Review: ‘The Name Of The Wind’ by Patrick Rothfuss (audio)

The Name Of The Wind

Kingkiller Chronicle, Day 1

Author: Patrick Rothfuss

Format: audio book

Publisher: Brilliance Audio

Narrated by Nick Podehl

Length: 27 hours, 58 minutes

Release Date: 05-15-09

Acquired: as a gift


Publisher’s Summary:

“My name is Kvothe. I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I have 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 the 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.

My thoughts:

Before I talk about the story, I want to mention my experience with the audio book. I had rather a hard time getting into this story and I think it was due mainly to the reader, Nick Podehl. I just could not maintain interest and found myself wishing for the book in my hand so I could give it my own voice. Once I got used to the new-to-me reader however, I enjoyed the hell out of this story!

I have a friend that restarts her audio books several times until she gets a feel for the reader and while I’ve never really found that necessary in my own audio book experiences, I wish I had tried that tactic with this book. I missed out on a lot in the first third of the book because I just couldn’t get a feel for it and when I had to pause for whatever reason, I didn’t find myself anxious to get back to it like I began to do once Kvothe arrived at the University. Now that I’m used to  and thoroughly enjoy Podehl’s reading, I’m more than ready to listen to him read The Wise Man’s Fear when it’s released next week. Look for that review soon!

Moving along… as the blurb states, this is essentially a story of Kvothe Kingkiller’s childhood and education, as told by him. However, when we first meet Kvothe, he’s not “Kvothe” but “Kote” and he’s an innkeeper in a small village. He gets the same customers in the inn for dinner every evening and occasionally he gets to listen to Cobb, the eldest of them, tell stories about the legendary Kvothe. On one such evening, one of the regulars staggers into the bar, bloodied and terrified. He’s been attacked by… something. A demon, the townsfolk think but Kvothe knows better.

While he’s out one night, intent on killing the other somethings that he knows must be about, he meets a traveler. Meets him and saves his life from the aforementioned somethings. This traveler happens to be a scribe. He’s The Chronicler, in fact, and he very much wants to get the story of Kvothe’s remarkable life, straight from the source. Despite having another engagement, Chronicler agrees to stay and spend three days with Kvothe in his little inn, writing the story of the legend in his own words. This book, of course, is the first day of that recitation and nearly the entire book is Kvothe recounting the events of his childhood.

Which was wrought with tragedy and loss, might I add. As the blurb states, Kvothe is an orphan and the circumstances surrounding the deaths of his parents instill in him a desire to find those responsible and somehow, to take his revenge. In order to find them, not to mention the whole revenge thing, Kvothe needs to be educated and to do this, he needs to attend the University. So he sets out to do just that.

I absolutely loved Kvothe’s University experience, especially scenes with his mentors and his friends, and the way Kvothe begins to work on building a reputation for himself. His time at the University was interesting and funny, sprinkled with a bit of injustice and some infuriatingly nasty people. I love that teenage Kvothe is so clever and brilliant but the unfairness he encounters is extremely frustrating for me to read. I found myself angry that he was judged so poorly at times and that one certain, vindictive and petty person was allowed to cause him so much misery and grief.

Sadly, that individual will wreak more -and worse- havoc in the next book and while I’m not looking forward to that, I am very anxious to see what comes next for Kvothe. Very anxious to see more of what makes him such a legend. And very anxious to see more of what’s going on the the present-tense of the story, especially after a disturbing visitor comes to the inn on the evening of day 1 of Kvothe’s story. Looks like there’s much to look forward to next week!


Fave quote:

“I will walk back to Imre this very night and set fire to your house. Then, when you run out the front door in your night shirt and stockle cap, I will kill you, cook you and eat you, right there on your lawn while all your neighbors watch!”

(there were more chuckle-inducing moments than this but I didn’t get them written down… there was a lot of funny in this book!)