Quote of the Day

"We're only here briefly, and while I'm here I want to allow myself joy. So fuck it."
- Amy, Her.

Monday, 10 October 2011

RE:View: The Name of The Wind

Tolkien. Lewis. Rowling. Martin. Pratchett. Undoubtedly the greatest Fantasy authors that ever lived. Well, time to add a new name to that list: Rothfuss. And don't go forgetting it, as Patrick Rothfuss' beautifully crafted first entry into a breathtaking trilogy (The Kingkiller Chronicle) teaches us that, above all things, names are important; especially one as grand as The Name of The Wind.

  From street urchin to magic prodigy, the ageless-like Kvothe has led an eventful life that he now tries to forget, hiding under the masquerade of a humble innkeeper on the very outskirts of life. But when a travelling scribe comes a-knocking, Kvothe reveals his long and winding history, stretching deep through the darkest pits of despair and the greatest acts of bravery. And so it is told how our protagonist Kvothe, the charming, red-headed young boy, seeks to discover what the name of the wind is, throughout his journey of tragedy, love, magic and heroics.

Ranging from his childhood days of travelling with the Edma Ruh entertainment troupe and hard cold nights on the grimy streets of Tarbean, to his trouble-bound days at the University and heartfelt attempts at wooing the woman he loves, Kvothe comes off as a charming, fun and complex character. And all the more for it, as this really is a character-driven story, all coming from Kvothe's point of view.

  But truly the most gripping of this world is its believability. Don't let the pretence of Fantasy fool you, as Rothfuss has put a ridiculous amount of effort into making this seem realistic. Magic is not just a thing that snaps from your fingers, but instead must be conjured through 'Bindings', which involve all matter of chemistry and alchemy. Folklore and religion, society and history; all richly interwoven throughout this most wholesome tale.

 It then kicks in with both these huge & dramatic and small & endearing, emotion-evoking moments. I was welling up and whimpering within the first 50 pages, then laughing joyfully out loud at those tiny character moments that just sit perfectly, while action had me rooting on the edge of my seat and then bubbling up with anger at one particularly irritating character. These characters seem so well-thought out and totally imaginable, painting a dainty image in my head of every single slight movement they make notated down on the page. You just feel like you're there, like you are with Kvothe, living and breathing his universe.

The pace seems to slow and lurch out toward the middle, as Kvothe settles down into his educational lodgings at The University. Harry Potter fans will feel right at home here, with a similar vibe of "school of magic" going on that I really dug. Don't be put off though, as this is a more mature, realistic and off-beat setting compared to that of HP and co. When it gets slow here, things start to descend a little - perhaps causing a worry of disinterest in the reader - but when the break of the equilibrium finally comes, it consequently hits you as hard as it hits Kvothe, luring you into this (as he says it) "false sense of security" and then shattering it within moments.

 Simply put, upon opening this book, you will be engulfed. Engulfed into a world you won't want to get away from. Engulfed so that you will want to make time for this story. You will stay up into the late hours, telling yourself "Just one more chapter". You won't stop thinking about it once you put it down. And you will be crushed when you realise it's finished. In fact, the ending comes so suddenly that it's just plain cruel, teasing you silently with the anticipation of the second, The Wise Man's Fear. Luckily for me, it came out earlier this year, so no waiting time, but for those who had to wait four years... How did you stay sane?

Buy it now. Read it ASAP. Thank me later.

5 Stars


Buy Now from Amazon:
The Name Of The Wind: The Kingkiller Chonicle: Book 1

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