Book Review – The Name of the Wind

The full title is The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle #1) by Patrick Rothfuss. It’s the first in a trilogy of books, the third of which has not been released yet and I don’t think the third one is scheduled to be released any time soon. If you read them you’ll understand why, because there is a lot packed into these books and they’re deceptively complex. I’m reading the sequel at the moment so a review of that will be coming, but for now I’ll talk about the first one, The Name of the Wind.

I was strongly urged to read this by one of my good friends, and he was so insistent that I read it he turned his place upside down trying to find the book, only to be disappointed to find that he had lost his copy somewhere along the way in one of his many moves. He had in fact bought it for someone else though, so I thought I would borrow her copy, but it turned out that she had lost hers as well. This book seemed to be as rare and fleeting as the name of the wind itself. Eventually I got the electronic version and eagerly started to read.

The concept of the trilogy is that each book takes place on a single day, so The Name of the Wind is day one an so on. The scene is the Waystone Inn, a tavern far away from any highly populated area, where someone called Chronicler has hunted down a person called Kvothe, because the man has seen and done a lot of things and Chronicler wants to write down his life’s story. Eventually Kvothe agrees and settles down to tell the story of his life.

The narrative voice is strong and even though the story is focused on one man the author manages to build a world with a lot of history too. It’s a fantasy book so there’s magic, but the laws of magic are explained and well-thought out, and they make sense. I especially like the concept of Sympathy. I also like the way the author describes a certain girl, and he has a very evocative way of describing music too. I really like the author’s voice and the way he explores certain things. I’ve also been assured that the book is extremely textured and there’s a lot of depth that I may not pick up on from the first read-through, and apparently there are a wealth of theories out there for me to explore once I’m done with them.

I really enjoyed reading it, but there were a few instances when the story jerked back into the present, and it bothered me a little bit because it wasn’t as interesting as the story Kvothe was telling. I’m aware why authors do this, but it annoyed me a little bit. My other criticism is that for a book that clocks in at over 600 pages, when I finished it didn’t feel like that much had happened. The story spans the first 16 or so years of his life, and while it’s very interesting and it’s not at all a chore to read, it does feel a little drawn out and a little bit like, ‘is this really necessary’. I think this may be due to the fact that for all intents and purposes this is an autobiography, albeit of a fictional character, and I’ve read many autobiographies and biographies that sum up an entire person’s life in less than 600 pages.

So, that part is a little strange, because he’s said to have done a great amount of deeds, but at the moment I’m almost a quarter of the way through the second book and there hasn’t really been much forward momentum, so I’m interesting to see how it progresses.

Having said that, it’s a really enjoyable book and I’m very glad my friend recommended it to me. I only wish that the third one had a concrete release date, but I’m looking forward to going over all the theories and catching up on the things that went over my head!

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