Top critical review
Great blurb, disappointing novel, poor packaging.
21 December 2018
TNOTW has been a mainstay of recommended lists for years now so I finally decided to buy both paperbacks.
Rothfuss is a wonderful writer and fully justifies the recommendation from Ursula K. Le Guin on the back cover. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for the actual story within the book.
After meeting Kvothe briefly as an adult, we follow along back to his past years as a teenage prodigy brimming with talent, ambition and a conspicuous lack of common sense and humility. Instead of adventuring across the world, much of the book covers Kvothe's time at the University and various taverns. This is not what I expected from the book based on the back covers blurb.
The blurb also makes fantastical claims such as "So begins a tale unequaled in fantasy literature" and "Shelve The Name of The Wind beside The Lord of the Rings...and look forward to the day when it's mentioned in the same breath, perhaps as first among equals". Sadly both these claims are erroneous as the book isn't anywhere near Erikson's Malazan book of the Fallen or Donaldson's Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, let alone Tolkien's work.
None of these criticisms should detract from the fact that this is a good book though, and if it were not for the claims on the back cover I would probably award four stars. However...
Packaging: TNOTW has had 5mm trimmed from the right-hand side of the cover in order to fit an inner page of glowing reviews. The sequel also shares this packaging and I don't care for it. Font size within the book is smaller than I prefer and the line spacing is cramped, as well as the left and right margins being very small, forcing me to pull the book out and mark the spine. Had I picked this book up in a bookstore I would not have purchased it in this format.
Finally, one small pet peeve: p. 107 " ... that he accused them of doing things I'm sure no donkey has ever willingly done, especially not Beta, who possessed impeccable moral character." Sentences like this one add nothing to the story being told and should be removed in the editing process.