Every hero is driven by a need for justice. Patrick Rothfuss‘ The Name of the Wind is the story of such a hero.
Raised by his Edema Ruh travelling troupe family, a young boy by the name of Kvothe was taught the arts of acting, music, and a magic known as sympathy. Tragedy befalls the boy, as a mythical evil group known as the Chandrian slaughters his family for collecting information on Chandrian lore. After years of wandering as a thief, Kvothe enters the University in hopes of learning about the Chandrian and how they can be found and destroyed.
In the first book of the Kingkiller trilogy, Patrick Rothfuss successfully builds upon a traditional fantasy world (think LOTR) with compelling characters and a plot that left me eager to pick up his second book, The Wise Man’s Fear. Kvothe is a well defined main character, driven to survive on the city streets as a thief and a poor student at the University by his thirst for answers around his family’s mysterious murderers. Rothfuss is careful in detailing his past in order to capture the emotional and physical struggles that would one day mold the boy into a hero. The reader follows Kvothe on the journey, eager for a resolution and hoping for vengeance.
The magic system (sympathy) employed by Rothfuss is also unique, pulling from voodoo and an idea that belief creates truth, while also adhering to laws of physics. The name of things is another magic, for it is said that one who knows the true name of something becomes the master of it. While magics are taught at the University, the general populace is afraid of or unaware that such powers exist, creating a world that echoes humanity’s historic belief in the unknown and mystical. I’m glad that the use of magic wasnt too cheesy and overdone.
If you’re a fan of traditional fantasy books and looking for a tale that I consider a faithful representation of all that is good in the genre, pick up this 700 pager and listen to Kvothe recant his tale of becoming the Kingkiller.