The Name of the Wind: The Kingkiller Chronicle.The Name of the Wind: The Kingkiller Chronicle
DAW Books, Inc
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
The Name of the Wind, and author Patrick Rothfuss guide you along, slowly, introducing you to new words, new ideas, and different takes on things--things you thought you knew--but suddenly you realize you didn't know as you turn the page.
The setting (per a map) is provided but the timeframe isn't. What makes it all so interesting is, one minute you think you're reading a novel set in the 14 or 1500's, and then the next something from the 19th or 20th century is discussed.
As I read, I was compelled to race ahead in the story because I wanted to know things. Things like why the innkeeper knew which items to arrange on a nearby table, or why there was a (yuck) "spider as large as a wagon wheel, black as slate," with legs sharp as razors on the table. Why? How did the innkeeper know what it was--when no one else in the room did?
All these questions and I was only on page 11. Obviously, the story really drew me in.
Rothfuss writes in such clarity that I could feel the main character, Kote, withdrawing into himself. I could feel his despair, and I wanted to know why he was so unhappy, so distanced. Emotions of Kote differed when other characters joined the story, such as Bast.
Bast called Kote "Master," and I was taken aback. It isn't cool to call other people master. What type of master is Kote? As I read, Bast, who by his actions and his words form an image of a beautiful man with dark curly hair, angelic features, and a slight, lean build. Lean I think, but strong. Bast, who " ... moved with a strange delicacy and grace, as if he were close to dancing," seemed to draw patience from Kote, and a gentleness as well. Such mannerisms are contradictory to the image I've formed of Kote--which is hard, rugged.
More questions arise when Bast calls Kote, "Reshi and Master," and Kote calls Bast his student.
The story begins to unfold when a person called "Chronicler" enters the inn. After some show of will and temperament, Kote begins to tell his story. And what a story it is! Kvothe's story (for in the beginning he was Kvothe--not Kote) is chock-full of youth, happiness, exploration, and the encouragement of those who love him. Then the story takes a dark turn to one of pain, loss, hiding, and solidarity. Just as you feel you cannot take any more pain, the story, as in life, has events occur that once again change Kvothe.
In an easy to follow thread, Rothfuss weaves us from present day (at the inn with Chronicler and Bast) to the first person narrative of Kvothe and his childhood to teen years. We are introduced to the life of the Edema Ruh (so much more than traveling performers), to the life of orphans in the backstreets of Tarbean, and then to university life.
The story is engaging and entertaining and frustrating. I say frustrating because I see Kvothe as an adolescent in chains. He's restrained by his ignorance yet his mind is brilliant. He taunts others, yet doesn't possess the cruelty of spirit to fight on the same level as his opponent. He is handicapped because his ego compels him to commit acts which would have been better left undone.
I envisioned young Kvothe had a charismatic personality, often persuading others to do what he wanted. I warmed to the love shown by his mother. I ached when his future was shattered. And I wanted to infuse common sense and a drive for self-protection into his naive body. He didn't seem to gain the common sense or people skills to maneuver in a world of elders even as the years passed. He was a child (the story stopped at 15) among older teens (maturity and years) and adults (many of whom were accustomed to life just so), so it was unnerving at times to be part of the experiences he went through because of his immaturity or age.
It wasn't until near the end of the book, with maybe 75 pages left, that I realized the story would be continued. Ah, the joke was on me! I so prefer to read all stories in a series back to back, because I go crazy waiting, or I forget to get back to the story and finish it when the next book comes out. I don't believe I'll forget to get the next book in the series. It's a good read. I still have many unanswered questions in my mind.
Lorraine Morgan Scott