I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.

You may have heard of me.

Caught your attention yet? It should have.

Hero, villain, bard, assassin, thief, magician ~ this is the legend of Kvothe.  The Name of the Wind written by Patrick Rothfuss is the first book in his current ongoing series the Kingkiller Chronicles. Each book is broken up into days – the first book is Day 1, the second is Day 2, and so on.  At first you may think that an entire expanse of book to cover one meager day seems strange however this statement is both true and false.  Confused? You will see…

The story takes place in a small town with much happening in and around the local inn.  The innkeeper is a man nobody would think to give a second look…that is how good he is.  This particular innkeeper has a past that legends are made of and yet he faked his own death only to reappear at his current position under the name of Kote.  With his ever faithful student and apprentice Bast always at his side, the two run the humble Waystone Inn and keep out of trouble.  It is a disguise within a disguise within a disguise – and it works flawlessly.

It isn’t long before a historian by the name of Chronicler comes to the inn and with absolute certainty accuses Kote of being the legendary Kvothe.  After much attempted dissuasion, Kvothe finally gives in and will allow Chronicler to record his story – and so begins day one.

It is a story telling a story and a fantastical one at that.  Kvothe begins where every good tale should and makes great strides in bringing the story to tie in with the present.  The core of the book is a continuous retelling of Kvothe’s early life with only a small number of glimpses back to the present day tavern.

Kvothe grew up within a traveling troupe of musicians and entertainers called the Edema Ruh; one of the most prestigious groups known for their expertise.  His parents ensured he was perfectly skilled in acting, singing, and playing the lute among many other daily chores and teachings.  Amidst the entertainers was an arcanist traveling with the group named Abenthy, and from this man Kvothe was introduced to a world of magic and alchemy; of learning to control the earth and the heavens and even of calling the name of the wind to his every beckoning call.

However, life was not to be easy or perfect for Kvothe and tragedy soon struck his troupe by means of a terrifying and mysterious force called the Chandrian.  Left only with a few salvaged belongings and the knowledge he’d acquired he made out for the nearest city surviving on the streets. Soon he learns of a prestigious place called the University where everyone who is anyone goes to study arcana and master powers some people can only dream of.  He hopes that at the University that he may not only graduate and gain extreme knowledge of his craft but also find more info on the Chandrian, the very creatures who destroyed his family and home.

As charming as Kvothe is he makes enemies faster than he can diffuse them.  Through angering the senior staff of the university as well as the son of one of the richest nobles around he finds himself between a rock and a hard place, especially when it comes to finding mentors, support, and enough money to cover his University tuition much less actual living expenses. Luckily, Kvothe is a master at nearly anything he touches whether it be arcana, knowledge, or playing the lute.  His musicianship earns him great standing at a high ranking music hall/tavern called the Eolian where only the best are allowed to play and hope for a chance of earning their talent pipes – a feat attempted by many but accomplished by few.

The story continues to be told as a country torn apart by war rages just outside the towns walls.  Nobody truly knows the reasoning for it, well, nobody except for Kvothe; and his story has only just begun.

A fantasy novel that takes the popular coming-of-age genre and reworks it in a way no one ever has.  In Patrick Rothfuss’ debut novel and trilogy he has quickly been seated amidst fantasy writers of epic proportions to include J.R.R Tolkien and George R.R. Martin.  It is an auto-biography of a hero immersed in adventure, humor, music, love, loss, and magic.  It is a book I picked up to entertain time whilst waiting for another series to move forward and it quickly proved to be one of the best novels I have read.  Patrick Rothfuss has earned my following and I look forward to all of his work now and in the coming future.

The second book of the Kingkiller Chronicles is now available as of March, 2011: The Wise Man’s Fear

There are three things all wise men fear: the sea in storm, a night with no moon, and the anger of a gentle man.

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