I’m calling this a “response” as opposed to a “review” because, well, an actual review deserves a much more involved and lengthy analysis. I just wanna make some comments!
So, I finally finished Patrick Rothfuss‘ The Name of the Wind a couple of nights ago. I started it…early last year, but only got about 20 pages in when I got distracted by something shiny. Then, a few weeks ago, I went on a Hunger Games jag and read that trilogy in about 4 days. As I mentioned in my post, “Hunger Games review and reaction,” that series had affected me so deeply, so fundamentally, that trying to read anything afterward was like tasting ash. I picked up and put down several books I had been in the middle of, and nothing appealed to me. Then I picked The Name of the Wind back up, and bam! I was on another jag, reading that every moment I could. (Thank you Nook and Android Nook app!)
Absolutely brilliant writing! Patrick’s way with words and structure, of painting scenes and clever dialog… captivating! And, it’s (technically) his first novel to boot! (“Technically,” because, as I recall from podcast interviews with him, he’d written and rewritten it enough times to make it, like, his 6th book.) But what really floors me, is, also according to him in interviews, he’d never really learned English grammar. He was always just good at picking up and sussing how words must fit together.
I can understand that! I relate. Despite my reading and writing at a very early age, despite my obsessive love of reading growing up, of my love of writing stories… I sucked in English classes. I graduated high school without any clear learnin’ of a participle from a preposition, a phrase from a clause to a run-on from a comma splice. Nominative and dative? Weren’t those Roman senators or something? It wasn’t until I took German classes in college when I finally had to learn English grammar. How could I get good enough grades in HS English to have been in AP English?! Because, like Patrick, I just groked grammar without knowing the jargon. Although, unlike Patrick, I’ve had to learn it all in order to get an English Master’s with the hope of teaching college English. Ironically, I’m not teaching yet Patrick is! Amusing. 🙂
Anyway, I digress. The Name of The Wind was like a dark, adult, punk Harry Potter. Orphaned boy, “wizarding” school, quest to find out and beat what killed his parents who loved him very much… all that. But that’s where the similarity ends. (And while I did say “adult,” it’s not that kind of adult novel. There’s some violence, some anti-social behavior, some implied sexuality–but all pretty tame. It’s simply that, while a young adult can (and should) read this novel, it’s meant for the adult reader.)
I did have a few qualms, though. I noticed a few instances of continuity errors. Sadly, I can’t bring any specific examples to mind, but they were things that made me have to go back and find where X was referred to earlier and confirm that there was a problem in its later reference. Oh well, nothing serious. But ti did make me feel a lot more positive about my own novel.
So, I just started on the sequel, The Wise Man’s Fear. I understand it’s a little more dark. It’s certainly at least as good so far.