By: Patrick Rothfuss
“MY NAME IS KVOTHE
I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.
You may have heard of me.
So begins the tale of Kvothe—from his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, to years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-riddled city, to his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a difficult and dangerous school of magic. In these pages you will come to know Kvothe as a notorious magician, an accomplished thief, a masterful musician, and an infamous assassin. But The Name of the Wind is so much more—for the story it tells reveals the truth behind Kvothe’s legend.”
– Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind, DAW; Reprint edition (April 7, 2009), back cover.
What usually happens when I catch word of how fantastic a movie is before I’ve seen it is I forget to temper the euphoric reviews with a balanced attitude, and I set myself up for an evening of disappointment. Ninety percent of the time.
The percentage diminishes further for books. Down to Ninety-nine percent.
The Name of the Wind falls in the rare one percent.
Early in the first few chapters we learn how the name of Kvothe is widespread as a legend and we soon learn that the innkeeper, Kote, is that legend. How Kote ended up an innkeeper from the legendary tale is a mystery that kept me turning the pages. Kvothe’s apprentice, Bast, is also a mystery.
Setting of the World
Though Kvothe hasn’t travelled through all of The Four Corners of civilization in the first book, the readers are exposed to many of the kingdom’s culture through Kvothe meeting people or hearing stories from different regions.
I read the first installment of the Kingkiller Chronicle in early 2016 and, in all honesty, have yet to read another book that has gripped me in the same way since. After reading this book, I inadvertently find myself chasing that same ‘high’ which I’ve yet to achieve. It’s come close. Close, but not quite.
With a word count of more than 250,000 words, it is a hefty read but completely worth it. By the end of the book I wanted more and I couldn’t get my hands on The Wise Man’s Fear fast enough.
The one thing to keep in mind is that the pacing is slower than many books. I was fine with the slower pacing as it allowed me to understand Kvothe’s struggle and appreciate his successes.
For me, The Name of the Wind is a masterpiece.