I started reading The Name of the Wind quite a while back, mostly because of all the praise and attention it had gotten, but one hundred pages in I stopped. I assume I must have picked up another book and then another and so on, forgetting all about The Name of the Wind. Months later, I picked it up once more intent on finally finishing it and so, if nothing else, I would at least know what people were talking about when they discuss Rothfuss’s debut. Now a couple of days after that, with the novel finished, I cannot tell you what a good decision it was finish it. Once back into the story, Rothfuss amazed with me with his astounding and lyrical-like writing as well as an excellent plot.
Blurb: '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. My name is Kvothe. You may have heard of me' So begins the tale of Kvothe –currently known as Kote, the unassuming innkeeper – from his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, through his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-riddled city, to his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a difficult and dangerous school of magic. In these pages you will come to know Kvothe the notorious magician, the accomplished thief, the masterful musician, the dragon-slayer, the legend-hunter, the lover, the thief and the infamous assassin.
Rothfuss does not take the classical route with The Name of the Wind; if anything he complicates things for himself leading though, to a more enjoyable experience for us readers. Instead of telling a straight forward story like most authors would think to do, he chooses to feed us Kvothe’s back-story (which I suppose is in fact the main story) through the dictation of said back story by the character Kvothe himself to another character. In such a way, Rothfuss builds a story that is more personal and detailed and more complex because of the occasional interludes back to the story-telling/listening characters where a plot is building all of its own.
The Name of the Wind takes us on a long journey, and right from the beginning we can feel that this single volume won’t be enough to contain all that Kvothe has to say about his past. Since his history makes up the vast majority of the book, Rothfuss obviously has to start quite early and tell the story in detail, something he does not shy away from throughout the entire novel. It’s great. As readers we get some of the most detailed and though out descriptions and events I’ve probably ever read. A more concise writer might have cut all that and skipped many of the parts in the story that weren’t the most significant but Rothfuss doesn’t, and that is what makes his prose so outstanding and original. Every little bit adds to the whole and builds towards a rich and enticing atmosphere from which it is hard to leave once the book is over.
There is in truth very little action if one considers this book to belong to the epic fantasy genre, though their remains some “small” action. This is not a book of large battles and world destroying uses of magic, it’s very much a book meant to set the scene for what is (hopefully) to come in the two other volumes of the Kingkiller Chronicles. There is action and magic but in The Name of the Wind it is (for the most part) on a smaller, quieter scale. That’s not to say that this is a boring reading, far from it, but that you shouldn’t expect anything really huge to happen. Like I said before, this book has more a personal, budding-hero feel to it; slowly and surely it draws you in and makes you want to see Kvothe develop further and accomplish the feats he so early on boasts of.
If any fantasy lover hasn’t read this yet (as, sadly, I had not) then they must get on it and do so as quickly as they humanly can. For those that want to start reading fantasy, reading the Name of the Wind first might not be the greatest choice and might seem a bit long-winded if you haven’t been accustomed to such narratives before. Rothfuss quite irritatingly cuts off the story of Kvothe before it could really, really get interesting, and he has yet to finish the second entry in the series, The Wise Man’s Fear. Expect that one to be out…. I don’t actually know, and neither does anyone else, probably not even Rothfuss himself. Latest news is that as of end of February-beginning of March he had turned in his third draft, expecting to do quite a few more revisions. Up to now the novel has, I believe, been delayed some two years. In a way that makes me happy I didn’t read this earlier, I’m not a fan of long waits…
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Reading Age: 15 and up
Violence: Relatively little
Sex/Language: Not much of either
Patrick Rothfuss's website: http://www.patrickrothfuss.com/
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