As the author points out within the piece, I picked up this book with the expectation that it would be a straightforward case for vegetarianism. I'm pleased to find out that I was wrong. Of the handful of books I've read on the subject of animal agriculture and food production, this has been by far the most even-handed. Does he have an agenda? Sure. What writer doesn't? But he is relatively fair in its delivery. For example, within books of this type, it's exceedingly rare to find a well-written, logically-convincing, morally-reasonable passage written from the point of view of someone in the meat industry. There were multiple in Eating Animals, which I appreciated. I'm willing to listen to anyone who can present a PETA activist, a normal citizen, a local farmer and an industrial agriculture businessman within the space of 50 pages, and allow each of them to sound equally reasonable (albeit in very different ways).
My only problem with this book was the narration. I'm relatively new to audiobooks -- I've read fewer than a dozen. I thought perhaps it was just my inexperience in the medium that made this narration so jarring to me. The narrator has unnaturally long pauses between words and sometimes seems to emphasize the wrong word within a sentence. It makes it harder to listen to. That said, if you're genuinely interested in the topic, the narration shouldn't be enough to deter you from reading this book -- the writing was strong enough to make up for the poor delivery, in my opinion.
I honestly didn't think it would be possible to top Name of the Wind. To make a long and gleefully inarticulate response much shorter: Rothfuss succeeded. This is one of the most delicious fantasy novels I've read in my life. Stylistically, it's comparable to Robin Hobb, particularly her Farseer/Tawny Man trilogies. Kvothe's story manages to be both intensely personal and world-spanningly epic, without either aspect seeming tacked-on -- rather, the grand sweeping events are rooted in the personal. Rothfuss's characterization is deft and his gift for details adds amazing depth to both the world and the characters.
Of the audiobooks I've listened to, this has by far the best narration. Nick Podehl wears Kvothe's narrative as if it was written for his voice. I'm considering buying the audiobook of Name of the Wind even though (a) I've already read the book recently and (b) I own a paper copy, just to hear Podehl's performance of it.
In short: I couldn't be more impressed.
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