I started this book in good faith, having seen high ratings and praise from people I know have similar taste in books to mine. I immediately liked the main character, Kvothe, the red-haired legendary Arcanist (sort of like a sorcerer). The story does start rather slowly, however, and it took me some effort to keep going. I have a pile of books to get to and I don't like to waste time. I'm glad I stuck with it to the end, however, and I am looking forward to the second installment.
By way of short summary, the book begins with a semi-retired Kvothe running a small inn in a tiny rural town. A local man is attacked on the road and brings back an enormous spider-like creature (the villagers immediately decide it's a demon), setting up a small burst of action, followed by a lull. Soon a "chronicler" comes to town, searching for Kvothe, wanting to hear his story. Kvothe, known to locals as "Kote" is hesitant at first, but eventually agrees to tell his story, his history, the truths of the legend he has become. The remainder of the book is told in flashbacks, with the occasional scene in the inn while Kvothe and the chronicler take short breaks in recording the story. There is action, adventure, poverty and wealth, hatred and love. Kvothe is adventurous and charming, incredibly intelligent and gifted in the arcane arts.
I don't like to give too much away, but I do recommend this book, especially to fantasy fans. It's a great adventure, but the setup for the second book is a bit of a letdown at the end-- I wanted the story to continue immediately- I don't want to wait until I get my turn from the library for book two.