THE NAME OF THE WIND by Patrick Rothfuss–a Review

I may be ahead of the curve on some things (See, e.g., my review of REDSHIRTS, coming out June 5), but I am also way behind on some things. For example, I am only now reading George R.R. Martin’s Tales of Dunk and Egg. I also just finished the 2007 book THE NAME OF THE WIND by Patrick Rothfuss last night.

For the few of you not already familiar with THE NAME OF THE WIND, it is the story of Kvothe (pronounced like “quothe,” as in “…the Raven”). When the story begins, Kvothe is a man of many legends, a hero several times over. Therefore, the Chronicler has sought him out to record Kvothe’s story, directly from the man himself. THE NAME OF THE WIND is the first of a trilogy of books, each representing one day of narration by Kvothe. Book One tells of his youth in a troupe of performers, learning the magic of sympathy. These happy years end in a terrible tragedy that will define the rest of Kvothe’s life. He lives as a street urchin for years, living a life of fear, poverty, and violence. And eventually, he makes it to the University, where he can continue his studies of sympathy. You see, Kvothe is a genius–able to pick up just about anything with amazing quickness and understand it on a profound level. A man with that sort of talent is trouble. Eventually Kvothe is expelled from the University at a younger age than many are even allowed in.

It may seem like that summary is full of spoilers, but you’d be wrong. Most of that information is found on the back cover. And it is not as if I really had to restrain myself when writing the review of THE NAME OF THE WIND. Quite the opposite. I have only scratched the surface of the book and the writing abilities of Patrick Rothfuss.

THE NAME OF THE WIND is an amazingly good book. Patrick Rothfuss writes with a beauty and lyricism that captivated me from the beginning. Kvothe is a fascinating character that readers get to experience as a boy, a teenager, and an old man. It’s done so well, readers will barely be able to wait to learn more about the missing parts of Kvothe’s life. The magical system of sympathy is so well-defined that readers will understand it on a deep level. And Kvothe’s world is more fully realized than many books I’ve read recently.

It is easy to see why his writing has created a legion of fans of Patrick Rothfuss writing. Rothfuss’s talent is such that his writing will either drive you mad with jealousy or fire your creative spark, driving you to improve your own writing. I can’t recommend it more. So now I’m off to get a copy of THE WISE MAN’S FEAR, and to beg Patrick Rothfuss to finish the third book, just like all his other fans.

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