on September 26, 2009
A+ for "The Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss.
The author comes in as a relative unknown in the fantasy genre with this stunning debut. I was browsing message boards on the best (recent) fantasy novels and this was recommended to me. One of the best parts about the book is the ease of the reading. I couldn't book this book down. The prose was tight, and I think every chapter adds something to greater understanding of one of the main characters, or the interesting but still relatively unexplored setting. Despite its length, you will devour this novel if you like fantasy and character driven action.
A few other reviews point out that this book is LONG. That is most certainly the case, but I absolutely believe that the book is still well-paced and eminently readable. Full of love and loss and music, this book should not be missed by anyone who calls themselves a fan of fantasy.
on June 3, 2011
I really enjoyed this novel mainly because of its focus on the teenage years of a hero in the making. Many have commented on the writing style, which may be unusual in the fantasy world but not much in literature as a whole. In my opinion, what makes this novel truly different is its emphasis on the learning years of Kvothe.
As mentioned by other reviewers, the story pace is on the slow side without being too slow or too long in my view. I was never bored at any point while reading this novel. There is one thing that has bothered me however and it is the fact that there is no proper ending to this novel. I know and understand that this is only the first part of a trilogy, but there is no climax near the end of the novel or any form of conclusion to any of the main story plots. I was left with a "now what?" kind of feeling. I would have preferred a more defined separation between this first tome and the next one. I will be the first to admit that this is a small issue.
on February 9, 2007
You may or may not have heard of Patrick Rothfuss' debut. Word is beginning to spread around the internet, so chances are that you'll be hearing more and more about this one soon. Last fall I received an email from Rothfuss' agent, Matt Bialer, asking me if I'd consider reading an ARC of The Name of the Wind. Bialer revealed that Betsy Wollheim, Daw Books' president, considered the novel the best fantasy debut she's ever read in over 30 years as an editor. Well, let it be said that a lot less is required to pique my curiosity! Both wanted me to be one of the first reviewers to get a crack at it, and I wish to thank them for thinking of me. Apparently they respect my reviews. . . Imagine that!;-)
Of course, when a debut comes with such high praise on its front cover, it's impossible to treat it as just another debut. For obvious reasons, all of a sudden you find yourself judging it against works such as Robert Jordan's The Eye of the World, Tad Williams' The Dragonbone Chair, George R. R. Martin's A Game of Thrones, Stephen R. Donaldson's Lord Foul's Bane, and other opening chapters of superior series. Understandably, this can have positive as well as negative repercussions.
In a nutshell, The Name of the Wind recounts the tale of Kvothe, a young man destined to become the most powerful wizard the world has ever seen. It begins with Kvothe's childhood years, first as a member of a traveling troupe of musicians and artists, and then as a street urchin forced to fend for himself in a violent environment. Later, the story shifts to his adolescence, at a time when he is admitted to the University, renowned school of magic.
Reading along, I found the structure of the story a little odd. The better part of the novel is comprised of Kvothe's back story, with only a few scenes occurring in "real time." Having never encountered something like it, I discussed it with Betsy Wollheim. She did shine some light on the matter, and it turns out that Rothfuss' first trilogy will focus on the main character's past, with occasional tantalizing hints of things to come. A second trilogy will then recount Kvothe's "present" tale.
The Name of the Wind is told in a first person narrative. Hence, other than those "real time" segments told in the third person, most of the book is told from Kvothe's perspective. Those who have a problem with single-POV narratives similar to that of Robin Hobb's The Farseer and The Tawny Man trilogies, consider yourselves warned. The main danger in using the first person narrative is that the entire story rests on the shoulder of a single character. If you like Kvothe, terrific. If you don't, that's where it gets tricky. I had no problem with that facet of the novel, but I'm acutely aware that some readers don't care much for the first person perspective.
The worldbuilding doesn't play a big role in this debut. And yet, Rothfuss hints at a much vaster depth, hopefully to be explored in future sequels. The author has an eye for details, and the story does come alive as you turn the pages. The magic system appears to be well thought of and interesting, and I'm eager to learn more about it.
The Name of the Wind is a character-driven book. As a first person narrative, it can't be anything but that. The supporting cast is composed of a relatively small number of characters, which is rather rare for a book of this size. I'm looking forward to learning more about them in the upcoming installments.
The novel suffers from only one flaw -- a flaw shared by various Daw books: it's too long. I feel that Rothfuss' attention to details slows the pace in several portions of the book. Now, the tentative pagination of The Name of the Wind weighs in at 904 pages, making this debut a heavyweight. I feel that some scenes could have been truncated and others excised without the readers missing out on any major plotlines. In my opinion, this would quicken the rhythm and improve the overall quality of the book.
Unlike some debuts that are not easily accessible -- Hal Duncan's Vellum and Steven Erikson's Gardens of the Moon come to mind -- I'm persuaded that The Name of the Wind can appeal to both neophytes and long-time fans of the genre. As such, it's similar to both Brandon Sanderson's Elantris and Joe Abercrombie's The Blade Itself in that regard. It's also a throwback work, which brought fantasy novels likes Raymond E. Feist's Magician and David Eddings' Pawn of the Prophecy to mind.
Although a bit overlong, The Name of the Wind is a solid and ambitious effort. Two years ago I would have claimed that it could well be the debut of the year. But Hal Duncan and Scott Lynch have forced us to look at debuts in a different way. Still, Patrick Rothfuss wrote an auspicious debut, and I'm curious to discover the rest of Kvothe's tale.
For more reviews, interviews, book giveaways and more, check out [...]
on April 21, 2015
Out of all the fantasy authors to appear out of the mists in the last five-to-ten years, Patrick Rothfuss is perhaps the greatest. The man is a true artist, who creates engaging characters, exciting tales, and a realistic, but not overly-dark, fantasy world. His characters, with their pettiness, their lusts, their heroism, their kindness, their cruelty, and everything in-between, truly seem to come to life. I have encountered very few authors in my life whom I respect as much as this man, and if you have not yet read his books...do so. You won't regret it.
on August 31, 2009
While the first couple chapters dragged a little for me, the rest of the 650+ page book was incredibly enjoyable. Rothfuss avoids something that many fantasy authors lately are unfortunately getting trapped in, namely over describing every little detail of everything and everyone in the book. Yes the grass is emerald green lush and inviting, I get it, move on already. I recommend this book to everyone it is quite possibly battling its way to the top of my favorites list.
on June 21, 2011
What are you still doing here reading this review, just clic on the link and order this book. It's that good, yes!
To put it shortly, it's the story behind the story of a epic hero that everyone sings about in songs! Find out what Kvothe did to get all this attention on himself! The second book (The wise man's fear) is also a must read, the story just gets better as it goes. Can't wait for the third book to come out next year!
on November 25, 2008
A good book, worth a read and your money. I found it a light, quick read, that was entertaining. I thought it was well written, and had good development, and would be suitable for younger readers as well as older. I look forward to the next one.