Feeling kind of ho-hum about The Shelf, I decided to sort my GoodReads "to-read" list by rating stars... not a bad way to go, right? I want other readers' suggestions!
Patrick Rothfuss' Name of the Wind has a HUGE rating from tens of thousands of GoodReads members - something like 4.5 stars (out of a possible 5) putting it in the Top 10 on my "to-read" list. I ordered it from Interlibrary Loan (words cannot express how much I love this free service). It arrived last week. Phat.... I mean, FAT, man. For real - this book is 650 pages long. But so many people rave at how great it is! I dive in.
It took me just a week to read it, the story carried me along, and I would lose track of time into the wee hours.
Here's my way-too-brief summary:
Set in a pre-industrial pseudo-European fantasy world à la Middle Earth, Kvothe (pronouned "Quoth") is a masterful lute player and the uber-brilliant, pre-adolescent member of a family of respected travelling troubadours. An itinerant magician (or "arcanist") joins the group, taking Kvothe under his wing, teaching him rudamentary magic and inspiring him to go to "University" for further magical training. But suddenly, the troupe meets a vicious, violent end, and the boy is entirely alone, left to fend for himself in a ragamuffin urban adolescence so unhappy, Dickens' Oliver Twist is positively JOYOUS in comparison. After about 150 pages of that misery (and reasonable success as a pickpocket), the boy leaves the city intent on University. Surpassing all odds, he gets in. On scholarship.
Bullies abound, Kvothe is often broke or deeply indebted, he pines for a girl, he sings for his supper, he slays monstrous beasts, he survives agonizing physical brutalities (muggings, whippings, accidents, he nearly dies of exposure, suffocation, falls, fires... and on and on). And so many minor characters. If you read it, keep a list for yourself... I had a hard time keeping everyone straight.
|photo courtesy "HarshLight" on Flickr|