Review: "The Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss

The Name of the Wind Buy at Amazon

The Name of the Wind
Buy at Amazon

Have you ever picked up a book and thought that there was NO WAY it could be as good as the press blurbs on the cover? Have you every believed those blurbs only to be told a complete lie or at the very least, a partial truth?

This is a book that actually lives up to it's positive buzz and blurbs. Believe EVERYTHING good you hear about it because it's true. I would put this book against anything written by Terry Brooks, Robert Jordan, George R.R. Martin, Terry Goodkind, Tad Williams or any of the heavy hitters of fantasy. If I was one of these authors I'd be looking over my shoulder at this guy coming up through the pack and learn from what he's writing.

I will do my best to keep any major spoilers out of this review, since the book isn't out until late March, but I will give some insight and talk about the story you will find when you read this book.

The Gist: This is the story of Kvothe, pronounced like "Quothe", the larger than life legend whose life has been told and retold by bards and storytellers. The problem is that the stories have taken on a life of their own. Every story has grains of truth in them, and Kvothe's story is no different.

The main story is told to The Chronicler, who happens upon an unassuming barkeep and recognizes him for who he actually is, the great and mighty Kvothe. The Chronicler wants to document Kvothe's life story, much to the protestation of Kvothe. Kvothe eventually gives in and tells the Chronicler that he will need 3 days to tell his story, the true story of his life.

Kvothe grew up as a member of the Edema Ruh, or travelling performers. After a tragic event, Kvothe spent a part of his early life as a near feral street urchin. He eventually breaks free of the poverty and downward spiral, travelling to become a student of The University, the school of magic.

The Good: Man, where to start. This is simply a great story. It's engaging, gripping, absorbing and just a plain old good read. It's a book that makes you want the next one NOW DAMMIT!

The book is a high fantasy read. The bad guys are bad and the good guys are good. This is the first book so who knows what kind of twists and turns we'll see with the other books in this series. I count this as a plus, since if I wanted something with realism I'd read something from the non-fiction section.

The details that are used to explain how Kvothe learns and does magic, or "sympathy" as it is called in the story, are intriguing. It's a premise that I haven't run across in other fantasy novels or at least how exactly it is done here. I found it to be a better explanation than "It just happens I can conjure fireballs! Eat flaming death!"

The characters themselves are intriguing and you enjoy the tidbits you find out about them even the various bit players in the story. The character of the Chronicler, who has his own little quirks, gets very little story time but was entertaining in his interactions with Kvothe. I hope to see more character development of the bit players in the future volumes but the main focus is always on Kvothe.

The Bad: I have to wait for the next book and the one after that. AUUUUUUUUUUUUGH!!!

The Ugly: Did I mention that I have to WAIT for the next books?!

The story is filled with tragedy, love, heroics, friendships and the peeling away at the grand story of a living legend. There is obviously much more going on then just this re-telling of Kvothe's life story. There is something MUCH larger looming on the horizon, but that is only hinted at in this novel.

I am eagerly awaiting the rest of this series to see where the tale will take us and the revelations of Kvothe's life.

The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day One), by Patrick Rothfuss
Published by: DAW Hardcover (March 26, 2007)
ISBN: 0756405890
Genre: Fantasy


  1. The book is fantastic. I can't put it down, and it's been a couple of years since I've been able to say that about a fantasy book this long. Thanks for an excellent suggestion, Brian!

  2. Daniel,

    I'm glad you liked it! It really rocked my world when I read it. We're going to be interviewing Patrick in a bit so look for that show coming soon. I think he'll be an interesting guy to interview!

  3. Kevin Smith says

    I picked a copy of this book on a whim two weeks ago, having heard nothing about it. I haven't been able to put it down since. Mr. Rothfuss style is clean and beautiful and the story told is refreshingly down to earth and grounded in real human emotion. I love this book, and I can't wait for the next ones.

  4. Kevin - Awesome! I'm CHOMPING at the bit to get the next one. I will most certainly be reviewing it when it comes out. Of course I'll probably have to re-read the first.. OH DARN! 😉

  5. Dane Sorensen says

    I was in chapters when NOTW caught my eye, I read the synopsis and fell in love, but alas I was out of funds (stupid rent) and therefore left the book store empty handed. I'm not gonna lie, I thought about this book for the next week the way you think of a beautiful girl you just met and want to see again. I picked it up not too long ago and can't put it down. I'm only half way through but dear lord I love this book, can't wait for the next 2 to come out. If you haven't picked this book up yet, do it, you won't be disappointed.

  6. Clifford Carlson says

    Very good book. I was just looking for a good read in the book store, I happened to pick this one up and fell in love with it. It is as good as Brian has said it is and possibly even better.

    His books were supposed to be published year by year because they are already written, but sadly, he has been short on time and needs to do more editing so it won't be coming out for another year! ='(

    I am pre-ordering it as soon as I can though, I can't wait!

  7. I happen to pass by a book shop, I happen to see this book on the new section, I don't know why, but I just bought it and took it home. I seem to see few of the others "just happen to" buy it as well. I thought that was weird...

    NOTW, Kvothe, the character has "human nature" to it. His has a kind heart, he is self aware, the charm, also a little selfish, but mostly selfless, the tragic past, true love, and the artistic talents. Oh I love those few moments of his artistic displays!!! Guess I’ll be re-reading it till the next one comes out.
    Does anyone know when? 🙂

  8. Last I heard, the sequel has been moved back to a 2009 release.

  9. Nick Simmons says

    I read a review of this book and thought there was no way that it could possibly live up to such comments as "this book will be thought of in the same way as Tolkien and George R. R. Martin." And yet having read the book now I can't think of any other authors that make a better comparison. I believe I've recommended this book to about 30 people and it is quite possibly my favorite book. I just love Rothfuss' writing style. Outstanding.

  10. To all of you also waiting for Wise Man's Fear ... A sales date I've found suggests sale of WMF starts on March 17, 2011. Of course keeping in mind that its been pushed back (too often) already. (date found on

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