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1,804 of 1,944 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth your precious reading hours
It seems to me that every year there are more books I want to read and less time for me to read them. Because my time is limited, I'm guilty of picking up the books by my favorite authors first, and fitting in new authors only when it's convenient.

Due to a stroke of luck, I've had an advance copy of The Name of the Wind by my bedside for over six months, just...
Published on March 19, 2007 by Robin Hobb

versus
421 of 523 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A few interesting and enticing morsels sprinkled on a canvass of frustration
With hundreds of reviews and several customer discussions on its Amazon page, "The Name of the Wind" aroused my curiosity. Some negative comments appeared calculated to smear while some positive comments seemed equally overdone. I do not doubt there are both heart-felt one and five star reviews posted here, but isolated comments from both camps seemed disingenuous. I...
Published on August 28, 2009 by K. Sullivan


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1,804 of 1,944 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth your precious reading hours, March 19, 2007
By 
Robin Hobb "Robin" (Tacoma, Washington) - See all my reviews
It seems to me that every year there are more books I want to read and less time for me to read them. Because my time is limited, I'm guilty of picking up the books by my favorite authors first, and fitting in new authors only when it's convenient.

Due to a stroke of luck, I've had an advance copy of The Name of the Wind by my bedside for over six months, just waiting for me to open it. Unfortunately, deadlines of my own kept getting in the way. But in a way, it's lucky that I didn't crack this book until just a few days ago. If I'd had this tale to distract me, I'd have been even later getting my work done.

I loathe spoilers, so I'm not going to discuss the plot of this book. I will say it has all the things that I demand of a book. The characters are real, the action is convincing and it has a compelling story to tell.

One of the things I like best about this book is that the magic is absolutely rooted in the book's world. Nothing seems contrived; the consistency is excellent.

The characters are very well realized. That means that when the protagonist does something clever, it's believable. And when he does something youthfully dumb, it rings just as authentically true. Because the characters are real and the magic is true to its own world, I closed this book feeling as if I'd been on a journey with an entertaining new friend, rather than sitting alone looking at words on a page.

This one is well worth some of your precious reading time. I'll wager that the books to follow it will also be.

Robin Hobb
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423 of 472 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A thought after reading the negative reviews..., October 24, 2008
By 
I always read the negative reviews of books I liked. For one, I think people can be much more detailed about what they don't like than what they did. Second, I just want to know what made people dislike something I liked.

There seems to be an overall theme amongst the negative reviews that Kvothe is unlikable--but most of these reviews contradict themselves. They don't like him because he's arrogant, but then also complain that he's too perfect to be realistic and has no flaws. I think Rothfuss's intentions were to make Kvothe's arrogance one of his biggest flaws. Imagine you caught on to many subjects in school very fast, were number one in your class and had a relatively quick wit. You'd probably be arrogant, too, as I know the smart, popular people in my high school were. And it's Kvothe's arrogance that constantly gets him into trouble.

The theme of Rothfuss's book, to me, is the difference between the reality of a man's life and his actions, and the stories other men tell about him. That's why we begin with him in a quiet inn, then cut to local patrons telling wild tales. We are introduced to a character, The Chronicler, whose sole purpose in "life" is to find the truth about stories, to debunk myths and legends. But fantasy books *are* the stuff of myths and legends--dragons, fair maidens, faeries, wizards. So how do you tell the story of a renowned magical hero without the requisite exaggeration and outright lies? Without turning the hero into an unrealistic beacon of flawless unrelenting perfection? You tell both stories--the ones people want to believe, and the story that comes closest to the truth. And the truth is Kvothe is a rash, impulsive, sometimes selfish and very often stupidly arrogant man. These traits get him into endless trouble, which he sometimes weasels his way out of through his wit and talents.

You are given Kvothe's many legendary titles (like Bloodless) and then learn the slightly less-than-mystical reason why he was given that quasi-true moniker. What's masterful about Rothfuss's work here, however, is that even when you tear down the myths about Kvothe and get to the "real" story, Kvothe still emerges a hero. If that is too unbelievable for you, if it's not realistic for a character to be truly heroic and truly talented and truly great despite his flaws, then you won't like this story. It's just not cynical enough for you.
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365 of 427 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Debut Novel - Best Fantasy Novel - In Years, May 23, 2007
By 
James D. DeWitt "Alaska Fan" (Fairbanks, AK United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This is the kind of novel that fantasy readers dream of reading. It's the kind of novel would-be writers dream of writing. Excellent writing, deeply complex characters, careful revelations and wonderful plot twists. I haven't enjoyed a debut fantasy novel this much since Barry Hughart's "Bridge of Birds" or Rosemary Kirstein's "The Steerswoman."

The protagonist, Kvothe, is seemingly hiding as an innkeeper. But there are nasty creatures about, that may or may not be attracted to him. After Kvothe rescues a bard, he ends up telling the bard his life story. So you get the back story on a nearly-mythical wizard, mixed with increasingly dark events happening in the present. It is an extremely effective way to to tell a story. It certainly kept me up all night. And I can truthfully say I savored each of the 660 plus pages.

Maybe the best part is that Rothfuss, in his blog, says all three books in the trilogy are written, and will be released at one year intervals. I can't wait.

This is about as good as high fantasy gets. An imaginative, powerful and compelling story that is exceptionally well told. My compliments to Mr. Rothfuss. And my very highest recommendation to readers.
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421 of 523 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A few interesting and enticing morsels sprinkled on a canvass of frustration, August 28, 2009
With hundreds of reviews and several customer discussions on its Amazon page, "The Name of the Wind" aroused my curiosity. Some negative comments appeared calculated to smear while some positive comments seemed equally overdone. I do not doubt there are both heart-felt one and five star reviews posted here, but isolated comments from both camps seemed disingenuous. I had to see what all the fuss was about. (Congratulations to anyone who thought such disagreement and vitriol would help market the book... you got me!)

Of 722 total pages, I estimate that there were less than 200 pages of compelling narrative taken altogether. Most were located in the latter half of the book. It was not necessarily poorly written, there was just a lot of pointless detail. Ignoring for a moment the overarching plot device of a legendary hero narrating his tale to a scribe, the narrative of the book can be reasonably broken down into the following sections: 1. Kvothe as a trouper with his family; 2. Kvothe as a street urchin in the large city of Tarbean; 3. Kvothe at the university. The first two sections take almost 250 pages. They could have been greatly abbreviated without any ill-effect to the story. The final section also suffers from dead weight resulting in very slow pacing.

The first-person narrative introduced some difficulties for me. Kvothe seems to dearly enjoy hearing himself talk. Maybe as a hero it is his right, but he seems just a tad too pleased with himself at times. Some quips were witty while others fell flat. Some thoughts were inspiring while others were corny or self-evident. He actually says, "Attend to me as I draw back the curtain to reveal a long-kept minstrel's secret..." (page 477). Groan! I wonder if Chronicler rolled his eyes. He took himself and his tale a little too seriously at times. In a few instances, Kvothe hints at a greater context or another anecdote but refuses to share it. It felt like a bit of a cop out (planting a seed in the reader's mind without actually working for it; i.e., fully developing the narrative).

Another bitter pill for me was that a lot of the drama seemed forced or contrived. Every time things were going well or smoothly, the rug would inevitably be pulled out from under Kvothe. The tension did not seem to arise organically. Instead, it felt like the author set him up just to knock him down again.

The characterizations suffered on a couple fronts. Various characters were tired clichés (mean-spirited schoolmaster, haughty rich student) and others were not well developed. Kvothe's two best friends at the university (and their relationships) seemed weakly established.

It appears to be en vogue of late for fantasy novelists to verbalize their conscious efforts to defy the conventions of the genre. A theme throughout this book is that things did not occur neatly or tidily because this is not a story or fairy tale. Yet it still read just the same to me. Apparently telling us the story is not a story is no reliable means to escape the conventions. This is not fantasy literature's first flawed hero or legendary figure who is revealed to be less than his image.

I struggled to finish the book. It was only on my last day of reading that I decided to rate it at three stars instead of two. There is some pretty good stuff here. There's just a whole lot of frustrating nonsense you must be willing and prepared to wade through. I honestly do not know if I will read the next installment(s).
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33 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful at Times, Terrible At Times, November 23, 2007
This was a surprisingly difficult book to rate. How many stars do you give a book like this? At times it was wonderful, and at other times it was quite bad.

On the one hand, lengthy stretches of this book grabbed me, pulled me down, and kept me submerged in a truly wonderful and believable fantasy world. Some portions of the book were quite adventurous while many others developed believable, intricate characters and wonderful settings. Patrick Rothfuss, the book's author, did a particularly good (if optimistic) job of creating a believable academic, university setting in a fantasy world. This setting let him deal with magic in a very thoughtful and intriguing way.

In addition to all of this, some portions of the book had me laughing out loud, and others left me thinking, "Wow." Wow, this is exactly how this scene should have gone. Or - wow, I wasn't expecting that. How exciting! Or - wow, that is a really interesting character!

On the other hand, lengthy periods of this book were terrible. Some sections were downright tedious and uninteresting. I understand why they were there, and how they serve the story. But still, they could have been written better and could have been more engaging. Some sections of the book were slow and plodding.

Reading requires effort. Don't get me wrong; I love to read, and I rarely consider fiction-reading to be work. I really love books and I love words even more. Still, reading does require effort. And there were times, when I was reading this, when I wondered if it was worth the effort. It is a long book and it has some tedious sections.

So, how did I decide to rate this book? Why four stars? Well, the excellent sections of the book were really excellent, and they made up for the not-so-great sections.

But, beyond that, I was particularly impressed by how well the author developed his leading character, Kvothe. Considering the book, after I had finished it, I was impressed to realize just how much Kvothe changes throughout the novel. He is one kind of person at one point, and a very different kind of person later. And then, remarkably, he changes yet again! It is impressive that the author could pull this transformation off. It makes sense that the character changes as he does, and the character seems consistent, believable, and fascinating.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazingly good book for certain people, April 5, 2010
I've spent the past hour and a half reading all the negative reviews for this book and I've seen some patterns emerge. First, people criticize the book on matters of preference, not literary quality. Second, people have had a bad reading experience because they expected something different than what the book really is. The truth is, there are many 5 star reviews (that I think the book deserves) that are not written in 5 star fashion. Many people do not know how to properly describe the book in a way that helps possible readers know if they would like it or not.

Here's the thing. I like this book a lot. I think it is one of the best books I've ever read. Here is what it's not: A fast-paced novel, a novel about the epic world-changing deeds of a hero, completely original, for everyone. The novel is not about world-changing feats of heroism. It is a slow-paced book about the development of an incredibly intelligent, but relatively normal boy, how he becomes a legendary figure, and some of the problems he faces in fostering that reputation and living up to it in the end. It is not the most original fantasy novel to ever hit shelves. It's originality comes not from it's world or characters (for goodness' sake, look at the map with the book. It's obviously an adaptation of Europe. Just like middle earth or countless other fantasy settings). The originality comes from subject matter more focused on the coming of age of a young boy and how, due to the existence of his impressive intelligence and the existence of a logical type of magic, certain events shape him into a legendary figure. There are plenty of cliche plot points, but not ones that I couldn't fully relate to. That said, the character is a very intelligent, but often foolish and arrogant, teenage boy. Not everyone can relate to him, but that also doesn't make it a bad book.

What I loved about this book was the main character. I have read many fantasy books with unbelievable characters. Often times, their behavior seems overly emotional or angsty. When I think about the people I know, I feel like people are often times as irrational as characters in those books, but I tend to not be. I can't stand when character conflict is built up on small disagreements that would easily be solved if one person cleared up a misunderstanding by simply talking to the other party. Very few such situations arise in this book which makes me happy because I seldom let those situations arise in my own life. The love story, while simple puppy-love is something myself and all of my friends went through at some point in our teen years, and I love that the main character is afraid of failure and making mistakes. Often times his problems come from lack of action rather than stupidity or brashness. Almost every man, whether he admits it or not, has a deep fear of failure. Kvothe is so real on so many levels, and his actions follow logically with his personality. It was impossible for me not to get fully immersed in the story.

All of that said... one last thing. I would be remiss if I didn't also say that this is the first book I have read that made me cry since I read "Where the Red Fern Grows" in 5th grade. And I cried like a freaking baby.
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73 of 96 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars well written, but..., January 12, 2008
[minor spoilers follow]

This is a bit of a problematic book for me to review...

I really liked Patrick Rothfuss's writing style, and enjoyed the book as I was reading it.

I enjoyed the university, even with the Snape and Malfoy clones.

I liked the magic system. I especially liked how knowing (and understanding) the true name of something (like the wind of the title) can give you power over it.

And the Chandrian, with their blue flames, show promise as the mega-villains of the piece.

But...

*Not a whole lot happens in this book, especially considering its 600+ page count.

* I found the bits of present day framing story(especially the demons and hints of war) to be a lot more interesting than a lot of the flashback stories (and the flashback stories took up the majority of the novel).

* Kvothe is just too good at too many things (particularly given his young age - he is what? 15 at the close of the flashback sequences of the book?), and it irritated me after awhile. Seems to me that both his magic studies and his music would be extremely demanding mistresses, and I just do not buy that he would be so good at both at such a young age, even with natural gifts

* the street orphan sequences in Tarbean go on way too long. He is living on the street and he is poor and hungry. I get it. Does this really have to take up such a large chunk of the book?

* the whole draccus sequence, while cool, is just a side trip without really adding anything to the plot or to the growth of the characters - and it added a lot of unnecessary length to the book

In short - I find Rothfuss to be a promising writer - but a very wordy one. This book could have been a lot better with a ruthless editor willing to cut out some of the tangenital side stories and cut back on a lot of the repetitous stuff both in the street orphan sequence and once the main character gets to the university. (Yes, he is poor. I get it . And get it again. And get it again. And get it again. Rinse and repeat.)

With Rothfuss being such a new writer I blame the editor more than the writer for the problems I have with the book.

I will most certainly read the next book in the trilogy. But I will not be dropping everything in my life to do so on its release day, as I would do with some other writers in the genre.
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173 of 231 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Wanted so much to love it.... but didn't, March 16, 2012
The Name of the Wind was recommended to me by a few people and I was a little reluctant to give it a go, but then I read George R R Matin's rave review of it on his blog and promptly picked myself up a copy.
I've only got a hundred pages left to read, but I can't face it. I just cant do it anymore. I'm sick of rolling my eyes, and gritting my teeth, and cringing.

Kvothe makes me wanna gouge my eyes out. He's that annoying. I know fantasy is attractive because it diverts us from the humdrum of our normal, uninteresting lives, and I'm aware that a heroic character should be more powerful and awesome than your regular joe. But seriously, if Kvothe excels beyond the realm of understanding in one more thing, I'll scream.
I'd list all the achievements young Kvothe has earned himself but I just don't have enough room. And I honestly cant swallow another list covering All That Is Supremely Awesome About Kvothe.

A few times I wondered if this was a satire, but then it didn't seem self-aware or heavy-handed enough.
There's a point in the novel where Kvothe has just played his lute for a massive audience and breaks down into tears at the conclusion of his show (such was the heartbreaking beauty of his performance) and then we're forced to acknowledge that all this crying is not unmanly or anything, because the ENTIRE audience is sobbing along with him. Grrr. It's bad enough that Kvothe himself thinks he's god's gift to the universe, now every other character is functioning as a tool to reflect Kvothe's awesomeness.

The plot in this story is extremely slow moving and when you look back, you realise how little has actually happened.

It seems that there is minor obstacle after minor obstacle that Kvothe must face (usually financial) but then overcome one at a time with nothing but the strength of his own cleverness. I got really sick of hearing about Kvothe's poverty only for the next page to reveal some overly generous stranger more than happy to help him out. It rang false.

Patrick Rothfuss's world was confusing to me. I think the fantasy universes that work best are those that are just similar enough to our own world that we can track the locations and names easily. Rothfuss uses gibberish language for every place, dialect and name. It's annoying and confusing. The Song of Ice and Fire series, features a fantasy world with reasonable-sounding names like "The Iron Islands" and "The Vale of Arryn" and when you go across the sea to foreign territory, names like "Slaver's bay" and "The Basilisk Isles" point out that you are in a totally different place, culturally and geographically, without you having to decipher how to say the names.
Rothfuss gives us places called: "Ceald", "Yll", "Modeg", "Vintas", "Tarbean", "Imre" and others that are equally unintelligible. It didn't work for me.

Another major pet peeve, was the women in this book. Rothfuss makes an attempt to give them depth, but fails woefully. They tend to be beautiful maidens in need of being rescued by Kvothe from rich, rapey boys at the University or motherly matrons who enjoy rewarding Kvothe for his general perfection with food or money.
There is one scene where Kvothe actually saves a girl from a burning building and laments the fact that he cant carry her gallantly like a princess, but must throw her over his shoulder for ease of movement in said burning building. ARRGH.
Denna (Kvothe's main love interest) is literally unspeakably beautiful, a full page is given over to describing her indescribable appearance/charisma. Denna is about as interesting and deep as a bowl of porridge, and has the defining trait of running away from men whom she uses for presents and attention, without leaving any trace.
As a woman, what really irked me, was a discussion Kvothe and one of his mentors Deoch had in which they detailed how all women hate Denna because she is beautiful and successful with men. All of them. I had no idea we were so universally shallow and mean-spirited. Thank you Mr Rothfuss, for enlightening me.

I prefer to like my protagonist as I'm reading, not secretly pray he dies a painful, drawn out death. I really loathed this book. I wish there had been more negative reviews available before I bought it.
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74 of 98 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm convinced., May 8, 2007
By 
Chip Hunter "chips_books" (Gainesville, FL United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Even after reading the star reviews on the back of the book and all the praise for Rothfuss on Amazon reviews, I had my doubts. People tend to get a little over-excited about new authors and their debut novels. Still, I thought I'd give this one a chance. Good damn thing too! Don't take it lightly when I tell you that I think Rothfuss will be recognized as one of America's very best fantasy authors in the near future.

This is the first part of a three-book series recounting the life of Kvothe, an almost mythical man somewhere between an outlaw and a hero. As Kvothe-in-hiding narrates the majority of this book, recounting his early days as a child to his coming of age as an advanced student at the University, a new story is also starting to unfold in the present tense. The overall effect is that you're really reading two separate stories at once, one being the primary story of Kvothe's youth, and the other being much more brief and mysterious but guaranteeing dark futures. Both stories are extremely infectious and promise excellent tales to come. You're left with a feeling of only knowing a small part of an epic tale with many secrets and mysteries yet to be discovered.

As other reviewers have stated, the characters are incredible. Kvothe, the main character and storyteller, is somehow at once intimately knowable and mysterious. One of the strange dynamics of the story is being able to compare the Kvothe of the present to the Kvothe of his story. Two very different seeming people. Most of the side characters hold their own secrets as well. What is the role of the creature of fae who appears to be Kvothe's apprentice or protector or something else? What is the deal with the frustrating Denna, who presents young Kvothe with so much heartache but appears to be desperately in love with him too? I can't wait to find out.

The overriding theme of this first book is in the form of foreshadowing great events to come. The reader knows much less than the characters in the book, but gains hint after hint of mysterious secrets to be discovered in the future. I can't think of another book that takes quite the same approach to telling a tale, but it worked quite well for this one. Props to Rothfuss for taking the chance on doing something new with his first novel.

It is going to be hard waiting two years for the conclusion of the trilogy, but you can bet I won't forget much of this compelling story in the mean time. After reading Rothfuss' first novel, I'm convinced that he deserves the hype.
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85 of 113 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not the worst book I've ever read, but..., July 19, 2009
I had complicated feelings about this book. On one hand, I loved Patrick Rothfuss's writing style and the way he set up the world. He managed to keep me engaged throughout the book, the settings were detailed, Sympathy was incredibly clever, the University was cool--the set-up was just fantastic. The idea was intriguing, as well; I haven't read many, if any, books with this premise. The whole idea is that Kvothe is already a legend, and is recording his story.

However, the main character got in the way.

I found Kvothe to be unrelatable and irritating. I don't want to give too much away, but I didn't feel anything for him during any of his hardships. The whole book is just a platform for Mr. Rothfuss to proclaim how amazing his protagonist is. At one point, Kvothe's first mentor tells Kvothe's parents that their son will excel at anything he does, and become the greatest whatever the world has ever seen. Kvothe has no flaws--he's a genius, he's the most talented musician anyone has ever seen, he rescues people, he makes friends, he's the 'plucky underdog' who stands up the mean, rich bully--he's annoying! True, there are books where you're supposed to dislike the main character, but this isn't one of them. I'm supposed to like him, but he's too convinced of his own superiority.

I also disliked Kvothe's girlfriend. She changes her name often, but Kvothe calls her Denna. She's basically a female Kvothe, which explains why they get on so well. However, where Kvothe is learning Sympathy, Denna is essentially a gold-digger. But it's all good, because she's beautiful and life is hard for attractive, single women! I sort of understand what Mr. Rothfuss is trying to explain when another character gives Kvothe this whole speech on why Denna acts like she does, but it just came off as "That's all attractive women can do!"

Actually, that was the thing I disliked about this world--women don't really show up. There are some people in Kvothe's troup at the beginning, there are a few women learning Sympathy, and there's Denna. I would be fine with what Denna does to survive if it had been handled better, but it wasn't. She's portrayed as bright, and women are allowed into the University--why doesn't she study and apply? She's apparently the only musician who can rival Kvothe--why doesn't she try to make a name for herself as a singer and get a patron? She's apparently a good actress--why not act? The justification for what she does is basically "she's hot and it's easy money."

A lot of the minor characters were more enjoyable--Devon and Bast, especially, except for when they're sucking up to Kvothe. Interactions between the two of them are...interesting, to say the least. However, a lot of the minor characters simply provide a background that Kvothe can shine against. They're there to make him look good. In general, the teachers either love Kvothe or hate him. The ones who love him are intelligent, good people, while the ones who hate him are EEEEEEEEVIL pigs or idiots.

Master Elodin is one of the exceptions. He's totally mad, and is my favorite character in the book. Also, he convinced Kvothe to jump off a roof, which is reason enough to love him. The librarian, too, is likable. He catches Kvothe with a candle in a stack of old, rare books and bans him from the library. He's overprotective of his books, which I can totally relate to.

Overall, I would give this book 2 1/2 stars, but I'm rounding it down to two. While I did enjoy Mr. Rothfuss's writing style immensely, his characters need a major overhaul. I won't buy the next books, but if I could borrow them from a friend, I would read them, just to see if the characters get more likeable.

The reasons legends work is because the characters in them are legends. They don't need to be human; we don't expect them to be, we don't want them to be. Patrick Rothfuss tried to make a hero a person, and didn't quite get it right.
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The Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicle)
The Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicle) by Patrick Rothfuss (Mass Market Paperback - April 1, 2008)
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