Originally published in 2007 The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss is the first installment of The Kingkiller Chronicle. I actually received this book two years ago as a Christmas present but I didn’t start reading it until earlier this week. Hearing Patrick Rothfuss playing his character the rogue Viari in the latest adventures of Acquisitions Incorporated made me eager to see what sort of story he would weave with a few hundred pages at his disposal.
Without giving anything about the story away I would like to give you all a basic idea of what the book is actually about, which will be a pretty good trick if I can manage it. By the time The Name of the Wind begins Kvothe is a legendary figure feared and admired throughout the world. With a slew of intimidating nicknames, fantastic deeds, and despicable behavior draped about his shoulders he has stepped off of the stage of the world and into the audience. For some time he’s simply been watching and waiting as the world carries on without him.
Stories are not so easily forgotten though, and Kvothe is lured out of his seat to take the stage and tell his one more time. This is the tale of his youth, his adventures, and what put him on the path to being the man he became. Swords, sorcery, and adventure blend with song, stories, and love in this compelling narrative that drew me in before I knew it.
Sadly this is one of those books that people seem to either love or absolutely hate with very little middle ground. In truth I think the stories biggest drawback is that Kvothe is portrayed as an arrogant person who would be extremely difficult to like if you came face to face with him. In truth I think his arrogance is just one of many masks Kvothe wears hiding his fears and uncertainty behind pure bravado. He’s a fantastic actor and it is his greatest performance. The shift in tone and direction early on in the book can also be pretty jarring. If you read through the first few chapters don’t get fixated on what’s going on because things change rapidly from that point onward.
I highly recommend The Name of the Wind, the moment I finished it I ran out to buy the next installment in the series.
As a final note Kvothe will probably go down in history the most feared bard of all time.