Length: 1007 pages
To paraphrase the back cover:
Due to Kvothe’s escalating rivalry with Ambrose, he is forced to leave the university and find work abroad in Vintas. He continues his quest to learn the truth about the Amyr, the Chandrian, and the death of his parents. While attempting to curry favour with the nobility, Kvothe thwarts an assassination attempt, leads a group of mercenaries into the wild, and meets Felurian, a faerie that no man can resist. In The Wise Man’s Fear, Kvothe takes his first steps on the path of the hero and learns how difficult life can be when a man becomes a legend in his own time.
This is my review of the second book in The Kingkiller Chronicles series. My review about The Name of the Wind is here.
In The Wise Man’s Fear, we continue to learn more about the rich and fascinating world that Patrick Rothfuss created. As Kvothe travels the world, he meets people from different ethnic and cultural groups. It is amazing to read about how he immerses himself in their customs, traditions and stories, and how they shape who he becomes. I am impressed by the amount of detail that is woven into this world that the author has created. There exists a rich history and a wealth of stories, perhaps some yet to be told.
I enjoyed the character development in this book. In the beginning of the story, Kvothe is a boy, and by the end, he is a man. The change is subtle, like spending each day with a friend and not realizing that he has aged until years down the line. However, as in The Name of the Wind, more time is spent developing the character of the young Kvothe than the older Kvothe. I was hoping to learn more about the latter, who is still a mystery.
There are also some interesting secondary characters, although other characters fall flat: Kvothe’s love interest develops a new depth and dimension, and their relationship undergoes a darker tone. One of my favourite characters is Tempi, a silent mercenary who appears at first slow and perhaps dim-witted, but is more than what meets the eye. Wil and Sim (Kvothe’s two friends at the University) are always a delight to read about. However, other side characters seem one-dimensional, such as Ambrose and Felurian.
One aspect that I find frustrating is the slow pace of the story. This may not be new for those who have read The Name of the Wind. The Wise Man’s Fear, however, progresses at an even slower pace. Although I appreciate the author’s writing and the amount of detail he incorporates into his scenes and stories, I question whether the book has to be 1000+ pages long. Although each subplot is necessary in contributing to the overarching story, I wonder if there were individual scenes that could be shortened or eliminated to produce a tighter book.
For those looking for answers to questions raised in the first book, you may be disappointed. This is somewhat expected because this is the second book in the series. However, while new questions are raised by the end of the book, some questions from book one are still left unaddressed.
The writing and world-building continues to be superb. Kvothe’s character development is subtle and fascinating, although some of the minor characters may seem shallow. If you loved the first book, don’t mind the slow pace, and are OK with some questions still left unanswered, you will find yourself immersed in a fascinating story.