by Patrick Rothfuss
from the back cover
My name is Kvothe. I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during the day. I have talked to gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.
You may have heard of me.
So begins a tale unequaled in fantasy literature--the story of a hero told in his own voice. It is a tale of sorrow, a tale of survival, a tale of one man's search for meaning in this universe, and how that search, and the indomitable will that drove it, gave birth to a legend.
This book is so many things, packed full of action, emotion, and just pure raw humanity, with a heavy dose of wit throughout. And although Kvothe seems at times (ok, most of the time) obnoxiously haughty, his excessive pride and blind self-assurance leaves him flat on his back on multiple occasions. Granted, he is only 15 for most of this 722-page behemoth (and this is book one!).
I avoided this novel despite its many raving reviews for quite some time for fear that it would be too dark--the story of a hero of questionable, perhaps villainous, character. But it's far too scintillating and witty for that, and Kvothe is most certainly not villainous. Of course it does have its full share of sorrowful, fearful, vengeful--dark--moments, they just don't hopelessly overwhelm the plot.
Despite Kvothe's wry, independent spirit, he does have a few close friends who bring even more color to the story. Simmon and Wilem are always there to lean on--and to give terrible advice only teenaged boys could imagine useful--mysterious Denna provides a thread of hopeful romance, and the wisp that is Auri holds an all-important joyfully innocent perspective.