So, first of all – I absolutely adore The Name of the Wind. It is probably my second favourite fantasy book of all time, after the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which says a lot. So naturally I could not wait to read The Wise Man’s Fear. I postponed it to the summer holidays after uni was done so I could fully enjoy the experience without disturbance from essays and exams.
So did it live up to its predecessor? Well, not quite.
Let’s start with the positives though: Patrick Rothfuss is an amazing writer. I adore his writing style, I think it is beautiful. Except for a few small nit-picks where I thought he was not a subtle or clever as he intended to be, this book is a joy to read.
The biographical narrative approach which Rothfuss utilizes to tell his story continues to work as effectively as it did in The Name of the Wind. Kvothe continues to be a fascinating character to follow through his steps of life. As in the first instalment, I have a love-hate relationship with Kvothe as the main protagonist. I know if I would meet him in real life, he would be the kind of person I would deem as the arrogant, hot-tempered guy who admittedly has great talents and is not unfamiliar to the darkness life brings to us, but who desperately needs to learn what modesty means. But it is Kvothe’s exceptionality that at the same time keeps you hooked. You are drawn in by the want to know how he became the man of legend, the king killer, and the broken man in the small village tavern he is now. Piece by piece we are given the material to solve that puzzle.
And here is also why I was not as enthralled with The Wise Man’s Fear as I was with The Name of the Wind: The puzzle pieces just keep on accumulating; more questions are posed than answers are given. This is essentially a building block book. Many events happen in this book, we are given more information, we are heading towards the Kvothe the songs sing of – but it feels like we are not much nearer at all! There is still so much to tell! It felt like much has happened, but too little at the same time. How on earth is everything I still want to know going to fit into that third book?
This feeling of course can be interpreted in two ways: I simply want to read more and can’t get enough of what I’m given. The Wise Man’s Fear was a great read and I can’t wait for part three, The Doors of Stone. But at the same time I am worried that the start to a brilliant series might be marred by its conclusion. Therefore I find it hard to judge The Wise Man’s Fear without knowing how the whole trilogy ends. If the third part resolves everything satisfactorily, I am sure the second part will sit much easier with me. Until then I can only hope my fears will be dispersed as soon as The Doors of Stone arrives.
Mr. Rothfuss, take as much time as you need to make your next book so fantastically and overwhelmingly brilliant that The Kingkiller Chronicle might enter my definite second favourite spot in fantasy literature!