Friday, July 15, 2011

Book Review--The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Book 1 in the Kingkiller Chronicles
From Goodreads:

Told in Kvothe's own voice, this is the tale of the magically gifted young man who grows to be the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen. The intimate narrative of his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-ridden city, his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, and his life as a fugitive after the murder of a king form a gripping coming-of-age story unrivaled in recent literature. A high-action story written with a poet's hand, The Name of the Wind is a masterpiece that will transport readers into the body and mind of a wizard.

 My Take:

The blurb doesn't come close to describing the book. At all. There is a lot of mystery, heartache and hope running through the story. As the blurb says, the story is told by Kvothe as he tells it to a story teller/scribe person while sitting in a tavern. There are small sections in the present that hint of something big coming in the world. Something evil. There are also hints that Kvothe has lost his ability to work magic. All these little hints make the history telling weightier because you are looking for the clues.

It's a big book and once again it took me a while to read it. About two months, which is weird because I read all the Harry Potter books in twenty-four hours. (Told you my reader was broken.)

I think it took a while to read simply because of the pacing. This is the first book in an epic fantasy series. Rothfuss is not in any hurry, but that's okay. The word crafting is brilliant. His descriptions are wonderful without being over-bearing. We get to move through Kvothe's life and watch his character develop. Although nothing major (like a war or being chased for 500 pages) takes place, there are lots of smaller events that push Kvothe toward the great wizard that he will become.

There were many times that I wanted to move forward a little faster, but that's because I don't get a lot of time in my life to read. As a writer, this book was a great lesson in how to make slower pacing work. Each word was carefully chosen. Each phrase, sentence, paragraph, scene and chapter had a purpose and was beautifully written. The book worked wonderfully as a whole unit.

I've put the second book on my list of to read.

I give it a 4.
The book is definitely worth reading, a must read if you like epic fantasy (think Lord of the Rings pacing) and I think his word craft was perfect. Not close, but there. The only reason I didn't give it a 5 is because I did put it down and let several days go by. In fact, it took me about 2 months to actually finish it. Probably just the way my life is so busy right now, but there you go. I still highly recommend this book.

1-5 scale and what it means:
1: I couldn’t even finish it / just plain bad
2: I hope I didn’t pay for this / disappointing
3:  I didn’t hate it, but it was still missing something / forgettable but inoffensive
3.5: On the line between good and ok / like, not love
4: Solid mind candy / worth reading
4.5: So very close to perfection! / must read
5: I could not put it down and I’m still thinking about it! / a true treasure


  1. Name of the Wind and its sequel, Wiseman’s Fear are the type of novels that you will read again. And again. And again.

    Ordinary storylines, comprising no more than a word or sentence, explode into OMGosh-moments when I re-read them. Donald Maass refers to these as oblique details, the kind of turning points that come to life only after a closer look.

    Patrick Rothfuss has superb command of language. Subject, Action, Verbs and a storyline that left me emotionally drained.

    My only criticism? I have to wait years for the next and final tome.

  2. This sounds kinda like Interview With The Vampire only fantasy-based. You know...where Louis shows up and gets interviewed at the beginning with all first-person stories of how he became a vampire and Lestat and all that. Only in this story, it's a guy talking to a scribe instead of a modern interviewer in a hotel room...and instead of vampiric powers/legacy it has to do with magic.

  3. This is on the top of my To Read list. I'd heard a lot about it, and picked it up in the store. I read the back of the book blurb and was sold.

    I've put off reading it mostly because I want the time to read through it, and I had a feeling it would be slower paced.

    Thanks for the review!

  4. I have not read anything about this book yet, so I really enjoyed your review. I think that I will add this to my TBR pile.


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