Book Review: "The Name of the Wind' by Patrick Rothfuss

Thursday, August 08, 2013

“Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts.” 

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss is one of the most impressive fantasy novels I have read in a long while. I just recently tore through the entire A Song of Ice and Fire series (more popularly known as Game of Thrones), so it goes without saying that I’m a huge fantasy fan. Anything with a mysterious plot and a spunky heroine or gutsy hero gets my vote.

The Name of the Wind follows Kvothe (pronounced “Quothe”), the son of two traveling troupe members and, eventually, an orphan. His life is one tragic event after another, from the chilling death of his parents at the hands of a mysterious figure called the “Chandrian,” to his admittance to a university of magic, and life as a fugitive. I could simply write this off as another magical coming-of-age story, but I wouldn’t be giving this novel its due.

Rothfuss writes like a poet. I would find myself sifting through a chapter and then get stuck on a particularly beautifully written phrase for ten minutes. Often, the simplest sentences reveal much more when read over multiple times. The author truly has a gift. The Name of the Wind is book one of The Kingkiller Chronicle, followed by The Wise Man's Fear, another exceptional book by Rothfuss.

Some of my favorite excerpts:
“You meet a girl; shy, unassuming. If you tell her she’s beautiful, she’ll think you’re sweet, but she won’t believe you. She knows that beauty lies in your beholding.”…”But there’s a better way. You SHOW her she is beautiful. You make mirrors of your eyes, prayers of your hands against her body. It is hard, very hard, but when she truly believes you… Suddenly the story she tells herself in her own head changes. She transforms. She isn’t SEEN AS BEAUTIFUL. She is BEAUTIFUL, SEEN.”
“The day we fret about the future is the day we leave our childhood behind.”
“It’s like everyone tells a story about themselves inside their own head. Always. All the time. That story makes you what you are. We build ourselves out of that story.”
I highly recommend this novel. The first time I read this book, I gave it 4/5 stars, but it's stuck with me for quite awhile. I'm bumping it up to a 5 star read, and it's become a favorite.