I couldn't stop listening! I expected it to take at least 2 weeks to listen in my spare time, but I kept right on listening when I don't normally listen to books, and I finished in just a few days. Thank goodness there's the sequel already out!
This book series is my personal book crack, when I become entangled in another story clone fantasy novel and the disgust of unimaginative writer consumes me I come back to this book.
This book is a story within a story 3 times. Kvothe is a character to crawl inside of and love, he is not a traditional hero, perhaps not a hero at all. Kvothe is fire and ice.
I loved this book! It is meandering, and there are moments when I wished it would hurry along. But, in the end, I appreciate how the author built this entire universe and filled it with details. I have read many high fantasy novels, but this is the only one that really tried to explain how the hero became a hero. I cried when he described his years as a street urchin. I felt myself shaking my head at his university misadventures. I enjoyed the humor present all throughout the story. As I finished the novel, I marveled that I had gone through so much with the protagonist, and it was only the first book! I can't wait to get the next one.
Overall I found the story very enjoyable. My biggest issues were with world building and the ending. Rorhfuss has created a fascinating and unique world but I finished the book wanting so much MORE. I want to explore the different people, the different regions, learn more of the lore and history... Maybe the 2nd and 3rd books will satisfy the hunger.
Regarding the ending, I generally expect some kind of epic climax ending from a fantasy novel and I found this one's to be a little bit lackluster. I'll leave it at that.
Unfortunately I was so unhappy with the audio performance that I'm afraid it ruined the book for me. I'll be going into Book 2 without audio to see if I end up finding the book more enjoyable.
The main character narration was mostly fine. No issues with the voice, pacing or pronunciations. My issues lie in Podehl's whispering and general voices for other characters.
Podehl seems to very strictly interpret characters' voice levels, so he'll go from normal voice, to VERY soft, then immediately VERY loud and it's a very aggravating listening experience. My favorite narrators, Kramer and Dotrice, stay between a 40% and 60% volume level which is much more pleasurable.
I mostly listen to audio in the car when I'm driving on the freeway, which more often than not is a bit noisy. So I'll be listening at my normal volume, then Podehl will start whispering, so I crank of the volume, then he starts yelling! After having just turned up my volume, this even louder yelling is very disorienting. Doing this for 10s of hours made me exhausted.
Otherwise, the voices for other characters seems to all fall in the range of, "angry old man with a craggy raspy voice." Which would be okay for a few characters, but it seems to be his go-to option. I happen to not like that voice so I end up with a natural dislike for many of the characters.
Podehl is not unique in either of these habits; I have experienced these issues with several other narrators as well, all of whom I cannot listen to.
If it were up to me, every single living thing and beyond... would have to read this stories at least once in their existence.
Speaking about the narrator, I must congratulate him he has achieved a great deal of credibility and immersion for the audience.
This is your final warning... once you read this book, nothing will seem to you as it was...