Hello, my name is Hans and I am a critic. I know I know, I need help, it's just that when I read really crappy literature I just can't help but be appalled. This is some of the worst writing I have read since I threw down (figuratively, I threw it down in my mind) Way of Shadows after 30 minutes of torture. This book was recommended to me by someone who claimed to be my friend, but now I see that he was never what he claimed, just an enemy in disguise looking for a way to bring me to my knees. He was successful. I finished the book. Somehow I finished the book. Don't ask me how, I don't know, I don't think I could do it again either, but I did it. I did it so that YOU DON'T HAVE TO! Don't listen to all of these idiots saying how amazing the book is; it's NOT! It is some of the worst written literature of all time! Let me give you a quick overview now that I've used up half of my space on the intro.
The story is boring, at times predictable, at others not, but always told in a depressingly dull way. Rothfuss writes in the first person for most of the book, and pulls it off terribly. There are oh so many points in the book that are simply stupid and I'm not talking about characters acting stupid (although that does happen, and their stupidity is often smiled upon), but stupidity in plot, in story telling, in circumstance, in wording, in EVERYTHING! I will say one good thing for the book, the dialog is generally tolerable, but that's only when compared with the narration, which is beyond awful. I'm not talking about the reading, but the written narration. The reader does a fine job in my opinion, but he can't make something good out of this garbage. Seriously, don't listen to the good reviews that try to drag you down into the dirt, down to the lowest level that the fantasy genre has ever descended to, down even as far as Brent Weeks and that AWFUL Way of Shadows crap. Please, please, PLEASE do NOT purchase this book! Let my mistake be your good fortune.
This was the "big debut" fantasy novel a year or two ago. Ultimately, it's just alright--just interesting enough that you might want to listen to the sequel, when it comes out, because none of the mysteries or questions or plot threads are even close to being wrapped up here.
It is a very uneven novel, at points boring or too obvious or silly. Sometimes you can hear the author working too hard to make this a book about storytelling. At other times it is engaging and gripping. There are some good ideas here--but it is also very derivitive of Harry Potter and of A Wizard of Earthsea--the main action taking place at university for magic. It hooks you in enough that you then are frustrated with the parts of the book that seem amaeturish.
The narration is excellent, and makes the novel hang together much better than it might have.
I read reviews that touted this book for its depth and excitement. I didn't get that. An interesting premise turns into a shallow plot device, with the "greatest myth of all time" telling his Harry Potter-like story of school days. Why? Nothing but a disjointed collection of tales. It could've been so much more Tolkienesque - but not. Not sure if I'll finish the series or not.
I thought the reader was excellent, though. I could almost always tell which character had voice, not an easy job.
Things I liked about this book: The system of magic was very realistic, by which I mean the author clearly spent a lot of time thinking about the mechanism for the magic, which is built mainly on the idea of “sympathy” between objects. For instance, it makes sense that in order to use magic to start something on fire (for instance, a barn) the magic user must hold an item that is easy to burn (for instance, a piece of straw). This concept is explained in bits and pieces throughout the book, as the protagonist learns more and more about how to control “sympathy.” This is much more satisfying in my mind than--to pull an example out of thin air--a book about a boy who learns magic that seems to be based almost exclusively on memorizing almost-Latin sounding phrases and then yelling them at another magic-user. One particularly good scene stands out in my mind, in which the protagonist and another student have a sort of magic duel. Rather than giving us yet another wand-waving explosion of pyrotechnics, Rothfuss imagines a nearly silent contest of wills in which the two contestants must concentrate all their attention on preventing their opponent from lighting a candle.
The other thing I really liked about the book were the descriptions of the music. Not very many books have a bard as a protagonist, and the descriptions of the protagonist’s experiences as a musician had the ring of truth to them. A musician’s love for his instrument, the agony of breaking strings, and the exhilaration that comes when performing, are all described beautifully and realistically and were some of my favorite parts of the book.
Unfortunately, too many other parts of the book were just plain boring or weirdly nonsensical. Without getting into too much detail, I will simply say that I thought some of the characters’ reactions to the things that happened were unbelievable. And while I know this is the first book of a trilogy, leaving the central mystery of the book, which is introduced in the first chapter (the spider things) completely unexplained, is just bad storytelling. Sorry, I wasn’t interested enough to want to read the next installment.
Unfortunately I would not recommend this book. It came highly recommended which is why I was disappointed. The first quarter of the book was pretty much a story about a guy telling a story about his younger days where many people he met told him stories... so a story about a story about stories.
It gets a little better after that, but not much. Characters randomly appear out of no where, the main characters luck at bumping into people at just the right time gets tiresome. there is no real direction until about half way through you realize this book is just a prologue to the a next book that might hopefully have some more action. But I am not willing to spend the $ to find out if the next is better.
The author appears to be trying very hard to write an award winning book, almost too hard. I am searching for a nice sci-fi fantasy to replace Sanderson because I am tired of him milking his notoriety by bringing poorer and poorer books out of his old work notebooks instead of finishing his decent writings. However, this author will not be the one to replace him.
This is the first. The performance was surprisingly good. I enjoyed the different accents and consistency.
Inspired me not to read the next book.
With reservations. I think Rothfuss is an excellent writer and I liked the world he has created. I like a good long listen but I feel that the book would be improved if it were whittled down a bit.
There were a few characters that pulled me out of the story.
The story in wonderfully told. The world is rich, and the characters are compelling. It feels like a living world, full of ancient lore and faerie tales.
The narrator was okay, his voice lent it self well to the writing. He did however, have the bad habit of lowering his voice to the point where, even with my Kindle Fire at full volume, it was hard to understand him. This was a very big detraction from the work, as he used this technique often.
At 27+ hours, no. It was a very engaging story however. I was always sad to quit my listening sessions, and glad to get back to them. Downloading the next volume as I type.
Sadly, not much has been enjoyable about it, I'm only 3 chapters in and so disappointing. Nick Podehl is horrible and should be banned from any narration except story hour at a local library.
The lead character, Kvothe, is awesome. A bit of a prodigy, but not a snot about it.
Nick Podehl absolutely slaughtered this book. It SOUNDED like a narrator, as in, it sounded as though he were reading and not telling me a story. All the voices kinda sounded the same, with absurd accents, one sounded as though he were from the New England area *eye roll*. The transitions between his character voices and his voice weren't smooth leaving awkward pauses in between the last words the character spoke and "Kvothe said". I was so excited to get this audiobook, and now I just want to cry because he is just so freaking terrible! I can't believe this dude has won awards, blows my mind.
Wide range of tastes including history, fantasy, spy thrillers, memoirs
I usually love epic fantasy novels, but this uneventful and bloated story was a huge disappointment. A couple of times, it seemed like the gist of the story would be revealed and that the pace would pick up, but sadly, I was mistaken and the story just dragged on as before. In addition to the boring and rambling plotline, there didn't seem to be any depth to any of the characters and I didn't find the main character very likable. For the most part, he was an arrogant know-it-all with frequent lapses in judgment. There was absolutely nothing in this story to keep my interest or make me want to read the next installment.
It seems as though Rothfuss couldn't make up his mind as to what kind of main character he wanted to create. Should he be kind-hearted or mean-spirited, brilliant or a complete fool, wise beyond his years or an immature little brat. Well, it seems Kvothe manages to be all of these randomly throughout the story. He doesn't mature in any way as time progresses which didn't make for a very plausible (or likeable) main character.
One of my pet peeves is when characters don't behave in accordance with the situation that they are in. For example, if someone is put into a horrifying situation and then jokes or flirts with another person immediately after, it doesn’t make for a plausible story. Instances of this occurred several times throughout the book. This type of incongruence is quite distracting and makes for a story that doesn't ring true.
Something good, hopefully.
Essentially he has very little range, and makes some poor choices. Some of the characters in this fantasy sound inexplicably like they're from New England. All old men sound the same, speaking in high, annoying, and quavering tones.
The whole book. I mean, it's not just the narrator, the whole book is really just awful.
This is the most haphazardly written, badly paced, terribly dialogued, horribly narrated audio book I have come across in my life. I will avoid this author and narrator from now on. A waste of my audible credit.