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Ground breaking debut novel “The Name of the Wind” by Patrick Rothfuss

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The Name of the Wind
Patrick Rothfuss

The KingKiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss is the story of Kvothe, a man who became a myth while still alive. The Name of the Wind is the first novel of three telling the story of Kvothe’s upbringing among the Edema Ruh (tinkers), to his time as an orphan street urchin in Tarbean, to his first years at the Arcanum and his first steps at becoming the man he is or according to Kote (the Innkeeper of the Waystone inn) the man he was.

The most intriguing aspect of this novel is Patrick Rothfuss’s way of layering the multiple levels of stories in this novel. This book is told from the perspective of Kote a simple Innkeeper and by all signs a man wasting his life away waiting for death. As the book unfolds we have a villager attacked by a Scrael (an obsidean spider the size of a wagon wheel with no eyes or mouth) stumble into the inn alive by blind luck. This event leads to Kote going off on his own to kill the rest of the Scrael as they never travel alone before they tear their way through the village. During this he is happened on by the Chronicler, Devon Lochees, who is on the search for Kvothe and had heard a rumor he was out this way.

This event leads to Kvothe agreeing to tell his story to Devon (The Chronicler) over a period of three days. This leads to our story within the first story, the story of Kvothe and his life told by him, the story of man who is the myth. Day 1 of the story focuses on Kvothe and his upbringing, telling the story of what motivated him in his youth focusing mainly on his start at the Arcanum with nothing to his name and his rivalry with Ambrose, a noble’s son at the University, and his roundabout courtship of a girl named Denna as he hunts to discover the Name of the Wind and the truth behind the Chandrian, the third story within the story. A myth and tale to scare children, the Chandrian and a figure named Haliax murdered Kvothe’s family and troupe leading him down the first steps on his quest for vengeance and knowledge.

As the first book in the series the pace of this book tends to be slow. Not slow in that you are waiting for something to happen, slow as in you are treasuring the moment while events are building up that you know are going to lead to terrifying and page-turning moments. The novel brings you in and even after the last page is turned leaves you haunted with Kvothe and wondering at why he is known as he is and what exactly happened 2 years ago to leave Kvothe haunted as he is. He is Kvothe the Kingkiller and this story of his youth leaves us with the certain knowledge of a wonderful story to come, why he is known as Kvothe the Bloodless, and the uncertainty that more way yet to come when he has finished with his tale.

This debut novel by Patrick Rothfuss is perhaps the best book I have read in a long time. Don’t judge it by the breakdown of a few words, ohh.. a magic school, a rivalry with a nobles son, this book is so much more then the sum of its parts. Read knowing the best it yet to come and that Kvothe and his world will draw you in again and again as you treasure the story of his life.

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