UPDATE (6-AUG-2014): My second reading made me appreciate this book much more. I picked up more of the subtlety and clever use of language this time a...moreUPDATE (6-AUG-2014): My second reading made me appreciate this book much more. I picked up more of the subtlety and clever use of language this time around, and Jo Walton's reread series at Tor.com helped immensely. So I definitely appreciate what Rothfuss is doing, enough to check out the next book at any rate. I'm still not head over heels in love with it, but that's more because it's still operating in the Tolkienesque tradition and I am completely bored with it at this point: homages, inspirations, subversions, deconstructions--I don't care.
ORIGINAL REVIEW (14-JUL-2012): I'm extremely conflicted on this one. There was some interesting world-building. A lot of the supporting characters are great, and many of the relationships between them feel very real and engaging.
On the other hand, there wasn't really a single original idea. And I'm extremely ambivalent about the Kvothe, the main character. Considering a book like this turns on the protagonist, it probably explains my stance on the book. Kvothe is just good at anything he sets his mind to. There's no effort or struggle for him. Most of the conflicts he faces are a result of his own stupidity, arrogance or thoughtlessness. At these points, it's hard to like him. However, then the book will cut back to Kvothe in the present, relating his story, and he'll admit, "I was young and stupid back then." Well if you admit you were an idiot, I guess I have nothing more to say.
Maybe I'm just burned out on bildungsroman stories in general, or maybe I'm currently enthused by writers with a more distinct voice, but I didn't find Name of the Wind to live up to the immense hype behind it. I didn't hate it, but neither was I blown away.