My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Kvothe has been living the life as a quiet innkeeper, where nobody knows his name or bothers him. Things are simple. That is, until the Chronicler wanders in and forces him to remember. Reluctantly, Kvothe shares his story with the Chronicler and the rest of the world…
Kvothe’s early life was not one of privilege. His childhood, spent traveling with his parents’ acting troupe, is cut abruptly short, sending him to the mean streets of Tarbean. Food and money are hard to come by. Not knowing what else to do, Kvothe eventually makes his way to university, where he aspires to study as an arcanist. To everyone’s surprise, he makes a name for himself quickly, and quickly becomes one of the most admired and feared wizards of his time.
This book…oh this book is wonderful. The plot and characters could have been terrible and I still would have gotten sucked in due to Rothfuss’ amazing storytelling ability. Kvothe’s narrative is full of detail that makes you feel like you are actually experiencing everything with him. It was like I could actually see the streets of Tarbean, smell the trees in the forest, and actually feel the fear and pain that Kvothe felt.
The excerpt on the back of the book led me to expect more fantasy in this book. Magic is treated as a science and a learned principle at the university Kvothe attends. It’s less about waving wands around and more about knowing the natural properties of things and what types of bindings to use. I felt like this gave me more of an appreciation for just how smart and talented Kvothe and the Masters truly were, given that their skills were something that they worked hard at, rather than being something they were born with. (Without giving away any spoilers, I will say that based on the events surrounding the end of the book, I believe that the second book will be a little heavier on the fantasy.)
This book was not a light-hearted one, but it was beautiful, nonetheless. Kvothe’s life was filled with misfortune and sadness, but it did not make him any less of a person. The trials he faced only made him stronger and helped shape the path towards the man he would ultimately become.
I look forward to reading the sequel.