3.5 of them thar stars. Lemme explain...
Those of you who have been following my progress on this book will know that I loved the first two hundred pages. The Name of the Wind is the only fantasy novel to impress me straight out the gate. Tolkien tells great stories with simple language. Sanderson? Couldn't get down with his Stormlight bindings and shards. Jordan? An episode of Wheel of Fortune held my interest longer. Goodkind? Kinda good, but mostly meh. Brooks? His Hook novelization was righteous, but I didn't dig his Shanara shenanigans. Martin? I'm gonna give him another go, and hopefully the third time's the charm.
Can you tell I'm not that into epic fantasy? Is it obvious? Well, this book held my interest for two hundred pages, and then I went dark for a while. Everything slowed to a crawl. Suddenly I was reading Harry Potter. We're bumbling around a school of witchcraft and wizardy and I'm all like, "Yo, where's Buckbeak, bitches?" You got Draco... I mean Ambrose... spoiling all the fun, trying to get Harry... er... Kvothe (pronounced Quothe for those of you that don't speak Epoc Phauntasee [thanks Richard]) in trouble at every turn. I honestly almost put this shit down. I came so close. Luckily, I had an extra Audible code in my back pocket, so I whipped that shit out like a porn star and got my eargasm on.
This book is 722 pages long. My interest was held for the first two hundred then it lost me, and did not catch my attention again until around page 540. Because I math gooder than most, that means I waded through 340 pages of world-building and magic system before I got to something that managed to quirk my eyebrow. ("That quirk's for you, Gregor," He said with a wan smile, and very seriously).
Then Rothfuss got cleverer than a motherfucker. I should have seen the set up right at the beginning. Kvothe chasing a dragon who's chasing the dragon. Cute. One fuck of a long joke to set up, but the payoff was, I believe, worth it.
Oh, and Mr. Rothfuss, if you somehow managed to set up and deliver that joke without realizing what you were doing, if it was just some kind of happy accident, you still get my applause, because that's that magic.
So yeah, the final 180 pages were good, but I was never quite as blown away as I was in the first 200 pages. I will manage to get around to the second book, but my excitement level has tapered way off. I might even wait until the final book is released before reading The Wise Man's Fear. And I have zero fucks to give about Auri, so The Slow Regard of Silent Things is definitely not on my radar.
In summation: Harry Potter battles a drug-addled Smaug while playing some bitchin' lead guit-fiddle. Rock on. Sleak and sexy at the beginning, bloated and floaty in the middle, with a Hobbit-y chaser at the end. But you have to take this review with a grain of salt because I don't care much for fantasy. Me reading this book is like a Christian at an Alice Cooper concert.
Final Judgment: Nowhere near as good as heroin.