Kvothe Falls Short of Kicking Ass – The Name of the Wind
1 January 2018
Book Category: Fiction
The Name of the Wind is a pretty hefty book, but not nearly as long as the second book, The Wise Man’s Fear. After finishing The Name of the Wind it definitely made me want to move on to the second book. Luckily there’s not a cliffhanger-ending cause I hate those.
However, I believe the hype and following behind the first book is exaggerated. It’s not nearly as epic or engaging as the hype suggests. This is the story of Kvothe and how he falls short of kicking ass.
In this review, I’ll give you my take on ‘The Name of the Wind’ and why I think the book is overrated. But don’t get me wrong. I didn’t hate the book. Actually, it’s the opposite. I loved it. Just not as much as others.
Patrick Rothfuss, the author of this series, has a way of writing that makes you feel like you’re floating on a river. I’d say that’s the best way to describe it. He takes you on a ride and gives you the key bits of information for your brain to imagine the rest. The flow of this book wins over all other aspects including, the plot, and characters.
The Slowly Twisting Plot of Kvothe
This is the retelling of the story of Kvothe. Told by Kvothe himself (Kote) at around the age of 25 after becoming a badass legend. Most of the book is told within Kote’s retelling of his story while sitting in his own inn with his apprentice and a storyteller recording his story word for word.
Kvothe came from a family of travelers of high-quality musicians and actors. He was lovingly trained to be just as good as any of them. He also happened to be trained in simple forms of ‘magic’ known as binding where he can start fires just from the warmth of his body by channeling his energy and started to learn ‘naming’ where he can control anything by knowing its name (hints the title of the book ‘The Name of the Wind’).
But before he can even start the long process of learning about ‘naming’, his life changes, not for the better. He’s thrust into a world of poverty after the elusive and fabled Chandrian turns his world upside down and take everything away from him.
He sets himself slowly on a path to recovery living on the streets of Tarbean for three years barely scraping by. Blocking out any memories of what the Chandrian took from him, he’s just living day to day.
Eventually he decides to go off to the University in Imre to study the arts of ‘magic’, real magic and become the youngest student ever to enter the university (sort of like in Harry Potter but a bit more mature and realistic. He’s always been smart even at his young age of 10) and just with the clothes on his body and very little money, he went off to the University.
We find out early on that his real desire in going to the University is not just about learning about magic but also learning about how he can find the Chandrian and right his vengeance upon them.
But little does he know that he’ll come across so many problems it seems almost impossible at times for him to accomplish his desire. Among the biggest distractions is his longing for his one true love. His quest to discover who the Chandrian are get foiled and foiled again. Poor Kvothe.
My overall thoughts about Kvothe and the other characters
My biggest problem with The Name of the Wind was the fact that there were many events and characters introduced over the 722 pages which are unclear to me whether they’re actually important to remember for the overall story of Kvothe in the next two books. But if each character and event introduce matter to the development, then that is one huge story arc. On top of that, It didn’t FEEL like much happened in the way of Kvothe becoming a legend in his own young life.
I can even remember at least four instances where Kvothe got beaten nearly to death without even putting up a fight. But maybe that’s just part of his character development seeming weak in the first book, then, by the second book (which I will be reading soon and will find out if my opinion of the first book changes) becoming a badass.
There’s a small complaint I have, yet not so small in proportion. A large portion of the first part of the book was spent in Tarbean where Kvothe spent way too long moping around. Maybe, the time he spent there was part of his healing process, but as the reader, this section was very bland.
In fact, you really can’t tell what Kvothe is thinking at the time even though it is told from his perspective. Yet the use of little words about Kvothe’s thoughts used in this part also reveal a lot about his character. He loves his family with all his heart. I suppose there is some master plan behind Rothfuss’ writing he’ll reveal in the second and third book. I do appreciate the time spent on creating the character development for Kvothe alone. He truly is a pretty amazing character.
The worldbuilding was also very well done and explained. For example, the story of how the religious people who worship Tehlu came about was completely explained through a story told by a fellow in Tarbean who provided a place for homeless children to sleep and eat. I loved how Rothfuss decided to weave stories within stories in The Name of the Wind.
I’m interested to see how Kvothe becomes his future self, Kote, the one who is narrating the story. Kote is drastically different from his younger self, and he seems to be running away from his past. At this point, we have no idea why his old self is running.
He could single-handedly take on ten men, probably more, so why is he running? My hopes are the second book will answer some of my questions and flow right into the thick of Kvothe’s journey. My hopes are very high and I’m pretty sure it won’t disappoint me.
Final thoughts On Kvothe and The Name of the Wind
I may have to rejudge The Name of the Wind after reading The Wise Man’s Fear, but for now, I hope that the second book will have more action and butt-kicking as well as more use of magic, and on the softer side, I really hope Kvothe finds the right woman for his sake. He needs to loosen his strings!
The Wise Man’s Fear also needs to focus more on developing supporting characters. Kvothe is a strong character but he can’t carry the story all by himself no matter how strong he is.
You’ll find out about my thoughts soon. Now I’m curious about your thoughts of any of the ‘Kingkiller Chronicles’ series. Comment and share your thoughts with your friends. If you’d like to know my opinion of ‘The Wise Man’s Fear’ make sure to subscribe to every post.
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