The Name of the Wind

Patrick Rothfuss

Book cover

I thought this was fine, but didn’t nearly live up to the hype I had heard around it (including from a close friend of mine). Overall it is a pretty good and engaging fantasy story, albeit one that doesn’t transcend the genre. My main issues with the book:
-It really could have used an editor. There’s no way this book needed to be 700+ pages. The story meanders around a lot of fairly dull areas, including basically the whole time in Tarbean. I think it would have been a lot tighter if it went straight from Kvothe’s [spoilers removed] to him going to the University.
-The frame story wasn’t handled well. I actually thought the frame story was awesome and I was really interested in what was going on, particularly the character of Bast. But the story barely moves forward at all over the course of the novel. I assume it will continue to move forward over future books of the series, but it’s too slow a pace for me. I’d prefer the frame story not to be there at all.
-Kvothe is a Mary Sue.
-I didn’t like the handling of romance in the book. It’s not at all apparent to me why Kvothe falls for Denna, and a lot of the romantic dialog between them (or his recollections about her) made me roll my eyes super hard for being so over the top. I don’t want to call the book sexist or misogynist really, because I think we’re supposed to see Kvothe as arrogant and naive. Personally I think Devi and Fela are both way more awesome than Denna.

The thing I appreciated most in the book was the connection between Kvothe’s experience as a performer with the Edema Ruh and his later role as an impressive wizard. Rothfuss shows him thinking a lot about how to develop and maintain his reputation, particularly at school, but also for example after Trebon is burned. It’s a good blending of “magic is real” and “magic is just tricks” worlds.

My Goodreads rating: 3 stars