When people tell me "you have to read this" I can be a terrible hold-out. My preferred readings can be so specific, and sometimes I'm a bit of a snob thinking that my taste in books must be so much better than yours. Patrick Rothfuss' The Name of the Wind is one of those books I'm kicking myself over holding out on for so long. If I'd have been smart I would have just trusted the source, when it was first recommended, instead of waiting for half a dozen random people to tell me I needed to read this. My co-worker and I share pretty similar sci-fi/fantasy pop culture interests and when he says read this or watch this I would do well to heed that, in the future.
The Name of the Wind is just flat out pleasure reading, start to end. The story of a hero, told in his own words, this book is the first in a trilogy (of which the second is sitting on my side table and the third is yet to be released). It's a story within a story, or perhaps a story that jumps from now, as it is being told, to then, when it happened.
Rothfuss plays with storytelling itself and the usual archetypes, making a point of subverting them and part of the charm of the story is pointing out exactly when he does. It's an interesting plot device, used to make the events propelling the story forward seem that much more realistic, though if I poked too hard at that the holes in his narrative device would become apparent.
It's a story about heroes, and mythic worlds and magic. About the difference between true magic and simply advanced knowledge and science. The two types of magic in the book are exquisite, and I adore the contrast between that and the exploration of what magic actually is in the book.
This is one of those books where I just want to get on to the sequel instead of sitting here and analyzing it, actually. It's that good. I want more.