The Name of the Wind is altogether a great story. Kvothe is a fantastically flawed hero with a good deal of additions that make him more special than the ordinary person (books are not written about ordinary people). Partrick Rothfuss' magic system is well thought through and absolutely great - I love the science and knowledge behind it and the smart and creative ways in which it can succeed and fail. Nick Podehl does a great job voicing the different characters and presenting the various dialects that appear in the book. He makes me laugh, even in places where reading the text normally wouldn't - which is great! Unlike other reviewers, I really appreciate the use of a young-sounding actor, as most of the story is spoken from the eyes of a 15-year old boy, though technically told by an adult man. I think Nick Podehl was an excellent choice for the audio version. As a non-native speaker of English, I tend to avoid the typical "old, low-pitch man" voice that is so frequently found in fantasy audiobooks because it is much harder to understand than that of a younger person.
In general, Patrick Rothfuss has many great and well thought-through ideas, BUT there a good handful of things I did not like about this book, first and foremost how long-winded the story is (How *did* Rothfuss get this thing published as a debut novel with 260,000 words and comparatively little forward-moving plot?!). Secondly, his ability to choose names and foreign words is not exactly captivating and sometimes downright unnecessary or confusing. Thirdly, there are a whole lot of things I just found way too predictable in the plot and many of them put Kvothe, despite his many flaws, on a pedestral that seemed a little too high for him. Many plot points were predictable because Kvothe is just an edge *too* amazing. At other times, I found him (who is supposed to be smart and very capable of getting through life) too dense for being an intelligent teenager (not about love - I get that point), and then again a bit too knowledgeable and precocious. I understand that he is supposed to be a very talented person with lots of personal flaws, but sometimes his actions are more likely to come accross as inconsistencies in his character than different aspects of his personality. The many moments where Kvothe shares his abundant knowledge with others were a bit too much of a lecture for my taste. His school master affectation gets especially frustrating when it is based on real things that a smart reader will know already and does not want to be lectured about. Maybe the intention is to make the book especially appealing because of the parallels to our world, but that did not work out for me. It also makes sympathizing with the surrounding cast harder because apparently many of them are pretty stupid. I also got annoyed by the repeated occurrence of the hint that "in a story, now this would happen, but this is not a story..." - it was witty the first time, but not past that - especially if something followed that actually was pretty story-like, just not exactly fairy-tale material.
Yet, let's end this review on a good note because the books deserves a good deal of praise. This is a debut novel and it is an amazing one! Partick Rothfuss has a vivid imagination, many, many great characters of all types and genders, and an absolutely wonderful writing style. His ability to use words and comparisons and the way in which he keeps reminding you that you are actually listening to someone telling a story in retrospect are very engaging. Getting caught up in his well-constructed world, its laws, possibilities and hierarchies is very easy, even though it differs quite a bit from ours. There are many wonderful details that give Kvothe's environment that false realistic edge and makes it so very appealing. The book has a very healthy pinch of humor and carries a sweet handful of questions and mysteries with itself that keep the reader interested. I do believe that in future we can expect more really great books from Patrick Rothfuss. If someone who starts off as talented as this keeps on writing, it can only become amazing.