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Ashana Lian's Fantasy Lab

Fantasy and Fantasy Writing from every angle: fantasy and sci-fi novels, films, artwork, superhero cartoons, children's and YA books, manga, anime, video games and comics. Put the microscope on 'Geek Culture'.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Book: The Name Of The Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

As I mentioned in the Fantasy Fan Goals On Holiday post, I took four books away with me. Surprisingly, and disappointingly, I came back not having even finished one.

As my eldest sister suggested, maybe the fact that I've been reading so much lately means that 'holiday' now constitutes of the opposite. When I was abroad, all I wanted to do was sit around and take in rural and rustic Cyprus; the jagged rise and fall of the mountain peaks, the sparkling sandy beaches, the little winding villages., the monastery and the castle at the top of the mountain, etcetera, etcetera.

I got up at dawn and simply had to take a picture. But ignore 03:36 - that's London time on my camera. It was actually 05:36.

So even though I'd begun this book on the plane and read it in bits and pieces, I started again when I came back. My edition is a whopping great paperback with tiny writing and I only started a few days before Saturday - I didn't expect to finish it by then. As it happens, I was so hooked by Friday evening that I was up past midnight and I did get it finished, which I was pretty chuffed about. But as I then has a lot to say, I was too exhausted to type it up on Saturday after work. I'd been lifting books all day. Who'd have thought working in a bookshop could get you so sweaty?

Image: mine - The Name Of The Wind versus The Sentinel Mage font-wise

Image: mine - The Name Of The Wind versus A Hundred Thousand Kingdoms size-wise

But even Sunday and yesterday, all I had to do what look at my copy - littered with index markers to remember what I wanted to say (see image below) - and that was enough to put me off writing this post. To my own amazement, a week had flown by already from when the original review was due.

I am making myself do it now.


The Name Of The Wind analysis

Image: Ashana Lian
Author: Patrick Rothfuss
Publisher: Gollancz (Orion)
Published: March 2007
Fantasy Sub-Genre: Epic

'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'

Amazon | Goodreads

A quick reminder that my analyses are not spoiler free. Otherwise it would be pretty hard to analyse, right?

The book itself isn't split into parts - which I found interesting - so this review will be pretty much one big chunk.

The book begins with a silence of three parts, which I found very interesting although I wasn't entirely sure if I 'got' it. The map at the start made no sense to me before or after the story, so it wasn't useful for me at all.

I loved the way this book is written. The style isn't jarring at all but smooth and full of little humourous quirks, without a big literary arrow going, LOOK HERE! THIS - IS - MEANT - TO - BE - A - JOKEEE. CUE LAUGHTER! Old Cob was such a stereotype, the elderly know-it-all storyteller, but I adored him. For some reason I noticed that Rothfuss used the word efficiency twice in two short paragraphs on page 4 - 'bustling efficiency', then 'predatory efficiency' It's not a big deal, but the fact that i noticed it all all made me think 'Why did he do that?'

We understand very quickly how the book gets its name, and the fable that tells of 'the Name of the Wind' was really fascinating to me. The pace is pretty swift, most likely because no time is wasted on lengthy descriptions. We're given enough to make a foundation in our heads and then, thankfully, the rest is left to our imagination and Rothfuss gets on with the plot. I really like that.

The only downfall of this is - too many fantasy concepts are introduced too quickly. Plus, it began to annoy me the way attention kept being drawn to what the characters DIDN'T do or things that didn't happen. I don't really care about that, although I suppose it made me think about all the possibilities and paths the character could have taken. Still - it irritates me a lot when the author gives us what should've been the subtext.

The dialogue is easy and natural, not filled to the brim with exposition and reader information - God, it drives me crazy when books do that - so I was engrossed pretty quickly. The chest mentioned on p.13 intrigued me. I loved Bast from the word go, and this quote on page 11; 'dark and charming, with a quick smile and cunning eyes.' He reminded me a little of my Prince of Pearls character from OOTD/ Karalan's Legacy. And this one; 'He moved with a strange delicacy and grace, as if he were close to dancing.' HOW AMAZING IS THAT?!

The Chronicler in Chapter 2 - that whole bit was amazing. I loved it. The song that the children sang was a bit obvious but I was still interested. The first scene with Kote and Chronicler was frustrating though. Not to be insulting but - it reminds me of looking back at stories I wrote at 13. To make the story more dramatic, I made a huge drama out of small things and looking back on it now, it's extremely embarrassing. It takes so long before the reader realises that Chronicler is after Kote's story, that by the time I get there I'm wondering why I'm supposed to care. The story's just started remember - I don't know Kote. I've no reason to want to know about the character, save me wanting a return on investment for having bought this book. Dude! Cut the yap and get to the juice.

Another thing I dislike is POV switched between characters in the same chapter. On page 30, one paragraph is Bast's thought, the next is Kote's. I CAN'T STAND that!! Guy Gabriel Kay did that in Tigana. It's not as though the start of each chapter states the POV character name (I'm pretty sure O_O) still, it's distracting.

May I just say: BAST O_O

The story took a huge turn for the better when Kote began telling his story in first-person. I found it bizarre that Abenthy's donkeys were called 'Alpha' and 'Beta'; clearly Greek, and yet this is a fantasy novel wherein I assume 'Greece' does not exist...? That was really weird.
Page 69; 'I could feel my mind starting to awaken.'

Really? Does anybody "feel" their mind starting to weaken? Oh sorry, awaken? I mean, either you're awake or you're not.

Still, by this point I was completely invested in this story. The entrance of Lord Halifax was as awful as it was exhilarating. The loss of his family was brilliant put forward, and I was so moved by young Kvothe. I really cared about his character now. there's an excellent quote about pain on page 123:
'First is the door of sleep. [...] a retreat from the world and all it's pain.
Second is the door of forgetting. Some wounds are too deep to heal, or too deep to heal quickly.
Third is the door of madness. [...] to escape that pain the mind must leave reality behind.
Last is the door of death. [...] Nothing can hurt us after we are dead, or so we have been told.'
The part that followed was one of my FAVOURITE parts of this novel. Kvothe learns to survive in the forest and played his lute constantly until his string snap. He is clever and resourceful in using what Abenthy taught him to survive.

Ashana Lian .

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