The Name of The Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

September 19, 2013 Fantasy, Supernatural 47

Hola Bookworms,

It’s occurred to me that while I chatter to y’all incessently, I very rarely discuss what I spend the vast majority of my time doing. That’s right. I’ve got a grown-up job. I don’t talk about my job much for a couple of reasons. First, it has absolutely nothing to do with books. Second, it seems like a bad idea to go yammering about your job on the internet. That said, I do like to mention where I get my books, and this particular book came to me through work. I have a new co-worker. During the course of a “getting to know you” type conversation, he mentioned that he read a lot of fantasy novels. Being the curious cat that I am, I asked him which were his favorites. Of COURSE it was nothing I’d ever read. I mean, how likely would that be anyway? I’ve only ever read a smattering of fantasy, the odds were not in my favor. I’ve been feeling unworthy of the genre since I read and did not enjoy Tolkien.

nameofthewindShortly after this conversation, a copy of The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss appeared on my desk. I took one look at the well worn paperback and thought, “Way to stick your foot in your mouth, Katie. Now you’ve got to read this ginormous fantasy novel because it would be rude not to.” To add to my nervousness? I noticed it was a SIGNED COPY! I’m a terrible liar, so if I didn’t like the book, I’d have to figure out a way to explain that to someone who was clearly a superfan of Rothfuss. Quite the pickle, no?

As it turns out, the book gods smiled on my poor conflicted soul, because I read it and was sucked in. The Name of the Wind was a great book, despite the fact that they never actually told me what the name of the wind is. (I’m hoping the wind’s name is Herman Reginald Van Der Hooden, because I like saying it.)

We are introduced to a mysterious innkeeper who calls himself Kote. It soon becomes apparent that there is more to Kote and his assistant Bast than meets the eye. “Kote” is in hiding. He is actually a figure of some note who is driven into obscurity for unknown reasons. A scribe arrives in town shortly after the novel begins as he is attempting to track the infamous Kvothe. Kote = Kvothe. I might have thought he’d pick a less similar name as his pseudonym, but what do I know? (I’m thinking changing my name from Katie to Karen and trading my MG for a white Chrysler LeBaron… My fingernails DO shine like justice… It could work.)

Kvothe is persuaded to tell his story, and what a tale it is! Our Kvothe was born into a band of traveling performers. He is trained in the arts of drama, music, and showmanship at a young age. Everything begins to change for Kvothe when their band comes across an arcanist who is down on his luck. (This is a fantasy novel, it wouldn’t be appropriate just to call someone a “dude who can do magic.”) The arcanist Abenthy takes Kvothe on as a student, and Kvothe turns out to be the Doogie Howser of magic. The kid is a prodigy. All is going well until one evening when Kvothe’s troupe is mysteriously murdered. We follow Kvothe on his adventures in orphandom, and what crazy adventures they turn out to be!

I really enjoyed this novel. I found the world-building to be superb. One of the biggest problems I have when I try to read fantasy novels (which is pretty much limited to Tolkien and George R.R. Martin) is that I have a hard time slogging through them. Ordinarily I find myself getting bogged down in description and tertiary characters. That wasn’t the case here at all- every character that was introduced I found engaging, and every interaction served to propel the narrative. It’s just my luck that this is the first book in a trilogy that is not yet complete. This book ends with quite a few unanswered questions that will gnaw at my soul until I tackle book 2 (which won’t be for a while because I’ve over-committed myself as usual.) Of course, as heaven knows, reading book 2 will only gnaw away at my soul until book 3 is released. It figures that not even a week after I got closure on the MaddAddam series, I’m waiting again! Le sigh.

So Bookworms. Tell me. Have you ever taken a chance on a book or a genre that wasn’t typically your cup of tea and been pleasantly surprised? Anybody out there read The Name of the Wind? What did you think?

47 Responses to “The Name of The Wind by Patrick Rothfuss”

  1. Rhian

    A friend lent me The Name of the Wind and I tore through it before realising it was the first of a trilogy. D’oh! I have the second book on my TBR pile, but I might need to reread Name because it’s been awhile.

    We read a book called The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke by CJ Dennis for bookclub. It’s poetry, told in the vernacular of early 1900s Australia. I groaned when I first opened it, but once I got into the rhythm of the language, I absolutely loved it. It’s one of the most romantic books it’s been my pleasure to read.

    • Words for Worms

      I often browse sparknotes or wikipedia to refresh my memory when there’s a long lapse between books. I’m terrible about doing full on re-reads, but I am looking forward to the rest of the series!

      Also, I love Australian accents. Have I ever mentioned that? I always try to read your comments with an accent it mind. It’s wonderful 🙂

  2. Megan M.

    I used to work at a library (can you say DREAM JOB) and I would get to “browse” books all the time. There were lots that would look interesting and then I would read the jacket blurb and think “…nah” for whatever reason. One of those was Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series. But then a guy I went to school with who was dating one of my friends was like, “Megan, I know you love to read, try this” and he gave me the first book in the series. So I read it and it was really great! Not at all hard to get into like I thought it would be.

      • Megan M.

        Honestly? No. I meant to, but I had a bunch of other stuff in my TBR pile, and then I just never got back into it. I did like the first book, though.

      • Ashley F

        If you do try them, give up after like book 5. The main character ends up with some freaky Vampire thing where she draws energy through sex so at some point she’s sleeping with like 30 guys. And not in a hot orgy kinda way, in a creepy she actually loses control of herself and emits like Vampire pheromones and it may or may not be rape kinda way. It’s so incredibly stupid.

  3. Charleen

    I did read this, and I remember enjoying it, but I didn’t bother reading the second one because I knew I’d just have to re-read them when the third book came out, and why re-read two books when I can just re-read one?

  4. Ashley F

    We’ve got quite a few readers at my office so we are constantly recommending books to eachother. I recall someone recommending Cinder and I was all I dunno….it’s fantasy…..but I LOVED IT 😉

  5. theduckandtheowl

    I never used to be a fan of sci-fi novels (though sci-fi films are a different story), but I very much like them now. I can’t remember what novel really convinced me of liking them. Perhaps it was “Ender’s Game.”
    Ps. Pat Rothuss is actually a creative writing professor at my university. Super cool experience.

  6. Turn the Page Reviews

    Years ago, my husband-the non reader- bought me The Lord of The Rings trilogy because he thought it was pathetic that I, this big reader, had never read it. I thought it was going to be a boring, icky boys book. I was blown away!

  7. Lady @The Snail on the Wall

    I haven’t read The Name of the Wind, but I had a similar experience reading Neil Gaiman’s Ocean at the End of the Lane recently. Since it is aimed at adults, rather than his usual young adult fables, I expected more realism for some reason. My mistake! I kept having to tell myself to remain open to the supernatural, fantastical things happening to this young boy. By the end, I felt at home in Gaiman’s weird world.

  8. bookgeeking

    I have started it just need to find time to finish it, it is really good so far, I know he gets kicked out of the university and I don’t want him to be, scared if I keep reading that he will be soon, silly I know but hey.

  9. Samantha

    People have been recommending Ender’s Game like crazy. Boyfriend and I were on a long drive, and so he asked if he could read it to me (he had just loaded it onto his birthday Kindle). And I found myself enjoying the story even though he’d started from the middle.

  10. Grace

    I keep hearing such wonderful things about this one, but haven’t gotten around to picking it up yet. One day I’ll get to it and be like “WHERE HAS THIS BOOK BEEN ALL MY LIFE?!” and regret not reading it sooner.

  11. Rissa

    Yaaaaaaay!!!! This is hands down one of the best fantasy book series EVER (in my humble opinion :P)! I too took a chance on it after skimming in the bookstore and seeing a few reviews… And was totally blown away by the story, writing and characters! I love it – hungrily waiting for the thirds in the series. (Wow I got a bit excited there… Thanks for reviewing one of my faves!) xo

  12. Chris Wolak (@chriswolak)

    I read it after a cousin forced it on me. Neither of us are big fantasy readers. A few years ago she was in Germany and read all the books she brought with her. The closest place to buy books was at a train station newsstand which had three English titles from which to choose. The Name of the Wind seemed like the least painful. She fell in love with the book and with Rothfuss. She lives in Nebraska, I live in Illinois. I stopped by to see her during a road trip and she put the book in my hands and told me I had to read it. She’d never been that adamant with me about a book, so I took it and read it and really enjoyed it. Like you, we were both pleasantly surprised!

  13. Sarah Says Read

    I am jealous of your bookish talk at work! The closest I ever get is when some gross driver comes in and asks what I’m reading and then goes on and on about how they love James Patterson and I’m just desperately hoping that he goes away because eww, annoying drivers.

    I’m so happy you liked this! I read TNoTW after a friend told me to sit there and just read the first 10 pages, and I did, and then I didn’t want to stop. I can’t wait for book 3, but Rothfuss doesn’t even have a name for it yet, much less a date. Hmph.

  14. ianexclamation

    I really enjoyed this book as well! My friend recommended it to me and I was a bit skeptical but like you said, I got sucked in too!! I’m glad you talked about this book because I think it’s so well-written 😀

  15. Ashley

    Just have to tell you I found a copy of The Name of the Wind at the thrift today and went ahead and picked it up on your recommendation! : )

    Have you read any of the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind? My boyfriend started me on those. There are like 12 books in the series (I’ve only read like the first 4 or 5) but they are pretty fun fantasy novels.

  16. Melinda

    I haven’t read this one, but I might after reading your review. I have read crime fiction, which isn’t my preferred genre and I have enjoyed alot of those novels!

  17. parastoukhiaban88

    I have never heard of this and I read a lot of fantasy, so will be putting it on my never-ending TBR. I’ve recently had a few thrillers/horrors forced upon me (starting off with Gone Girl) and am actually really enjoying the genre.

    • Words for Worms

      I don’t read a ton of thrillers, but my pal Charleen writes an entire blog dedicated to the genre. It’s and it’s pretty fabulous :).

      • parastoukhiaban88

        Thanks, will check out her blog asap, although if I add any more books to my TBR I might buckle under the metaphorical weight!

        I try to review a mix of genres, although there is a LOT of fiction there – without plugging the blog too much, take a look whenever you can 🙂

  18. Emily

    Jumped over from today’s post just to see what you thought of this book. I was shone the light of Rothfuss by none other than my paternal grandmother. Girl reads everything (she also introduced me to Locke Lamora) and has never steered me wrong. This turned out to be one of my all-time favorite books and I’m not usually a fantasy girl. Oh, what a good recommendation can do!

    ps who lends out signed copies of books??? Not I! I hoard those babies for my selfish self!

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