Monday 16 March 2020

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Review: The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

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The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Published: 12th June 2008 | Publisher: Gollancz | Source: Gift
Patrick Rothfuss' Website

'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.

My name is Kvothe.
You may have heard of me.'
From Goodreads.

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The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss was, for me, one of those books that everyone raves about, and you think, "I'll definitely read that at some point," but some point never comes. Except, this past Christmas I was given it as a Christmas present, and so finally go to read it! And I so wish I hadn't waited so long, because it was so good!

The Name of the Wind is the first book in The Kingkiller Chronicle. It's a weird one, because it feels like it starts in the middle of a story; in an inn in a small village, a group of locals are sitting together, listening to the eldest tell the story of a legend. We're not really introduced to anyone as the main character straight away, we're kind of just thrown in. There are a few strange happenings; one of the regulars has been attacked by some kind of beast that's much like a spider, but massive, and seemingly made of stone. The town gets kind of nervous, and people buy bits of iron to keep on them for protection. Meanwhile, Chronicler is travelling somewhere where at first he is robbed, and later heads towards a fire when he realises he's not going to make it to the town before night. But he soon realises the person at the fire is there for a reason: he knows bad creatures are coming. Soon they are attacked, and Chronicler passes out. He wakes up later at the inn - the man preparing to fight was the innkeeper, Kote. Not only that, he's exactly the man Chronicler was going to find. He is a scribe, and he believes Kote is actually the legendary Kvothe - the man most tend to think is a myth. He's come to ask if he can write Kvothe's story. And after some persuasion and discussion, Kvothe agrees; he will tell Chronicler his story over three consecutive days. The rest of The Name of the Wind is day one.

It's a coming of age story of a young boy who you know just has had some kind of incredible, because of how people speak about him. But his story is one of tragedy and hardship, and I mean serious hardship. I spent a good portion of the story just aching for Kvothe and everything he has to go through. I don't really want to talk too much about the plot because it's the kind of story where you don't really want anything given away. It starts with 11-year-old Kvothe as the son of the leaders of the legendary troupe of travelling entertainers, the Edema Ruh, and the story ends with at 15, with four years worth of pain and mystery behind him.

The Name of the Wind is kind of a slow burner, which, considering it's length at 672 pages, might put some people off. But it's actually completely gripping. At first, there are fits and starts of the magical side of things, with it coming much more of a bigger thing later in the story, but Kvothe only tells us what is important. Everything matters; every one of the experiences he shares lead to the man he is, sitting in the inn telling his story. And his voice! He has such an engaging voice! The story starts off in third person, but switches to first when Kvothe is dictating his life to Chronicler, and he just knows how to tell a story - which is unsurprising, being one of the Edema Ruh! Despite being a slow burner, I was never once bored. And you go through the whole gamut of emotions, as he experiences some of the most difficult of circumstances a child could have, but also joy and hope and amusement! Seriously, I was completely gripped, and never wanted to put it down.

What's also interesting is how every now and then, there will be an interlude; a pause in the telling of the story as some element of the story is discussed, or because Kvothe needs a moment. We also now something is going in the present, what with the spider-things, so at the back of your mind you're also wondering when things are going to go down. And towards the end of the book, things really start to pick up, both in the story Kvothe is telling, and in the present day. And mate, it's just incredible! Had I been frustrated by the slower pace earlier on, the end would have more than made up for it. And there's so much more to be told!

I can't begin to tell you how much I enjoyed The Name of the Wind! I am so desperate to jump right into the second book! I'm so looking forward to seeing where Kvothe's story goes next, and how more exciting it will become. If you're a fantasy fan, this is definitely not one to miss!

You might also like:

The Redemption of Althalus by David and Leigh Eddings Furyborn by Claire Legrand Red Sister by Mark Lawrence

Over to you graphic

Do you enjoy slow burn fantasies? Or do you prefer shorter, snappier stories? Do you know of any other stories around the "truth" behind a legend within a fantasy world? Have you read The Name of the Wind, or will you pick it up? Let me know in the comments!

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