I did it, guys. I finished it. All 994 pages, in just 8 days! Saying I’m proud of myself would be an understatement. AND I LOVED THIS SO MUCH.
Now, let’s start at the beginning. This is a high fantasy novel, and it’s the second book in the Kingkiller trilogy, the first being The Name of the Wind. These books follow Kvothe, the most talented and most likable guy I have ever had the pleasure to read about. Kvothe lives in a town in the middle of nowhere and has his own little inn. Everything is rather normal and peaceful, until Chronicler shows up – a historian who knows who Kvothe really is, and who wants to write down his story. So Kvothe starts telling it, and IT’S EPIC.
In the first book we got to read about Kvothe’s childhood and his time at the university. In this book, we get to read MORE about the university (which is my favourite place in the entire universe), and then about halfway through Kvothe goes on a super epic adventure and we finally get to see more of the world. The reason that is so great is that Patrick Rothfuss is a world-building genius. There is one particular group of people in this story who are so fascinating that I want a whole book just about their history and culture.
The plot also keeps getting more and more interesting. Kvothe’s story has a certain sadness to it – he talks about his childhood and his friends at the university, and then the book shifts back to the present day, and he’s sitting there in his inn, lonely and a with the air of someone who has given up a long time ago. It honestly kind of breaks my heart. But even after two very long and very epic books, we still don’t know how he got to that point. The entire world thinks he’s dead. He’s hiding in the middle of nowhere. And we still have no idea why. Which is why I can’t wait for the third book – the author is taking an eternity to write it, which is understandable as it’s gonna be huge and intense, but STILL. I NEED IT.
Throughout this book I started liking the present day more. I honestly really didn’t like it in The Name of the Wind. I kept thinking that it’s kind of useless and a waste of time, as nothing really happens and the story would work just as fine without Kvothe actually telling it to someone. But in this book I quickly realised that I was wrong. The present day is crucial. There are still a lot of open questions that have nothing to do with Kvothe’s past. And I’m sure that in the third book shit is gonna go down.
But enough about the present day – let’s talk about Kvothe. I recently did the Secret Life of a Book Blogger tag, and I just realised that I forgot to mention how in love I am with this guy. Kvothe is literally perfect. He’s smart (like, genius smart), he’s funny, he’s talented at pretty much everything, and he is SUCH A GOOD PERSON. I feel like that is a really overlooked and underrated quality. Do you know how difficult it is to find a character who actually stands up for the right things? A male character who’s not just another fuckboy? PRETTY DAMN DIFFICULT. Kvothe never disappoints me. I am always, ALWAYS proud of him.
I want to briefly mention the magic system of this world. This is the only fantasy series I’ve ever read where the magic actually makes sense. It’s basically scientific. If someone handed me a book about magic and described it the way it works in these books, I would believe them. I would be completely convinced that magic is real. The way it’s described just makes perfect sense, and it’s delightful to read. I don’t know about you, but I love understanding things.
Since the book is so incredibly long, you’re probably wondering how much could possibly happen in a single book. Well, this is what I find so fascinating about this trilogy. Not that much actually happens. This book definitely had more specific plot points, but if I think about The Name of the Wind, I am left mostly confused. Patrick Rothfuss manages to write huge, epic novels where the most mundane things become interesting. For example, in the first book Kvothe spends most of his time at the university, studying and getting in trouble. I have no idea how that can be interesting for a whole, massive book, but it is. You keep asking yourself, how can anything more happen?, and then it does, and it always makes perfect sense. There’s not a single scene that feels unnecessary or out of place.
Having said that, I did find a certain part of the book annoying. Kvothe spends a couple chapters in a place that is quite fascinating, but he goes there with a character I couldn’t stand. I am not gonna go into any sort of detail as I don’t wanna spoil the story, but I was really glad when he finally left. I would have loved to explore that place more, just not with the other character. I love when Kvothe gets to be himself, when he can be smart and talented and set buildings on fire (no joke) – when he goes to this place he just sits around with this other character and talks. I really, really couldn’t stand it. Instead I would have loved to get a more detailed journey to Severen. I mean, that part of his life was described in just a few lines, because apparently it wasn’t important enough, but it sounded interesting and really fun. Instead we got a hundred pages of talking about literally nothing. Oh well.
There is also another character that I really don’t like, but for different reasons. She’s basically Kvothe’s love interest and I hate her. I hate the way she treats Kvothe. I hate the way he acts around her, and I just can’t stand them together. They’re not toxic for each other, not really, but they definitely don’t have a good relationship. She’s an important part of his life, but I just really want her to leave. (While we’re speaking of love, does anyone else totally ship Tempi and Kvothe? #IShipIt)
Now that I’ve gotten the things I didn’t like about this book off my chest, I want to end this review on a positive note. The last hundred pages or so were WONDERFUL. There was this overwhelmingly beautiful feeling of returning home, and some truly hilarious lines as well. That lovely ending left me feeling kind of sad, because I hate letting Kvothe go, and I’m haunted by the thought of him sitting in his inn, all alone, until we get the next book. Also, I have a very unsettling feeling that this story is not gonna end well. I am already crying inside for my future self.
This review is all over the place and way too long, but I just have too many thoughts. Try reviewing a book that is almost a thousand pages long without forgetting something important!
I hope I could get you guys interested in reading this series – it is truly wonderful. And if you’ve already read it, please let me know.
‘Till next time and happy reading!