Title/Author: The Name of the Wind
by Patrick Rothfuss
Publisher/Year Published: March 2007 by DAW Hardcover
How I got this book: I lugged it around from the library
Why I read this book: One of my good friends petitioned me to read it and give my thoughts
Rating: 4.5 stars
Readers of our reviews may recognize this author and series from Daisy's review from not too long ago of the second of Rothfuss's novels. She gave the second book, A Wise Man's Fear, a glowing review. When I glanced at the blog that day I thought, "Ah! Can't read this!! Must divert eyes!" as I was about 3/4 of the way through the tome of a first novel. I thought about it for awhile and decided I still wanted to review the first book.
First, I don't read fantasy often. It is not normally my genre of choice. Second, I don't normally gravitate toward books over 450 pages. This hits both of those. So I went in pretty apprehensively.
This is the story of Kvothe. Kvothe is telling his story, I guess is a more accurate statement. He's been through a whole bunch of interesting things, but this first novel focuses on his early life with his traveling troupe and his days at school. Honestly though, the plot is not what I want to talk about. I mean its good and flows well, but the real star is the writing.
The prose is just brilliant. I am most likely going to read it again just so I can really soak in the brilliance of the words used. There are so many quotes I wanted to write down, but I didn't want to stop reading! "Hauntingly beautiful" was the words I jotted down after I finished.
The characters are very three dimensional, even the secondary characters. Kvothe is a very relatable and likable hero, which I think is pretty essential in an epic story. The evil guys, the Chandrian, are super mysterious and I would keep reading if only to find out more about them.
While first person is normally a con for me, this was done well. I really liked how it was treated as a narrative and will really hold the series together well. We have the advantage of the past with Kvothe as most of the story is told through him telling the story to someone else. I think the POV here is what helps make the composition so effective.
My only con is one I see a lot in the fantasy novels I've read (and like I said there are not a lot, but even though I have not read too many but my opinion still stands). The con is that there is not a defined enough climax for me. It just seemed like… well stopping. I can see how it fits in with the story, but when I didn’t get that "Ah I just finished a book" feeling, I was left disappointed.
Other than that. Great book! Highly recommended even if you don’t like fantasy too much. I'll leave you with a taste of that awesome prose I can't stop gushing over:
"My parents danced together, her head on his chest. Both had their eyes closed. They seemed so perfectly content. If you can find someone like that, someone who you can hold and close your eyes to the world with, then you're lucky. Even if it only lasts for a minute or a day. The image of them gently swaying to the music is how I picture love in my mind even after all these years."