There is no other book and series with which I could have begun this journey through literature. Full disclosure, this is not a series I read for the first time for this review, but it is one I keep coming back to over and over again, most recently last week.
The Kingkiller Chronicle is a series of books written by Patrick Rothfuss. To date, two books have been released, The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear. When I tell you they are my favorite books of all time, I am not being facetious or hyperbolic. They are, quite simply, that good. In fact, I have multiple copies of each book, both hard copy and ebook, so I can lend freely to friends knowing if the urge strikes me, I’ll still be able to dive back into my favorite scenes. In fact, on the ebook version, my favorite parts are all bookmarked for easy access.
The series focuses on Kvothe, a red-haired musician, magician, adventurer, as well as the Kingkiller of the name. But when we meet him, he is simply tending bar at the Waystone Inn, no longer the man we’ll come to learn he once was.
Part of what I love so much about this series is how Rothfuss spins gold with the written word. When dealing with concepts such as music, it can be challenging to convey the emotion and power to the audience through writing, but Rothfuss succeeds incredibly well, so much so that I’ve found myself tearing up whenever Kvothe picks up his lute and begins to play.
As we learn more about Kvothe through his autobiographical retelling of his life to the Chronicler, the foremost biographer of this world, we are introduced to the wonder of the University, where students study magic, here called sympathy. My favorite parts of the books take place at the University, full of rich characters, each with a unique personality, and each able to offer Kvothe some crucial piece of knowledge that contributes to the man he becomes and brings him closer to fulfilling the mission that drives him every day.
And how could any review of these books be complete without mentioning Denna, the mysterious woman who captures Kvothe’s heart from the moment he lays eyes on her and confounds the smooth talker so much he trips over himself trying to come up with the perfect way to describe her. She is as beautiful as she is coy, as charming as she is sly, she is Denna and he is her Kvothe. Clear from the beginning is the lengths Kvothe would go for her, to the ends of the world and back again if she would but ask it of him.
I hesitate to reveal any more for fear of spoiling what is one of the most thrilling rides a book can take you on, so I will stop here, well past the verge of gushing, but I just want to convey how much I love this series and I’m sure you will too.