Patrick Rothfuss: Creature of Light, or of Darkness?

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Patrick Rothfuss’s The Name of the Wind is on my desk, and I have to decide whether to read the damn thing. In case the hellstorm of hype hasn’t reached you, this is a highly-praised fantasy novel, Rothfuss’s first and the first of a trilogy. I want it to be good. I’m also mindful that it’s 661 pages long, and I don’t want to die cursing the name of Patrick Rothfuss and begging the ferryman for those 36 hours of my life back. I already have to curse Robert Jordan as it is, and I don’t know how many curses you get.

On the minus side: the cover is weirdly murky and ambiguous — just blowing leaves and creepy stonework — though at least it doesn’t look like it was drawn on somebody’s math notebook (damn you again Robert Jordan!) Plus anything with “wind” in the title kinda sounds like a Spinal Tap joke to me now.

On the plus side: Rothfuss has a funny blog. And on his website he’s wearing a PvP “Joss Whedon Is My Master Now” t-shirt. And, well, the first 20 pages are kind of awesome. There’s a nothing, throwaway exchange in the first scene, where some people are hanging out at an inn, and somebody throws out a little folk saying about tinkers, and somebody else corrects him with another version, and then the innkeeper settles the argument with his own version. Each version is plausible and thought-out in its own right. There’s a richness there, a thought-through-ness, a sure touch, that you can’t counterfeit. It’s the kind of thing that twigs you that maybe this is the real thing.

Dammit, I may have to read the damn thing after all.

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