When it comes to novels, I don’t think there is a genre quite as intimidating as fantasy. Epics usually span multiple books, often well over 700 pages any choice to sit down and dive headfirst is often vetted heavily. The sheer time commitment alone that goes into one of these series is nothing to scoff at but often the commitment is well worth the reward. I feel this way with authors like Brandon Sanderson who never fails to take me on a thrilling and complex adventure even if the wanderlust falters midway through the trilogy (I sadly felt that with Mistborn) Michael Sullivan is another I find myself enjoying but not quite as much. Other juggernauts exist within this world and on a whim, I decided to give one of these highly regarded fantasy epics a read. It was a complete and utter waste of my time.
662 pages of self-insert circle jerking later I have added the pathetic and quite stupid Name Of The Wind, book one of the King Killer Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss to my Goodreads read column. This is what I thought about it.
Following innkeeper and generally poignant wretch Kvothe. The story starts quite strong, showing the main character in a humbling light of a haunted man trying to escape his past. The air of mystery and wonder seize hold very early on as the rural town is rocked by a recent chain of attacks by an alien and terrifying rock-like creature. The reader is informed that life everywhere is hard, the roads being run by highwaymen, and the general law and order being loose at best. Where the book starts to take a turn for the worse is when the chronicler, someone tasked with finding Kvothe to get the real story from the man himself. After being a general brat and baby about the whole ordeal Kvothe eventually agrees and claims that over the next three days he would tell his story to the chronicler, and what a stupid fucking story it was.
Reminiscing on his time as a child Kvothe goes into the time he spent in a troupe, his mother and father leading one of the most legendary of them all as they travel the lands bringing mirth and joy to the masses. I want to make a point I actually really liked this part of the story. Rothfuss does a solid job at weaving song and poetry into his fantasy world when he isn’t being cringe at it. Sadly, around a quarter way into the story, after tragedy befalls Kvothe’s family the only talk of song and poetry shifts towards a more personal, toxic dialect.
Before I go too much into that I want to make a point that his whole childhood Kvothe was a boy genius. Many would say he would rival the kings of old, and be the greatest musician ever. He could learn languages in a day and solve math problems with ease at the age of 5. The WHOLE book is like this, Kvothe is perfect in every way, he is dangerous, dashing, smart, having only the fault of not having any faults. The book goes back and back to this concept and it NEVER goes away. There is never a fall, even when he fails he does so on purpose or through the course of some laughable actions. Kvothe is the victim of this story but of nothing at all.
After the death of his troupe, he wonders around homeless for three years, for some reason. Bringing up time and time again about how he was poor and life was hard. How he hated music because it reminded him of his parents, how he would never go to university and fulfill this whack prophecy everyone set for him. Nothing of importance happens here, it’s all self-loathing and terrible self-loathing at that. As we trudge along this journey it comes to an abrupt end as Kvothe decides ‘ya know what I am going to go to university’ then proceeds to con a bunch of people into thinking he is a nobleman and is set on his merry way.
How could anyone even make this up?
It is at this point our ever-so-special boy of a protagonist gets into college. Naturally, the question comes up as to how? He has no portfolio, no money, hell he just has the clothes on his back and by this point, they aren’t worth much. So why would anyone think a prestigious institute of education would even listen much less enroll someone with such a lacking establishment? Oh right because Kvothe is just everything the author wishes he were so not only does he get in, but for the first time in the history of academia they PAID Kvothe to join. It actually cracks me up that there is a scene where the bursar was mad that he had to give him money, like its so silly of an idea Rothfuss runs a pass check to it yet for some reason keeps it.
The rest of the book plays out about his time at the school, mostly mingling, making friends and enemies, and being a pompous pain in the ass. Around this time I was considering the heroine as the only saving grace, so I waited. Knowing that sooner or later the story would come back to a love interest, hoping, though very much so doubting, there would be substantial. Sadly, I was right. Enter stage left Denna. Now she shows up early in the series as a travel companion for a short bit of Kvothes, a free-spirited soul that has no real destination, just going where the road takes her. This initial introduction is charming, she seems confident and mysterious. That only lasts for about half the story as she quickly gets shifted and slotted with the other women in the series as little better than whores.
He really likes to bring up women and whores for some reason.
I think there has been a shift post-2000 where reading has boomed again and it has only grown more and more influence. When you take a look at modern social media and how book culture is changing one thing has become apparent. More people are reading, therefore more and more books are being written in a way that is easy for those to digest. I don’t want to sound pretentious but there is a whole market of books that are poorly written and though Fantasy (that I’ve read) has been somewhat unaffected by this shift, The Name Of The Wind is an exception.
The book is dull, the characters are boring the world is generally uninteresting. Even the magic system is moronic and not really tangible. Being a mental exercise more than anything else. The world simply revolves around Kvothe and he is a whiny bitch so honestly, the book failed from the start. As of writing this, there is a motion going around that the third and final book of this series will never see the light of day and to that, I say good riddance, now if the first book would have done the same.
I don’t really like raving about books I dislike or ones I think generally suck. I don’t get the fun I get clowning on them as I do anime so I don’t plan on writing many of these. This book just rubbed me the wrong way and I had to get it out there. As always thanks for the read!