Audiobook Review: The Name Of The Wind

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4-star

Title: The Name Of The Wind

Author: Patrick Rothfuss

Voiced by: Rupert Degas

Series? Yes. 1 of 3.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Goodreads

Audible Link


Until quite recently, I was 100% convinced that audiobooks were not suitable for me. I always found it hard to concentrate on them, and they just seemed so slow! I mean I could read The Name Of The Wind in 3-4 days, but I spent over a solid month listening to this audiobook.

Despite this length, I found that audiobooks are growing on me – I feel they’re an indulgent way to ‘read’ when you’re just too tired to use your eyes. Besides, The Name Of The Wind has a narrative that is particularly suited to audiobooks. In fact, I think I liked it more than the printed format.

TNOTW

“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.”

I read The Name Of The Wind when I was in high school, while waiting for the next ASOIAF book to be released. Patrick Rothfuss’s name was on everyone’s lips – and he was catapulted to stardom with this single volume. I can see why, I enjoyed his writing immensely, he writes lyrical proses that translates particularly beautiful in audiobook format. 

It’s thanks to the quality of the writing that I found the immensely slow plot and several inconsequential chapters to be bearable. I remember despairing and almost giving up when I was a teen, reading through the chapters of Tarbean – and later, the chapters about Kvothe looking for Denna all over Imre. While always incredibly verbose, they did not cover much ground in terms of plot. Yet, Kvothe is always there to remind us that there is a point to everything he relates to The Chronicler – something I find increasingly hard to believe.

“I only know one story. But oftentimes small pieces seem to be stories themselves.”

There is little I love more than books which relate the power of stories, how they’re organic entities that grow and take life with each telling. This is one of the reasons why I found The Name Of The Wind captivating – as it centred around how Kvothe became a legend. How he became a creature of legends, though he initially started out trying to unravel that very same legend. I get excited thinking about the story of Lanre, of Haliax, of Tehlu, of the Chandrians – and how they parallel and tie together into Kvothe’s own tale.

Kvothe’s story also offered us insight into his humble beginnings, and how truths are often exaggerated to make heroes and gods amongst men. As it’s Kvothe himself who tells us the tale, there’s always the distinct possibility that he’s unreliable as a narrator – obscuring the facts from truths even further.

“Too much truth confuses the facts. Too much honesty makes you sound insincere”

However, despite the knowledge that Kvothe is an unreliable narrator – his deeds still seem too good to be true. I know die-hard fans of the series will defend him until they’re blue in the face, but Kvothe is one of the most unashamed, blatant Gary-Stu I’ve come across in modern fantasy. He’s a genius: not just with academics, but also music and acting. He’s almost always the smartest person in the room. He inexplicably draws female attention, although he claims his fifteen year old self does not know their ways. Even without the embellishments from myths and legends, his story is one giant wish fulfilment.

Knowing that in The Wise Man’s Fear, Kvothe gets even MORE lucky and MORE amazing does little to alleviate my befuddlement when I see reviews claiming he’s a complex protagonist. Yes, he does face some hardships: but even those seemed to be in place just to prove how amazing he is e.g. playing the hardest song known to man on a lute missing one string, being the youngest and poorest person to attend the University amongst his peers, etc…

So yes, while I found Kvothe’s narrative voice entertaining. I also found him quite unsympathetic.

“All stories are true,” Skarpi said. “But this one really happened, if that’s what you mean.”

As mentioned above, I personally think The Name Of The Wind is best enjoyed as an audiobook. The narrator has great tone and range, he even made the filler bit in the novel interesting. Because The Kingkiller Chronicle is framed as a story told over three separate days, I also thought the audio version played nicely into it. If you have 22 hours or so to spare – I would highly recommend the experience.


So have you read The Kingkiller Chronicles? What’s your verdict on Kvothe: Gary Stu or super charming liar?

Are you a fan of audiobooks? If so, please recommend me some good fantasy ones ❤ I am listening to The Ways of King and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone at the moment! Both are excellent, obviously!

32 thoughts on “Audiobook Review: The Name Of The Wind

  1. Kvothe is definitely the biggest Gary Stu in the fantasy world. His story gets a bit wearisome at times, because you know he will always rise triumphant that even the universe can’t touch him. Things get even more weird and unbelievable in The Wise Man’s Fear, so proceed with caution 🙂 What you said about him lying and possibly embellishing his tale does make me think, I mean he has a reputation for being a really good storyteller. Also, the stark contrast between his past and his present is so obvious that I just want to get to the point where it all began to turn sour. XD

    I haven’t listen to audiobooks, ever. I’ve been debating whether to try The Blade Itself or Court of Fives a try but I don’t know how it would work for me? Do you think it quite fits fantasy novels or is it better to listen to classics or contemporary?

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    1. I’ve read WMF, years ago on the road trip where I met my present partner. He saw me reading the Felurian scene on my Kindle and thought I was reading erotica. I still have not forgiven that book to this day XD I can’t wait til we get to how he got to his present point too. But Door of Stone will have to be like 3K long to get to that point given the pacing

      I think it’s all to do the the narrator, haha. A lot of the classics have famous voices such as Benedict Cumberbatch and Richard Armitage narrating so they could be worth it. I think I would suggest starting from a book you want to reread as it requires less concentration and see how it goes!

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  2. Great review! I still haven’t tried audio books but my kids will sometimes rent them from the library to get up to speed on a book they’re reading at school. I think it’s a great way to hear a story though I always had trouble listening when a teacher read to the class. I know I will try them eventually. Maybe while I’m out running or walking?

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  3. I also tried audiobooking recently! It took me AGES and I missed so much of the plot but since it was Gillian Flynn the raw and brutal writing style shocked me 1000x more, and it was fabulous! I thought this sounded like something for me because lyrical writing style + fantasy = MY JAM, but perfect sparkly characters make me sigh … I’ve always had a fancy for antiheroes 😉

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  4. I love books in just about any format. I used to be a diehard it’s physical books or nothing. I let go of that when I got my Kindle and then again when I got my first free audiobook.
    I drive a lot and sometimes I don’t have the time to spend reading a physical book. I find that audiobooks help me read way more than I would normally be able to.
    Jim Dale reading all of HP is amazing. Tim Curry narrates The Old Kingdom Chronicles by Garth Nix (which you would love if you haven’t already read them).
    I had a hard time with Graceling because it had a different narrator for every part (like a movie or play) and I haven’t been able to make it through The Raven Cycle audiobooks.
    The girl who narrates the Twight books is a perfect Bella but she is terrible at Edward, Alice and most of the Vampires. I also wasn’t super impressed with the narration of James Patterson’s The Witch and the Wizard, even though Elijah Wood was the male lead. I just couldn’t picture Frodo as the burly blonde they were describing.
    Still, I think I prefer one or two good narrators for a series versus a different voice for every part

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  5. I can’t wait to read this one! 🙂
    I’ve taken a liking to high fantasy book last year since Mistborn and Game of Thrones and definitely would like to read more of them.

    Great review Aentee! 🙂

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  6. First off, wohoo for getting into audiobooks! Welcome to the fanclub! 🙂 They’ve completely changed the way I work out, so I owe them a bunch.
    Second, this is one of those books that I’ve seen around my library a lot, but never picked up. I’m not really sure why.
    I also like that this is a story of his beginnings and how he eventually became a legend. I’m always attracted to such stories myself. And an unreliable narrator at that! Oh and from your description of him, he definitely comes across as a Gary Stu. I’m not sure how I would feel about that because I prefer my characters to also have more vulnerable sides and to be more complex. But still, it sounds like a well-written book!
    Lovely review, Aentee! 🙂

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  7. I love audiobooks! I have trouble sleeping so I always listen to them in bed.

    Recently I have been listening back through Meg Cabot’s The Mediator books. I got them years ago. They are very funny. It’s basically Buffy with ghosts.

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  8. Oh, I really liked this book too! Coincidence that I also read it in High School amd almost abandoned it because it was too slow, haha, but I’m glad I continued. And I’m sooo glad someone else thinks Kvothe is a big Garu Stu – too damn perfect to be true. He’s also a big special snowflake, did you notice? Anyway, great review, and no, I haven’t tried audiobooks yet. Well, I “read” Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick that way, but ehhhh, I got seriously distracted, so I’m not sure if I’ll do it again. Perhaps only if I’m too busy, but I don’t know.

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  9. So far, I haven’t really picked up audiobooks, but I’m saying more and more people praising it so… I think I’ll give them a try! I’ve owned The Name of the Wind for a year now and I’m intimidated by it, I don’t really know why. I’m pretty sure I’m also scared to love it and then to wait forever for the last book to be released so… I think I’ll wait for that, marathoning this series should be great, right? 🙂 Brandon Sanderson’s books should also be great as audiobooks, I’ll try that 😉

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  10. This is an immense book to tackle on audiobook. I adore audiobooks but some of the more complicated books are harder for me to digest on audio. I am glad that this one worked for you, and I might jus have to try it on audio.

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  11. I’ve not read this book but I’ve heard a lot of wonderful things about it. I’ve never listened to an audio-book before because, like you, I find it hard to concentrate and also because I always feel like the voices used don’t match what I think the characters would sound like. I feel like I should give audio-books a try but I need to find the right book first and this might just be it. 😀

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  12. I read TNotW and TWMF as ebooks, but I definitely want to re-read via audio before/if the third book comes out. As much as I love the books, I’m not sure I can convince myself to re-read the print copies, haha. I’ve heard the audiobook is excellent, so I’m glad it has your vote of confidence as well! I love Kvothe, though. 🙂

    I listen to a ton of audiobooks, but I usually listen to the same ones over and over, haha. Besides Harry Potter, of course, I would recommend the Graceling Realm series, His Dark Materials, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, the Gemma Doyle trilogy, The Scorpio Races, Chaos Walking, Seraphina, the Lunar Chronicles (not fantasy, I know), and The Queen of the Tearling.

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  13. Love your review! I haven’t heard of this book, but it sounds really good, so I’m going to look into it! I also have a difficult time concentrating on audiobooks, but I’ve been building a small collection of them since the last time I was really sick and couldn’t keep my eyes open long enough to read. I think I’ll check out the audiobook version of this one!

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  14. I haven’t read this before but after reading you review I really want to! Those quotes are gorgeous!
    I’ve never listened to an audiobook before but I’ll definitely give it a go sometime! 🙂 Fabulous review. ❤

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  15. Lol I loved your Gary Stu point Aentee, it tends to happen a lot in these type of hero books! I only started seeing Name of the Wind around and I really want to pick it up because it seems to be popular. I’m glad you were able to enjoy it again in audiobook form!

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  16. Lovely review! I haven’t read this book but after reading this post, I have a feeling that that is going to change XD This book seems awesome and I’m always one for a good fantasy!

    I’ve never really tried out audiobooks but its something I really want to! Everybody loves it and I haven’t gotten a feel of the party yet 😛 I heard that reading (hearing?) Illuminae was amazing but I haven’t gotten to trying it yet (I read the book and I can imagine the AWESOMENESS), I might try this book as an audio!

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  17. Ha, I found Kvothe so incredibly annoying, for the exact reasons that you outlined. While I don’t doubt the scope of the author’s imagination, Rothfuss’s writing really didn’t work for me. It was a struggle to get through most of the book, tbh.

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  18. Oh, Kvothe is an unreliable character for sure. I’m convinced we’ll find everything out in Doors of Stone, which is another reason I’m super excited to read it. I love Kvothe despite his bragging and lying, I can’t help but feel sorry for the poor little orphan. 🙂
    This series is one of my favourites and I keep recommending it to people.
    And yeah, I agree, the audiobook is fantastic. I loved the narrator! And Rothfuss’s prose is *beautiful*, it’s really lyrical.
    Great review! 🙂

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  19. I haven’t really listened to any audiobooks because I can read much faster with my eyeballs and the thought of spending hours and hours listening to a book… I just don’t know. But I’ve been contemplating listening to The Name of the Wind for a while because I’ve heard from many people that the audiobook is amazing (and I’m trying to choose something to spend my free audible credit on). I think I might give it a go! It’ll definitely be worth the free credit point considering the size of the book HAHA. And it’ll save my arms from having to hold up a massive book.

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    1. I really hope you would give the audio format a go, Jenna! A agree you can read a book faster, but a great narrator can bring so much to the story.

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  20. Great review! In answer to your question, after the Name of the Wind I would have said Kvothe was a super charming liar. After Wise Man’s Fear, I’d say he’s a Gary Stu (unfortunately). I didn’t pick up on his “perfections” as much in the first book- but in the second book when he just gets more and more prefect, I found his character lost its believability

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  21. I kind of want to give this a go as an audio book… Although I love rereading it anyway.
    And I’m one of those people who absolutely loves Kvothe! I don’t think he’s as bad as people say he is – I have a friend who finds Kvothe the most irritating literary figure EVER. I mean, you know things don’t end up well for him, why else would he be the innkeeper, unable to summon the smallest bit of magic? I’m not even convinced that his entire story will end well. Aaaaghh now you’ve made me anxious about his fate all over again! haha
    Love your review!

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  22. I tried using audiobooks in the past but didn’t really them. So I’m not sure what compelled me to but I started a subscription with Audible last month and like it better than I used to. I really think it depends on the narrator. But you’re right, it’s such a slow way to read but it’s also convenient in moments when I drive to school. I usually spend those roughly two hours in the car doing nothing (other than driving, lol) when I could be listening to a book instead. But for the books I ended up listening to on Audible… I ended up buying them in physical form and finishing them off myself anyway. 😛 Anyway, lovely review, Aentee! I see Patrick Rothfuss everywhere on Goodreads and I’m determined to read this work by him someday. 🙂 (By the way, it’s been so long; I miss talking to you via our blogs!)

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  23. Yay, I’m so happy to hear you’re enjoying audio format. I agree great narrator can bring so much to the story! I’m not sure The Name Of The Wind is for me, but I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it.

    As for the recs, I don’t read a lot of fantasy, I’m afraid. Have you read Bone Gap by Laura Ruby? It’s magical realism, so it would be right up your alley. I haven’t read it, but the audiobook is narrated by my favorite narrator Dan Bittner. He can’t do wrong. Also if you ever wand to reread The The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater I highly recommend the audio format. I can also recommend Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. It’s not fantasy, but maybe you would be interested. The audiobook is narrated by Kirsten Potter, she is really good.

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