Monday, November 07, 2011

The Name of the Wind

A few months back, NPR had their list of top 100 science fiction and fantasy books as voted on by the public. The top 20 was riddled with the usual suspects.  I had read most of the books and at the very least seen the movies to the rest.  Well, except for one;  The Name of the Wind.  I had never heard of the author or the book.  I mean, I go to a book club once a month for science fiction and fantasy and no one there had ever heard of this book.  How the heck did it get on the list.  The only conclusion that I could come to was that everyone that had read the book had voted for it.

This is a recent book and the first in the series.  I believe the series itself is what was nominated.  This adds to the intrigue as the third book has not even been released.  The second book was only recently released.  So I tracked down a copy of the book and gave it a read.

Plot-  It doesn't look like it is a "boy who would become king" story.  In fact, if the series name is an indicator, it is a "boy that would kill the king story."  It follows the story of Kvothe as he is telling it to the chronicler, so the truth behind the stories can be revealed.  There are many fantasy tropes here and they are handled well for the most part.  The story meanders a bit in places and poor Kvothe just can't catch a break.

Characters-There are only two characters that matter in this story; Kvothe and the girl.  The girl is an Enigma and although you get several names for her, the reader is never even given her real name.  Kvothe is almost too perfect though.  He is extremely smart, talented, and witty.  Girls want him and guys want to be him.  If it weren't for bad luck, the character would have no depth at all.  Despite is extreme intelligence, he seems to lack any sense at all.

Overall, it isn't a bad story.  I was upset to find out that the second book just came out and the third (final?) book isn't out.  It only took 4 years between books, so, I am not sure if it is worth reading the first two and having to wait a few years for the final installment.  If it even is the final installment.  While good, I am not sure it warrants a place on the top 20, or at least not on the merits of the first book alone.  If you like fantasy, you should enjoy this book quite a bit.  If you don't like fantasy due to repeating tropes, this has some, but not as many as others.  Safe for everyone.  My 10 year old is reading it.  


SteveB said...

I was sort of appalled that this series was on the NPR list, since at that time the second one hadn't even been released.

I almost stopped reading this one early on because it seemed like a cliche factory -- orphan kid, magic school, hidden talent, secret destiny, blah blah blah... I'm glad I didn't though because even though it was pretty well-trodden ground, the book drew me in and I enjoyed it.

I'm not going to rush out for the others though until the finale is in sight.

Budd said...

yeah, it is full of cliches and Kvothe is way to perfect, but I found myself liking the story and wanting to keep reading. It isn't a top 20 book though.

Max Silver said...

I actually LOVED this book, as well as the second in the series...I just hate that I'm going to have to wait so long for the final one D:

Anonymous said...

This is one I havent heard of but maybe will buy it for the Sci Fi Fans on my xmas list!

A Daft Scots Lass said...

Visiting from the Noughties Blogfest.

Donna Hole said...

Hmm, I'll put it on my TBR list. I'm not a huge YA fan though.