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wuzzup3003

The Name of the Wind Thread

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It's not as good as TLoLL, and I think it's definitely inferior to A Shadow in Summer, but it's not bad for a first-time novelist. I can think of worse books.

1) I'd put it below Lies and above Shadow.

2) When I think of overhyped books, I tend to think of Robert Newcomb and the travesty that was The Fifth Sorceress. In comparison, most other books don't even rate.

3) The entire book is first-person and flashback, both things a lot of people don't like. I'd recommend reading the online sample chapters before spending money on it. They gave me, at least, a good idea of what to expect.

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3) The entire book is first-person and flashback, both things a lot of people don't like.

I love how there are unofficial official rules in fantasy. Stale genre? Really? You don't say...

Mike

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I love how there are unofficial official rules in fantasy. Stale genre? Really? You don't say...

Mike

I don't know if it's a rule. Third person limited POV seems to be what's most popular, though.

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First person narratives can be very tricky, for you are effectively putting all your eggs in the same basket. If you don't like the POV character, then it's well nigh impossible to enjoy the novel.

I alluded to that in my review in January and discussed this at length with Betsy Wollheim back then. I was aware that some readers would have issues with a narrative in the first person because it's unconventional. Heck, some people never were able to get into Hobb because of the Fitz narrative. And Fitz is a much better (so far at least) character than Kvothe, so it goes to prove how that style of narrative is not everyone's cup of tea.

As I said before, although I did enjoy Ruthfuss' The Name of the Wind, I believe it's a notch or two below Lynch's The Lies of Locke Lamora and Duncan's Vellum, and not quite as good as Novik's His Majesty's Dragon and Ruckley's Winterbirth. Though very different in style and tone, I put it on par with Abercrombie's The Blade Itself. For a debut, that's very good indeed.

But don't take my word for it. Read it and see for yourself! ;) A vast majority of readers seem to think it's quite good, so go ahead!

Patrick

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Halfway through. I do believe that it's capturing my interest more and more as it goes on.

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I finished the name of the wind last night. The minimal hype on Westeros is what sparked my interest, but it wasn't big enough to setup a big disappointment if it had happened to be a bad book. I got a Fabio-cover, but that just meant I was careful when reading it in public. In the end, I found myself reading the book cover to cover in less than two days. I liked it.

Now, English isn't my native language and the book surely gets points with me because it is really easy to read. There is a straightforward plot, nothing too intricated happens, and the worldbuilding is also kept pretty simple. The main draw is that, to me at least, it flows very well, and I could picture someone saying what's written, Pat Rothfuss really manages to write a great first person narrative.

My criticism are that there is no real grey characters, only good, bad, and mysterious ones. The towns are kept as basic outlines to set up the few places and characters important to the story, and the basic outlines generally consist in dividing the city in two part, one with characteristic A, the other with characteristic B. As could be the case with real memories, you don't really get the sense of an overarching plot giving shape to the the story either, it just follows the protagonist as he goes on adventures and demonstrates how good he is.

Kvothe is interesting, without a doubt, he is a super genius but fails quite a bit, he can get sappy without getting too annoying, his interactions with people around him are what you would expect from a college freshman. He is an interesting take on the farmboy hero tale, one that unapologeticly sets him up as the best guy around, without any limitation other than making him do human mistakes. I believe it is intentional if he reads like some extreme Gary Stu, with his unusual hair color, color-shifting eyes, genius intelligence, gift for music, magic and social skills, it sets him up for a big downfall later on, when he plays with the big boys, the demi-gods and super-villiains hinted at in this volume.

In the end, I cannot say the book doesn't have flaws, but it is enjoyable to read, as even the part that drag on have still a good pace. It is a light read, with an interesting magic system in a relatively conventional world. If I had to compare it to another serie, I'd say it feels like a Harry Potter, only less naive, in college, with a more interesting background and magic. But it's original enough to stand on its own. On my personal scale, I'd rate it as good as The Blade Itself and A Shadow in Summer, above His Majesty's Dragon. It can feel like a young adult novel, and still beats the hell out of stuff like Eddings and Goodkind, that's for sure.

Edit/add: By the way, is it just me or is it obvious that

SPOILER: the name of the wind
Denna is an Amyr?

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First person narratives can be very tricky, for you are effectively putting all your eggs in the same basket. If you don't like the POV character, then it's well nigh impossible to enjoy the novel.

I won't argue with that at all. And yet, there are countless examples in literature where first person narrative, both likable and unlikable, is pulled off with aplomb. The failure of first person is in the skill (or lack thereof) of the writer, not in an inherent flaw of the form itself.

I think there's an understandable inclination to read fantasy 'visually', as if you're reading a movie, more or less. That almost requires third person. It goes back to the whole worldbuilding argument, and I think interior monologues detract from the objectivity that is necessary-ish for worldbuilding.

Anyway...I for one am a postmodern writing fan, so I'm all for writers messing with (or destroying) form. Hal Duncan being one such recent example...

Mike

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Well it's not only first-person narrative (which I don't usually prefer with exceptions), but it's first-person narrative in a flashback. For the majority of 600+ pages. And Kvothe is certainly a child prodigy, uber in every way, and I'm just finding it difficult to enjoy the characterization when the hype precedes the actual actions.

Guardsman Bass,

No big deal, I'll have to reserve judgement until I'm finished, and it has been holding a mild interest since his parents died. Unsurprisingly, we also find out that our genius is also a regular boy scout, living off the wilderness for months after his parents died.

I'm finding Rothfuss likes to ascribe a consistent feeling of melancholy throughout the flashback. Kvothe notes a couple of times that his parents dying isn't even going to be worst of things to come, and how Kvothe will always like to remember his parents by the fire dancing and kissing. I remember Kay does this in Tigana (which I hated), with Devan noting how he would always like to remember his troupe in this happy way... I just find this sort of heavy-handed emotional melodrama annoying. Another reason why I can't stand Hobb.

Anyway, I'll shut up now and finish...

EDIT: By the way you said you wanted to know the reasons why I bought it when it was obvious that the entire book is a first-person flashback. I didn't buy it, checked it out from the local library here :)

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Well, I just finished the book, and I can say that I definitely loved the first half of the book. But as much as I loved the first half, that's about how much I despised the second half. Indeed, I barely managed to slog through the second half, owing mostly to the presence of Kvothe's love interest,

SPOILER: whole book spoilers

Denna. She had to be about the most annoying love interest I've seen in fantasy and Kvothe's obsession with her dominated the last half of the book almost to the exclusion of everything else. I mean, Kvothe knows absolutely nothing about her other than that she's beautiful, she can sing, and she hangs out with a bunch of different men, but she's all he can think about and he spends practically every waking moment searching for her or thinking about her (a slight exaggeration, but not by much). His obsession, combined with his feelings of inadequacy with regard to her, made for some extremely tedious reading, especially considering that there relationship goes almost nowhere during the course of the book.

It might have been OK if there were any depth to Denna's character, but there really wasn't. I mean, we know that she's beautiful, can sing, and she's unattainable. That's it. No background information. Nothing on her likes and dislikes or where she lives or what she does all day or why she'd want to be around Kvothe. Just lots of repetition of how pretty and unattainable she is and a couple of witty but shallow conversations between her and Kvothe. There was nothing there to make me like her or want Kvothe to be with her and by the 300th page or so with her on it in which we didn't learn anything interesting I was ready to throw the book across the room.

My distaste for his cardboard love interest eventually led me to tire of Kvothe and his endless obsession with her. I got really tired of his constant harping on how he couldn't reveal his feelings and how he couldn't ask her about herself but he still felt the need to follow her around and think about her all the time.

Talking about Denna leads me to a more general criticism of this book: the secondary characters, particularly those Kvothe meets after reaching the University, all lack depth and are completely forgettable. I mean, I've already forgotten the names of Kvothe's friends and I couldn't tell you a thing about them other than that they were his fellow University students.

They really didn't seem to serve any purpose in the novel and their un-importance showed in the way they were haphazardly brought in and out of the action. Ambrose, Kvothe's chief antagonist, was a dull caricature of the snooty, spoiled nobleman that is all too common in fantasy. Indeed, the only character besides Kvothe who got any real fleshing out was Ben, and he left the story very early on.

On the whole, this book wound up being a disappointment for me and I'd have to characterize it as overhyped. Too many interesting storylines seemed to be forgotten to focus much of the last half of the book on an annoying and tedious love story that didn't go anywhere. All that said, I'll probably still read the second volume, although I definitely won't buy it in hardcover. Unfortunately, it sounds as though the love interest will be a huge part of the next two novels, which will probably drive me away unless the characterization improves dramatically.

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One of my concerns pertaining to The Name of the Wind was that you see the entire story through the eyes of a single character. The supporting cast doesn't play a major role in the book, and I can understand how readers might lose interest if they tire of Kvothe.

It's interesting to see how positive or lukewarm some reviews can be... :)

Patrick

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Caine

I'm finding Rothfuss likes to ascribe a consistent feeling of melancholy throughout the flashback. Kvothe notes a couple of times that his parents dying isn't even going to be worst of things to come, and how Kvothe will always like to remember his parents by the fire dancing and kissing. I remember Kay does this in Tigana (which I hated), with Devan noting how he would always like to remember his troupe in this happy way... I just find this sort of heavy-handed emotional melodrama annoying. Another reason why I can't stand Hobb.

How different people can be. I love Kay's Tigana, in part because of that deeply tragic tone of the tale. I love Hobb's Fitz narratives because of that as well. And from what I've read sofar it's one of the reasons I'll really enjoy Rothfuss as well.

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Fair enough, Calibandar, I know many that really like Hobb/Kay, and Rothfuss certainly seems to be in a similar vain.

For my part, I prefer empowering, inspirational characterizations/stories rather than the melancholy, emotional ones. That doesn't mean I don't want bad stuff to happen though, the empowering characterizations are usually a result of some really dark, bad stuff. I'm finishing up my first Takeshi Kovacs novel (Altered Carbon) and it's just what I was looking for, similar to my personal favorite Caine novels.

We all have our different tastes.

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I must be a slightly odd duck, then. I'm actually quite fond of first-person narratives; some of my favorite books to read include them, and a number of them are not considered high quality novels (books like Mike Stackpole's I, Jedi, which I really liked, but from what I've heard most fans didn't).

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Finished last night.

My initial impression is that this was a fun book. Not too heavy, not too light. At times I found myself wondering if I was reading the reincarnation of Harry Potter crossed with Menolly, but it was never so bad that the character of Kvothe wasn't his own.

A couple "issues" with the story: The name "Kvothe" itself. No offense meant, Patrick, but I think you tried to be a bit too fancy with the name there. Pain in the ass to remember it's pronounced differently...but that might just be me.

As to the First Person narrative. I wasn't bothered overly much by it, in the sense of how the story was being laid out for the reader.

Now, that being said, what I felt was a potential issue was the lack of narrative pay-off after quite a large amount of pagers being read. Now, I know it's the first of a trilogy, but it still felt like too many threads were left hanging. The Kvothe we see battling the spider like things near the beginning isn't really who we have at the end of this novel. We'll get there, I know that, but I just didn't feel the connection. If that makes sense?

Now, something more has happened we know. A lot actually. But if I might make a bold prediction, the "war" that is mentioned a couple times in the present of the narrative, that isn't something that will turn out to involve countries or nations or even armies. It's the war between Kvothe and Ambrose.

A couple other minor observations (don't know if they're right or wrong): But I found it interesting that Denna (who cuold be annoying at times, I agree with those above) had such similar names to "denner" or that drug-like substance.

The story has no where to go but up.

8/10 for me. It's sweepingly grand in it's appearance and scope, yet right down to earth and easy to follow along with.

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It's the war between Kvothe and Ambrose.

SPOILER: Name of the Wind
I won't even bet you money that Ambrose, the son of the King of one of the countries mentioned in the book, is the guy Kvothe kills to get his "kingkiller" title. I'm pretty sure it's gonna happen.

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SPOILER: Name of the Wind
I won't even bet you money that Ambrose, the son of the King of one of the countries mentioned in the book, is the guy Kvothe kills to get his "kingkiller" title. I'm pretty sure it's gonna happen.

SPOILER: Name of the Wind
I'm betting it's more Ambrose kills his own father and pegs the blame on Kvothe.

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SPOILER: Name of the Wind
I'm betting it's more Ambrose kills his own father and pegs the blame on Kvothe.

Nah, I doubt it - that would be too close to 'heroifying' Kvothe, making him into some kind of pure saint character (or at least I hope Rothfuss doesn't go that route).

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SPOILER: Name of the Wind
I won't even bet you money that Ambrose, the son of the King of one of the countries mentioned in the book, is the guy Kvothe kills to get his "kingkiller" title. I'm pretty sure it's gonna happen.

SPOILER: Name of the Wind
I thought Ambrose was the son of a Duke, not a King. Now maybe something will happen that lets Ambrose or his father become king, but I'm pretty sure niether is king yet.

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I started reading the book today, it's fun to read although there are a few things like the "this not a made-up story" thingy which are just silly, it's as annoying as when people in a movie say "we are not in a movie!".

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Nah, I doubt it - that would be too close to 'heroifying' Kvothe, making him into some kind of pure saint character (or at least I hope Rothfuss doesn't go that route).

One would think, but while I really did enjoy the story, I don't think rothfuss has re-invented the wheel here. He's made attempts at twisting accepted stereotypes and conventions, but he hasn't made them unrecognizable here. I don't think I'll be surprised if there is something similar to what I described happens.

Myshkin's right though, I think we've got the title wrong. Though I do think that my theory remains probable.

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