The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, Day One)
Patrick Rothfuss, 2010
Premise: Kvothe of the Edema Ruh has been called many things: student, arcanist, musician, street trash, 'Kvothe the Bloodless', 'Kvothe Kingkiller'... Soon after a mysterious attack by what the villagers agree is a spider demon, a man known as the Chronicler comes to the town of Newarre. He has come to speak to the innkeeper, a man who is more than he appears- he has come to get Kvothe's story.
The prose was full of gorgeous poetry - yet it read effortlessly. From the prologue:
The third silence was not an easy thing to notice. If you listened for an hour, you might begin to feel it in the wooden floor underfoot and in the rough, splintering barrels behind the bar. It was in the weight of the black stone hearth that held the heat of a long dead fire. It was in the slow back and forth of a white linen cloth rubbing along the grain of the bar. And it was in the hands of the man who stood there, polishing a stretch of mahogany that already gleamed in the lamplight.
This is a very dark-edged fantasy, although it earns its darkness with heart and tempers it with humor.
Most of the book is a flashback narrated in the first-person, and I loved seeing those moments where the speaker chooses to emphasize or elide certain details of his story. The themes - the place in our lives for the stories we tell about ourselves, and the difference between legend, truth and memory - were fully explored without ever being overbearing. I especially enjoyed the layers of story-within-story as the book progressed.
I feel like I am not praising this book enough, but I'm not sure what else to say. It is expertly crafted and tremendously compelling. Just a wonderful story, well told.
The Name of the Wind is clearly only part one: there are exciting action scenes near the final pages, but I wouldn't say that they constitute a climax. I suspect for any closure we'll have to wait for Book Three. This is so well done, though, that I know I'm going to enjoy the entire ride.
5 Stars - An Amazing Book
Check out The Name of the Wind on Amazon.com