Lately I've had a remote inkling to pickup one of those detestable popcorn fantasy novels.  This came with the thought that just maybe, just maybe, I'd find that ever-elusive worthwhile fantasy story.  Of course then it wouldn't be all that ever-elusive, now would it?  So with vague plots of taking a dart into a book store and throwing it blindly at the fantasy section I would look at the shelves and just see nothing of interest.  

But then I received a present a few weeks after my birthday of what was apparently the next in book.  Or at least they were trying to make it the next in book with the pages and pages of positive criticism from writers/journals/newspapers.  First things I noticed on receiving this present was that the cover was different for a fantasy novel.  This is good.  The next was on one of the first review-blurbs they had on the back of the book it noted the narrative voice as being, I forget the wording and don't have the book in front of me so I'll say, lyrical.  And I'll say this definitely stirred some interest in me.  

Now my experience with popcorn fantasy isn't as expansive as some people assume.  Perhaps not you people but some people.  And the chief reason for this was as soon as the Wheel of Time unlocked me from its stranglehold on my spleen, I started realizing that these people weren't doing anything new.  Oh, okay the magic source was new; there was some twist on a cultural paradigm; oh hey, this world floats!  But basically it was just a windmill going around in circles powered by the cheap thrill of escape.  These people have no movers.  And thus they have heretofore and will ever more be known as Popcorn.  

I realize that there is no worse a label for a writer than a genre writer, but do these people have no pride?  Or perhaps, and this is more likely the case, do the publishing companies know what will make them money and just throw away anything that might be new due to the risk involved?  

And with this utterly unimportant opinion firmly entrenched in my mind I receive this book that on a backside preview, I hear being praised as something to stand next to The Lord of the Rings as perhaps a first among equals... I think, oh I've heard this before.  And I certainly have.  But the thing that sticks with me is the talk that the writing style is something new and poetic.  This certainly intrigues me, because everything I've seen shows me that these writers have forgotten their heritage.  And so even with my doubts, I approached this book with a small glint of hope.  Which is perhaps the last thing I should have going in...

And so rather than risking imprisonment and tasking myself to find a dart I decided to go with the book given me.  The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.

And now, being 69.252% of the way done with the book (judged by pages not by words/letters) I can say...  It's okay.  The voice used for telling the story is inconsistent.  It is different, which is good, but it is unfortunately still lacking.  At times he rises to a flourish, which is unfortunately often a bit overdone.  And other times he just rests in the normal boring fantasy voice.  His path for the story was an interesting idea but left me feeling like he was elaborating on the wrong story.  Thus far the events of the book have been alright.  Not quite what he's trying to build you up to, which I believe means he needed to work on the pacing a tad.  Not necessarily that it needs more action, just more drive.  

There are still things to like about the book.  It is not all as negative as I am making it sound.    And what is more, this is Rothfuss' first book.  And he's still fairly young.  So maybe, just maybe better is yet to come.  As it stands now I will likely look into the next two books of the series when they get published, though probably in paperback.  

So this was probably more productive than the dart throwing exercise.  

-a disgruntled reader

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