Saturday, April 11, 2009

How being literary punched in the gut led to Patrick Rothfuss and The Name of the Wind

I discovered Patrick Rothfuss through George RR Martins Blog.  Wow that sentence makes me sound like some big hotshot talent agent that just goes around discovering people.  Kind of makes me giggle that thought.

Let me extrapolate.  I keep up on my authors that I am eagerly anticipating books from.  It was on one of those routine checkups that I was scanning through Martin’s “Not a Blog”.  I was looking for updates in regards to his next installment in the Song of Ice and Fire series.  He often doesn’t update the page for the series, but every now end then makes mention of it on his blog.  I don’t really read his blog as I don’t really care for what he talks about on his blog and don’t find him very witty.  Awesome writer, horrible blogger.  So I am scanning through and he is in the process of throwing some sort of fit in regards to why he has a life and his next book isn’t out and he links to Patrick Rothfuss as proof to other authors out their who don’t stick to the intended schedule.  And I, for whatever reason, follow that link.  Probably because I was avoiding doing something at the time and it was a decent distraction. 

I get linked to this post on Patrick Rothfuss’s blog.  I read and proceed to laugh hysterically.  I think can’t be all bad, guys a good blogger.  And then I go wait… Martin’s a horrible blogger but a good writer.  What if this writer is wasting all his talent coming up with awesome blogs instead of writing (like I am want to do every so often).  So I mosey on over to the reviews section of the website.  And I am punched in the stomach as I see not only has Ursala K Leguin given it a good review, but Robin Hobb gave it a stunning review.  ROBIN FREAKING HOBB!!!!! 

Next I head on over to his home  page.  And I read the caption of what the books is about.  I think to myself, I think I may have heard of this book before and meant to read it (Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine did a review – I have a subscription).  I then thought of all the books I still have to read on my list of books to read and I also look at my nightstand and see the huge pile of books I have from the library currently. I calculate the current pace of my reading and then go and reserve a copy of the book from the library. 

Proceed several weeks later as I have read through my pile, read a couple of biographies, and now have Pat’s book from the library (did I mention I stalked his blog in the mean time).    I ask myself am I really ready for more high fantasy, because I find those offer the largest literary hangover (post to come soon in that regards), and then think of what I might be missing out on having both George Martin and Robin Hobb throw this book in my face.  I figure I would be poorer for it if I didn’t read it.   


Book:  The Name of the Wind

Author:  Patrick Rothfuss

Pass of Fail:  Pass with flying colors

I am really unsure of were to start with this.  It was amazing.  It was everything it promised to be and more.  It left gifts in the future; it left me wondering.  It left me unable to read anything productively for a week. 

It starts in silence.  Not action, but silence.  We experience the silence.  We are in an Inn, and the third most profound silence belongs to the Innkeeper.  Who is he to command a silence all his own? 

At page 53 (the hardcover addition I ordered soon after I finished the book) we get the passage that is most often used to advertise the book.  The passage that shapes the hero for us.  My Name is Kvothe….. 

The book is the story of a hero, but the behind the scenes version of it.  The real story of the hero.  Near the end of the book there are some tavern tales being told by the regular patrons about Kvothe (he goes by Kote as the Innkeeper, in hiding from the world).  And that is when we get the full grasp of just how much of a legend he has become.   How far the truth has been stretched from the original deeds. 

The book is like having a personal interview with Napoleon or Queen Elizabeth and hearing the real truth behind the legends. 

There is a school of magic, but his magic system is realistic with solid principles and almost disappointingly like science (I was never much of a science kid).  But his magic feels real and believable. 

Pat's ability to write about music is astounding.  Many people have commented that the author must be a musician to write so passionately about music.   He isn’t, but the breadth of passion for the music is pure poetry. 

And then there is the impossible love interest.  However, once Kvothe understands her better she motives are understandable and she is painted as human.   And any story with a believable love interest will have me turning pages long after I should have stopped for the evening (I am a sucker for a good love story). 

I also really like the way as a reader we don’t understand what is going on until Kvothe, our protagonist, goes through the experience.  I love Pat’s ability to keep us waiting and drawn out, without giving away material before the protagonists knows it. 

The chapters are short and sweet and Pat doesn’t delve into unnecessary details, but he definitely gives the reader a taste and leaves us begging for just a wee bit more. 

I will definitely have my copy preordered and ready for pick up on the day that it comes out.  To any fantasy lover, I recommend this book.  To non fantasy lovers I say wait for the trilogy to be finished.  I have an understanding with books that they will be ready when they will be ready.  However, I have found for myself in the past, that if I am starting in on a new genre it helps to have everything available in the series at my immediate beck and call just in case I love what I am getting into.  That way I don’t get too mad that it’s not finished.  Heck I almost waited to start this book for those same reasons. Glad I didn’t, disappointed that I still need to wait.

Roo says she’ll wait it out.   No way she is going to lose her heart without the finale present. 

Next in the Reviews… a study of Pirates in the Romance Genre.  Yah.. its that season were being swept off by a pirate seams like a good pastime.