NobleDead.org - High/Dark Fantasy Fiction by Barb Hendee and J.C. Hendee

Official site for the high/dark fantasy books of authors Barb Hendee and J. C. Hendee, including the Noble Dead Saga (a.k.a. The Noble Dead series), the Mist-Torn Witches series, the Vampire Memories series, and TNDS: Tales from the world of the Noble Dead Saga.

[Re]Reading Fantasy, Part 2:
A [Too] Wandering Wind

This review will be seen by some as incomplete; I was unable to finish the read after [re]trying multiple times over the last thirty days. I will not try again later, regardless that this contemporary work of fantasy is beloved by many throughout the world.

The Name of the Wind

The Kingkiller Chronicle, Book 1

Patrick Rothfuss

I stopped reading the final time somewhere between 2/5s and 3/7s through the text. The main character of Kvothe (as a boy) suffered great loss and downfall. Some might say he then struggled to recover; while I agree in part, he also wallowed in an artificially contrived fashion (too long) that did not fit the character. He had talent, intelligence, first tutelage and some experience to have begun picking himself up much sooner than he did.

There also came repeated use of monotheistic tropes in prolonged and sometimes repeated deviations. The text descended into cliche symbolism (warped as it was) that didn't work. I repeatedly stopped myself from skimming onward.

There is one aspect of this text I will take as the positive way to remember the portion read. It is dimension too often ignored in first published works by new authors and in general 95+% of self-publishers. LeGuin—author examined in Part 1 of “[Re]Reading Fantasy”—was on the mark about Rothfuss' prose having “true music in the words.”

The prose were not perfect but on average were what kept me going as far as I did. On the subject of voice, we should also look beyond the authorial, as in voices. Yes, plural, and thereby not about the author's voice.

Too few authors pay attention to voices within their narrative as a critical dimension of characterization… the making of characters into people. Occasionally one encounters an author who knows better. Characters are distinguished as much by their speech as by any other attribute.

There were moments in the text where in a conversation I noticed an unusual effect that did not seem accidental. Individual character speech patterns began to call something of a character's image to mind before I reached the dialog tag. Not always, because sometimes character's description was inadequate, not well established, and/or not re-established often enough. But I found those moments of bypassing dialogue tags came more often in my reading. I knew who was speaking before they were (re)identified.

Admirable!

Too many authors miss or misunderstand this dimension of characterization. And this aspect of this text by this author is how I will remember it as worthwhile and rare. Yes, one can find true value in a read that one cannot finish.

—J.C. Hendee
NobleDead.org
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Next up in the reading schedule…

I have not yet chosen the next read, though it will likely be [this next time] from a canonized author of high fantasy. I'll let you know as soon as I know.