Sunday, 6 January 2013

The Name of the Wind - Patrick Rothfuss


The Name of the Wind is a beautifully written epic fantasy by Patrick Rothfuss, who uses the English language almost like an art to craft a linguistically stunning novel of vivid, fast-flowing prose as he tells the tale of Kvothe the Arcane - the most notorious wizard to have ever lived. 

Packed full of imagination, heartbreak and adventure, The Name of the Wind is the remarkable first instalment of The Kingkiller Chronicle and, I must say, became one of my favourite books ever before I had even finished reading it! 

In The Name of the Wind, Rothfuss tells of the misfortunes that befall Kvothe as a child, when the tragic loss of his family and the troupe of Edema Ruh that they travelled with leaves him homeless and alone on the streets of Tarbean - a ruthless and cut-throat city where only the cruel survive. As Kvothe plots his revenge on the Chandrian, a group of terrors from ancient legend that he knows are very real, he decides that he must find a way to escape the city before it claims his life and sets his sights on attending the greatest university that has ever been built, where he fully intends on dedicating his life to the practice and pursuit of magic. 

This basic plot line is enough to put The Name of the Wind in a league above most other novels just by itself, but Rothfuss manages to make the story even better by telling it in a rather unique manner, which greatly added to my enjoyment of the novel. In the book, Rothfuss writes in the first person from the perspective of Kvothe himself as he tells his life’s story to a scribe, called Chronicler, who is writing a biography on the infamous wizard. 

Although this might not sound all that impressive, it added to my enjoyment of the book for two main reasons. Firstly, this first person narrative provides Rothfuss with a huge amount of creative freedom to describe Kvothe's emotions and underlying thought processes behind his decisions, which Rothfuss uses well to create a very realistic and believable character! 

And secondly, because it has allowed Rothfuss to add another plot line to the book, in which the King’s realm is on the verge of war to combat demons that have suddenly started appearing and preying upon outlying villages and towns. This story is set in the ‘current time’ and is told during the intermissions of Kvothe’s autobiography, which Rothfuss uses masterfully to control the pace of his main story. 

And so, after reading the Name of the Wind, I dare say that it's one of the best novels that I've ever read and I could actually feel myself falling more and more in love with The Kingkiller Chronicle with each turn of the page (well, I read it on Kindle, so ‘with each press of a button’ rather). Basically, The Name of the Wind and the second book in the series, The Wise Man’s Fear, are must read novels for any fan of fantasy – it’s as simple as that!

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