Thursday, May 2, 2013

Book Review: The Name of the Wind

Book Review: The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss

The riveting first-person narrative of a young man who grows to be the most notorious magician his world has ever seen. From his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, to years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime- ridden city, to his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, The Name of the Wind is a masterpiece that transports readers into the body and mind of a wizard. It is a high-action novel written with a poet's hand, a powerful coming-of-age story of a magically gifted young man, told through his eyes: to read this book is to be the hero.
            -Amazon book description

Characters: Kvothe is our first person narrator (although in interludes the book moves to third person). He is a brilliant young man (child for much of the first third of the novel) who is trying to survive terrible circumstances. Despite his brilliance, his arrogance and youth often contrive to put him in peril. We know he survives; the story is in how he manages it. A wonderful cast of well-developed supporting characters surrounds him.

World building: A rich, well thought out world. It is a fantasy world, but you will not find hordes of goblins or tall, fair elves with bows. The world has a late Medieval/early Renaissance European feel to it. The otherworldly creatures that do exist do not steal the story, but do add flavor to it. The author has created a balanced system of magic with solid mechanics that do not feel overpowered.

Writing/Mechanics: Professional in every way. Beautifully written.

Engagement/Willing suspension of disbelief: Not once was I pulled out of the story with thoughts of “no way, that couldn’t happen”. Instead, I was pulled in and thoroughly engrossed the entire way through. I freely admit to moments where I laughed out loud and others where I teared up.

Impact: A wonderful fantasy novel. I immediately purchased The Wide Man's Fear, the second book in the series. I give The Name of the Wind my highest recommendation. 

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