The Name of the Wind
The Name Of The Wind is a complexly woven story within a story--with a rich tapestry of lore, poetry, and lyricism reinforcing every stitch and seam. It is the origin story of a hero and a legend, in his own words...with a sort of 'setting the record straight' sense to the approach. In all accuracy, the book primarily covers a span of 5 years in the life of young Kvothe—with a majority of the tale focused on age 15-16. But while it's most certainly a coming-of-age story in its own right, it isn't specifically catering to the Young Adult audience. There is a raw, medieval-like candor to the world Rothfuss has created--and while he is tasteful in his depictions, they carry all the weight of an unforgiving reality.
I had a love/annoyance relationship with Kvothe throughout much of the story. Just when I thought I'd connected with him wholeheartedly, he'd do something prideful, stupid, impulsive, short-sighted, or otherwise foolish and leave me wanting to shake him senseless...which is a true testament to the author's capabilities, that he was able to capture male adolescence in all of its awkward lack of glory. And beyond that, it's impressive I felt immersed enough to be aggravated by the (completely justified and reasonable) flaws of the hero's younger self.
Rothfuss managed to evoke every emotion one could hope to empathize with an epic of this nature. The imagery is vivid, the prose (while sometimes a bit overindulgent) was cleanly engaging, the characterization is strong and convincing down to even the most minor side-characters... But for this reader, what truly made the book come to life was the music. The passionate, soul-stirring portrayal of music in all it's layers, depth, and mind-bypassing intricacies.
*“I don't know how to begin to criticize that. It practically mocks itself.”
*“There are three things all wise men fear: the sea in storm, a night with no moon, and the anger of a gentle man.”
*“There are two sure ways to lose a friend, one is to borrow, the other to lend.”
I can't go quite so far as to agree that the author somehow surpasses J.R.R. Tolkien in skill and storytelling. For a debut book, it's a masterful piece. And I can see tremendous potential for this author to mature into one of the literary greats of this generation, leaving his own unique footprint. But I'm afraid those who claim he's already outdone the founding masters of the fantasy genre are doing the author a disservice—setting reader expectations excessively high and drawing more attention to the elements that may ultimately feel more borrowed homage than original conception.
Despite that the main character is not always likable, he is always interesting. The magic system used and the University are intriguing and make you want to know more, much like another book I recently read (The Buried Symbol).
I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes to read fantasy. I am now starting the sequel and am interested to see where Kvothe's story leads.
[close] This is definitely one of my new favorite books, so if you're a friend of mine, prepare to have me brutally push it on you until you give in and give it a go.
One of the reviews I read compared it to The Song of Ice and Fire and Lord of the Rings, saying that the book was equal to the best of fantasy written thus far. Well let me tell you, this doesn't stand alongside the fantasy greats, it knocks them off the shelves.
It isn't just some fantastic epic that you read for fun and adventure (although you'll get plenty of that too). It is story of a real life. Kvothe has known pain, despair, the feeling of being completely abandoned and alone, and he has also experienced joy, love, happiness and knowledge. One chapter he is beaten half to death, the next he is being shown some of the truest acts of kindness I could ever imagine.
I can't think of an emotion I didn't experience while reading. I snorted with laughter, gasped in outrage, choked back tears, shook with disbelief and trembled with anticipation. Seriously, the book has it all.
What a magnificent achievement to tell this story in a completely believable way-I mean sure there are dragons and magic (sympathy)...but I mean the "real life" stuff. Here you have a 15 year old boy, who early on, had fantastic parents and a happy life as a traveling performer. When that was taken away, he lived on the streets of a large city and raised himself to be tough and cunning. He knew how smart he was, and he got himself a place in the University. Now-before you start thinking that he is portrayed as being perfect-the author never hesitates to remind you that he is still a kid! He is constantly showing off and doing outrageously idiotic things that get him into heaps of trouble. I wanted to wring his neck more than once myself!
Anyway, I'm not going to try to summarize the book. I wouldn't be doing it any favors. I will say that the beginning was slow. It probably took me over a hundred pages to actually get really involved with the story. But, even that was all so mysterious and sinister that I knew sticking with it would pay off. I can't wait to read it again someday when I will be able to understand more of what was going on in the beginning.
The ending. I have read a ton of reviews and comments of people saying it ruined the book and so on. I don't get that. I thought Kvothe ended his story in a perfect place to set up anticipation for the next book, and the little scene with Bast and the Chronicler that closed the story was brilliant, set up interest in the current setting. Anyway...just my opinion.
Even after over 700 pages, I still don't "know" Kvothe. Isn't that the point? He isn't predictable, and he hardly ever did what I expected him to do. For that reason alone, I know the next installment will probably be even better then this one.
So...quit listening to me and go meet Kvothe for yourself.
Oh yeah--one more thing though. If you're a fan of the book...or really, even if you aren't, I recommend checking out Patrick Rothfuss' blog (it is posted on his website). He is hilarious, and regularly keeps me entertained. He is just the type of guy I would love hanging out with. Not in a creepy-I'm-looking-at-him-through-his-window way, more of a "hey lets eat something really unhealthy and talk about books."
Anyway, he comes off as a really nice, interesting guy. Its a pleasure to read such a fantastic book by a guy that actually seems to deserve the privilege of having come up with it.
I had a free download for audible when I bought my Creative Zen MP3
player and decided to go with the longest book on my to-read list that
was still worth 1 credit. This audiobook is 27 hours long. I listened
to it while I did housework as well as inventorying at work.
me tell you - if the description didn't entice you... well, you're a
lost cause. This book was absolutely AMAZING! I can see why it is such
a big hit in the fantasy realm. Now, some of you may think that this
book isn't YA, but it received on of the 2008 Alex Awards which is a
high school young adult award from the American Library Association.
So, I believe it is one of those borderline books that walks the thin
line between young adult and adult fantasy.
There was so much to
this story and it got you interested and involved from the beginning.
The only thing that kills me is that it came out in 2007 and there is
still no book 2! How dare you Patrick Rothfuss, how dare you! I'm dying
to learn more about Kvothe and his adventures.
So, if you like fantasy and especially if you like EPIC fantasy, read this!