So begins a tale unequaled in fantasy literature - the story of a hero told in his own voice. It is a tale of sorrow, a tale of survival, a tale of one man's search for meaning in his universe, and how that search, and the indomitable will that drove it, gave birth to a legend.
©2009 DAW Trade; (P)2009 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
“The originality of Rothfuss's outstanding debut fantasy, the first of a trilogy, lies less in its unnamed imaginary world than in its precise execution…As absorbing on a second reading as it is on the first, this is the type of assured, rich first novel most writers can only dream of producing. The fantasy world has a new star.” (Publishers Weekly, Starred Review)
“Fantasy readers-a notoriously discerning group-tend to dole out praise judiciously, which makes the reception of The Name of the Wind, the first volume in Patrick Rothfuss's The Kingkiller Chronicle, that much more remarkable. Critics are already throwing around comparisons to some of the biggest names in fantasy, including George R. R. Martin, Tad Williams, the recently deceased Robert Jordan, and even Tolkien. (Bookmarks Magazine)
“New fantasy authors are usually overhyped, and it's rare to find one who writes with such assurance and narrative skill right from the start. I was reminded of Ursula LeGuin, George R. R. Martin, and J. R. R. Tolkien, but never felt that Rothfuss was imitating anyone. Like the writers he clearly admires, he's an old-fashioned storyteller working with traditional elements, but his voice is his own. I haven't been so gripped by a new fantasy series in years. It's certain to become a classic." (Lisa Tuttle, The Times)
This is one of my favorite books, and I've read it many times. I love this story. I did not love this reading of it, though. Partly, I'm sure, this unfair of me because I've read it to myself many times, and the prose and cadences have come to sound a certain way in my mind, which contrast greatly with Podehl's reading. For example, in my opinion, Podehl does not speak in a rich baritone, while the main (first-person pov) character, Kvothe is supposed to.
However, I could look past this kind of stuff if Podehl didn't also pronounce words incorrectly and inconsistently (e.g., he mispronounces "infallible"; he pronounces "Atur" several different ways), and he is inconsistent with the way he does character voices, (for example Willem's voice when Willem is introduced). It makes it seem like he didn't read the story prior to performing it. All in all, though, I love the story, and am happy that it's available in an audio format.
This book is just as amazing the first time as it is the fiftieth. I've listened to this series often, and couldn't be happier with the writing, style, and quality of Patrick Rothfuss' works. Nick Podehl is also a very talented individual, and this book wouldn't be the same without his high quality narration.
Without spoilers, this is a novel about the hero’s rise from the bottom. Kvothe goes through three stages during the period of the novel, each an extended flashback. Each (although it can be argued only the second two) present challenges which he must overcome through intelligence and determination. This is where the heart of the book is, in Kvothe’s struggle to break boundaries set by low birth and poverty. It does overcompensate slightly by making him a little too perfect in his abilities. Music, magic, rhetoric, language, streets smarts, and physical agility pose little obstacle for Kvothe and are mastered with the ease of an RPG character. (Kvothe spent the day practicing and gained +2 Lute, lost trait: rusty. Que celebratory music). On an even playing field Kvothe is practically guaranteed victory, which can be a little grating at times. When the deck is stacked against him however, as it almost always is, then there are moments of general enjoyment to be had as our hero struggles against opponents far more powerful or influential than him.
The book does sag a little with the introduction of the main love interest. There are books which can add a dash of romance as a side dish, others cannot. Name of the Wind is decidedly one of the latter. If I had to pick a flower to suit it (an actual line in this book) think I would choose pressed yellow jasmine. Dry, boring, and if you try to swallow it you just might puke.
The villains, where they, appear are simplistic and functional, without ever being intriguing. Everyone (particularly in the final third) is pretty much a reskin of the villains from Harry Potter, abet for a more mature audience. They serve their purpose, providing Kvothe with mountains to climb, but outside of this they are rather flat. It would have been nice, in a novel filled with so much originality to see a bad guy with equal ingenuity.
Despite this, the last third of the book was my favorite. Kvothe’s struggles here were seasoned with genuine moments of anticipation, as the hero had something to loose other than his life. The Author was especially clever in revealing an (academic) downfall but leaving out the when and how. As older Kvothe fills in the story, tension was built for me as I waited for the ax to drop. Even when not in peril, simply listening to kvothe’s life and times is engaging enough to keep going. The world itself is still shrouded in mystery, however what questions I have only add to my interest. While I make no bones about my borderline hatred of Love Interest, Kvothe’s little side adventure was her was fun, fresh, and quite possibly my favorite part of the book.
Something must be said for the final segment, which was also a moment of pure brilliance on the author’s part. Without giving anything away, the ending raises several burning questions while adding a sense of gravity and weight that the series was previously lacking. All in all I would definitely recommend this to friends and family, and have already begun the difficult task of pressing the audiobook into their hands. If you like fantasy or just good reads then pick this up, it won’t disappoint.
I could not get through this book. The characters were annoying and inconsistent. The writing was decent, but at important parts it switched to tell instead of show, for example "his eyes were full of anger". That is a poorly written description of a key character in an important scene. Show! DON'T just tell the reader what is happening. The worst part was the self importance of the main character. It is ok to have an arrogant character, but the author clearly believed in the self importance of the main character without realizing it. I have no idea where the praise for this book is coming from. I had high expectations coming in, and was let down. Probably not a bad book, but just juvenile overall. I may have enjoyed this when I was 16.
I loved this book. It is written so well. I never once thought the book had a slow spot, so for someone considering to purchase this book, it does not "feel long". In fact, it leaves you greatly looking forward to the next book, which is also a great book. My morning and evening commute has been my favorite time of day while reading these. I may have even sat in my car for an extra 15 minutes when the book gets too intense to stop.
The narrator does an amazing job. This is a story within a story and sometimes even more stories within that story. I was never confused where in the story we were in part to the great narrator and obviously the great writing of the author.
I strongly recommend this book to those who love epic fantasys. You will not regret it.
A good, entertaining read but don't expect more than genre fantasy. Sometimes that's enough. There's very little here that will get you thinking, which is a bit of a let down since it's ABOUT storytelling. It is much better written, word for word, than most fantasy pitched at young adults, even if it's conceptually at the same level. But it's a story about a boy wizard and who cares for more? It's fun.
As much as Name of the Wind irritates me, I've read it 3 times and am now listening to it in audiobook format. There are parts of the book that I find very appealing, particularly when music is involved. There Rothfuss shines and he writes with passion and tempo. His magical system is interesting, and the lore of the world begs for further revelations.
However it is also a story told by an immature narcissist who trains to be a wizard then a ninja, and who is better than anyone else, always, who also gets the hottest girl but is too nice of a guy to make a move.
Nick Podehl has a clear, easily understood narration that flows smoothly. Were he simply reading the book I would have enjoyed it far more. But instead he voices the characters which ranges from amusing like Master Kilvin, to the nails-on-chalkboard gratingly bad old-man voice he gives any character over 50. His voice for Kvothe is ironically perfect as it amplifies just how much of the book is wish fulfillment for a middle class, whiny nerd. Because that's what this sounds like; a d&d campaign voiced by a teenager.
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