I've only recently been getting back into epic fantasy, having taken a long break from the genre. Over the past year, my results have been mixed. I've read some new stuff I liked, and some mediocre Extruded Fantasy Product. Some of the latter came highly recommended, so... I've started taking reviews with a grain of salt. Everywhere I read, people were praising Patrick Rothfuss's debut novel, The Name of the Wind
. Nobody had a bad word to say about it. So, what the hell, I listened to the audiobook.
This was a GREAT story. I loved it.
That said, I'd kind of call this "comfort fantasy." Which is to say, it's not groundbreaking or even terribly original, and it's not edgy, gritty, or particularly dark, as is trendy in epic fantasy nowadays. The setting is your basic low-magic AD&Dish medieval kingdom, and the main characters literally meet in a tavern. Then the hero of the story, Kvothe, proceeds to narrate his life story, the story of a man who's climbed his way up from street scrub to bonafide Legendary Hero. Doesn't sound all that interesting? Well, even though it's long and sometimes the details are downright prosaic, it held my attention all the way through. It's like listening to a master storyteller (and Rothfuss is a master storyteller) tell a story you've already heard but which nonetheless keeps you waiting breathlessly for the next part. There are so many characters and events, all coming one after another, always something new happening. It's just a damn good read/listen.
However, this is the first part of a trilogy. By the end of the book, Kvothe has only gotten up to his University years; he's not even out of adolescence yet. So you have to wait for the next two books to find out how he really becomes a legend.
All the recommendations didn't steer me wrong this time. I'll be looking forward to book two in the Kingkiller Chronicles.