Monday, 7 September 2009

The Name of The Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Once I really sunk my teeth into this book, I adored it.

At first it felt like another boring fantasy novel, with magic & ye olde taverns & ignorant townsfolk who gossip about demons. And granted, all those things are there. But what is also there is a great story; a fantastic adventure with heart, humour & tragedy.

Kvothe is introduced as a quiet, lonely nondescript innkeeper, but when Chronicler (the chronicler) shows up at his doorstep and begs for his story, Kvothe is unable to resist and begins to tell it. What we have in The Name of the Wind is a beginning. A huge, sprawling beginning that lets us know that Kvothe is a legendary character whose journey is one we really want to read. Raised by a travelling entertainment troupe, he was a whizz-kid trained in serious alchemy and sciences by the time he was twelve. All he can think about is studying at The University, where they have a collection of thousands and thousands of precious books. When tragedy slices into his life, he is left broken and directionless, and this first part of the story follows him through grieving and lute-playing; living rough on the streets of Tarbean, a big urban smokestain of a city; university enrolment and frisky schoolboy mischief; discovering love; dragons, bullies, music-halls and trouble. Everything, I have to say, is made more intense by Rothfuss’ habit of build-ups and over-telling. But I didn’t mind, after the first chapter or two I was hooked and drank it all up with interest and dedication.

This is Patrick Rothfuss’ first novel; and he obviously spent a long time figuring out its logistics. The only problem with it is that when you get to the end, so many things have been ‘set up’ or alluded to that you feel like you want to dive straight in to the next book in the series. Then you discover that it is, as yet, unpublished! Rothfuss is still tweaking it. I’m betting, however, it’ll be worth the wait.

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