The first group book for my new sci-fi and fantasy book group, Dragons & Jetpacks, was The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. As many of us have finished the book, or are close to finishing, I thought I’d type up this thread now. It seems to have been a good choice for our first book, as almost all members really enjoyed it – we gave it an average rating of 4.93!
Please bear in mind that the rest of the post will contain spoilers for The Name of the Wind.
My personal views:
- I am very intrigued by the relationship between Kote/Kvothe and Bast. I thought we’d find out as the story went along, but by the end of the book Kvothe is still young and his story has barely begun. One of the many reasons to read book number two!
- The deaths of Kvothe’s parents and troupe really shocked me. I suppose I should have seen it coming, what with the way Kvothe is in the present day – but I guess I assumed they were dead by that point, but I did not have any idea they would die that violently. The book very effectively draws you into their way of life, painting it as a great way to live, with an extended family of sorts, doing things that they love.
- Every time the story cut back to third person narrative, in the short interludes during the present day, I wanted it to cut back!
- Oh, the university. I love this whole ‘magical school’ thing. Blame Harry Potter. But of course, the university isn’t quite a ‘magical school’. Sympathy is taught there, but also so many other things – healing, chemistry, alchemy, mathematics, linguistics. I would love to study there…
- Despite the size of the book, and the tiny font in my edition, this was not heavy going at all. The very short chapters made it really difficult to put down – I was constantly telling myself ‘just one more chapter’, but when that chapter proved too short and didn’t reveal enough, I had to carry on reading…
- I feel that the book has just the right mix of the fantastical and the familiar to make it so brilliant and easily accessible. I absolutely loved it. Following Kvothe on his journey, learning with him, the way that the world was built, the magic/sympathy system, the characters… everything. I was angered by Ambrose’s actions, and the fact that Kvothe couldn’t do anything about it. I felt such a desperate urge for him to regain access to the Archives.
My rating: five stars.
- A lot of us picked up the ‘arrow to the knee’ quote in Chapter 3! As the book pre-dates Skyrim, we assume the game is referencing the book – unless the quote is from somewhere completely different and both the book and the game are referencing that.
- We had several theories on what/who Bast might be. We at least know he is not human!
- Some of us were a little impatient for more information about the world that Kvothe inhabits. We would have perhaps liked a small infodump at the beginning, to set the scene – although some of us loved the mystery of it all!
- It didn’t take long for us to really get into the story.
- One member picked up several references to Celtic mythology.
- The ‘sympathy’ system really interested many of us – a much more scientific take on magic, that actually requires some effort and in some cases, sacrifice, to use. To the average person in that world, it seems like pure magic, but when you see what Kvothe has to go through to learn it, it is much more complicated.
- Generally agreed that the world building is very well done.
- The massacre of the troupe was shocking, but certainly built the story up and made it take a much darker turn.
- Trapis is a well-loved character – someone who gives up everything they have or had to look after children no-one else wants. More about Trapis would be brilliant, but perhaps there is more in book two?
- Skalpi must make a reappearance!
- The fight with the draccus was unique and dealt with very differently from most fantasy novels.
- The complete mystery of the Chandrian and what they are, what they represent kept us reading (along with many other factors).
- So many of us had the ‘just one more chapter’ problem and finished the book faster than we could make discussion threads for sections of it! In fact, our discussion threads jump straight from chapter 38 to the end…
- In fact, some members have already moved onto book two!
Group rating: average of 4.93 stars
“Kote nodded. ‘But an exceptionally clever student could take a book outside, thus bettering himself without fear of lessening his much-loved faculty of sight.”I thought the same thing, Reshi. Being, of course, an exceptionally clever student.”Of course.”But when I found a place in the sun where I could read, a beautiful girl came along and kept me from doing anything of the sort,’ Bast finished with a flourish.Kote sighed. ‘Am I correct in assuming you didn’t manage to read any of Celum Tinture today?’Bast managed to look somewhat ashamed.” – page 11-12
“In spite of his grin, it was obvious he’d hurt himself. His face was tight with pain, and he leaned heavily on a chair for support.’Took an arrow to the knee on my way through Eld three summers ago. It gives out every now and again.’ ” – page 29
“And that is when I decided to pursue the noble art of artificing. Not that I had a lot of other options. Before helping me limp to the Medica, Elodin made it clear that anyone stupid enough to jump off a roof was too reckless to be allowed to hold a spoon in his presence, let alone study something as ‘profound and volatile’ as naming.” – page 315
“‘Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts. There are seven words that will make a person love you. There are ten words that will break a strong man’s will. But a word is nothing but a painting of a fire. A name is the fire itself.'” – page 617