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.