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19 October 2015

Book Review: The Name of the Wind

The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #1)The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well that was fun!

Not since the Harry Potter series have I been so excited to sit down and dive into someone's story. And a rather ingenious way of telling it.

Much like Rowling, Rothfuss has created an original world that intrigues and inspires. And characters that you ache to know better. Much like Pullman, Rothfuss refrains from over-explaining. There is no long discourse about who Tehlu is, but eventually, you figure it out, through context. There are still things I'm not sure of, words or concepts I don't understand. There's the wiki, of course, but I choose to just keep reading and, perhaps, discover the definition of the meaning within the writing itself.

But Rothfuss is far from derivative. His story, his ideas, are fresh and original. And entirely compelling.

Bits of wisdom and gotcha writing (meaning "gotcha thinking, didn't it?"):
"The difference is between saying something to a person, and saying something about a person. The first might be rude, but the second is always gossip."

"It's not as if I expect you to bound off looking for Haliax and the Seven yourself. 'Small deeds for small men,' I always say. I imagine the trouble is in finding the job small enough for men such as yourselves. But you are resourceful. You could pick trash, or check brothel beds for lice when you are visiting."

"The truth is this: I wasn't living in a story. Think of all the stories you've heard, Bast. You have a young boy, the hero. His parents are killed. He sets out for vengeance. What happens next?
"He finds help. A clever talking squirrel. An old drunken swordsman. A mad hermit in the woods. That sort of thing."
"Exactly! He finds the mad hermit in the woods, proves himself worthy, and learns the names of all things, just like Taborlin the Great. Then with these powerful magics at his beck and call, what does he do?"
"He finds the villains and kills them."
"Of course! Clean, quick, and easy as lying. We know how it ends practically before it starts.. That's why stories appeal to us. They give us the clarity and simplicity our real lives lack."

"But when you came down to it, nothing really frightened him, not storms, not tall ladders, not even the scrael. Bast was brave by being largely fearless. Nothing would turn him pale, or if it did, he didn't stay pale for long. Oh, certainly he didn't relish the thought of someone hurting him. Stabbing him with bitter iron, searing him with hot coals, that sort of thing. But just because he didn't like the thought of his blood on the outside didn't mean he was really afraid of those things. He just didn't want them to happen. To really fear something you have to dwell on it. And since there was nothing that preyed on Bast's waking mind in this fashion, there was nothing his heart truly feared."

"Imre offered what every artist needs most--an appreciative, affluent audience."

"We talked through the long hours of the night. I spoke subtle circles around the way I felt, not wanting to be overbold. I thought she might be doing the same, but I could never be sure. It was like we were doing one of those elaborate Modegan court dances, where the partners stand scant inches apart, but--if they are skilled--never touch. Such was our conversation. But not only were we lacking touch to guide us, it was as if we were also strangely deaf. So we danced carefully, unsure what music the other was listening to, unsure, perhaps, if the other was dancing at all."

"...accent so thick and oily you could almost taste it."

"Using words to talk of words is like using a pencil to draw a picture of itself, on itself. Impossible. Confusing. Frustrating."

"No. Cruel is a good word for her. But I think you are saying cruel and thinking something else. Denna is not wicked, or mean, or spiteful. She is cruel. Denna is a wild thing. Like a hind or a summer storm. If a storm blows down your house, or breaks a tree, you don't say the storm was mean. It was cruel. It acted according to its nature and something unfortunately was hurt."

"There's a fundamental connection between seeing and being. Every Fae child knows this, but you mortals never seem to see. We understand how dangerous a mask can be. We all become what we pretend to be."

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