Sunday, March 6, 2011

Patrick Rothfuss

Okay, this has been nagging at me a while. A while of seeing people I love and respect throw roses and compliments in a drooling stupor.

Patrick Rothfuss, I hate your books.
Or rather, I've read and hated your first book, so I'm not going near your second, no matter how much my boyfriend assures me its awesome.

This is a matter of taste, really. I read books for the people in them. I read to see the workings of peoples minds, how they interact and affect the world around them.

Kael is the epitome of self-insert fanboy dreams. He is the guy who does everything right and always wins so we can all smile and say "ha! take that society!" Yes, bad things happen to him and he goes all mopey dopey, but that doesn't mean anything to this guy. The bad things that happen are just dragons.
Let me explain.
So, his parents are murdered and he's forced onto the street for, I dunno, two, three years? Through it he's reduced to a ball of survival and pain and a near death experience forces him to try and get past this, to try and fulfill his teacher's dream of seeing him in school. Heck, that kind of struggle could fill up an entire book, and it has. The Thief Lord is all thats coming to mind, and that was innocent tomfoolery.... But come on, you see the potential for some true heartbreak, some scarring, and an honest to goodness human struggle.
But no, it's just something in Kael's way that he has to defeat, and when he overcomes it and he's at the university, it doesn't affect him at all. He's tight with money and seeks revenge. That's the sum of this entire gut-wrenching and soul crushing experience. He doesn't find it hard to communicate or trust people, or jump at every and/or the occasional shadow, or finds it difficult to think again or anything like that. Okay, he does find it hard to think at first, but lo and behold, he gets rid of that nonsense and goes right back to being the godsend prodigy of everything forever. Living on the streets was a bad thing that he had to defeat, and it doesn't have to have any meaning beyond that. It's just another tick on his awesome-o-meter, a freaking dragon he beat once.

Really, what is human about this guy? My boyfriend says "thats the point, this is the story of a GOD/MAN" but I don't buy it. The storyteller guy is a ball of awesome. The fairy student is a ball of awesome. Everybody knows how to do things the right way and rule the everything for awesome ever. This is endemic of a lot of fantasy books, to be honest. They live and breathe in the escapism of the ultra awesome. But Drizzt feels like a real person, even as he bounces around like some kind of prodigy GOD/MAN. Humanity and escapism are not mutually exclusive.

Plus, everybody looks at Kael and says "yep, he's awesome, we're going to respect him forever." I mean, the opposite is worse, if nobody respected him even though he's so damn awesome. BUT STILL.

And, yeah, that's pretty much why I hate Patrick Rothfuss.

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