The Name of the Wind
By: Patrick Rothfuss
Told in Kvothe's own voice, this is the tale of the magically gifted young man who grows to be the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen. The intimate narrative of his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-ridden city, his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, and his life as a fugitive after the murder of a king form a gripping coming-of-age story unrivaled in recent literature. A high-action story written with a poet's hand, The Name of the Wind is a masterpiece that will transport readers into the body and mind of a wizard.
I DIDN'T UNDERSTAND. I. did. not. understand.
Everyone, and I mean everyone, who has read this book says that it is one of the best books they've ever read. I believed them, in part. But I didn't fully understand, not even a little, not even at all. This book blew me away. I did not understand how utterly and unbelievably fantastic this book was going to be. It's been a week since I finished, and I cannot get the words out of my head, I can't bring myself to leave the world or the characters.
This book is a work of art, absolute art. I'm definitely not going to find the right words to describe it or summarize it. Kvothe is a character for the ages, complex but understandable, clever but flawed. Sometimes you love him, sometimes you don't even like him, but you always root for him and you always want to hear the next part of his story.
Not only is there a wonderful and relatable hero, there's also gorgeous prose on a level that's not typically seen in this particular branch of fantasy. This langue is all about the storytelling, all about the emotional impact, and I couldn't get enough of it. Instantly the words transported the reader into the Kvothe's world, so that this massive 700 page book still felt too short a life to live inside it. This is the kind of writing that makes me despair at its beauty, that I'll likely never write a book like this. That I will never have the ability to tell a story like Patrick Rothfuss, but at least I can live in his worlds. That's when I know a book is truly wonderful, when it makes me sad and happy and jealous and enthralled, simultaneously.
The pacing is just as wonderful. This is a pretty sizable book, and not what I would describe as action packed. This isn't an edge of your seat read, it's a sit back, relax, and enjoy the journey book. And that worked PERFECTLY here. It never felt slow. I was never bored, not even for a single, solitary page. This is mainly due to the sheer beauty and wonder of the story crafting in this book. This story feels molded, like a sculpture that perfectly captures its subject.
And if you thought that was all that made this book perfect, you'd be mistaken. Besides those things, there's a cast of complex, intriguing, and loveable supporting characters.
Auri: She's precious, and kind of reminds me of Ella the Harpy from the Heroes of Olympus series. Flighty and interesting, lovely and kind. I can't wait to see more of her in the rest of the series and I hope we hear more of her backstory, because I would love that.
Simmon: LOVE HIM. Oh my goodness, what a ridiculous person. He kind of snuck up on me, but then I found myself loving every scene he was in. Loyal and witty, kind of goofy. He's wonderful.
Denna: I have complex emotions about Denna, mostly because she's a complex character. I think I like her, but either way, I'm really interested in her. I love how complicated she is, and how rational, and how witty. I want to know what's going to happen between her and Kvothe.
Elodin: One of my favorite tropes, the genius madman. And this one is particularly well-written. He's only in a handful of scenes in this book, but he's already so unique and delightfully strange.
This isn't even half of what I feel for this book, but it's the only parts that I can organize in a coherent fashion. Basically, this book is beautiful and glorious and everything that fantasy should be. It's everything that fiction should be. Patrick Rothfuss, please never stop writing. Don't worry, I'll wait as long as you need to make another work of art like this.
"...remember that true stories seldom take the straightest path."
"You have to be a bit of a liar to tell a story the right way. Too much truth confuses the facts. Too much honestly makes you sound insincere."
"Our lives are composed of meetings and partings, with brief, bright acquaintances in-between. Because of this I knew the truth. I felt it, heavy and certain in the pit of my stomach: I would never see her again."
"To really fear something you have to dwell on it."
"I heard the silence pouring from them. The audience held themselves quiet, tense, and tight, as if the song had burned them worse than flame. Each person held their wounded selves closely, clutching their pain as if it were a precious thing."
"Go out in the early days of winter, after the first cold snap of the season. Find a pool of water with a sheet of ice across the top, still fresh and new and clear as glass. Near the shore the ice will hold you. Slide out farther. Farther. Eventually you'll find the place where the surface just barely bears your weight. There you will feel what I felt. The ice splinters under your feet. Look down and you can see the white cracks darting through the ice like mad, elaborate spider webs. It is perfectly silent, but you can feel the sudden sharp vibrations through the bottoms of your feet...I don't mean to imply I felt as if I stood on brittle ice about to give way beneath me. No. I felt like the ice itself, suddenly shattered, with cracks spiraling out from where she had touched my chest. The only reason I held together was because my thousand pieces were all leaning together. If I moved, I feared I would fall apart."
"The night is like warm velvet around them. The stars, burning diamonds in the cloudless sky, turn the road beneath their feet to a silver grey...The three boys...do not notice the night. Perhaps some part of them does, but they are young, and drunk, and busy knowing deep in their heats that they will never grow old or die. They also know that they are friends, and they share a certain love that will never leave them. The boys know many other things, but none of them seem as important as this. Perhaps they are right."
"There is much of you that is both shadow and light."
"So we danced very carefully, unsure what music the other was listening to, unsure, perhaps, if the other was dancing at all."
"How young I was. How foolish. How wise."
"When my blood tells me to wander, I know enough to trust it."
"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. There are seven words that will make a person love you. There are ten words that will break a strong man's will. But a word is nothing more than a painting of a fire. A name is the fire itself."
"Like a hind or a summer storm. If a storm blows down your house, or breaks a tree, you don't say the storm was mean. It was cruel. It acted according to its nature and something unfortunately was hurt."
"You see, there's a fundamental connection between seeming and being...We understand how dangerous a mask can be. We all become what we pretend to be."
"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."