I wonder sometimes if I’m too quick to call an author a master of his craft. Perhaps so. But if you’ve read A Name of the Wind, I’d be surprised if you wouldn’t join me in saying this of Patrick Rothfuss.
This book is epic fantasy at its best. The pace is exquisite, and the characters fascinating. Rothfuss creates a land with trees of elm and ash, but also denner. In other words, he mixes things we know with creations and creatures we want to read and learn about. Plus, he’s created a least a few languages, a la Tolkien. Call me impressed.
Kvothe, the main character, tells part of the book in first person as you’d tell a tale around a campfire. And we learn about his current situation in dribs and drabs in between. Having grown up in a troupe of players, with theater and music as his guide, Kvothe spins a good story. And what a life we hear about in his words. He’s a legend around the countries nearby. Or is it all just a story?
In some ways, the characters and structure of the story draw from standard plot lines. There’s a hero, an elusive girl, a couple of buddies, and plenty of baddies. The plot is more “will he or won’t he?” than a character on a quest for a specific goal. It seems like each small survival skill Kvothe learns is a set up for something bigger – presumably in the next book, which is a bit frustrating.
I tend to gobble up fantasy books, and this was no different. I often combine audiobooks with print for long books, as I did here. It helps me feel immersed and move more quickly through the book. In this case, it also helped with the the invented words and languages. I’d be listening and need to see how a word or name was spelled and vice versa with pronunciation.
I’d like to say I’m diving right into book two, but I’m working on my TBR list a bit first. Won’t be long though!