Within a small village tavern, the owner shines his bar and serves his patrons with pride. But there is wariness too, and perhaps secrets better left untold. An unusual sword hangs above the bar, and there are rumors of dangerous creatures on the road to the village. With the arrival of a visitor, a Chronicler determined to record the story of a man now known only in legend, the past begins to unfold. The tavern owner was once known as many things: Arcane, Bloodless, Kingkiller. But his given name is Kvothe. His assistant at the inn, Bast, hopes that telling his story will pull him out of his mundane existence of wiping down tables and serving food. As Kvothe begins to relay and relive his story, even Bast is shocked to learn about his tragic childhood and his quest for survival and revenge. For Kvothe had one dream -- to be admitted to The University and discover in its enormous Archives a way to fight an evil so ancient that it exists only in children's stories. As Chronicler records what Kvothe tells him from the past, it becomes obvious to the three men that evil still lurks in the present, perhaps in their own village.
This first volume in a planned trilogy is a richly-detailed, epic fantasy story with a likeable, intelligent hero and plenty of dramatic scenes to keep the plot going. Readers will be left wanting more of Kvothe's story and can continue the series in The Wise Man's Fear. The third book is not yet published. Adult readers of the Harry Potter series may enjoy The University setting and Kvothe's quest for knowledge.
Reviewed by cs, 01/17. Other reviews by cs.