If you haven’t heard by now, The Name of the Wind is the much-hyped fantasy debut by Patrick Rothfuss and Day One of a trilogy called The Kingkiller Chronicle. I heard so much about this book that I was afraid it wouldn’t live up to my expectations, but it certainly did.
The book covers the first day of a three-day long story as related by the main character Kvothe to Chronicler. Kvothe grew up in a troupe of travelling actors and musicians, which allows him to meet an Arcanist who piques his interest in studying at the University. When he is older, Kvothe is accepted at the University, where he excels at his studies yet manages to get into enough mischief to upset some of his professors and make his life rather difficult.
The story is exceptionally engaging and well-written – after suffering through so many badly written debut novels, I found it very hard to believe that this was Rothfuss’s first novel. Honestly, it was better written than a lot of novels, regardless of whether or not the author has had a lot of practice. The words just flowed off the page and Rothfuss did an excellent job of giving detail without overwhelming readers with too much.
The character of Kvothe is rather well done. For a while, I was afraid he was going to turn out to be one of those perfect characters that annoyed me since he was so exceptionally brilliant. However, he still had some flaws (such as recklessness and failure to think before speaking/acting) and since he had to work at least somewhat to gain what knowledge he did have, it was believable. He may have picked things up fast, but you do hear about people who are like that sometimes.
Another high point of this novel were some of the humorous conversations between Kvothe and his friends. It wasn’t overdone, but it was certainly necessary once in a while since our story was not always happy (and hearing them talk about their professors reminded me of a few of mine).
I also really enjoyed how fantasy was parodied in this book. Once in a while, it would seem to be heading toward some sort of cliche, and then things would turn out differently than I had expected.
There really is not much bad I can say about this book. The only problem I had with it was that there were a couple of points where the story seemed to be moving a little slowly, but neither of those times lasted for very long.
The hints in the book to what’s coming up in the next book certainly piqued my interest, and I can’t wait for the second part of the trilogy to come out!