This is my first review on this blog so I think I’ll ease into it with some buzzwords: magic, travelers, powerful enemies and a lute. What am I talking about? Allow me to explain.
Author and Genre
What is The Name of the Wind about?
This fantasy novel follows a young man named Kvothe from childhood into adulthood. It is a coming of age story but the transition is far from gentle. Without giving any spoilers, our young hero is very suddenly plunged into a violent, frightening world after a life of happiness and leisure.
He grows up with a band of traveling performers, a tight-knit family known as the Edema Ruh. Kvothe himself is a talented musician but not when compared with his father, who is something of a legend in traveler circles.
Things begin to change when an old scholar joins their party. His mind holds many secrets which he imparts to Kvothe, such as science and sympathy. What does being sympathetic have to do with anything? Sympathy is essentially magic in Patrick Rothfuss’ world and our hero comes to learn that it carries a great price.
What’s so great about it?
Sympathy is one of the reasons that The Name of the Wind is one of the best fantasy novels I’ve read. Like I’ve said, sympathy is pretty much magic but Patrick Rothfuss goes a bit further than that. He makes it almost a science.
Now I know that might be a bit off-putting to some fantasy fiction readers, but it shouldn’t be. The author pulls it off by expertly blending science and magic. Your belief is still suspended as he doesn’t try to explain how magic is in this world, just how it works. You lift one thing and a thing lifts up. Energy is expended in the process. It’s logical magic and it draws you deeper into the world of Kvothe.
How did it catch my attention?
The Name of the Wind caught my attention with the opening. It doesn’t start with a boy traveling around with the Edema Ruh, performing and having adventures. No, it starts with a middle-aged, average innkeeper.
The whole narrative of young Kvothe’s life is occasionally interspersed with the story set in the ‘present’. An older man is recounting the adventures of his youth to a scholar. It’s a method that’s been used in other fiction and it works.
You’re drawn in at the outset by a brutally simple life being led by the old innkeeper. This prepares you for the real body of the story, where events are anything but simple.
Should you read it?
Absolutely. It’s a brilliant fantasy novel set in a deeply imagined world, with a compelling plot, carefully developed characters and twists which will leave you hungry to read more. The Name of the Wind is a rich story filled with fantastic details that won’t fail to disappoint even the casual fantasy reader.
Where can you buy it?