My book review backlog is getting out of hand. Partly because I have cut down on the accepting books from publishers thing (so no review pressure), partly because of travel, and Dussehra and Diwali (gosh! it’s been so busy), and partly because I am enjoying reading just for the sake of reading without actually taking notes, and marking pages, and everything.
Also, now that I have upgraded my JustBooks account, there are so many excellent books to read that I’ve read faster than I can review.
So, bear with me, as I’m just winging it here in this book review written almost two weeks after finishing the book.
Anyway, to the review at hand. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss first came to my attention when I read somewhere online that George R.R.Martin had recommended this book (and the series) highly.
Yes, The Name of the Wind is the first book in the Kingkiller Chronicle. The next book already out is called The Wise Man’s Fear, and then the third book that is yet to be published.
So What’s the Book and the Series All About?
The book tells the story of Kvothe who is a famous warrior / wizard / musician – the stuff of legends, he (though still young) has retired from active life and he is now an innkeeper hiding out under a false name in a remote village.
One day, a visitor to the inn recognizes him and soon he is pestered for his story. The rest of the book deals with the story of his life from his birth up to his stint at the University – where he first starts to show how incredible and powerful a magician he has the potential to become.
Mixed in with the back story of this nearly mythical wizard is the mystery of the nasty creatures hanging around and increasingly evil happenings in the present-day world, leaving me to think that the focus of the next two books will be how Kvothe comes out of near-obscurity and saves the day again. Or at least, that’s what I hope.
So Am I Going to Go All Mad Over this Series Like I did With ASOIAF?
Sadly, no. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lovely read, but it’s not on an epic scale like ASOIAF.
It’s more on the lines of a bildungsroman, a coming of age story of Kvothe set in a Fantasy environment.
So, when we talk Fantasy, the first question that comes to mind is the world building.
Almost immediately on reading the book, we know there is something off about this world – there are references to demons, and all sorts of strange creatures, but for the most part, it is Kvothe’s story. And it’s a fairly entertaining, well-told story.
Once I finished the book though, I felt I never really got to know anything about the world Kvothe lives in. I don’t know the politics, history, much of the culture or anything about the surrounding nations. There is very little detail on the villains either. It’s just all about Kvothe for the most part.
Another problem with the book is it falls prey to the sag, something which happens in most Fantasy novels, I think. The book begins with a bang, rattles on in fine style till somewhere near the middle, and then simply halts. The middle of the book – those sections of the book where Kvothe is grieving the death of his parents and living a hard life on the streets seem to drag on almost without any purpose. It’s only once he enters University to practice magic that life re-enters the book once again.
A little less focus on Kvothe’s homeless life, and a little more detail on the world would have made this section of the book oodles more engrossing.
This is the only complaint I have though. The second half of the book is entertaining, there is tons of action (including an encounter with a dragon that is epic and hilarious and sad all at the same time), and an ending that nicely concludes the story, while at the same time providing a foundation for the rest of the books in this trilogy.
So, overall, I liked this book. It’s a slow boil, but I finished the book raring to get to the next book in the series.
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