Monday, October 10, 2011

The Name of the Wind - Patrick Rothfuss

Title: The Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicles Day 1)
Author: Patrick Rothfuss
Audio: narrated by Nick Podehl
Published date: May 2009 (first published March 2007)
Publisher: Brilliance Audio (27 hours, 54 minutes)
FTC: library audio rental

I can't remember where I first heard about Patrick Rothfuss' book The Name of the Wind.  Isn't the cover just gorgeous?  I know that I definitely saw Carl's post at Stainless Steel Droppings.  I thought I read something over at Pat's Fantasy Hotlist but I can't find it.  Go over there for some awesome Sci-Fi/Fantasy titles to add to your to-read lists.  Anyway, my brother also works part-time at a bookstore so we were discussing this book the other day.  I figured, while in the fantasy genre, The Name of the Wind would probably be a good fit for the R.I.P. VI Challenge.  So I checked it out at the library as an e-audio rental.

The Synopsis:

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.

My Thoughts:

I find reviewed audio books SO hard.  I have such a different perspective when I listen to a book than when I read it.  I had a lot of cleaning in the house to catch up on and family coming in to town so I decided that a 27+ hour audio book would do the trick.  You read that right.  That's a LOT of audio book.  So I'm going to do my break down of what I liked and what I didn't.

The Good:

You can't deny that Patrick Rothfuss can write - or more aptly is a brilliant story-teller.  The story starts out in a darkly lit bar reminiscent of olden days when people came in on horse and ordered a mug of cider and some gruel.  Anyway.  Something is going on.  Days being what they are, it isn't safe to be traveling alone...or at all.  The modern cover of the book with the wind/storm setting is just perfect.  You want to curl up by a fireplace and absorb the story.  Kvothe (pronounced Kote) is telling his story to a chronicler who's only job is to write down the story.  What a story.

The audio narrator, Nick Podehl, is awesome.  He is so good I Googled him to see what else he's done.  There's some narrators who lose my attention, are distracting, or I just get lost in their accent or pronunciation.  Not so with Mr Podehl.  He kept my attention the entire 27+ hours.  Very well done.

The uniqueness of the tale.  I've read some sci-fi/fantasy stuff and don't let anyone tell you this is like Harry Potter for adults or blah blah blah.  This story is good enough to stand on its own and leave it at that.

The Bad:

I'll be honest.  The length is intimidating and sometimes unnecessary.  Yes it's a great story but seriously - do I want to invest 27+ hours or 662 pages on just the FIRST book of the series?  I mean the whole story ends book one after his first year in school.  There was a HUGE section of Kvothe living as a street urchin after he lost his parents that I almost lost interest.  Perhaps some editing or abridging may be necessary.  Also, listening to the audio brings a different perspective and sometimes I'd hear the same phrase a few minutes later.  Ok ok I get it.

Kvothe.  Ok.  He's a great character but since he IS the one narrating his own story he CAN come across as a bit big-headed.  There are a few times he uses the "I doubt you'd understand" if you've never (insert his accomplishments here - playing music instrument, been in a dark cave, etc.) which irked me.  Don't tell me I'd probably not grasp how amazing it feels to be you.  Silly I know but it bothered me.

Kvothe's love interest Denna.  She was kind of irritating.  Such a player and always on the look out for a wealthy "patron/benefactor" that I couldn't help think she was a bit of a "lady of the night" kind of girl. 

Interesting notes:

I had no clue that this book originally was published in 2007 (check wiki page) and had this cover:

Yeah.  Kvothe has red hair - so I'll give it that - but while I'd pick up the new version with the cool cover, I'd probably NEVER have picked up this book.

Also, book two just came out called The Wise Man's Fear.

While I'd love to continue the story, at the hardcover's 994 pages, I'm not sure when I'll get around to it.  You can read an excerpt over at Pat's Fantasy Hotlist.

I almost forgot to add - Patrick Rothfuss' Kingkiller Chronicles are on NPR's Top 100 Sci-Fi/Fantasy so I can say I've read some of this series now.  

Did this book fit in with the RIP VI Challenge requirements?  I think so!  It fit the "dark fantasy" requirements and a perfect Autumn read.

While searching for other reviews, I found this alternate cover.  What do you think?

Also reviewed by:

Stainless Steel Droppings
Entomology of a Bookworm
Capricious Reader
Where Trouble Melts Like Lemon Drops
Library Queue
Pat's Fantasy Hotlist (Shawn Speakman video interview w/ Patrick Rothfuss)
Pat's Fantasy Hotlist (Jim Butcher video interview w/ Patrick Rothfuss)

1 comment:

  1. That dark stormy scene on the new cover definitely gives this book a boost over the first cover. If I were perusing the shelves of the bookstore, I wouldn't even think to pick up a copy if it had that older cover, no matter how intriguing the premise. And it does sound very intriguing! At 662 pages, it does sound like maybe it could use a bit of a downsizing, but I think I'll put it on my wish list anyway! Thanks for the great review!