This is the first book in the planned trilogy named the ‘Kingkiller Chronicles’ by Patrick Rothfuss, and was pubished in 2007.
Despite it’s recent publication date, this book has become quite popular among fantasy readers, and won numerous awards, all with good reason.
This is a great book.
Rotfuss has created a beautiful world and tells a gripping story with it. The setting is a low tech world with a rich history and detailed map. But what Rothfuss excels in is the magic system of his world. It’s a combination of Voodoo and physics, with some true names thrown in. In fact, Rothfuss looks to be the only writer since Ursula K Le Guin who got a magic system that uses true names right.
This book tells the story of a man named Kvothe, who seems to be quite notorious in the land. It is also hinted that he is the titular king killer of the trilogy. We learn his story as he narrates it to a chronicler called the Chronicler. The story is thus told in third person narrative style, with the character themselves telling their story. Kvothe himself focuses on his own trials and tribulations during his narrative, and the other characters and the world itself takes second stage.
We see him start as a young boy of remarkable talent with a bright future ahead of him, and then suddenly it is all torn away from him and he falls to the lowest point possible. He must put his life together again, this time fighting tooth and nail for every little thing. He replaces intelligence with cunning, and easygoing with calculating, and above everything he does looms a newfound obsession. He is turning into someone who will do anything to reach his goals, and we can see that his road will most likely end in disaster. The little glimpses of love and compassion he shows gives hope that there is hope for him, but the state we find him at the start of the book seems to hint that his story does end with a fall.
That said, all of this makes his story that much more interesting. Kvothe is a smart young man who is supposed to have become a hero later in life, but we see his story from his point of view, and we can compare it to how other people see him. How does the hero feel inside, why did he do the heroic deed? Knowing this man, it cannot be pure altruism.
Read this book if you want a fantasy novel that has an incredibly engaging main character and an innovative magic system. Or if you like fantasy novels in general. You wont be disappointed.