Ah. This is like a fresh breeze on a super-hot, sticky Midwestern summer day. I read so many duds or near-duds in the genre of fantasy that when I find something that is so well-written, it truly is a breath of fresh air.
Due to many circumstances (life getting in the way, mostly, it sounds like), the next book in the series is not due out until next March. Part of me wishes I'd waited to read this book until late February because I am now extremely eager to see what happens next in the saga of Kvothe (pronounced Ku-oth), hero, musician and magician, but also very much a flawed man.
Set in a world slightly different from ours (um, it has magic) and a few ages back (folks still wear cloaks on a regular basis), it's not like the territory Rothfuss is traveling is different from any other fantasy territory that's come before. You have the usual setting for these types of stories, evil geniuses, wayward muses, mysterious women, etc., etc. That's not what makes it great. What makes it great is that Rothfuss builds ultra-believable characters against a strong base that he has worked hard to make sound real. He also does something few others can do for me anymore in fantasy-land: he makes me laugh out loud in surprise every 20 pages or so. In a book that's 662 pages long, that is a gigantic feat of writing.
I truly wish more of my friends read fantasy. I am always hesitant to recommend something I feel so strongly about in a genre that few seem to enjoy (especially women, a constant sadness for me). To repeat myself (and perhaps over time make a convert or two), I feel the same way about fantasy as I do about sci-fi: the best of these books reflect issues and problems in the real world. I'm certain Rothfuss has done this in spades.