Monday, July 26, 2010

Rothfuss, Patrick (The Name of the Wind)

Ah. This is like a fresh breeze on a super-hot, sticky Midwestern summer day. I read so many duds or near-duds in the genre of fantasy that when I find something that is so well-written, it truly is a breath of fresh air.

Due to many circumstances (life getting in the way, mostly, it sounds like), the next book in the series is not due out until next March. Part of me wishes I'd waited to read this book until late February because I am now extremely eager to see what happens next in the saga of Kvothe (pronounced Ku-oth), hero, musician and magician, but also very much a flawed man.

Set in a world slightly different from ours (um, it has magic) and a few ages back (folks still wear cloaks on a regular basis), it's not like the territory Rothfuss is traveling is different from any other fantasy territory that's come before. You have the usual setting for these types of stories, evil geniuses, wayward muses, mysterious women, etc., etc. That's not what makes it great. What makes it great is that Rothfuss builds ultra-believable characters against a strong base that he has worked hard to make sound real. He also does something few others can do for me anymore in fantasy-land: he makes me laugh out loud in surprise every 20 pages or so. In a book that's 662 pages long, that is a gigantic feat of writing.

I truly wish more of my friends read fantasy. I am always hesitant to recommend something I feel so strongly about in a genre that few seem to enjoy (especially women, a constant sadness for me). To repeat myself (and perhaps over time make a convert or two), I feel the same way about fantasy as I do about sci-fi: the best of these books reflect issues and problems in the real world. I'm certain Rothfuss has done this in spades.


Catherine said...

Hi Kat! I like sci-fi/fantasy but tend to prefer mystery/detective novels. There's a neat author who combines both: Jasper Fforde. Have you tried his books? Also, I've been reading some of Neil Gaiman's books; have you read any of his?
The other Cat

Keephur said...

Jasper Fforde is an excellent author. Highly recommend him. I've been told to read Shades of Grey by him, which is next on my list. His Thursday Next and Nursery Crimes series are entertaining.

Kat said...

I liked Jasper Fforde but didn't love him. I think it's because the first book was great but it took 4 more before he wrapped up the plot! That would have been just fine but I didn't really enjoy the following four-- I was really slogging through those.

I read Neil Gaiman's Stardust and really enjoyed that. I've been told to read Anansi Boys, or actually I've been told to listen to the audiobook because the narrator is stellar.

Cory Doctorow is another one I need to try someday soon.