- Page Count: 662
- Release Date: March 27, 2007
- My Rating: 2.5 stars
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.
A high-action story written with a poet’s hand, The Name of the Wind is a masterpiece that will transport readers into the body and mind of a wizard.
Holy special snowflake, Gary Stu.
You know the type of socially awkward insecure guy who lurks in the corner of university classes trying to correct everyone and whose only purpose seems to be to make sure the world at large realizes just how much better he is at everything? And despite never seeing any actual evidence that he’s God’s gift to humanity, you genuinely DO NOT CARE either way and just want him to shut up? Welcome to 600+ pages narrated by that guy.
I wanted to love this book SO much because of the hype that I dragged myself through the entire thing while desperately trying to ignore how much I loathed the main character.
Kvothe is awesome at basically everything he does without even trying and everyone he meets either worships him, or hates him and is out to get him. This was fun at first, but after a while it’s like ok we get that he can master everything in a few days instead of years. Where is the story. Kvothe’s parents are killed, so he becomes a street kid and then gets into university at a shockingly young age, where he continues to view himself as some struggling outsider. He becomes a legend because he talks the university into not only lowering his tuition, but paying him to attend. And every time he does something dumb, they decide to move him up a level instead of expelling him. The secondary characters were mostly good for emphasizing just how rare and amazing Kvothe is. He is by far the most cliche fantasy MC I have ever seen.
I love wisecracking clever guys who are good at everything and make you want to root for them (Artemis Fowl comes to mind as one of the more basic ones). Kvothe was not fun, witty, or even for anything in particular. The story kind of meandered around with the only connecting theme being that Kvothe is impervious to the world’s attempts to bring him down. Someone breaks a string on his lute? He’s suddenly the greatest lute player ever MINUS 1 STRING *gasp.* “Dammit boy, I hope you’re as good as you seem to think you are” just about sums this book up.
The author kept having the narrator refer to the typical fantasy story in order to point out how he wasn’t being cliche. Like he’d straight out say that Kvothe didn’t follow the format of the “young boy, the hero. His parents are killed. He sets out for vengeance” and meets an old guy who tests and trains him… but no, that basically IS his story. Except it’s nowhere near as adventurous as other fantasy novels. Every single cliche thing that some middle aged guy could write into his wish-fulfillment protagonist is in here, but nothing particularly exciting ever really happens. (And I honestly don’t mind Gary Stus too much as long as they DO something or have a complex story arc).
I LOVED the beginning with Kvothe working at a bar in the middle of nowhere, but the story quickly slowed down when he began telling his life story to the Chronicler. It’s well-written so it was actually more peaceful than dull for a bit. I did like the part at the beginning with Kvothe learning about sympathy and names! It’s fun to see influences of other religions and cultures woven into fantasy novels. I did enjoy chunks of this story because it flowed well and was a world I’d typically be into! So maybe 2.5 stars?
However, Kvothe absolutely did not need a full book to only BEGIN the “foundation of a story to build upon.” Like hardly anything happened here and I am just so incredibly annoyed. I kept trying to convince myself I liked it, but… no. It was insufferable and void of any emotion, actually. There really wasn’t much conflict or growth or any true story. It was like a lecture on the greatness of Kvothe without showing anything too meaningful or interesting. There is very little wizardness to this story.
I was told to read this because of my Tolkien obsession, but I really fail to see how this even remotely falls in the same genre. This book isn’t necessarily bad, but it honestly might be the most overhyped one I’ve ever read.