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 book tells the story of Cvothe and how, as he says in his own words he "trooped, traveled, loved, lost and was betrayed". Essentially this is your basic coming of age, rights of passage fantasy, where the young boy comes to terms with whatever strange powers he has while at the same time the story builds the cast of friends and enemies who will help and hinder him on his way. The story itself, while not wholely original is well written and engaging at all times. I found myself thinking about the book and its characters while not reading it, which is always a sign the book has captured my imagination. The writing style is clear and concise and the dialogue is excellent, which is more than you can say for most epic fantasies. It must be stressed that this is very much a character driven story. While we are given some details about the world the characters live in, this is really just to support the story, rather than to tell it. The book is not without its flaws. Firstly Cvothe is just that bit too brilliant. He is a masterful musician, he picks up new ideas almost instantaniously, he has a clever mouth and even cleverer hands. Secondly, the use of language is jarringly anachronistic at times. The language is very modern american in its use of expressions and slang and this does not always sit well against the obvious renaissance backdrop of the book. Lastly, the final third of the book seemed very flat. The sole purpose of the book seems to be to lay foundations for what is to come. Finally, I need to mention the narration. Nick Podehl does a fantastic job of narrating this book. His use of voices and accents throughout is just incredible. He uses just the right intonation and pitch of voice while at all times remaining clear and distinct.
This isn't the kind of book I would normally pickup or download but a co-worker recommended it to me. Wow! Where to begin? The story itself is beautifully written. The author weaves stories within stories to create a fabric of fiction as warm and familiar as a favorite blanket. I was immediately reminded of Neil Gaiman's writing. I always joke that if I were diagnosed with a terminal illness that I would want Neil Gaiman to come to my house and read to me from one of his books as I cuddled up with my pound puppy in bed. (A little dark but you get my point!) I've added Patrick Rothfuss to the list as well. It's one thing to have a mind that can image, in great detail, an entire world and culture but it is a true treat to find an author that can both create and pull you into that world and make you feel like you are a part of it. I was afraid it would be too "fictiony", too many fairies and dragons. I'm not sure how but Rothfuss manages to incorporate them both without the story becoming too "fake". There is a certain harsh reality within the story that sharpens the sometimes softened edges of fiction. Excellent writting! Nick Podehl's reading is spot on! The character voices are wonderful. Not over the top but obviously performed. It's like having a great actor perform a great play. It's the perfect pairing. I can't wait to start on the second book. Enjoy!
So it looks like people either love or hate this book. I loved it and actually got the audio book just so I could write a review and listen to it before the next one comes out. Maybe it is because I read the actual book, but this is the first book I have read in a long time that I just could not put down. I read the whole thing in 2 days. It is true that this first of the trilogy is really just character development and setting the stage, there is not a whole lot of action yet, but I swear while reading it I felt like I was sitting there at the table with them and that is due to the incredible writing style. The way this book sucked me into it's world is amazing. I have read all the other greats of this genre and while many of them are wonderful, I never felt as attached to them.
Kvothe is a legend and everyone has heard of him. Sure the tales often differ and contradict each other but here is your chance to sort out the truth from the exaggerations. Rothfuss offers you the opportunity to hear Kvothe's story from the man himself and who could pass up an opportunity like that? Grab a chair and a mug and settle in for a long listen.
What makes this an excellent book is the detail of the world that Patrick Rothfuss has created. I always love a detailed magic system in fantasy literature and there is more than one of them to be had in the Kingkiller Chronicles. Kvothe's tale starts when he is young and the listener learns about the various magics in the world right along with him. The style and structure of the story really isn't anything new, but it's done really well. I am amazed at the level of detail provided and yet it is obvious that the surface has barely been scratched. There is a lot more to come in the subsequent books and I am looking forward to them.
So why only 4 stars if everything was so great? Well it took me over half the book to feel like I was really in a fantasy world. For me, Kvothe's language was too much like my own and Podehl's narration only reinforced that feeling. Despite the content it just didn't "feel" like a fantasy book of swords and sorcery. The good news is that I got over it and I am now happily listening to book two. So if you start listening and have that same feeling don't give up - it will pass and you will be glad you stuck it out.
Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.
An entertaining fantasy novel that will delight fans of Robert Jordan, Orson Scott Card, JK Rowling, and other luminaries of the genre. Obviously a fantasy buff himself, Rothfuss wears his influences on his sleeve (literally -- trust a guy who dons a Joss Whedon shirt for his web site photo). Plenty of direct comparisons to various well-loved series can be made: the setting feels reminiscent of that of the Wheel of Time series, the gifted and reckless young hero a little like Ender, and the school for Arcanists a little like Hogwarts. But Rothfuss weaves these familiar elements into the fabric of a story that's all his own. Be patient, reader -- it takes about 80 pages for the tale to really get started, but once it does, it will suck you in with an involving world; a protagonist who's flawed and likable despite the fact he's naturally better at most things than most people (and knows it), and an enjoyable mix of fantastic and familiar problems.
The book does have a few flaws. Rothfuss is clearly in it for the long haul, and readers aren't going to find a clean story arc, but 700 pages of setup for future volumes. Also, his writing can be a bit adverb-happy and overly precious about his character's emotional lives. And a bit of editing wouldn't have hurt a few sections, such as the plodding opening.
But, this is unapologetically only a first entry in one of those in-for-a-penny-in-for-a-pound fantasy series aimed at readers for whom the whole point of reading fantasy is to get lost in an imaginary world. And there's plenty to get lost in here. The Name of the Wind is an enjoyable coming-of-age story filled with life and discovery. If subsequent books follow suit, this ambitious cycle will no doubt attract as much fan adoration as George RR Martin's Fire and Ice series. Can't wait for the next one!
Originally posted on my blog Good Books & Good Wine.
I’ve come to discover that I like rereading books via audio. It’s a whole to way to experience worlds I’ve already inhabited. In preparation for The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss, I spent one of my audible credits on The Name Of The Wind.
The audiobook opens with the strumming of a string instrument, I think it’s a guitar, which feels very appropriate to the story, as it feels like tavern music. This is a great opening. It sets the mood perfectly, as the entirety of The Name Of The Wind is told in a tavern – the Waystone Inn. Plus, I think when it comes to audiobooks the opening music should fit the themes of the book, and this one does quite wonderfully.
Nick Podhel, the narrator of the audio version of The Name of The Wind does an excellent job voicing the large cast of characters. I thought he perfectly nailed Kvothe’s emotions. With Podhel’s expert narration, certain events in the book just slammed me all over again. Certain characters took on a new life, as I now have a voice to go with the words — such as Trapis, the guy who takes care of Kvothe and other street children in Tarbean, also although he doesn’t need it, Ambrose is a bit clearer to me. Podhel nailed pompous ass. ALSO he did different accents for different characters who aren’t from the commonwealth which adds a certain flavor that I appreciated. I love it when narrators do different voices for their characters and put in accents, so it really feels like the book is brought to life.
However, this is a very long audiobook and took me a month or two to get through. It’s about 28 hours long. Yet, while I was listening, I never felt the length to be a burden. I guess when you are transported to the world of the university and Imre, length becomes unimportant.
The Name of the Wind is an excellent audiob
Though I mention this is the best fantasy book since Mistborn, it is nothing like mistborn and that's what makes it so great. The book revolves around an inn keeper (living in hiding) having the memoirs of his life taken down by a scribe. It follows the first 15 years of his life. From tragedy that sends him to living on the streets to his attending university. This is the first book in the series and at the end you are left with more questions than answers but somehow you are still left satisfied while eagrly awaiting book 2 due out in December. The author creates these amazing adventures for the young protagonist whilst slipping in litle details that slowly forms a picture of much larger forces at work in the background. The book also focuses alot on descriptions of music, arts, and magic. I must truly say that this author decsriptions are like painting pictures of these things in your mind. For comparison, if you've read "Eragon" the descriptions of magic are very logical and explanatory, while in the book, the description magic are like poetry. This made the book new and refreshing. What can I say about the narration but "Bravo!". If u like Eragon, Harry Potter, Mistborn give this book a try. If you don't like the afore mentioned books, I'd still recommend that you give this book a try.
Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books.
This review covers the first books of the series Kingkiller Chronicles. Some fantasy can be exhausting: Dan Simmons, Brandon Sanderson, George R. R. Martin, Robert Jordan, even sometimes Neil Gaiman. Their stories can take your breath away but sometimes, also, knock the wind out of you with a force. Patrick Rothfuss is not about that. He is more about an easy-going kind of entertainment. These books do not knock you over with amazement, epic wars or adventure. They are more subtle and a great richness comes through in that subtlety. While usually light, do not be fooled; they contain a depth and richness that is just easy to read and easier to appreciate. This is nothing short of outstanding fantasy prose and character development.
These stories are long but not too long. Rothfuss does not ramble. The continuity of the protagonist Kvothe’s stories is there but not so complex or convoluted that one can get lost over the span. While there are many characters there is a core of them that are easy to know and become invested in. The stories are more about people and their relationships than about what the wizard-in-training is actually learning and practicing.
At least the first two books do not contain that much magic but they do not leave you wanting either. They only leave you in great anticipation of the next book to come in the series.
Nick Podehl’s reading is impeccable. I am loathe to say this is a great book for YA’s for fear it might deter older readers from venturing here. That would be a mistake. These are great books for readers of all age or gender.
So many fantasy novels, though their concepts are interesting, are ultimately mediocre at best, largely because they are written as clumsily as might be expected from an eighth grader with a C in English class.
Rothfuss has joined the very, very small group of fantasy authors (think Tolkien, Martin, Gaiman) who can not only build an intriguing world and spin an interesting story, but who can also use the English language with elegance and verve. His dialogue, expression of ideas (yes, there are IDEAS here, not just plot and character and setting), and description are written at a level that is appropriate for a well-educated adult.
Rothfuss uses a frame narrative, which is somewhat unusual for a fantasy novel, and which he handles with such skill that it greatly adds to the suspense of the story. His system of magic is well-conceived and not oversimplified, and his characters, though sometimes of mythic proportions, are never cliche. He builds a nuanced and believable world without the cardinal sin of "infodumping." In short, he has provided everything for which a serious lover of fantasy literature (as opposed to fantasy genre fiction) can ask.
The beginning of the story is slow. The way the characters are introduced makes it hard at first to follow the story. However, after the story gets going, it becomes very interesting.
I am waiting for Days 2 and 3.
Other series you may like: Trudi Canavan's Black Magician series - She also wrote a trilogy that isn't on audible - Voices of the Gods/The age of the five/ that is also pretty good.
Of course, this assumes you have already read The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan, George R. R. Martin's Song of ice and Fire : Beware - no one is sure when this series will be finished, and Brandon Sanderson's Books - Elantris, Mist Born Series, and Jim Butcher's Codex Alera series.
If you have already read all of the above books, try Jim Campbell's Lost Fleet Series. You may also enjoy Sharon Shinn's Thirteen House series.
Now I will say that everything is NOT for everyone. So, read other reviewers and hear what they have to say before you decide. I have enjoyed the above series - although I enjoyed some a lot more than others.
If there was a series you enjoyed, please share it. Thanks.
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