The Name of the Wind, The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day One

Thoughts on Patrick Rothfuss's The Name of the Wind

It has been a long time since I read a novel that gave me such an enjoyable experience.  Patrick Rothfuss is a superb storyteller, planting seeds early on that pay off later while still leaving enough carrots dangling on sticks to make the reader keep turning pages and immediately place an order for the second volume of the series within minutes of reading the last word on the last page and ERMAGERD IT ARRIVED YESTERDAY SOIHAVETOFINISHTHISSOICANSTARTREADINGIT! Well, that was my experience anyway.

The Name of the Wind is a fantasy adventure as told by the main character, Kvothe, who appears to be on the exciting first leg of what I expect to be a dramatic character arc that will develop over the course of the three-volume series. The main criticism I have seen leveled at this novel is that Kvothe is unrealistically skilled at everything he does: music, acting, crafting, wit, humor, language, magic, academics. While this may be the case, I’d argue that we are reading the story of an extraordinary person. His almost superhuman abilities are countered by great tragedies and his victories are contrasted often by tremendous setbacks. Despite, or perhaps because of his amazing abilities, he is arrogant, brash, impatient, and his sharp tongue gets him into and out of trouble in equal measure. He is far from perfect. Kvothe spends as much time in stitches as he spends basking in his own brilliance. He is a wonderful character and one I have no trouble wishing I could be, at least during his good moments.

Throughout the story, Rothfuss evoked reactions from me that I haven’t experienced while reading a novel in a long time: trepidation, laughter, joy, frustration, heartbreak, vehement desire for justice and revenge. He has crafted such an inspiring and entertaining story that I yearn for more even after finishing this 662-page first volume, the last third of which I read in a single sitting. I could not put it down.

Check out Sword & Laser's interview of Rothfuss below.  I would love to have a beer with this guy.