To start off, sorry for not taking a nicer photo of the book, but I have lent it to my brother in Canada so I don’t actually have the copy on me at the moment. I’ve also read this book over a year ago but just getting to the review now as I have recently finished the second book in the series, and wanted to review each one separately. So here I go!
Sadly, I’ve been a little bit let down by fantasy books in the last year or two, primarily because I attempted to read the Wheel of Time series (after a high recommendation from my boyfriend) and really, really struggled my way through that one. I did not connect to any of the characters and struggled with the detailed writing of the author which put me off tremendously. I somehow managed to get through 3 of the books in the 13 book series, before giving up (I really did try I promise!). That’s why when my boyfriend recommended this series I was very cautious and took some time off from fantasy before trying this one.
Nonetheless, I was not disappointed. Although similar in length to a Wheel of Time book, it was a million times more engaging and interesting. The book is a coming of age story; instead of centring around an epic showdown between good and evil it’s more about following the main character’s, Kvothe’s, life and development. We are introduced to Kvothe in the pub that he owns. As the story progresses we instantly pick up that this character possesses unique qualities and there is something special about him. Eventually, he begins to recite the story of his life to the Chronicler, essentially a scribe, and this is where our journey begins. We then flutter between third person narration in the present tense and Kvothe’s first person narration of his life throughout the novel.
What I absolutely love about this book, is that even though it’s set in a completed fantastical world, it feels very realistic. It strangely gave me very similar vibes to Harry Potter in this way. Although the world created is completely fantastical, and filled with magical elements, it’s very relatable. I think the key to making this feel relatable, similar to Harry Potter, is the way Patrick Rothfuss captures and highlights the main characters growth and transformation. For me, that’s the fascination and the main appeal to the book for me. Why does he behave or react in that way? That’s what keeps me so intrigued. Even though I may not necessarily agree with the main character, I can follow his thought process and understand where he’s coming from. His personality is so vivid and clear to me, it’s almost like I know him in real life as well.
That’s not to say there is no plot and it doesn’t matter. Not at all. There is loads that happens and we travel along with Kvothe on his journey between different places and points in his life. However, the author isn’t afraid to stay in the same location for a period of time and get into a routine of life either. I think this is another element that makes the book realistic. It’s not fantastical action all the time, but rather, Kvothe faces problems and dilemmas very similar to real life like trouble with friends, making enemies, not having sufficient funds, studying for school, and just generally how to behave and act around people. All very relatable issues for us, yet all based in a magical land.
Speaking of magical land, Patrick Rothfuss does an amazing job with creating a complex yet clearly very well thought out world. There are so many elements that he manages to tie together and sound convincing. At the same time, he doesn’t over-do it and make it so complicated that you are flipping between the map and the text every 5 minutes. If you are looking for a Lord of the Rings or Wheel of Time complicated type of fantasy world, I think you might feel a bit short changed. However, this is exactly why it does appeal to me. The world is complex yet manageable and it doesn’t feel like he gives you any superfluous information and detail that takes up pages but doesn’t actually lead you anywhere.
Overall, I was tremendously pleased with this book and I couldn’t recommend it more. Judging from the positive ratings and reactions on the internet it seems that it has managed to capture the imagination of many other readers out there! So what are you waiting for?
Q: Have you heard of this series? If so, what do you think?