in a long time. 'Boring' does not do justice to how slow and uneventful this novel is. I sped-read most of it to see if the character would get the hell out of the 'university' and fight some monsters 'yeh, he eventually fights a dragon...yawn....'. Instead, the poor reader is subjected to the most minute happennings. I will admit the author is a decent writer, and has a great story on his hands....but PLEASE! Over 600 pages of mostly 'nothing'....I'm sorry...if this is 'the best fantasy novel of the past ten years', then I'll read other genres.

I found the above review of Patrick Rothfuss's The Name of the Wind on Barnes and Noble. I must admit that my first response was a scathing rebuttal of the blather spouted above, but then I stopped to think . . . while I completely disagree with the reviewer's assessment of the novel, as should be obvious if you read my previous post, I can remember a time when all I wanted out of a fantasy novel was for the main character to "fight some monsters." That was what drew me to R.A. Salvatore's novels, which I mentioned in an earlier post. But my tastes have evolved since junior high. The Name of the Wind is a character driven story, not a plot driven story. That's not to say that the plot is in any way lacking because it's not, but meeting Kvothe and coming to know him is what propels the story forward--it is first person narrative after all.

So instead of the scathing response I was planning I'll simply acknowledge that this book will not appeal to everyone. For people who want monsters and action filling every other page, you'd better grab a different book. But for those who want to truly know the characters who fill the pages of the books they read, you're not going to find a better novel than this one.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Name of the Wind

I finished reading Patrick Rothfuss’s The Name of the Wind yesterday, and after a mere 2 hours or so picked it up and started reading it again. Now why in the world would I do this? I asked myself that question a few times and my answer is:

It’s damn good writing.
But it’s also a riveting story.
And the characters are absolutely believable.

I guess that’s three answers.

In his most recent blog entry, Patrick Rothfuss writes,

True, all authors use words, but not all authors focus on making them beautiful. Shakespeare loved words, so did Roger Zelazny and Angela Carter. Ray Bradbury also has what I consider a poetical turn of phrase, by which I mean that the language itself is beautiful, regardless of content, character, or cleverness.

Some authors just don't play that word game. They care more about story, or plot, or character, or... I dunno, unicorns or making money. I'm not being critical here. Those things are important. Those authors can still write good stories, there's no denying that.

But my favorite authors love words AND character AND story... and sometimes unicorns, I guess.

If Rothfuss could somehow read his story for the first time, it would be exactly the type of novel he loves. Which shouldn’t be surprising since we all strive to write the kind of books we would love to read. The language Rothfuss uses is beautiful, absolutely beautiful. I found myself rereading sections simply because they were so delightfully and beautifully written. He has a poetical turn of phrase, and there are passages that simply sing. If my novel is half as beautifully written as this, I’ll be overjoyed.

As for the characters: Kvothe is a living and breathing character who practically leaps off the page—unruly red hair, eyes bright green like new growth grass, and all. He is absolutely believable, especially to anyone who remembers being a boy and the awkwardness that comes with growing up. And the story . . . well, the story pulled me in, immersing me in Kvothe’s world so much that I half expected to see the scrael scuttling through my backyard (a truly terrifying thought for anyone who hates spiders as passionately as I do).

I hate reading teasers and spoilers because I always find the story slightly less surprising, slightly less magical when I have an idea of the shape of things going in, so I won’t give you a synopsis or anything here. I’ll just tell you to run out and grab this book. Grab two. It’s that good.

The verdict: 10/10