[close] This is definitely one of my new favorite books, so if you're a friend of mine, prepare to have me brutally push it on you until you give in and give it a go.
One of the reviews I read compared it to The Song of Ice and Fire and Lord of the Rings, saying that the book was equal to the best of fantasy written thus far. Well let me tell you, this doesn't stand alongside the fantasy greats, it knocks them off the shelves.
It isn't just some fantastic epic that you read for fun and adventure (although you'll get plenty of that too). It is story of a real life. Kvothe has known pain, despair, the feeling of being completely abandoned and alone, and he has also experienced joy, love, happiness and knowledge. One chapter he is beaten half to death, the next he is being shown some of the truest acts of kindness I could ever imagine.
I can't think of an emotion I didn't experience while reading. I snorted with laughter, gasped in outrage, choked back tears, shook with disbelief and trembled with anticipation. Seriously, the book has it all.
What a magnificent achievement to tell this story in a completely believable way-I mean sure there are dragons and magic (sympathy)...but I mean the "real life" stuff. Here you have a 15 year old boy, who early on, had fantastic parents and a happy life as a traveling performer. When that was taken away, he lived on the streets of a large city and raised himself to be tough and cunning. He knew how smart he was, and he got himself a place in the University. Now-before you start thinking that he is portrayed as being perfect-the author never hesitates to remind you that he is still a kid! He is constantly showing off and doing outrageously idiotic things that get him into heaps of trouble. I wanted to wring his neck more than once myself!
Anyway, I'm not going to try to summarize the book. I wouldn't be doing it any favors. I will say that the beginning was slow. It probably took me over a hundred pages to actually get really involved with the story. But, even that was all so mysterious and sinister that I knew sticking with it would pay off. I can't wait to read it again someday when I will be able to understand more of what was going on in the beginning.
The ending. I have read a ton of reviews and comments of people saying it ruined the book and so on. I don't get that. I thought Kvothe ended his story in a perfect place to set up anticipation for the next book, and the little scene with Bast and the Chronicler that closed the story was brilliant, set up interest in the current setting. Anyway...just my opinion.
Even after over 700 pages, I still don't "know" Kvothe. Isn't that the point? He isn't predictable, and he hardly ever did what I expected him to do. For that reason alone, I know the next installment will probably be even better then this one.
So...quit listening to me and go meet Kvothe for yourself.
Oh yeah--one more thing though. If you're a fan of the book...or really, even if you aren't, I recommend checking out Patrick Rothfuss' blog (it is posted on his website). He is hilarious, and regularly keeps me entertained. He is just the type of guy I would love hanging out with. Not in a creepy-I'm-looking-at-him-through-his-window way, more of a "hey lets eat something really unhealthy and talk about books."
Anyway, he comes off as a really nice, interesting guy. Its a pleasure to read such a fantastic book by a guy that actually seems to deserve the privilege of having come up with it.