The Wise Man’s Fear is the second installment in Patrick Rothfuss’ bestselling Kingkiller Chronicles. This is the second day of Kvothe telling his life story, covering a shorter time period than the first book, The Name Of The Wind (you can find my review of it here) – only a year or two – during Kvothe’s time at the University and his break from studying in which he travels, and yet it is longer than the first book – almost a thousand pages long.
I simply had to pick up this book as soon as I finished The Name Of The Wind – the first book leaves us with many unanswered questions.
Worst things first: it’s. So. Long.
Considering that this book is almost a thousand pages long, it’s not surprising that some parts dragged a bit. That’s not to say that these parts were boring; no, they were still interesting, and were still as well written as the rest of the book. But I would find myself thinking, “Patrick Rothfuss, are you sure you couldn’t have cut this section down even just a tiny bit more?”
Of course, any rambling is due to the fact that we’re seeing this story from Kvothe’s perspective, and Kvothe seems to like musing about things and dwelling on the details – after all, this is the one time that he is ever going to tell his story in its entirety; naturally he wants to do it right. So I can see why Rothfuss did it. But these sections had little tension, and they just dragged a little bit.
Expanding the World
Kvothe travels more in this book than he did in the first book, which gives us the chance to see more of Temeran and Rothfuss the chance to show off his worldbuilding more. And does he show it off!
It’s really refreshing to see new places and different customs in this book. Rothfuss is really inventive with these new cultures that he introduces. From strict social etiquette, to completely different outlooks on life, we see both something different for this series, and something different to a lot of settings in the fantasy genre generally.
Some New Characters And Some Old Favourites
With those travels, come lots of new people. Rothfuss continues the trend he started in The Name Of The Wind of employing a great range of people and personalities, with pretty much as much variety in female characters as in male characters. In this book, we get to meet physically strong female characters as well as those strong in character. It’s really refreshing to see (though obviously it would be better if seeing realistic female characters in fantasy books wasn’t refreshing!)
And of course, we get to catch up with all our favourite characters from the first book, and see Kvothe develop further towards the figure of rumour and legend we are told he will become. To be honest, though, I’m a little surprised that he didn’t develop more; it seems like he’ll still have a long way to go to become that person in the next book.
Overall, I really enjoyed reading The Wise Man’s Fear. I didn’t think it was quite as good as The Name Of The Wind, but that is no reason to either not read or not recommend it. Its short, trivial list of negative points is really worth putting up with to read about all of Kvothe’s adventures and to get a bit closer to finding out both the truth behind all the epic stories about him, and why he ended up faking his own death.
I really can’t wait to read the next book (the week or two between finishing this book and writing this review have not curbed my need to read on even in the slightest) – Rothfuss’ beautiful writing style is kind of addictive, and of course there are all those burning questions that haven’t been answered yet! Unfortunately, there still isn’t a release date for Book Three – I can only sympathise with the poor readers who have already been waiting for it for years.
To sum up, though, if you’ve read The Name Of The Wind and are for some reason in some sort of doubt on whether to read on or not – do it; you will not regret it. And if you haven’t read The Name Of The Wind yet: the Kingkiller Chronicle is a unique and character-driven series full of adventure, intrigue, humour, and romance, and is a true pleasure to read. I promise you will not regret picking it up.