I'm just a little bit late in adding a review of The Name of the Wind and I think that many of you already know a lot about it, but hey, my take on it is still not on the net! :) I read this book more than a year ago, but it's still fresh enough for a full review.
Patrick Rothfuss (which blog is really fun to follow by the way) is a new author giving us The name of the wind, the first book of the Kingkiller chronicle series. The second book is called Wise man's fear and will be released this year (I hope) or next year... I liked this book, and I think you should really read it and here's why.
Kvothe is a legend. We catch up with him while he's a hidden innkeeper. He tells his glorious story to a chronicler. When he was young, Kvothe was traveling with his parents in a troupe. After being enlighten with the mysteries of life by Ben, an academician, he becomes a struggling orphan. We follow him as he laboriously survives street life to get to the university. With his cunning and the help of his musical prowess, he'll do everything he can to prove himself and get the knowledge he's wishing for.
I think that, as I read in some blogs, the Harry Potter comparison is inevitable... but then, probably only because we follow someone who's going to a "magic" school (even though in this case its not the bigger part of the education). It's not in the same category, and at least, for my taste, it's not set in the real world. The Name of the Wind is targeting a more adult audience than Potter but it's less "heavy" than other series right now. That refreshing! So in the end, the comparison is not meaningful.
The character of Kvothe (by the way, I love that name, Kvothe... cool!), who's the center of the book, is a PoV full of potential, with a great past behind him. The enigma that he is when we read about him as a full grown up man is captivating. Rothfuss could go anywhere with this, my only reserve being that The Name of the Wind is filled with Kvothe learning years, meaning that the following books will probably be very different in tone.
The tale of Kvothe years at school, although not exceptional is a compelling story. I was a little bit let down by the "battle" against the draccus near the end of the book. I was hoping for more action and dangerous stuff, but I may be burning steps, we will probably see more of Kvothe power and legend making stories in the following books.
The magic in the book is original. It's not the most evolved system I have seen but it's interesting. Basically, it's a mix of science and magic. There's action and reaction. However, there's more, hence the "Name of the wind" title. If you know the "name" of it, you can use it.
The writing is good, nothing feels out of place. The pace is mostly fluid (the book contains some slow portions, but nothing to stop you from wanting to read it till the end), the descriptions not to tenuous... I really enjoyed it. It's written with a mix of Kvothe PoV and third person. You get pulled in the action easily. We don't see much of the world aside from 3 or 4 cities, but the world building is well done. I could easily fell myself immersed in the surroundings.
Technically, the DAW print cover is nice (makes us forget the first infamous "Fabio" cover...) and the map is letting our imagination run... I would have like it slightly more detailed but it's a good start.
The Name of the Wind review score :
Characterization............. 8 /10
World building............... 7.5 / 10
Magic system................. 8 / 10
Story.............................. 8 / 10
Writing........................... 8 / 10
Overall (not an average) 8 / 10
Patrick Rothfuss page