Ok, so I want to start this review off by saying that I have been putting off reading this book for a VERY long time! Now that I read it…I’m mad that I have waited so long to pick it up. Patrick Rothfuss is a genius, and this feels like his 100th book and not his first. This book was one that my husband chose for me to read, as we each choose 1 book a month for each other, and man am I glad that this is what he picked!
The Name of the Wind is the first book to the Kingkiller Chronicles. It reads mostly as an autobiography of Kvothe, a once widely famous musician, arcanist, hero, and adventurer rolled into one. It also occasionally springs into a narrative style story telling (starting and definitely finishing in this way, with the narrative weaved throughout). The reader gets to learn about Kvothe’s life all the way from his childhood to present day. His family, tragedies, pain and loss, triumph, and power, you learn it all.
Rothfuss does an amazing job at creating a new fantasy setting. Though we’ve seen magic before, we’ve NEVER seen it like this. It’s very intricate and carries such a high amount of depth to it, that it takes time to understand fully what is occurring. Being that the stories date back to when Kvothe himself is learning about the magic, you get his first hand knowledge and experience with things like bone-tar, sympathy, and calling the names of things like the wind. Much of the story is told while Kvothe is attending the University, and the education he receives is spilled out very well throughout the pages.
Kvothe’s story is told in sections as the book builds. You get to see his early years with his family, a traveling performance group known as the Edema Ruh. They travelled like gypsies from town to town performing plays, songs, and whatever the audience enjoyed. Being part of the Edema Ruh was like being part of the best of the best of performers. They were well-known for traveling troupes. But like any good fantasy story, there has to be tragedy to build on. Kvothe returns from the woods one day to learn that a group known as the Chandrian has killed his entire troupe, his parents included. He escapes and is forced to live on he streets begging for money/food/scraps and whatever he can get to survive, until he decides to travel to the University and attempt to enroll. This is when the story changes!
There are a handful of amazing characters throughout the story that you just simply love, and like any story there are the few that you just hate. My favorite is of course Kvothe. His character is one that you just can’t help but root for, even when all of the odds are stacked against him. And unlike most stories…he doesn’t always win, though he does when it counts most. My 2 most hated characters are Ambrose, a snobby little rich kid who things he can get away with anything because he just buys his way out of situations, and Denna, the girl who Kvothe loves but aside from EVERYTHING he does for her, she just drags him along when it’s convenient for her.
Though we are given stories that tell us how Kvothe has gotten each of his nicknames, we have yet to learn why he is known as the Kingkiller. One is to assume that he killed a king at some point and time, but it is never confirmed or discussed as to which king he killed. You learn that he is called Kvothe the Bloodless because he was publicly whipped and did not bleed. Kvothe the Arcane because he is an arcanist who has used arcane magic to bring down his enemies. But what king did he kill??? Hopefully it comes out in a later book as part of his story.
This is definitely a series that I plan to continue reading. If you haven’t already read it, pick up a copy of The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. Again, this is the first book in the Kingkiller Chronicles. I’m going to have to pick up the rest of this series (The Wise Man’s Fear, Doors of Stone, and The Slow Regard for Silent Things). I gave this book 5/5 stars!!!