Title: The Name of the Wind
Author: Patrick Rothfuss
Review: When friends hand me books to read, I am always suspicious of whether the books will be any good. Maybe it is my own great arrogance but I just figure that – unless they are of a special few – I am the better judge of books. Thankfully this theory has been proven wrong many a time.
The book is called The Name of the Wind, and it is written by a newish author to me, Patrick Rothfuss. This also had me a little worried, as I am becoming more and more wary of new authors. But my fears were groundless. More than groundless, they could even be called vaguely offensive to Rothfuss who proved himself in his first mass market literary outing to be nothing short of a genius.
The Name of the Wind, Day One of the Kingkiller Chronicles, quickly made its way into my top fantasy series list. The book, which is essentially an autobiography of a once famous now reclusive musician, arcanist and adventurer named Kvothe, is revolutionary – to my eyes at least – in its storytelling method. Autobiographical for the most part, it starts, finishes, and occasionally reverts to a narrative telling of the interview from whence the autobiographical information springs.
The story wraps around Kvothe’s life just as you would want, exploring his journey from childhood into adolescence, and a little of the way into maturity. The universe in which this story is set is beautifully and articulately created. This includes everything from a more academic style of magic then is normally employed all the way through to making storytelling and music a large part of the story.
Storytelling, in fact, seems to be a thread that will soon be picked up in the sequel, The Wise Man’s Fear. Kvothe is not only relating his life story in a tale to the Chronicler (book one is Day One of the storytelling), but spent his early life as an Eduma Ruh; a travelling and performing group of people, gypsy-like in their lifestyles but with much more focus on their literary and musical talents.
There are a few tropes found in The Name of the Wind, but none are exploited to the point where you are remembering other stories. Kvothe is left as an orphan after his father’s study into the Chandrian unwittingly brings their attention down upon his family. From there Kvothe must make his way as an urchin, before he manages – miraculously – to gain entry into the University of the arcanist that had travelled with his father’s family so many years ago.
Kvothe’s life is very much split into sections, and we will no doubt see this continue as the succeeding books are released. The second section of Kvothe’s life depicts his life at the University, and his re-entry into music. His love for the beautiful Denna is a heart-breaking yet funny story, while his deeds and misdeeds at the University make for compelling and sympathetic reading.
But throughout the novel we are given hints at the greater parts of Kvothe’s life. The series is called the Kingkiller Chronicles, yet we don’t know which king Kvothe killed or why. His talents are obviously well known throughout the lands, yet he has only made himself known in the city of Tarbean. And revenge must be taken on the Chandrian, given his fervent attempts to regain entry into the University library after he was banned for life from ever entering.
Patrick Rothfuss is, in my opinion, one of the better storytellers around at the moment. Too early in the game to give him full marks or list him amongst the nobility of fantasy, but his place there is almost assured. Rarely do you find yourself taken out of the story, and no serious lack of writing skill can even be guessed at, let alone found.
If you haven’t already, make sure you pick up Patrick Rothfuss’s The Name of the Wind get it now.
Buy it here:
Kindle Edition: amazon.co.uk