I learned about this novel quite by chance. While in a bookstore one day, I noticed Patrick Rothfuss’ novel The Wise Man’s Fear. Intrigued by the cover, I picked it up and discovered that it was the 2nd book of the Kingkiller Chronicle series.
I was intrigued enough by the story to look for the 1st book, The Name of the Wind. Later, I learned that The Name of the Wind actually won several awards when it was published in 2007, and was even listed #18 on the NPR’s Top 100 Sci-Fi / Fantasy Books, back in 2011.
After finishing George R.R. Martin’s A Dance with Dragons, I needed a good fantasy novel to tide me over until the publication of the 6th book of A Song of Ice and Fire, so I decided to read The Kingkiller Chronicle. Needless to say, I was excited to begin.
The Name of The Wind is the story of Kvothe, a red-haired, wild-eyed, enigmatic innkeeper with an extraordinary past. Sought out by the scribe Chronicler, determined to learn the truth about him, Kvothe recounts his painful past to remember his glory days, as well as to put rumors to rest.
Kvothe gives Chronicler 3 days to get his life story, starting from when he was a child travelling with an acting troupe. As Kvothe tells his story, the narration style switches from 3rd person, to 1st person as he remembers the events of his life.
The Name of the Wind is day 1 of the three days Chronicler has to record Kvothe’s story, and it focuses mainly on his childhood, growing up as a member of the famous travelling group, the Edema Ruh, his early education, his brush with tragedy, which would forever change his life, and his days at the University studying to be an arcanist.
After reading novel, I again found myself in the minority, as I did not find this book amazing. Disappointing would be a better description.
As much as Kvothe’s legendary reputation was hinted at in the beginning of the novel, none of his heroic deeds were present in book 1. The fantasy world that Rothfuss created was not fantastical or extraordinary, in the way fantasy worlds are supposed to be, and in terms of magic and mysticism, the novel is a bit lacking.
Apart from being a bit dry, story-wise, I found the writing style a bit awkward and repetitive at times, with the author using the same words or phrases to describe different things, or needlessly reiterating concepts and ideas.
Though Kvothe’s story was interesting enough to keep me reading, as a stand-alone novel, The Name of the Wind lacked in exciting plot twists, significant developments, and was anti-climactic, to say the least.
The 2nd book of the series, The Wise Man’s Fear, was published in 2011, and is the 2nd day of Kvothe’s storytelling. I’m hoping that with the second book, and with the trilogy nearing its completion, we will be able to see more of how Kvothe developed his much talked-about fierce reputation.