In short, the book went on for far too long and didn’t have enough content for its 700 pages. Hey, who said these recaps have to be unbiased? *wink* Sorry, sorry, I’ll try to keep the commentary on the down low.
So, in short, there’s an innkeeper called Kote who is really a famous ginger dude called Kvothe. Kvothe is a magician who supposedly caused a war by killing the king. Kote tells a bloke called Chronicler his story and it takes forever. Kvothe originally comes from a group of travellers, and is trained by some scholar guy. Kvothe’s people die, and he becomes a beggar. Then he becomes a student at the University, and he meets Denna. He and Denna kill a dragon in what is likely the most interesting part of this series. Ambrose and Kvothe get into a fight, and Kvothe summons the wind and breaks Ambrose’s arm. Master Namer Elodin accepts Kvothe as an advanced student.
Now in the present day, some poor dude gets possessed and kills another poor dude. The storytelling ends for the day – THANK GOD – and Bast tells Chronicler to get Kote to tell him the more exciting parts of the story. The audience erupts into applause.
what went down
- The book opens with Kote pretending to be Kote and not Kvothe. Yeah, it’s not the most imaginative fake name. Old Cob and Kote argue about the stories of Taborlin the Great and the Chandrian. A poor lad is attacked by a spidery creature which is quite possibly my worst nightmare.
- Kote tells the villagers that the spidery creature is a scrale (a demon, according to them). Kote tells Bast about the scrale.
- A bloke called Chronicler shows up and is attacked by more scrale. Kote saves him and brings him to the inn.
- Chronicler knows that Kote is Kvothe and asks him to spill.
- Kote talks about how he grew up as Kvothe in a troupe of Edema Ruh. His parents taught him skills to perform. Kvothe lets a guy called Abenthy join the troupe after he sees him perform magic.
- Abenthy tells Kvothe about the University and science and Alar. Kvothe practises a lot. He learns to bind items like sticks and coins.
- Abenthy and Kvothe’s parents talk about the Chandrian, which no one seems to know much about.
- Kote tells Chronicler that Bast, his buddy, is Fae.
- Kvothe nearly kills himself while using his magic, and Abenthy starts to think about his teachings. Kvothe is hella arrogant.
- Abenthy leaves on Kvothe’s birthday for a bit of added drama. He leaves Kvothe a book called Rhetoric and Logic.
- Kvothe goes for a wander in the woods and returns to find his troupe massacred. Two men, Cinder and Haliax, tell Kvothe that his parents have been singing the wrong kinds of songs. These guys are obviously Chandrian.
- Kvothe becomes a beggar in Tarbean. He gets ill and a guy called Trapis takes him in and tells him a story about Tehlu.
- Kvothe finds a storyteller called Skarpi, who tells Kvothe the story of Lanre, the leader of the Chandrian.
- Kvothe has a lot of questions and decides to attend the University.
- On the road to the University, Kvothe meets Denna. He falls into instalove with her. Denna tries to get Kvothe to come with them to Anilin, but he has his heart set on the University.
- Kvothe joins the University, after some back and forth with the Chancellor. He searches the Archives for some of the answers he seeks about Lanre and the Chandrian and all that, but he can’t find much.
- A boy called Ambrose bullies Kvothe. Rude.
- Kvothe leads a lecture at the University and soon everyone knows about it. Kvothe is to receive lashes for using something called sympathy.
- Master Arwyl invites Kvothe to study in the Medica and he accepts.
- Kvothe decides that artificing is appealing to him and that he should follow that path.
- Kvothe does well in his exams, but he still can’t make enough money for admissions. He wants to visit a gaelet to borrow money.
- Kvothe goes to Imre to see Devi to borrow money. There are high interest rates, but most importantly Devi expects a few drops of Kvothe’s blood to seal the deal. Kvothe declines at first, but then returns and takes the deal.
- Kvothe becomes an apprentice for Manet at the fishery but is suspended after betting on himself to win a competition.
- Kvothe plays his lute at the Eolian and then cries over how beautiful the song was. He runs into Denna again, and it turns out she’s been singing along to his songs. And probably improving them.
- Ambrose continues to mess with Kvothe by making Kvothe lose his deal with the inn, and influencing people so that no one will become Kvothe’s Patron.
- Kvothe and Denna go on a date.
- At the Fishery, the bone-tar starts to leak. Fela becomes trapped, but Kvothe saves her by covering himself in water and jumping over the fire to save her. Kvothe passes out from smoke inhalation.
- Denna sees Fela hug Kvothe and leaves without talking to him.
- Kvothe finds out that Denna has been dating lots of men who provide her with gifts.
- Kvothe gets attacked in some alley. When he returns to his room at the new inn, he finds a note from Denna which says she’s leaving.
- Kvothe overhears a story about everyone at a wedding being killed (it’s all very Red Wedding to me) and Kvothe sets off to get to the city of Trebon, where the wedding was held. Kvothe is sure the Chandrian are behind this.
- Kvothe finds out there was a witness to the wedding, and it turns out to be Denna. The two of them investigate together. The two of them go to look for some guy called Master Ash. Which doesn’t sound suspicious at all.
- A dragon attacks their camp, shooting bursts of blue flame. Kvothe tells Denna that the dragon isn’t going to eat them, it just wants to put out their fire. Sure Jan.
- They come across a camp where all the men are dead. A dragon (the same one?) shows up and breathes fire at them. They run.
- Denna eats a plant called ophalum, which is a drug, and thus almost poisons herself. They realise that the dragon must have been eating the ophalum resin, and that’s why it’s going on a killing spree.
- Kvothe decides to overdose the dragon.
- Kvothe follows the dragon to Trebon. He sets a tree alight to get its attention. He then crushes the dragon beneath a giant wheel.
- He then gets knocked out because karma.
- Denna isn’t there when he wakes up. Oh well.
- Kvothe returns to Imre and runs into Denna again, but she leaves again.
- Ambrose mocks Kvothe and Kvothe calls the wind and breaks Ambrose’s arm. Kvothe falls into an unresponsive state. Elodin pulls him out of it.
- Ambrose and Kvothe are both found guilty of misbehaviour and what I imagine is GBH in our world. Ambrose is fined and Kvothe receives lashes and is expelled.
- Except Kvothe isn’t really expelled. He then gets promoted to Re’lar because he was able to call the wind.
- In the present day, a newcomer shows up at the inn. It’s one of the men that robbed Chronicler before he arrived in town. He’s mumbling creepy things and doing weird stuff so he’s clearly possessed or demonic. Or both. Bast says it’s one of the Mael.
- Kvothe searches the Underthing with Auri. Kvothe finds a passage that leads to the Archives.
- Kvothe, Bast, and Chronicler stop for the night. Chronicler goes to sleep but is woken by Bast, who asks what rumour brought him here. Bast says that Kvothe hiding is killing him. Bast wants Kvothe to become a hero again.
- Bast tells Chronicler that he is now his.
- And it’s over and Amber rejoices.
Scrale – Spider-like demon creatures.
Alar – A belief which causes things to happen when you believe in them enough.
Tehlu – A god.
Chandrian – Demons
Re’lar – Speaker. Able to speak the true name of things like the wind.