Title: The Name of the Wind
Author: Patrick Rothfuss
Length: 662 pages
Where Stacie’s Copy Came From: Oshkosh Public Library
Plot Basics: Kote is a kindly innkeeper with a background that he decides to share with a traveler known as The Chronicler. Over the course of three days (and three novels) Kote is transformed from an inn keeper to Kvothe, a young man with adventures to spare.
Banter Points: Did you see the page count for this one? It was more than a bit intimidating. I hesitated before starting this one as it may have ended up in my DNF pile OR it may have been a huge time commitment that I wasn’t ready for. However, this ended up being the perfect novel for me.
The characters are complex and fascinating. Kvothe’s journey from traveling entertainer to university student, along with the subsequent studies was told over the course of several story chunks. Each chunk had a beginning, middle, and ending so the reader could comfortably break and take care of some real life things. Each ending lead to the next piece so falling into the book and reading for a few hours at a crack was a pleasure too. Two other characters dominate the past story telling: Denna the love interest and Ambrose the nemesis.
Denna highlights the unique role that women are forced into through circumstances and the rules of society, rather than being measured on their own worth. Personally, I’m in a self-evaluation stage, and her story resonated with me multiple times as her circumstances dictated her actions more so than her abilities. It was fascinating to see how she maintains her sense of self with Kvothe more than any other character she is paired with. In the other relastionship, Ambrose and Kvothe are like oil and water. Again, I have a personal interest in their relationship, especially how Kvothe’s friends advise Kvothe to not antagonize the tenuous relationship (and Kvothe’s constant ignoring of said advice). Rothfuss does an admirable job of capturing the dynamics in these typical relationships, and using them to illustrate the world he has built.
Perhaps the best part of the book is the world building. The rules of society, the University, and Kvothe’s own studies there are thought provoking. Sure, there is the normal society with an upper and lower class, but there is also a layer of magic built into it that Kvothe unlocks through his studies at the University. The playing field is more level than a typical feudal system because of this, but navigation is still required. Kvothe’s careful narrating provides details needed but doesn’t bog down the story.
Bummer Points: At this time, no bummer points for me. The length deterred me initially, but once I was in the story, I understood why the page count is what it is. However, it is a series number of pages to read and the second book is longer yet.
Stacie’s Recommendation: I’m a good way into book two and am completely hooked on this trilogy. This is going to make my Top Ten for sure.