This book was recommended to me by my cousin, and I am definitely feeling it and want to continue on with the series when I get a chance. It is an interesting way to begin a story, having a character recount their own story before something else is obviously going to occur in the present of the tale. Filled with new types of magic that I have not really experienced in other books, as well as a dark mystery that the protagonist wants to solve regarding his childhood, the story being told is quite engaging and exciting, and I am so curious as to how it is going to tie into the present characters and what is occurring at the time of the story telling.
The first book in what is called “The Kingkiller Chronicle,” The Name of the Wind begins the tale of Kvothe, a man who is working as an innkeeper in a small town that has recently experienced some strange happenings with large, spider-like creatures. Despite seeming to be a regular member of the town, Kvothe seems to know a lot more about the creatures than anyone else, and we soon come to learn that there is more to his story than meets the eye. This story of Kvothe’s life begins to unravel itself as he describes it to a scribe who has recently come to town, following rumors of Kvothe’s identity and presence, and almost the entire novel plays out as Kvothe recounts his early years to the chronicler. This features Kvothe’s childhood as a member of a travelling troupe, followed by some traumatic events and his eventual place at a university to learn different types of magic. The magic has some interesting rules and logic to it, which is described quite well in the book, and interested me greatly, as did the different legends that tie into Kvothe’s story and background.
The one thing that I noticed, however, is that Kvothe as a young man is a bit of a special snowflake in that he is extra smart and skilled, picks things up easier than everyone else, has special skills that come in handy at just the right moments, etc etc. Would we call him a Mary Sue? Perhaps, but besides being a little annoying and making me roll my eyes a couple of times, this doesn’t detract from the novel too much in the grand scheme of things.
By the end of the novel we know more about Kvothe’s life, but the story is not done yet, and there is the definite sense that more is going on than we are aware of (what with the giant spider thingies at the beginning and all). I also have the feeling that Kvothe’s apprentice, Bast, is going to come into play a lot more in future novels, and I can’t wait to see where this whole thing goes. I would definitely recommend it (so far!) to anyone who likes fantasy novels, particularly those set in older, middle-age-ish eras (though I am not 100% sure what time period exactly this is supposed to be taking place, not that it really matters).