Review | The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (Gollancz)



Title: The Name of the Wind
Author: Patrick Rothfuss
Publisher: Gollancz
Format: Paperback
Pages: 672
Release Date: 12th June 2008

'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.

The Name of the Wind is fantasy at its very best, and an astounding must-read title.

The Name of the Wind is one of those books. You know, the book that gets hype, gets great reviews and is generally loved by those that read it. For me, The Name of the Wind was a fantasy book that I kept on hearing great things about - there aren't that many fantasy books that will pique my interest enough to go out and buy them, I just don't tend to lean towards fantasy at all and would quite happily pick up a sci-fi book instead. However, I did buy it, and after having it on the shelf for a few weeks I decided to pick it up and see what it had in store. If you read the blurb, especially the quote from Kvothe, you're given such a huge scope and great promise and I wondered just how the story would meet that initial bait. It certainly delivered everything a good story should, and touted as the first book of the Kingkiller Chronicles (or to be exact: day 1), it did everything I expected the first volume should offer.

As I started reading The Name of the Wind I felt that the praise that had been heaped on it was perhaps a little unjustified, the story just wasn't jumping off the page to tempt me. Following Kote, the innkeeper, his helper Bast and the regulars around the bar seemed like a bit of a let down, although there was something there to keep me going. By the time I got to around page 40, things were picking up, and when Kvothe starts to tell his story the pace picks up considerably. Looking back at these early sections after finishing the book make me realise why they are there and how effectively it helps the build up of the story by adding a little more depth and perspective, but at the time is didn't feel that way.

The story starts properly at around the 50 page mark where Kvothe sits down with Chronicler to tell and record his story - and what a story! I won't go into details on what the story entails to avoid any spoilers, but suffice to say that it is in equal measures breathtaking, funny, heartbreaking, wonderful, imaginative, enchanting and, above all, a damned good page-turner.

Patrick Rothfuss is a master storyteller, of that there is no doubt. The way in which he has told a story would make you think he has been doing so for decades, such is the standard of the writing. This is truly a stunning and spectacular read with very few faults, and those are minor and are only present because this is not the full story, but only part of it. The end of The Name of the Wind doesn't finish in a climax as such, but ends at a natural breaking point. It is a shame that it does finish the way it does with no sense of completion, full or partial, but with another two novels to go I can fully appreciate that this is merely a part of the full story and not a self contained section.

All I can do is let you know that this is a novel that I would recommend without hesitation and is a must read of the genre.

I'll leave you with the words of Kvothe himself:

"It would be something of a tragedy if it stopped there," I admitted. "But it depends on how you look at it, really. I prefer to think of it as a story that's waiting for an appropriately uplifting sequel."
Buy from: Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com

Liz  – (24 June 2009 at 09:20)  

Fantastic review! I am cheating on this - I made Mark read it and review it...I'm waiting for all 3 to be done so I can do a series review...cos I am a greedy little cow.

Mark Chitty  – (24 June 2009 at 09:29)  

I can't wait for the series to finish and I think it will definitely deserve a full series review - it is just one long story after all :)

Plinydogg  – (24 June 2009 at 12:41)  

Glad you read it and seemed to enjoy it as much as a lot of the rest of did, Mark!

TK42ONE  – (24 June 2009 at 14:34)  

I've fallen for hype before and after Name of the Wind came out. But for me, Rothfuss is clearly the exception in that the hype is all true. He is such a wordsmith and great storyteller, I'm going to squee like a little girl when the next book is in my hands.

Afront  – (24 June 2009 at 14:37)  

The pagecount always put me off reading this, but this review has made me put it back near to top of my pile ;)

Mark Chitty  – (24 June 2009 at 15:01)  

I was worried about the page count too, but after the first 50 pages it flies along :) I won;t be worried about picking up the sequel no matter the page count!

OnlyTheBestSciFi/Fantasy  – (24 June 2009 at 15:08)  

Read this a couple weeks ago. I loved it.

It felt like a fantasy version of Ender's Game to me... did you get that impression at all. Maybe like Ender's Game meets... Harry Potter for adults.

Mark Chitty  – (24 June 2009 at 15:19)  

I've never read Ender's Game - I'm pretty bad when it comes to the older sci-fi novels :( I'll have to pick it up though, it's always been on the list...

Seth  – (14 July 2009 at 19:28)  

I just finished this yesterday, and I really enjoyed it, although I think the biographical format of the story sacrifices something in plot construction. But I liked the frame narrative approach, and the writing is solid. There are plenty of quotable passages in this book.

Mad Professah  – (13 December 2009 at 19:19)  

The Name of the Wind definitely lives up to the hype. I have read it TWICE so far, and may read it one more time before the sequel finally comes out.

http://buckmire.blogspot.com/2009/03/book-review-name-of-wind.html

Valentine –   – (13 October 2010 at 23:04)  

@Onlythebestscifi/fantasy -

The Ender series is one of my all-time favorites and I'll never get tired of Harry Potter.

I love that you describe The Name of the Wind as a kind of fusion of Ender and HP - that's what I said verbatim when I finished the book last week.

So glad someone agrees.

Natalie  – (8 June 2011 at 19:03)  

Thanks for this review, your post was actually the reason I ended up reading the book and mentioning it on my own blog. I actually found your post on google while in the bookstore and decided to buy it.

will be reading your future posts!

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