Thursday, January 22, 2015

Book Review: The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Title: The Name of the Wind
Series: Kingkiller Chronicles #1
Author: Patrick Rothfuss
Published: 2007 by DAW (Penguin Group)

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: Told in Kvothe's own voice, this is the tale of the magically gifted young man who grows to be the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen. 

The intimate narrative of his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-ridden city, his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, and his life as a fugitive after the murder of a king form a gripping coming-of-age story unrivaled in recent literature. 

A high-action story written with a poet's hand, The Name of the Wind is a masterpiece that will transport readers into the body and mind of a wizard.

The Name of the Wind is the kind of book that snuck up on me. I wasn't at all sure how I felt about it until I was done and all I wanted to go back and reread it. It was so complicated and really built into an interesting an entertaining Epic Fantasy novel.

Maybe I didn't realize my feelings about this book because it is an investment. It's been awhile since I read something that was over 600 pages. I kind of forgot what that was like. What the slow build up feels like. And that's exactly what this book was, a slow build up. The pacing was slow and steady but everything really built to an amazing conclusion. And along the way it was expertly plotted with little clues and hints to that conclusion and reveal that I didn't see coming, even though when it was revealed I was kicking myself for not figuring it out because it seemed so obvious. By the time the book neared it's conclusion I was so invested and so entertained that I couldn't stop reading. The ending was full of action and adventure that kept me on the edge of my seat nervously waiting to see what was going to happen next. In addition to the technical aspect of the writing, I also truly enjoyed the writing style in The Name of the Wind. It may have been my favorite thing about the book. Rothfuss' writing was both lyrical and poetic. It had a beautiful atmosphere that was dramatic, visual, and engaging. It was the kind of writing that allows the reader to fall into and forget about the real world.

Or perhaps I forgot about the real world because the one Rothfuss here created was so good. There's nothing particularly mind-blowing about this world. It's a typical fantasy world. But Rothfuss does here is brilliantly develops the simple world. He is an expert at the show instead of tell style of world-building. It was subtle and still interesting. It had the perfect balance so that I could see everything but didn't get overwhelmed. And that absolutely includes the magical system. I don't even know how to explain it. It was like nothing else. I don't know if it is elemental, spells, some combination of the two, or something completely different. But I'm so excited to learn more about it and see how it all develops.

And while this is an interesting fantasy, the basis of this story is a coming-of-age tale of a man who is an infamous villain. He's become the stuff of legends but here he is telling the true story of his past. But the question is, how true is it really? Because it is him relating his own story, the connection to the characters is very personal. Kvothe and many of the other characters are complex and likable. Throughout the story we can empathize with him and see firsthand all his hardships that he experienced throughout his life. He seems both heroic and tortured. But there's just something about the fact that he's telling his own story that gives me the feeling that he's a bit of an unreliable narrator. Or maybe this is the true story. This is a character who is larger than life who has a reputation as being something that we don't entirely see from his stories, at least not yet. Maybe the way he explains himself is the truth. But it begs a lot of questions and makes the book all the more mysterious and enjoyable. I can't wait to learn more about what led him to be the person we see him as in the present and the person he is in the legends.

In the end, The Name of the Wind turned out to be a truly engaging and fascinating Epic Fantasy with beautiful writing, an enthralling world, and interesting characters.

I give The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss 9 out of 10

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy. I would definitely recommend this book to fantasy fans. If you want to get into more adult fantasy this also might be a good place to start. It has some elements of Lit Fit as well as some elements of YA novels including a younger protagonist. Plus with subtle world-building and a plot that slowly builds to a thrilling conclusion it will prepare you for some other more complex fantasies. Either way, it's worth a read.

Have you read The Name of the Wind? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!


  1. Oh, I LOVE finding those books that demand to be reread as soon as possible! Before blogging I gave in so often, and I'd end end up loving the book even more after reading it the second time.:) I don't think I've come across The Name of the Wind before, but it sounds really interesting! The cover looks so atmospheric! I've become so YA addicted recently I haven't been paying much attention to adult reads (oops!) I really must keep an eye on this one, it'll be perfect when I want a change of pace :D Thanks for sharing it, Cassie, and so glad you loved it!

    1. I'm sometimes like that as well, I pay more attention to YA books and forget all about the adult titles. They are definitely marketed better and the blogosphere is all about YA which isn't a bad thing. If you're a fantasy fan you should definitely check this one out, it's great!

  2. I love this book. It's one of my favorite fantasy books for sure!!

    1. That's high praise! I loved it. Definitely very reminiscent of the more modern Epic Fantasy like A Song of Ice and Fire. Really atmospheric and engaging!

  3. I have heard so many incredible things about this book. I picked up a copy awhile ago, and this year I'm hoping to read more of longer, high fantasy novels so I definitely want to get around to picking this one up. Great review!

    1. It's great! You should totally read it Violet. I want to read more longer adult fantasy this year too. I put so much pressure on myself to read books quickly I tend to pass over the longer stuff. I need to keep going with this series and then check out some of Sanderson's longer stuff like The Stormlight Archives.

  4. *waves hello*

    Great review :) Me and this book, ahem, yeah, did not work out ;)

    1. *waves back*

      I'm sorry this one didn't work out for you. I can see it not being the kind of book for everyone. I ended up enjoying it but only because I loved the ending.

  5. This book was amazing! I agree with you about the commitment and how the build-up sort of sneaks up on you. Excellent review!

    Lisa@Lisa's Library