The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
Series: The Kingkiller Chronicle (#1)
Publisher: Penguin Group DAW (March 2007)
This is my new favourite book! I write this review just minutes after finishing the book. I still feel a bit overwhelmed.
Sometimes the expectations are just too high. The ratings on Goodreads are amazing: 4.55 stars average from about 270.000 ratings. I was also recommended by friends to read The Name of the Wind. Maybe because of these expectations, the beginning was quite slow and a little disappointing. But then after fifty pages or so.. BAM! The story took up speed and didn’t slow down until the end.
The Name of the Wind is the story of Kvothe. Literally. It’s a book about a man telling about his life. How can that be interesting? But it is! Not only does Kvothe have an incredibly eventful life, the writing style is excellent. I do not read books that often in which I so clearly feel the characters. Or character, actually, as we only really get to know Kvothe himself. And then to imagine that the story of his life takes three days to tell, and that we’ve only had the first day in this book. One day of story in one book!
It is not that I liked every part of The Name of the Wind. I like my protagonist to be happy. Sure, bad things happen, but when the hero is in a dark place and not likely to get out of there, it feels kinda depressing. This again reflects the quality of the work, Rothfuss made me feel so connected with Kvothe. It was as if I really knew him. At parts, I couldn’t even continue reading because I felt so bad for him. I laughed, I cried, I don’t think I’ve ever felt so engaged with a fictional person. But then reading his life story, knowing how he will end up, is just sad.
I like reading books about insanely intelligent people. In daily life I consider myself to be reasonably intelligent. I’m about to finish my Master and start a PhD. But compared to characters like Kvothe I’m a complete idiot. In such moments I like to remind myself that only a very slight veil separates brilliance and insanity. I should not be jealous. But the nice thing about Kvothe is that he is also not an infallible hero. In the legends surrounding his person he is of course, but in real life he makes tons of mistakes and had to work really hard. That earns him a lot of my sympathy.
So in the end, this is not a flawless fantasy novel after all. How it can still be my new favorite book? Easy, the peaks are so high, that the small flaws are forgiven. I was so engaged while reading that I will advise everyone to give it a try too! I will start the sequel The Wise Man’s Fear very soon, I want more Kvothe!
Final review: ★★★★★