What is my favorite fantasy book of all time? Easy. The Name of the Wind…wait, no…The Way of Kings…well… I need to give this some thought.
I’ve had that conversation in my head so many times! When someone asks my favorite book, my answer is one of these two, but which one takes the top spot varies depending on the day.
If you’re reading this and haven’t read one of them, I encourage you to pick it up and read it today! Each should keep you occupied with amazing worlds, characters, imagery, and plot for some time to come. And luckily they’re both the start of a series, which means…it’s only the beginning!
Here’s a breakdown of why these two fight for the top spot in my head:
The Name of the Wind: by Patrick Rothfuss – 250k words
– Amazing scenes: The University interview, the sympathy class, trying for his pipes, the whipping scene, promotion to Re’lar. The scenes are brilliant and you can’t put the book down!
– Music: “Music? What?” Yes, that’s right. It has the greatest music in any book I’ve ever read. You’ll have to read it to see what I mean. It’s masterfully written and makes you smile while you read.
– Prose: It absolutely captures you completely and is amazingly written. It’s not bogged down with wordy descriptions, but captures your interest in a fascinating way.
– Balance between highs and lows: The book does a great job of bringing you on a journey through a wide variety of feelings.
– Wide audience: You don’t have to be a fantasy fan to enjoy the book.
– Denna: Sorry, I’m just not a fan
– Ambrose: It’s tough to dislike a character more. Props to Rothfuss for making me feel it though!
– Stress: It can be stressful to read because you get so invested in Kvothe and he has a way of getting himself into trouble over and over again.
– My interest faded a bit toward the end with the town of Trebon and the draccus.
It’s worth mentioning that the first 200 pages take a bit to get into it, but stick with it! Also, The Wise Man’s Fear (book 2) is an amazing follow-up.
This book has had a huge impact on me as a writer. Readers have compared my novel, The Last Shadow Knight, to it in its feel. Although I would never put my writing on equal par to Rothfuss, I do admit it has a similar feeling…which I’m very proud of!
Overall, The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss is AMAZING! I highly, highly recommend it! I’ve read it multiple times and search online on a regular basis to see when Rothfuss will be releasing The Doors of Stone (book 3).
The Way of Kings: by Brandon Sanderson – 383k words
– Amazing scenes: Shallan learning the truth about soulcasting, Kaladin getting his Shardplate, Kaladin training bridge team, Kaladin surviving the storm, Dalinar and the chasmfiend. There are so many more, but the big scenes are amazing!
– The Tower battle: I saved this for it’s own point because it is the single greatest scene I’ve ever read in a book! Every moment of it was amazing and exciting. The entire book lead-up to this scene results in you sitting on the edge of your seat with your heart pounding!
– The World: Brandon Sanderson has set the bar for worldbuilding so high that it’s nearly unreachable! It is rich, detailed, and imaginative. The different magic systems, the races, the flora and fauna, and the societal practices are all unique and unlike anything I’ve ever read.
– The length: I enjoy a long epic story, but I felt the story sometimes dragged.
– The number of POVs: It’s tough to keep straight all of the characters and storylines, especially when you throw in all the Prologues and Interludes with random characters.
Overall, I emphatically recommend The Way of Kings to any fantasy lover. You have to be patient because it’s a long read, but the high points are worth the work to get to! Plus it’s eventually going to be a 10 book series (only 4 done so far), so there’s lots more to enjoy.
Conclusion to The Name of the Wind vs The Way of Kings:
After consideration, I think I give The Name of the Wind a slight edge for a couple of reasons.
– The prose is richer and sucks you in slightly more than WOK does.
– The story is consistently interesting and doesn’t have longer slow sections like WOK.
– NOTW can probably be more widely appreciated by non-fantasy readers.
– But man…that Tower battle in WOK…it’s just the best, which makes it close.
Thank you for this thorough review. My son (22) loves Way of Kings and keeps telling me to read it, but the length of both these books is a bit overwhelming. I believe he’s read the Name of the Wind too. I’m a fantasy reader (and writer), so I know I need to give these two a go. Based off what you said, I’ll try NOTW first. ??
Hi! So glad you enjoyed Michael’s post 🙂 Name of the Wind is a wonderful book and I hope you enjoy it! The Way of Kings looks big but it is very easy to read – Sanderson’s writing style is functional which makes reading those 1000+ pages very easy! Rothfuss’ writing style is more intricate and takes a little longer to get through because you want to spend all day lounging around in his world, so either one you pick, you’re in for a fantastic read!
We have reviews of both books individually if you want to check them out!
The Name of the Wind Review
The Way of Kings Review
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