The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

Rating 9.6/10
I do love the characters, and the story � while slow and contrived at points � is gripping.

We’ve been waiting four years for the sequel to Patrick Rothfuss’s hit debut, ‘The Name of the Wind’, and we’ve finally been granted what we’ve been waiting for.

Mostly.

‘The Wise Man’s Fear’ has been long anticipated. Rothfuss has spent many long months rewriting and polishing this book, and it shows in the end product. His grasp and control of the English language, his beautifully written prose and elegant sentences all make for a superb read.

Mostly.

The characters that we were first introduced to all those years ago are continually fleshed out in this book. From Kvothe, to the characters listening to Kvothe’s tale and to the characters in Kvothe’s tale, all are beautifully realised and wonderful to read.

Mostly.

Sensing a trend?

I mostly enjoyed this book. Part of me has to realise that I hyped the book up too much in the lead up to its release. We’ve been so long without it that re-reading the Name of the Wind has left me with a false impression of Rothfuss as a writer. Rereading the same book has left me thinking that he was a more polished storyteller than I now realise he is.

His writing is superb but it the storytelling is where it all comes asunder, in my opinion.

Characters act irrationally. Characters who have been so wonderfully shaped all of a sudden do something that doesn’t really match up with what we’ve been shown, and all so that the story can progress, or stall, each to the writers’ whim.

The story is slow, and by the end of the book, Kvothe is only 16 or 17, and there’s only one book to go: how long since Kvothe did anything interesting?  

Every piece of the Kvothe legend  is nothing short of an uninteresting, exaggerated accident. I could have lived with that, if it wasn’t for young-Kvothe mentioning after every one of his actions that “it’s good for my reputation” for people to not know the truth of what happened.

I feel like I’ve been cheated out of a proper story.

That all being said, I still really enjoyed this book. I do love the characters, and the story – while slow and contrived at points – is gripping. The pace with which Rothfuss tells Kvothe’s life, and the mysteries that are being built outside of the telling, are more than enough to keep me interested from chapter to chapter.

I just wish the story was more polished.

Don’t let me put you off though, as I’m still unsure of what I think, exactly. I will be very interested to see what the general public have to say about this book, and maybe I’ll revisit this review one day.

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All reviews for: The Kingkiller Chronicle

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The Wise Man's Fear reader reviews

from United States

7-stars

As regards to The Name of the Wind I was awed but the second book in the Kingkiller Chronicles was a massive let down and had none of the passion that the first book did.

from United Kingdom

6-stars

As in the Name of the Wind, there are passages of wonderful writing here. Alas the author has painted himself into a corner here. The overall structure of a story told over three days is a clever one and served the first book well. In this, the second book, however it begins to become unstuck. There is no way that Kvothe could have dictated the story over one 24 hour period (let alone a 24 hour period that starts late in the morning as the Chronicler over-sleeps. The audio book version is 48 hours! Worse than that, the story has progressed so slowly up to this point that there is hard to imagine that it can be concluded in only one book representing the final day of dictation. Perhaps that is why the final volume has been so long delayed - six years and counting.

from Croatia

8-stars

I liked this book, but after reading them I fell tricked. I don't want to be evil protphet but there is no way this is going to be trilogy. Probably 5 or 6 books, maybe more.

from US

9-stars

Story: Long, slow, paced. Good. Some have pointed out that progress is harder to find than in the first. It does not wave a huge flag over significant bits, but simply includes them as a part of the story as a whole. The experience is significantly more mature than The Name of The Wind. The story includes multiple sex scenes (although heavily glossed-over) and more physical violence (not-so-much glossed over). Given the length of the book, this is entirely forgivable. They are included both for the development of characters and the story. Rothfuss/Kvothe points out that the story may be very different from the conventional heroes' tale, where everything is clear-cut and defined. Storytelling: Wonderful. Almost as good as the first book. Just nearly. It's to be expected, too. Despite working 4 years on it, he had to make nearly 1k pages of book. On top of this, that quantity of pages had to live up to the first book's quality and charm. And it does this, despite feeling just a little bit colder than the first book. World-building: Needs improvement. Local areas are fleshed out with great accuracy, but Rothfuss does not make fully clear how commerce in one part of the world relates to another part, or who benefits from whom. Even the locations (if you asked me where the University was, I wouldn't have a clue) of cities, or cultures, or whatnot cannot be described as relative to any other in the world. Social tensions are very briefly touched upon (in song and folktale, of course), but only to suit the story. This is forgivable, because it does not detract from the book; it just does not add to one's concept of the story's universe. Characters: Logically realistic. Our Kvothe does point out the irrationality of certain actions with purpose; he attributes these qualities as human nature. In addition, these characters become less static, with some notable exceptions. These exceptions do not interfere with the story; Rothfuss manages to teach you more about every static character to give more life to them. To the dynamic members of the group, changes are subtle. Kvothe's friends gain notable interests. His relationship with one friend in particular changes in subtle ways. This experience is noticeable throughout the book. And Kvothe himself changes, in myriad ways that would be completely revealing to the plot which I've been dancing around this whole time. To you, the minuses may seem to outweigh the pluses, but this is not so. It is one of the best books I've read hands down. If you decide to buy this book (or the last), I say you've made the decision. However, if you are not patient or do not like books without a clear definition, this book is not for you.

from Canada

9-stars

I agree with the review that the book may have been a little slow in a few parts but it was still a fantastic read and one of the best books I've ever read in this genre. I think the third book will be the best of the series as its set up brilliantly for some truly spectacular twists. And since the side stories of his poverty and rise to fame have been dealt with, the final book can focus more on the plot for those who found Kvothes day to day events a little dull. Personally, the best aspect of the series is that it focuses more on the personal aspects of Kvothe, bringing a unique and refreshing perspective to fantasy.

from Reading

6-stars

Whilst I did enjoy this book I agree the pace is often slow especially when considering this is meant to be a trilogy, he's telling a story relating up to his forties (I suspect), and the second book doesn't get beyond his teens. Yes most of it is broadly interesting, however there is a tendency in both Name of the Wind and this book to hover on really mundane parts of Kvothe's story. How on earth the third book is going to encompass the next 20 or so years of Kvothe's life, plus the part of the story which is meant to occur in present day for Kvothe? I do not know, perhaps we are to get an Encyclopaedia Brittanica of book for the final installment.

from Australia & Rwanda

9-stars

I was so involved in the story I lost sleep. It's a wonderful tale, beautifully told. I can't wait for the next book!

from Minnesota

7-stars

I thought the same way, it was slower than I would have liked and I'm not really sure we fleshed anything out. I kept wondering if this is going to turn into a Harry Potter, year by year series, except no ending to hold me over until the next book. There were chapters spent on stuff that while kind of interesting didn't need to last as long. The thing that will bring me back is to find out what the mystery of the now is because I'm tired of Kvothe's past.

from Columbus

10-stars

If you liked The Name of the Wind you will want to gobble this up too.

8.1/10 from 10 reviews

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