Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss came to me on the wind. Well, at least in a breath of air. Ok fine a friend recommended it to me and lent me his copy. No wind involved. However, I can certainly confirm that the story is not just hot air… I enjoyed it so much that I brought my own copy after reaching chapter 8.
The story follows Kvothe, an kid from humble origins who’s reputation as a powerful arcane wizard is only slightly exaggerated. He kinda aspires to be the next Taborlin the Great, the great hero of the past who could call down fire and lightning, and most importantly to Kvothe, the wind. True magic. But Kvothe has a hell of a lot to learn about the world first. Luckily for him he takes to new challenges like a fish to water and his exceedingly good memory lands him acceptance into the University, the place to be if one wants to become a Namer. What could seem like an annoying quality in a protagonist is muted by his extraordinary talent at making terrible decisions, as well as the tragedies he must overcome. His deep and terrible secret is that he knows the Chandarin, the dark and powerful entities from folklore, exist, but everyone else dismisses him for chasing fairy stories. It is a task he must face alone then. The question is, how did the great Kvothe of legend end up as a dreary innkeeper in the middle of no-where?
For that is where the story starts. ‘Kote’ has retired from that life and now runs a small village inn with his apprentice. It is only when the Chronicler arrives to scribe his story that he starts to tell his tale.
The narritive shifts from third person present to first person past as Kote recites his story. This is done expertly well without disrupting the flow. The reader breaks from Kvothe’s monologue in the same daze as his audience and has their eagerness for him to continue, though not so eager as to not try and work out why Kvothe is now Kote.
The story of Kvothe would be a good read in itself but as we know that somewhere, somehow, something made Kvothe stop wanting to be Kvothe, it is made all the more intriguing.
At first I was a bit put out by the complete lack of female characters; other than his mother and another lady in the troupe, women were in short supply. It wasn’t until Kvothe reached the university (around a third of the way through the first book) that female characters started to be introduced properly. There are many unique ladies in the story that Kvothe befriends (and makes enemies of) and in hindsight it does make sense for Kvothe’s age and story development so don’t let it put you off.
I read Name of the Wind and its sequel, The Wise Man’s Fear, in quick succession and am now waiting impatiently for the third and final installment in the series. It has no release date yet but there is a novella out following one of those female characters I mentioned that I will be getting my mitts in as soon as I can. How some people have been waiting since 2011 I don’t know.
P. S. I have now read the novella, The Silent Regard of Silent Things. Oh my. Amazing. It follows Auri, who happens to be my favourite character. I think. Though I love them all. This strory is strange, as a stroy about Auri needs to be, but it makes it all the more enjoyable. It’s very refreshing actually. The story broadens a world that didn’t need broadening though that is not at all a bad thing. It enriches a side that Kvothe could not begin to describe in his life retelling.
Honestly, I would probably read the Kingkiller Chrionical told from Auri’s POV if Rothfuss wrote it.