The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
Told in Kvothe’s own voice, this is the tale of the magically gifted young man who grows to be the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen.
The intimate narrative of his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-ridden city, his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, and his life as a fugitive after the murder of a king form a gripping coming-of-age story unrivaled in recent literature.
Probably one of the best modern fantasy novels I’ve read. The Name of the Wind wasn’t as explicitly fantastical and you might expect, and the subtlety of the magic and other fantastical elements gave the book a feeling of realism often not found in the genre. I also loved how Kvothe included stories within his story. Learning about the mythology of his land in the haphazard way that he would have learned it, rather than the linear way so often presented to us, was captivating.
But what really set The Name of the Wind apart from other fantasy novels was the writing. Rothfuss kept me interested and anticipating without resorting to silly cliffhangers. The lack of gratuitous swearing and sexual content was like a breath of fresh air. The characters seemed real to me, probably because they are so believably imperfect. At times they were even ridiculous, recalling the absurdity of my favorite Jane Austen characters. The descriptions were vivid enough for me to see the book as I read it, but vague enough for my own imagination to take over. It was easy to read, but not because it was amateurish. The Name of the Wind was just plain well-written, in every aspect of the word. I really enjoyed it, and I can’t wait to find out what happens next.