For decades Fantasy books have followed very close to the same pattern: you’ve got a big threat that is threatening the world, you’ve got a magic sword, some elfs, some dwarfs, a magic sword, and a bunch of people band together to go on an epic quest and save the world. That has made for some of the greatest fantasy novels of all time including Terry Brooks’ Shannara series, Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth, Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman’s Dragonlance books and many many more. Then came Patrick Rothfuss with his debut novel The Name of the Wind, book one in The Kingkiller Chronicle, and with one book he changed Fantasy forever and rocketed himself into superstardom in the Fantasy community. I’ve read this book multiple times but now its time for me to review it.
This is Readers Indigestion!
Patrick Rothfuss started off as a University advice columnist, well advice was what it started off as, it quickly devolved into him making fun of anyone who wrote in, after he graduated he continued writing for the paper and he kept writing stories himself. Eventually he finished what would become Kingkiller Day 1 and found a company to publish it, DAW books. The book wasn’t really advertised all that much but once it was released it got major acclaim from big names in fantasy, including three of my favourite authors.
“It is a rare and great pleasure to find a fantasist writing not only with the accuracy of Language that is essential to fantasy-making, but with true music in the words as well. Wherever Pat Rothfuss goes with the big story tha begins with The Name of the Wind he’ll carry us with him as a good singer Carries us through a song.”
-Ursala K. Le Guin
“As with all the very best books in our field, it’s not the fantasy trappings (wonderful as they are) that make this novel so good, but what the author has to say about true, common things, about ambition and failure, art, love, and loss.”
“Not a word of the nearly-700-page book is wasted. Rothfuss does not pad. He’s the great new fantasy writer we’ve been waiting for, and this is an astonishing book…If you’re a reader of fantasy or simply someone who appreciates a truly epic-scale work of fiction, don’t go through this summer without having read it.”
-Orson Scott Card
These three people are incredibly influential in the world of Fantasy and they loved this book. I too am absolutely in love with this book, but my praise will have to wait until parts two and three of this review. From the cover:
“My name is Kvothe, pronounced nearly the same as ‘quothe.’ Names are important as they tell you a great deal about a person. I’ve had more names than anyone has a right to.
“The Adem call me Maedre. Which, depending on how it’s spoken, can mean The Flame, The Thunder, or The Broken Tree.
“‘The Flame’ is obvious if you’ve ever seen me. I have red hair, bright. If I had been born a couple of hundred years ago I would probably have been burned as a demon. I keep it short but it’s unruly. When left to its own devices, it sticks up and makes me look as if I have been set afire.
“‘The Thunder’ I attribute to a strong baritone and a great deal of stage training at an early age.
“I’ve never thought of ‘The Broken Tree’ as very significant. Although in retrospect, I suppose it could be considered at least partially prophetic.
“My frist mentor called me E’lir because I was clever and I knew it. My first real lover called me Dulator because she liked the sound of it. I have been called Shadicar, Lightfinger, and Six-String. I have been called Kvothe the Bloodless, Kvothe the Arcane, and Kvothe Kingkiller. I have earned those names. Bought and paid for them.
“But I was brought up as Kvothe. My father once told me it meant ‘to know.’
“I have, of course, been called many other things. Most of them uncouth, although very few were unearned.
“I have stolen princesses away from sleeping barrow kings. I have 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 the day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.
“You may have heard of me.”
This book is going to become a thing of legend in even 20 years time, it will one day be mentioned in the same breath as Lord of The Rings in what it has done for Fantasy. There is so much I cannot wait to talk about, but must. So sit back, relax and enjoy one of the best Fantasy novels ever written.