There are few books I’ve read that are as beautifully written as the Kingkiller Chronicles. Patrick Rothfuss has a way of describing the most ordinary events that turns them into pearls, and in that sense I found the Name of the Wind a total joy to read. His world building is impressive; each element brought to life as if it were the most natural thing in the world. The characters for the most part are well-developed, and the humour that is sprinkled throughout is natural and, well, funny.
The price for capturing such beauty of prose, and depth of story, is book length. These books are LONG, and while that appeals to me as once I find a good story I enjoy being absorbed in it for as long as possible, if you’re someone who likes a book that moves through its story with pace then this series won’t be for you.
I nearly gave this a 5-star rating, but for me there are a couple of things that only just hold it back. Firstly, virtually the entire book is told from the POV of the protagonist relating his life story – i.e. it is a story within a story. While that is fine, and I think works, there are then other stories within his story within the story, and while they seem to be giving the reader relevant information, the format of having multiple layers of story I found a little distracting.
Also, while most of the characters I found well-developed, there are one or two (seemingly quite important) who for me were a little two-dimensional. Perhaps their reasons for acting as they do will become apparent in the third book of the series (they don’t seem to be any clearer in book 2), but for now some of their behaviour comes across to me as a little irrational.
For all that, these are minor criticisms of what I consider fabulous story-telling, and it took me only minutes after completing this book before purchasing the second one in the series. If you don’t mind lengthy books, and enjoy beautiful world building within the fantasy genre, then I would thoroughly recommend The Name of the Wind.