The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The most impressively written, unfinished tale of our time: a book so shining with mysterious magic, so full of enchanting fairytales and so beautiful in its prose that it stands out from other modern fantasy like a red blot of colour on a white canvas. Patrick Rothfuss has created an impressive masterpiece and an amazing example of a book that is filled with heart and a landmark in storytelling.
“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.”
Want an epic intro? There you have it, thank you very much. This book deals with Kvothe telling his life to Chronicler, the story of how he earned all of his names, ‚Kingkiller‘ among them. It’s a story about magic, love, and of music. A story of riddles and pranks, and of the Chandrian. But most of all, this is a story about storytelling, a hymn to the art of capturing an audience with stories told and sung.
“You have to be a bit of a liar to tell a story the right way.”
Of course, this is a story told within the story, told by probably the most unreliable narrator ever. For all we know, all of this may be exaggerated bragging by a very creative innkeep. Yes, Kvothe is a showoff and a Gary Stu, but honestly? I absolutely don’t care at all.
Why? Because it’s just beautiful. Rothfuss‘ words are poetry disguised as prose, and if there ever was writing that deserves to be deemed ‚magical‘, then it’s his right here. Because all of the bragging, all the bravado, all his failures make Kvothe’s story so haunting. This is the best debut novel I’ve ever read.
“There are times when the mind is dealt such a blow it hides itself in insanity. While this may not seem beneficial, it is. There are times when reality is nothing but pain, and to escape that pain the mind must leave reality behind.”
We follow Kvothe through his childhood, through the streets of Tarbean and to the University where he outshines everyone else (or at least claims to). We follow him through brutal murder and beautiful songs, through nights filled with drinking and nights spent adoring Denna.
“I have known her longer, my smile said. True, you have been inside the circle of her arms, tasted her mouth, felt the warmth of her, and that is something I have never had. But there is a part of her that is only for me. You cannot touch it, no matter how hard you might try. And after she has left you I will still be here, making her laugh. My light shining in her. I will still be here long after she has forgotten your name.”
One of the things I like the most about this book is actually something a lot of people tend to critizise: Kvothe running around, having no money and doing (apparently) nothing. I love just how detailed Rothfuss describes not only the hero’s major shenanigans, but also his daily life, his struggle among the little things.
It’s brilliant – from the very first word to the very last. Yes, the plot advances only slowly, but why would I care if it’s so beautifully written? As long as I get all the answers in the last book, I’m totally fine. It’d be really nice to finally get that book, though…
View all my reviews