Review: The Name of the Wind

Series: The Kingkiller Chronicle: #1

I’ve heard rather good things about this book, so figured I had to read it.

On the good end, it’s an interesting fantasy world with something of its own take on worldbuilding, magic, and critters (near enough to various sources, but it still fresh to me). I particularly like how magic works. There are parts of it which are well understood by those who study such things and work more or less like technology. Then there are the truly fantastical bits, used by few and understood by fewer–but still with a hint of structure under it. I like it.

Another positive was how the story kept pulling you along. I wanted to know more about how the world worked and how Kvothe would get himself out of whatever trouble he had gotten into next. I wanted to know how a particular story actually happened, before it changed hands a thousand times or more.

The negative half of that though? Cliffhangers. I swear half the chapters in this book ended in the middle of a thought, only to either be resolved at the very beginning of the next chapter or put off until after an interlude. So far as I’m concerned, it’s a way to keep me reading, but an annoying one.

And then there’s Kvothe. Sigh. He’s too good at just about everything that he puts his mind to. Youngest to do this, best at that, perfect this, etc. Even if it gets him into trouble more often than not, it’s still annoying to try to read about.

After that, there wasn’t much depth to any of the other characters. I can only really tell apart two of the masters (Elodin and the one in charge of the Archives) and of his friends and acquaintances? ¯\(ツ)/¯ Dnn is supposed to be the best ever, but we never learn enough about her to care. Fela had hints of personality, but of course Kvothe doesn’t care about that. Heck, Ambrose has the most personality of most of them and that’s just to say he’s anti-Kvothe.

Last but not least, the plot.

There wasn’t one.

When things that could tangentially be described as plot finally started happening, I was surprised to find myself already 3/4 of the way through the book. And they never really went anywhere. I’m sure we’ll eventually get some answers in a sequel… But if even a thousand page story cannot stand by itself…

All that said, I enjoyed it. I’ll even read the sequel.

I’m hoping to get some answers… but I wouldn’t bet on it.