The Name of Iron. (66)
I think the first time I became aware of Rothfuss is when he was on the cover of Locus wearing a "My Marxist Feminist Dialectic Brings All the Boys to the Yard" t-shirt. I took that as a good sign, but it was a while till I finally got around to reading him. In part because the cover is so blah. Jenny bought it for me for my birthday, but even then, I dragged my heels. In part because I knew I would like it, & there is almost a burden to that foreknowing; you've got to plan on having your life consumed, you know? The burning candle of obsession is really hard to manage! & lo & behold, it was so. I mean, I kept a running series of Instagram photos as I canceled social engagements so that I could sit down & spend my evenings reading it. I live-tweeted passages from it that tickled me-- like "strange maths" being "everywhere" & "now" or when used linguistic drift to obscure "barrow" & heavy accents to reveal it-- & even read the threat "I'll slit you open & splash around like a child in a muddy puddle" out loud. It is...really good. The premise, in a nutshell, is "Ender's Game at Hogwarts." Kvothe is the sort of hyper-competent protagonist that just hits the spot sometimes, like Eugenides in the Queen's Thief books. I will say I found the "street urchin" section to be just a recapitulation of a trope; in general the book is good about using archetypes instead of cliches-- Kvothe is a Gypsy, but Rothfuss sells it, Kvothe is a prodigy, but Rothfuss sticks the landing-- but the "homeless kid" thing didn't work for me. Luckily, the rest of the novel is just delightful; I breezed right through it. Pun gloriously intended. The worldbuilding is top notch; I'm sure people are (rightly) impressed by the system of magic, but I think that the sort of "Christ-like figure" of Tehlu's story is better evidence of a great mind at work. Anthropologically sound, & that matters to me. The truth of the matter is, I'm going to rush out & buy the sequel to this immediately, which is sort of the proof in the pudding.