Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

iconiconWhew! It's not often a book takes me an entire week to read, but then again, not many books are as long as this one.  On my Nook The Name of the Wind comes up as 711 pages, which is more accurate than usual for an ebook (the paperback is 722 pages).

Anyway, Michael has been harassing me about reading this book for a long time.  Patrick Rothfuss is one of his favorite authors; he even reads his blog regularly.  Finally he offered to buy me the ebook if I would read it right away.  How could I say no to that?

I have to admit it, though — he was right!  It was a wonderful book, and even though it took me a week to read it, I felt like I couldn't put it down.  I guess I was busier than usual — I know that several evenings I was too tired to read for long.

Michael compared The Name of the Wind to Harry Potter when he was trying to describe it to me, and I see a vague similarity, but that's about it.  The main character, Kvothe (or Kote), tells the story of his youth, of going to the university to study magic (referred to as sympathy in the book), but other than that it's as different from Harry Potter as night and day — far darker and more serious.  Harry Potter seems to focus a lot on homework, exams, and silly stuff like Harry sleeping in a closet under the stairs or magic giving his cousin a pig's tail.  In The Name of the Wind, on the other hand, Kvothe loses his family in a terrible massacre (and reading about the actual massacre is much different than Harry just knowing his parents died when he was a baby) and is forced to beg and live on the streets for the next several years of his life.  Also, instead of focusing on homework, there is much more about Kvothe's quest to find out more about the creatures that killed his parents, his constant rule-breaking (he gets whipped as punishment!), the fact that the university has an insane asylum to house all the students who have gone nuts because of their studies, and the rather sinister efforts of one of his fellow students to have him killed.

Now, some of these things sound rather similar to what happens in Harry Potter, but I assure you, they come across as much different.  J.K. Rowling tends to keep Harry Potter pretty light, but The Name of the Wind is anything but that.

This is just the first book of a much larger story — the second book came out just recently.  Michael is currently reading the hardback, which he purchased, but I'm going to get the ebook out from the library.  It's a bit longer, so it may take me a little while to read, but I'm going to read a couple of other things first.  I need a short break from overly long books!

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