Among Others, the Name of the Wind

excellent: Among Others (Jo Walton) - except for a boring page of “begats”, and a too-easy climax nearly flawless. Smart author. The story features love of science fiction novels, and is so more rewarding to those who know the books referred to (it won the Hugo award partly on that strength). If you haven’t read much science fiction, this is probably merely a good book. I didn’t like how most of the nice observations offered by the heroine in her diary get shoved in my face a 2nd or 3rd time. I’ll chalk that up to poor editing and/or forgetfulness by the diarist (or really, the author).

good: The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear (Rothfuss) - high status, magical bad-ass hero who’s great at everything. Usual happy childhood brought low => scrappy beggar child => school soap opera => court politics => bandit hunting adventure => faerie idyll => secret asian martial arts training montage - in other words, covering most of the standard fantasy bases. Positives: bad ass hero portrayed convincingly by intelligent author. Negatives: too much time spent having others talk about how awesome the hero is, obnoxious love interest, overblown prose moments, and apparently our hero has been chewing male birth control herbs this whole time, we find out toward the end of the second book. I’m looking forward to the third (final?) tome.