1. Welcome to the Fantasy Writing Forums. Register Now to join us.

[Reading Group] May 2014: The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Discussion in 'Novels & Stories' started by Philip Overby, Apr 26, 2014.

  1. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

    6,008
    1,660
    213
    I was under the impression that some of what Kvothe says isn't completely true. Perhaps that ties in to the whole super smart, super powerful character type. If he's telling a story about himself, maybe he'd be telling about himself the best way he can?

    I stopped reading this the past couple of days though because I'm trying to pick which book I want to read for the June group. I'm reading a bunch of samples before I make my decision. I have full intention of finishing this book though as I have really enjoyed it so far. I wouldn't mind a bit more fantasy in it, as most of the parts with Kvothe are pretty much non-fantasy. When he tells some stories about Lanre/Haliax etc. the fantasy element spills into it more. I'm assuming he gets magic and such later on because he's about to go to the university and everyone says this is the "Harry Potter" part.
     
  2. ACSmyth

    ACSmyth Minstrel

    73
    15
    8
    I've got halfway through and I've set it aside for now. I'll go back to it, but it's not holding my attention. I've picked up another couple of books and once I've finished them I'll read Gone Girl, then I'll probably go back to this one. I'll maybe skip the July book to get this finished up, depending on what's selected.

    With all the hype I expected something amazing. It's well written, but it's not bringing anything very new to the table. Enjoyable enough, but not what I was expecting at all.

    I'm also wondering if I need to get away from fantasy for a bit. I've read almost nothing but fantasy for the past two years solid, so maybe I need to change it up a little.
     
  3. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

    6,008
    1,660
    213
    I feel the same. I've been reading fantasy non-stop for years now and I feel every time I read outside the genre it's like a breath of fresh air. I love fantasy so much, but I think sometimes it's good to mix things up a bit. I really like The Name of the Wind, but I'm up to the point where he gets to the University. I'll probably do the same as you and finish it after Gone Girl (which is one of the easiest reads of my whole life with the exception of an Elmore Leonard book I read).

    I do like this book a lot, but I feel like it's filled a hole left by Robert Jordan in some way. I believe Rothfuss and Sanderson are both very good writers and they're providing the kind of fantasy that Jordan did. Sort of the new "fantasy standards" so to speak. If someone was new to fantasy I'd definitely recommend Rothfuss. He's accessible and a great writer, but if you're read as much fantasy as a lot of us have, maybe it's not doing enough to shake things up?

    I'm curious how the rest of the book turns out though because I do like Kvothe as a character. I'll have to finish it up later though. Gone Girl has my undivided attention now. Hell, I'm waking up in the morning and reading it, something I never do. :)
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2014
  4. ACSmyth

    ACSmyth Minstrel

    73
    15
    8
    You see, with Stormlight Archive I'm gripped in a way I'm not with Name of the Wind. It's a different sort of world than I've seen before. In terms of prose, Rothfuss wins, but in terms of keeping me coming back for more, Sanderson has it nailed.
     
  5. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

    6,008
    1,660
    213
    I have the first Stormlight Archive book, but got about 100 pages in before I started reading something else. The main reason? I have it in hardback. I can't bring myself to get the book on Kindle since it was a gift from my wife. For that very reason I should finish it. :)

    I do feel Sanderson's worlds and characters feel more interesting to me, but like you said Rothfuss's prose works better for me as well.
     
  6. ACSmyth

    ACSmyth Minstrel

    73
    15
    8
    Don't look now, Philip, but I think we might just have agreed on a book. Or at least, as close as makes no odds. ;)
     
  7. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

    6,008
    1,660
    213
    Yeah, I thought about saying that, but was hoping you'd notice first. :)

    My thoughts so far: I like the book, but I guess I've yet to have that "wow" moment. The coolest part for me so far has been them discovering the spider-like thing at the beginning. For some reason I really like that part. I have gone through this novel faster than some of our other reading group books. I guess it goes like this for me so far.

    Fastest: Gone Girl most definitely (actually losing sleep over this one)
    Prince of Thorns
    The Name of the Wind
    Swordspoint
    Slowest: His Majesty's Dragon

    If June goes pretty well for our non-fantasy themed month, I might consider asking if people might want to try another one. Sometimes a change of pace is just what you need.
     
    ACSmyth likes this.
  8. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

    6,008
    1,660
    213
    So I'm at the University part of the book now and the story has slowed to a crawl for me. I think this is mostly because the cast suddenly exploded. There are nine masters, other students, etc. to keep up with. I know this is one of the major reasons people love this book so much because it has similarities to Harry Potter with this section, but I'm having trouble getting through it. I've liked most of the novel up to this point, but can't put my finger on why it's slowed down so much for me.
     
  9. Ankari

    Ankari Hero Breaker Moderator

    2,612
    867
    113
    Did you like Harry Potter? I never read it, so I'm curious to see if it's because you may feel you've read this story before. You'll meet some interesting characters at the University, and you'll meet characters that frustrated me because of how they fit the cliche role (A love that he cannot love, a cocky noble antagonist, and an eccentric teacher).
     
  10. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

    6,008
    1,660
    213
    I do like the Harry Potter movies, which I assume aren't much different (plotwise) from the books. I find myself having this whole "been there, done that" feeling with a lot of books lately, so maybe reading Gone Girl was a good idea.

    I feel like Rothfuss is an excellent writer, but there are just parts of the story, although well done, I just feel like I wish had more...I don't know...spark to them? I don't know if that makes sense.
     
  11. monyo

    monyo Scribe

    32
    4
    8
    Seeing as May is over and I think a lot of people have already finished or are already moving on, I wanted to post something that I found kind of odd about the way the story unfolded. I said at one point that parts of it seemed kind of predictable, and several things didn't turn out quite like I expected, but I'm also not sure why. It seems like the author passed up some opportunities that would have made everything tie together a bit better.

    It seems implied at several points that Denna's mysterious patron will turn out to be Ambrose. Ambrose plays the lyre, her unnamed patron also gave her a lyre. Right after the part where two thugs, hired by Ambrose, try to knife up Kvothe, he coincidentally overhears something about the Chandrian appearing in Trebon, such that he needs to rush off there. It's already been shown that Ambrose basically has huge portions of the town in his pocket, to the point where he can afford to get Kvothe kicked out of all but one inn, and keep Threpe from being able to find him a patron. Then when Kvothe shows up in Trebon, Denna is there having been lured to the exact same wedding by her lyre-loving patron, who... wait for it... convinced her to let him smack her around a bit just before Kvothe shows up. Add to this that when he initially shows up and asks about the wedding, most of the town immediately goes quiet... kind of like they'd been paid off and knew he was coming? Add to all this that Kvothe had already said, "I burned down the town of Trebon," which is a bit different from "some random beast started a huge fire and I barely stopped it from killing everyone." He also heavily implies a woman (who is most likely Denna) will betray him at some point, and coincidentally she's somehow the only one to escape the fire? Really? And her patron needs to beat her a little so others won't be suspicious?

    You can see where I went into all this thinking that Ambrose was Denna's patron. She even leaves Kvothe the note about her new patron immediately after he stands her up without warning, Deoch telling him that she'd instead been pulled off by someone else who showed up in his place. It would have made considerably more sense for the wedding massacre to have not been the Chandrian - instead Denna, known to be a bit dishonest with her constant lying about her name (which is incredibly suspicious and a huge red flag, honestly), would have been pulled into a plot by Ambrose to lure Kvothe to Trebon, where he could actually murder him (or something) safely away from the University. Ambrose hits Denna as a way of indirectly getting at Kvothe, then pays off most of Trebon as part of the plot. Kvothe somehow gets out of it and ends up burning down the town in the escape attempt, or just as revenge, since the entire town had been paid off to help fake the wedding and not warn him what Ambrose was up to.

    Now, add to all this that right before he runs off, when he's still running from the two knifers, he randomly encounters Elodin in the roof, who tells him the name of the windy courtyard place is actually [something something, can't remember], or "House of the Wind" (may have gotten that part wrong)... so he basically told him the word for "wind" in some other particular language, like he knows about the whole thing and is giving Kvothe the knowledge/power he needs to get out of Ambrose's Trebon plot.. but only if he's clever enough to realize the meaning of this chance encounter. It would have even tied in better with the title of the book, if Name of the Wind was chosen over Name of Fire or Name of Stone specifically because that was the tool Kvothe used to escape the big climatic betrayal at the end.

    But instead, none of that happens. Everything basically just unfolds the simplest way, without really weaving any of those threads together. I'm even far enough into the second book to say with fair certainty that it isn't just being saved for a later unveil. It's like there was the awesome opportunity to tie it all together in that way, but instead all these hints get thrown out, just to misdirect you... the problem is that the misdirection only ends in a less satisfying outcome, imo. He makes you think a really clever plot is afoot and it's going to be awesome, and while the stuff that does happen is actually quite good, it leaves all those separate strands of story dangling. The chance encounter was really just a chance encounter that didn't need to happen at that particular moment. The stuff that Denna does is just part of her character, not tied together with some grander plot arc. I'd like to think Rothfuss had a good reason for having it unfold this way (and perhaps he did), but it does seem like he chose the less interesting story arc. It's not "predictable" to me, but only because I was expecting something more interesting to happen.

    The best theory I can think of is what someone said about Kvothe being an unreliable narrator. He's making half the story up to cover up the way things really unfolded, and he's telling it off the cuff so he occasionally realizes halfway through, "Oh man, this is going to look bad. Lemme just change the subject a little." He's not actually quite so masterful a storyteller that he has the whole day's narration planned out ahead of time, that's just part of his mystique he builds up. That would explain why at certain points the story just seems to drop a certain subplot and pick another one up, and occasionally a few things don't add up the way you'd expect. Still, kind of seems like a forced interpretation, compared to the author just picking plotline A over plotline B.
     
Loading...

Share This Page