I picked up The Name of the Wind by Patric Rothfuss in The King-Killer Chronicles for two reasons: I needed another series to keep me occupied while waiting for the 6th book in A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones), and I read raving reviews about The Name of the Wind. I admit the prologue’s writing style scared me, thinking the rest of the book would be written the same way that didn’t really engage me and kept me at a distance. However, past the prologue, the narrative appealed to me, even with the first person narrative.
Kote, the innkeeper is an instantly likable character. He is very well alive with Patrick Rothfuss’ detailed descriptions here and there:
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.
From that, we know that our protagonist is more than the average, ordinary person both in physicality and in skill or knowledge.
He moved with a strange delicacy and grace, as if he were close to dancing.
How can you not like a person with such grace?
As we learn more about Kote, we love him more even with his serious flaws that puts him in trouble. I’m assuming you have to be an avid reader to pick up this book and with that, Kote/Kvothe also relates to the readers with his immense love of reading and knowledge. We relate to his attraction to the world’s largest library of books upon books. He is a fascinating character we want to learn more about as we take a look into how a legend is made (reminding me of Cynthia Voigt’s Jackaroo). This series is all about stories: the myths (and truths), legend making and trying to change stories (or history).
The book and series is broken down into the present where Kote is hiding away in a small town, and three days of telling his story. His story seems different than typical orphan heroes because we learn of his life before he became an orphan. He was someone before, and that makes for a better sense of intimacy with the hero.
Music plays a large role in this series–in the lives of the main characters. Instead of just mentioning song lyrics, we are presented with the instruments and even musical elements. Upon finishing the book, I was inspired to find and listen to medieval music though what I long for are the actual music in the book, wanting to be even more immersed in the world of The Name of the Wind. When an author creates a secondary world so alive that you want even more, you know it is a good book.
One thing that I’m not so sure about is the cataclysmic moment (recalled later on several times) that pushes Kvothe on his journey. I’m not sure it was believable, or rather, if it had an impact on me. Perhaps if we had been presented more with his troupe other than being so focused on Kvothe that the rest is just background, there would’ve been an emotional impact. Think A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin. There were traumatic instances for me as a reader of which I won’t spoil on here. Though Kvothe speaks of how devastating the experience was, I did not feel that same devastation.
Otherwise, this is a series to look out for! Another thing, it has a well thought out and complex magic system that takes on a scientific approach. Definitely interesting. Anyways, FOX has allegedly bought the rights for it and I wish HBO would buy it instead and make a tv series of it. Now remains, who to cast?!