My father is constantly recommending new books to me. And if I won’t make time to sit down and read them he’ll recommend good audiobooks to me instead. The other day, while sorting books bequeathed to me, he came downstairs and started advertising this new author, Patrick Rothfuss, that he was currently listening to (he goes through periods of hard copy books, eBooks, and his trusty Audible app). Usually I just brush it off, or say something along the lines of “when I get the chance to read/listen to it I will,” but this time was particularly annoying. He obviously saw the hundreds of books stacked beside me, slowly getting sifted and sorted, and I had just started this blog so my attention was already excitedly divided, but he persisted. I wanted to tell him, “I kinda have a lot of reading to do as it is,” but I felt that a bit harsh for someone only trying to share something with me. So I said yes, and have been listening to Patrick Rothfuss’ first novel, The Name of the Wind, on and off since then. (This article is spoiler-free).
The audiobook is split into 4 parts, each just over 7 hours in length, so in total it’s almost about 30 hours worth of listening. Quite lengthy for your average audiobook. Just a little while ago I finished part one.
I like it so far. But that’s about it. So far, although I like it and shall eagerly continue listening, I can’t say that I’m particularly impressed, after hearing about its acclaim. Perhaps I’m being overly critical too soon, but it doesn’t feel at all “too soon”. I’ve already sat through a good seven hours of it, and the majority of it is extremely slow. Thinking back, the whole first chapter wasn’t particularly necessary, and the story didn’t actually begin until the fifth or sixth. After that, it takes nearly ten chapters for anything major to happen, and so on. The amount of filler also throws me off guard quite a bit.
I’m not trying to bash the story. I think so far it’s off to a good start, if not just a very slow one. I do really like the main protagonist, and think he’s got a lot of character in him, even though the way he refers to himself in the story is particularly cocky. Actually, the character development as a whole is extremely well done. Each character is unique and defined nicely. Each feels like a real character, even the ones who aren’t fully described – we can still draw pictures of their likeness in our mind.
Despite Rothfuss’ ability to create extremely believable characters however, I find the world he’s tried so hard to create confuses me a little. At first I wasn’t sure if it were supposed to be a magical tale of Earth’s past, or a fantastical tale in another world. I gradually just accepted the latter, but certain things threw me off. Two horses were named Alpha and Beta by an arcanist… Alpha and Beta are references to the Greek alphabet. Does this acknowledge the existence of Greece and it’s influence on the rest of the world? Another is the religion being so closely linked to modern-day Christendom. I couldn’t tell if this was supposed to be a not-so-subtle joke, an homage, or an obvious reference to Christian (and/or perhaps Rothfuss’) beliefs. But that’s all minor qualms. It doesn’t take me away from the story too much. It’s an incredibly well-developed world regardless.
I love the explanation of the sympathy magic. It just makes sense that it works that way. I think my favorite scene had to be the scene with the Chandrian in the forest. The ability to pull my personal sympathy from me was never so high as it was in that scene. That was truly breathtaking writing. I’m looking forward to continuing my journey with Kvothe. If I haven’t given the story it’s deserved praise just yet, please don’t hate me for it. These are merely my thoughts on the first 24 chapters. I’m sure 25 will be the one that finally gets me into the swing of things.