It hasn’t been an exceptionally long time since I’ve read a book, but it’s been far too long since I’ve read a good one. The Name of the Wind reinvigorates my love for not only fantasy fiction, but fiction in general. The world Patrick Rothfuss creates is imaginative, magical, but most importantly, realistic.
Rothfuss shows a true love for world-building, creating his own set of physics and magic that realistically and believably interact with the physics of the real world. I’m sure anyone who’s read the Name of the Wind realized at some point that Rothfuss is quite intelligent, did his research, and must have been damn good at chemistry when in school.
The story follows young Kvothe on his journey through life. In the present day he’s revered as perhaps the greatest man who ever lived, but is now thought dead. The truth is he’s alive and telling the story of his life in secret to a scribe known as Chronicler, and he starts at the beginning, and how his life shaped out to be the way it is so famed. This book goes through to about his 15th year of life and is a story about life and death and love and loss. It is the first in a planned trilogy known as The Kingkiller Chronicles.
Despite the praise I give to the story, it’s not a perfect book. Many a chapter, although brilliant and lovely in their own right, are excessive and often superfluous to the plot, making it feel bloated and longer than it needs to be. The first quarter of the book felt a bit too slow-paced. Fortunately that pace picked up quickly, and then around the 3rd quarter it plateau’d again.
The last quarter of the book was absolutely magnificent however. Chapter after chapter of edge of your seat storytelling, and a truly epic climax. As the ending began to resolve itself, it felt like the end of a book. And that isn’t just a stupid way to describe it. Anyone who’s ever read a book from beginning to end will understand and know that feeling you get when you’re 75% into a book and you just want to power through it. The last one 100 pages… 50… 10. You read quicker, you’re more invested, you’re excited to reach the end. That’s what the writing felt like after the climax of Rothfuss’ debut story. Like he knew he had something exceptional and he wanted to get it out to people, to wrap it up. It felt suddenly excited. And that excitement makes me all the more ready about starting the next novel in the series, The Wise Man’s Fear.
One thing you start to get by the end of the story is a better understanding of the modern day world within the story, due to the brief and bone chilling glimpses you receive throughout the book. The more you want to hear about the story of Kvothe’s origin, the more curious you become about his current state of affairs and what’s going on with the world around him. An evil is growing within the world and it’s that darkness that urges the story onward.
This book deserves a solid 8.5, but that’s not how I review things. So I’ll round up and give the book a 9. Not bad for a Freshman.