As indicated by the subtitle “The Kingkiller Chronicles: Day Two”, The Wise Man’s Fear picks up where The Name of the Wind left off, continuing into the second day of the telling of Kvothe’s tale. The Name of the Wind was what I consider a perfect epic fantasy, combining the timeless quality of a fairy tale with the believability of a legend gone to myth. Patrick Rothfuss’ writing is dramatic without being overly so, his prose is beautiful, and his language feels archaic while still remaining easily understood. There is no denying he’s a natural-born storyteller.
That said. I wish I’d taken Kat’s review (above) more to heart because I had the same problems with The Wise Man’s Fear as she did, but I may have had a harder time getting past them. Considering how long it took for this book to be finished, I expected better.
To start with, I had every intention of re-reading The Name of the Wind beforehand, but ended up just jumping into The Wise Man’s Fear when the mood struck. I spent the first several chapters regretting that decision. It had been so long since I read the first book that it was hard to rekindle the enthusiasm and I’d forgotten enough to be a little lost. The story’s progress has slowed to a snail-like pace. If a third of this book was removed, it would’ve been better for it. Countless pages are spent on mundane and repetitious threads, while more exciting events are summarized in just a few sentences. When I finally got to the end, I was relieved that I hadn’t spent any more time with this tale. (It took me more days to finish this book than anything I’ve ever read before.)
Rothfuss still proves to be very good at making key elements relatable to his audience. Much of Kvothe’s story continues to center on the University. His academic endeavors, as well as his social experiences, resemble real college life. Kvothe is a very talented musician, and his music is another relatable aspect of the novel. If you’re an artist, or even if you’re just a no-talent aficionado like me, you can relate to the way Kvothe’s music is a big part of who he is. As for this reader, I enjoy spending time in a nice, cozy bar, so naturally I enjoyed the Waystone Inn interludes the best.
However, I had difficulty accepting that Kvothe could be only sixteen or seventeen years old during these adventures. Admittedly, I’m a hard sell when it comes to child characters. Some authors have made me believe that a kid can fit an adult’s worth of life experience into so few years — Mark Lawrence with The Prince of Thorns, for example — but only a very few, and this time, Rothfuss didn’t quite pull it off.
It’s because Rothfuss set the bar so high with The Name of the Wind that a three-star rating seems bad by comparison. To give credit where it’s due, there are some moments of exceptionally gifted writing in The Wise Man’s Fear. Nonetheless, when I look back at my reading experience, what I recall most is boredom.