"I may not know how to fly but I know how to read and that's almost the same thing."-- Gregory Maguire, Out of Oz

"...while finding true love was one of the most splendid things that could happen to you in life, finding a friend was equally splendid." -- Felix J Palma, The Map of the Sky

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Monday, August 26, 2013

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #1) by Patrick Rothfuss

I feel like an idiot for being so hesitant to start this story. This story is just... clever beyond belief.

The story of Kvothe is story within story formatting but the jump between present and past is as smooth as the transition between dark and light. There is no confusion in that area. The present time, Kvothe is a dark, mysterious inn-keeper. In the past he's the bright eyed school boy surrounded by tragedy.

I see a lot of comparisons to "Harry Potter meets Lord of the Rings" and I don't really understand comparing apples and oranges. Yes, Kvothe is surrounded by tragedy, but unlike Harry Potter he isn't sitting around waiting for the villain to come and get him, he's being proactive about it. Kvothe doesn't feel the need to prove himself, he knows he's a genius destined for greatness and dares anyone to challenge him in this. As far as Lord of the Rings goes, this story qualifies as an epic fantasy... That's about it.

I love the balance of dark and light. The inn is under attack by demons, faeling, so it shouldn't be the right time to tell a story, which makes it a perfect time to tell a story. A troupe of traveling entertainers, mysterious and murderous living legends, a university for the best and the brightest, the Archives-- a library so vast the answers of the universe might be inside it...if the main character could ever gain access. Its an adventure in fantastic form. Despite the power inside our hero, he is unable to prevent tragedy and pain. Proof that magic and prayer can only go so far: a touch of reality imbedded in fiction. The dialogue can border on lyrical in some places and poetic repetition is used in the narration to drive certain solemn points home.

There is a touch of romance, and I admit I find the romance a tad confusing. Not that its unexpected (typically the hero gets the girl, lol) but Kvothe and Denna seem to be two separate candlewicks burning at opposite ends of a long table. With a book so richly detailed, and over 700 pages, I admit I don't see the necessity for love at first sight. I understand with young adult novels and children's fairy-tales, there isn't a lot of time and it is easier to say they love each other "just because"... But a book of this magnitude, not specifically catered to young minds, should have given our mysterious female-lead reasons to love Kvothe beyond the fact that he's the hero. There are others in his life that are equally enchanting with more depth...Fela, librarian and artist. Auri, president of the lute-fanclub with her imagination. Devi, tough as nails loan shark, who knows books and magic... But he wants the unobtainable; the woman with a barely there back-story, who is looking for a rich suitor to support her. I like Denna, don't get me wrong, the sexual chemistry is obvious and the mystery of who she is is enough to make you want more of her...Its just odd, Patrick Rothfuss seems to have thought out every detail except for why Kvothe and Denna should love.

I give this story a five because good adult fantasy is hard to find and all in all I thought this was a great story. I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to get lost in a slow burning adventure, filled with magic and mystery.

Rating 5/5
Review's original post date:
Jun 24, 12  

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