‘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 day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.
My name is Kvothe.
You may have heard of me’
So begins the tale of Kvothe – currently known as Kote, the unassuming innkeepter – from his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, through his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-riddled city, to his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a difficult and dangerous school of magic. In these pages you will come to know Kvothe the notorious magician, the accomplished thief, the masterful musician, the dragon-slayer, the legend-hunter, the lover, the thief and the infamous assassin.
Review: (Video Review)
This book has a fantastic world building and a man’s detailed life-story all wrapped up with intrigues and magic. A chronicler journeys a long way to get hold of an infamous legend called Kvothe. He needs to know, in person, if the stories about Kvothe are true or just exaggerations grown from mouth to mouth. When the chronicler finally meets Kvothe he secures the story of his life on the condition that Kvothe gets three days to tell it – no more, no less. They agree and that is where the story begins. This is a saga about Kvothe’s life and how he survives the trickiest of situations with only a few lashes on his back and stitches to his skin. The story goes into great detail about the young man’s hardship, his young adult days at the University and how he grows into a man. I did find the details in this story to be highly intricate and well rounded, yet it lacked purpose. This story didn’t have an agenda but was simply a retelling of Kvothe’s life and hence felt a bit confusing as to what angle you were supposed to focus on when reading the story. This book would probably have been one of my all time favourites if the plot would have had a good twist and a moral message.
Message & Moral
The only constant mentioning of anything resembling a moral message seemed to be the survival and the wit used by Kvothe to overcome his obstacles. He always wanted to improve his knowledge and skill, even though at times he needed to go beyond the rules of the University and the rules of Magic. Maybe the story wanted to prove that the strong and the brave survive and flourish?
Creatures & Environment
I couldn’t fault Patrick’s world building. It was detailed and imaginative to the extent of any other good Epic Fantasy story. The magic system and the mention of substances in what would be an equivalent to our periodic table was very interesting to read about. I also liked that the protagonist had been made street-smart with a sharp tongue to answer back when he was being challenged. The details about the environment and the people didn’t feel trivial, but was well shaped. Although there was so much of it that I lost track of what was what, it still felt enjoyable to read and impressive in terms of scope.
Captivation and Continuity
Unfortunately, this is where the story ran short for me. The chronicler embarked on a long journey to find the story of his life, and so did I think I would do, but I was never directed into a path. The story was scattered around different events that didn’t link together other than being a part of the same man’s life. I would have liked to see the story have had a problem to be solved that would have given it anticipation to the last page. However, if you are a reader that just enjoy to feel yourself live in an epic world for a moment, this is for you.
Language & Flow
The language was interesting and the way the characters were portrayed when they spoke with both wit and intelligence was highly intriguing. I loved to read about the explanations of the magic system and how Kvothe was taken through the lessons of learning it. There is a very good part where Kvothe meets a girl and as a very young, nervous man he isn’t quite sure how to handle it. The vocabulary is varied and the way Patrick writes is captivating. As said, this would probably have been one of my favourite books if it would just have had a topic of either vengeance, love or a family secret to be solved or revealed at the end.
T.M. Caruana’s Unbreakable Sword Award