The Name of the Wind
By Patrick Rothfuss
Season 1 | 17 Episodes
Our first book of the podcast, and what an amazing read!
As we've said many times throughout the episodes, this is one of our favorite fantasy books of all time, not only because Rothfuss' style is deeply poetic and immersive, despite being regular prose, but because of the deep layering he creates in the world of Temerant. Rothfuss manages to sprinkle thousands of years of history and lore into the world in a way that make it feel truly believable and natural rather than having grand exposition to world build. The storyline he creates makes for a delightful first read and the clues he slides into the story connect larger pieces and make it like an intricate and dizzying puzzle on every subsequent re-read. He has stated that he wants very scene in his story to perform at least three functions and the masterful manner in which he has done this is like a perfect design of smoke-and-mirrors; readers are distracted by the story of Kvothe and his deeds whereas the entire time there is an intricate undercurrent connecting Kvothe to the lore, legend, history, music, and landscape of Temerant with the grand conclusion of how it all connects leaving readers waiting the third book in the series.
The Name of the Wind is an excellent start to the Kingkiller Chronicles that develops two storylines with modern-day Kvothe telling the story of his life. This is a device that has been used many times in literature, but it doesn't feel stale because the frame story of modern-day Kvothe has enough action in it to keep you engaged. As an opening book, it does have a bit of a slow start, but once certain events occur in the story, the plot continues to move forward in a non-linear path, setting Kvothe on his hero's path (or maybe he's an anti-hero...debate's still out.) Normally a long-winding book with no clear plotline would be frustrating, but it's written where you feel like you are growing up with Kvothe and are a part of his journey. The locations Rothfuss takes us throughout the story are interesting and fun as we explore them through Kvothe's eyes. One thing that also must be mentioned is the magic system in this series is phenomenally developed and quite unique to other systems of magic in other fantasy books. Our one small complaint is that the character development for some of the side characters could be improved, but we get everything from Kvothe's perspective, so it's more about how he interacts with others.
Overall, the Name of the Wind gets 4.5 stars for being beautifully written, amazingly engaging, highly re-readable, and just loses a couple of points simply because the start is a bit slow and we like the sequel book better!