The Name of the Wind
by Patrick Rothfuss
High school level readers
Reviewed by Mher Arutyunyan, grade 9
The fantasy novel The Name of the Wind, written by Patrick Rothfuss, is the first installment in the ongoing Kingkiller Chronicles series. It follows a lowly bartender named Kvothe, who recounts his exciting life story to a chronicler. Kvothe’s story is rife with danger, magic, and love. He was born into a travelling caravan and lived a happy life until one fateful night when his parents were slaughtered, leaving him as the only survivor. This sends Kvothe on a journey to the University, a school specializing in the study of various types of magic, where he hopes to learn the art of sympathy. Sympathy is a form of magic that deals with the manipulation of energy. It is at this point Kvothe begins his journey to kill the Chandrian, the group of seven evil beings who murdered his family.
The Name of the Wind may at first seem like a daunting read. It is quite dense with fascinating lore, and is quite long, with a page count of 722. Its sequel, The Wise Man’s Fear, is even longer, with more than 1,000 pages! However, The Name of the Wind is an absolute masterpiece and a must-read for fans of fantasy. The world is fascinating and the characters have many layers to them, especially Kvothe. He is a proud, skillful boy whose magical ability surpasses his fellow students’. I found that the most enjoyable and memorable parts of the book took place at the University. At first, the University felt like a copy of Hogwarts from the Harry Potter series. Thankfully, the University proved to be quite a unique place, filled with students from different walks of life, and intimidating and eccentric teachers.
The best way I can describe The Name of the Wind is Harry Potter combined with the "Song of Ice and Fire" novels by George R.R. Martin. The novel has more mature themes and situations than Harry Potter, and I would recommend it to high school students interested in fantasy. The system of magic in the series, sympathy, is very well developed and feels real. Rothfuss is excellent at explaining the fantasy world in which Kvothe lives, but he never over-explains things, like many fantasy writers. The concluding chapter of the Kingkiller Chronicles trilogy has not been released yet, meaning that readers will unfortunately have to wait a while to get a proper resolution.
The Wise Man’s Fear, the second in the series, didn’t quite live up to its predecessor. It felt a bit too long, and it got away from the University. It also focused too much on the worst character in the series (in my opinion), Denna. She is Kvothe’s love interest, but she doesn’t feel like a real person. She’s always distant and quite unlikeable, in fact. That said, The Name of the Wind is one of the best fantasy novels of the past decade, and it earns a 5/5 from me.
The Slow Regard of Silent Things. Check it out!