Title: The Name of the Wind
Author: Patrick Rothfuss
Date Read: 03/10/2016 – 07/10/2016
This was a highly enjoyable book. I’m glad I read it on holidays, as it would have taken me forever otherwise. I did have a few little quibbles with it, but I can certainly see why so many people love it.
The Name of the Wind tells the story of Kvothe, a wizard-come-innkeeper who agrees to tell his story to a scribe over the course of three days. In this first volume, we follow the young Kvothe as he experiences life on the streets after the death of his parents, before gaining entry into the University to learn theNow, skills of an arcanist. There he develops a rivalry with the son of a noble and only just manages to keep his head above water and keep his tuition fees paid. Meanwhile, he slowly edges closer to the reason behind the death of his parents and their travelling troupe.
Now, I should probably ge this out of the way first. I did like Kvothe. I really did. I even enjoyed the first person narrative, and I usually have no time for first person. But he is a bit of special snowflake. He’s super-gifted, and a super-amazing-musician, and a super-quick-study, and super-good-in-a-bad-situation. He’s a bit awkward when it comes to women, but his love interest likes that, so that’s okay. I was aware of all of this, and sometimes when something bad happened and Kvothe cleverly found a way to fix it, I did roll my eyes a bit, but somehow I liked him, and the story, nonetheless.
None of the other characters are especially well-rounded, though they do all have their own persoonalities and are interesting enough. Denna, Kvothe’s love interest, is flighty and to be honest, at times I wasn’t entirley sure what Kvothe saw in her, but she was all right, I suppose. Apart from Denna, there are very few female characters, which was a shame considering there were plenty of characters where gender wouldn’t have mattered at all and we could have had a bit more representation.
The world-building was involved, but very accessible. Often the thing that puts me off reading high fantasy is the world-building because to be honest, I have a pretty short attention span for it. But Rothfuss managed to weave it through the story without dwelling on anything too much. As far as I can remember, there weren’t any moments where the pace slowed to a crawl while we got a unnecessarily detailed description of a forest or anything like that. The prose reads very easily, and so I flew through the pages.
I really enjoyed the themes the book brought up, too. While Kvothe is a special snowflake, as I mentioned above, the stories about him make even more of his super-duper talents. By cultivating certain rumours about himself, he creates a reputation that’s exaggerated, but based somewhat on the truth. I like the exploration of how stories about a person can come about. This was all part of a larger theme of words and Names and their inherent power. True Names is a fantasy trope I’m fond of, so I enjoyed that.
Having said all that, I think even if the series were complete, I wouldn’t be diving straight into the next book. I have to give this one a bit of time to digest properly. I read another review that described finishing the book and feeling “full”and that is the feeling I get of this. And then there’s also the issue of there being no release date for the third book. I’m going to follow the example of a few other bloggers who have read this recently and hold off on the second one until the third one is actually in sight. Still, if you are all right with starting an incomplete series with no end in sight, definitely recommend picking this one up!