2007 Best Fantasy : "The Name of the Wind"
Once in a rare while a book comes along that is so good one almost dare not review it, knowing it cannot be done justice by a mere few lines of praise. Patrick Rothfuss' debut, The Name of the Wind is just such a book: a delight for a jaded fantasy reader, who thinks perhaps the best have all come and gone, but to his/her surprise finds a new star in the fantasy constellation.
Without giving away the plot, this book is the first "chapter" in the story of Kvothe, a legendary hero presumed dead by many. From his childhood with his parents' travelling theatre troupe to his time learning magic at the University (a place with ten thousand times ten thousand books), with street children, thieves, whores, storytellers and musicians, and the threat of the Chandrian, a mythical (or are they?) people set on destruction, the book has everything any fantasy lover could desire. The system of magic is inventive and appealing, the plot moves believably, and the characters are complex and engaging. The voice of the narrator, Kvothe, is entrancing throughout and the reader's empathy and identification take place quickly.
This is one of those books one would read cover to cover in one sitting, if one could stay awake long enough. This is a book one wants to curl up with, maybe with a hearty bowl of stew... I actually read it a second time right after finishing it—something I haven't done with a single book in over 10 years—THAT's how good it was.
If you love Robin Hobb, Raymond E. Feist, or Terry Brooks, then chances are this book is just waiting for you to read it. Published in March 2007, the next book in the trilogy is not out for another year, so we can commiserate together once you've read it and begun anxiously awaiting the next chapter.
Here's what Fantasy Biggies had to say:
"Because the characters are real and the magic is true to its own world, I closed this book feeling as if I'd been on a journey with an entertaining new friend, rather than sitting alone looking at words on a page.
"This one is well worth some of your precious reading time. I'll wager that the books to follow it will also be."
"THE NAME OF THE WIND marks the debut of a writer we would all do well to watch. Patrick Rothfuss has real talent, and his tale of Kvothe is deep and intricate and wondrous."
"THE NAME OF THE WIND has everything fantasy readers like, magic and mysteries and ancient evil, but it's also humorous and terrifying and completely believable. As with all the very best books in our field, it's not the fantasy trappings (wonderful as they are) that make this novel so good, but what the author has to say about true, common things, about ambition and failure, art, love, and loss."
Technorati Tags: patrick rothfuss