The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss is an enjoyable fantasy novel that is carried by its prose. Rothfuss writes with a wonderful poetic grace that was easy and pleasant to read. The story and the characters in his book are a bit of a mixed bag. The story itself is enjoyable, but suffers from some pacing issues, and while Kvothe is very well developed, the characters that surround him aren’t. Despite these weaknesses, Rothfuss still delivers a strong book filled with excellent writing, a wonderfully developed world, and fairly interesting main character. If you’re a fan of sword and sorcery, I wouldn’t hesitate to give this book a solid recommendation.
- In my opinion, Rothfuss has a bad habit of lingering. Two times during my journey through The Name of the Wind, I had to struggle to keep going because of this habit. The reader watches Kvothe experience the same things, and make the same mistakes over and over again. Despite the natural eloquence and poised grace of Rothfuss’ writing, these parts of the book seemed to drag on without end and were difficult for me to read. There were many times that I thought that the horse being beaten was no longer just dead, but was quickly becoming an unrecognizable bloody mess.
- The end of the book is abrupt and not really an ending at all. Rothfuss offers the reader no closure or contentment; he offers you an annoying “Come back tomorrow to find out more!” half-ending, both literally and figuratively. For a book that is nearly seven hundred pages long, I find this kind of ending to be inexcusable.
- Most of the characters in the book, aside from Kvothe, are fairly undeveloped. A singular side of them is displayed to the reader, and that is really all we get to know of them. This is especially true of the female characters, who all came off as one dimensional women, who could easily be interchanged with minimal damage to the story.
- Rothfuss writes with a poetic poise that I rarely see in other authors. Most of the time when I encounter poetic writing inside a novel I can’t scream purple prose fast enough. This is not at all the case with Rothfuss. Rather than feeling forced and egocentric, his word choices flow beautifully and do a great deal to enhance his story telling.
- The world building of the book is done exceptionally well. The Name of the Wind takes place in a world rich with stories, history, and mystery. Additionally, Rothfuss does something I frequently see other fantasy authors fail to do — he mixes the correct amounts of familiar and fantastic. His world is one that is recognizable enough that it is comfortable, but mysterious enough that the reader is compelled to go out and explore it.
- The systems of magic that Rothfuss creates are interesting and somewhat unique. I especially enjoyed his explanations and development of the magical system called sympathy and the way that Rothfuss mixed it with a dash of real world science.
- I wanted to love it so hard. I wanted a new book to tell everyone I knew to read. I wanted to read something that enraptured me and forced me to live in its world. And there were so many times this book came within a hairsbreadth of doing so. I would be tight within its grasp. Kvothe would do something that would endear him to me. Then he would drone on for pages and pages, telling me parts of his past that, while relevant to him, were boring to me. I would spend pages hooked on the story, and then find myself slowly slipping towards wishing something interesting would happen.
- Kvothe is characterized as the once-in-a-hundred-generations genius. He is good at nearly everything he sets out to do. Music? He’s a prodigy. Magic? He does in three days what takes most people three months. In addition to this, the problems he faces are always the same and the mistakes he makes are frequently the same: poverty and arrogance. I didn’t dislike him for these two issues, but I feel like a character becomes much more likable/relatable when confronted with more than two repeated problems.
The man named Kote is more than he appears to be. He is also known as Kvothe and has a number of titles and other names: King Killer, The Bloodless, Maedre, Shadicar, Lightfinger and The Arcane. But now he is simply named Kote, a man that is a shadow of his former glory, a man that is waiting to die. This does not stop the stories of his past deeds from constantly circling him, like demons cloaked in shadow. Despite his best attempts to withdraw from the world, one day he saves a man, a man who is a great collector of stories. When Chronicler discovers Kote’s true identity he wants nothing less than to collect the true story of Kvothe’s life, and Kvothe decides to share it. Perhaps along the way he may even begin to remember who he was.