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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

Overall

  • 4.7 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    37,421
  • 4 Stars
    7,957
  • 3 Stars
    1,943
  • 2 Stars
    656
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Performance

  • 4.7 out of 5.0
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    33,295
  • 4 Stars
    7,691
  • 3 Stars
    1,969
  • 2 Stars
    445
  • 1 Stars
    329

Story

  • 4.7 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    34,222
  • 4 Stars
    6,683
  • 3 Stars
    1,849
  • 2 Stars
    632
  • 1 Stars
    461
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  • Overall
  • Tom
  • Batavia, Illinois, United States
  • 12-15-09

At last!!

Well... i started my audio experiance on Robert Jordan's Wheel of time. Then Brandon Sandersons mistborn series..then George R.R. Martains song of fire and ice... from there i bought books and they didnt match those 3 authors talent and story telling, i thought i would never get the story writing those autors gave me ...until now. Patrick Rothfuss's writing style and story telling is awesome I found it hard to put my headphones down at the end of the day...and the narrator is one of the best i heard to date.

I recomend this book. you wont be disapointed!!

98 of 121 people found this review helpful

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I won't be reading the next installment

Things I liked about this book: The system of magic was very realistic, by which I mean the author clearly spent a lot of time thinking about the mechanism for the magic, which is built mainly on the idea of “sympathy” between objects. For instance, it makes sense that in order to use magic to start something on fire (for instance, a barn) the magic user must hold an item that is easy to burn (for instance, a piece of straw). This concept is explained in bits and pieces throughout the book, as the protagonist learns more and more about how to control “sympathy.” This is much more satisfying in my mind than--to pull an example out of thin air--a book about a boy who learns magic that seems to be based almost exclusively on memorizing almost-Latin sounding phrases and then yelling them at another magic-user. One particularly good scene stands out in my mind, in which the protagonist and another student have a sort of magic duel. Rather than giving us yet another wand-waving explosion of pyrotechnics, Rothfuss imagines a nearly silent contest of wills in which the two contestants must concentrate all their attention on preventing their opponent from lighting a candle.

The other thing I really liked about the book were the descriptions of the music. Not very many books have a bard as a protagonist, and the descriptions of the protagonist’s experiences as a musician had the ring of truth to them. A musician’s love for his instrument, the agony of breaking strings, and the exhilaration that comes when performing, are all described beautifully and realistically and were some of my favorite parts of the book.

Unfortunately, too many other parts of the book were just plain boring or weirdly nonsensical. Without getting into too much detail, I will simply say that I thought some of the characters’ reactions to the things that happened were unbelievable. And while I know this is the first book of a trilogy, leaving the central mystery of the book, which is introduced in the first chapter (the spider things) completely unexplained, is just bad storytelling. Sorry, I wasn’t interested enough to want to read the next installment.

14 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Abel
  • Granite City, IL, USA
  • 03-15-10

Fantastic and vibrant world

As a first time audible listener, I was afraid I wouldn't be able to enjoy novels as much as when I read them myself, but this book convinced me that I can love it even more when skillfully narrated. The plot of the book even focuses on storytelling and masterful storytellers, and made me think deeply about how much more I enjoyed listening to Nick Podehl's performance of it.

The author builds a world as complex and thought out as any story I've read, and it feels much more real than most fantasy books, which piece things together over time, or present too much at once. The magic is fantastic as well, and ranks among the best I've encountered (simple yet brilliant).

It takes a while for the characters to build up steam (with a book of this length, it's no wonder), though the payoff is well worth the investment. The plot could easily be called formulaic, but is still very good, and manages to pull enough twists to keep you listening long into the early morning hours.

As mentioned before, Nick Podehl's performance was excellent, and by midway through the book, I didn't need to wonder who was speaking, as his voices were clear enough to speak for themselves. In the books I've read since, no other narrator has pulled it off better.

In closing, I'd say The Name of the Wind ranks highly among the best fantasy novels of the decade, and this audiobook is a fantastic narration of it.

57 of 72 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Charles
  • Nicholasville, KY, United States
  • 03-29-10

Another Addiction

I never write reviews but I do usually rate the audio books I truly consume my life. If you love Jim Butcher's Princeps' Fury and Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn Series, you'll love this first installment of Patrick Rothfuss. The narration is great due to the degree of character separation which ends up being entertaining story telling. I only wish I could find more series like this. I've ran out of scifi/fantasy books to listen to and crave more...

59 of 77 people found this review helpful

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  • Conker
  • La Crescent, MN, United States
  • 10-19-12

The substance is there, but there are problems

This book is a bit of a puzzle in what works and what doesn't work. On the whole, the story itself is pretty good. With the exception of Kvoth (who is sadly the main character), the characters are interesting and enjoyable, and the story doesn't drip with overused fantasy cliches.

And yet, there is a big issue in how the story is framed.

The story starts off in third person. A few characters get together, and Kvoth starts to tell his life story. This is the first part of three. So, Kvoth is narrating his life story in the first person past perspective, which is fine and what I expected, but how he narrates the story just doesn't work. The characters are sitting around in an inn having a chat, so the narration should be spotty and filled with asides and mistakes. That's how unpracticed stories are told. Yet Kvoth narrates his story as if he has a script written in front of him. It just isn't believable.

Kvoth himself is a problem then. As a character, he isn't interesting. His only real flaw is being painfully good natured. He's smart, clever, and can do pretty much anything that he puts his mind to. He has no problems grasping all of these difficult magical concepts, and it's just not fun to listen to someone perfect narrate how he does everything oh so well. Now, Kvoth isn't smug, but his almost apathetic practicality make him hard to stomach. He's a character with no venom or antagonism in his speech, yet he comes off as someone hard to like simply by how he speaks and his word choices.

His narration just isn't believable.

The story contains quite a bit of dialogue, more than it probably needs. There are conversations that should have been paraphrased or simply skipped, but that can be overlooked. What can't be overlooked is that the dialogue isn't good. Most conversations don't sound natural, and the characters all find themselves possessing large vocabularies, going out of their ways to use large words or odd phrasing to sound...smarter?

The story also doesn't have a real climax or buildup. Things happen, and then it's pretty much over. There was an hour long or so section near the end that was actually pretty boring over exciting, which isn't a good thing when the book is nearing completion. The story is told like there are two parts to follow, and so the climax is somewhere in the second or third novel.

The other problem isn't with the content of the book but the narration. I don't find Nick Podehl to be a great fit for this book. He isn't a bad reader, but his voice doesn't lend itself to Kvoth. It's too soft. All the other characters sound fine, but Kvoth himself needs a deeper voice with more authority. The problem, then, is that Kvoth narrates everything, so his is the voice we are stuck with.

It's not a bad book, and at 30 hours, it's well worth a spare credit. There are good fantasy ideas presented within, but there are notable problems that are just not ignorable. Had I known about these ahead of time, I can't say that I'd have purchased it, but there are also much, much worse out there.

Of course, there are much, much better.

33 of 43 people found this review helpful

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Harry Potter it's not

Is there anything you would change about this book?

You could skip the first 7 chapters and start right at Chapter 8 with only about 2 sentences of back story (essentially: bad stuff happens, dude agrees to tell his story). If this hadn't been an audible book I'd have chucked it. But since I was listening I opted to tune in with only half an ear and just let the story flow. The first person narrative is awkward to listen to and makes the main character even more sanctimonious than he appears in the third person narrative that takes place at points in the story. He's the best at everything! There's a dearth of strong female characters. The two regular appearing females need to be saved. Sigh. Good thing Mr Perfect is on hand! The story occasionally stalls at points in these poetic maelstroms.... where the story isn't going anywhere. There's nothing wrong with pretty words - but these word bogs are distracting.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

Once the story picks up the pace in chapter 8 - I found the back story of the main character and his family interesting (although his parents perfect relationship is downright nauseating - they're like manic rabbits, those two!) - as well as the story of his school days (that's the bit that folks are comparing to Harry Potter. This definitely isn't HP.) I had to absolutely suspend disbelief during a big chunk in between those two parts. Again, if this hadn't been an audiobook - I'd have walked away.

What about Nick Podehl’s performance did you like?

He does a pretty good job of changing up his voice for different characters.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

Whoo boy... probably not... would depend on the editing - much needs to be carved from this to keep the masses entertained.

Any additional comments?

I have very mixed feelings about picking up Book 2 - even though I'm curious about what happens to the characters. I may opt for the Wiki and just move on with my life.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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the name of tedium.

I should have stopped when, 17 chapters in, it starts with the words "in the beginning".

I gave this until chapter 36 before giving up. long, ponderous plot; excessive detail on the most mundane things; a main character that squanders his talents on nothing for hours and hours. exposition upon more exposition. stories within stories within stories. the structure would have done something for the story if any part of it was the least bit interesting. once the main story gets going, something like 12 chapters in, we're treated to more boring exposition with something like a Jedi training montage where the world's magic is explained in excruciating detail. another 10 chapters we get the Conan the barbarian start with the main villain being introduced by murdering everyone he cares about, but where Conan spends 15 seconds pushing a millstone to become Arnold Schwarzenegger, our hero spends chapters upon chapters doing nothing and conveniently forgetting his superpowers. none of the characters he meets are recurring, thankfully, because none of them are interesting. the prose is incredibly boring, meditating on endless tedious details.

speaking of Conan, I'm going to read some Robert e Howard so I can remember what good pulp fantasy is like. this book was a giant waste of time.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Ralph
  • California
  • 05-13-14

Good story, but the characters lacked real depth

The story line was well crafted, and although ostensibly written from a first-person perspective, it was very much like a third person, historical, story-telling perspective. For me, this resulted in the characters being 2-dimensional and anemic. This interesting story could have been much more engaging if the author had found a way to better relate these historical events by having the characters themselves, especially the supporting characters, reveal their thoughts and motivations, through their actions, their own comments, the description of the events, rather than the storyteller relating these things to the reader. I kept feeling like I was being held at arm's length from the characters and the action. The characters never came alive for me.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Great storytelling!

Any additional comments?

Don't be scared off by the books summary which starts with a "tell of sorrow". I put off listening to this book for 2 years simply because I thought it was going to be this super sad story. Not true at all. I must admit that I had to listen to the first 2 hours multiple times because I kept loosing interest and would miss parts, but really it is only setting the stage for the storytelling that is about to take place. It is like sitting around a campfire listening to a friend tell you their life story. It is not edge of seat 24/7, but it is steady entertaining story that truly keeps you engrossed throughout. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would highly recommend it. And honestly I can't give you any other book for comparison because it is unique, but I can tell you that you will not be disappointed. For those parents out there that might want to listen to it with kids in the car that might hear some of it - there is no bad language, no under the covers content nor really any reference to anything like that at all, no graphic violence.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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The King of Hyperbole

I am REALLY trying to like this audiobook. I have a 2+ hour round trip commute almost every day, and I have been trying to listen to it during that time. I usually make it about 30-45 minutes before I just cannot take anymore.

The lead character is the most annoying individual I've had the displeasure of reading (listening) about. He's the best at everything, ever, yet manages to make the least intelligent choices possible most of the time. He can play a lute better than anyone in the history of man-kind, learn a language in a day, master mathematics well enough to match wits with "Masters" at a university, yet cannot figure out how to make money. Huh?

The descriptions of events and certain individuals become so heavy with hyperbole, I found myself laughing at loud at the absurdity of it all. He uses the phrase "Words cannot describe...", and then a little while later spends 10 minutes comparing a beautiful girl to every fantastical extreme example of beauty he can think of. Blech.

I'll finish the audiobook, just because I an a glutton for punishment. I expect I'll feel the same way after I complete a thorough colonoscopy when I am finished with the book. Glad that it's over, but not looking forward to another pain in the ass.

The narrator does a fairly admirable job with accents, but I found his voice lacking the power to engage me fully. It feels like a friendly high-school kid is reading a book to me. I prefer my narrators to be a bit more seasoned I suppose, so perhaps this is just personal preference.

I really had high hopes based on the ratings, but this was a colossal let down for me. I mean no offense, but anyone who compares this book favorably to those written by Tolkien, G.R.R. Martin, or Brandon Sanderson... you may want to consider some neurology imaging because I think you might have a brain tumor affecting your higher order cognitive functioning.

I really wanted to give this a 2-star rating, but simply because I do think there are some well written scenes, and the sheer amount of effort provided by the author, I've settled on a 3-star.

31 of 41 people found this review helpful