109 of 148 people found the following review helpful
Wanted so much to love it.... but didn't,
This review is from: The Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicles, Day 1) (Paperback)
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.
Tracked by 7 customers
Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-10 of 10 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 20, 2012 12:39:26 PM PDT
Amy Moran says:
While I liked the book and think it was a good read, I do find myself agreeing with a lot of what you're saying. Especially about Denna. I'm a woman too, and that line about all women hating Denna because she was beautiful really irked me too. I can understand that Rothfuss was trying to create a beautiful woman for us to love like Kvothe did, but he ended up making her even more unlikeable with her 'unattainable' beauty. It makes Denna unrealistic. (That other girl whose name I can't remember that Kvothe had to save in the Fishery also was unlikeable because she was just so PRETTY).
I liked Kvothe, but I can understand why you didn't, looking back on it now. But I think the reason he was so unlikeable was, what you pointed out, his 'gary-sue' qualities.
Actually, now that I've read your review, I'm going to have to hold off on reading this series, and perhaps even change my general opinion about this book. I don't know if I should be upset now that I don't feel any attraction to the series anymore, or happy that you enlightened me.
I'll choose the latter for now.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 20, 2012 1:56:31 PM PDT
J.J. Macken says:
Oh, I'm sorry if I altered your opinions for the worst. I was just really annoyed with the book and needed to vent.
You're right, "Gary-Sue" is the perfect label for Kvothe. I love it!
Posted on Apr 19, 2012 5:13:44 AM PDT
P. Schultz says:
I agree completely with *everything* that you've said, my friend. And -- in my humble opinion -- you are too kind. This book is trash. Utter trash.
I think it is important to remember the facts that surround the origins of this "novel." The entire thing was a marketing stunt set up by Daw Books. You find some poor kid who is fairly intelligent and (far more importantly) fairly easy to manipulate and you turn him into a "star." The "Writers of the Future" has always been aimed at finding willing, unsuspecting kids who will crank out words for an industry that care nothing about great stories, great characters, or great fantasy. It is about selling books, not writing them.
For my part, I was so astonished at the "acclaim" this novel received that I began to doubt my own sanity. Are there really that many people out there who think that this is really good? Have they not read the first three books of TSoIaF? Have they not read early OSCard? Or Michael Moorcock? Or Roger Zelazny? Or LM Bujold? Or any novels that actually show what the genre is capable of? Almost enough to make you want to hide in a hobbit hole till the end of days . . . . .
Posted on Aug 20, 2012 10:35:18 AM PDT
E. Smiley says:
It's interesting that so many authors--some of them female!--seem to think gorgeous women are widely hated by other women. In my real-life experience (as a fairly normal-looking woman), people of both genders are drawn to people who are attractive. This is why studies show that more attractive people are considered more trustworthy, promoted more quickly, etc. The women other women don't like are the ones who so obsessively chase men that they themselves resent other women's presence and feel themselves in competition! But never mind reality, some authors just want their characters to both be gorgeous and be rejected so that we can feel sorry for them in their tragic perfection.
Posted on Sep 4, 2012 6:50:09 AM PDT
Nicholas Litwinetz says:
Did you happen to notice that when Kvothe is attempting to describe Denna's beauty he is interrupted by Bast who points out a number of her flaws. The point being, Denna was indescribably beautiful through Kvothe's eyes. From an objective viewpoint she was just pretty. It seems as though you, as well as many other people who gave this book negative reviews, don't understand that this book is mostly about perspective. There are a number of instances where Rothfuss explains how certain events are understood differently by people based upon their perspective. You are supposed to take the leap then to understand that Kvothe's story is clearly going to be skewed based upon his perspective. I am guessing you missed this because it wasn't hand spooned to you like it is in so many other books in the fantasy genre.
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 4, 2012 1:58:34 PM PDT
J.J. Macken says:
Cool, the story is full of different perspectives... It was still tedious beyond reckoning. As kvothe is the protagonist and everything is told through his POV, his opinions on everything are what the reader is subjected to and Kvothe himself (as well as his perspective) were as annoying as nails on a chalkboard to me.
Besides, I think you'll find I had a few other issues with the book if you read my entire review.
Posted on Jan 1, 2013 5:39:39 PM PST
I completely agree with Nicholas. Almost all of these issues mentioned can be explained. I think the reason why most of the people disliked the book was just because they disliked the main protagonist. And that is from pure opinion, which is fine. A lot of one-star reviews I was reading kept mentioning that the main protagonist was too perfect and talented at too many things. There is nothing wrong with him being a genius, and in fact I think it added a lot to the story. It kind of reminded me of Orson Scott Card's Ender Game series.
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 23, 2013 9:30:12 PM PDT
B Hector says:
Amy, while I like the book I definitely agree with your assessment of Denna. That character is a combination between the wind itself, and a nerd's attempt to look cool in dissecting feminine sexuality.
Posted on Jan 30, 2014 6:24:45 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 30, 2014 6:25:12 PM PST
Nate C-K says:
I wouldn't say this is a perfect book -- certainly it does take a long time to get moving, as you say, and I have other criticisms as well -- but most of *your* criticisms ring false.
If you read the second book, then you'd find out Kvothe is not really the best at anything. He's pretty good but there's always someone better. The trick Rothfuss is playing here is that there is a massive legend that surrounds Kvothe, in which he is supernaturally powerful and his exploits are legendary, whereas in real life he's talented and ambitious but distinctly human with no special powers at all.
Moreover, Kvothe is clearly flawed in that he doesn't know when to back down or keep his mouth shut. Many times you want to slap Kvothe because he has poor judgment, and that is intentional. Flawed characters can be annoying sometimes: haven't you ever wanted to wring a character's neck when reading a Shakespearean tragedy?
Your criticism of the names is just ridiculous; have you not read any other fantasy aside from GRRM? (Not that your description of GRRM is even honest: Vaes Dothrak, Qarth, Astapor, Yunkai, Mereen, etc.) Or, for that matter, looked at a map of the real world where names are printed in the local languages? GRRM's names look English because Westeros is based on Britain! Rothfuss has tried to create a world where people in different countries have their own languages and their terms and place names reflect that. Do you think every fantasy author should base his world on Britain so the names will seem familiar to you? That just seems small-minded. Your attitude on this point reeks of the kind of parochialism that Rothfuss appears to be consciously trying to transcend, and I applaud him for this effort.
Do women really hate Denna because she is successful with men? Or do they hate her because she uses men for their money and then tosses them aside? The way Denna has been presented, she is really not a very good or nice person and it's no wonder most people don't like her. Kvothe is hung up on her, though, and that's hardly unrealistic. Haven't you ever been hung up on someone who you should have seen was trouble? If you haven't, surely you know someone who has.
Denna isn't even that beautiful in the opinion of a number of characters. Kvothe probably could have done better in terms of looks with Fela, but he wasn't interested in her because she didn't have Denna's mystique.
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 26, 2014 5:50:40 AM PST
M. Ward says:
I agree with Nicholas, that it's all about perspective. It's a man telling his story. It's also mentioned about a hundred times in book that Kvothe was born with a flare for theater and drama. If you don't like the character, that's fine, but I feel there is subtlety that you missed too.
‹ Previous 1 Next ›