I have to admit I’m lukewarm on this book. In many ways, there’s a lot of talent in these pages. At certain points, I caught glimpses of Rothfuss’ skill – I cared for the characters, I was intrigued by the plot, the dialogue had a nice twist.
Unfortunately, those elements rarely felt like they were all working together for me. I struggled with how to put my finger on it, and I think it comes down to this: The story is a fantastic concept. I simply would have told it in a different way.
Name of the Wind is told in multiple layers, stories within a story. At times, this worked really well for me. Others, not so much.
Layer 1: Real Time
These were some of my favorite scenes. I actually wished we got more time with these. In my opinion, Bast is the most intriguing character in the entire book. There’s so much left unsaid in these snippets, it drives a lot of emotion and mystery. There is one scene, where Kvothe is alone, reacting to a painful memory – it's one of the most touching moments in the book.
Layer 2: Flashbacks to Kvothe’s life
The best part of these, by far, was any scene involving his music. That’s where the character shines…otherwise, he’s kind of obnoxious and the pacing is a little off.
Layer 3: Storytelling in the Flashbacks
At various points, secondary characters break out into extended storytelling mode, relating the myths and legends of Rothfuss’ world. I actually loved these sections! They felt like mini stories in themselves, and often hung together better than other aspects of the overall book. They had rhythm, emotion and power that pulled me in.
Though I didn’t connect with the book completely, I will probably eventually finish the trilogy because I’m curious to see where Kvothe’s story goes.