The Name of the Wind is a debut novel from Patrick Rothfuss, and is the first instalment of The Kingkiller Chronicle trilogy. It begins in the Inn belonging to a man called Kote who by means of killing a spider with razor sharp feet establishes himself as a worthy fighter. A Chronicler recognises Kote as Kvothe, a character of legendary proportions and proceeds to take down his story. Each day that it takes to record Kvothe’s life story is to be one book in the trilogy.
Kvothe has a rough start in life. He’s born into an apparently idyllic life as the son of a travelling troupe leader, and is remarkably clever and talented. Early in life he meets an arcanist (like a magician) who inspires him to attend the University and learn the secrets of magic, such as the true names of all things, particularly the wind. Then one night his family and fellow troupers are brutally slain and Kvothe is lucky to be alive. He struggles to survive a callous world and eventually manages through perseverance and sheer luck to make his way to the University, this time to discover the identity of the men who killed his family so he can take his revenge.
For a genius Kvothe is also a bit of a bumbling idiot, stumbling his way through life, hanging on by the skin of his teeth. Once he reaches the University he usually ends up making his own troubles, and has to struggle to keep going, and this forms the bulk of book one. I couldn’t wait to turn the page to find out how Kvothe’s enemies might challenge him, or see him retaliate only to end up in a worse situation than ever. Some of his exploits had me laughing out loud, and it was pretty compelling reading. This was the books charm and Kvothe makes quite an endearing character in spite of his numerous serious flaws. I ended up really liking him and rooting for him.
I seriously have a contender now to challenge Scott Lynch and Locke Lamora for the position of favourite fantasy novel. I highly recommend The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. It’s a monster of a book, but the time flies by so fast. The writing is engaging and I couldn’t bear to put it down.
I hope you try it, and I hope you love it as much as I did.
PS – I have a few theories about Chronicler… will share them in the upcoming review of Book 2: The Wise Man’s Fear.