I’ve had a lot of fantasy fans recommend this book to me, and I knew it was one of those things I would eventually read and form my own opinion on. Other than the title and the series name, though, I really didn’t know what to expect. Yeah, that’s me in a nutshell, I almost never read book jacket summaries.
THE NAME OF THE WIND
Told in Kvothe’s own voice, this is the tale of the magically gifted young man who grows to be the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen. The intimate narrative of his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-ridden city, his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, and his life as a fugitive after the murder of a king form a gripping coming-of-age story unrivaled in recent literature.
Honestly, I was a little confused when I saw that the library had The Name of the Wind under YA. It was certainly not what I expected coming from a YA story, even with the story largely focusing on Kvothe in his teens. Yes, as a teen boy, he has teen issues on top of his other problems, but there wasn’t much of the usual YA tropes found in this story (so in this case, I’m just going to ignore the library’s designation and count this as a high fantasy).
Like much of the high fantasy I’ve read, I wasn’t very taken in by the first hundred or so pages. I might have whined to my friend about the slow-going-ness of The Name of the Wind, and how I wasn’t too thrilled that it was a chronicle told by a man with a bloated sense of self. Even when he probably earned most of the titles that people piled on him. I didn’t have a good impression on Kvothe and his prodigial tendencies, and it took a great tragedy for me to even empathize with him.
It also didn’t help that the story was littered with stories within stories. I’m pretty sure the minute a storyteller went into a long-ass tale about something or other, my eyes glazed over and I was already skim-reading just to get back to Kvothe. That said, then the whole Haliax thing got brought up again, and suddenly, all those short stories had a place in the chronicle.
After the general introductions of a couple hundred pages or so, the rest of The Name of the Wind takes place at the prestigious University, with Kvothe as one of the notorious and star students. This is where most of the interest went for me.
By this point, I can say I got hooked to the story, and I wanted to know how long Kvothe would last within the University. There were characters that struck me as awesome, characters that I wanted to slap in the face (unfortunately, I might be in the minority of readers who’s not altogether fond of flighty Denna). Kvothe’s camaraderie with his best friends was something I loved reading, and it made me somewhat happy that there were girls in the University who could pull their weight, especially when not many expect them to rise out of their stations.
I would say I was mostly entertained by the book, though it will probably be another while for me to pick up the next book in the series.
4 out of 5 cookies!