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

‘I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.

My name is Kvothe.
You may have heard of me’

So begins the tale of Kvothe – currently known as Kote, the unassuming innkeepter – from his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, through his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-riddled city, to his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a difficult and dangerous school of magic. In these pages you will come to know Kvothe the notorious magician, the accomplished thief, the masterful musician, the dragon-slayer, the legend-hunter, the lover, the thief and the infamous assassin.

How did I get it: Christmas Present & Audible subscription

Genre: Fantasy

Review: I made it through The Name of the Wind by reading and listening to the audiobook. Without the latter I don’t think I would have finished this book yet. I am not an epic fantasy reader, at least rarely. Even more so when the book can be used as a door stop.

I doubt my thoughts on Kvothe’s tale have much impact, but I did find it interesting that I was looking through other reviews The Name of the Wind while loved so much didn’t have a lot of “middle” reviews. Which this is. I am very much in the middle about The Name of the Wind.

If you haven’t picked up this epic fantasy yet, here are some of the great things about it. The first 100 pages are enthralling. The opening chapter is crafted brilliantly that as reader you set your expectations for the writing high, and in fairness the writing is very good (I’ll get to my issue re this in a moment). Once the story is set up, Chronicler is ready, pen poised, you yourself are excited to hear the legend.

The Name of the Wind is Kvothe’s childhood up until his teens. Much happens in these years through the second half of the books is set mostly in one location. In some ways this book is reassuringly classic fantasy. Hero makes situation worse but becomes hero by solving his own mess.

I did not like Kvothe, this became a strong held opinion later in the book. Unlikelable narrators can make a story even better because the is a different interest that has to hold the reader while making them still engage with the character. For me Kvothe began to hinder my enjoyment as the story progressed. Also the way he narrated the story “if you’ve never been poor / trapped in the dark / truly scared / [insert scenario]…” was irritating after the first ten times. For me as reader it felt lazy, instead of working at describing the situation it was side-lined because it was the reader who couldn’t understand because they had never been XYZ.

Another ongoing issue I encountered was the sexism / reinforced patriarchal structures withing this book. Apart from Kvothe’s mother (and Denna at the end) all the female characters are frequently referenced as objects with very little agency. They are beautiful and need rescuing, or reassuring.

The Name of the Wind was engaging, it was also enraging. At times I loved the story, the language, the adventure. I could also have very easily edited out 200 if not more pages of excessive descriptions. I do want to find out what happens but given that the final book is nowhere in sight I am in no rush to pick up book 2 until that one is published.

Review by: Luna

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