The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

From the very start of this book, I loved almost everything about it. Although I was enjoying the Stephanie Plum (Janet Evanovich) novels, I breathed a sigh of relief once I let myself slip into this magnificent world created by Patrick Rothfuss. I missed reading my reliable fantasy stories. The Name of the Wind is a 662 page fantasy novel.

The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #1)

The Name of the Wind starts out in ‘present day,’ which I’m not sure of a relative time to ours, since this takes place in the Aturan Empire, a fictional land. As soon as I saw the map for the world, I wondered… why had I not bought/read this sooner? I absolutely adore books (especially series) with maps. I love maps anyway, but when you pair them with books, it’s magnificent.

It seems a little tragic to shrink the map this much, but I thought it would look a little funny to do one per line. And although I loved the map, I wish it had more… either major cities, or cities that Kvothe visited. It’s possible to imagine where they are, but I like to know roughly where to look, as well.

*—–Update—–*

I was perusing Patrick Rothfuss’s blog and found this lovely colored, bordered map. It also made me realize that “The Aturan Empire” wasn’t a general name for the land, but an actual section of it. Therefore, I wanted to add that Kvothe traveled most of “The Four Corners of Civilization” rather than just the Aturan Empire (he spends most of the novel in the Commonwealth).

Now THIS is a great map.

Anyway, back to the summary. Kvothe is a barkeep/innkeeper who goes by many names, including Reshi and Kote. He starts telling us the story of how he came to be infamous and that’s where it all begins. Most of the book consists of Kvothe telling his story, with brief interludes of ‘present day’ sections.

Back when he was young, Kvothe was a trouper along with his parents and other members of the famous Edema Ruh. They travelled throughout almost all of the Aturan empire, with the exclusion of some of the northern parts. I can’t really tell much more background than that without giving away a good chunk of the story. I can say he ends up in Tarbean, a large city, and ends up in the University to study many things. I only feel comfortable saying all that because it’s in the blurb, and so it’s not just me ruining plot points.

I’ll try to refrain from rambling about the rest of the plot. I have to tell myself to stop, because you will surely want to read it on your own. This book was FANTASTIC. Rothfuss creates a wonderful world with delightfully dark characters. His writing style is beautiful, and the way he tells this story is magnificent. If you are worried about reading a book that is 662 pages, don’t. Rothfuss’s prose is brilliantly simple, and flows so well that once you finish, you will wish the book was twice as long as it is. The character development is excellent, and I really felt like I was starting to understand the Kvothe of the past, if not the Kote/Reshi of the present. Kvothe’s friends at the University are also diverse and interesting to learn about. Rothfuss will make you learn to care about each and every one of them.

If I had to say one critical thing about The Name of the Wind, it is that young Kvothe’s obsession with a girl started to get a bit annoying. He is a teenage boy at that point, and the girl in question is indeed interesting, so I suppose it is understandable. Perhaps it was my own empathy for the character, because he was having little luck with the girl, and it was frustrating to the both of us.

Overall, this was a superb novel, and I highly recommend it. It is an excellent example of what Rothfuss himself calls ‘heroic fantasy.’ Though I am working on a few other novels for classes, I hope to soon buy and read The Wise Man’s Fear. It’s high on my list of books I can’t wait to read.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Adam
    Jan 12, 2012 @ 15:03:04

    I really enjoyed both this and Wise Man’s Fear. Kvothe is a wonderful character and the book has the greatest selling point of any book I think I’ve ever seen, where he talks about many of his adventures and then simply says: “You may have heard of me.” The Name of the Wind was a very good book, and Wise Man’s Fear is also a very good book (I gave it an 8/10).

    If a map is a big selling point, check out the Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld. The series is a steampunk version of WW1 and there are illustrations throughout the book, and the map is beautifully drawn.

    Reply

  2. Trackback: Summer Reading | Realm of Reviews

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