The Name of the Wind

Book Review

The Name of the Wind

Natasha Angelica Kuneff, Managing Editor

(A mostly spoiler-free review.)

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss is a high fantasy novel that excels in worldbuilding and prose.

It centers around Kvothe who, at the beginning of the novel, is an eleven-year-old boy raised by his parents. They are a group of traveling entertainers, famous for their talents. After a tragedy, Kvothe is left to fend for himself in a crime-ridden city. He spent years struggling; however, he manages to enter a magic academy where he is on his way to become the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen: the Bloodless; the Kingkiller.

Below I will discuss my own thoughts on the novel in greater depth.

Rothfuss’s prose is often praised. However, I found that the “poetic” sentences people spoke of were not hard to understand. In fact, he made everything simple to digest while describing the intricacies of each character and world system. There are no distractions or oddities, and though it is a slow book, he wrote every moment as if it was the first sentence.

Kvothe is an interesting protagonist. The boy is arrogant, but he is good at what he does and he knows it. In a way, it is refreshing compared to the “chosen one” who tries to escape his destiny. Some additional flaws could be nice, but very little (other than magic) came easy. He starved for much of his life and wasted away hiding while most people slept in a comfortable bed. He was punished for his wrongdoings, even if many were not necessarily his fault, and had important accesses taken away, even if he was praised for his deeds.

One such event was his whipping (a slight spoiler, but nothing too significant). After Kvothe caused trouble with the University, his punishment was a whipping, but he took a drug prior to the event. While he didn’t faint (and didn’t bleed), Kvothe, not in the right state of mind, made stupid mistake after stupid mistake and lost the one thing he was most looking forward to in the University: the Archives. And at the cusp of him reaching it!

There is a lot of critique surrounding Denna, yet I believe most of that to be the product of the long and unnecessary middle-end part of the book. There was a grand adventure with Kvothe and Denna, but it was so long that I ended up putting the book down for a couple of weeks. When I returned, I forgot my annoyances, and finished reading happily.

The duo otherwise complemented each other. Denna had greater flaws than Kvothe, and her disappearances and need for financial support made sense for a woman in her world. She had no money and needed a sponsor; luckily for her, her talent and beauty fared well for that role, even though Kvothe disagreed (but he did not have the money to be her sponsor, either, as he was a student at the time and could only complain without truly helping her).

If you enjoy reading fantasy, this book should certainly be on your to-read list. Take a look at the first few pages and see for yourself!