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Goat Heads and Sand Burrs, P. Kirby's Reading Blog

The good, bad, and fugly books I've read.
The Name of the Wind - Patrick Rothfuss The curse of high expectations.... I liked The Name of the Wind. Patrick Rothfuss is unquestionably a good fantasy writer. But, having heard comparisons to George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire, I was expecting something...more. Which, to be honest, is a little unfair, since, there's really nothing to suggest that The Name of the Wind will be in any way similar to Martin's writing, or that Rothfuss wrote a Song of Ice and Fire clone.

Nonetheless, at least subconsciously, I was expecting something with a similar flavor and my reading was impacted.

The weakest aspect of this novel for me, was the pacing. Rothfuss, in the tradition of great epic fantasy writers, has put together a meticulously created world. What I really like about his writing, is that, like George R. R. Martin, his description isn't just another tiresome tourist guide to the magical land he created, but instead a fully realized place that comes alive through the character's experience. I.e., his descriptions are vivid, but they are grounded fully in the character's perceptions. The characters don't drop out of sight for pages while the author waxes poetic on the lovely scenery.

The unfortunate consequence of all that detailed world-building is that sometimes the story lingers too long on the details. Scenes drag out, and I found myself thinking, "Okay, I get it, you've done loads of research on this topic; now just move on!"

I also found that for the most part, the story lacked much of a sense of urgency. There are a few moments, especially toward the end, where the tension does escalate. But, for the most part, the story reads more like a documentary.

I will be reading the next books, but so far, this series doesn't rate as a "keeper."