The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss, is clearly written by a polished master storyteller; the characters seem live, feel, and work in a world as real as our own. The tale spins and pulls and ponders in just the right way with impeccable timing. The moments of choice and danger are terse with tension and consequence. And to top it all off, this is the author's first book. It's not fair to other authors that he is this good already, but for reader's, this is a great book to remind you of the joy of reading.
It is somewhat misleading to label this book as fantasy, and disappointing in that many will pass it over because of the genre label, but it falls in that genre nonetheless. However, anyone who enjoys a great tale should enjoy this story. It is hard to believe that a "fantasy" story can move with so much intensity without being intensely action-based. There is action here, but it is where it needs to be to further the story, not thrown in to cover up a weak narrative. And magic? Yes, magic is present, but not in your typical fashion. Magic is more of a mystery, a wonder in this book than something that is tossed about as carelessly as kids playing catch. Yes, there is definitely magic here, but the majority of the magic is in the storytelling.
So, what is it about? It is a story within a story. It is the beginning of the tale of Kvothe, an orphan, a minstrel, a student, an arcanist, an innkeeper who has been convinced to tell his tale to a chronicler. It is a story of loss, love, hope, survival, fortune and misfortune. It is a wondrous and insightful look at how a boy can become a hero and an outcast, and it is a story that will hook you and leave you pleading, when is the next book arriving? Turns out, book two is available for you right now. Get The Wise Man's Fear here or at your local library.
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