“If I seem to wander, if I seem to stray, remember that true stories seldom take the straightest way”
If J. K. Rowling made me want to write, Patrick Rothfuss made me feel like giving up trying to write even before I start; there is no way that I could write even half as good.
The Name of the Wind is a masterpiece. Am in love with the writing. Patrick Rothfuss feeds your imagination with a magical world building that is intricate, elaborate and unfolds with beauty and confidence. Whether its the back cover excerpt or the prologue, the writing draws you in. The setting is steeped in rich lore and the protagonist is interesting (a must in my opinion!). The Name of the Wind has the ebb and flow of fast disappearing art of storytelling where you can imagine yourself, comfortably ensconced in the warmth of a burning fireplace, hanging onto each word from the mouth of the storyteller. And there are quite a few great scenes in the text itself of people listening to stories!
“The best lies about me are the ones I told.”
The stage is set in a Lord-of-the-Rings-Aragorn-reveal-scene-like-pub where a group of friends and the nondescript inn-keeper have an inexplicable encounter. The inn-keeper has other secrets that you will soon be eagerly waiting to have revealed. And so starts a 3 day narration of Kvothe’s legend building. The story within a story segues perfectly from the weary present-day Kvothe to his younger wild version who hurtles through life leaving behind a trail of magic and legends.
“It’s like everyone tells a story about themselves inside their own head. Always. All the time. That story makes you what you are. We build ourselves out of that story.”
Kvothe was a savant from the start. His childhood days were spent learning tricks of the trade in drama, music, juggling and all sorts of other useful skills as he travelled with his parents in the colourful mini-world of his travelling troupe Edma Ruh. A chance meeting has him witness an arcanist, who calls himself Abenathy, call the name of the wind… This is when magic enters full sprint into the novel. Sympathy is a study where the will of your mind can result in magical marvels, and with a student as sharp and eager as Kvothe, the lessons are inevitably fun to read.
“You have to be a bit of a liar to tell a story the right way.”
One tragedy later, and after a couple of years spent learning street smartness and survival skills, Kvothe finds himself in the University (for magic studies only its way more complicated and complex). I wish my college had teachers and subjects like these. There is this one scene where Kvothe trusts a teacher and jumps off a roof. Brilliantly unexpected from start to end! The arcanists excel in magic with rich subtext with a new twist to metallurgy, healing, philosophy and much more.
Kvothe also makes a couple of friends and a very Malfoy-like enemy. The antagonism felt forced and is one storyline I didn’t like much. Kvothe also befriends Auri a shy runaway girl whose story isn’t really explained much. The dialogue between the two has this gorgeous hint of poetry and the promise of impossible.
“The boy grows upward, but the girl grows up.”
Deanna is Kvothe’s epic love. Am reserving judgement on the love story at least until I read the next book. I am usually very willing to fall in love with a love story but here I don’t see its necessity to this story yet. A couple of other problems – Kvothe running out of money & finding a way out was a plot device used often enough that it lost its severity.
The ending storyline of Kvothe running after evil Chandrians (long lovely scary legend that I won’t spoil for
you).. even the wood-eating fire-breathing giant dragon got a bit boring. But, back in present-day inn, the resigned ex-hero is still immensely intriguing.
“Too much truth confuses the facts. Too much honesty makes you sound insincere”
How did a fey prince Bast become Kvothe’s student? Does Auri have a bigger story arc waiting? There wasn’t even the remotest hint of a King in The Name of the Wind, then why is this series called the King Killer Chronicle? Is there a major war coming? And how will Patrick Rothfuss give us all these answers in only 2 more books (even if the page count is insanely high)? I can’t wait to read the next book in the series, A Wise Man’s Fear, to find out more. And then wait impatiently, as is the destiny of any half-respecting fantasy buff these days, for the final book to release.
This post is handwritten on an ipad using Notability and converted to text. Technology is like magic complete with its own set of legends and heroes!