Friday, May 4, 2012

Review: The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

The Kingkiller Chronicle, Day 1

Tags: fantasy, boarding school, music


At the unassuming and immaculate inn just out of town, you’d never expect to find a contemporary legend in the quiet, red-haired, green-eyed innkeeper. But he is Kvothe, and when he finally tells his true story for the first time, it is one of love and loss, childhood inquisitiveness and hard-knock-life resilience, boarding school pranks and events that will change the course of the world. You don’t believe in magic? You’ve never heard Kvothe tell his own story.


You’ve all felt it at one point or another. The desire. The craving. The urge to go to bed with a book. The new hardcover whose jacket you’ve taken off for safekeeping; falling asleep with one hand splayed over its naked, embossed cover. An old favorite, its edges worn and soft to the touch; it fits perfectly in the space beside you on your wrinkled sheets.

At around 700 pages, THE NAME OF THE WIND is the perfect shape and story to sleep with.

(At least, I assume it would be, as I read this on an e-reader.)

Even without the tangible reassurance of a physical copy, THE NAME OF THE WIND easily slid into its position as my new favorite book. Somewhere in an alternate universe, J. K. Rowling and George R. R. Martin had a literary lovechild, who somehow stowed away on a ship bound for Earth, assumed the human name of Patrick Rothfuss, and, after wandering, bard-like, through many years of higher education, discovered the secret to turning words and ideas into gold.

Remember those sleepaway camps and public library programs you attended when you were young, the ones where the performer would gather you and the other kids round the sleepy campfire or colorful hand-sewn rug? Remember how, at first, you were suspicious of this stranger with the odd hair or scruffy beard or clothing that audibly ruffled whenever he shifted positions? Remember how his voice sounded unfamiliar at first, unlike the dulcet tones of your own parents telling you bedtime stories? And then remember how, before you knew it, you were so far immersed into the story you forgot who was telling it and found yourself leaning forward, hanging on to his every mesmerizing word?

That’s kind of how THE NAME OF THE WIND was for me. The third-person beginning section was a little awkward, as I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to feel about this Kote/Kvothe character. But as Kvothe stretched out his long-unused storytelling muscles and the book eased its loving way into first-person narration, I found myself as entranced as Chronicler and Bast were, sitting in that inn and listening to the never-before-told story of a contemporary legend.

He has a sexy voice, what can I say?

I could mention some minor quibbles I had with the book, like Kvothe’s unfortunate near-“perfect-ness,” or how Denna skirts the edge of geeky-adolescent-boy’s MPDG wet dream, but it totally and completely doesn’t even matter because don’t you know that the greatest artists can break all the rules? THE NAME OF THE WIND is an epic novel, part memoir, part boarding school tale, part wild adventure, and I just know that Kvothe’s world is only going to expand from here in future installments. Recommended for anyone and everyone anywhere—except for maybe that hipster classmate of yours with the I-just-got-out-of-bed-no-really-I-just-did messy hair and black Free Trade coffee perpetually in hand who refuses to read anything that hasn’t won the Nobel, Pulitzer, or Man Booker Prize. But who wants to be reading buddies with them anyway?

Similar Authors
J. K. Rowling
George R. R. Martin
J. R. R. Tolkien

DAW / April 7, 2009 (reprint) / Paperback / 672pp. / $17.00

Personal copy.


  1. Not a very eloquent comment, but:

  2. I bought this a year ago on a strong rec. And it is one of the reasons I always trust that friend's recs.

  3. Great review! This has been rec'd to me on several occasions but I never got around to it...guess I will know! I want to read that sexy voice (esp if GRRM and JKR had a love-child!)! :)

  4. I just want to hug this review. SO MUCH. It is always thrilling when someone reads one of your favorite books ever and ends up loving it. I know this sounds bizarre and weird, but sometimes it's scary when people read favorites because you never know if they will end up hating it and with true favorites, at least for me, it's a little painful when people end up hating them.

    I also think Kvothe's voice is sexy. It gets even better on re-read, too.

    Also? How much does Ambrose totally suck? Hated him.

    And sigh, Denna, almost an MPDG, you are so right.

  5. I'm with April, I want to hug this review, too. you are so right on, about everything. loved your exception to the recommending, and God, yes, Denna. My husband and I read this together; he was defending her tooth and nail. I was like, seriously?! Sharing this review with him and highlighting your response. course, we both had to agree that Kvothe does indeed have a sexy voice. Pat Rothfuss has so many men and women crushing on his writing!-and he handles it like a rock star.

    ~L (omphaloskepsis)

  6. I love how this review makes me want to read it but I still don't know what the story is about! Adding it to my list.

  7. I've been wanting to read this anyway, but this review just completely sold me. I'll echo Lana with: WANT but add a: NOW

  8. I have heard so many amazing things about this book, but it's a TOME of a book! Or was it the second book?

    Either way, your theory of the author's possibly impossible background sold it for me. It's on my list!

  9. Ok, you convinced me I have to read this--it wouldn't have been on my radar without this review. Nicely done!

  10. This is my first time i visit here. I found so many entertaining stuff in your blog, especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the enjoyment here! Keep up the good work

  11. I couldn't agree more with this! This book (along with A Wise Man's Fear) is EPIC!I can't wait for the third! I ended up sending a copy of Name of the Wind to my fiancee in Norway because all the book stores couldn't keep enough copies on the shelves :)
    Nice review! I reviewed it on my site as well, so it's always nice to see others loving it as much as I did.


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