The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle #1) by Patrick Rothfuss: Book Review

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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. 

A high-action story written with a poet’s hand, The Name of the Wind is a masterpiece that will transport readers into the body and mind of a wizard. -Goodreads

My Review

My Rating: 4/5

I almost didn’t finish this book. About 40 pages in I was bored and didn’t want to read any more but I always give a book at least 100 pages to prove itself – around 45 pages in, the story improved dramatically. Since finishing the book, I can see why the first section is there and I appreciate it, but it’s not written nearly as well as the rest of the book.

I only have one major issue with this book – it is because of this that my rating isn’t 5/5. Denna. I hate her. Her character is dull, every scene with her in it is dull, and every time Kvothe mentions her I am bored. Because Denna is a such a huge part of Kvothe’s story, I couldn’t give TNOFW 5 stars.

Kvothe himself is brilliant. I have seen many reviews complaining about him: he’s good at everything; he is invincible; he is arrogant. Kvothe is flawed dramatically by his arrogance, however his ‘genius’ and incredible ability to be amazing at everything is fun. I like to read about characters who are fun. We as the reader can drift through the complexity of the world through Kvothe’s eyes making it so much more enjoyable spending time there. This is a fantasy book so it makes sense that the main character would be fantastical.

The writing itself is poetry. Not a word goes to waste (except for anything to do with Denna but lets skip over that). I believe that this book would have never been so popular if the writing wasn’t this good. It’s not a complicated plot – it hardly has a plot at all (due to being only the beginning of a story) – and many of the characters are not fully-formed, however the writing draws you in and you can’t stop yourself from flicking over the pages.

One more thing. I can see huge elements of Earthsea in this world and that’s fantastic. Rothfuss is giving life to elements of the world of Earthsea that I wanted to see more of. The magic system is mystical yet has solid rules that are complex, and the ‘magic school’ trope works a dream.

This is a fantastic book and should be read by anyone who claims to be a fan of the fantasy genre.

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