When I first started this book, I almost put it down. I knew that people love this story. I’d even read reasons why people love the story. But the first few chapters didn’t appear to reflect what I thought was worthy of such exhausting praise.
Fortunately, I didn’t put it down.
I swiftly moved from “this is okay, I guess” to sobbing in a corner, wondering why I’d waited so long to start this story. Rothfuss has a magical command of emotion and style. His prose sometimes borders on literary genius without drawing attention to itself. Rothfuss even calls his shots several times in the story (due to the narrative device) and still manages to keep me enthralled. The story reminds me of Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea. The magic system, school of magic storyline, and character archetype are familiar while giving the idea a modern edge with twists that are undeniably special.
Rothfuss’s primary character, Kvothe, is a child prodigy, trained from a very young age to be a magician, then is cast into a dark existence. Kvothe tells his story to an archivist called the Chronicler over the course of three days. This book covers the first day. While Kvothe is perhaps too smart, that in itself is often his own undoing. And his obsession with a mysterious, free-spirited girl humanizes him.
The story gives us clear signals that the world we find ourselves in is much larger and darker than Kvothe's first part of the story lets on at first. I expect a lot of pain and suffering in volume two.
The only thing keeping me from immediately reading the second book is (on top of an ever-growing TBR list) is the fact that the finale is unannounced. I even put off reading this fine debut because of it. Don’t get me wrong. I'm okay with the author taking his time. I don’t want him to botch the ending. When the final book is finished and a release date is announced, I’ll continue the series.
If you want something puts a twist on the boarding school adventure, language crafted with love and care, and (as I’ve heard it described) is the only book that can make complaining about how expensive school tuition is exciting, give this one a read.
Well done, Mr. Rothfuss.
Have you read this one? What do you think?
Let’s talk about the story in the comments below!