I think it's rather unfortunate that this book got compared with Harry Potter simply because of the magic school factor. I would say Rothfuss' Univers...moreI think it's rather unfortunate that this book got compared with Harry Potter simply because of the magic school factor. I would say Rothfuss' University is closer to LeGuin's Roke, or Mercedes Lackey's magic academy in Haven. You might say that Auri is a more poetic version of Luna Lovegood and Master Elodin, while brilliant, is only slightly less cracked than Sybil Trelawney. You can say the idea of naming as a basis for magic is old, and the haven't we had milked the poor orphan boy element to the last drop with Oliver Twist all the way to the Boy Who Lives? Still, similarities and tropes aside, Rothfuss has created an enigmatic, charismatic, and yet flawed, sometimes foolish and egotistical central character with Kvothe, his main protagonist. The stages of Kvothe's life, as he told it to the Chronicler, has the multifaceted colorfulness that makes it riveting. I also love the stories within the story within the story, like the ones Skarpi told at the inn, the legend in Kvothe's father's songs, and the snippets of plays like Deaonica and the ballad of Savoine and Aloine. I found the description of the layered, labyrinthine University, its students and professors, as well as the city of Imre and its populace wonderful, because I look at them from Kvothe's eyes, and thus spared the unnecessary details. I adore Bast, and Kvothe's two closest friends in University. I even found Denna wonderfully mystifying in her vacillation, fondness for Kvothe, and moments of occasional brilliance. I love how Rothfuss wove science into his magic, and while here and there his style tends to grate, and the occasional words that seem out of place in a book that in all appearances looks to be a medieval, sword and sorcery fantasy, may jar, I still love the poetic way he describes scenes and people, and some of his characters have the cleverest dialogs I've ever read. I can't wait for the next book. (less)
The book started slowly, and did not grab me until around page 70-ish, and the characters, likewise, fail to captivate until about a third way in. Aft...moreThe book started slowly, and did not grab me until around page 70-ish, and the characters, likewise, fail to captivate until about a third way in. Afterward, once the conflict sharpens, the central characters, swordsman Richard St Vier and his lover, the mysterious scholar Alec, grew on me, enough to make me rush the climax. None of them are exceptional on their own. Granted, St Vier's fearsome reputation as a hired swordsman seems to promise a lot of excitement, but he is also very practical, to the point of boring, except when it comes to Alec. Alec, on the other hand, frustrated me with his idleness and destructive tendencies; I saw him as spineless, spoiled, except, of course, when it comes to St Vier. They're lovely together.
The shifting POV is rather bothersome, and the narratives too, in some parts, and I wish the worldbuilding had been more elaborate, and the characters more developed, but all in all, quite a story.(less)
Signature Bujold in strong central female character, realistic details and dialogs. Bogs down a bit around the middle, but picks up stride shortly aft...moreSignature Bujold in strong central female character, realistic details and dialogs. Bogs down a bit around the middle, but picks up stride shortly after and the ending is satisfying. The details on metallurgy and necromancy are fascinating.(less)