Reading this book felt like coming home and putting on my warmest, comfiest fuzzy slippers. I love epic fantasy above all else when it comes to books. This book is classic epic fantasy in the same family as Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson, Raymond Fiest, and so many other amazing writers. Every time I read this kind of book, I’m swept back to my high school days when I read as I walked down the halls, while teachers lectured, during lunch, after school, and far into the night. *sigh* I miss the days when I could read so much.
The Name of the Wind
by Patrick Rothfuss
Kvothe is a legend, an innkeeper, a swordsman, an arcane mage, a musician, a kingkiller. Let’s just say he is many things. The story begins with Kvothe the Innkeeper, a tired man seeking a simple life– to live in peace and quiet, but trouble follows him. It looms on the horizon.
While he waits for this looming danger, he tells his story to Chronicler– a man who seeks the truth in stories. Kvothe was born to parents who led a well respected traveling theatrical troupe. One day Kvothe sees the wind answer when an old man calls its name. From then on, Kvothe wants to learn how to make the wind obey his command. He is too clever for his own good, but the old man begins his training. He learns much from the old man, but not how to call the wind.
Wonderful things and terrible things happen to Kvothe. I don’t want to spoil it for you but I’ll say this. The University is his dream because the Archive contains tens of thousand of books and his thirst for knowledge is unquenchable. He makes it to the University when he is younger than most. His impatience gets him into much trouble. At times the whole world seems to be against him, yet his cleverness and quick wit saves him numerous on countless occasions and helps to form the beginnings of his reputation. He is called Six Strings, Kvothe the Bloodless, Kvothe the Arcane, Kingkiller, Lightfinger, and Shadicar. He earned each name and more. In this book you learn how he earned some of those names. I look forward to reading the other two books and learning how he earns the rest.
A Wise Man’s Fear was released in 2013 (five years after the first book). The Slow Regard of Silent Things was released in 2014. Many fear we have a long wait until the third book in the trilogy is out, however there is a rumor that draft one is done and Rothfuss is in the revision stages. I don’t know Rothfuss’s writing process but I’d guess we’ll see the next book out in early 2018. I hope.
Patrick Rothfuss writes extremely well in my opinion. I am not one who fawns over pages of eloquent description, in fact, I usually skim those parts. His description is brief and beautiful. Here is an example of a couple sentences that I love:
“The man had true-red hair, red as flame. His eyes were dark and distant, and he moved with the subtle certainty that comes from knowing many things.” (Prologue pg 2)
The book is delightfully long– 722 pages long. He weaves a gripping tale that doesn’t let you go, not even once. You keep reading because you want to know if he survives, if he gets the girl, if he finds even a hint of an answer to the burning question he must know about the Chandrian, if he slays the dragon or studies it, if he saves the village, and so much more. He sets up so many questions and always gives the reader an answer, though you might not like the answer he gives you. I did put down the book for a day or two because I was afraid of what was going to happen next. (He is ruthless to his characters like George RR Martain at times, though not as bloodbathish.) I couldn’t stay away though and Kvothes fate was not as bad as I feared. Whew!
Chapter one is titled “A Silence of Three Parts” and the final chapter of this book is titled “A Silence of Three Parts” which makes the English teacher in me giddy at the symmetry of this. It also makes the artist in me delighted. Y’all just have to read this book!
Who will like this book?
It is long, so not for the feint of heart. The vocabulary is sophisticated because Kvothe is a genius and uses big words at times. The story of young Kvothe is told by middle age Kvothe so the story jumps back and forth between those two times. The “present day” is written in 3rd person while the “past” is written in first person, which helps make those jumps in time more clear. The story follows one character through the entire story rather than a million story lines like so many other epic fantasy stories, so that makes it easier for younger readers. Two or three of my 75 sixth grade students could handle a book like this. I think the average 9th grader could handle a book like this.
If you love epic fantasy, then you will most certainly love this. If you love these authors: Brandon Sanderson, Raymond E. Feist, and Robin Hobb, then you will love this author.
Foul Language: Yes, a little. (avg. one in every 20 pages or so)
Sexual Content: No
Substance Abuse: Yes. It does NOT glorify drugs. It speaks of the horrors of drug addiction when Kvothe is living on the streets and how horrible and deadly the drug can be. So this is actually a good thing in this case.
Over all rating: PG 13