Written By: Patrick Rothfuss
Paperback Pages: 661
I have to preface this review by saying that I have agonized over the writing of it. I find myself at a loss for words to properly describe what in essence to me, Is an incredible work of art.
Chapter one begins at the Waystone inn. A small group of men are enjoying some libations while Old Cob fills their heads with wonder-tales, as was his favorite role. The unobtrusive innkeeper busies himself cleaning floors, wiping bottles and seeing to his patrons...the things that innkeepers do ;) Shortly there after, a local who has been attacked enters the inn carrying something in his arms. What that something is...and the events that take place as a result of it, I'll not tell you.....you have to find that out for yourself ;)
I will give you a little snippit though. It takes place a very short while later, when the innkeeper comes home, having only left a note as to his whereabouts for Bast...his very worried student/E'lir.
"A note? You sneak out and leave me a note?" He hissed angrily. "What am I, some dockside whore?"...and then...."It wasn't even a good note. 'If you are reading this I am probably dead.' What sort of note is that?"
I literally laughed out loud :D
We are then introduced to Chronicler who, as the name imply's, is a historian of sorts. His arrival at the Waystone is the catalyst for all of the story that follows. He has been searching for a man named Kvothe, "pronounced nearly the same as quothe." according to our central figure. Chronicler desperately wants to write a true accounting of Kvothes' life, for he is a figure spoken of in lore and fantasy, and only his true story will satisfy the young historiographer.
After some deliberating, they reach an agreement and the tale commences.
Kvothes young life begins in the wagon of a traveling performance group known as the Ruh. With loving parents and supportive friends, he learns.....he thrives....and he is happy. Weather it be music, languages, or woodlore, Kvothe is the type of boy with a thirst for knowledge, and the ability to master skills the first time around. Once a poor tinker named Abenthy, (who is actually an arcanist) joins their group, Kvothe finds that he is gifted with talents few posses. That is when...excuse the pun...the real magic in this story starts to happen.
His road then takes a terrible turn. Finding himself alone and having to survive on nothing but his wits, Kvothe develops into a very resourceful young man. Over the next few years, he has little in the way of refuge, and a scant few people to depend on. Although arduous, the lessons he learns here in the city of Tarbean help to mold him into the man he will one day become.
Moving forward once again....Kvothe is a student at the University. Having a quick wit and an abundance of natural talent, he rapidly moves up in ranks, much to the dismay of Master Hemme, (a teacher) and Ambrose, a fellow student who turns out to be exceedingly more of a problem than Kvothe anticipates.
The end of the story brings us back to the Waystone Inn. As it closes we gain some insight as to who has actually been the catalyst to the telling of this tale...but You'll have to find that out for yourself as well :D
The way I see it: For all of it's 661 pages this book went very quickly for me....too quickly. Kvothe was a character that drew me in, and quite honestly I didn't want to leave. As he tells his miraculous story to Chronicler you become Chronicler. He speaks of his adventures in such fascinatingly descriptive detail that you experience the events with him.
Although it didn't feel like it initially, the supporting characters had a strong presence. It's almost as if I didn't notice them at first, and then they were there, and important. A subtle feeling...and as I looked back I realized that they were ever-present and had always made their voices heard. A new experience for me.
The bad, the bad, and the ugly: For this I can only tell you something I thought, would bother me. Going back and forth in time....I've had experience with time-travel, (for lack of better wording) before, and I can honestly say that in some books it made me feel disconnected from the story to the point of distraction. In The Name of the Wind however, this was not the case. It was written so well that the transition from past to present, although not seamless as it's not intended to be, beckoned you to go from one to the other. Rothfuss is a conductor, a manipulator of the highest degree. He brings you almost to the point of bliss, only to guide you back down to start the process again, but never letting you loose the excitement entirely. (Seriously...talking about the book here...lol)
Love it or Leave it: Honestly, I could go on all day about how much I loved this book. I could gush and gush about all of it's amazing attributes. I could tell you how it stirred my emotions, how I laughed many times, how I cried a few, and how at times I wanted to kick some butts for little Kvothe...lol It was a book that, once I'd finished it, I went skimming through to find the parts I especially enjoyed....and read them again. When I closed the cover I had a smile on my face that lasted for quite some time, and as I think about it now..... it comes back to me once again :D