There is something about fall every year that puts me in the mood for a great big fantasy novel. I’m not a devout fantasy reader, so I usually just ask around until something sounds interesting. The latest such recommendation to me was The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. This book already has a huge following, but for someone who doesn’t read a lot in this genre--I am so happy I picked it up.
The book opens with a chance meeting between a man named Kvothe and a scribe called the Chronicler. Because Kvothe is somewhat of a legend, the scribe jumps at the chance to record his life’s story which they set up to be told over the course of three days. Each day of the story will comprise one of the books in the Kingkiller Chronicles. The Name of the Wind is the first in the trilogy.
His story begins with childhood and the events set in motion after his family is brutally murdered. Although he is very young, Kvothe learns to survive on his own for years. Eventually he gets accepted at The University where he hopes, among other things, to learn more about the Chandrian who are responsible for killing his parents. His time at The University, however, proves to be much more than an avenue for researching the Chandrian. He makes friends and enemies, learns magic, falls in love, makes a living--basically he starts growing up. But just when it seems that he might get some of the answers he seeks, the story ends.
Rothfuss’s writing style is excellent. This is definitely a fantasy novel, but it’s so grounded that it often doesn’t seem that way. There is adventure and magic, but the sophisticated plot and character development make it one of the best fantasy novels I’ve ever read. You will definitely want to pick up the second book in the series, The Wise Man’s Fear.