The Name of the Wind, the first book in the Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss. I finally got around to reading this book at the beginning of the year after hearing nothing but rave reviews. It was a behemoth of a book, but an excellent fantasy novel and character study. It’s an absolute page turner. I spent all of my free time reading this book until I was done, and had to force myself to take a break before I dove into book 2 so I would have time for other activities.
Right off the bat, I can’t recommend this book enough. The world Rothfuss has built is deep, beautiful, and eager to draw you in. The characters are stimulating, none more so than Kvothe, the main character of the series. You grow up with Kvothe from the beginning, knowing his motivations and path, you care about him and his journey.
Rothfuss has a great command over the english language. I really enjoy his style of description and storytelling. Can I say again that the world is amazing? It’s rich, the magic, science, and history are all extremely well thought out and cohesive. It’s a believable fantasy world, if that makes sense.
One negative. This book gets so deep into the characters and story that it does move slowly at times. It didn’t bother me while reading because I was enjoying it so much, but then all of the sudden the book was starting to end and I was disappointed. One thing to know is that this book does go deep, and that stays consistent in the series. The story moves through each piece very in-depth, so it won’t knock out plot points as quick as you may be used to. You are getting yourself in for the long haul with Kvothe.
VERDICT: 9.5/10 – Amazing beginning to an incredible series. Must read. Check out my additional book notes below and stay tuned for my thoughts on book 2, The Wise Man’s Fear, coming soon.
I borrowed this book from the library, so following are my handwritten notes while reading the book. If I’m not reading on my Kindle I have a separate notebook I use to copy down any specific lines or thoughts I have as I read. Check out my notes, with additional thoughts amended below. Just be aware there may be very slight spoilers involved:
50 pages in – A 50 page introduction. His writing style is both descriptive and concise. It never drags but I feel he covers the most important visual aspects that allow your imagination to take hold and do the rest.
This book is around 700 pages. I can’t imagine writing something with this type of scope. I’ve always had a fascination with world-building and the amount of preparation and research that goes into creating a world like fantasy and science fiction writers do. What’s the process for planning the story? Do they start with characters, plot points, locations, situations? Maybe sometime I’ll figure out a way to get him on the podcast to chat about it.
Ch. 8, pg. 55 – “I learned to love the feel of good words”
Ch. 15, pg. 108 – “if you can find someone like that, someone who you can hold and close your eyes to the world with, then you’re lucky. Even if it only lasts a minute or a day.”
Rothfuss does an amazing job of choosing the right amount of detail to provide. It doesn’t drag because he doesn’t overdo description, yet the characters he wants you to get to know, you do.
I mention yet again later in my notes how I’d like to learn how they build out their worlds and stories. I was really fascinated by it while reading.
Ch. 25, pg. 168 – “You’d think I’d remember the stitches and bandages, I don’t. I remember the young boy sobbing in the dark.”
Ch. 26, pg. 175 – Lanre. “He married a woman named Lyra, and his love for her was a passion fiercer than fury.”
Ch. 54-56 – Eolian performance to try and get his pipes. Description of the music and the emotional effects drew me in. That’s what I love about music. Note after reading book two: I feel even more strongly about this comment after reading book two. Rothfuss’ description of music and it’s effect on people is on point, and it makes you want to go listen deeply to your favorite music. It tells a lot about at and the experience of music.
Sometimes Rothfuss writes like the reader should know things. It feigns familiarity in a great, welcoming way (description of metheglin in ch. 56, pg. 374)
Ch. 58 – Description of Denna, their interaction.
Ch. 59 – “They also know that they are friends, and they share a certain love that will never leave them. The boys know many other things, but none of them seem as important as this. Perhaps they are right.”
Bast – “It’s like everyone tells a story about themselves inside their head, always. All the time. That story makes you what you are. We build ourselves out of that story.”
Bast – “You meet a girl. Shy. Unassuming. If you tell her she’s beautiful, she’ll think you’re sweet but she won’t believe you. She knows that beauty lies in your beholding. And sometimes that’s enough. But there is a better way. You show her she is beautiful. You make mirrors of your eyes, prayers of your hands against her body. It is hard, very hard, but when she truly believes you… suddenly the story she tells herself in her own head changes. She isn’t seen as beautiful. She is beautiful, seen.”