Sunday, August 22, 2010

Review: Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

First off lets be clear. I don't read Epic Fantasy. I don't like it.

I don't care for careful world building that includes 3000 years of lore and mythology. Names that string vowels together with apostrophes and a consonant or two for flavor turn me off. Oh, and anyone caught singing a song accompanied by a lute will be taunted mercilessly.

So how, you may ask, did I end up reading Name Of The Wind? Easy. I was tricked. I  was walking around the sci fi/ fantasy aisles with the ever helpful  Broguely McBookstore and he pulled shenanigans. See, I was looking for my standard fare- UF, something I hadn't seen before. He recommended a few tomes, then turned to me and said the few magic words that are guaranteed to get a reaction from me.

"But, if you're looking for a challenge..." ( imagining it with his cute little accent- it takes it up to a +10 on the guaranteed to get me to do things I otherwise might not--good thing the only thing he's selling is books)

I couldn't not buy it. Even if it was the first in a series and it sits at 700+ pages. Even if the front cover featured a faceless person in a dark cloak standing in a field. He practically smacked me in the face with his gauntlet. I had to buy the book.

I didn't read the BOB blurb before I bought it- but here it is (snatched from Barnes &

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. 

As I mentioned before--as a rule I hate Epic Fantasy. But rules are made to be broken and sure enough this book shattered it. It is definitely a Baby Doll Nightie read- our hero manages to hold his beloved though the night, but mentioning that is just to get the point out of the way so we can get to the meat.

Name The Wind is beautifully written, elegantly put together and it managed to suck me in completely. The mythology is robust without being pompous. Everything that is in the story feels like it should be there, not like it was put in to satisfy some nerd-itch of the author.

The characters are written to be flawed and I don't feel like I have seen them a thousand times before. This is a very character driven book, if you are looking for a plot heavy page turner- this may not be your thing...but then again-- I'm the girl who hates Epics... I cannot wait for the next installment of the Kingkiller Chronicle trilogy (The Wise Man's Fear) to come out in March of 2011.

All in all I figure I must be nicer to Brouguely McBookstore, he seems to have a knack for picking winners.


Ed said...

now I'm going to have to read it, if someone that doesn't like the general genre recommends it, a fantasy enthusiast as myself will surely love it.

Clifton Hill said...

I'm an epic fantasy fanboy myself. Though I like to think I only go for the good epic stuff. Rothfuss' entry is sure getting some high praise from all sorts of folk and it's high on my to-read list. I'm reading another book right now, and it is epic, but it certainly suffers from a lot of that nerd-itch you speak of.

Lela Gwenn said...

Yeah, I was a big epic fantasy reader when I was younger-- but I get bored wading through all the history and clans and blah blah blah. Whe it is done well though (like Name the Wind) I'm a total geek for it.