The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Kvothe (pronounced like 'quothe') is a hero of mythic proportions. Ask any man or child and they can easily tell you a story about Kvothe's time at the University, how he burned an entire town down, or how his music could make grown men weep like babies.

But for some reason this heroic legend has hidden himself far away in small town with only his faithful apprentice Bast as a reminder of times past; styling himself as Kote the common innkeeper, and seemingly ready to forget anything concerning his past. It's not until the arrival of Chronicler, a professional story teller, who convinces Kvothe to record his life story that Kvothe begins to resemble the man of the countless stories. What follows is the tale of a young boy - a genius actually - who not only succeeds but excels at any task laid before him. Music, acting, horsemanship, magic. Then onto his early unorthodox education under a master who recognizes his true potential and his eventual admission to the prestigious Arcanum at the tender age of 15. While at the University, he quickly makes friends and enemies and continues to ruffle more than a few feathers with his quick wit and natural intelligence.

Okay, admittedly that is a pretty tame explanation of Patrick Rothfuss' stunning debut The Name of the Wind. Set to be the first book in trilogy called the Kingkiller Chronicle, Rothfuss has created a masterpiece epic to tell the story of his intensely driven and highly intelligent Kvothe. Rothfuss takes his time developing characters and lays such a solid foundation of world-building and backstory that I quickly began to trust him wholly as an author. Additionally, how hard is it to keep two equally entertaining yet disparate story lines going at the same time? Not easy, let me tell you. And yet Rothfuss easily juggles two distinct stories: a third-person account of Kvothe the innkeeper relating his story to Chronicler and a first-person account of Kvothe's life.

Furthermore, no review of The Name of the Wind would be complete without mention of Patrick Rothfuss' mind-boggling prose. Don't misunderstand, the story itself is unforgettable but the writing is what really makes this book stand head and shoulders above the crowd. Rothfuss knows his way around a pen for sure. His perfectly accurate descriptions of love, friendship, the desire for education, the thirst for revenge, or even a seemingly mundane sketch of a cloak mold into something much greater than your generic epic fantasy. Seemingly small, yet astoundingly complex details allow the story to become accessible to any reader ready to invest themselves into Kvothe's story. And that's what The Name of the Wind should be viewed as: an investment. It's long (over 700 pages) but once you take the time to settle into Kvothe's story, you are rewarded with superb passages such as this:
Now let me say this: when you're traveling a good cloak is worth more than all of your other possessions put together. If you've nowhere to sleep, it can be your bed and blanket. It will keep the rain off your back and the sun from your eyes. You can conceal all manner of interesting weaponry beneath it if you are clever, and a smaller assortment if you are not.

But beyond all that, two facts remain to recommend a cloak. First, very little is as striking as well-worn cloak, billowing lightly about you in the breeze. And second, the best cloaks have innumerable little pockets that I have an irrational and overpowering attraction toward.
Such excerpts are what had me laughing out loud and even bursting into tears a mere 50 pages into Kvothe's tale. That is an impressive feat I tell you. I can't tell you how giddy I am over this book - it seems like I've been recommending it to everyone (including perfect strangers) and for good reason.

The Name of the Wind is one of those stories I can rely on to develop at its own, calculated pace. It immediately becomes obvious to any reader that Rothfuss has a plan: for Kvothe, for the Chronicler, and for his readers. Little clues are dropped along the way, allowing you glimpses into the man that has become the legend but readers will have to wait patiently for the highly anticipated sequel for more of Kvothe. That said: I have absolutely no hesitation saying I know the next installment, The Wise Man's Fear, will be just as astounding as its predecessor. Rothfuss takes his time and I'm sure he will continue to deliver a great story. It's just the waiting for its release that's going to give me an anxiety attack.

series reading order:
~ The Name of the Wind
~ The Wise Man's Fear (May 2010)

Because Everyone Likes a Second Opinion:
A Fantasy Reader review
The Book Smugglers review (basically why I picked this book up at all)
Fantasy Book Critic review
Giraffe Days Book Review
Reading the Leaves review
Walker of Worlds review

book source: purchased - Okay, not really, but let me explain! I found this book at a second-hand store but after noticing the cover had been torn off, the lady at the counter said she couldn't charge me because 'if a book doesn't have a cover, that means it was stolen.' Which made me wonder: who are all these thieves running around stealing books and then tearing off the cover so that everyone knows it was stolen? Is it some sort of code of ethics among book thieves? So I tried to buy it but in the end, the lady just gave it to me. Maybe because she took pity on my wallet after seeing the rest of the books I was ready to buy.

9 comments:

Lenore said...

Oh no! I can't start anymore series - I can't! ;)

Michelle said...

Lenore - but this one... if you only pick up one more, it should be this one!

Brenda said...

I actually have this one checked out from the library right now. I'm hoping to get to it soon.

Ana said...

YES! YES! YES!

*grin*

I love this book so very much.

Michelle said...

Brenda - Trust me when I say - you HAVE to put down whatever you are reading right now to start TNOTW immediately. It's just that good!

Ana - Goodness, it's thanks to you that I even picked it up in the first place!! Fabulous recommendation!

Chachic said...

The Name of the Wind is awesome! :) I can't believe I put off reading it for the longest time. I finally read it because of all the reviews that I've seen. After reading it, I realized that I should've read it sooner!

Hey Michelle, I just created a Goodreads account, is it okay if I add you as a friend? :)

Michelle said...

Chachic - I know! I've been telling everyone not to wait to read it any more - it's too good to pass up. And btw, add away!

April (BooksandWine) said...

I definitely bought this based off of a trusted recommendation, and well, it was one of the best books I read in 2009.

I have such a crush on Kvothe! And, totally agree with you on the laughing and crying within 50 pages. Rothfuss has got talent, and I, also, will wait patiently for him to finish book 2. Also can we talk about how cool it is that he did the fundraiser for the Heifer charity, what a great use of fame!

Michelle said...

April - Yay!! So happy to discover another Kvothe groupie. It was amazing and I fully intend to be the first in line for book 2. With about a million other folks that is...