Name of the Wind, Wise Man's Fear, by Patrick Rothfuss Rothdas book review RSS
5.0 Stars

Re-reading these with the benefit of 10 more years of wisdom, I have to say that they are both still bangers. Two notes:

One early interpretation of the books that I had was "wizard school harem", which is indeed a very strong foundation upon which to build a novel. But really the author goes further than that, and makes just about every character in the books friendly and "neat", with their own unique and interesting thing going on. You want the main character to spend lots of time with basically all of these characters, and it is sad that we and the characters exist in linear time and can only go down a single path. E.g. the appeal of the book is not just Auri the MPDG, or Fela the well put together, or shadowed Denna, or ruthless but loveable Devi, it's also austere & intellectual Lorren, wild Eolin, musical Stanchion, and the manufactory bear-genius Kilvin. These are all great characters, and you'd like to see the MC spend a lifetime working alongside each of them. It's a good way to orient a novel; rather than going down the Game-Of-Thrones or Joe-Abercombie route of having none of the characters be likeable, instead have nearly every character be likeable in their own way.

Which ties into the second point, which has been oft repeated/thought by me, that a lot of people miss out on a lot of what this book is trying to do. The world in these books is nice! It's a world that, barring a few long running problems, is humming along smoothly. It's not a series where there is a Dark Lord, or a dire prophecy, or an encroaching shadow, or whatever ticking down that the heroes have to stop. It's just a world that is doing its thing and maybe slowly developing and getting better. So instead of this big external threat, basically all of the problems & drama in these books come from ... the main character. Specifically, the main character of this fantasy novel acts like the hero of a fantasy novel, thus causing basically every issue in his own life (ok, barring the parents, but otherwise this is true). In some ways it's an anti-fantasy novel? But like anti-war creators have found out, it is difficult to make an anti-war story if you in anyway focus the lens on the actual war. In a similar way, the anti-fantasy novel aspects of this book are undercut by the author making a really enjoyable fantasy novel.

Anyway! Great stuff, would like to see more of it, but unfortunately the Chandrian killed the author for telling the wrong kind of tales.

Personal interest note: Early on in book #1, Kvothe meets a charity worker who has difficulty getting around and walks gingerly, and Kvothe diagnosis' the worker as having circulation issues which in turn caused issues with the extremities. Thank you! Early in my 30's I went to *multiple* modern doctors with this same issue, and they were completely useless/baffled by these symptoms. I eventually figured it out via internet articles and lived experience with different exercise & diet choices, but it was neat to see Kvothe/the author being aware of the same issues.