BOOK REVIEW: THE NAME OF THE WIND OR A STUDY OF SPOILERS



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. A high-action story written with a poet's hand, The Name of the Wind is a masterpiece that will transport readers into the body and mind of a wizard.






Ironically enough, the review below is entirely devoid of spoilers.




This book is a spoiler.

Contrary to popular belief, not everyone has a particular beef with spoilers. In my twenty years around the sun, I've met a handful of humans who, in fact, take no issue with being told what happens later on in a story they're following, across any medium.

This concept is entirely alien to me. I will cut you if you spoil me. (And it'll be a paper cut. The really painful kind.)

These extraterrestrials' explanation as to why they don't mind spoilers, however, makes sense. (In a purely hypothetical sort of way, of course.) They say, you see, that knowing what occurs at the end doesn't lessen their curiosity to see why it happens. They still wonder how this sort of thing comes about, and their primary enjoyment is in the why, not the what.

Again, aliens. But also, I reluctantly admit, aliens with a pretty good point.

Which brings me back to this book being a spoiler. On the back cover, in the synopsis, in the very title, and in introductory chapters, quite a lot is revealed about Kvothe, the story's protagonist. He has presumably slain a king (!). He has presumably burned town(s) to the ground (!). Presumably, he was a gifted prodigy at an Arcane University who was expelled before most were allowed in (!). Kvothe reveals all this. And Kvothe reveals more.

The Name of The Wind is an unraveling of Kvothe's life in retrospect. The book spoils you completely before it takes off. The book tells you exactly what to expect. And then the book rewinds to Kvothe's formative years and, despite knowing the what, it makes you wonder about the why. No, it makes you sweat and agonize about the why.

Turns out the extraterrestrials make a fair point.

For me personally, this was even more pronounced. Once upon a time, at around sixteen, I picked this book up at my best friend's incentive. I read a good portion of it before life happened. Or before my attention span happened. Or before, for all I know, something really shiny happened. You could jingle a pair of keys in front of me at sixteen and drag my attention away. I wasn't like Kvothe. I didn't become a complete genius until seventeen.

And though it's been quite a few years since, I did have vague memories of certain scenes from the book now that I've resolved to read it straight through again. Now that I'm a genius and all. Again, it was at my best friend's incentive. (You can say a lot about my attention span, but certainly not about my choice of friends.) And alongside the vague memories, there were facets of Kvothe's personality and life which I knew, for the cold, hard facts they were. More spoilers.

Did it stop me from bawling/sweating/eating my nails with the same abandon I would a crème brûlée? No. It did not. Not all the facts in this book, laid out in chronological order, could ever truly spoil a thing. Because the devil is in the details.

And by devil, I may or may not mean Kvothe.

And that's another thing entirely. You are told the legend, but you are given a man. Not all the outrageous stories can be true. So who's to say those facts you were initially given are facts at all? Cue the unreliable narrator. Or rather, cue the unreliable nature of legends.

And therein lies this book's utter brilliance. It takes a special kind of skill and a large pair of brass doorknockers to give it all up upfront and trust that the protagonist's voice and story are strong enough to carry a story the same as if nothing had been revealed at all.

The man is a red-haired child prodigy/Mensa hipster/gifted magician who has stolen princesses, murdered kings, set towns on fire, talked to gods, written songs that make the minstrels weep, slain (corporeal and inner)  demons, collected stories, studied magic, bound his lungs to the wind and memorized just about everything he's ever heard. The man has almost literally lived out every fantasy plot you've ever known before he was thirty!

Doesn't that make you want to know the how?

This is the how: you kinda have to be there. Which is bookspeak for READ THE BOOK.

Trust me. You really, really have to be there.








If you are still here before going off and being there, however, you are a wonderful soul and I thank you. In return, I will set this book in your hands and send you on your merry way now. If you're still feeling generous, leave us a comment below letting us know if you have read The Name of the Wind (and how you enjoyed it), or if you have yet to read it. If you've read the sequel and the novella, too, then you know the rule...

... no spoilers. ;)





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BOOK REVIEW: THE NAME OF THE WIND OR A STUDY OF SPOILERS
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6 comments

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LightHowl
16 December 2015 at 16:12

YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEES!!! I am so happy you finally read it!!! WOO!!! Now you just gotta read the 2nd one and the novella so we can brainstorm to figure out what the hell is going to happen in the 3rd one!!! :)

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16 December 2015 at 18:37

KVOTHE WILL BE STORYTELLING! (What do you MEAN, "That is a ridiculous prediction"?!)

YOU'RE TO BLAME FOR ABSOLUTELY NO SLEEP I'VE GOTTEN THIS WEEK! AND FOR MY CURRENT LACK OF FINGERNAILS! That poison dagger had better be MAGICAL!

- Lexie

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18 December 2015 at 02:39

This book has been on my TBR for ages and I so want to read it now :D :D Also, I should buy it. I LOVE how it spoils itself. How unique. It sounds like he pulls it off, too ;)

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20 December 2015 at 08:49

GAH YOU MAKE ME WANT TO READ THIS SO BAD. Your reviews are entirely wonderful by the way. ENTIRELY. Just so you know. *nods* So basically this'll be a project for 2016. *adds it to immense to-do list* I actually don't like spoilers from people, but if it's how the book is told I have no problem with it. xD Like I enjoy murder mysteries where you get presented with the murder straight up, and then you work backwards. FUN. not that, um, murders are fun. Just that...gah, you know what I mean. MUUUURDER. *composes self*
I need to go and make sure this is on my goodreads tbr. XD

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21 December 2015 at 15:22

I only-slightly-except-totally-and-utterly recommend it! I've always wanted to understand why it was so revered in the Fantasy circles, and now I do and I feel all knowledgeable. I'm twirling my mustache and nodding somberly at the critics over my glass of liqueur. COME JOIN ME, IT'S MORE FUN THAN IT SOUNDS! :)

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21 December 2015 at 15:25

BUT... BUT... YOU MAKE SUCH A GOOD POINT, THOUGH! I LOVE murder mysteries! I grew up on murder mysteries! And this book is almost presented as a MUUUUUUUUUUUURDER mystery! Ahhh, no wonder this format appealed to me! THE MYSTERY HAS BEEN SOLVED! PUN INTENDED!

Cait... thinks... my reviews... are... entirely... wonderful. (Never mind me, just sewing it on a shirt. And a tote bag. And a hat. And the moon.)

- Lexie

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