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145 of 153 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

versus
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Storytelling Magician
This book took me a whole month to finish, though all things considered, it was a not a complicated or difficult book to read. The story of an aspiring young magician, Kvothe, who seeks entry to the prestigious University to become an arcanist, does seem rather Harry Potterish, though this is by no means a disparaging comparison.

What distinguishes this fantasy...
Published 16 months ago by J. Ang


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145 of 153 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Original and engaging, 29 Mar 2010
This review is from: The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle) (Paperback)
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 is and how he has come to be in the role of simple pub landlord. Everytime you get more information, further questions arise as the author skillfully teases and pulls the reader along a rollercoaster of a journey.

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.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Made the Mistake of Reading the 1st Paragraph..., 15 April 2012
I originally planned to catch up on my to-read list this year, but when I received an Amazon gift card for Christmas I had to pick up the first two books in the Kingkiller Chronicles.

While in the process of reading four other books, I made the mistake of checking out The Name of the Wind. Yeah... I couldn't stop! It threw me for a loop. I've read plenty of good books lately, but none have grabbed me liked this one. That first night, I lost a couple much-needed hours of sleep just to satisfy my curiosity. If you couldn't guess by now, I loved it.

The Name of the Wind begins in third person and switches to first as we hear the story of Kvothe, the main character. Rothfuss makes it an easy transition. We learn from the beginning that Kvothe is an intelligent kid. He's lead into a series of nasty events that leave him in a life and death situation for much of the first half of the book. He uses his wit to guarantee his survival.

I've read plenty of other reviews claiming Rothfuss spends too much time on tangents that take away from the story (a common complaint for epic fantasy). I never felt this once. Every scene fit, if only to teach us more about the characters and their morality. The flow from excitement to depth began on the first page.

I read another review complaining about the lack of personality from the female characters. I can see how this may be true for some, but I personally found the main love interest to be one of the most unique characters I've read about. Multiple scenes displayed the intricacies of her personality.

A favorite aspect of The Name of the Wind was the new school of magic Rothfuss created. It reminded me of Brandon Sanderson's ability to produce a new and distinct kind of magic. Rothfuss planned it out well and details its properties using magical, but more often, scientific reasoning. Those who enjoy the world and magic building process will be happy with what Rothfuss has to offer in his first book.

If somebody forced me to pick something I didn't like, I can only think of one possibility. There are two minor characters who spend a lot of time together and I had a tough time distinguishing between the two. Rothfuss might have been able to make each more unique as to set them apart. I hate to mention it because it wasn't really a big deal. I just remember some of their interactions being the only time I felt pulled from the story.

A great book and creative enough to set itself apart from others in the genre.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Storytelling Magician, 5 Sep 2013
By 
J. Ang - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This book took me a whole month to finish, though all things considered, it was a not a complicated or difficult book to read. The story of an aspiring young magician, Kvothe, who seeks entry to the prestigious University to become an arcanist, does seem rather Harry Potterish, though this is by no means a disparaging comparison.

What distinguishes this fantasy novel from others of its ilk is the rather believable magic the author conjures. For instance, this first of a trilogy introduces us to "sympathy", a magical force which boasts elements of scientific concepts like thermodynamics, in the way objects can be moved by creating a sympathetic link between them to transfer energy.

To Rothfuss's credit, he manages to create a fictional world that runs rather consistently according to a system he imagines. Kvothe's musical background is established by his childhood as part of the Edema Ruh, a troupe of people very much like the travelling minstrels, and music features as much as magic in the story. The inciting incident that throws young Kvothe into action is perhaps the murder of his parents and entire troupe by the Chandrian, a mythical evil force that is the stuff of faerie tales even in Kvothe's world, which complicates his quest to avenge his parents. Do the Chanrians exist or don't they? In the process, he becomes a street urchin for a period of three years, during which he learns a little about the Chandrian, and confirms his resolve to learn as much as he can about them by setting out for the University.

However, the reader becomes very aware of the narrative lapsing into that of pre-pubescent boy, who is suitably enamoured with the first mysterious beauty, Denna, whom he meets enroute to the University, and who continues to appear in his life years later. Our young hero is caught gawking at women's bodies like a hormonal teen in parts of his narrative, while at the same time becoming obsessed with Denna despite her cruelty and contrary signals to him. One can't help but be irritated by Kvothe's willingness to explain her irresponsible behaviour away to his two best friends at the Uni in a very unconvincing conversation near the close of the book.

The action in the novel is tempered by these distractions, especially in an episode with a draccus (a mythical dragonlike lizard) where he and Denna flirt, while also plotting to slay the creature. Arguably, the narrative structure also serves to distract, rather than add to the telling of the tale. I couldn't help but feel that the narrative frame of the adult Kvothe narrating the story to a Chronicler at an inn, is an unnecessary complication. Perhaps I would be proven wrong after reading the other two books in the trilogy (the third book still pending release at the time of this review). In the meantime, most of the other characters feel flat and undeveloped, largely owing, I feel, to the singular perspective Rothfuss gives to Kvothe throughout his recount of his past.

Nonetheless, the story is entertaining, even if the writing is uneven in some parts, with overused phrases like "safe as houses". I look forward to Kvothe learning the name of the wind in the next book.
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82 of 90 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I never read trilogies, but....., 29 July 2010
By 
Darowyn (Staffs Moorlands) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle) (Paperback)
My preferred light reading is hard Science Fiction, but I do occasionally look at fantasy literature.
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.
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80 of 88 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the most memorable fantasy debuts, 29 Jun 2010
This review is from: The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle) (Paperback)
Every now and then I hear on the grapevine about a new superstar of fantasy. Someone the critics rave about and say they are the next Tolkien, the next Gemmell, the next George RR Martin. This instantly makes me nervous. So I stayed away for while. I should not have waited. In my opinion, the hype is true and he is going to be a giant of the genre.

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.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing, 1 Sep 2012
This review is from: The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle) (Paperback)
I tend to be a bit mean with my star rating, scoring books I really like 4 stars, probably where a lot of reviewers would award the full 5, the reason for this is I want to reserve somewhere to go when I read a book that totally grabs me and makes me it's hostage for a few days. This was such a book.

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!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why did I wait so long ...?, 25 April 2012
This review is from: The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle) (Paperback)
I don't need to summarise the plot,many other reviews here do that. Should you buy this book? Yes. Will you like it? Well, that very much depends on you. The reviews here that criticise the book all seem to say the same thing - half of it could have been cut; it's too slow, etc.
Fair comments for those who prefer constant action and stimulation of a blunt sort (don't get me wrong, I like Dan Abnett too ...) but that is not what this book tries to be and crticising it for something that it is not and will never be, is rather pointless. It's like buying a Merc and moaning that it's not a BMW. It is what it is.
I find it interesting that all the hype-deserving books (and the most successful books) of recent years have all been similar in nature, slow burn. Elspeth Cooper's The Songs of the Earth is the same as is Scott Lynch's Lies of Loch Lamora and sequel. You get more depth from spending more time with character (rather than rushing through as the one star reviewers would prefer. That way, you care more and understand more, of what here, is a brilliantly complex world.
I came away wondering just how smart Mr Rothfuss is. To write about the various desciplines of the Arcanists is impressive indeed. Either way he's a genius, either because he DOES understand all the things he writes about or because he doesn't and yet has the literary skill to make me believe that he does. Genius.
This story is about Kvothe and all other characters do pale in comparison for that reason but manh reviews here say how believable the story is - that's because it's so well written. Don't miss it like I did for 4 years!!! The hype was true.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "You have to be a bit of a liar to tell a story the right way.", 10 April 2012
This review is from: The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle) (Paperback)
Reading the first page of this absolutely stunning novel by Patrick Rothfuss suggests we're in for a book of subdued beginnings. With the silence of the Waystone Inn and it's three parts we're treated to some of the most honed and perfected writing ever seen in the English language (Do I hear gasps?). It doesn't really matter what you think of the rest of this book, the passage which we see at the start of the novel, and return to time and time again, is writing at it's simplest and most lyrical. It's not until the end of that first page that we get the sense that maybe the silence we're reading about isn't as subdued as might be first thought. Instead, that silence continually comes back to haunt the reader like a brick in the face, or a bang in the night.

Rothfuss is a master of lyrical writing. His prose is deft and skilful, leaving the reader hanging on every word. For a story about a story, perhaps the most accomplished part of the writing in this book is that we don't actually hang on every word of Patrick Rothfuss. We hang on every word of Kvothe. The flame haired narrator. With each interlude in Kvothe's tale we are reminded of the fact that Kvothe does not actually exist. We are reading a book. This is testament to Rothfuss' ability to truly pull us into the tale that his character is telling.

That is not to say that the interludes are any less gripping. On the contrary, Rothfuss tends to unleash his true skills during these brief sections, creating characters we care about easily as much as those in Kvothe's tale in much less time than Kvothe has to create a dramatic story.

Rothfuss teases us with background information in each interlude, suggesting both a bigger tale yet to come in Kvothe's life, and slowly filling in pieces of the past before Kvothe has the chance to speculate any further.

The unreliable narrator is one of the most useful techniques in a writer's arsenal. Doing it poorly is easy. Doing it this well is masterful.

For anyone who hasn't read this novel yet, or who has started and not stayed with it - do yourselves the biggest favour you can all year, and read it now. Fantasy fans have been starved of fresh, literary gems in the genre.

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

10/10

And the rest is silence...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable and well constructed fantasy world. Felt like it was only half the length it actually was., 9 July 2014
This review is from: The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle) (Paperback)
I have been a bit turned off starting a new fantasy series for a while, I was beginning to feel they were all a bit 'samey' and predictable. Coupled with this book being quite a hefty size (thanks to the kindle at least I didn't have to carry it around for the last week!), it's always a concern that the length is due to lack of editing rather than depth of story!

I am delighted (and relieved) to report that this is not at all the case with The Name of the Wind. I was barely able to put it down from beginning to end, and it didn't feel too long in the slightest. And this is only really the introduction to a story that will unfold further down the trilogy! To people able to write a 900 page introduction to a story which is compelling and exciting is really very impressive.

The storyline and characterisations are original (within the realm of the fantasy genre of course), and I especially appreciated the intricate world-building. Magic systems are not overly showy and all-powerful, and very precisely explained. The plot is clever and twisty, the characters, especially Kvothe, feel like they are developing gradually and, importantly, are all humanly flawed. There is nothing more annoying than a perfect hero! Being able to contrast current and past versions of Kvothe definitely whets the appetite for finding out what happened in between...

Highly recommended so far, here's hoping the series can maintain the high level set by its opening book.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my better spontaneous purchases!, 28 Dec 2009
This review is from: The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle) (Paperback)
I bought this book on the spur of the moment - mostly drawn to it by it's fantastic cover!? I'm not a huge reader of fantasy books in general but this book may have converted me!

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 Chronicle)
The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle) by Patrick Rothfuss (Paperback - 12 Jun 2008)
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