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Editorial Reviews

Why we think it's Essential - When you finish listening to The Name of Wind for the first time, you'll wonder where the hours went. When you listen again (and if you listen to it once, you will want to listen a second time) you'll marvel at the depth and intricacy of the fantasy world that Rothfuss has created. Details that initially seemed irrelevant will show themselves to be keystones of a greater story you didn't even notice the first time around. By the time your finger hovers over the Play button for a third time you'll realize that, to quote George R.R. Martin, "he's bloody good, this Rothfuss guy." —Michael

Publisher's Summary

"My name is Kvothe. I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I have burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during the day. I have talked to God's, loved women and written songs that make the minstrels weep. You may have heard of me."

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.

Critic Reviews

“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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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Great Debut or Average experienced writer

If you look at this as a debut writer who is going to grow in his talent and if this is his first novel then it is great. If this is an experienced writer or someone who just changed his pen name then it is average to good. If you read some early Koontz and Gerrtisen then you will find they did not start the great writers that they are today.

What is Great? PR can paint a picture in your mind better then most writers I have read. I am literal minded and often have problems with flowery language and picturing in my head what the writer is explaining, but with this book, I always had a very vivid picture of the characters and the scenery. PR himself got into my head. Over half way into the book, when things were going well for the main character, I remember thinking, nothing ever goes this well for Kyothe for this long without something going wrong, so when is the other shoe going to drop? That was the exact words that ran through my head. Not a minute later, Kyothe thinks to himself, things are going to well, when will the other shoe drop? Some of his writings stirred my emotions, made me tense, made me hear the music, made me want to shake Kyothe and tell him to snap out of it, like Kyothe was a real friend of mine, who I wanted to help.

Good: At times there is great insight. For example, at one point he explains that if you can make a women feel beautiful, not just say it, but make her actually feel she is beautiful and then she sees in her own mind that she is beautiful, she will act beautiful and other people will see her as beautiful. I am a strong believer in this and I have seen it happen in the lives of some close to me and I have seen the opposite. The mind is a powerful thing. The book has dragons, magic, wizards, underground tunnels, buildings with hidden rooms,etc.

Average to bad: Often the story does not seem to be going anywhere. It is not clear what the goal is. There are no character goals, no quest, no reason to keep listening. One reviewer wrote that you get this happened then this happened then this happened, I agree. At almost 28 hours it took me a week to get through it. I found that each day I did not dread having to listen or get impatient, but I also found I had no great desire or want to hear the story. The story seems rather disjointed at times, one minute we are facing this problem and then it is totally forgot and we are off to some other problem. Many problems do not get handled. I did not care for the story in a story or even the story in a story in a story. The beginning, interludes and ending are distractions. Sometimes the writing is a little sophmoric. As the writer matures I believe these mistakes will be taken care of in future writings and I believe PR has the potential to be a great writer.

Some did not like the narrator, I thought he was great and added to the story

115 of 131 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Joanna
  • Pflugerville, TX, United States
  • 05-10-11


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!

153 of 176 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Not sure why the reviews are so polar opposite.

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.

176 of 207 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Caught between a love story and a hero's journey

Is there anything you would change about this book?

At 28 hours long, I would expect a little more action from a book about a storyteller.

The book's pace is sluggish, suffering from what appears to be an identity crisis: Is this a tale of adventure, the making of a young hero? Or is this a coming of age love story? The book tries to be both and unfortunately doesn't excel at either.

The author's writing often slips into cliché, with well-worn similes ruining moments that are supposed to be beautiful or emotional. Without fail, when a cliché is trotted out, the narrator apologies for it, explaining that "it can't be explained in words." This meta-storytelling device took me out of the story over and over and felt like the crutch of an under-confident writer.

And is it just me, or is the basic premise of this book awfully similar to Harry Potter? Orphaned boy goes to special school for magic, nearly falls in love a few times, becomes an accidental hero on his way to kill A Seriously Bad Guy? I suppose Harry Potter isn't unique either. The main difference is that I enjoyed Harry Potter much more.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

I was disappointed. The first 3/4 of the book are pointed in one direction, but near the end, we are carried on a "side quest" that felt like a distraction from the larger narrative. There is no resolution at the end of the book; it's merely a gaping door left open for the next book in the series.

Which character – as performed by Nick Podehl – was your favorite?

While his voice isn't particularly deep or resonant, Nick Podehl's range of accents is incredible. I especially enjoyed his take on Master Kilvin, a character who feels larger than life with a voice to match.

Could you see The Name of the Wind being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

Yes, in fact, it's apparently being developed into a TV or mini-series.

Any additional comments?

My review is perhaps overly critical. It's a fun enough book if you want to feel like you're journeying to an alternate universe. The world of the book is excellently realized, with one of the most imaginative systems for explaining magic that I've encountered in fantasy. And many of the characters feel vividly imagined, with lives that seem to stretch beyond the covers of the book.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Robert
  • Yamhill, OR, United States
  • 09-08-11

Well worth your time

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.

95 of 114 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Joshua
  • Redmond, WA, United States
  • 03-29-10

Best Fantasy Read Since Mistborn

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.

107 of 129 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • April
  • NY, United States
  • 05-13-11

Nick Podhel Nails It.

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

47 of 57 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Finally! A fantasy author who can write!

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.

138 of 169 people found this review helpful

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  • Lore
  • SAN JOSE, CA, United States
  • 10-18-14

Pull up a chair at the inn and give a listen...

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.

42 of 51 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Joe
  • Modesto, CA
  • 05-17-10

Slow starting, but finishes well

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.

148 of 183 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-20-17

Astounding and outstanding!

Simply wonderful reading. I love Podehl alsways as much as I love Rothfuss, Tolkien and my wife and kid!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-13-17

Awful! worst hero character ever known.

I am happy that I read it just because it made other books that I like even better and extraordinary. Worst fantasy bbok I ever read. Poor language and shallow characters. Main character is very annoying too.

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  • Kristy L Preston
  • 02-24-17


I've loved this book for such a long time and I felt that the narrator truly gave the characters life. A really great performance, in my opinion, of one of the greatest fantasy novels around!