Well well, I was trying to avoid reading Patrick Rothfuss’s The Name of the Wind because I was waiting for the author to finish the 3rd book in the series. Well, that never happened. I did read The Name of the Wind, book 1 in The Kingkiller Chronicles trilogy. I definitely was not disappointed.
Kvothe is an innkeeper. At least, he is now. In his childhood years he was truly a genius. He was able to learn things quickly and efficiently. His constant thirst for knowledge drew him to the University, a school for magicians. The University did not train the magicians who use slight of hand but real magicians who know the names of things and can command things such as the wind.
One day a Chronicler, a collector of stories, finds his way into Kvothe’s inn. The Chronicler had been looking for Kvothe, the source of so many legendary feats. Kvothe had been hiding out using the innkeeper’s name Kote, content on living a quiet innkeeper’s life.
It didn’t take long for the Chronicler to make Kote admit he is indeed the legendary Kvothe. Moreover, Kvothe agrees to allow the Chronicler to record Kvothe’s life story. His true life story, not the ones floating around in hearsay.
Why does Kvothe, who is in hiding, suddenly reveal his true identity and agrees to have his story recorded? I don’t know. My best guess is he likes the attention. When the Chronicler found Kvothe he was only mid twenties after all and already a lifetime worth of stories if he can be believed.
So, what makes The Name of the Wind so good? The premise of the book doesn’t sound all that exciting anyway: a poor, orphaned boy defies the odds and gets accepted into a prestigious university and through some heroic deeds he becomes a legend. Sounds like the premise of a fantasy story we’ve heard many times before. Kvothe’s life story isn’t even all that exciting.
I think what makes this book so good is author Patrick Rothfuss’s writing style. It’s just so smooth. I heard this first book of the trilogy took the author 7 years to finish. I can believe it. Each sentence seems as if it was expertly crafted after being mulled over and edited several times over. This may also explain why almost a decade after The Name of the Wind was first published we still don’t have the 3rd book in the series……
Anyway, nothing ground breaking. No awesome new world created. No new and cool magic system. Just a really nicely written book that should be read. I will definitely read book 2, hoping against hope that book 3 will come out just as I finish book 2. Right, this isn’t a faery story.