Okay, the synopsis:
Our young Kvothe is at the University. He is studying Naming as well as other important things an Arcanist would use (sygaldry, sympathy, languages, medicine etc). No, I must go back, this is a frame story. Kvothe is a mild mannered innkeeper who goes by the name Kote. He is in the second day of his telling of his life story. The Chronicler is recording everything, and Bast (a demon), Kote's attractive assistant is listening to the story of his teacher, a story he has never heard before. Kote continues the story of Kvothe at the University. That's where it starts. It doesn't stay there. This story follows Kvothe through some local trials, through a year off from the University, through the high court of Severen, through learning from the Adem, a trip to the Faerie realm, ... and learning the name of the wind.
It's so hard to write a proper synopsis of long books because so much happens and I don't want to give anything away. There are so many important things to mention, but at the same time, I need to keep those secret until you read them.
Le sigh. Let's move on to the review:
Love. I am in love with these books. I want to reread them. The third one is scheduled to come out in 2014 and I don't know if I can wait that long. I may have to reread the books before the third one comes out. I mentioned this in the review of "The Name of the Wind", but it bears repeating. I love the way he describes very specific feelings. Here are a few examples:
Denna moved through the crowd with slow grace. Not the stiffness that passes for grace in courtly settings, but a natural leisure of movement. A cat does not think of stretching, it just stretches. But a tree does not even do this. A tree simply sways without the effort of moving itself. That is how she moved.
What I personally knew about courting women could comfortable fit into a thimble without taking it off your finger first.
It is not often that I highlight sections of a book I'm reading for fun, but there are just some wonderful gems. I want to write them out for you, but I would rather have you read this book.
I love the characters. Even when I don't like them, I love them. I am just so enthralled by Patrick Rothfuss' story-telling abilities. I want to read everything he has ever written. Mostly, I want to read the third book in this series. I love that Kvothe is this charming and well intentioned young guy, but he has this darkness about him that people can see.
I love the language in the book. I especially love the importance placed on words and names. It's more than just knowing a name. "To name a thing, you must understand it entire. A stone or a piece of wind is difficult enough. A person..." I would love to believe that I would enjoy learning the Adem language, but I think I would have a really hard time. It is a nuance based language. One word could imply so many different things. It would take an impressive amount of time to become even reasonably conversational.
I could go on and on about what I liked. Maybe it would be easier to talk about what I didn't like. The problem is that I can't think of anything off hand. The closest I could come to putting something on the "didn't like" list is when I knew Kvothe was walking into trouble of his own doing. Those moments I had to put the book down because I didn't want to see the trouble he was causing himself. That's not really a con for the book. That's actually a pro for the book. The author made me love the characters so much that I didn't want to see them being self-destructive. I just love these books.
I'm not going to say if I would recommend it or not. I'm going to tell you to read it. That is all.