Review time! Its been so damn long but I seem to have developed a case of the scaredy-cat, but I’m over it and here is a review for book from my new favourite series. Book one is The Name of the Wind and the series name itself? The Kingkiller Chronicles (how awesome is that name?)
So I was recommended this book by a friend, and I have to say, I was a teensy bit sceptical. I mean, the blurb on the back of the actual book didn’t do much for me. So what I am going to do today is try to convince you to read it and explain why I like it so much! Blurb at the back of the book:
‘I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.
My name is Kvothe.
You may have heard of me’
So just to note, I am not saying it doesn’t sound intriguing but when I read it for the first time I didn’t know why burning down Trebon was significant, what the significance of spending a night with a ‘Felurian’ was and what the significance of the ‘University’ was. Basically I didn’t understand anything. I just wasn’t taken with the blurb on the back for some reason. But then I googled the book and checked it out on Rothfuss’ website and my my, how it piqued my interest.
My name is Kvothe, pronounced nearly the same as “quothe.” Names are important as they tell you a great deal about a person. I’ve had more names than anyone has a right to. The Adem call me Maedre. Which, depending on how it’s spoken, can mean The Flame, The Thunder, or The Broken Tree.
“The Flame” is obvious if you’ve ever seen me. I have red hair, bright. If I had been born a couple of hundred years ago I would probably have been burned as a demon. I keep it short but it’s unruly. When left to its own devices, it sticks up and makes me look as if I have been set afire.
“The Thunder” I attribute to a strong baritone and a great deal of stage training at an early age.
I’ve never thought of “The Broken Tree” as very significant. Although in retrospect, I suppose it could be considered at least partially prophetic.
My first mentor called me E’lir because I was clever and I knew it. My first real lover called me Dulator because she liked the sound of it. I have been called Shadicar, Lightfinger, and Six-String. I have been called Kvothe the Bloodless, Kvothe the Arcane, and Kvothe Kingkiller. I have earned those names. Bought and paid for them.
But I was brought up as Kvothe. My father once told me it meant “to know.”
I have, of course, been called many other things. Most of them uncouth, although very few were unearned.
I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.
You may have heard of me.
So begins the tale of Kvothe—from his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, to years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-riddled city, to his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a difficult and dangerous school of magic. In these pages you will come to know Kvothe as a notorious magician, an accomplished thief, a masterful musician, and an infamous assassin. But The Name of the Wind is so much more—for the story it tells reveals the truth behind Kvothe’s legend.
How much more interesting does that sound?? It took me a bit to get into but when I got into it I was into it. It was pretty addictive.
This story is essentially a biography of the legendary Kvothe, Son of Arilden, of the Edema Ruh, musician and powerful Arcanist. When the book starts however, we meet Kote the recluse, the powerless arcanist and unassuming innkeeper .
I have never read a fantasy book (or any fictional book for that matter) in this autobiographical style and what I love about it is the way the story flows so smoothly, from age to age, situation to situation with interludes that don’t puncture the flow of the story but smooth the way forward with extra tidbits that give you the feeling the story of Kvothe hasn’t finished quite yet, no matter how much Kote tries to tell us otherwise.
Kvothes story starts at the beginning of his life, with the Edema Ruh his family, in blood and wandering soul. As you read, you can feel the love he has for his people and his parents, who cunningly teach him how to act, to sing, to play, to write, to tell stories and how to love and be loved. Story telling plays a particularly large part in young Kvothe, growing up in a troupe such as his literary, musical and acting talents are particularly important, and as the book goes on, definitely not a talent Kote the Innkeeper forgot.
His story takes a turn for the worst and a nightmarish fairytale suddenly comes to life, but in a world where magic exists, why couldn’t fairytales be true too? Once this happens Kvothe is thrown onto a path much darker than expected, we live with him through his depression, grieving, vagrancy, stealing, fighting and starvation all of which play a large part in the making of a slightly hardened Kvothe. We live through his sudden light at the end of the tunnel, The University. Through all of this Kote describes the weird and wonderful people he met as Kvothe, the troupers, the thieves, the children and the travellers, we are regaled with tales of mischief committed and mischief that has been committed upon him. Throughout the story the anticipation of what will happen and when is always at the forefront of your mind through the interludes in which Kote aka Kvothe lets slip little hints at future mischief. The name of the series itself, The Kingkiller Chronicles doesn’t really hint so much as make you incredibly aware that that mischief has the potential to turn into full on regicide. But as with all stories and excellent story tellers, we get to it when its time, and not a moment before.
Rothfuss’ writing is lyrical, mystical and so very anticipatory. Much like one of my absolute favourite authors (ahem Sanderson) he keeps you on the edge of your barstool and wondering when the shoe will drop, when will Kvothes mad scheming, high temper and quick mouth really and truly kill Kvothe and leave only Kote the Innkeeper in its wake?
5 out of 5 for a read that was (imo) storytelling at its finest and an autobiographical style that I haven’t come across before but enjoyed immensely!