Title: The Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicle #1 of 3)
Author: Patrick Rothfuss
Original language: English
Kote is a quiet innkeeper, a stranger in a new land, living day to day for his work. However, Kote is anything but ordinary. He is the single greatest magician of his time, Kvothe the Great. Fleeing from his past, he decides to throw away his background and live incognito- that is until a tale spinner finds him and upsets his new found life.
Told in Kvothe’s voice, this is a coming-of-age narrative that takes us for a wild ride across unknown lands, encountering beasts and unimaginable magic, and finding true love in the midst of chaos. A story about stories and how they are spun and told, The Name of the Wind takes you on a journey alongside its protagonist.
The Name of the Wind is one heck of a book. Standing at 662 pages, it’s a very hefty read, filled with beautiful prose, vivid imagery and endearing characters. Kvothe is a very well-rounded character. He is very young in the book, but has the wisdom of someone well beyond his years (a trait often discussed by other characters). His early life as a troubadour with his parents is colourful and warm, while is later student life is fraught with hardships. Kvothe grows tremendously during his time at the university, and the university itself is a highly interesting place in his world. The professors and the things that they teach are all vividly described. The author does a really good job at breathing life into the world he created. It is truly immersive and as a reader, you can’t help but to be drawn in.
The writing is fantastic, very poetic and philosophical at times. Any one who has studied literature extensively, will derive great pleasure from reading such beautiful prose. Rothfuss takes us on an immersive journey alongside characters that quickly gain our love and support. I tend to dislike first-person narration however, in The Name of the Wind, Kvothe is an interesting and reliable narrator. He is witty, charming, clever and all around fantastic hero.
Many people have been disappointed with this book because it doesn’t hit all the “high fantasy” markers (like LotR or Game of Thrones). From a literary point of view, The Name of the Wind is a clear winner. The author has a love affair with words and their meaning, often posing philosophical questions about language and its power. Imaginative and clever, it’s a very good fantasy book.
“Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts. There are seven words that will make a person love you. There are ten words that will break a strong man’s will. But a word is nothing but a painting of a fire. A name is the fire itself.”
My only grievance with the plot was the lack of information/plot development of the Chandrian (Kvothe’s ultimate antagonists). I thought that that group of characters was really interesting and I wanted to learn more about them but, sadly, they didn’t get much page-time, in favour of Kvothe’s struggles as a university student. Maybe the Chandrian make a more substantial appearance in the second book but for me, they should have been more prominent in this book (seeing as they are the source of all of Kvothe’s misfortunes).