4 out of 5 Stars
Told in Kvothe’s own voice, this is the tale of the magically gifted young man who grows to be the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen.
The intimate narrative of his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-ridden city, his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, and his life as a fugitive after the murder of a king form a gripping coming-of-age story unrivaled in recent literature.
A high-action story written with a poet’s hand, The Name of the Wind is a masterpiece that will transport readers into the body and mind of a wizard.
Have you ever picked up an epic story of powerful kings, a mysterious wizard, wounded warriors, or the wandering minstrel and wondered what could have happened to make them the people they are? This story was like reading this high fantasy prequel. I loved it!
Rothfuss jumps in with a unique narrative style. Most of the story is told from Kvothe’s point of view as he relays his life’s tale to a curious scribe–the truth behind all the ballads and epic stories. The story was somewhat confusing at first since the POV flips between characters then back and forth through time, but eventually I got so sucked in that I didn’t care. That being said, it took me a while before I really got into the story. The beginning is somewhat slow and there are lags in the narrative, though overall pacing is pretty good for such a long novel.
Kvothe is one of those characters who’s too talented for his own good–intelligent beyond his years, powerful despite limited experience, an amazing musician, an actor able to step into any situation. Usually I hate characters like this. They’re just unrealistic. Yet, that didn’t seem to be the case with Kvothe. Rothfuss manages to make him feel human and flawed despite all his talents. And not only that, but you can’t help but root for him after all the horrors he’s faced in his young life.
The supporting characters feel just as alive. Each has their own background–stories that come out in bits and pieces throughout the narrative and leave you wanting more. I loved the subtle romance arc and the wonderful displays of friendship and support after all the brutality Kvothe faced as a child. The intricate world building certainly adds to the narrative as well. There are different lands with unique ruling structures and cultural quirks that really helped bring characters to life.
Overall I enjoyed The Name of the Wind, though readers should be warned there are many trigger warnings. Warnings for violence against children and women, extreme poverty, homelessness, death of family, torture, murder, attempted assassination, burning, poisoning, and wealthy individuals abusing privilege to destroy lives. Overall I give the book 4 out of 5 stars and would recommend it for anyone looking for a hefty high fantasy series to dive into.