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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Thoughts on Pages #13: The Name of the Wind


I picked up this book when I was kind of disillusioned by a book that was just..."meh". So, I decided to finally read this high fantasy novel, one that my mom had been recommending to me for the past few years.

Y'all, that was a great decision. I have a new favorite author to add to my Top Ten list.

Synopsis

"The riveting first-person narrative of a young man who grows to be the most notorious magician his world has ever seen. From his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, to years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime- ridden city, to his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, The Name of the Wind is a masterpiece that transports readers into the body and mind of a wizard. It is a high-action novel written with a poet's hand, a powerful coming-of-age story of a magically gifted young man, told through his eyes: to read this book is to be the hero."
(from Amazon)

Truly, the less you know about the actual story, the better (because I'd be wandering into spoiler territory, and trust me, you don't want me to spoil this one). So, I'll just tell you that this is the coming-of-age story of a living legend, as told by a living legend, to a Chronicler. The narrative switches back and forth from a quaint inn in the countryside to Kvothe's story.

Characters

I'll only get into the protagonist in detail, so let's talk about our red-headed hero, Kvothe.  He's wickedly smart for his age, but he's innately good. While he is good-natured, he won't let people walk all over him, nor will he stand by when those he cares for are in danger. He's one of the best teenage protagonists I've ever read - believable and heroic at the same time - and I had absolutely no trouble empathizing with him.

The supporting cast is excellent, and some of their roles in this story shift, which will keep you guessing right up until the very end. Also, the villains are super-creepy.

(My favorite characters: Kvothe, Bast, Denna, and Fela.)

Setting

This world is a delight. It's reminiscent of a renaissance England and Italy combined, and I absolutely love it.

Actual setting aside, the magic system in this story is the best. There's so much mystery surrounding it, but once you get into what it actually involves, it's intriguing. Basically, the magic system is focused on alchemy and science, and to the outsider, it looks like true "magic". This is also where the University comes into play; people can go to this University to actually get a degree to be an Arcanist (a magic user). Seeing all this play out on the page was quite cool.

My Thoughts

I'll be honest, here: this book took me a while to get through. It's over 600 pages of novel goodness, and as such, the pacing did get a little slow for me at times. But once the plot picked up, it ran. This book is a journey, as Kvothe's story is a journey. I got excited for him and felt sorry for him on multiple occasions. I reveled in each location. I got excited when the magic system was developed further, and speaking of twists...the ending was really, really, really good.

Therefore, I give The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss five lutes out of five. This high fantasy is a journey worth taking, and I look forward to continuing it in the sequel.


Want to follow my reading adventures and see what I'm into? Follow me on Goodreads! Also, feel free to recommend any books to me in the comments!
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