Publication Date: 27 November 2007
Publisher: Penguin Group DAW
Told in Kvothe’s own voice, this is the tale of the magically gifted young man who grows to be the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen.
The intimate narrative of his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-ridden city, his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, and his life as a fugitive after the murder of a king form a gripping coming-of-age story unrivaled in recent literature.
A high-action story written with a poet’s hand, The Name of the Wind is a masterpiece that will transport readers into the body and mind of a wizard.
I finished this book at 1:30 AM Thanksgiving Day. I proceeded to stay up til 3 AM trawling wiki articles and fan theories, all while knowing I’d have to wake up early for a 5K. Needless to say, I didn’t do well on the 5K.
On the other hand, The Name of the Wind has quickly shot to the top of my favorites list. This book features a clever, quick-witted main character, expansive world-building, gorgeous lyrical prose, and a compelling story, if not one the reader may expect. What really pushed this book from good to great was Kvothe. There were times where I wanted to give him a hug and buckets of food. There were also times where I wanted to smack him and tell him to stop being so arrogant. His narration and the first day of his storytelling drew me through a wide range of emotions. I cried in relief with him during his first examination with the Masters. I felt his pain when he was banned from the Archives. I laughed with (at) him when he jumped off a roof for no reason. There’s so much development that goes into his character, and given the two more days he has to tell his story, I expect much more.
While the story is given from Kvothe’s perspective, there were several minor characters that caught my attention. Firstly is Bast, Kvothe’s student. I don’t know why, but he’s easily my favorite side character. I love his devotion to Kvothe as a student, but also his seeming childishness. Like many characters in this book, his initial appearance is not quite as it seems and I look forward to learning more of his backstory in future books. The other character would be Elodin, a Master at the University. He’s portrayed as a madman who was brilliant and lucid until something happened. He’s retained his brilliance but now talks in metaphors and circles. He doesn’t have a huge presence in this book unfortunately, but his few scenes make him a very intriguing character.
One final note I should say to potential readers is that this will be a much different story than expected. This book begins with the idea that we will learn of the epic adventures of Kvothe the Bloodless, Kvothe the Arcane, Kvothe the Kingkiller. Dispel these notions. A large theme of this book is picking out the truth of stories behind the legends that are told. Instead, this is largely a story of Kvothe the child, Kvothe the street rat, and Kvothe the drowning-in-student-debt. That being said, there are still hints of a larger world and a powerful overarching plot, but that is not the focus.
Overall, I easily rate this book a 5/5. I cannot wait to get my hands on the sequel and the short story accompaniments!