Dear THE NAME OF THE WIND by Patrick Rothfuss: I FINALLY READ YOU!!!

Dear The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss,

We have skirted around each other for many years, you and I. Countless friends and fellow bookworms have recommended that I read you. Upon learning that I love The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, people have jumped on the opportunity to recommend you time and time again. I actually started reading you a summer or two ago but had to return you to the library because a new semester of college started. However, I am now happy to say that I have finally, finally read you, The Name of the Wind. And I have many, many thoughts.

Did you live up to your immense hype? Yes. I must admit that you do read like Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter, in the sense that I think you have the potential to become a classic, enduring work of fantasy. Rothfuss is an impressive world-builder who has created a realm of characters, lore, beliefs, and a magic system that is easy to fully lose yourself in. One of my pet peeves in fantasy series is when magic systems or the idea of magic in general is stereotypical, unoriginal, or just downright nonsensical. In my opinion, the best magic systems are those that have an internal logic to them. When I read about a magic system I want to be able to buy into it easily, and that is precisely what you offer here with the Arcanum.

My favorite part of you is absolutely the way you are written. You are a classic story within a story, but done on a grand over-1000 page scale. From the little inn Kvothe runs to his tragic childhood and surprising journey to find the answers he’s been seeking ever since the death of his parents, you really give us an expansive look into Kvothe’s life. Not only does this framework of Kvothe’s past add great depth to the story, but it also helps break it up and makes you more manageable to read as such a long novel. Most importantly, your writing is beautifully and intricately detailed without being too flowery or over-the-top. I’ve said it a million times before and I’ll say it again: I’m a sucker for good writing. Fortunately, you are no exception.

However, despite all of your strengths, I do have some qualms that I would like to mention. My least favorite part of you is Denna, a woman Kvothe romantically pursues for what feels like forever. I must admit that you fell a bit flat for me as soon as Denna became a more central figure in the plot. I didn’t like how Denna was characterized as the stereotypical token female love interest. One of the only things we knew about Denna’s backstory was that she made her way through life by seducing wealthy men because she had no other way to earn a living. Personally, I feel like you took the lazy way out a bit with this character. She could have had a fascinating backstory with a multifaceted personality, and instead we see another flat, inexplicably beautiful female love interest who only exists to serve the plot. You definitely lost some of your oomph as a story once Kvothe started exclusively focusing on winning Denna over.

Unfortunately, I also thought that your last third was a bit disappointing compared to everything up until that point. Your pace was slower, your focus singular (on Denna), and it lacked the suspenseful, gripping, thought-provoking, meticulously designed feeling that the rest of you evoked. Perhaps a lag like this is bound to happen in a longer book; however, it seemed like you deserved a more climactic, cohesive ending than the one you received.

Regardless, that fact of the matter is that you impressed me, The Name of the Wind. After listing you on my TBR week after week, month after month, and year after year, it is so strange and wonderful to be able to say that I have finally read you. And I am so glad that I did. I can’t wait to read your sequel–and, if it is ever published, your third installment. Countless people recommended you to me, and it is time that I pay that forward here: If you haven’t read The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss yet, PLEASE DO.

Yours,

HOLLY

30 Replies to “Dear THE NAME OF THE WIND by Patrick Rothfuss: I FINALLY READ YOU!!!”

  1. What a fun way to write a book review! I’d really like to check this one out, but I must admit I’ve been a bit hesitant to pick it up ever since I heard how rubbish Rothfuss is at writing women. I mean I think I saw another reviewer mention that Kvothe’s father has a name, but his mother’s name is never mentioned, and when authors decide to write an entirely new world it’s so frustrating to see women delegated to the typical, boring roles of the seductress or the mother.

    I am still interested in checking this out at some point, though, but I think I’ll wait until the series is complete. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oooh yeah that’s a great point about Kvothe’s mother–I don’t remember if she has a name, but I would say her characterization is pretty flat as well, along the lines of Denna’s. Still, if you’re interested in reading it and can get past the bad writing of women aspect, then I’d definitely recommend it!

      Like

    2. Kvothe’s mom’s name is actually a fairly important plot point when you get into the second book and it may turn out to be integral to Kvothe’s story when the third book comes out.

      I loved these books. Had my own minor issues. I think Pat does a great job with other female characters. A lot of people like Devi.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I DEEPLY dislike Denna. I’m so happy to find someone who agrees. Fortunately there’s Ari and Devi to make up for her (imho). There’s more Denna to come, I’m afraid! But generally I’m glad you liked it!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I plan to read this…but I’m waiting until the publication date of the third book is announced. I have heard far too many people complain about the cliffhanger ending of book two, and I do not want to do that to my epic-fantasy loving heart. I don’t want to put it through that long wait. So both The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear will continue to take up space on my bookshelves and sit unread until I know that I will get the conclusion to the story.

    Great letter/review!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The description of Denna that we get throughout Kvothe’s story is just that, Kvothe’s. This is how he ( a 15 year old bold) viewed her. He is entirely inept at understanding women. This is clear in his relationships with Devi, Fela, and evening Mola (this point does not apply as much to Auri as he see’s her as a child more than a women). His view of Denna is a warped one, which is specifically stated by Bast and Kvothe when he first tried to describe her.
    It is undeniable that the Denna portrayed in Kvothe’s story is a prototypical love interest who must be saved. But this is a story with in a story. And all good stories contain lies (as Kvothe admits). So we may yet learn that Denna is not what she seems. Or we may not.
    Rothfuss may really just be bad at writing a female lead. Or he could be masterfully portraying how 15 year old boys see women (speaking as someone who was once a 15 year old boy). Kvothe’s life at the time he meets Denna is undeniably tragic. And Denna may be his escapist delusion of a better life. A life that he has yet to realize does not exist. Because he has yet to see her for who she truly is. He does not even know her true name, only the name she has given him. And both proper seeing and true naming are integral themes of the King Killer Chronicles.
    So I guess my long winded point is, do not jump the gun in your judgement of Denna. She has many layers the are still to be seen.

    Like

    1. This is a great a point, in that I have not read the sequel yet and therefore do not know what lies in store for Denna’s character. But what my review perhaps did not make clear is that my issue with Denna is less about her as a specific character but as yet another flat, stereotypical female love interest in the fantasy genre. It would not bother me nearly as much if Rothfuss presented us with a fully fleshed out, non-stereotyped female character to counter Denna, but as far as I am concerned he does not. Ari is portrayed as more childlike or even creature-like than as a woman; Devi, while interesting, appears in but a few flashes of the novel; and Fela, who is perhaps my favorite female character in this book, is still a woman saved by Kvothe and then is used for the debt she owes him in order to further his own plans. Why can’t we see a woman in a position like Simmon, Wilem, or Bast?
      I’m excited to read the next book and see if any of this changes–hopefully for the better!

      Like

  5. I was so worried I wouldn’t like this but it ended up being great! (Even though it took months for me to finish…) However, I definitely agree with you about Denna and the last section of the story. Maybe her characterisation improves in book 2?
    I’d like to read the sequel but knowing that the next one is still nowhere in sight makes me want to wait.
    Great review Holly. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ll put this on my tbr list, it sounds right up my alley! I’ve recommended this one before, but the way you describe your preference for the portrayal of magic, I think you would probably like The Fifth Season. And it has a strong female lead to boot. (Written by a female.) I’d be really interested to read your book review of it. Anyway thanks for this recommendation!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is a very well-written review, Holly! I have this on my TBR for so long and everyone keeps pushing me to read it too, but I’ve been avoiding it because it’s just so huge 😀 If I’m being honest, it does sound like something I would enjoy so I really need to just read it.

    I’m glad you find the writing and world building to be amazing, but I’m sorry to hear the latter part of the book didn’t suit you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!! I was a bit intimidated by it at first as well (which is why it took me years to finally read it haha) but it’s so well written that it goes pretty quickly and it’s definitely worth it ❤ Hope you enjoy it whenever you decide to pick it up!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s