Reviews: The Kingkiller Chronicle
A very, very, VERY special series
If you read or listen to the description of this series given by anyone, or even read the description on the back of the books, you may believe that these are run of the mill fantasy books. However, that couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, Name of the Wind is the youngest novel to be featured on NPR's 100 greatest sci-fi fantasy books. It sits proudly alongside such classics as Ender's Game and Lord of the Rings, and it belongs there. What's so good about Kingkiller? You might not realize once you first start reading. However, as you get further in, it becomes clearer that you're reading an artistic work with a soul that is not present in most literature, fantasy or otherwise. The first thing that begins to stand out is the writing. To put it short: it's beautiful. Rothfuss fills his story with profound truths about life and love, that he seems to pull out both casually and effortlessly. Kvothe tells us what he's learned from life in a voice that is at once cynical, passionate, and occasionally poetic. The second are the characters. Many of the people who live in Rothfuss's world speak and act in a way that not only makes them likable, but makes you genuinely wish to know them, to read about them and spend time with them. Unlike many modern writers, the people Rothfuss creates are not bundles of flaws and angst with the flimsy excuse that it makes them realistic. They are human beings who can be looked at as either ugly, beautiful, or hilarious, including Kvothe himself. Speaking of Kvothe, these books deserve mention for their portrayal of what actually leads to "heroic" behavior. Kvothe is brilliant, but he is also impulsive, reckless, arrogant, and has an unfortunate tendency to act without thinking. These traits almost get him killed many times, and also occasionally lead to him doing something "heroic" if your definition on that term is loose. But stories are told, and he's soon remembered as something far greater than what he was. Finally, there's the magic. A lot of thought went into how the magic of Name of the Wind works. I can't explain it here, but suffice it to say Physics majors may love these books for "sympathy", while fantasy nerds will be captivated by the author's unique take on Naming magic. Once you start, these books will eat your life until you finish. Read them!