The Name of the Wind


Patrick Rothfuss


Science Fiction / Fantasy


Date Reviewed:

August 1, 2009

try to reserve the five star ratings for books that are truly the best; I only want to hand out a top ranking for those special books that I really enjoy. The Name of the Wind is one those books that merits the highest praise. This is a terrific novel, it is hard to believe that this is Rothfuss' first book.

The Name of the Wind is the first book in a trilogy called The Kingkiller Chronicles, though we are not introduced to any kings in this volume. This first book is the opening chapters of the life story of Kvothe, a man who has retired to live as an innkeeper after leading a life of extraordinary deeds - he is retired despite the fact that he not yet reached thirty years of age. What extraordinary deeds has Kvothe performed? A chronicler arrives at the inn and convinces Kvothe to tell his whole life story (though Kvothe says he is retired, perhaps he is really just lying low - we get hints that some powerful persons are quite angry with him.)

Kvothe narrates the story of his life, and the Chronicler writes it all down. And what a wonderful tale he tells. Kvothe begins his narration back in his youth, when he is travelling with his wise and loving parents through the countryside. His parents are entertainers, they are leaders of a troupe of performers, always moving on to the next town after a show. Along the way, they hire Ben to tutor Kvothe, who has proven to be a precocious child. Kvothe certainly has plenty of confidence to go along with all of his talents. Because of Ben, Kvothe learns about "The University", which is the traditional school of wizards. A lot of the elements in this story sound familar to the well-read fantasy enthusiast, but because Rothfuss has such an engaging writing style, the whole tale seems fresh and new.

I read this whole book in just a few days. It was that engrossing. I don't want to say much more about the book, for fear of spoiling it. But I would rank it right up there with the other great fantasy novels. This book is highly recommended. I am on the lookout for the second book in the series.