Back when I started this blog, I said that my intention was to read through popular modern fantasy novels in an attempt to see where the genre is at these days. That ended up not happening because of reasons, but I did keep an eye out for opportunities to dip my toe back into fantasy. One book kept coming up again and again: The Name of The Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.
SFF fans sometimes have a tendency to oversell their favourite novels, to put it mildly, but the level of praise this book has gotten seemed excessive even by the standards of the genre- “masterpiece”, “the best novel I’ve ever read”, “a modern classic” are all accolades that fly thick and fast whenever Rothfuss’ name comes up. His prose is frequently brought up as a particular strength, leading one to assume that TNoTW is not just an excellent fantasy novel but some sort of great literary work.
^Patrick Rothfuss. No, really.
So I read some reviews from sources I generally trust and, um. It’s not quite as great as Rothfuss’ disciples make it sound. In fact it’s pretty bad, if the extensively quoted sections in these reviews are any indication.
For a long time I left it at that, but then several things happened- firstly, I started to get one of my periodic fantasy itches, possibly after having read so much urban fantasy recently. Secondly, the end of my final year of college is fast approaching and the time it takes me to actually read something for review is bound to increase. And thirdly, I’ve been wanting to do a really long, in-depth analysis of something for quite some time.
The second reason added to the first and made an alloy of sorts, a counterpoint. The third reason was mine, just as this blog is mine. This is appropriate, as it was the greatest of the three, wrapping the others inside itself. It was deep and wide as autumn’s ending. It was as heavy as a great river-smooth stone. It was the patient, cut-flower reason of a man waiting to waste his time on an exhaustive hatchet job of an overhyped fantasy novel.
All of which is a fancy way of saying hold on to your butts people, we’re doing this shit chapter-by-chapter.
My plan is to put out a new post once or twice a week covering between 1 and 3 chapters at a time, depending on how much of note happens in the part I’m reading. Despite my obvious lack of enthusiasm for the book I will look at it fairly and call attention to anything of merit I find. I fully concede that it’s even possible I could end up reversing my opinion entirely by the end, and if so you’ll read about it here.
With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s get to it. Read the first part here.