Publisher: DAW Books
Publication Date: January 1st 2007
MY NAME IS KVOTHE
I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.
You may have heard of me.
So begins a tale unequaled in fantasy literature--the story of a hero told in his own voice. It is a tale of sorrow, a tale of survival, a tale of one man's search for meaning in his universe, and how that search, and the indomitable will that drove it, gave birth to a legend.
How does one review a book that has been reviewed almost 20,000 times? Is there anything I can say to convince people to read this book that hasn't already been said?
I'll try anyways (I might ramble so I apologize in advance)...
So to start: background on me. I am not into epic fantasy. I've read Game of Thrones and honestly it was good but it's not a series I can connect with or love and I usually find them tedious. So why did I like The Name of the Wind so much? Because it's not epic fantasy.
I mean it's labelled as epic fantasy, but it's really not. It's realistic fantasy. The world that this takes place in could 100% be the world we live in right now (well, middle ages maybe). There's no weird tyrant ruler or war between good and evil, this is really just the story of one boy's life. The writing is also really simple. None of that complicated fancy shmancy writing you get in Tolkein, but plain simple straightforward to read writing.
"But Mel, wouldn't that be slow and boring?" The answer is no. Despite the fact that there is not a ton of action in this book, there was never a slow or boring moment. Every single word brings something new to the plot whether it's world building, character building or plot building. I am sure there are so many very specific moments that I might find insignificant now but shaped the story entirely.
The thing is, this story is told from the present, and is talking about the past. So there are things you know about the character in the present that makes you understand a bit more about his past. But it's nothing "spoilery" since you are learning about 12 or so years of this guys life.
So, to conclude a point I got very off topic from, this is not epic fantasy. This book makes fun of epic fantasy. The whole "hero saves the girl" trope and "hero battles the dragon" trope and all those epic fantasy tropes that you know so well are completely satired (new words) in this book. The whole point of this book is for the main character to disprove all the rumours about him.
Talking about the main character, Kvothe is the best. I absolutely adore him. He grows so much as a person that I just am completely smitten with him. He's such a gentle innocent beautiful person who would never cause anyone harm, who just wants to defend the things he think is right and stay out of trouble (yet trouble always finds him). He wants to believe the best in everybody even when there is really nothing there for him to believe in. I care for him and all I really want in the world is for him to be okay, for him to be happy and have the "happily ever after" trope (except he probably won't right since this series satires those tropes).
There are other important characters, but Denna is really the only character that is important enough for me to mention here, and I am only mentioning her because I don't like her. I don't trust her, I don't trust Kvothe's heart with her. I don't think she's a great person and I don't understand her appeal (must be the whole you have to see her to understand thing). I'm excited to read a bit more about her but I really don't trust her.
Some side facts that I think might be super interesting to know about the series if you STILL don't want to read it (might convince you): This story is not 3 books, it's 1 giant book split into parts. So what I mean by that is the author wrote beginning to end a story about a young boy from childhood to adulthood and then when he was done split it into sections so it could be printed. This is not the type of story where the 2nd or 3rd book are going to be entirely different or crazy or anything.
Despite the fact that the third book has been highly awaited for 4 years with no visible end in site (no cover???) I'm hearing rumors that it's looking like 2016 (I think he's friends with GRRM so it's probably why it's taking so long).
If you're still like "I don't know Mel, I don't know if this is for me" then take it from me: I didn't think this was for me at all and I am so happy I read it. I wish there was more epic fantasy that was like this because I would probably start reading it all the time. But really, if you don't believe me, just read the other 20,000 5 star reviews. (Also, lets be real here how many books have almost 300,000 ratings and still average a 4.55 rating? The simple answer is: none.)