Friday, January 17, 2014

The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss

Today we are looking at The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. Published in 2007, I had never heard of it until just recently. This is a truly amazing book, and well worth it’s consistently high regard among both authors and readers.

The blurb didn't really sell me, but when I was deciding whether or not to purchase this book, I noticed that the negative reviews were written by people who are not really into reading for pleasure, and some of the negative reviews seemed written by moderately illiterate non-readers. To me, this is a mark of a classic—Tolkien, Jordan—all the great literary-fantasy authors attract 1-star reviews by people whose favorite genre is whatever is written on the toilet-paper wrapper.

My instinct was correct—this book is a true classic, both literary and fantasy.

The Blurb:
The riveting first-person narrative of a young man who grows to be the most notorious magician his world has ever seen. From his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, to years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime- ridden city, to his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, The Name of the Wind is a masterpiece that transports readers into the body and mind of a wizard. It is a high-action novel written with a poet's hand, a powerful coming-of-age story of a magically gifted young man, told through his eyes: to read this book is to be the hero.

My Review:
First, lest talk about the structure of this tale. I love the way Rothfuss handled dividing the story into two timelines. The first takes place in the present, described in third person. The second timeline is in the main protagonist Kvothe's past, narrated by Kvothe himself to a renowned 'Chronicler,' who is only called Chronicler throughout the book.
Kvothe’s first mentor, the scholar 'Abenthy', who trains Kvothe in science and "sympathy", a discipline of causing changes in one object by manipulating another , teaches him the rudiments well. He is child of  a famed troupe of traveling entertainers.

A song written by Kvothe's father, Arliden, inadvertently draws the attention of the mythical "Chandrian," who destroy the troupe, leaving Kvothe alive but alone.

He is posing as a simple man, an innkeeper named Kote. His tavern is cleaner than most, and with a good reputation. His assistant (and secretly, his student,) Bast, is a prince of the Fae, posing as a human in order to learn what he can from Kvothe, whom he truly cares about. The story of how he became the most feared swordfighter, magician, and musician, is gripping. He is rumored to have killed a king and somehow caused the present war.

Rothfuss’s magic system is quite unique. It is complicated, but makes sense. The complexity gives it a sense of the mysterious, and I like that.

Kvothe’s tale is hard, and loss of his family is something he never really accepts. It is gripping from page one, and once you begin reading it, you will have trouble putting it down. This is Epic fantasy with a capital ‘E’. If you have not yet read this, and you are a lover of high fantasy, I highly recommend you get your hands on it. I am giving it five full stars.


Terri Rochenski said...


I missed this review when you first posted it.

I'm in total agreement - epic with a capital 'E'!!! Loved this one but I'll be honest the 2nd in the series was not quite as gripping as middle books often aren't.

Great review!!

Selina Quach Illustration said...

Completely agree with this review! It's one of the most epic fantasy books I've read ever :) Hoping that the third book comes out soon