The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
Fantastic. I loved this book. I cannot wait to read the sequel, The Wise Man’s Fear. The writing is spectacular; characters are real, deep, and compelling; plot is complex but well thought out and perfectly executed; and the world Mr. Rothfuss has created is an entirely believable and likeable fantasy land.

If you like epic fantasy and brilliant story-telling, definitely get The Name of the Wind. Age-wise, I’m not sure how to recommend this one. Kvothe, the hero of the story, is in his low teens when the story starts so the action and events seem appropriate to him for that age. However it is an adult book in terms of language and complexity. But it’s not overly graphic with violence and no sex. Yet. It seems violence is likely forthcoming, and probably some romance too.

The Amazon page for the book leads with “Harry Potter fans craving a new series...”, and I suppose this is a reasonable comparison. In both, a boy grows to become a mighty magician and uses his power to relentlessly fight evil. But Kvothe seems much deeper, unpredictable and more conflicted than young Mr. Potter. So I would not start young kids on this book--give it to upper high schoolers or college kids. I really think the writing will skew to a more mature audience as everything unfolds. And it's probably best for boys. If you have a son or know a boy who used to love books and needs something to bring him back to reading, this could be it.

The plot is unique and immediately mesmerizing. We start at a remote inn in the countryside. The innkeeper is a mysterious man known as Kote, and you can tell right from the start that there’s way more to him than what he’s showing. A visitor known as the Chronicler turns up looking for the legendary hero, king killer, and mighty warrior known as Kvothe, with hopes of writing his story. We quickly learn the Kote is the mighty Kvothe and the innkeeper reluctantly agrees to tell his epic tale. Mr. Rothfuss then magnificently weaves the story of this man’s life, from early childhood on, while also periodically bringing us back to the present to catch up on current events. Danger is closing in on the adult Kvothe at his inn, and it’s clear we are going to learn the background of these threats by hearing his life story. And when his tale is finished, it seems the plot lines will clash together in chaos and resolution. I have no doubts it will be awesome.

As I wrote at the top, I really dug this book. Highly recommended for adventure lovers, high-fantasy fans (Lord of the Rings, Hobbit, etc) and any other mature book lovers who enjoy action, magic, fantasy, deep characters and expertly immersive story-telling. If you read other Amazon reviews, you’ll see them use words like “lyrical” and “poetic” to describe Mr. Rothfuss’s writing. I certainly agree, he’s a talented author for sure.

Lastly, If you read my book write-ups, then you know when I really like something I include text samples from the story. Well, I have a lot to share from The Name of the Wind!

Happy Reading (these text samples) and HAPPY READING the book too!

(Young Kvothe is discussing sympathy (this book’s word for magic) with his teacher, the great Abenthy)

At his mention of the Arcanum, I bristled with two dozen new questions. Not so many, you might think, but when you added them to the half-hundred questions I carried with me wherever I went, I was stretched nearly to bursting. Only through a severe effort of will did I remain silent, waiting for Abenthy to continue on his own.

(Kvothe is older now, at the one prestigious university in the land, chatting with an eccentric girl named Auri who lives in the tunnels and caves below the school. Also I like this because owls are neat and this is a lovely description.)

She nodded. “And a mother owl has moved in. Made her nest right in the middle of the Grey Twelve, bold as brass.”

“She’s something of a rarity then?” (Kvothe)

She nodded. “Absolutely. Owls are wise. They are careful and patient. Wisdom precludes boldness.” She sipped from her cup, holding the handle daintily between her thumb and forefinger. “That is why owls make poor heroes.”

Wisdom precludes boldness. After my recent adventures in Trebon I couldn’t help but agree. “But this one is adventurous? An explorer?” (Kvothe)

“Oh yes,” Auri said, her eyes wide. “She is fearless. She has a face like a wicked moon.”

(This conversation is in “current” time at the inn, the adult Kvothe’s protege Bast is having a menacing discussion with Chronicler about Kvothe’s story. I admire the writing here.)

“That’s only the smallest piece of it,” Bast said. “The truth is deeper than that. It’s…” Bast floundered for a moment. “It’s like everyone tells a story about themselves inside their own head. Always. All the time. That story makes you what you are. We build ourselves out of that story.”

Frowning, Chronicler opened his mouth, but Bast held up a hand to stop him.

“No, listen. I’ve got it now. You meet a girl: shy, unassuming. If you tell her she’s beautiful, she’ll think you’re sweet, but she won’t believe you. She knows that beauty lies in your beholding.” Bast gave a grudging shrug. “And sometimes that’s enough.” His eyes brightened. “But there’s a better way. You show her she is beautiful. You make mirrors of your eyes, prayers of your hands against her body. It is hard, very hard, but when she truly believes you…” Bast gestured excitedly. “Suddenly the story she tells herself in her own head changes. She transforms. She isn’t seen as beautiful. She is beautiful, seen. ”