Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Name of the Wind - Patrick Rothfuss.

This was a very exciting read, I finished the bulky nearly 700 page tome in two long marathon sessions and even nature seemed on my side to help me finish by throwing a temper tantrum of a rainstorm to keep me inside when I had planned to go out.

Patrick Rothfuss has created, what I feel, is the best Fantasy novel I've read since Tad Williams Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn. Unlike last years failed attempt at reading the Blade Itself, which I found to be lacking some what and undeserved of all the hype.. I really can't recommend The Name of the Wind enough. And if the whole series is as good as the first volume, which I will soon find out as I'm just about to crack the cover on Wise Man's Fear It may take it's place in my top 5 fantasy novels ever.

It's also one I'm glad that I chose to read in spite of my misgivings. After having seen the book and author endlessly listed amongst the throng of new grim & gritty authors I'd begun to fear this would simply be yet another example of that. I'm really glad that those fears were unfounded, and I'm really looking forward to what else happpens in this series. I hope the wait will not be too long for the third novel in the series.

I've seen people complain that Rothfuss's character is unbelievable.. I don't find that. They trot out the old "Mary Sue" label.. Kvothe is not any more a mary sue than Hermoine Grainger is. He's a deep character, shows remorse for his inaction in an earlier time of crisis when he should have helped some one. All in all he's a pretty well rounded human being who buckles down to get what he wants instead of moaning or trying to manipulate others.

His world is full of honest people, who though they all know they can't help everyone, will show compassion and sometimes try and help those they can. Kvothe is endlessly aided by lucky strokes from well meaning people. And not above getting his hands dirty scrubbing pots or cleaning a hearth for a meal if he has too. It's very refreshing to see this, to me, reflection of the real world, revealed in this book rather than yet another bleak and grimy world were people would as soon kill you as look at you. Though I realize it's not fair to compare the situations, since Kvothe's world seems to be one of, if not plenty, at least sustainability, and so that may go some what to engender the more comradely feelings people show him.

In a way, and I'm sure I'm not the only one to have ever mentioned this. But since I'm currently also reading the Harry Potter series for the first time.. some similarities are striking to me. The Name of the Wind is sort of an alternate universe Harry Potter, where instead of getting by on his famous name earned for surviving his parents being killed, Kvothe survives and then has to make his own name. He seems to have the cheerfulness of Ron Weasley (and the colouring) and the can do with enough elbow grease attitude of Hermoine Grainger. Even when being balked by Master Hemme (his own version of Snape) or verbally lacerated by Ambrose (a Draco Malfoy turned up to a frighteningly obnoxious 11) he dosen't let any of it stop him. These comparisons may not be fare, and I'm sure Mr. Rothfuss didn't intend them.. but at this exact time in space, I find them especially striking.

It's difficult to say much else about the book without giving something away, and that would certainly cheapen the experience some what for some one who hasn't yet read it. And at this point my copy of Wise Man's fear is calling, and I'm anxious to oblige it.

So, to sum up, if you've not read this yet, Please consider doing so.


Brian Murphy said...

You've convinced me that I need to pick this one up. And I'm glad to see a novel that doesn't embrace the "life is awful then we die" schtick.

The only thing that worries me is that it's a series. Is there a projected end? After getting burned by ASOIAF I'm worried about starting another long project.

Lagomorph Rex said...

It will be three books, the last one should be out in a few years.

So It might be worth waiting, and it's what I had planned to do.. but the format is pretty well dictated to be a trilogy and no longer.

But they are quite re-readable too.. I imagine that when the last volume comes out I'll happily re-read them and probably gain new appreciation for bits that I've missed this time around..