Thursday, 12 April 2012

The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss

Publishers: Gollancz

Pages: 672

Main Characters:

Kvothe, Denna, Bast, Chronicler

The Name of the Wind is the fantasy novel from Patrick Rothfuss and is based around the character Kvothe. This novel, the first in the Kingkiller Chronicles tells the tale of Kvothe’s childhood. Telling the tale himself, Kvothe hopes it will quieten the rumours around him and show how he truly became the most powerful arcanist the world has ever seen. However, within Kvothe’s story there is a mystery. After Kvothe’s family was murdered by the Chandrian, a group of seven evil beings lead by Haliax. A person so evil the God’s have placed a constant shadow over his face because of the horrible deeds he has done.  Kvothe want answers why these once mythical creatures would murder his troupe. His desire for knowledge leads him the University. In the University Kvothe channels his efforts into finding more information on the Chandrian and why they would kill his parents. However because of a trick played on him by another student, Kvothe is banned from the Archives of the University and can no longer search for the answers he needs.

Kvothe is also dirt poor. After his families murder, Kvothe took to begging on the streets of Tarbean. His experience on the streets gave Kvothe a wisdom other young men do not have but it still made him no richer. When Kvothe reaches the University he tries to earn his talent or ‘pipes’ at the local music hall. Gaining his pipes would mean wealth for Kvothe. If he shows he is good enough at playing the lute, he will be able to get jobs in taverns playing music or even gain a rich sponsor to make sure he is fed and clothed and maybe even pay for his tuition at the University. Kvothe gains his pipes by playing one of the hardest songs he knows, through playing this song he meets Denna. Through Denna, Kvothe’s search for the Chandrian is re-ignited, as a wedding where Denna is singing is attacked and its guests are killed in the same circumstances Kvothe’s parents were. Kvothe must travel to this wedding to see if he can find any more clues about the Chandrian and why they murdered his family.

This book was suggested to me as a good way to get into more fantasy novels. Having read The Song of Ice and Fire and The Hunger Games, fantasy and sci-fi novels seem to be the books to read at the minute, so I wanted to widen my scope and get into more of them. When I mentioned this book to other people or read reviews about it, the conclusion was that it was amazing and a ‘must read’, so I eagerly set about reading it!

However for me this book did not live up to that amount of praise and acclaim. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good book and I really enjoyed reading it but I just didn’t think it was as good as other people said it was. For starters, it was very slow at the beginning and quite hard to get into. There are some  hints that the next hundred pages are going to pick up the pace but for me they really didn’t. What I will say though is the last 25% of the book was brilliant, really fast paced and really making you want to read on to the next book!

Also, and I know some people will totally disagree with me here but I thought Kvothe’s time at the University was like the adult version of Harry Potter! He’s learning magic, he has two close friends (like Hermione and Ron), has a rich, well bread enemy (Malfoy), is always getting into trouble for his inquisitiveness and is living in a school (Hogwarts). For me this was just a little boring because the synopsis for the book had Kvothe killing Kings, slaying Dragons etc. whereas the majority of this book is him at a school.

As I said above, Kvothe is poor and there are countless time where I think Rothfuss focuses on his poorness too much.  There are times where you think ‘right Kvothe’s got plenty of money now, the author will move away from that issue’, but Rothfuss never seems to do so. Even when Kvothe earns his pipes and you think the money issue has ended, Rothfuss drags Kvothe back into poorness again. To me it just seems he should have left this issue of money when Kvothe started University and focus more on other things like his search for the Chandrian or his relationship with Denna rather than Kvothe becoming poor (again).

However, even though I had these issues I still enjoyed the book. I think I’d read too much into the hype people had created around the book and set my standards too high and then got really disappointed when the book didn’t meet them. Maybe this was my mistake and not the books.  I am really looking forward to reading the next book in the series The Wise Man’s Fear to see where Rothfuss takes Kvothe’s story.

A good book but took a little while to get into. I think you would enjoy this book if you are into fantasy novels. For some strange reason I was always reminded of Skyrim when I read this book!? So maybe if you like playing Skyrim you would enjoy reading this book? Give it a try and let me know!

For author’s official website click here

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