Saturday, July 27, 2013

BR: The Name of the Wind (& a story)

The story first:

This book is really, really good, guys. I might give it a high 4.5/5 on Goodreads, but since it's a 600 page beast, the feeling of giving it the full 5 stars because it makes it feel as if the time was even more worthwhile.

I don't read a lot of fantasy. I have a few staple fantasy YA books I love to death, but I don't read the proper tomes in the sci-fi/fantasy section of my library. I have an interesting story about Patrick Rothfuss- last year, I was bored and sifting through my local bookstore website and I came across a store event that he would be at (the very next day). This name sounded vaguely familiar and thus a google search led me to his goodreads page, where his books have had 1) and obscene amount of ratings and 2) an almost unheard-of universal likability rating. This was definitely a good sign. I then realized where I'd heard of him before-- a fellow blogger, Steph Su, had raved about his books on her blog. I'd actually went and purchased the kindle edition, but I then realized that the kindle was still in my mum's possession. Anyway, digressing a lot.

I asked around on twitter whether I should drop by his signing (and had a very enthusiastic YES) so I went, and there was a moderate amount of people. I bought both his books in this beautiful large-paperback form (not trade, not hardcover), which was surprising to myself because I rarely buy books at cover price, even for signings (damn you, broke college student stereotype!). I sat down (I had gotten there about an hour early) and waited, hoping I wasn't making a mistake and wasting my time.

I wasn't.

His signing started out with some jokes, then he mentioned how he could either 1) be very politically correct and happy and whatnot and we, the audience, can record his talk, etc, or 2) we can all put away our cameras and phones and he can perhaps be slightly less PG. We cheered and voted for the latter, and off he went. He talked about the novels, the characters (I had absolutely no clue what was going on, haha) he read a short story, answered questions, proved himself very funny, modest, and self deprecating, etc. All in all, it was really funny and enjoyable, but when the signing itself actually began, I was shocked.

Considering the amount of people who showed up (at least 100, I would say), I think I was in the 30's in terms of place in line, but it still took him about an hour to get to me. Why? He talked--conversed--with every single fan. He posed for pictures. He suggested intimidating, goofy, silly poses. He laughed. He graciously thanked them for showing up and buying his books and supporting his charity. He caressed a hardcover first edition of The Name of the Wind that a fan had shown up with. I was very impressed, to say the least.

I was realizing that I didn't have anything to say about his books since I haven't read them (oops) so instead, I commented about how his blurb on Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff made me read the book (a generous fib, but partially true because I was, at the time, reading Stormdancer at the time and had noticed his blurb!) and thanked him for a wonderful, laughter-filled event, posed for a picture, and moved on. He has an incredible beard.

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Anyway, my plan was always to read the books ASAP because I wanted to send him an email-- hey remember me? The girl from your Toronto signing who, instead of talking about Kvothe, talked about another author's book. But nope, the books were intimidating and I put off reading it for like, a year.

And then this summer, I decided that I am finally going to read it. Determinedly, I sat down.... and read 15 pages. Hey, it was confusing, in 3rd person, included demon spiders and some random guy named Kote talking about silence. I was confused and I had another book I was itching to read.... so I read the other stuff.

A few weeks ago, I decided "okay, Audrey, stop being  wuss and power through this book. What's the fuss all about?" and so I did and daaaaaaaamn. It was so good.

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

The Kingkiller Chronicles; book I

Summary (goodreads):

Told in Kvothe's own voice, this is the tale of the magically gifted young man who grows to be the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen. The intimate narrative of his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-ridden city, his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, and his life as a fugitive after the murder of a king form a gripping coming-of-age story unrivaled in recent literature.

My Thoughts

Whew, that took a while to get to the actual review, right? I'm quite out of practice with reviews, so this feels like another one of those times where I desperately want to do a book justice but I know I won't.

The Name of the Wind is utterly compelling. It's ridiculously well-thought-out to the point where I've spent an obscene amount of time thinking about the currency used throughout the book (true story). The story is told in flashback format, where our red-haired protagonist recalls his childhood growing up in a traveling troupe and then going to the University, his run-ins with evil forces, magic, friendship, The Woman, and well, so much more.

Despite a slightly rough beginning (those first 15 pages where I just wasn't feeling it at all), Rothfuss really gets into the groove of things as the narration quickly slipped into a seamless rhythm and completely sucked me in. I know there's an ongoing complaint about Kvothe's characterization, but hell, I'll forgive it because he's got some badass charisma to back him up and I'll happily give a him a pass this time around. I loved how the story began with his childhood so readers see him grow up and get through the tougher times. Honestly though, Kvothe is just a charming, entrancing character I couldn't help but love and want to see through til the very end, and those type of heroes always win my heart.

Where I feel Rothfuss really excels in is the depth of his world; there's so many small details that could easily be overlooked but Rothfuss includes them to enrich the reading experience, whether it is mentioning food, money, clothes, or random artifacts. I'm kind of naive about the fantasy genre so I'm not exactly sure if his ideas are super-original or what, but I thought the sympathy (magic) aspect to be particularly intriguing. Kvothe also deviously hints at the greater adventures to be had, which served as playful encouragement to keep reading (not that I needed any).

Lastly, the writing is brilliant. The narration would not nearly be as irresistible without words woven together is perfect harmony, poetic in a sense. It seems like I particularly like two types of writing: the engaging, funny, smooth types and the other type: gourmet literature ;) It's been a while since I've used that phrase.

The Waystone was his, just as the third silence was his. This was appropriate, as it was the greatest silence of the three, wrapping the others inside itself. It was deep and wide as autumn's ending. It was heavy as a great river-smooth stone. It was the patient, cut-flower sound of a man who is waiting to die.

Rating in HP Terms: Outstanding!
Recommended for: if your're up for a 650 page fantasy novel, I will shove this in your face. If your not, I will still shove this in your face.
Acknowledgements: 4.5/5, loved :)

9.2/10 - because it's been a while since I've rated a book 5/5 on Goodreads. The Name of the Wind is an enthralling novel that I wished wouldn't end. I'm reading the sequel right now and I'm scared to join the legion of fans salivating for book 3. This book is really, really, really good. I don't really know how to describe it, but it feels like it's this dense, delectable chocolate cake with the perfect icing that's not too sweet and not too runny. I think you should read it.

source: bought
author website / blog


  1. I have this in my to-read pile but have also been intimidated by its length. Love your story!

  2. Ugh, Audrey, that is the best story! I'm totally down with you sharing stories like this every time you review. :D And hearing that a fantasy novel's strongpoint is the world is always good to know, since it's the most important part IMO. :P Bonus for lovely writing, too, which basically means this 600-page (O_O) book is on my TBR pile. Thanks a lot, love. :P <3


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