Novel: The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss | Goodreads
Release Date: March 27, 2007
Publisher: DAW (Penguin Group)
Rating: 4.75 stars
MY NAME IS KVOTHE
I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.
You may have heard of me.
So begins a tale unequaled in fantasy literature–the story of a hero told in his own voice. It is a tale of sorrow, a tale of survival, a tale of one man’s search for meaning in his universe, and how that search, and the indomitable will that drove it, gave birth to a legend.
The Name of the Wind is an adult fantasy novel that is 1) not convoluted, 2) easy to read, and 3) well worth the hype. The Name of the Wind is so good. SO. GOOD. I wanted to give it 5 stars. I resisted mainly due to a fair few typos and the author’s annoying use of commas instead of semicolons, a petty pet peeve of mine. There were also a couple parts of the novel (mainly the beginning, in which I was confused, and the few days of little action that Kvothe spent with Denna near the end) that I found a bit lagging, but that’s me really nitpicking. The book is good.
Now, be forewarned. I am absolutely dying to read the sequel, The Wise Man’s Fear. It is taking everything in my power to sit down and write this review, rather than pick up the next installment and dive right back into Kvothe’s tale. So please forgive my all-over-the-place review. I feel like a Denner addict. (If you’ve read the book, you know.)
The predominant storyline in The Name of the Wind is the first portion of a three-part story, which will span across three books in a series titled The Kingkiller Chronicle. For the most part, the book is narrated in first-person by Kvothe as he recounts to a Chronicler his life from the ages of eleven to sixteen.
Kvothe is such an awesome character to read. He’s clever, witty, brilliant, talented, cultured, curious, and an excellent storyteller, just to name a few traits. I loved his storytelling, and his remarkable memory made it easier not to scoff at the details any normal person would likely forget. I tend not to like books in which a character is telling a story; I’d rather see the action unfold in real time. I found the beginning of the novel confusing because it’s not told in first-person and I didn’t know who anyone was. It was purposefully crypt, but just know that the novel doesn’t begin with Kvothe telling his tale. Patience, young grasshoppers.
That being said, I took the book for what it is, knowing I don’t particularly like this method of storytelling, and I ended up really enjoying it. The narration style is a nice balance in that the fact that Kvothe is telling his story is noticeable in all the right places; it doesn’t hinder the reading experience. The interludes were well-placed, as well. I am already concerned about the final book, though. I am hoping we will come back to the present and there will be some resolution there, as Kvothe is leading a sad life in a miserable world, still at quite a young age. I want to see him be awesome in the present!
All right, let’s talk love. It’s not really love yet in The Name of the Wind, but it most likely will be in the future. Kvothe cares deeply for Denna. I do not. I don’t dislike her, per say, but I don’t like her either. I think I might understand her more if I knew more about her past and why she’s always disappearing, but as it is, I find it supremely annoying, probably because I wouldn’t deal well with such an unreliable and secretive person in real life. And then Kvothe puts her on a pedestal and I’m just like sigh, okay. I do admire Kvothe’s respect for Denna and his acceptance of her nature and behavior. For me, Denna is whatever in The Name of the Wind, but little is revealed about her so I am expecting that to change in future installments.
The best part about The Name of the Wind, other than Kvothe himself, is its descriptiveness. There are some awesome magic scenes, detailed action sequences, and vivid images of life. I felt so much that Kvothe seemed to feel, so props to Mr. Rothfuss. When Kvothe was confident, even in a scary situation, I wasn’t afraid. When he was nervous for his admissions to the University, my stomach was rolling over. When he was living on the streets of Tarbean, I could see his hardships crystal clear. It was absolutely incredible.
In summary, I loved The Name of the Wind. It wasn’t quite perfect, but it was darn near close to 5 stars for me. I am looking forward to more character development, more imagery, more world-building, and, most of all, more of Kvothe’s story in its sequel. All of these elements were excellent in the first installment of The Kingkiller Chronicle and I cannot wait to read more. I highly recommend giving The Name of the Wind a go.
Thanks for reading.