Wednesday, April 27, 2011

[Not a Review]How Pat Rothfuss has Ruined my Life

Dearest Readers,

Remember me? I used to write reviews here all the time! I used to read 50 books a year! I used to have all sorts of passionate things to say about fantasy literature, both good and bad!

But then a mean, mean man named Pat Rothfuss came along. After a long and painful 3 year wait, he released the second book in a trilogy of his; a trilogy called the Kingkiller Chronicle. Knowing that this excellent novel would soon be in my hands, I re-read the first novel in the series. This was no mean feat, as it clocks in near 1000 pages. Then I worked my way greedily through the newest installment, The Wise Man's Fear, also quite lengthy. I laughed, I cried, I yelled, and I did nothing but read for over a week. When I finished it, I turned it over and started reading it again.

"But Lisa," you may ask, "How could such a wonderful experience possible ruin you in any way?"

Here's how, gentle readers: nothing else is good enough anymore. I've tried all of my tricks for getting out of a "reading rut" and nothing seems to work.

I've tried a little low quality smut (Two! Freaking TWO Laurell K. Hamilton books). Usually if I read something throw-away it will clear out my system and make me excited to get back to "the good stuff". But no. This time it just made me angry that such utter crap could exist and be making money when shining paragons of perfection like Wise Man's Fear exist.

I've tried reading fantasy at the opposite end of the spectrum. Surely some nice gritty, bloody, cursing-filled Joe Abercrombie would reset my fantastical moral compass? I made it to the last 80 pages of The Heroes and then I completely ran out of steam. I couldn't force myself to continue reading anything that engaged me emotionally so little. The characters were real, but they weren't lovable... and once you have loved Bast and Kvothe, how can you care about anyone less worthy?

I've tried some non-modern fantasy, in a sub-genre I've never touched before: The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart is a 40-year-old novel in the lore of King Arthur and Merlin. Vastly different from almost any fantasy I've read - and still it neither moved me nor engaged me.

I've tried young adult novels, knowing they will be middle of the road, but maybe guide me back towards a good mindset (Lirael by Garth Nix). I've tried short novellas by my favorite authors set in my favorite universes (Bayan's Gold by Peter V. Brett). I've tried new, exciting looking titles (The Scar-crow Men, Never Knew Another) - nothing seems to work.

I was roused from my malaise for approximately 4 hours while I read Steve Brust's latest Vald novel, Tiassa. It is utterly unthinkable that I'd not respond to the literary voice of my favorite historian (One Paarfi). I cackled through Tiassa with utter delight; enraptured, thrilled, engaged, and happier than I had been in months. But then, 4 hours later, Tiassa was over. I started to re-read it, as well, but eventually set it aside as a futile effort: I am doomed to be forever ruined on fantasy novels.

2 months later, I'm still mournfully gazing at my stack, wondering what possibly could shake me out of this literary depression into which I've sunk. I'm looking at Daniel Abraham's newest novel, The Dragon Path... perhaps he will succeed where a solid 10 other books have failed.

Woefully yours,
Lisa the Reviewer, Forever Ruined by Rothfuss