WIRED Book Club: Alright Fine We’ll Read The Name of the Wind
On paper, Patrick Rothfuss’ debut novel, The Name of the Wind, sounds painfully familiar: Boy loses parents, struggles mightily, finds way to a school for magic, hones gifts, breaks rules, seeks revenge. And there’s a girl, of course, beautiful as she is mysterious.
But when the book came out back in 2007, the first in a planned trilogy, nobody seemed to mind any of that. It swept through the fantasy world like Tyrion’s wildfire at the Battle of the Blackwater, conquering the genre so thoroughly that many readers declared The Name of the Wind the best fantasy debut in a generation—Harry Potter for readers who’d outgrown Harry Potter, a new George R.R. Martin in the scope of his vision. What Rothfuss lacked in startling originality, they said, he made up for in the spellbinding quality of his storytelling and the depth of his characters. Practically overnight, he became a titanic new voice in SFF-dom.
So, is he really as good as all that? After two months of challenging ourselves with some boundary-pushing material—from N.K. Jemisin’s socially trenchant world-building to the many intelligences of Ann Leckie—we’re ready for what Rothfuss is selling: classic fantasy that’s not so much read as consumed. Let’s read through chapter 34, roughly the first third, by next week. Get ready for some late nights.
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