Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Name of the Wind - Patrick Rothfuss

Summary: I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.

You may have heard of me.

So begins a tale unequaled in fantasy literature - the story of a hero told in his own voice. It is a tale of survival, a tale of one man's search for meaning in his universe, and how that search, and the indomitable will that drove it, gave birth to a legend.
(Summary from book - Image from patrickrothfuss.com)

My Review: I would have never picked up this book if it weren't for my husband's persistence, (he went so far as to check the book out at the library, bring it home and insist that I read it). I am not a big fantasy reader so I grudgingly cracked the book and began to read... and I didn't like it. I told my husband 30 pages into it that I would give it to page 100. Turns out I only needed 50 pages to be totally hooked.

Kvothe is the narrator of the story. He has grown up on the road in the Ruh (circus) where his parents were the leaders. His education comes from those traveling with him but it is complete; with music, acting, reading, social skills, and magic. Then tragedy hits and he finds himself alone at the age of 12, at which time he learns how to live off the streets. He finally finds a way to make it to the University to pursue his dreams at the age of 15, where he can use all his acquired education along with his life skills. This is where he learns the hard lessons of love, betrayal and his own potential.

This is a fantasy story but one which draws you into this made-up realm. Once you stop attempting to pronounce all the crazy names of people, places and things in this make-believe world, the story feels quite realistic. The characters are absolutely perfect. You can sense Kvothe's youth while still feeling his intelligence. You despise Ambrose and his evil ways. You long for Denna to find her footing, and so on. The setting is vivid, leaving the reader feeling like you have jumped into the story. All the magic that takes place in this story seems realistic to this world, you can see it taking place and really feel like it is possible.

My only complaint with this book has to due with it's length. It's over 700 pages long. I feel that almost 100 pages were full of stories that, while interesting, did not pertain to the story the narrator was telling in this novel. I have no doubt that these stories will tie into the next novel (as it is a trilogy) but I am not sure that I will remember them by the time the sequel hits the press.

Having said this, I must admit that I am looking forward to the next novel. I can't wait to hear the rest of Kvothe's story, though I get the feeling that it will be a darker tale than this one. I will excitedly pick up the next chapter in this trilogy the moment my husband puts it down. To use a quote from the book, "I am about to die of terminal curiosity".

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

If I had to sum this book up in one phrase it would be: A magical tale that will be appreciated by fantasy readers and non-fantasy readers alike.


Sweet Em said...

You are going to wait until he puts it down? I usually try to read a book while mine is away...drives him crazy. But apparently I am not a patient person!

Heather said...

I think this will be one that I would have to pry from his hands in order to read before him!


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