Friday, October 28, 2011

The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss

This book, the first of The Kingkiller Chronicle, starts off slowly, building a solid frame for the main character's life story. 

Although the device of a framed story (the story within a story) is no longer recommended for writers today, Rothfuss makes it work.  This is not just my personal opinion, as published authors Brandon Sanderson,  Dan Wells, and Howard Tayler of the popular Writing Excuses podcast are of the same opinion.  They discourage new writers from using the device, though, because it's tricky to get it right, and when it fails, it's a doozy.

Rothfuss makes it look easy to tell a story within a story, and I'm looking forward to the next book!

Main character Kote is actually living in hiding, and he is recognized by someone who wants more than anything to collect his story. He says it will take three days to tell, which is why the subtitles of the books include "Day 1" or "Day 2 of the Kingkiller Chronicle." The large books seem like far too much to be written in a single day (even with shorthand), but for the sake of the story, I will put aside any doubts as to the stamina of the hand and arm of the Chronicler.

The story is sweeping, the main character compelling, and his story is grand in scope. It contains tragedy, hardship, opportunities lost and taken, romance, education, magic, and cleverness, among many other elements. This is a story I love to recommend to others that love to read.

I had loaned out my copy of this book, and recently found it on my friend's bookshelf.  "Are you done with this one?" I asked, and he said he was. But his mother-in-law asked for it before I could walk out the door, and now I'm waiting for it again.

To console myself, I treated myself to the Audible ( audiobook, which is beautifully read by reader Nick Podehl. My husband is also listening to the story, and is at an earlier place than I am, but I never mind listening to the story, wherever it is in the timeline. That says a lot about how much I like the writing, the story, and the reader!

If you are looking for a new fantasy series to try, give this one a shot. It's got good storytelling, good characterization, good action, good tragedy, and excellent readability. This is a story that sticks in your mind, and maybe even deeper.

Happy reading!

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