So I just finished this behemoth of a book (GoodReads has it clocked around 994 pages) and I honestly wish it was longer. I proceeded to finish the companion novella The Slow Regard of Silent Things in one day, and I’m still not satisfied. I guess the best way to put it is that this is easily one of my all-time favorite fantasy series, and the fact that I’m caught up now is killing me. At this point I would honestly read Patrick Rothfuss’s grocery lists if it meant getting anything new from the man. But I digress. I’ll split this review in three parts, as Kvothe would probably appreciate it more that way.
First off, the worldbuilding is insane. I feel like Kvothe’s world is something finely tuned in a way few other authors are able to do in literature. The detail to language, religious systems, and even ethnic identity all simultaneously demonstrate their in-world complexity and Rothfuss’s brief foray into anthropological theory in college. The economic system actually works, which is also insane, and people are making the boardgame Tak as a Kickstarter campaign based on mere descriptions of it.
And then there’s the fae. Let me tell you, I am an absolute sucker for any faerie crap in any story. Much like the buzzword ‘vampire,’ I will instantly pick something up if I hear there are faeries/fairies involved. Thus, I was delighted when we finally got some background on the fae’s world in unexpected ways.
My last piece of praise is going to be the accessibility of Rothfuss’s writing. I feel like anyone who is daunted by adult high-fantasy should read this series as a starting point, purely because of it’s simple yet elegant prose. The man even goes into iambic pentameter and rhyme during regular dialogue at some points, but does that make it harder to understand? Of course not, because he’s Patrick freakin’ Rothfuss.
So guess what? This book is getting a five-star rating. Go read it, but start with The Name of the Wind. It’s the first book, and you’d be terribly confused if you started here.