Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss is the first book in The Kingkiller Chronicle. (The second book, The Wise Man's Fear, has also been published. The third book is being written.)

I recommend The Name of the Wind to any lover of detailed, lengthy epic fantasy. Imagine if Harry Potter, years after his adventures at Hogwarts, had ended up alone and now tending a bar for patrons who have no idea who he is. A scribe happens along and realizes who he is, and he begins to tell his life story to the scribe to record.

This isn’t Harry Potter, of course, but that gives you some idea of what this book is like. The world building is slow and deliberate. I wished the pace would pick up a bit at times, but that’s a minor quibble. I’m glad I kept going. This is a tale to savor and enjoy, and there are two more books to go.

This is a familiar tale to ease into. It’s original enough to feel fresh, but it follows fantasy patterns we know and love. Although we meet Kvothe’s parents, he becomes an orphan. He struggles to find enough money to stay alive and later to stay in school, and he has an intense rivalry with a spoiled rich kid who is not as talented as he is. There is A Girl. There is an older man who serves as Kvothe’s original mentor. There is a terrible force responsible for the death of his parents.

None of this detracts from the effectiveness of the tale. It ends in the middle of the story, but with a line determined to send you off to find the next book in the series. I read The Name of the Wind in short bits over about a month. I wish I’d started it when I had a large block of time to finish it quickly so I could have immersed myself in the world. I’m going to aim for that with book 2!

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