A few years ago after a friend pointed me to Patrick Rothfuss and Scott Lynch as modern fantasy writers. I remember the sample chapter of The Lies of Locke Lamora
(Lynch's first book) quite clearly: it was so unique, so gripping... I've never hit the Buy Now button so quickly. In contrast, my memory of the sample from The Name of the Wind
was more vague. I remembered noticing that (1) it started in a tavern, (2) with a rather meek barkeeper as the protagonist, and (3) felt rather cliche overall. I didn't finish the first chapter.
I went on to read other things instead, while Mr. Rothfuss rapidly ascended to become one of the best-known and best-selling fantasy authors in the world. I finally realized that I'd probably missed something. So I got the full book and gave it a shot. I'm SO glad that I did.The Name of the Wind
has a unique narrative structure: the opening and certain chapters are told from 3rd person POV as Kvothe recounts his story to a professional chronicler. Aside from brief, groan-inducing visits back to the tavern, most of the story is told in Kvothe's engaging first person point of view. That's where this book caught up to Lynch's great beginning: the story of an orphan trying to survive in a very rough world, and aspiring to make himself the best at something. When I reached that point, I was hooked.
Mr. Rothfuss possesses a lovely writing style and exceptional worldbuilding skills. Undoubtedly, that's a large part of why he's done so well. Admittedly, I found myself a bit dissatisfied with the narrative of The Name of the Wind
, because it wanders somewhat off-course in the latter third of the book. My biggest problem was with the ending, because it resolves very little. I love a good series as much as anyone, but I think I would have preferred a story that could stand on its own.
That said, I'm certainly eager to read the next book, which tells me that the author just might know what he's doing after all.