By: Patrick Rothfuss
Synopsis: MY NAME IS KVOTHE. I have stolen Princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep. You may have heard of me. So begins a tale unequaled in fantasy literature- the story of a hero told in his own voice. It is a tale of sorrow, a tale of survival, a tale of one man’s search for meaning in his universe, and how that search, and the indomitable will that drove it, gave birth to a legend.
Format: The Name of the Wind is the first book in the Kingkiller Chronicles. It is 722 pages long, and contains an innovative look at the division between magic and science in fantasy. It was published by DAW books in 2007.
My Thoughts: I had read some reviews about this book before reading it the first time (yes, it was a re-read) and I found some rather mixed opinions. I observed most people raving about how amazing it was, but still spied the odd naysayer. Regardless, I read the book and decided that was a very wise choice. I personally truly loved this book. The characters all seemed real to me, and everything in this world that was mundane (as in the characters would already know it) was explained ingeniously to the reader through the main character being a student.
I also enjoyed the lines between “magic” and “science” in this world. You could study Naming, and unlock great powers, or study sygaldry, and cause seemingly mystical things to occur in a very scientific way. Alchemy is included as a possible study, along with the more traditional subjects like mathematics and medicine. I found the mixture of advanced knowledge and medieval-ness of the story much to my liking, making this world a place I would love to live in!
The plot of this book kept me guessing throughout. I would read a chapter and think I would know what would happen next, and it would spin around on what I expected. While the plot was twisting it never felt illogical or poorly thought out. It kept me, as a reader, fully engaged. As this was my second read through, I was surprised at how much I had missed the first time, and was able to enjoy the book all over again. Not only did I enjoy the plot, the setting was described in such a way that you felt like you could see the scenery, feel the crowds pushing against you in the bigger cities.
The combination of feeling like you were in the world with the characters, to the twisting plot lines, and the innovative “magic” gives me the impression that this book deserves only positive reviews. Upon completion of the book the reader instantly reaches for the next in the series, the plot pulls you in so much. I can only congratulate the author on this masterpiece of storytelling.
As always, any suggestions, opinions or comments are welcomed and appreciated!