The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Name of the Wind had me liking Kvothe, then liking him a little more. Admiring him, then disliking him for the oddest of reasons. I felt everything for him. Humble he was not, but there was good reason for the same. He’s full of himself, and I could have accepted him in no other way. And add on the people around him, and I saw so many other facets to him: Big brother with Auri; good friend to a few; curious questioning student with the Masters. Then lover (unsure, confounded and insecure though he was) with Denna.
I loved most things in Name, but two things pull it shy of perfect, namely (a) Kvothe’s tendency toward being redundant and (b) a move so out of character that one of them loses a little of herself. The first is much easier to accept; given its length, I could understand the need to repeat a certain detail. It’s the second I’d trouble with: among all the people around him, it was Denna I had high hopes for.
At first everything about her pointed to her being his female version, making them seemingly perfect for each other. Something close to the end though shoved her from his would be equal (both being street smart, charming and sort of/kind of independent) to something otherwise. It was an uncharacteristic moment of her not thinking that turned her from his equal in most respects to someone he was to protect, to take care of. Potential equal no longer, now she’s reduced to manic pixie dream girl epic-fantasy style. Another mpdg, she could be wild, out there, and yes, sometimes heartless… and I’d have respected that. But that one unthinking moment was simply so uncharacteristic of her; everything she’d done prior painted a picture of a smart, independent, cautious and thinking one. And I simply couldn’t (still cannot) see the necessity of making her act so out of character.
These two things aside, I loved most everything in this lengthy story that detailed what Kveothe was, showing just a little of what he would be. What he was, at first: all innocent and loving, even precocious, with his parents, his troupe and later on with the man who’d set it all into motion, Ben. Only to later he’s scared and desperate, but wily on the streets. And in the university? He was so much more: Passionate, driven, and directed. Fearless and reckless. But above all brilliant, extraordinarily so. And while he could be a cocky bastard, at least he was cognizant of the role luck played in how things played out for him.
I don’t do audio books that often but this had me laughing, tearing up, and brooding in the dark. All in all, this was 28 hours well spent.
(Oh, and I may have a teensy crush on the narrator.)
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