Mikko Karvonen's Reviews > The Name of the Wind

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
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M 50x66
's review
Jul 16, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: fantasy-scifi
Read from July 17 to 22, 2012

Four stars is perhaps bit too generous for The Name of the Wind, but since three stars is too stingy, it'll have to do. It was an enjoyable and captivating book that had me flying through the pages towards the end, but at times it was also quite frustrating.

To start with the frustrating, the beginning of the book is by far its weakest link. In fact, it was weak enough for me to drop my first attempt for a more inviting book next on my list. Slow and cumbersome, the first 50-60 pages offered only clichés with little reason to get intrigued or excited. I very much doubt the need for all that exposition before the actual story got started.

Also making an apparearance was one of the pet peeves of mine: plot twists depending on the characters being rash and stupid. Two or three would have been understandable, given the background and nature of the main character, but around the middle of the book they were coming in thick and fast, making me really dislike our hero for a while. And since he was not the only one quilty of such behaviour, these twists started to feel like awkward devices rather than the characters acting to their true nature.

That said, I have to admit that Patrick Rothfuss knows his trade. Once the story gets going, it's captivating, imaginative, mostly believable and well-written. During this era of multiple viewpoint war epics in fantasy, reading about a young boy growing and trying to find his way in the world is quite refreshing. Well, as long as you are not bothered by the main character being somewhat of a noble savage and succeeding in most things bit too easily.

As in many other successful fantasy stories, the best part of The Name of the Wind are the characters. Rothfuss is not afraid of using archetypes to set the mood and paint a big picture of his characters as they appear, but he also knows how to flesh them out and make them more than just cardboard cut-outs going through the motions. Towards the end of the book, he also manages to bring in a lot of subtlety and tenderness when developing his hero's relationships to different female characters.

As others have said, The Name of the Wind is an impressive debut. It has its issues and I wouldn't name it among my favorites in recent fantasy books, but it also has a refreshing view point, interesting and varied cast of characters, and most importantly an enjoyable story with secrets, revelations, adventure, adversaries, and a touch of well-handled romance. The next part in the series, The Wise Man's Fear is a must-read after this.

A note to the Finnish readers: the Finnish translation is very good, so it's a viable alternative to picking up the English edition.

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