Friday, June 23, 2017

5 Star Book Review: The Name of the Wind

THE KINGKILLER CHRONICLES, #1
AUTHOR: PATRICK ROTHFUSS
RATING: 5 STARS
I have been hearing about this book for a very long time. It has gotten countless praise, not just from critics and other people online, but from people I know IRL who aren't even big readers yet still managed to pick this one up. It's one of the most name-dropped books of recent epic fantasy and has been toted as a game changer for the genre. It was because of all of this praise that I waited so long to pick it up because I couldn't imagine it living up to the hype.

The Name of the Wind is one of those books that just can't be easily summarized. There's a lot that happens, and while there's definitely a plot, it's not meant to be wrapped up in this volume at all, and a lot is left open for the next two volumes. Basically: it is the story of Kvothe, now a bartender in a small town, as he tells it to the scribe, Chronicler. Once, Kvothe was a man out of legends, and still people talk about him and the rumors that surround him. This is the first, and the last, time he will tell his whole life's story, and it will take three full days. This is the first of those three.

Kvothe is easily one of the most interesting character's in modern literature. His life was stuffed full (and it hasn't even been a very long life, yet) with the happy, the sad, the miserable, the euphoric, and everything in between. I can't recall the last time I had so much pleasure reading about a character, especially one as unique as Kvothe. Besides being incredibly interesting, he was relatable, which wasn't something I was expecting. His particular skill sets put him far above the regular crowd, yet I found myself pointing (in my mind) at him and saying "Me too, bro". He also goes through some incredible character growth (and I can only imagine there's so much more of that to come in the next installments) and left me feeling like I was actually reading about a real person. A quick word on all the other characters- I adored them all (or hated them, depending on whether they're despicable or not) but they all paled in comparison to Kvothe.

One of the reasons I picked this up was because for the upcoming Television Show/Movies/Video Games/etc. that is lined up for this series, Lin-Manuel Miranda has been tapped to be a producer. If you don't know of the man (or of Hamilton) go change your lives and figure it out because he's literally one of the most amazing people on the planet and anything he touches is something I'd be interested in. And now I can absolutely see why he's involved- there was music EVERYWHERE in this book. As much as I could enjoy it while reading it, music can't translate through writing, not really, and I was dying to actually hear Kvothe play. I can't wait to see what magic is worked to make it possible for the live action productions of this.

The story itself, which is Kvothe's life from young childhood, had me gripped from the very start. I don't want to give anything away because it's something best experienced as it unfolds, without knowing anything about what's going to happen next, but it really is a wonderful adventure to go on. Outside of the story proper, there's the "current" timeline, where Kvothe is a bartender, and even though we really only get a few snippets of that time frame, I'm completely interested and invested with what's going on there, as well. Also, just Bast as a character was utterly amazing and I'm dying to see more of him because I think I'm in love (wouldn't be the first time... XD).

Most of all what gets me about this highly, highly acclaimed masterpiece is how humble it is. It doesn't set out to be game changing, and while the writing is beautiful, it doesn't feel forced, or extra special, or like high brow prose. It feels normal and easy to read, especially for something this dense. It doesn't frustrate or try to be pretty because the story speaks for itself and I absolutely loved that when I found the occasional typo I didn't get mad, or feel like I was one-upping the author/publisher, but I smiled to myself and thought "yes, this is writing at it's most human. I love this".

If you only read one book this year, make it this one.

4 comments:

  1. Excellent review! I can't wait to get started on this! :)

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  2. I've heard so many good things about this book. And you've just made me more excited about it. I own it, so it's just a matter of getting to it. Hopefully soon!

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    1. It's so worth it once you pick it up!

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