My name is Kvothe…
I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during the day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.
You may have heard of me.
I can honestly say that this is one of the most beautiful adventures I have read in a long time. At first glance, it looks fairly daunting. It’s about as thick as Game of Thrones, and sometimes I find when I start a book like this, that is as thick as this one is, and find out it’s the first in the trilogy? I know it’s going to be a long journey. Only, this wasn’t. Or at least it didn’t feel like it. Honestly, I know logically it took me quite a long time to read. But I also know a large part of that is that I didn’t want it to end too quickly, I wanted to savor the language and the story, because it is just as amazing as everyone says it is.
Like a lot of the books I’ve enjoyed lately, this came heavily recommended by a friend who loves this series. She’s given me books in the past that I’ve loved (Good Omens is one of them), and so when she recommends one I know by this point that I’ll probably fall absolutely, irrevocably in love with it. This was no exception. For one, it is heavily character driven–each character is given thought and care, and you can tell that Rothfuss means for you to get as invested in them as he did writing them, because every single character is extremely dynamic. There was not a single one that did not grow on me in some way, regardless if that feeling was absolute hatred (it is hard to forget a character like Ambrose, and he will probably go up there on my list of most hated characters just under Umbridge), or love (Fela, Auri and Bast will forever be my favorite characters of the series, and yes I know Kvothe is the main hero and I do love him, but I’ll always have a soft spot for amazing secondary characters).
The plot is incredibly thought out, and the story is one of the most beautifully written stories I have read. The prologue is a literal work of art, and the rest of the story follows it so that it is as if you are in the Waystone Inn, listening as Kvothe narrates to Bast and the Chronicler. It is as if you can actually hear his voice coming out of the pages. It actually is what made me love the story initially, because the mythology and literary nerd in me was practically screaming in joy at the fact that this is written as an oral story, like a fairy tale that someone is reading to you, while at the same time incredibly self-conscious of myths and rumor, of fairy tales and truth. It is also what made me keep waving it at people, regardless of who they are, telling them to read it (trust me, this has happened quite a few times while I was reading the first one, and it will probably keep happening as I read the second).
I heavily recommend this book to anyone looking to be absorbed into a book and become enraptured in the characters, because like I said, it looks massive when you first pick it up, and I know that sometimes that can be daunting. There is not time enough in the world, usually, for us to look at books like this and say, “I’m going to sit down and read this.” But this reads quicker than you think it will. It is definitely a page turner, and though I can probably wax poetic about Rothfuss’s writing style, it is most definitely not difficult to read. It is never boring, there is not a dull moment, and before you know it you’re halfway toward the end and heading toward the bookstore to get the second book, scouring the shelves to find a copy that will be light enough in your bag despite its size because there is no way you’re leaving home without the book until you are done.
I’m sitting next to the second book as I type this, and it is calling me in whispers, so I’ll end this here. I apologize that the summary is a quote that actually tells you fairly little of what the book is about, and yet tells you everything. I couldn’t think of a better way to summarize it that would encompass the mythological elements to the fantasy. I’m sure the back of the book has one, but even as I look at it I realize it doesn’t quite do it justice. So I’ll leave you with this: Patrick Rothfuss has created an incredible world in which myths become reality; in which the characters stay with you throughout it; in which there is romance, monsters, demons, heroes (and villains of course), magic, and, of course, an adventure that is so intriguing I kept turning the pages, needing to know what happened next. I do not want to build it to the point of disappointment, but, like I said, my friend knows me incredibly well, knows when I will love a book, and she was definitely not wrong about this one.