I really want to give The Name of the Wind
a glowing review. It is an enchanting, intoxicating story, a bold adventure, epic and personal and everything that the best of the fantasy genre has to offer.
But there wouldn't be much point in giving it a review like that. It's been done. Everyone
seems to love this book. It's like J. R. R. Tolkien and apple pie and rock 'n' roll all rolled into one. So even though I adored it as much as everyone else, even though I couldn't bear to put it down and now will curse Pat Rothfuss for not chaining himself to his desk until the sequel is finished, despite all that, I'm going to have to go against the grain and pan it.
Because on the underside of this magificent tale of a hero in the making, there is a tired, dull, pointless story about a washed up hero trying to escape from the world.
Perhaps I am to harsh. Let me explain.The Name of the Wind
is a tale told in a bar. Kvothe, the hero, has retired to some backwater town, assumed a new name, and is evidently trying to live out his life in peace. Only a wandering scribe happens upon him and recognizes him for who he is, and after some doing convinces him to tell his story.
All well and good. Frame stories are nothing new. Only, it takes fifty-nine pages to get to the story story. That's fifty-nine pages of frame, plus various interludes throughout the book.
And I quite honestly found everything in the frame dull.
Things are happening. Interesting things, even. Subtle hints and mysteries that are no doubt going to be explored in the next volumes. But it's all sabatoged by the abominable point of view Rothfuss has chosen to use. Which is...none at all.
Not really true. Technically it's an omnicient point of view, but at all the important points it becomes entirely cinematic. The fact is, we, the readers, see
what is happening, but we have no context or explanation for it
. Even the dullest events in Kvothe's story are brought to life by the rich voice that is telling them, but in the present day frame, despite a fair bit of intrigue and action, I don't know why any of it is happening or what it all means.
Having said all that...just ignore me. Read the book. You'll like it, I promise. Just make sure to give it more than fifty-nine pages.
And remember that somebody probably said the same thing to you about Tolkien when they recommended Lord of the Rings