I thought I knew what I was getting into with this second installment of Patrick Rothfuss's adventure trilogy. I knew the tropes and motifs and lay of the imaginary land were all fairly standard (but perfectly enjoyable) just-add-water conventions of the genre. But there was something gleeful and naive about his first book in the series that appealed to me, so I thought I'd hang in there with him and spend some time with familiar stock characters and territory. I know this sounds pretty condescending on my part--but there is kind of childlike comfort in knowing how things will play out in a fantasy story.
That said, I'm appalled--truly appalled--and so deeply disappointed that Mr Rothfuss has either ignored editorial advice, or missed out completely on the opportunity to work with an editor with any gift for structure or language. There is a repetition of words and phrases throughout the plodding text that clearly escaped the red pencil due to someone's utter laziness. This story should clip along, but it's constantly bogged down by inexcusably poor editing choices, or rather, non-choices. Seriously, did anyone give the manuscript a close read?
Secondly, there is the issue of reader Nick Podehl, who does his best to capture fictional accents (though he usually makes them some form of upper crust Brit or low Cockney...or his other mode is to go vaguely Eastern European for the ambiguous characters. And of course the prerequisite high, gentle voice for the couple of female characters, when they get a voice at all. (Oh, Rothfuss can't write a female character. Sorry). The greatest crime in Mr Podehl's narration is the mispronunciation of words he doesn't know. Reading without comprehension. Unsolicited advice: if you don't know a word that you have to read aloud, please consult a dictionary. There are any number of talking dictionaries online, free of charge. There is no excuse. I'm not talking about foreign words.
All that said, I used this audiobook as a companion for a long, tedious packing job...it kept me company while I toiled away doing challenging, sad manual labor, cleaning out my mother's apartment after she'd passed. I wanted an audiobook that was in the fantasy genre, that was easy to follow, that didn't have any big ideas that would require thoughtful consideration, and for that, it fit the bill. But clean up your act, guys.
Eh. I'm a completist...so if I can get through this second text, I'd say maybe I would give the final installment a try.
I wouldn't seek him out.
I've probably said enough. But one more thing, and it's not very nice. Judging from Rothfuss's online presence, he seems very high on himself. He has said (and I'm completely paraphrasing) that he has created something brand new, that defies categorization, that doesn't follow any traditional conventions of storytelling because the story he's telling is so vast and epic. I think a reality check is in order. His books are nothing if not utterly conventional quest adventures. The world is colorful but as derivative as they come. I think he is overly confident, even fancies himself a wordsmith and a grand teller of tales. This does not serve his writing at all. He'd be better off hunkering down and honing his craft, paring down his flabby sentences, and lay off the blogs. I feel guilty being so stridently negative but this book wasn't ready for publishing. Epic adventures still need to be rigorously rendered. Please choose your next editor wisely.
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