When I found this book on GR, I was hesitant to read it, because of the negative reviews about the "perfect protagonist". I tried the first chapter and confirmed my fears, and the book ended up on my maybe-someday-list. The start reminded of all the Tolkien-clones there are in the fantasy-world. I hate Tolkien-clones.
But... being out of anything good to read, I returned to this audiobook. And was very pleasantly surprised. Let me say this first: I love this book. I don't really know why. I hate perfect protagonists with a fierce abandon ;-) I like complicated and selfdoubting characters. I like greys in morality. I like failure and reality in a story. To be frank, this book has none of that.
But it has something that I really appreciated: it tells the story behind a famous sorcerer/adventurer. I love stories about (in)famous people. The how and why. People become someone for a reason. Most stories we tell about famous people aren't true in the least. So, who is this person really?
So, I was hooked as soon as the Kvothe started to tell The Chronicler about his youth.
Regarding those negative reviews here on GR... I get the impression those people haven't read the same book, or maybe not in its entirety. Or are maybe immature young boys or something. Or maybe just don't like it, taste is a very personal thing. But the things these review mention I can't really find in the book.
Yes, there may be a homosexual relation between Kvothe and Bast. Maybe. Might be just a really good friendship/bromance, in my opinion.
I can really find no traces of an Oedipus-complex. Yes he loved his mother. That's what mentally healthy people do, especially when their mother is taken from them. They idealize them in retrospect. And most men are really attracted to women that resemble their mother (and women to men that resemble their father). I have studied Psychology and I just can't find traces of anything of the sort in this story.
Kvothe isn't infallible, does make mistakes and big ones. He gets in trouble at every opportunity, and yes that is a bit tough to swallow sometimes, because I think he shouldn't be thát dense. It a bit 1 dimensional, his flaw not to see those traps. But then again, a lot of real people are this stupid, so why not a brilliant fictional sorcerer.
Well, I can't say much without spoiling the story, so I'm not going to try. I loved this story. It's light and fluffy but nowhere near as fluffy as David Eddings. Reminded me more of Robert Jordan (which I still consider fairly brainless Soap-reading, until Brandon Sanderson took over) but with teeth.
No, it's not literature. It doesn't come close to real writers like Steven Erikson or Stephen Donaldson or Patricia McKillip or... well a lot of them. But by my book, it high on the "normal" ranking list for enjoyment and readability, and most of all: entertainment.
My first fears about the Tolkienality were groundless. It veers of into an entirely different direction.
I immediately went on to the second book, and that says a lot.
So... Give this book a try. Don't let yourself get turned of by the synopsis or bad reviews or the first chapters. Give it until Kvothe gets near the University. You may be pleasantly surprised.