(cover art : DAW Books ) (Photograph taken from Wikipedia –
“no photographer credited”)
***Warning Review Contains Spoilers***
I have always believed that writers always write about what there passionate about, and it is clear to everyone that Rothfuss loves stories. The name of the wind is the first in a trilogy of books telling the tale of Kvothe, orphan come legendary hero, who has been secretly living under the guise of a Innkeeper in a sleepy town, miles away from the action. This first book takes us through Kvothe meeting the Chronicler, a renowned travelling scholar and collector of stories. With the help of Kvothes companion Bast, They convince Kvothe to finally put his true story in full on paper. Kvothe is shaped both by the stories others tell about him as he grows up, and eventually by the stories he tells about himself, throughout Rothfuss’ writing he makes clear his belief that Stories define us, just as they define the world around us.
The tropes within the story of Kvothe are very common. as I mentioned before he is a Gifted orphan that goes off to magical school and becomes a hero. Im sure I don’t have to tell you that this has definitely been done before, however all though obvious idiosyncrasies to both the story and the character, can at times make it easy to predict. However, to my surprise did not irritate me as much as I thought, for instead of knowing what was going to happen and growing frustrated, instead as I read I found myself finding pleasure in discovering how these event came about, and grew to greatly appreciate the style of Rothfuss’ storytelling. This in turn is both a strength and weakness of his style of writing, but I find unlike other fantasy novels such as the classic Lord of the Rings, Action and plot aren’t used as a blatant hook to force you to keep reading, instead his writing is like a gentle current pushing you downstream at a leisurely place, sure enough there are some rocky rapids of action packed madness on the way, but I find it is all meticulously balanced throughout.
When you read this book you find yourself in a swell of immersion, you feel like you are really there sat in the Inn listening to the story in rapped captivation. You can picture the world as its painted by Kvothes words and it helps you get to grips with the idiosyncrasies of culture, geography and political intrigue within the created world. After doing some background reading I have discovered that Rothfuss has spent 14 years working on this trilogy, which is still unfinished and believe me, he has spent those 14 years perfecting every sentence within this trilogy thus far. Everything has been taken into account from the magical lore, the economic condition of nations, mathematical formula in order to correctly exchange denominations of currency. Not to mention factual accounts of herbology and healing methods, it even touches lightly upon the principle of Equivalent Exchange when dealing with certain types of “magic”. If you love world building this is definitely a book you will enjoy, and read again and again.
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.
If I had to point to a weakness, I would say is would probably be the length of the book first instalment of the trilogy is 700+ pages, and we’ve got two more on the way, and a book that large can be pretty daunting to any reader. Also I would say that as a whole, in the first book majority of the protagonists enemy’s especially in conjunction with University are nasty, petty, and often a little dim in comparison to the Chandrian, who are a more interesting and we don’t really see enough of them in this book, considering they are the main drive for the character, it hard for them to feel completely real yet. However, i do think its clever that the Chandrian are considered fairy tales in Rothfuss’ built world, so the views of the world populous are mirrored in the reader.
Overall, this is a very good book. 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. Just take a look at what he wrote on Goodreads about the third instalment of his book, which somehow has reviews despite the book not being released yet:
“While it’s nice to see folks out there giving this book five stars, and in some cases even reviewing it, I’ll admit that I’m kinda puzzled. After thinking it over for a while, I’ve realized there’s only one explanation for this:
Time travellers love my books.
This is strangely reassuring, as it lets me know that, eventually, I do finish my revisions, and the book turns out good enough so that I still have a following out there in the big ball of wibbly-wobbly…. timey-wimey…. stuff that I like to think of as the future.”
Its has been a pleasure to read and review such a fantastic book by a guy that actually seems to deserve the privilege of having come up with it.
Until next time.. read more books!