Anyone else put off reading a certain book because it’s a series, and you’re not ready to get wrapped up? That’s where I was before starting The Name of the Wind. I’ve been trying to chip away at my pile of books to be read, and thus anything that’s a series (and would require either buying or borrowing more books) has been moved toward the bottom.
But, since I was loaned a copy of Patrick Rothfuss’ first book, I went ahead and read it. Since the third book is still in process, I can’t finish the series right away anyway.
The story opens at the Waystone inn, owned by a quiet, rather mysterious man. When an unexpected visitor arrives, Kvothe starts to tell his story. He grew up with a family of traveling performers, but when tragedy struck, he found himself alone living on the streets in the city. His lifelong dream was to study at the University, and when the opportunity presents itself, Kvothe is willing to do anything he needs to to get accepted.
But getting in is the easy part– staying is what poses to be the challenge for Kvothe. Younger than most of his classmates, Kvothe starts out with marks against him, and his youthful follies keep getting him into more and more trouble. But Kvothe’s bigger goal, bigger even than University, is finding the truth behind the deaths of his family, and destroying the ones responsible.
When I started this book, I hadn’t quite realized it was going to largely be a school story. I hadn’t read much about it, I just knew it was a popular fantasy series. But I ended up enjoying it quite a bit, except for when Kvothe was making dumb choices. But those very choices are part of what makes him as a character feel real. They remind you that he is, in fact, just a kid of 15, not the experienced, middle-aged man we first meet at the inn.
The story is part adventure, part quest, part love story, and Rothfuss moves the story along well, showing what needs to be shown of the school setting and building the storyline with other scenes and characters. So even though you don’t circle back around to what first sends Kvothe on his quest of sorts until the end of the story, it’s 600 pages don’t drag on.
I’m looking forward to reading the sequel, but, since the third book doesn’t have a publication date yet, I think I’ll focus on my TBR pile first, and return to this world a little later.