Patrick Routhfuss: The Name of the Wind – Review

I picked this book up after hearing great things about it from a friend, and when I started researching it online I’d been told that it was brilliant. I mean it’s got a ridiculously high Goodreads rating and I’ve read some really positive things about it on Reddit. I was hoping to throw myself into a book where I’d just be sucked in by the story, the characters, the world etc. – maybe something like a modern day Lord of the Rings, or an adult version of Harry Potter (both of which I’ve actually seen this compared to!?)

How sorely mistaken I was.

The characters are just awful and unbelievable, and the world Routhfuss is trying to create has no historical mystery whatsoever: The protagonist is a smarmy know-it-all (I can’t help thinking that he might be loosely based on the Routhfuss himself) and his sidekick is a bit of a whimpering suck-up and the the first ‘demons’ we’re introduced to (supposedly terrifying mythical beings) are essentially just big spiders that are seemingly killed by anyone who trips over them. Not exactly the kind of thing that would inspire fear in the heart of the reader. On top of that the writing is really dull and unimaginative. There’s no cohesion to make it believable. It’s like someone has tried to combine modern American English with as many fantasy cliches as possible. No seriously. The first two characters we’re introduced to are called ‘Graham and Jake’ but the protagonist is called Qvothe, and is nicknamed E’lir (The Wise One). Oh and there’s a scribe who is meant to be the one writing the story that’s being told – his name is ‘Chronicler’. Chronicler. Who writes Chronicles. Ugh. But worse than that is the descriptive language. I’ve literally just read the word ‘grin’ to describe a smile about 15 times in the space of 3 pages. If you want some more specific examples just have a look at the other scathing reviews that people have written on Goodreads. Basically I just don’t know whether it’s worth persisting for another 550 pages when I know there are plenty of books out there that I could spend my time on; books that I will actually enjoy.

I’ve never given up on a fiction book before but I’m sorry Mr. Routhfuss this is going to have to be my first.

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