By Polly Shulman
Updated April 13, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT

In The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, Fiery-haired Kvothe finds his circus troupe slain, their wagons burning with blue flames. He wants revenge, but first heads to arcanists’ university to learn magic.

Hottie Factor
”With his eyes and those hands there won’t be a woman safe in all the world when he starts hunting after the ladies,” Kvothe’s mom says of her son.

Bottom Line
This fast-moving, vivid, and unpretentious debut roots its coming-of-age fantasy in convincing mythology.