Some innkeepers are just friendly entrepreneurs, but some had lives before and one is a myth in his own time. The Name of the Wind is the first book in Patrick Rothfuss’ The Kingkiller Chronicles as the mysterious innkeeper Kote recounts the actual events of his life to a chronicler whose come looking for him.
After dealing with polite bandits, a chronicler finds a man building up a fire off the road and the two are attacked by spider-like monsters and the chronicler is knocked out. Waking up two days later the chronicler finds that the man is the innkeeper where he’s sleeping and who he was looking for to write down his life. The innkeeper, Kote, says the chronicler has the wrong person only to be confronted by his real name, Kvothe, and agrees if he tells it over three days which the chronicler agrees to. Throughout the next day around the events of patrons and Kvothe’s fae student Bast, Kvothe tells the events of his early life from travelling with his parents among the performing troop they led, their murder by the mythical The Chandrian, and his three years surviving in the streets of Tarbean before finding a way to the University and being admitted thanks to the yearlong schooling—in both mundane and “magical” disciplines—he had from an arcanist Abenthy who travelled with this troupe. Once in the University, Kvothe gets on the bad side of several Masters and another student, Ambrose, in his first few days through he rises through the ranks of students quickly but is also banded from the University’s Archives. Kvothe describes his studies and battle against poverty over several terms, as well as his rivalry with Ambrose, before adding the element of his lute and singing at a nearby tavern where he meets Denna who begins becoming an obsession to him. After escaping an attempt on his life by Ambrose, Kvothe learns about a Chandrian attack and travels to the village meets up with Denna and has a run in with a drug-addled draccus to save the village. Returning to the University, Ambrose destroys Kvothe’s lute which results in Kvothe using “the name of the wind” wounding Ambrose which results in his getting whipped though advanced in the standings of the University with a new Master sponsor. The book ends with the leader of the bandits that stole from Chronicler come into the inn though it’s a demon in the man’s skin, killing one of the patrons while the blacksmith’s apprentice kills it. Later that night, Bast confronts Chronicler that his job is to make Kvothe a hero again over the next two days or something unpleasant would happen to him.
The hype surrounding this book made me cautious as I began reading it not wanting to heighten my expectations, which resulted in me getting interested in the story until the scene shifted to the University resulting in the book become tedious until Kvothe finally left for his excursion and interaction with the draccus. Frankly a lot of this book I felt was a different version of Harry Potter, which isn’t fair to Rothfuss especially when the action picks up in the flashback narrative or the Waystone Inn scenes of which the later I back looking forward too because they were more engaging.
The Name of the Wind is an overall nice book and hopefully sets up a lot more exciting stuff in the next two books of Patrick Rothfuss’ trilogy. While I personally didn’t buy into the hype that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t finish the trilogy, at this point at least, because there are very engaging scenes that Rothfuss writes that make the book a page turner.