03 June, 2009

Review: Name of the Wind, by P. Rothfuss

     The Name of the Wind (2007) is Patrick Rothfuss's debut fantasy novel, and is published by DAW. As far as first books go, this is a fantastic start to the Kingkiller Chronicles and a quick and captivating read. On a personal note, I finally took a break from hard/military science fiction and this was the perfect book to do it with. I am fairly certain that I overdosed on Richard K. Morgan, as I went through all of his books in about two weeks, and coming back to fantasy with The Name of the Wind could not have made for a better transition. It is simple, straight forward, and without pretension; exactly what the doctor recommended. That said, I will be deviating from my traditional review format for the sake of... laziness.
     Meet Kovthe, the protagonist and narrator, a brilliant Ender's Game like hero transplanted into an adult version of Harry Potter Land. It is perhaps unjust of me to compare Mr. Rothfuss's The Name of the Wind with these other works, but as a reader I had the definite impression that as archetypes of good science fiction and fantasy, they were front and center in Rothfuss's head when he birthed this book. Not to push matters too far, but I had the definite feeling that he had recently read the Wheel of Time; at a couple points in the book I stopped reading and just thought: "this guy is channeling Robert Jordan". Now that my little insight into our bearded author (its a great pic) is out of the way, lets get down to business.
     Like all decent fantasy books, this one took a little bit to get into. The story starts out with a young innkeeper and his apprentice. As these things tend to go, our innkeeper, Kovthe, is none other that a famous legendary hero hiding out and trying to live the quiet life. One classic turn of events later, he is found by a famous storyteller who has come to collect his story. This, my friends, is where things start to get interesting. Having the protagonist narrate his own story is a pretty ingenious idea if you ask me. It allows Mr. Rothfuss to poke plenty of fun at the classic fantasy story line, and still get away with using some of the most stereotypical plot twists. Cliche or not, Kovthe's story draws you in and keeps you there with its simple yet compelling plot. 
     I don't want to give out too many spoilers here or bore you with excessive details, but this was a really fun read and most definitely worth picking up. If you enjoy... well, any kind of fantasy at all, then this will tickle your literary taste buds plenty. That said, its not a work of art. Mr. Rothfuss clearly still has some work to do on his writing style. I am no expert, obviously, but it felt rough to me at times, as if I had just taken a bite of an apple that was a little too green. However, I can't wait to pick up the next book, The Wise Man's Fear, which should be out in the not to distant future according to a hilarious cominc by Mr. Rothfuss (he apparently has many talents).
     On a quick last note, I had a blast reading A Dribble of Ink's interview with Patrick Rothfuss. If you take a look at his picture you quickly understand how things can get wacky, and quick. I took a brief gander at Mr. Rothfuss's blog and lets just say the word "drugs" comes up pretty often. Most definitely a colorful author if I have ever met one... well I haven't met him, but you know what I mean. Make sure to check out Fantasy Book Critic's review for a more content based post, it seems we share similar ideas good sir!

Ratings

Amazon: 4.25/5
B&N: 4/5
My Rating: 4/5 

7 comments:

Lots said...

This book is easily one of my favorite fantasy books, even if it's a bit rough on the edges.

bloggeratf said...

Agree 100% Lots. Hence my green apple comment. I can't wait to see if he has refined his style at all in the next installment. The only thing that might put that off a bit is that he wrote all three books before getting published so he might not have gotten enough feedback on his style to change it significantly.

ediFanoB said...

This book was one of the best books I read in 2008. I'm eager for reading A Wise Man's Fear. I hope it will be released in 2009. Mr. Rothfuss did his work. He delivered the manuscript of book two on 11th of May 2009.

Jeff Reid said...

Pat posted a cast on our site, and then sent 1200 fans, of whom 39 posted their own cast. Not professional casting directors, but ordinary fans "having their say". This is the web's largest collection of fantasy-casting for "The Name of the Wind". VERY fun!

Jeff Reid
Storycasting.com
"for the movie in your mind"

NotNessie said...

Sounds interesting... I've been meaning to read this for a while.

viagra online said...

I recomment this book to all people, s very nice I love it, specially the part when he discovers something unnatural.

CARRY ON LUGGAGE SIZES said...

this is awesome, great idea! Just got through making some today!! What a perfect tutorial! You made it so easy and fun! I would like to say thanks very much for sharing this amazing interview here.