Margaret (pling) wrote,
Margaret
pling

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"The Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss

This next book (number 7) isn't for a book club, instead it's something I'd got out from the library and now it's overdue & I can't renew it so I thought it should be next on the list ;) It's the first of a trilogy (I think book 2 is published soon), and I think is the first book by this author. In some ways this is fairly typical stuff - boy grows up to be something special, youngest admitted to the magical university, best ever student etc etc. But in other ways it's not at all. To start off with the story really starts at the end - Kvothe is now an innkeeper in a remote village, waiting out the rest of his life. Some sort of disaster is looming or overtaking the rest of the world, and this is when Chronicler arrives to get Kvothe to tell his tale so it can be written down. So we get the first part of the story of his life knowing that somehow it's all gone awry later. Which isn't just a framing device either, there's a story in the "now" interludes, too.

Kvothe was born a travelling player - so he learns from a young age to act, to tell stories, to play music & sing. Stories and playing a part are themes within the broader story too - and more than once Kvothe's knowledge of how the story should go get him into trouble. That's one of the things I really enjoyed about this book - yes, Kvothe is the best & brightest and a proper "hero from the tales" but this is precisely what gets him into trouble all the time. And you're never many pages from a reminder that he's just a teenage boy for most of this story. A pretty full of himself teenage boy at that - but he's still a sympathetic protagonist, and I'm definitely interested in reading the next two books and seeing how we get from the boy to the man of the "present day" interludes.

And I have a niggling suspicion that once you've read the whole lot there are things in this one that will pop into a different focus - particularly the stories that various story-tellers tell during it. And the words of the songs that get quoted, there's truth even in the children's rhymes if you know how to look at it. And it's probably important that this is Kvothe's story as told by Kvothe with the benefit of hindsight and as told when the past is catching up with him somehow.
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