Top critical review
It sets high expectations for itself, and meets none of them
on 21 August 2017
The plot takes a while to gain momentum, and when it does, you're rather wishing it hadn't. The writing style is pretentious, and painfully so. Half of the similes make no sense at all and they're all about as profound as the readings you get from fortune cookies. Minute details are described with excessive detail, and it is this dwelling on unnecessary topics that makes this book so helplessly dull.
I don't read a lot of fantasy fiction, so I wouldn't be able to tell you if the plot was shamelessly ripped off from other books, but I did find the theories of this book's magic quite interesting, and that was primarily what kept me reading. Rothfuss also introduces a lot of new material, and the promise of explanation was another factor. There is no explanation in this book.
The characters are woefully poor. I can't say much more than that. There is no humour, despite Rothfuss' poor attempts, and most of the characters are one-dimensional - at best. The main character is the heroic anti-hero, but somehow, he lacks the charm to be a hero, and the apathy to be an anti-hero. He claims to be startlingly intelligent, but his actions as written by Rothfuss never convey this, and we just have to believe he is.
As for the actual plot, half of the book is an introduction to the real story. I'm not even joking. It's segmented into different sections which give the impression of importance, but none of it relates to the later plot and it does little more than set up the rest of the story. As for the rest of the story, it quickly devolves into a dragon quest.
The more I think about it, the more I realise that this book is not anywhere near as brilliant as it thinks it is. The writing style gives the impression of wisdom, but I advise you to dig a little deeper. If you do, you'll be dismayed to find that the writing is not nearly as wise as you thought it was. It is carefully embellished, and delicately ornamented, but there is no hiding that it is utter tripe.