It's hard to write a review after reading a book like this. It's like reviewing a sunset after a spring storm. Yes, that's a poetic image, and that'sIt's hard to write a review after reading a book like this. It's like reviewing a sunset after a spring storm. Yes, that's a poetic image, and that's what Rothfuss does to your brain. I plan on selling all my worldly possessions soon and devoting my life to chasing the wind...
But meanwhile, I'll try to do this book justice. It starts much as Name of the Wind ended, with Kvothe still a 15 year old at the University. It spends about 300 pages in this mode. Kvothe has a handful of new adventures at the university and tells us much about his classes and his never ending pining over Denna.
At this point it's good to make a, um, point. The Kingkiller Chronicles are not about the main storyline, i.e. Kvothe discovering who killed his parents, why, hunting the killers down, and avenging them. Many readers will no doubt be impatient at the amount of time Rothfuss spends describing seemingly unimportant side adventures of Kvothe's. The book is about how a man becomes a legend. What would seem to be the main storyline is just as incidental as all the rest. It's nice to have that main plot line running through the many hundreds of pages of his adventures, and it does give Kvothe's life a bit of a forward thrust. But that is not what the book is about. So if you read this series hoping to get a page turner as he chases down the Chandrian, then you may be disappointed. (Though it is still a page turner).
This reminds me of when Kvothe tells a story to his two friends. At the end of the story they're a little confused because the story didn't follow the familiar pattern they expected. Then Kvothe explained that he had told them a story that his people would tell each other, not a story meant for a general audience.
I wonder if there is a message from Pat in this.
What we have is a man at the end of his life, or what he hopes is the end of his life, recounting how his legend was born. And that legend is built of pieces. This book gives us some of those pieces.
He eventually leaves the University for most of a year. Rothfuss deftly skips over some of the more irrelevant side adventures, a trial and a shipwreck, and stays focused on those things which begin to build Kvothe as a person - his training, battles, moral decisions, role as a leader.
Kvothe is a bit of a contradiction. On the one hand, no matter where he goes, he's always a fish out of water. He's always the different one, the outcast, the landless, lowborn Edema. On the other hand, he's able to adapt wherever he goes, no matter who he is with. He can find a place anywhere. This contradiction is brilliantly balanced by Rothfuss, and we see that perhaps they're different sides of the same coin. His freedom gives him nothing to lose.
The strength of the book, though, is probably the sheer poetry of its prose. I don't think I've ever believed magic was as real since maybe watching Star Wars and the force for the first time as a 5 year old. I've often had difficult conversations with friends who were of a very strict, scientific and rational mindset. Trying to get them to accept the truth of other ways of seeing the world has been futile. I think from now own I'll simply recommend this book to them. If they can understand how Kvothe sees the wind, then they'll finally know what I've been telling them. Rothfuss does a better job of describing the worldview of the slightly mad artist/poet and making it magic than anything I've ever read.
This book, and the entire series, is destined to be a classic.
I somehow survived the four year wait between books one and two. I have no idea how I'll last until book three....more