As the first book in the Kingkiller Chronicle, “The Name of the Wind” does a good job of setting the stage and developing the characters that will then (I’m assuming) play a bigger role in the two following books.
The interesting thing about this book – well, the Chronicle in general – is that it is split between two different time frames. In the ‘present’ time, the main character is an inn-keeper hiding on the edge of civilization. He is fairly happy in this new role…except that deep within himself there is a longing for the glory days of old. So he begins to tell the story of this life to a scribe who wanders into the inn on accident….
This is where the second time frame comes in – the time frame of the past. It is in this time frame that takes up the lion share of the book as it is full of daring adventures, romance and history (the history is important as it helps one to understand the new world created by Rothfuss for his characters).
Being a fantasy novel, there is magic and the like – only in this series, the magic is more along the lines of Clarke’s third law:
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
In Rothfuss’ universe, this means that the ‘magic’ used by the characters are based upon ‘scientific’ laws and principles. For example if a character wanted to lift an object using ‘sympathy’ (one of the types of ‘magic’), the user would have to use enough force to lift that object regardless if they were actually touching it or not. In addition, matter can not be created nor destroyed – thereby removing some of the more unbelievable uses of magic (as opposed to ‘believable’ magic) promoted by other fantasy books.
All in all, “The Name of the Wind” by Patrick Rothfuss was a good book – great characters, great plot, perhaps a tad long…but overall alright.
Nope, the saddest part about the book is that fact that book two was just released this year – meaning that I will have to wait three to four years for the last book of the trilogy. 🙁