Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Book Review: The Name of the Wind

It begins with a boy, gifted and hungry for knowledge, born and raised in a traveling troupe of players. It continues with an orphan, left to fend for himself in a city riddled with crime and corruption. It shifts with a bold (and successful) attempt to become a student at a legendary school of magic and alludes vaguely to the life of a fugitive on the run after the murder of a king. The Name of the Wind is Kvothe’s story, and he’ll be doing the telling at his own pace, thank you very much.

The Name of the Wind has been on my TBR for a very long time. It was originally on my radar when many members of the online book community mentioned how much they loved it. But it was because of Kristin and her constant encouragement to read it that I finally made the decision to make it my first read of this year. I’d been hesitant originally, partly because of the hype and partly because I thought it would take me a while to read as a dense adult fantasy, but since I’d decided it was the time, I went for it!

Within a few chapters, I was hooked. Within a few days, I finished the entirety of this novel because I just couldn’t stop reading it once I’d started. The Name of the Wind turned out to be such a wonderful choice for my first read of the year because I loved it! As is my wont these days, here are a couple of reasons that I ended up getting on so well with this novel.

  • Writing – It was an interesting narrative choice to allow the main character to recount the story of his life to a chronicler. That already makes it clear that this tale is going to have a bias and will solely focus on what the narrator can recall and wants to reveal (though his occasional meanderings through his memories will include details for readers to draw conclusions from). It also means that you’re viewing the series of events from the perspective of someone who has already lived through and reflected upon them – an additional bias, if you will. I haven’t encountered this writing style very often, so I was curious to see if it would work for me. It did wind up being just my cup of tea (and there’s a specific reason why that I’ll mention a little later), especially since Rothfuss was forthcoming yet not overwhelming with his vocabulary and the details.
  • Setting – I was so immersed within the world that Rothfuss created while I was reading. It felt like I was truly transported there, among the group at the inn who were listening to the tale, or with Kvothe during all the years he recalled in his storytelling. It is a credit to Rothfuss’ careful word choices and turns of phrase that this world really came to life the way that it did! I honestly feel like I need to reread it again just to experience it in even more detail (but more on that later as well).
  • Characters – As if having an appealing writing style and vivid setting weren’t enough, Rothfuss also successfully hit my sweet spot: characters. I enjoyed many of the secondary characters, both in the present and in the memories, for the sheer fact that they are an assortment of complex individuals that had different ties to Kvothe himself. Some are funny; some are clever; some are… complicated. But apart from having a great secondary cast to round out this story, it is Kvothe himself who was the crown jewel of this tale. I was instantly sympathetic to him, and that, too, is a testament to Rothfuss’ storytelling. It was because I immediately got on with Kvothe that I was also incredibly interested to discover the history behind the man and willing to allow him to navigate us through his story. Kvothe has been many things to many folks, himself included, and it is fascinating to witness the way he attempts to dismantle this as he tells his tale.

I really loved The Name of the Wind, friends! I’m eager to get to the next novel in the series to find out more of Kvothe’s story, as this one ends well but also leaves the reader with a lot of unanswered questions. I’m also looking forward to rereading, partly to return to a story that I really felt entertained and challenged by as I read and partly because I have been told that I will discover even more details that I might not have picked up on originally. The Name of the Wind was worth the read, for sure, and I’m truly happy Kristin finally convinced me to pick it up this year.


The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss | Series: The Kingkiller Chronicle #1
Publisher: DAW | Publication Date: March 27, 2007 | Source: Owned on Kindle

1 comment

  1. YASSSSSSSS. Best review for the greatest book of all time!! I absolutely love the secondary characters as well, particularly Kvothe's University mates, but my heart will forever belong to Elodin and Ari! I'm so excited that you're already on board for a re-read. I think I *may* re-read Wise Man's Fear when you do! It makes me so unbelievably happy that you enjoyed this one and I cannot wait for book threeeee!

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