I can't even tell you how long it's been since I read any epic fantasy. Probably 2001! I've seen an abundance of positive BookTube reviews of The Name of the Wind, the first book in the Kingkiller Chronicle series by Patrick Rothfuss, and when Heather bought it for me as a wedding gift, I was off and running!
Told in Kvothe's--pronounced kind of like "quothe"--own voice, this is the tale of a gifted, observant, and cunning 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 university form a gripping coming-of-age story. -Modified from Goodreads
Before you start making Harry Potter connections, just stop it! Very different world, very different tone, very different books. This is a chunk at 600+ pages, but it was also one of the most thoroughly immersive stories I've read in a long time. Patrick Rothfuss has a deep and abiding reverence for stories and storytelling, and that love saturates every page of this novel.
The story opens with Kvothe the innkeeper and some strange happenings in the nothing town where he lives. Demons of a sort are attacking people. Shortly after, he begins to tell his story to a scribe, and we're transported to his childhood, itself imbued with stories. His days as a player with his parents, his love of music and performance, and his ability to put on a persona to skate through university admissions--all of it ties Kvothe to story, performance.
It's also readily apparent that Rothfuss has an appreciation for the jack-of-all-trades, intensely curious character. I watched a video interview with him before I read the book, and I see this aspect of Rothfuss's personality play out in this book in wonderful ways. The university is a playground for Kvothe, full of knowledge and its own brand of adventure.
As for the writing, I loved it. Chapters are short which fosters a sense of "just a little more" before bed. I was absolutely gripped, and I left my office at lunch every day to sit in my car in a parking lot and read away from distractions. I sucked it down as quickly as I possibly could and was really perturbed on a couple of nights when I could not pick it up because of extenuating circumstances.
All this to say that I went out and bought the second book, The Wise Man's Fear, before I turned the last page of the The Name of the Wind. It's that good, and I can't wait to continue with the series.
Pub. Date: March 2007
Publisher: Penguin Group
Format: Trade Paperback
Format: Trade Paperback