Last week I let you all know that I was going to re-read The Name of the Wind and write a review.  Some of you may be thinking, “wait he read a 600 page book in a week.”  No, that would be silly.  I finished it on Monday, I don’t read that slow.  Plus I have homework, biblical debates, thoughts on existentialism to expound upon, and researching supreme court cases as well as other cases in order to try and create loopholes within the system to allow us to attain some of our freedoms back that we have allowed the government to strip from us over the years in our failed social experiment of multiculturalism.  Anyway, with no further ado, I present my review of The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss.

Like I said last week I really enjoy people going through personal growth and learning about characters so that we can grow to feel their pains and their joys.  This book is an autobiography of sorts.  It starts within a present setting and then delves into the main character’s background.  We learn where it all begins for him and how he was raised up from a child.  Let me say that this is not always necessary, in quality books.  In many books we meet people at the beginning of their actual journey and we don’t need to know their entire back story right away to get it.  We can see growth and development through that journey.  In this book Rothfuss chose to start pretty much at the beginning well before the journey.  The thing that is contrary to most stories that I usually engage in, is the lack of action.  There is very little actual battle.  Also, there is very little magic.  Even simple magic.  It is eluded to, mentioned and even performed, but not really emphasized.  They don’t make a big deal out of the little magic and we rarely see the Big magic.  So, at first glance one would think I wouldn’t like this book.  Au contraire, what makes a good book in this sense is not the grandioseness of it but the subtlety of its vastness.  We get to delve into the mind of a potentially earth shattering character.  What drives him?  What brought him to where he is?  What is or was his purpose? Did he give up his life or is he biding his time before awakening anew?

I am also a fan of the first person narrative that does not delve into the minds of other characters.  We don’t know what others are thinking, we don’t know what other plans are being setup to cause his possible downfall.  We don’t have to meddle with trying to figure out the mystery that is unraveled in several characters when we are only dealing with the mind of this one.  Within this book, though, we have both aspects of character development.  We have his narrative, but also those who interact with him outside his narrative pressuring him to tell his story to them.  What is the reason for their inquiries into him?  Why is he so special?  When looking at these characters and their interactions with him, we get a better sense of where the first person narrative within the story is going and how these are setup seamlessly.  Another thing that this book does very well is create tension.  Orson Scott Card, wrote a book called How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy in that he talks about tension being essential to a good story.  By that he meant the stretching of a character and having each scene drastically different from the next.  We tend to need that in movies more than books, because movies are so brief, but in a book exposition can help for a while, but what we want is for bad things to happen, then good things, then bad things, maybe another bad thing, and then a good thing, explaining why these things are happening isn’t as important as them happening.  The Name of the Wind does this superbly, and finishing it just made me that much more anxious for The Wise Man’s Fear.

Some of you may be asking this question, “but what’s the story about?”  I am afraid that I do not answer those kind of questions.  I hate knowing anything about a story before I read it.  So, when I give a review I will not tell you what the story is necessarily about.  I will tell you if it was executed in a way that makes it worth your time to read it.  If the elements that I set forth are something that you may enjoy then go ahead and read it.  I can expound more if somebody asks, but I will not usually give away anything from a story.  You may attempt to deduce or conclude from the fact that I said it is a narrative within a story, that it is about a hero, but it could very well be a about a villain.  And to tell you the truth I don’t know yet what ideology the protagonist may hold, but it has been a wonderful journey into his mind, thus far.

Taleah’s Note: These reviews, unless otherwise noted, are books that Jeff owns or checked out the library. As much as he’d love to get his hands on new releases of fantasy (Tor, are you listening?) – these are his books 🙂

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