Over Christmas break I managed to catch up on some of the books that other reviewers have raved about that hadn’t yet made it to the top of my TBR mountain. The best book by far was Patrick Rothfuss’ The Name of the Wind. Since Greg, Kat and Angus have already reviewed this book, I don’t think much needs to be said at this point about the plot. Instead I want to respond to the other reviews, which I had not read in detail until after finishing the book.
I agree with Kat that Rothfuss has done something special. I can usually spot a Harry Potter knockoff at 20 paces, but even though there are some superficial similarities between the characters and plot devices, at no point when I was reading The Name of the Wind did I think of Harry Potter. Rothfuss has taken the stock ingredients of fantasy and, like a master chef, created something new and surprising with them. For a book of several hundred pages, The Name of the Wind reads remarkably fast, as the story pours out of Kvothe, an autobiography to set to truth all the rumors and guesses.
Like Angus, I had some problems with Kvothe’s development romantically. Boys of that age should be a little bit more hormonal than he is, and I have a hard time believing that someone with his fortitude in other areas — that whipping scene for example — doesn’t have the courage to try for a kiss from a woman with whom he is besotted. I also agree with Angus that the tale would have benefited from more detail about the big baddies, the Chandrian. Right now they are sort of a nebulous evil. The tension would be heightened by knowing more about the antagonist.
Those details aside, Greg is right when he said that books like this are why people read fantasy. I am anxiously awaiting the next installment in the story. If Rothfuss keeps up the quality of this storytelling throughout the next two books, I think the next thing he should write is a letter to Peter Jackson, with the offer of a movie deal. This is epic fantasy at its finest.