The Name of the Wind is the best fantasy novel I've read in a very long time. It is a story within a story within a story that never goes stale.
It begins in a small village where we are introduce to an innkeeper named Kote. Kote is unassuming on the surface, but when a spider-demon creature from my nightmares called the Chandrian appear in the town, Kote is unveiled as Kvothe, a mythical hero from a bygone era.
Chronicler, a man who appears at the inn to, well, chronicle things, asks Kvothe to reveal his past life. Kvothe reluctantly agrees, all the while trying to maintain his persona as mild mannered innkeeper.
What follows is a blistering account of Kvothe's life with traveling actors, his struggles in gaining access to a university that focuses on arcane subjects and his desire to enact revenge on those that murdered his family.
Yes, this book is a tome, as are the other two in the series, but you won't notice, it's that good. It's a coming of age story filled with subtle magic, court politics, teenage awkwardness, demons and monsters and yet somehow, inexplicably, totally believable.
Actually, it isn't inexplicable, Rothfuss is at his core an amazing storyteller. As a fan of RPG video games, I can only imagine how amazing Kvothe would be to play in a Baldur's Gate style game.
A perfect summer read, The Name of the Wind should be required reading for any fantasy fans.
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