‘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 day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.
My name is Kvothe.
You may have heard of me
Let me begin by saying that I did enjoy it. In fact I read the last ~400 pages in a single sitting.
The writing was pretty good. I loved the very weird and very specific imagery that Rothfuss paints. Kvothe’s various adventures were fun to read about, and I really enjoyed Auri’s bits. And the whole poverty thing worked great. I found my spirits rising and falling in proportion to Kvothe’s bank balance.
The worldbuilding is pretty hardcore as well. The stories about Tehlu and Lanre were some of the best parts of the book. You get the sense of this very real world with all sorts of languages and people and history that has become muddled with myth and exaggerations over time. The magic system certainly has potential, but was too poorly explained for my liking. I get the concept of the Alar, and Sympathy and Names, but the way they’re used just seem almost random. Or maybe I just didn’t pay enough attention.
The framing of the novel as a story within a story was nicely done. The third person bits serve nicely to punctuate the first person narration, and to give these ttantalizinghints of the shape of things to come.
But I didn’t find it to be awesome. For starters, the protagonist who is a genius as everything just feels a bit overdone. And the part from Kvothe becoming an orphan to getting to the university just seemed unnecessarily long. And I though we get too little of actual studying. It’s always like “And then I learned X. And I was awesome at it.”
My biggest gripe was perhaps the whole draccus/dragon sequence. It felt unnecessary and rather forced, like the author wanted there to be a climactic and saving people scene at the end. Also, despite 600 pages, the big plot didn’t move forward all that much. We had Kvothe getting to the university and just spending most of the time being alternately miserable and awesome.
But enough of the ranting. It’s a good book. I guess I just had too high expectations from the book, after seeing all the raving about it all over the place.
My Rating: 3.5/5
And now onto Wise Man’s Fear!