Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Name of the Wind - Patrick Rothfuss

Rating: 2.5 stars

The Name of the Wind is the beginnings of the story Kvothe - a renowned arcanist and sympathist who has gone into hiding in a small town where he is known as Kote, the innkeeper of the Waystone Inn.

Kvothe begins the telling of his tale when he meets a man mostly referred to as Chronicler - a biographer who happened to be following rumors of Kvothe's whereabouts to Newarre. The story then weaves between third and first person narrative as we watch the men in the inn and listen to Kvothe spin the tale of his entire life.

The story opens with Kvothe's life as a young boy, journeying the world with his family in a troupe of traveling players. The family meets and acquires a man named Abenthy who becomes Kvothe's mentor and fuels his desire to attend the University. After tragedy strikes his entire troupe by the hands of the mysterious Chandrian, Kvothe is forced to make his way by himself. He spends years on the streets of Trebon, until he finally leaves to seek his entrance into the University. It is there that Kvothe earns the first of many names - Kvothe the Bloodless. The book ends on only a mediocre cliffhanger - the promise that Kvothe will continue the adventures explaining his many ominous names the following day.

I feel as though I've done a lot of describing, yet conveyed nothing at all about this book. It was at most, mediocre. In smaller, yet equal parts it was both brilliant and completely lacking. It was inconsistent. Its highs and lows so extreme, I'm still not able to exactly pinpoint whether or not I even liked this book.

As the beginning of the tale, it was interesting, yet entirely too long. Being a book made up entirely of exposition, it dragged from start to finish. There were moments I wanted to stop reading. The character, while at times during his younger years is endearing, is most often infuriatingly arrogant. All other characters are one-dimensional, uninteresting.

And, yet! It is those moments when Kvothe is his most endearing that correspond to the parts of the novel I actually found myself loving - Kvothe losing his family, Kvothe gaining his entrance into the Arcanum, Kvothe getting his pipes. In these moments, Patrick Rothfuss more than demonstrates he has what it takes to craft a beautiful symphony of a story.

It's just - you know - all of those in-between parts.

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