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Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Name of The Wind, Patrick Rothfuss


This book has been praised and is as well loved as Martin's "Song of Ice and Fire." Needless to say, this book is a hit and people all over love and praise Rothfuss.

However, with any hugely successful and popular release comes the voice of dissent. The complaints range from feeling as though Rothfuss' style tries to hard to be poetic and, do to a lack of maturity, comes off as silly, to his main character being a Marty-Stew type. Are these complaints without base? I wouldn't say that they are completely unfair. What I would say, however, is that Rothfuss is often not given credit for his on genius as a writer. First and foremost I will address his prose style.

Yes, when Rothfuss writes there are times when it feels as though he is trying to hard and, even though it is clear that I love this book, his first effort here could well have bettered were he to have "Killed His Darlings." That being said, those instances where Rothfuss' prose seems to lack maturity and come off a silly are few and far between. In most cases he writes moving, beautiful passages. There have been times where I honestly found myself surprised by the beauty he could conjure and if he stumbles from time to time? Well, I will forgive him as this was his first effort.

Now, as far as his character, Kvothe, is concerned I can understand the feeling that he is too perfect. However, his folly is his pride. Because Kvothe believes himself to smart and equipped he puts himself in situations that end up causing him more harm than good. It is rather like another author (and I know I am not the first to say this) Scott Lynch with his "Gentleman Bastard's" series. The characters are more capable, better trained, and smarter than the average. They are revolutionaries in a sense.Yet, because of their youth they put themselves into situations that end up all the worse because of their pride. Kvothe is very much the same type of character.

Furthermore, Rothfuss is a clever man. There is a sense in his story that as Kvothe tells the story of his life he exaggerates. It comes through that, perhaps, Kvothe is telling a story in which he is better, sexier, and smarter than he truly is. The events may well have happened, he is a legend after all, but he tells them in a way that seems as if, maybe, he wants to protect that legend.

What is it he says? Those of the Edema Ruh are the best of story-tellers? A big part of being a great story-teller is being able to lie convincingly. So, perhaps this series isn't for everyone. Perhaps it isn't as brilliant as you may be lead to believe. But it is a clever story written by a clever man.

If there was one thing I could not defend it is that, good as the story is, the world feels a little underpopulated, a little too spread out here in this first effort.