View Other Content
Categories See All →
Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicles Book 1) - Patrick Rothfuss
- Patrick Rothfuss
Pulled from NPR's Top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy novels, Name of the Wind (number 18 on the list) has been compared to Harry Potter, and in places to Lord of the Rings. Harry Potter because it, in the words of NPR, contains "precocious lads at schools of magic", and LotR, I suspect, due to the sometimes flowery language and the scope of the epic. I can see both comparisons, but wouldn't use either.
Yes, WIND has magic, and teenagers attending a school where such things are taught. But this is a brutal world, and magic is not taught to ten year olds. Strong magic isn't taught to much of anyone. And the strongest of magics are only able to be controlled by the best in the world. Such magics are called names, and to learn one means to have control over the thing named (think about naming a demon in some lore). It is such power that draws our protagonist to magic. Specifically the name of the wind.
I'll let the book itself introduce you to the main character, and give you a small feel for the writing style at the same time.
My name is Kvothe, pronounced nearly the same as 'quothe.' Names are important as they tell you a great deal about a person. I've had more names than anyone has a right to.
The Adem call me Maedre. Which, depending on how it's spoken, can mean The Flame, The Thunder, or The Broken Tree.
'The Flame' is obvious if you've ever seen me. I have red hair, bright. If I had been born a couple of hundred years ago I would probably been burned as a demon. I keep it short but it's unruly. When left to its own devices, it sticks up and makes me look as if I've been set afire.
'The Thunder' I attribute to a strong baritone and a great deal of stage training at an early age.
I've never thought of 'The Broken Tree' as very significant. Although in retrospect, I suppose it could be considered at least partially prophetic.
My first mentor called me E'lir because I was clever and I knew it. My first real lover called me Dulator because she liked the sound of it. I have been called Shadicar, Lightfinger, and Six-String. I have been called Kvothe the Bloodless, Kvothe the Arcane, and Kvothe Kingkiller. I have earned those names. Bought and paid for them.
But I was brought up as Kvothe. My father once told me it meant "to know."
I have, of course, been called many other things. Most of them uncouth, although very few were unearned.
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 the day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.
You may have heard of me.
Name of the Wind tells begins in an inn with a seemingly unimportant keeper in an unimportant town. We quickly learn of odd occurrences in the area and dark creatures that attack travelers. Our innkeeper is content to allow these poor people to believe they have witnessed a demon, because the truth is not something they could handle.
Before anything is resolved with the initial plot presented, the Chronicler (not a... 'the') appears while on his way somewhere else and recognizes our humble innkeeper as none other than Kvothe the Bloodless. And thus begins the real tale. The story of Kvothe Kingkiller, as told from the only man who can tell it correctly. The story takes three days to tell, with Name of the Wind covering the first day of telling, and the years of Kvothe's life until he was in his late teens.
We travel with him from his time working in a group of traveling performers to his days as a beggar and finally to the school of magic we were promised in those comparisons to Harry Potter.
The world is well written in a style I love. I never felt it was as wordy as Tolkien or Martin, who can each ramble about a hillside for 6 pages until you are familiar with each blade of grass, nor did I feel it was a simple read like Rowling's work in Harry Potter. This isn't a story that builds into one obvious climax, such as Harry's battle with the big bad each book, but tends to tell smaller tales along the way, much more similar to Tolkien and that old style of trilogy where each book wasn't self contained. And this book is certainly not self contained. You never do find out what the "demons" in the beginning are up to, but honestly, I didn't mind.
A complaint I have heard is that Kvothe as a child is too much an adult. The story even mentions that he is an anomaly. That may be some handwaving, but I hate reading children who actually are as stupid as children in my fantasy books, so I didn't mind at all. After all, a normal child in his life would have been dead 100 pages in. That being said, he still screws up a lot. He certainly makes plenty of poor decisions and stupid oversites. Like Harry Potter, I considered him a moron at times. Just a moron I couldn't stop reading about.
For me, there was a lull in the middle, where he is a beggar, during which I really did wish they would just get on with the damn plot. That was probably more due to my reading at 2am and them already mentioning the school several times, but still, it was there. For the most part, the plot flows along just fine. Just be ready for a young Kvothe to say and do stupid things from time to time in the name of youth, ignorance, and/or arrogance.
The book currently has 4.5 stars on Amazon and Shelfari.
Overall, I gave it 4 stars on Shelfari. The most unbiased view I can give is that I realized I was upset when I learned that the 3rd book in the trilogy has not been released yet.
Comment on the Forums