Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Name of the Wind

The Name of the Wind
by Patrick Rothfuss
661 pages
High School+

Kote appears to be inn keeper, new to town but starting to blend in with everyone else.  He and his servant Bast serve the small community and live in relative peace, away from the rest of the war torn world.  Out there are rumors of war coming closer, plus demons or worse roaming the land.  Here, the biggest gossip is if the crops will grow or not.

Then one night, one of the regulars shows up with something very irregular- a strange, large spider-like creature.  Convinced it is a demon, the town people burn and bury it as fast as they can.  Instead of being scared of it, Kote seems resigned at it's appearance.  Bast finds him, a few mornings later, coming through the door bloodied and carrying a wounded stranger.  Realizing that the monster was only one of a pack, Kote took care of the rest and rescued a traveler in the process.

This traveler isn't just any random person, but the Chronicler, someone who records the lives of remarkable people.  He has searched for Kote, or as he was better known Kvothe.  Rumors abound about him, his powers, his background and more. The Chronicler wants to record Kote's story, let the world know what truth lies behind the rumors.  Kote tells him to leave, that this is all put behind him, but the Chronicler insists.  Gradually, Kote relents and starts to tell his story.

This begins the tale of Kvothe- wanderer, son of a preforming troupe, homeless boy, and youngest student at the university.  Incredibly intelligent, he stuns the magistrates into letting him into university and makes both friends and enemies there.  Adventure, mystery and magic intertwine to weave Kvothe's story.  Woven with events at his inn, thus begins an epic tale of love, growing up, and revenge.

Can I just say wow...  I loved it!  It's been awhile since I've read a pure fantasy (not werewolves, vampires, or modernly set fantasy) and I really enjoyed this.  More complex than most teen fantasies, but not so overly complicated like the high fantasy you often find in adult areas.  This is a great mid-point between the two levels (teen and adult).  I had a hard time putting it down, going to work and not being able to read it.  The characters and the plot just really captured my attention and got me involved in the story.  So good!

I really liked the story structure- we see this inn keeper, and slowly that there is more to him than meets the eye.  Then he starts telling his own story and it was amazing.  Fun to see the character he is now, know the rumors about what he was, and also see how he began.  Kind of an inside-out story telling model, but it helps increase the tension and expectation of the reader.  Obviously the first in a series since there's several story lines that are not completely ended.  I need to find the next and start reading it!

For my library friends- very fun little scene near the end about libraries.  Kvothe is in a library, and can't seem to find anything.  He and a friend have a discussion about organization that too me back to library school!  Just a little bonus in an already fun book!

Overall- Go read it!  If you like fantasy, but don't want to read about werewolves and vampires, then pick this up.  This is definitely high school to adult, for language and for complexity.  I can see both girls and boys enjoying this..  Loved it! Hope you do too!

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