Happy Tuesday everyone!
Well, I took my sweet time, but here it is at last ;P
BE YE WARNED, HIGH EXPECTATIONS MIGHT BE FORGED…remember that this is just my opinion.
ALSO, BE YE WARNED, MINOR SPOILERS MIGHT FOLLOW… but not really, I was very careful!
THE NAME OF THE WIND (Kingkiller Chronicle #1)
‘MY NAME IS KVOTHE
I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.
You may have heard of me.’
So begins a tale unequaled in fantasy literature–the story of a hero told in his own voice. It is a tale of sorrow, a tale of survival, a tale of one man’s search for meaning in his universe, and how that search, and the indomitable will that drove it, gave birth to a legend.
Well, this book was amazing.
I wish I could leave it at that; even days later I’m still finding it difficult to discuss this novel. Forgive me if what follows is a little unintelligible, but my emotions are still all over the place.
Let’s start with plot. It’s difficult to describe the structure of the novel without revealing key moments. I went in with certain expectations of how the story would unfold. The actual narrative is told through Kvothe’s perspective, but not how you might expect. I can’t say much else without spoiling that aspect, but what must be highlighted is that Rothfuss’ choice allows for Kvothe’s voice to be fresh and unique and engages the reader in a personal way. This is the highlight of the book in many ways for me. More than being a great fantasy. More than the poetic style. It is the way in which Kvothe tells his story that is most memorizing, that struck me from the first, that kept me spellbound.
And what a spell it is! Much like one of my favourite authors (Guy Gavrial Kay), Rothfuss possesses a beautiful voice of his own, his descriptions as fluid and graceful as a leaf blowing through the wind. The patience and detail with which he commands each sentence is at the heart of this well-constructed novel. It is a long enough read, but it never feels as though it is. It is easy to get lost in his words and in his world.
And here is another important element that must be lauded. The strength of Kvothe’s character is enriched by the world he inhabits. Here too Rothfuss proves his mastery of the fantasy genre. Not only has he created a world of his own, but his story is empowered by it. It fills all four corners of the book, drawing the reader in so that they walk alongside Kvothe on his journey. The setting enriches the text and, much as what Tolkien accomplished with Middle Earth, Temerant (aka the Four Corners of Civilization) breathes believability through the pages. It does not read like an imagined location. His world becomes our reality.
Have I praised this book enough yet? I feel as though I could go on forever, raving about its thematic strength, its lack of cliches, the strength of secondary characters such as Denna, Bast, Elodin, and Wilem to name just a few…
I find it hard to criticize anything about this book, if only because it is a unique creature. Rothfuss breaks many rules of what many people today consider to be proper storytelling, but he does it gloriously! He is a genius of the craft who should be counted among the ranks of Tolkien and King.
As an author, this is a book that inspires me to want to write better, to want to put in the time and effort to see my own novels exceed my expectations, to have them captivate my readers, to inspire them in turn.
A good book should entertain and provoke thought. A good book should hook a reader and, for a time, pull them from reality. A good book should leave a reader with a sense of satisfaction at its conclusion.
A great book should leave a lasting imprint that does not fade with the passing of time.
For me, at least, Name of the Wind is such a book, to be counted among Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia, The Dark Tower, The Mists of Avalon, Harry Potter, Jane Eyre and The Fionavar Tapestry… just to name a few…
Right now, there’s a breeze blowing outside, and I can hear it saying: “The story isn’t done.”
Wise Man’s Fear, here I come!
Oh, and in case you haven’t guessed…
Considering my obvious adoration of this tome, I’m curious to know about the great books in your life. Let me know in the comments 🙂
May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,