Literary Word Count Infographic: http://shortlist.com/entertainment/books/literary-word-count-infographic
You know what pisses me off about The Name of the Wind the most? That people can brush off the fact that the main character is a complete, insufferable Gary Stu. Like, if this had been a female main character, I guarantee that most people would have quit halfway though. But instead, whenever I’m like, “The Name of the Wind is one of my most hated books because the main character is a total Gary Stu,” the first thing people ask me is what Gary Stu means, and then after I explain, the next thing they say is, oh yeah, the main character is a little unappealing, but here’s all the reasons why the book is good anyway.
Like, no. Nothing is enjoyable if the main character is terrible. But even if you have the ability to ignore terrible characters, the author severely screws this up by not inviting the reader to doubt the narrator. It’s the main character telling the story and your audience surrogate is just going to take it all at face value? At no point is it implied that the main character seems like a Gary Stu because present day protagonist is an arrogant jerk. On the contrary, the author expects us to believe that he’s actually humble? Ridiculous.
And the writing is technically technically sound, but man, what a waste of an interesting gimmick. I’ve done speech team. Do you have any concept of how long it would take to actually read all those flashbacks out loud? A lot longer than the book made it seem. At least, if you’re doing a good retelling with varying speeds and poignant pauses. (And given that he’s such a Gary Stu, I can’t imagine him doing everything in a fast monotone. Plus, he probably has occasional pauses because he’s not just reading, he’s remembering and trying to phrase things out correctly the first time around. Unless he’s too superhuman for that.)
And that was actually a side detour to what I was actually going to say. It’s a wasted gimmick, because the way to do the whole “the main character is actually telling the story back to readers” successfully, the author has to be able to balance on a knife-edge of both show and tell. You can’t have the character actually tell everything, because that doesn’t make for good writing, but you can’t do what The Name of the Wind does and do all the showing like normal books because that just completely defeats the purpose. I want a proper sense of distance. How I Live Now does this brilliantly. But heck, even Sacrifice by SJ Bolton does a better job of telling than The Name of the Wind does.
(Side note: I always really want to recommend How I Live Now and then I remember that awful magical realism romantic connection thing that ruined the entire book for me, and then I wind up not recommending it. But if you’re the kind of person who can read a book just for the writing style, then you should go for it.)
Everything is also ridiculously over-dramatic. The reason I put up with Kaladin from The Way of Kings/Words of Radiance is because first, he was always manic-depressive, even when things were going well. I mean, you could say Kvothe was also always melodramatic, but he seemed pretty normal as kid. But more importantly, other characters call Kaladin out on it. All these characters have all these reactions to Kvothe and you get the feeling that none of them are ever logical ones.
But okay, I’m going to stop ranting about this now. I saw about female characters and it suddenly raised all of my buried hatred for this book.