Summary: My name is Kvothe.
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 the day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.
You may have heard of me.
So begins a tale unequaled in fantasy literature—the story of a hero told in his own voice. It is a tale of sorrow, a tale of survival, a tale of one man’s search for meaning in his universe, and how that search, and the indomitable will that drove it, gave birth to a legend.
An Open Letter to Patrick Rothfuss
Dear Patrick Rothfuss,
I’ve just finished reading your first and only published book, The Name of the Wind, and I had some thought about it. Since I count myself a Harry Potter series snob, I tend to classify most fantasy works as sub-J. K. Rowling. This tendency was not working in your favor as I started The Name of the Wind. I mean, it’s hard to miss the similarities between the first installment of the Kingkiller Chronicle and the Harry Potter series. There are a few reasons for this: your story’s hero, Kvothe, is an incredibly talented young man with a chip on his shoulder involving the sad and mysterious past, and he dreams of gaining a university education in the magical arts so that he can seek revenge against a mystery-entangled enemy that goes by a name better left unmentioned. I was immediately dismayed by this rip-off-ish start and almost dismissed your book entirely. But I didn’t, and I soon discovered that despite the lack of originality in the story’s foundation, everything else you dreamed up was fresh and novel. By the time I finished it, Kvothe had surpassed being simply an adult version of Harry Potter. You delved deep into human emotion, something uncommon and unexpected in fantasy books. Your story exposed the dark and somber side of a hero’s existence and the danger of such brilliance to the human psyche. Kvothe is exceptional and admirable, but also cracked, and not only because of his sorrowful past. His brilliance chips away at his human essence. This doesn’t turn him evil, it does something much worse: it transforms him into a hero unsure of himself, a great legend that desires to be small and hidden from the world.
Thus, Mr. Rothfuss, upon the completion of part one of this series, I have found myself unexpectedly hooked to your work. You have deservedly earned the Quill Award for this initial effort and I suspect something better awaits all of us with the release of book number two of the Kingkiller Chronicle.*
PS- Despite Kvothe's unique physical features, i must admit i had difficulty creating his face in my mind. Luckily one of your other fans had drawn up a version that really helped me out. I hope this Kvothe is close to the one you see when you write.
*Day two of Chronicler’s account, The Wiseman’s Fear (Kingkiller Chronicle, #2), is set for release on March 1, 2011.
Lit Snit Verdict: A