123 of 129 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Original and engaging
This book really surprised me. Entirely gripping, well written and original. Mixes the world of fairy tales with modern day fantasy. It's a love story, a coming of age tale, and an epic novel. The end leaves the reader with many questions left unanswered, and that in part is the power of this book. As you read, you are always seeking to know more, to understand who Kvote...
Published on 29 Mar 2010 by Harry Vaz
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK Debut
I agree largeley with Tom below, this is just another of the books that come up as being in the same bracket as Joe Abercrombie and Co and I'm afraid is much more formulaic (and a good deal thicker) than the Gentleman Bastards books and Mr Abercrombie's books for example. It's decent enough I suppose but it's just another in a long list of similar tomes. On top of that I...
Published on 9 Jan 2008 by Big Jim
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123 of 129 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Original and engaging,
Looking back at the book, there actually weren't any adventures I'd describe as epic (they are surely to come in the sequels), yet it felt as though they were epic. This is becuase the author doesn't overplay his hand - scenes that some authors might rush through as they are too ordinary for a fantasy novel, Patrick Rothus takes much more seriously, giving the scenes realism. Simple street fights feel real and significant; there are painful realities of not having money or food and living on the street. Everything feels real and important, and the book is that much more readable and believable for it.
I can't recommend this book highly enough. The only downside is that once you've read it, you'll want to read the sequel which is not due out for at least another year.
67 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I never read trilogies, but.....,
However, the moment I see the words "Book One of the Random Whatever saga" I put the book straight back on the shelf. Far too many would-be Tolkiens stretch a run-of-the mill story to two thousand pages and more.
I made an exception for George RR Martin (!) and Joe Abercrombie because they are mould breakers within the genre.
I put "The Name of the Wind" down as I finished reading, and I was thinking, 'that is the best, original fantasy novel I've read since...well what?'
So maybe it's the best ever.
There is a consistent and mystically coherent mythology, and it is not cobbled together from LOTR and D&D. It's a post golden-age story, but the first person POV means that history and mythology are as confused for Kothe as they are for anyone in the real world. There are no deus ex machina characters, and while the main character is an exceptionally gifted boy/man, he has no superpowers to get him out of trouble reliably.
He is as imperfect as the rest of us.
I shall be reading the rest as soon as they are available.
I love this book.
73 of 81 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the most memorable fantasy debuts,
This is his first book and I am not going to say it is perfect in every single way, because that would be untrue. But it is one hell of a damn good debut and is miles better than some who have been at it a lot longer. Over the years Rothfuss will grow and improve, and as a relatively young man in his mid 30s, I hope he has many decades of writing ahead of him. By the time he is George RR Martin's age, I expect him to have produced some of the most unforgettable fantasy books seen in the last 30 years.
As it stands, The Name of the Wind is one of the most memorable fantasy books I've read in several years. There are some rough edges and it took me a little while to get into the story as it was slow at first. Also, at first glance it bears all the familiar hallmarks of a fantasy story that would normally send me running for the hills as if pursued by an angry mob. The book chronicles part of the life of the main character, Kvothe, and it focuses on his early and teenage years as a young boy growing into a man and going out to challenge the world. Without spoiling it the main character has suffered a tragedy and seeks to better understand who or what was responsible and why it happened.
In Rothfuss' novel, which is told in first person by an adult Kvothe to a scribe known as the Chronicler, I see glimpses of an epic story and epic character. Kvothe comes from humble beginnings and even by the end of the first book he is not a master wizard, warrior, or a great leader of men inspiring people to greatness. But, you get the impression that one day he will be one or all of these things. There are also no familiar archetypes in this book, no labels for people such as warrior or wizard, everything is fresh and there are only people just going about their lives. I get the impression that the older Kvothe is a true Renaissance man, someone who has delved into many areas, learned many secrets and has become a master of many arts, both scientific and magical. His name is known throughout the many lands that are hinted at, but we don't really know too much about what his reputation is or what he achieved. Which makes sense, as the bulk of the story in the first book retells events in his life as a young boy, and as such he hasn't saved nations from a demon plague or killed conquering armies with a quiver of his eyebrow.
As a boy Kvothe is talented, not just a good musician and storyteller, which he learned from his parents who are performing artists, but by today's standards he would be called a prodigy or gifted. His parents recognise his thirst for knowledge and growing intellect and try their best to meet his expectations, whilst also keeping him firmly grounded. Without giving away too many spoilers, the story moves to a very harsh period in Kvothe's life where he is living rough in the city of Tarbean. One of Rothfuss' talents is his ability to create characters that are unique and interesting, but he also has the knack of describing the situations so vividly, and also without heavy detail or florid prose, that you really care about his characters. You can almost feel the cold pavement under Kvothe's bare feet and we see the darker side of a city, the street urchins and poverty, small crimes and small minds just trying to exist. These aren't tiny events that will eventually create an avalanche that changes the course of a nation, it's just daily life in a thronging city. Rothfuss doesn't shy away from difficult situations and Kvothe doesn't always come away without a scratch or emerge the victor, because after all he's just a boy.
Later in the story Kvothe manages to enrol at the university and he finally starts to come back to life after being on the streets. His vast intellect is challenged, he delves into new mysteries and Sympathy, a unique system of magic that has some very scientific principles underlying it. Now at this point it might sound too much like a certain boy wizard's story, but again rest assured this is not the case. There is not one `big bad' for Kvothe to vanquish each year at the university, but his constants are abject poverty, difficult relationships with friends, and his attempt to find out who is responsible for the most tragic event in his life.
Rothfuss tightly focuses his world building on wherever Kvothe is at that time, but we do occasionally hear news from other places and some secondary characters are from abroad. So there is a trickle effect that fills in some gaps and we get small tastes of other cultures and countries. However, this is not a sprawling fantasy quest story about a band of plucky heroes. It is both a local story about a boy who will become a legend, and also a much bigger story. Perhaps it is also there so that we will be able to better understand why he made certain choices later in life. I also get the impression that in the present, when Kvothe is grown up, the world is in a bit of a mess and there are hints that somehow he is responsible, perhaps indirectly. We just don't know at this point and I won't speculate any further as there is a lot more meat in the book, so I won't spoil it.
The book is a hefty tome, but to be honest when I got to the end I wanted more. His style is not overly descriptive, it's almost straight forward but not nearly so blunt and gritty as say Gemmell or Abercrombie. I was captivated by Rothfuss' writing, his imagination and how he adds in small details, and creates myths, folk songs and nursery rhymes that make his world feel realistic and not just slapped together so he can press on with the adventure. It gives me the impression that a lot of care has been taken to help the reader fully immerse themselves and I was drawn into the story. Despite the length of the book I read it pretty quickly as I was keen to know what happened next. But now that I've finished it, I want to go back and read it again because I'm sure there are clues and hints at the bigger picture I missed the first time.
69 of 78 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good debut!,
This review is from: The Name of the Wind (the Kingkiller Chronicle: Day One) (Kingkiller Chronicles) (Hardcover)In a nutshell, The Name of the Wind recounts the tale of Kvothe, a young man destined to become the most powerful wizard the world has ever seen. It begins with Kvothe's childhood years, first as a member of a traveling troupe of musicians and artists, and then as a street urchin forced to fend for himself in a violent environment. Later, the story shifts to his adolescence, at a time when he is admitted to the University, renowned school of magic.
Reading along, I found the structure of the story a little odd. The better part of the novel is comprised of Kvothe's back story, with only a few scenes occurring in "real time." Having never encountered something like it, I discussed it with Betsy Wollheim. She did shine some light on the matter, and it turns out that Rothfuss' first trilogy will focus on the main character's past, with occasional tantalizing hints of things to come. A second trilogy will then recount Kvothe's "present" tale.
The Name of the Wind is told in a first person narrative. Hence, other than those "real time" segments told in the third person, most of the book is told from Kvothe's perspective. Those who have a problem with single-POV narratives similar to that of Robin Hobb's The Farseer and The Tawny Man trilogies, consider yourselves warned. The main danger in using the first person narrative is that the entire story rests on the shoulder of a single character. If you like Kvothe, terrific. If you don't, that's where it gets tricky. I had no problem with that facet of the novel, but I'm acutely aware that some readers don't care much for the first person perspective.
The worldbuilding doesn't play a big role in this debut. And yet, Rothfuss hints at a much vaster depth, hopefully to be explored in future sequels. The author has an eye for details, and the story does come alive as you turn the pages. The magic system appears to be well thought of and interesting, and I'm eager to learn more about it.
The Name of the Wind is a character-driven book. As a first person narrative, it can't be anything but that. The supporting cast is composed of a relatively small number of characters, which is rather rare for a book of this size. I'm looking forward to learning more about them in the upcoming installments.
The novel suffers from only one flaw -- a flaw shared by various Daw books: it's too long. I feel that Rothfuss' attention to details slows the pace in several portions of the book. I feel that some scenes could have been truncated and others excised without the readers missing out on any major plotlines. In my opinion, this would quicken the rhythm and improve the overall quality of the book.
Unlike some debuts that are not easily accessible -- Hal Duncan's Vellum and Steven Erikson's Gardens of the Moon come to mind -- I'm persuaded that The Name of the Wind can appeal to both neophytes and long-time fans of the genre. As such, it's similar to both Brandon Sanderson's Elantris and Joe Abercrombie's The Blade Itself in that regard. It's also a throwback work, which brought fantasy novels likes Raymond E. Feist's Magician and David Eddings' Pawn of the Prophecy to mind.
Although a bit overlong, The Name of the Wind is a solid and ambitious effort. Two years ago I would have claimed that it could well be the debut of the year. But Hal Duncan and Scott Lynch have forced us to look at debuts in a different way. Still, Patrick Rothfuss wrote an auspicious debut, and I'm curious to discover the rest of Kvothe's tale.
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49 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic debut,
This review is from: The Name of the Wind (the Kingkiller Chronicle: Day One) (Kingkiller Chronicles) (Hardcover)I was luckily enough to be given this as a proof copy by a friend... I'm very glad she did so. I've read a fair amount of fantasy, most of which is not exactly well-written. However, this is a great piece of work - I can only hope the rest of the trilogy lives up to it. The previous reviewer has already encapsulated the plot so no need for me to do so :) Briefly, I had the same warm glow of having read something worthwhile that I got when I first read Robin Hobb (which this is similar to, but in a good rather than plagaristic way), George R.R. Martin, and Lois McMaster Bujold, as opposed to say Eddings (who I think tells a good story, but in a style that makes me want to gnaw my arm off!). Highly recommended.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing,
It was not a perfect book with the events between it's covers perhaps not quite matching the billing on the back, there even being a bit of a hint of anti-climax and frustration with events not moving as quickly as I would have liked in places. BUT, when I start to resent having to put the book down because I need to go and eat, drink, go to the toilet or even communicate with my family I know something special is also going on.
That special something is emotional engagement due to excellent charaterisation and fantastic story telling. I have felt love, hate, amusement and been moved by various chapters in this book and read into the deep dark night well passed my sleepybyes times and paid the price come the morning alarm call.
Rothfuss has been compared to Abercrombie and Lynch and is of that new breed of fantasy writer but this has a completely different feel, certainly to Abercrombie. It perhaps has a bit more in common with Lynch's 'Gentleman Bastards' but is a little more trad and conventional than that, whilst still feeling very fresh.
I see a couple of other reviewers have not engaged with Kvothe the central lead. Seeing him as some kind of super nerd's revenge figure with his red hair and intellect. I didn't see it that way at all and actually really enjoyed the parts of the story based in the university and bought into Kvothe for all his arrogance or perhaps because of his arrogance. I do like a complex and flawed hero rather than a noble and perfect one and he ticked this box.
I won't give a plot synopsis, other than we have a childhood to adult story told for the most in the first person style charting the rise of a gypsy type boy from street urchin to what we are promised on the back cover as the world's most famous wizard. That's your lot, any more would add a spoiling factor.
This was a gripping and enthralling piece of work and I shall be returning to Amazon for part 2 shortly!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book -definitely worth a read!,
There does seem to be a whiff of a grown up Harry P about it - but then I wonder if that can ever be avoided when writing about magic and school/universities - and do we really mind?
I also liked that all the names are straightforward and easy to remember . Fab.
I will definitely be looking out for the next installment.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A+,
Amazon Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Other favourite characters include Bast, who, though he doesn't appear much throughout the novel, is also very intriguing and endearingly loyal to Kvothe. I was also personally very drawn to Elodin - once again a very mysterious character, and exceedingly eccentric. I'm not sure how much more we'll see of him in the following novels, but I hope to see at least a little backstory for him before we leave him behind.
All in all, although it's rather long, I was very rarely disinterested in what was going on. Occasionally we have cuts to the present day where Kvothe is telling his story, which caused some frustration on my part where all I wanted to do was find out more about the events he has been narrating. However, these little snippets are equally interesting and become ever more important to the story as a whole.
I highly reccommend The Name of the Wind to anyone who enjoys fantasy, magic and adventure, character driven stories. It really won't be a waste of your time.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My name is Kvothe. You may have heard of me...,
It follows the story of Kvothe, but not in a typical way. We meet him as a rather unassuming innkeeper, but when he's hunted down by a Chronicler, we find that there's more to this young man than meets the eye.
But almost no action takes place in the present time. Rather, Kvothe retells his back story from there, in an auto-biographical fashion, even going so far as to switch into first-person narrative. It's an interesting style, which gives the extra edge of making you wonder how this great prodigy came to be such a lowly innkeeper.
Rothfuss has a distinct voice, one which will appeal to fans of Robin Hobb and George R.R. Martin. However, one thing that Rothfuss is particularly adept at is avoiding clichés. It's high fantasy, sure, and there is magic, but it's presented in such a grounded fashion, working as a pseudo-reality, that would make even the most high-brow of literary fiction look airy-fairy. You won't find any dues ex machinas or rich lost relatives coming to the rescue here; Kvothe really has grind his life out, for every penny, and you really empahise with him, hoping always for something good to come his way.
Trouble is, Rothfuss does take this anti-cliché thing a bit far. Such is his often prudish avoidance of clichés that very few typical storytelling devices come into play. Can't we have at least one sword/magic fight? Or a dramatic climax? Or a moment when all seems lost to our hero? No. Kvothe exists in a constant lull, neither on a high nor low. Indeed, his character barely seems to change. It really does read like a biography. The story doesn't even finish properly, with next to no story strands tied up (there will, be sequels, mind, though it would be nice to have some sort of closure here). In fact, considering it's size, very little actually happens in this book in terms of plot and incident. Worse, if you read the blurb on the back cover, you'd assume what's written there is what happens. But no. Only two of the listed achievements actually occur in this book. This, I found, was extremely frustrating; almost a form of cheating; it's bare-faced lying. This alone is enough to knock a star off the final mark.
And yet, despite this, `Name of the Wind' works. Why? Because it's real. We recognise Kvothe as ourselves, because whilst he is enormously talented and charismatic, nothing ever comes easily to him; he fights tooth-and-nail for everything, and by the end of it, despite the fact the story has progressed very little, Kvothe will be a character that stays with you long after you reach the back cover. So yes, I recommend this book highly; just keep an open mind, don't expect your typical fantasy novel and you'll be enthralled, and left hungry for the next instalment.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my better spontaneous purchases!,
After the first few pages I was completely engrossed...the characters are engaging and the book is extremely well written. Kvothe's story held me captivated until the very last page and I can honestly say that I didn't want the book to end!
If you're sitting there thinking "should I or shouldn't I?" then don't waste anymore time...just buy it! If you're disappointed I'd be truly amazed!
I'm just about to pre-order the sequel...which can't come soon enough as far as I'm concerned!
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The Name of the Wind: The Kingkiller Chonicle: Book 1 (The Kingkiller Chronicle) by Patrick Rothfuss (Hardcover - 27 Sep 2007)
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