colleen the fabulous fabulaphile's Reviews > The Name of the Wind

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
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's review
Sep 08, 09

it was ok
bookshelves: fantasy, sword-and-sorcery
Recommended to colleen the fabulous fabulaphile by: Those evil goodreads people
Recommended for: People who like overwrought epics
Read in September, 2009 , read count: 1

"I must confess myself... disappointed."

(For those who don't get the reference, it's a line that Voldemort uses in Goblet of Fire - the movie version at least. I am using a Harry Potter reference in retaliation to all those people who are somehow comparing this to that series, for the sole reason that there's a freaking magical university. Really, there's very little comparison aside from that. I mean, not even to get into how the whole tone and whatnot is different, but, really, the fact that there's a "Hogwarts like school" seems to be the only unifying focus.

I don't agree that there's a "Snape and Draco clone" in this series because, quite frankly, it's not like the sneering, unfair teacher and the mortal enemy were exactly unique tropes when Rowling used them, either.

And this book has none of the wonder of Harry Potter, and certainly none of the whimsy.

Furthermore, one of the achievements of Rowlings world is that the characters are real and relatable - even secondary characters are given some semblance of depth and personality. Few of the characters in this book really stood out to me as real, living, breathing characters.

Perhaps it is because the vast chunk of this book is written in first person narration - first person, total recall no less - but as we see everything through Kvothe's eyes, we aren't given the glimpses into their minds that we are given in Harry Potter.

In short, I dislike the comparison. For one I liked the Harry Potter series much better. For another, I find the comparisons flimsy and nothing more than a cheap marketing ploy. That so many people do seem to see the comparisons just makes me shake my head in wonder - because either they're seeing things that aren't there, or I'm very myopic when it comes to my beloved Harry Potter. I admit, either could be a possibility.)


As I said, I'm not a huge fan of first person narration, but sometimes it works. I think it works best when I like the person whose head/life I am living in. I found Kvothe generally tedious and annoying and an unbelievable Gary Stu. I also found Denna/Dianne/Deannah/whatever to be far too high maintenance, and not really worth the time and/or energy that seems to go along with her. But, then, we can't really control who we fall for - but, aside from the fact she's beautiful, I can't really see why men fall over themselves for her.

But, then, I prefer a Hermione or a Luna to a Lavendar or even a Cho...

(Ok, I'll stop with the HP references now. Maybe... )

A lot of people seem to feel that the story starts off slow and then picks up when he gets to University. Oddly enough, I'm rather the opposite. I liked the start of the story.

Actually, even before we start his story, I liked the part at the bar and with the demon spiders. I imagine we're going to get back to that in the third book, since I figure the second book is going to be Kvothe's autobiography. Yay...

So, I liked the start of the story.

I even liked the start of the story within the story. I liked Kvothe's early years, his time with his parents and the troupe. I liked Ben, and following the things he was learning. I was interested in sympathy - and how it corresponds to the actual rules of sympathetic magic (well, sort of. You know, it takes the basic magical premise and then applies it to how it would work in a fantasy world, which would be much cooler than how it works in our world.)

Quite opposed to most others, I felt things started dragging horribly once he got to University. I got tired of his effing "brilliance" and just how wonderful he is. I got tired of all the teachers being practically interchangable. And Hemme is no Snape. My gods, Snape is horrible and fascinating - and Hemme is just a silly little plot device to manufacture some arbitrary obstacles to impede our wonderful, fabulous, and did I mention BRILLIANT fucking protagonist. (My gods, at least Harry Potter has some actual flaws, aside from being crap with girls.)

(And yes, apparently I lied about the comparison thing...)

Ditto with the whole thing with being denied access to the Archives. Something so blatantly and *brilliantly* stupid, that it just seems totally unbelievable - just another manufactured obstacle.

I mean, I know every story needs plot devices, and not even my favorite stories are without them. And sometimes they irritate me, too, especially when something is either overly convenient or clearly manufactured. But such things are always better when they seem to happen organically, or through some actual fault of the character, and not as some silly accident that he's not even responsible for because he was drugged at the time (which comes with it's own dose of silliness and arbitrariness.)

So, yeah... where was I?

Oh, so I felt things slowed down for awhile, and then started picking back up again with the music competition. That was pretty cool. And the fire.

And then there's the sheer preposterousness of the ride to catch the Chandrians, which I just thought was silly, and the whole part with the draccus just went on forever.

Now, let's see - what do I like? I liked Kilvin, as much as you can like a bare sketch of a character. I liked Elodin - but, then, I like the archetype of the mad professor. I wished we would've seen more of him and he was more fleshed out, as opposed to just being vague and abstract. And I like Bast, or I think I will like Bast, and hope to see more of him as the story progresses.

I didn't hate the story, but I did find it overly long and thought it dragged in a lot of places, especially towards the last 150 or so pages where I just wanted it to be over...

Oh - and Rothfuss repeats himself and his descriptions too much. Overall it's rather disappointing... And I am never listening to you people again. Ever. So there. :p
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Reading Progress

08/25/2009 page 18
2.49% "Just started, but the opening has promise."
08/27/2009 page 128
17.73% "Interesting, at times funny, touching, and sad... but not quite compelling/compulsive..."
08/28/2009 page 177
24.52% "Overall I'm enjoying it, but the first person 'total-recall' type of narration always bugs me..."
09/01/2009 page 357
49.45% "Mid-book duldrums?"
09/02/2009 page 436
60.39% "Music bit was good. Denna better be worth all the build up. Don't get all the comparison to HP, tho."
09/04/2009 page 546
75.62% "Kinda bored..."

Comments (showing 58-107)

Greg of A2 Looking forward to hearing what you think. I really, really enjoyed this one. I think it gets better and better as it goes. I want the second book now!

colleen the fabulous fabulaphile I hope so, too. Honestly, I'm not sure I would've picked this book up if it weren't for all the good things I've heard about it from people on goodreads. Thus far I haven't had a good track record with taking the consensus for most things, so here's hoping my luck changes. :>

Greg of A2 Yeah, I know about the track records here and how it "looks" as if it should appeal but I've had books really not work for me that have 3.75+ ratings. But in your case, I love your negative reviews as much as your positive ones so it's win-win. No pressure. :)

colleen the fabulous fabulaphile *laughs* Then I look forward to trying to entertain you either way.

message 103: by Martha (new)

Martha Hahaha love the review - can't say that I've heard of this book, but from what you describe, I don't think I'll like it much either, so thanks for the heads up!

message 102: by Greg of A2 (last edited Sep 09, 2009 06:21PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Greg of A2 Enjoyed your take on the novel. I think the biggest disservice to the novel is comparing it to the Harry Potter stuff. I don't know who started that line of thought but it needs to stop. This is much darker and more adult fantasy. The death of his parents disturbed me for hours later. His orphan status and desperate life following the parent's death was well done. I love the way in which magic was explained (much better than in most fantasy). I agree that the University portion wasn't as strong as other parts but there was his music that was intertwined with his learning that I found quite enjoyable. I haven't read a better fantasy novel in quite some time but there's a part of me that wonders if this novel appeals more to males than females as the book has a very male point of view given Kvothe's growth and maturation.

colleen the fabulous fabulaphile Martha wrote: "Hahaha love the review - can't say that I've heard of this book, but from what you describe, I don't think I'll like it much either, so thanks for the heads up!"

Heh, no prob. I do feel obligated to say that a whole host of people do like it, and I have a sort of inborn bias against "epic fantasy". But, aside from that, yeah, wouldn't recommend it unless epics are your thing.

colleen the fabulous fabulaphile Greg of A2 wrote: "Enjoyed your take on the novel. I think the biggest disservice to the novel is comparing it to the Harry Potter stuff. I don't know who started that line of thought but it needs to stop. This is mu..."

I was going for extra funny, just for you. :>

Not really, though...

I do agree that the HP comparisons are a disservice. That said, I would like to make it clear, in general, that I did not dislike the book because I was expecting something like HP. Actually I was unaware of the HP comparisons until I was about halfway through the book, decided I didn't like it that much, and started reading the reviews to find other people who didn't like it that much, wherein I started finding all the comparisons and went "wait, what now?".

But, anyway, I do agree that 'Wind' is definitely more adult in tone and scope.

The last fantasy novel that I read that I remember getting really excited about was Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, which I loved.

Couldn't really say if I think it might appeal to men more. I've seen a lot of women rate it 5 stars, and some men 3-stars or lower. And I hardly consider myself a girly girl. I quite like the Dresden Files and the Nightside - both very "male" series. That said, I am curious and have asked my fiance to read it to get his take on it. We often have similar taste, though he does go for epics more than I seem to. I honestly think it's more the epic thing than the guy thing, but it could easily be a bit of both.

Of course, by the time he gets around to it, I'll probably have forgotten all about this, so it'll sort of be a moot point. Heh.

Mike (the Paladin) Well, while I liked the book a bit more than you do...LOL, I agree with a lot of your criticisms. I to noted the Harry Potter comparisons are a stretch and I agree that Rowling's books are far superior. I think some see Harry Potter in any book with a magic school.

colleen the fabulous fabulaphile Which is funny, Mike, since a lot of people accused Harry Potter of plagiarism because of earlier books/shows which revolved around a magical school, i.e. The Worst Witch.

Mike (the Paladin) Ya there were a lot of criticisms of the Harry Potter books that Rowling left in the dust. Nothing succeeds like success as they say. Things get compared to Potter because it's about the best YA read in the last 30 or so years.

colleen the fabulous fabulaphile I definitely agree with that.

Libby About 150+ pages in - not to University yet but see absolutely nothing similar to Harry Potter in tone, atmosphere, narrator, structure etc. . . this appears to be a traditional epic fantasy.

Colleen you hit the nail on the head when you said "this book has none of the wonder of Harry Potter, and certainly none of the whimsy." - which is what makes HP unique and wonderful SO the comparisons are annoying at best.

Book moves slow but prose is good - haven't decided quite what I think yet except that its NOT like HP

colleen the fabulous fabulaphile Well, I hope you end up liking it more than I did. :>

But, yes, definitely not HP. But, then again, what is? :)

Libby People have tried to make HP synonymous with ANY fantasy to sell books - it perturbs me

Mike (the Paladin) I agree also Libby. Any fantasy book (or semi-fantasy book for that matter) that has a school that even mentions magic gets compared to Harry Potter. This isn't a bad book, I didn't dislike it or anything, but I am somewhat amazed at the effusive praise I see for it at times.

colleen the fabulous fabulaphile It perturbs me, too, Libby. And, what's more, it's started to turn me off of books. Any book that's touted as "the next Harry Potter" or "fans of Harry Potter will love this" or "move over Harry Potter" almost makes me instantly want to pass it up, because I know I won't be able to read it, now, without comparing them (which is unfair, since Harry Potter is awesomeness incarnate). *laughs*

It's also sort of ironic that any school with magic gets compared to HP considering how many schools of magic came before HP. I mean, I (clearly) am a giant geek for HP - but I can acknowledge that she uses a lot of tropes. As I said in my review about the "unfair teacher and moral enemy" thing, magic schools, as well as magic worls hidden right beside/within ours, are hardly original ideas that Rowling plucked out of the ether.

Kevin Catolster While I agree with your number/star score, I must say I disagree with your comment that the University is the only element of this book that's comparable to HP.

You've got this kid that is pretty much superman. He excels at everything he tries, although his own actions usually get him into more trouble than he'd imagine. He has two friends who, by about half-way through the book I started calling Ron and Hermione. He's got a rich kid bully that hates him, and wants nothing more than to ruin our hero's day (again, there was a point in the book where I just read 'Ambrose' as 'Draco'). Imre might as well be Hogsmeade, etc...

Underlying all of this, in much the same way that school is thrust into the forefront of HP, rather than the larger threat looming in the background, is the fact that he needs to level himself up enough to go after the mysterious malevolent force that killed his parents.

Honestly, I thought the book was going to take the Star Wars road at first (boy's parents get killed, boy learns magic from an old wizard named 'Ben', boy levels up, boy wins the day.)

Again, I'm not disagreeing with you, I just thought I'd point out some of the more glaring HP rips that I found.

message 89: by colleen the fabulous fabulaphile (last edited Feb 08, 2011 04:20PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

colleen the fabulous fabulaphile Thanks for your comment, though I disagree that some of these are really glaringly ripped off from HP. Some of them I don't see as all that similar, and, in the case of others, I don't see how they're necessarily ripping off HP since HP didn't invent the tropes that they're borrowing from.

**** Possible Spoiler warning for both Harry Potter and Name of the Wind *****

* Kvothe is pretty much a superman, but I don't think that Harry really is. For one thing, he struggles in school - though he does seem to pull off remarkably good grades for someone who copies most of his homework. ;)

Harry is far from the "brilliant" we are constantly told Kvothe is, and himself says he gets by mostly on guts and luck.

Also, while Harry does get himself into trouble quite often, he also doesn't get in trouble quite often for things that he's done. As Ron says at one point "Well, it's you, isn't it?"

They do both have trouble with girls, though.

* I didn't consider Kvothe's friends to really be all that similar to Ron and Hermione. Some of the following might be in error - since I don't really remember his friends that much - which is one way in which they're different, since I always liked Hermione the most of the three, and I can't even remember Kvothe's friends names or attributes - but I don't remember them striking me as the "comic-relief best-friend" or the "brainy-know-it-all", which are the tropes that Ron and Hermione fulfill. (One way that Harry Potter completely dominates this book, imo, is that the secondary characters are actually fleshed out in HP.) ;)

ETA: I always said that Harry wouldn't have gotten anywhere without Hermione, who is, generally, the one to figure things out. Not only did she help Harry time and again with classwork and learning spells, like the crucial Accio, but she also figures out a lot of things, like about the basilisk.

Kvothe doesn't seem anywhere near as dependent on his friends. He doesn't really need their help intellectually, nor do they provide the same emotional support and surrogate family role.

* I commented on the bully thing in my review, stating that the "mortal enemy/rich bully" thing is hardly unique to Harry Potter. Also, Draco is, ot at least becomes, a more complex character.

* Also, I disagree that Imre might as well be Hogsmeade. What makes Hogsmeade special in the HP books is that it's a community of wizards. Imre has none of the same associations. Actually, I would say Imre makes me think of Ankh-Morpork from Discworld more than Hogsmeade - since Hogsmeade isn't described as having a shadier side, which Imre clearly has.

Also, the notion that there's a medievally sort of town close to a medievally sort of University is hardly a stretch of the imagination.

* The "coming-of-age" or "levelling up" thing is, again, hardly unique to Harry Potter, and is true and damn near every quest story ever.

* Also, the Chandrians sort of make me think of the Nazgul more than Voldemort or the Death Eaters.

I mean, based on your descriptions of how NotW could've gone the Star Wars road, it's pretty easy to see how, in some ways, HP DID go the Star Wars road.


In short, some of the things which you see as glaring HP rips, I just see as general things which aren't really unique to Harry Potter, and thus, which I don't really consider HP rip-offs - since HP ripped them off from somewhere, too.

Lastly, I think, for me, the main difference is still the tone and the type of story. They don't "feel" anything alike, even if there are some, imo, superficial similarities (which a lot of stories share).

As I said in my review, NotW has none of the wonder or whimsy of HP - (nor does it have the level of character development or witty dialogue, but now I'm just being snarky) - but it's not really supposed to have the same tone as HP, because it's not really the same kind of story, magical Universities, villages, bullies and having two friends aside.

message 88: by Mike (the Paladin) (last edited Feb 08, 2011 11:02AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mike (the Paladin) I'll step in and agree...I saw Kevin's comment and disagreed, but this is Coleen's review. I'm glad I waited as she took time to run things down in detail.I have to agree with her. The two "friends" for example are more two supporting characters. They bear little resemblance to Ron and Hermione. The relationship with Denna (as I said in my review) is beginning to remind me more of Dickens and Estella in Great Expectations. As Coleen said, the tropes or types are out there and while the general outline may be close "magic school, rich or powerful enemy" etc. they aren't that close.

colleen the fabulous fabulaphile I've never read Great Expectations, though we were meant to in high school - and I don't remember enough of my Cliff Notes to comment on the similarities there, but I'll take your word for it. :)

As a side note - why does everyone spell my name wrong? *pouts*


Mike (the Paladin) Colleen ..... sorry.

colleen the fabulous fabulaphile *laughs* It's ok. It's just an epidemic I've noticed.

Mike (the Paladin) I knew a "Coleen" once. I'll have to watch the spelling.

Shelli wrote almost exactly what I was thinking!!! Thanks!

colleen the fabulous fabulaphile Happy to oblige. :D

message 81: by Mark (last edited Oct 20, 2012 08:57AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mark The comparison's to harry potter are just ridiculous. I for one liked the harry potter books, but think the opposite of you and think this is the better series so far. I will agree that the ending wasn't as exciting as I was hoping it would be(the non-meat eating dragon type monster was kind of lame, and it did take a little longer than it probably should have to get past that particular plot point),but overall I just liked the characters,the world,plot,and magic system better in these books then in HP.

message 80: by Ellen (new) - added it

Ellen I think one of the most interesting and problematic parts of your review is this: The first thing you do is to blame people for comparing this book to the Harry Potter series, and then you spend the rest of the review doing JUST THAT. This is primarily an issue because, if you want others to stop putting a comparison of the two (as you claim some of the characters are seen as similar between the two) then stop comparing it that way yourself. Or don't yell at other people for finding commonalities while all you find are differences. All right, we concede they're different at the beginning of your review. Then why does the rest of it matter?

Mike (the Paladin) ...Ellen, I'm sure you're a nice person, but all she was doing was answering the constant chorus of voices trying to "cram" the two stories together and showing that they aren't.

Take a deep breath and be cool.

colleen the fabulous fabulaphile Mike (the Paladin) wrote: "Take a deep breath and be cool. "

Good advice, Mike. I think I'll take it and walk away. ;)

Spot71 you talk to much

colleen the fabulous fabulaphile Such profundity from a newly minted brown head.

The mind boggles.

Mike (the Paladin) So....Colleen says too much, in her own review???? So, why did you read it??? Review it yourself, and use fewer words.


message 74: by MrsJoseph (new)

MrsJoseph Spot71 wrote: "you talk to much"

You talk to much.

Dylan Sharek I couldn't agree more with your review. While I was reading the beginning and while he was traveling with the troupe, I was thinking, "Wow, this could be the one to keep me as enthralled as fantasy series X." And then they got to the university and everything fell apart. The character became unlikable. The plot got beyond what made it so successful in the first half. AND THE LINE EDITING WAS HORRENDOUS. Seriously, in the first half of this book, the line editing was stellar. And then you get to the second half and there's tons of issues: Misspellings. Missing punctuation. Characters' names spelled two different ways in one paragraph. Repetition. This is one facet of the book that I can't believe more people have caught on to. It was distracting enough to take me out of the experience.

The first half of this book and the second half felt like two entirely different experiences.

message 72: by colleen the fabulous fabulaphile (last edited Mar 05, 2016 06:06AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

colleen the fabulous fabulaphile I didn't notice that the line editing got worse, at least not that I recall. Are you reading it electronically, or paper?

Dylan Sharek Trade paperback. The editing is the worst I've ever seen in a non-self-pubbed book.

colleen the fabulous fabulaphile Definitely annoying. I hate finding mistakes in professionally published book.

Katrina So what you are saying is that it is NOT a total rip-off of a best-selling children's series? Good to know.

colleen the fabulous fabulaphile And, also, that it would probably much better if it were. Don't forget that part in your snark. ;)

message 67: by MrsJoseph (new)

MrsJoseph *snicker*

Gotta love it, Colleen.

Adrian C. Although I rated the book much higher, I feel your review for this book is the best one out there. Thank you for thoroughly explaining your opinion; a lot of the backlash for this book has been poorly explained. I did end up agreeing with a lot of what you wrote.

Gourav Kumar I was myself thinking of Harry Potter while reading this book, and I have to agree, this is no Harry Potter, not even close to it.
In a way there are similarities. It's like Rothfuss took the 5-6 chapters that talked only about Hogwarts and extrapolated them into over-streched extremely detailed mind numbing 60 chapters that talk about "The University".
I was reminded of Hermione in the part where he decided to drop a few subjects to bring balance to his schedule-
"I limited myself to three fields of study in the upcoming term. I continued Advanced Sympathy with Elxa Dal, held a shift in the Medica, and continued my apprenticeship under Manet. My time was pleasantly full, but not overburdened as it had been last term."
(Blatant copy, anyone?)
An epic story is made epic by the depth of the characters. Unfortunately Rothfuss seems to have totally skipped writing the parts with character development. The shallowness of the characters, especially female ones, is appalling to say the least. All the girls are just beautiful and all they do is fill a couple of pages with the description of their beauty (apart from batting eyelids and being playful).
So no, Kvothe is no Harry Potter, Willem is no Ron, Sovoy is no Neville, Abrose is no Draco and Hemme is no Snape. Even comparing these characters is an insult to Harry Potter.
And the plot, or whatever hint of it there is, is so predictable, so mundane, so ordinary that the only thing shocking about this book is its rating.
I haven't rated the book because after having spent over 15 hours to reach 65%, I did not think the book was worth my time. So I did not complete it.

message 63: by Mark (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mark Mike (the Paladin) wrote: "...Ellen, I'm sure you're a nice person, but all she was doing was answering the constant chorus of voices trying to "cram" the two stories together and showing that they aren't.

Take a deep brea..."

Isn't Colleen capable of answering for herself? Sorry but one of my pet peeves is when people feel like they need to defend someone they don't know on the internet and in turn gang up on someone else. Pretty unnecessary.

In my opinion these books took a few references from harry potter and made them into their own. Really good series so far but I wouldn't put it up there with books like song of ice and fire, lord of the rings, or elric of melnibone. The 3rd book has yet to come out though so time will tell how good this series is as a whole.

Mike (the Paladin) Wow about this, I largely agree with Colleen, know her from other groups and was expressing my opinion.

Feel better?

message 61: by Mark (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mark About you still being a condescending ass....nope that still stands. But then you fit right in with a lot of the pretentious readers on here who are the same way.

Have a nice day :).

colleen the fabulous fabulaphile Speaking of pretty unnecessary, I consider it unnecessary to go into someone's review and tell them they're wrong - and yet people persist in doing so.

Also, taking pot shots at someone because they dared refute your *inaccurate* comment is also pretty unnecessary.

And yet here you are...

Seriously. Pretty much everything you said in your first paragraph could be turned around to you.

Why do you feel the need to come in and "defend" Ellen from this alleged "ganging up"? Isn't she capable of defending herself?

Are you her friend? (Since you have no friends on your profile, the answer to that is obviously no - whereas you'll see Mike and I are friends and in several groups together. Mike is also sympathetic because he's also had a few reviews where rabid fanboys and -girls can't hack the existence of negative reviews.)

And, seriously, how the fuck is one man giving his opinion and then me taking his advice a case of "ganging up"? If anyone's been ganged up on it's me, having to defend my goddamned opinion from fans.

Lastly, if you want to share your opinion about the book, write a damn review and leave mine alone.


Mike (the Paladin) I'd say something but apparently I'm "a condescending ass".

Who knew?

message 58: by Mark (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mark People have the right to say they think you're wrong rather you like it or not. If you don't like it so much then ignore them and/or delete them would be the best thing to do. Yes people go about it in the absolute wrong ways and sometimes are just trying to troll, but why give in to these people?

All I was saying is that Ellen's comment was pretty much harmless and yet you guys were pretty condescending about it just because she dared to disagree with you on something in particular. No I don't know her and yes you're right I was defending her, which I never do up till now because it seems goodreads is filled with this. Someone dares to call them out on something or disagree with them without being particularly nasty or rude about it and the reviewer feels the need to have their "friends" back them up and talk down to people. You have to separate the trolls from the honest disagreers(is that even a word?). That line can seem blurred sometimes especially when you have so many trolls it seems or people who just hate you to no end because you dared to dislike "their" book. It happens.

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