“There are three things all wise men fear: the sea in storm, a night with no moon, and the anger of a gentle man.”
Author: Patrick Rothfuss
Category: Epic Fantasy
Publication Date: March 1st, 2011
For a spoiler-y review and general discussion, check out this week’s podcast!
The Wise Man’s Fear is the continuation of Kvothe’s legendary story that began in The Name of the Wind. From his adventures at the University to making love with many (and we mean MANY) women. This very long collection of stories ties together more of his mysterious past, but doesn’t really draw you in for anything of the future.
Kvothe is still at the University learning the ways of magic and letting us know, in great detail, how much money he has. Seriously, tracking Kvothe’s spending habits takes up so much space in this book, same as the first one, that it is almost a plot point of its own (and pretty much just as pointless). It gets even more bewildering how much room this takes up when you remember that this story is being told by Kvothe ten years after it has happened. So after 10 years this man can remember exactly how much money he had at any given time. Really?!!?
Anyways, his feud with Ambrose gets pretty heated. They both cause some trouble and Kvothe is advised to take some time off school to let the heat die down.
And so that is where this collection of his stories begins. We know that Kvothe becomes pretty much the stuff of legends and it is kind of cool to see how some things that he did get blown out of proportion (occasionally by his own devices) to become the myth that he is as he tells Chronicler his story. Unfortunately, there is just really no overall plot. He is still wanting to know who the Chandrian are, but this is more like fun tales told at a campfire. Each story individually were fun (well most of them were) but for a 42 hour audiobook, this book was not worth it.
It is never going to happen but we are hoping that his love interest just disappears. Denna is one of the most useless characters. She is so distant from Kvothe, but every once in a while tells him that he is the greatest thing to happen to her. He barley shows feelings and she flips out and disappears for months at a time. Thankfully she is not in Kvothe’s life as he is telling the story so we know she goes away eventually.
There were many great ideas that could have been more focused on. After going into excruciating detail about so many (mostly) unnecessary things, other plot points that seemed like they would actually be fairly interesting to explore were just glossed over completely. The shipwreck he was in, the Trial at Imre, and many other stories that could have been told. If you were the fan of the first book, then maybe you will still enjoy this one. Just got to trudge through some slow and boring moments.
Rothfuss is a fantastic author and there were parts of this book that I loved. The facial expressions of the Amer were enjoyable and probably the best part. Overall I did not like how long it was versus how little story we got. Hopefully the next one will bring back the exciting moments like the first one had.
This book is pointless. This book can easily be compared to the way you, when playing a video game, will go off and finish up a bunch of side quests, level up your skills, and find a few cool pieces of armor or whatnot before going off to fight the main boss. These side quests undoubtedly contribute to the story but they are not a story themselves.
Patrick Rothfuss can write pretty, I can’t deny this at all. The man’s prose can be out of this world at times. But that is not all that it takes to write a story. The fact that an entire almost 1000 page book had to be devoted to these “side quests” speaks really poorly of his ability to plan out the story he wants to tell.
I am convinced at this point that the story that is being told here is too big for a three book series. The pace of the book is slow and that’s okay, a lot of really good books are slow. But there are so many questions left in this series, so many things that need to be tied up, that I honestly don’t believe they can be satisfactorily wrapped up in one more installment.
One of my biggest peeves regarding this book is how we pretty much know that the Chandrian are something major in Kvothe’s story and are going to have a huge impact. But they are so back burner in these books! They are brought up just enough to remind the reader that they are still a thing but there is no plot progression there whatsoever.
I honestly feel betrayed by this book because I feel like so much was promised in the first one and this book was just a huge let down.