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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I am now a complete convert!
Back when I read the first of Patrick Rothfuss's high fantasy novels, The Name of the Wind, I wasn't entirely sure what I thought of it. I knew I must have liked it, because I couldn't wait to read the second novel, but even so, I wasn't quite sure. Not a lot happened in it, and not a lot of that seemed of great significance.

I'm pleased to say that all my...
Published on 16 Aug 2012 by Patrick Samphire

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bloated, boring and bad.
A poor sequel to the much-loved Name of the Wind. Wise man's fear is bloated beyond belief - Rothfuss quickly loses his way and writes himself into a quagmire of tedious events that suck the energy and momentum out of the story. Very reminiscent of late-period GRRM where you put the book down in disbelief that anybody could put 1000 pages to such little use. Character...
Published 1 month ago by Garry Lager

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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I am now a complete convert!, 16 Aug 2012
Patrick Samphire (Leeds, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Wise Man's Fear (The Kingkiller Chronicle): 2 (Paperback)
Back when I read the first of Patrick Rothfuss's high fantasy novels, The Name of the Wind, I wasn't entirely sure what I thought of it. I knew I must have liked it, because I couldn't wait to read the second novel, but even so, I wasn't quite sure. Not a lot happened in it, and not a lot of that seemed of great significance.

I'm pleased to say that all my reservations have gone in this second book of the Kingkiller Chronicle. I think I was in the process of adapting in the first book, because Patrick Rothfuss is not your average high fantasy writer.

As in The Name of the Wind, for a good part of this book, not a lot actually happens. Kvothe (the hero) tootles around the university, feuding with rivals, impressing attractive women, and generally figuring out how to get by day-by-day with not enough money and the enmity of several powerful people.

But there's stuff building here. Atmosphere, in-depth characters, a rich world, and we know, as Kvothe tells us in the framing story, that this is not a tale with a happy ending.

Far more importantly, though, Rothfuss is a compelling writer. He could spend a thousand pages writing about Kvothe painting his toenails, and I would still want to read it. (Luckily, he doesn't...) Rothfuss doesn't need to throw in a battle every other page, or a bunch gratuitous shock scenes, in order to keep us wanting to read. And because of that, once again, I can't wait to read the next volume. (Hear that, Rothfuss? Get writin'!)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it, couldn't put it down, 13 Dec 2011
I have been an avid reader of fantasy fiction for 20 years, and am always so delighted when I find a book as absorbing as this. I have been trying to read it slowly so that it doesn't end too soon. Every day I look forward to rejoining Kvothe as if he is a best friend, I have loved sharing his story and was totally absorbed. Patrick Rothfuss' story telling skills are superb.
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95 of 105 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The excellent parts outweight the bad, 18 Mar 2011
A. Whitehead "Werthead" (Colchester, Essex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
Kvothe the Bloodless, Kvothe the Arcane, Kvothe the Kingkiller. He is a legend but the real man is an enigma. A man named Chronicler is trying to find out the truth behind the legend by convincing Kvothe to tell him his life story, a task so long it will take three days to complete.

On the second day, Kvothe relates more of his time at the Commonwealth University, his ongoing feud with another student named Ambrose and his increasingly proficient studies in various areas. He also tells of his time spent in Vintas, serving a nobleman seeking to woo a lady, and learning the arts of combat in far Ademre. But how much of Kvothe's story is truth and how much is his own fabrication?

The Wise Man's Fear is the sequel to The Name of the Wind and the second in The Kingkiller Chronicle trilogy. Since the trilogy was originally one extremely long novel split into three parts, The Wise Man's Fear has little preamble and not much of the climax. It starts, we follow the story for a time, and then it ends with little resolved. For a novel that is 1,000 pages long in hardcover, that should be a fairly damning comment.

Rothfuss's saving grace is his immense writing skill. He could make the telephone directory sound warm and interesting, and whilst the book is extremely long most of the chapters are short and snappy. The narrative is divided into two distinct sections, basically Kvothe in the University and Kvothe out in the world, and these sections are themselves fairly episodic. Whilst Kvothe's hunt for information about the Chandrian, the mysterious creatures that killed his family, provides a narrative spine of sorts, sometimes dozens of chapters pass without this plot element being as much as mentioned.

As a result The Wise Man's Fear feels less like a novel and more like a collection of tightly linked short stories (a feeling added to by the fact that one episode in the novel, The Road to Levinshir, was previously published as a separate short story almost a decade ago). This dichotomy - a very episodic book presented as a single novel - creates problems for pacing and consistency, with some of the episodes and stories being fascinating and others being tedious, whilst several more interesting-sounding incidents (like Kvothe standing trial for a misdemeanour) are skipped over in a couple of paragraphs. The Name of the Wind suffered from this as well, such as the incongruous and dull draccus incident towards the end of the book, but due to its much greater length The Wise Man's Fear is even more prone to it. Kvothe's dalliance with a famous Fae temptress goes on for far too long and winds up feeling a bit like the porn version of Tom Bombadil, whilst Kvothe's training montage with the Klingon Aiel Dothraki Vikings of the far north-east is just plain dull. Those who found Kvothe insufferable and Gary Stu-esque in the first novel will likely plain hate him here, as he picks up a ton more skills (including unarmed and armed combat, more magical skills and several more languages) with ease.

But Rothfuss does seem to be more overtly pulling the wool over the reader's eyes here. Kvothe reports on his badass fighting skills but then in a 'present' incident is unable to effectively defend himself from attack. Is this because he overrated his combat abilities, or because he's rusty, or because he deliberately holds back? The reader is invited to decide. Anomalies in Kvothe's story are also pointed out by Chronicler, and Kvothe admits to occasionally sprucing up his story. He's not exactly an unreliable narrator on the scale of Severian in The Book of the New Sun, but Rothfuss is at least letting the reader know that Kvothe himself might not be the best person to tell his tale, but he's all we've got to go on.

Elsewhere, plot elements are carefully alluded to rather than being spelt out, such as the motivations and identity of Denna's mysterious employer, or the relationship between Kvothe and a minor character that Kvothe himself is totally oblivious to. There is an impressive degree of subtlety running through this brick-thick tome that will no doubt raise questions and discussions that will keep fantasy forums busy until the final volume is released.

Rothfuss's powers of prose and characterisation remain highly impressive. The writing is rich and atmospheric, setting the scene perfectly, and Rothfuss has a keen eye for detail, humour and warmth (though in this book slightly more undercut by bitterness and cynicism), but those hoping for the story to explode into life, become bigger and more epic, will be disappointed. In a way Rothfuss is writing an anti-epic fantasy, with the focus narrowly on one character and the ordinary events that have been inflated out of all proportion. This forces the reader to keep downplaying expectations, since Rothfuss isn't playing the same game as a lot of other epic fantasy authors.

The Wise Man's Fear (****) is a difficult book to review, as it's well-written, sometimes compulsively page-turning and features some extremely well-played and subtle storytelling. On other, briefer, occasions it's tediously dull, cloying and prone to attacks of purple prose (particularly in the frisky fairy section). The book is also monstrously overlong and could have been split into two or three more focused, shorter books without too much of a problem. But Rothfuss is too good a writer to let the book's many issues sink it, and the book ends with the reader left wanting to know what happens next, which is the key thing. The novel is available now in the UK and USA.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rothfuss hasn't lost his touch, despite some problems, 24 Jun 2011
To say that The Wise Man's Fear was one of the most anticipated books in the genre community this year is an understatement. The eagerness and amount of speculation on when the book would be done and would consequently released, reminded me of fans waiting for Rowling's Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and GRRM-fans waiting for A Dance With Dragons (though less rabid). I was lucky to only read Name of the Wind for the first time last year, so my wait wasn't as long. Still, I was very glad to finally read it.

Once I started the book, it took me a bit to get back into the story, because I was trying my best to remember all the details of the first book. Once I decided to just not wonder at what I didn't remember, I slid right in. And I read the book over the course of six days during the work week, which for such a chihuahua-killer of a tome is really fast for me these days. I really liked it and it was so good to return to Kvothe's world. As last time, I fell in love with Rothfuss' prose and the cleverness of his wordsmithing. For example, the way Felurian often speaks in rhyme, whether standard end rhyme, alliteration, assonance or internal rhyme. It's really clever and helps create her almost hypnotic effect on Kvothe. But for all that I loved The Wise Man's Fear, there were also a few things that caused some problems with the book for me. But let me start off by talking about what I did like.

Discovering more of Kvothe's world and the University was great. Exploring the Archives and returning to the Fishery and The Eolian was fun, especially the Archives. It might be a professional deformation, but I love reading about libraries and I loved the time we spent there this time. I couldn't repress a shudder of sympathy for Wilem when he explains the problems of the different cataloguing systems due to the different masters and the resulting Dead Ledgers. At work some of the faculty libraries were moved into the main library building last year and they're are still working on getting all the numbering systems switched over, I can just imagine how hard it would be to have to work with several different systems!

Seeing more of returning secondary characters, especially Elodin and Auri, and meeting new ones, was another pleasure, though I'm still hoping for Auri's mystery to be solved. Elodin, while as enigmatic as ever, became less frightening and more human, especially in the scenes he and Kvothe shared with Auri. My favourite new characters were Bredon, Tempi and Vathas. Bredon's urbane wit and easy acceptance and mentoring of Kvothe made me like him a lot. Tempi and Vathas are great characters and a good window into the Adem personality. Tempi since he's the first one we meet and Vathas because she is able to translate between Aturan culture and Adem culture not just for Kvothe, but for the reader as well. The silent complexity of the Adem and the Adem language was fascinating and as a result I loved the time Kvothe spent at the Latantha school. To me the education he got there, was far more interesting and valuable than that Felurian gave him, though I realise the latter's helped his reputation far more! It wasn't just the martial skills the Adem taught him, but the need to be accepting of different viewpoints in the world. Not every society's mores will be the same as your own and you have to respect that. For all his worldliness, Kvothe has some pretty strict notions of what is proper, with which he's confronted living amongst the Adem.

Now onto the somewhat less glowing part of this review. Problem the first: at times, the story stalled quite a bit. Most noticeably during Kvothe's stay with Felurian, but in Severen and Adem as well. Though, honestly, in the latter two cases this didn't bother me as much as it did with the Felurian chapters. Every time we'd get to a point where it seemed now we'd be getting on with the story, something else happened to keep him in the Fae world even longer. And for some reason, beyond their stroll to create Kvothe's shead and his little talk with the Ctaeh, I didn't find this episode in his story very interesting. I mean, yes it's nice that she teaches him how to please women, but after two scenes of that, I kind of get the picture already. That part was easily my least favourite of the book.

Problem the second: Denna. I mean I don't dislike her, but come on already! She's turning into a Molly or an Elene and, as mentioned before, I can't stand those sorts of slavish, pre-destined love stories. It's not just the endless pining, the will-they-or-won't-they of it, it's also that it makes Kvothe blind for other, perhaps more suitable love interests, such as Fela (though in that case I'm on Team Sim) and Devi. And I understand Denna is damaged and fragile and has a phobia of commitment and Kvothe has to step lightly around that, but she just makes me grit my teeth.

Problem the third and my biggest problem was a problem that arose mostly after finishing the book. Where is Rothfuss taking this? If you see how slowly the story moves, how on earth can he wrap it up in only one more book? If you see what Kvothe has done and learned in this book, and if you take into account what he still has to do, guessing from the story so far, I can't see how Rothfuss can do all of that in one book. At least not in one that's the same size as The Wise Man's Fear and maintains the quality of the series. And of course, there's the question of what will happen after. In the interludes it seems af if both Bast and Chronicler are trying to manoeuvre Kvothe towards something, some action, though it isn't clear what. And if that is the case, will Rothfuss tell us that story in a new series? Or will it be left untold? There are so many question marks after this book. And we'll have to wait for the publication of book three for the answers.

While The Wise Man's Fear didn't blow me away as much as Name of the Wind did, I truly enjoyed it and I am looking forward to seeing how the trilogy ends. Hopefully, I'll be lucky again and it'll take only another year for the last book to be published, but however long it takes, I'll be there to discover the rest of Kvothe's story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bloated, boring and bad., 29 Sep 2014
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This review is from: The Wise Man's Fear (The Kingkiller Chronicle): 2 (Paperback)
A poor sequel to the much-loved Name of the Wind. Wise man's fear is bloated beyond belief - Rothfuss quickly loses his way and writes himself into a quagmire of tedious events that suck the energy and momentum out of the story. Very reminiscent of late-period GRRM where you put the book down in disbelief that anybody could put 1000 pages to such little use. Character development is non-existent. Now you have to be realistic here, it's called fantasy for a reason - no one's looking for amazing writing in this department. But in case anyone was thinking that Rothfuss parks the plot to develop other aspects of the story - he doesn't, Kvothe (and most of the characters) remain as flatly two-dimensional as ever. Denna is perhaps an exception, being the most irritating, implausible love-interest in history gives her a distinction of sorts.

It's disappointing that Rothfuss has put this one on the floor - he breathed a lot of life into a pretty conventional story with Name of the Wind, writing some beautiful sequences. He's still pretty fluent here on a sentence by sentence basis, but he's got miles to go in learning his craft - to mis-handle the structure so badly on the second book does not augur well for the series (a planned trilogy!). It's not the typical pear-shaped offering in a fantasy series in this regard - where the story just gets too big and unwieldy and goes off the rails. Wise man's fear is actually very narrow in scope and does little to grow a sense of events taking place outside of Kvothe's immediate story - the world-building is extremely thin, we've had 1700 pages on Kvothe's apprenticeship. Hard to see how Rothfuss can take the story where he wants to from this base.
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47 of 54 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Overrated, 30 April 2011
Jason - See all my reviews
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Minor spoilers due to inferences.

While I enjoyed Name of the Wind and The Wise Man's Fear I can't help but be concerned about the delivery of this second installment. Kvothe's time at the University mires the story in the same old ground. That aspect has a very Harry Potter feel which I don't believe justified its quantity in this installment. That ground was thoroughly covered in Book 1. The routine has become tiresome and lacks excitement. And even though Rothfuss eventually flings Kvothe out into the world the structure of the story lacks any emotional high point. Rothfuss' dialogue has flare and he doesn't lack for style but massive stretches of this volume are flat and unwholesome. Even when he eventually completes the various minor arcs laced throughout the book after the massive stretches of monotony I was left feeling only vaguely satisfied.

Rothfuss seems to have sacrificed the main plot in favour of building up Kvothe's character and legend in tandem. The only problem with this endearing venture is that Kvothe's self-styled legend is largely undeserving leaving the feats he does manage to accomplish out of scale with his fame. Leaving his prowess woefully inadequate to the task he is so determined to complete. This is Day 2/3 of the tale after all and I was hoping for something a little more progressive and a little less self-centred. There is a moment in the middle of the drudgery (which I won't describe) where I thought, "Yes! This is where it takes off!", however the moment fades and after mere paragraphs it's back to business as usual. Sympathy, Naming and world building take a backseat here.

The sexuality in this novel is probably the main issue for me. Not because I'm a prude but because of the sheer scope with which it envelopes this installment and its highly contrived delivery. Hundreds of pages are devoted to erotica and Kvothe is incongruously transformed into some sort of sex god whom consecutive women swoon over. Rothfuss has at times over the last two books used Kvothe "the innkeeper" to break the pretense of the story with some sarcastic comment about expected fairy tale endings and clichés to the events he recounts. I found this highly amusing because the unfolding of Kvothe's sexual awakening is TRULY cliché both in the manner that it was delivered and just the overall idea to even include it in its current form. Contrived, puerile, disappointing and unbelievable. Not only does it not move the story along in a suitable fashion Kvothes character became unreal to me during his dalliances. As if I was suddenly reading about an entirely different person. It's nauseating how a character can undergo such a radical characteristic change in the span of a single page and stay that way for chapter upon insipid chapter where virtually nothing beneficial is done with the story.

I know we live in a world of regurgitated thought and a truly original idea is hard to come by but Rothfuss' mercenary Adem just seemed a little too close to Jordon's Aiel for comfort. Barbarians/Wetlanders, Red Armour-Lethani/Cadin'sor, Aiel Polygamy/Adem multiple sexual partners. Adem displaced from homeland/Aiel displaced from homeland. Adem superior warriors/Aiel superior warriors. Also in conjunction with this the sword forms in the Wheel of Time compared to the Adem ketan and combat stances. On its own it wouldn't mean anything but given the multiple similarities its worth stating the uncanny likeness. I can forgive the Narnia-ishness of the Fae Realm and the Harry Potter styled University but the aforementioned similarities are a little jarring. I hate to be presumptuous but I presume Rothfuss has actually read The Wheel of Time. (just for the record, not a total WoT fanboy)

Kvothe and Denna's little game was charming at first but the blades edge is now dull and in need of a good whetstone. The overall idea was clever and romantic in Book 1 yes, but with the developments in this installment most notably, the complete revelation of Denna's profession (if it wasn't already obvious), and with Kvothe's contrived dalliances the innocence of the whole thing has sort of been corrupted. Where once I was rooting for them I no longer care. You can only use suspense as a tool for so long before the moment passes and is lost.

I mean it's book 2 of 3 of the supposedly legendary Kvothe's exploits. How much can Rothfuss possibly fit in the third volume if it's business as usual? When you look at both volumes there isn't much of a complete story arc fleshed out at all. Where are the bad guys? I respect the fact that Rothfuss doesn't seem to want to create the run of the mill fantasy story full of typical clichés but eventually Kvothe has to be formed into a protaginist worthy of stepping toe to toe with powerful foes. It lacks that epic feel. It's more of a brooding character study at the moment."Kvothe broods in location A about Chandrian. Kvothe broods in location B about not having his lute. Kvothe broods in location C about Denna" and NOTHING GETS DONE. Three Days to tell the tale? Three weeks seems a little more likely at this pace.

I hate to be this critical despite my obvious disappointment with The Wise Man's Fear because it does have all the key ingredients to become a fine story. I actually couldn't put both these books down until I read cover to cover. I really wouldn't mind if Rothfuss took these 3 books to just lay the ground work if he is even planning on advancing the story beyond Day 3 which I assume and hope he must be. In that way it might have a certain sweet elegance and overall structure which the individual books seem to lack. Much depends on book 3.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent but worried about how dark this will go, 29 Mar 2011
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Wise Man's Fear overall is a great read. First, the bad: I think it starts very slow and seems to repeat a cycle that already felt tired in the first book (Kvothe is struggling to pay tuition - Kvothe somehow gets some money - Kvothe continually looks for Denna without success - Kvothe unexpectedly meets Denna - Kvothe annoys Ambrose - Ambrose takes revenge - Kvother is struggling to pay tuition - etc...). A lot of the early stuff isn't needed in my opinion and slows the tale. I'm also personally a bit frustrated at the lack of progression with the Denna relationship - initially I thought the burgeoning love story in The Name of the Wind was the best romance I remember in fantasy book but it now feels a little repetitive. However, onto the good stuff...

I think once the story moves on from the University the book really picks up and from then on I actually prefer it to the first book. Some of the adventures feel somewhat episodic but this dosen't matter when they are all entertaining! I really enjoyed the storylines with the Maer, the bandits, Fae and the Adem. I found even minor characters like Dedan, Stapes, Tempi, Penthe, etc interesting, which is a real rarity for me in fantasy.

Kvothe's character takes a step into much darker territory in this 2nd book and once or twice it did seem slightly unsettling to contrast the tone of the University sections, which seem like pretty innocent (but entertaining) adventures, with some of Kvothe's actions elsewhere. I do like a bit of darkness but part of the allure of The Name of the Wind for me was a certain sweetness of tone. Whilst I hope book 3 enlightens us as to Kvothe's fall, I really hope that it is going to turn out to be a glorious redemption rather than something bittersweet or tragic. Some books feel like they should end darkly but this tale I would personally love to end with a traditional happy ending (OK, maybe Bast can be killed to give it a touch of sadness!)

I must admit to being fascinated by the "current" day Kote and I am full of hope that he will refind his former glories. I really don't have any idea of how it will play out...I've enjoyed the series so much that I spend little tmie second guessing.

Roll on Book 3...
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102 of 118 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Like a week of sunshine with half an hour of rain..., 23 Mar 2011
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You can also find my review of The Wise Man's Fear on my book blog, 'Bastian's Book Reviews':

The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle) is one of the most enjoyable fantasy novels I have ever read. It is among my all-time favourite novels. It is also the first book in a trilogy. Now, after a long wait, the second book is out.

The Wise Man's Fear picks up where Name of the Wind left off. We're still in an inn, somewhere in the sticks. We're still watching the inn keeper, Kote, his apprentice, Bast, and Chronicler. Bast is someone from Faerie. Chronicler is there to record the life history of a famous shaper of history, Kvothe. Kote is Kvothe, in hiding... and his story is now in its second day of telling.

Kvothe's story is swashbuckling, energetic stuff. Read the blurb on the back of Name of the Wind, and you know you're in for a tale of adventure. The same is true for Wise Man's Fear: adventure, hijinks, magic, and all told in beautiful prose with a real sense of music and rhythm and an aural aesthetic to it. This is exciting, plot- and character driven adventure, written in a masterly way.

Despite all that, there are reasons why Wise Man's Fear does not get the five stars that Name of the Wind got from me. The first of these may be quite subjective: I like Kvothe best when he's at the University. Name of the Wind took him from childhood to University, and then, in the final act, to follow a lead and find a dragon (well, draccus) and have a big adventure as finale. Wise Man's Fear is different: we spend the first third of the book at University, and then Kvothe finds himself going out into the wider world in a self-imposed exile for two terms. He has adventures, spends time at court, chases bandits, learns kung fu, becomes the world's greatest lover, ... well, not quite, but almost. For me, those parts of the book quite simply did not quite have the same fascination. At University, there is Elodin to fascinate the reader (perhaps not unlike Dumbledore in Harry Potter, but less stable and grounded). There is Auri to delight. But there is no more exposition happening: Patrick Rothfuss has explained the rules of magic in this world, set out the principles, and does not take the reader into higher levels in this book. Perhaps no one else would want second or third year level magic theories in a book - but I found myself missing something. Perhaps I wanted Elodin to give up a secret or two. Perhaps I wanted a bit more progress towards finding out about the Chandrian. Perhaps I wanted movement in the back story as well as the story in the foreground. And Wise Man's Fear did not move the back story as much as I would have hoped for: the main new thing are the Amyr, a long extinct (or are they?) Knights Templar type movement...

One big accusation that has been levelled against the Kingkiller Chronicles is that the books are wish fulfilment literature. Well, it's true. Academically brilliant, brave hero who can sing, play instruments, write poetry and songs that know no equal, do magic way beyond the abilities of his peers... yeah, there is something a bit escapist about it. But this is tempered by Kvothe's poverty, his ability to make lifelong enemies, his rashness, his bumbling foolishness around girls (and Denna in particular)... one of the reasons the first book earned its length is that each talent of Kvothe is earned, and as reader, we earn it with him, we feel his efforts. Wise Man's Fear, however, cheats. Let's just say that the exact how and where and why of Kvothe's sexual awakening seems to just fall in his lap, unearned, unstruggled for, unlikely... And then we spend (what feels like) a hundred pages there. No, not in a hundred-page long scene of canoodling, but a hundred pages of Kvothe plus one, in their own little world. If these books were in any way comparable to Lord of the Rings, this would be their Tom Bombadil moment...

For a writer who really likes women, and seems to respect them, populating his novels with a variety of confident, competent female characters, it seems a little bit disappointing. It's as if Kvothe's clumsiness around women could not be resolved gradually, as if something had to pop, and as if Kvothe was somehow never going to get there with real women... It's not the most satisfying or gratifying way to do character growth...

This is also the place where the book seems to get bogged down a bit in silly phrases. Where the language has been beautiful and elegant throughout, it suddenly turns corny. Sexual positions get names that could be straight from the Karma Sutra ("the thousand hands", "the twisted lotus flower"), and, not long thereafter, Kvothe learns his world's equivalent of Yoga and Kung Fu, and each movement has similar sounding names ("the falling leaves", "the itching backside" ... well, not perhaps the latter) - after one and a half books of beautifully written, exciting prose, the reader is suddenly faced with about three hundred pages of slightly cheesy shorthand spoiling the otherwise ornate aural landscape of the story.

Finally, the biggest reason why the book lost a star is quite simply this: Kvothe fails Denna in one way. Let's just say he is informed of Denna being in a situation she could probably use some saving from, and he makes choices that lead him towards finding out more about the Chandrian, rather than towards finding her and helping... Yes, the Chandrian, and the murder of Kvothe's family when he was a child are important things. But now, years after the fact, and after so much emotional investment in Denna, I would have expected him to put her wellbeing before his own revenge, any time. And yes, he might not have known where to find her or how to help her, but he does not even try...

I should clarify something at this point: I have spent most of this review highlighting elements I found frustrating or disappointing about the novel. However, this does not mean the novel is bad, or average, or merely OK. No, this is a very good, very well-written, very enjoyable novel. It's 1000 pages long, and I read the first 250 of those in one hungry leap. The reason I go into negatives is simply that they stand out, in this novel of masterliness. It's a bit like spending a week in the most beautiful, sunny holiday spot on Earth, and being rained on for half an hour of that week: when the holiday is over, I remember that half hour in more detail than the week of joy.

So: this novel is very good. It is a wonderful sequel. It is not as flawless as the first, and it had stretches where I wanted it to be in a different place, take a different direction. But it is still good.

(Lastly, the novel does signal, just as the first did, where it is headed: into darkness. After all the joyful energy in these two novels, with some bittersweet moments and a threatening cloud of terror on the horizon, I feel not just anticipation for the final novel; I also feel a bit of dread. I care too much about all these characters. I think if it goes the way it is signalling, I may have to keep tissues handy while reading the next one, a decade or so from now...)
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One burr in the blanket, but otherwise excellent, 30 Mar 2011
The problem with excellence is it demands excellence.

Had this novel been written by anyone other than he-who-wrote-name-of-the-wind I would be frothing at the mouth in my desire to spout out superlatives.

It is a great novel, full of humour, action, pathos. It touches a thousand pages and I couldn't put it down at all - only once actually as I read it in two sittings. It made me laugh, almost cry, cheer and wriggle in excitement. All of which you are very very hard-pressed to find in any other fantasy writer of this (or any other) generation. Rothfuss has prodigious talent and a craftsman's eye for detail. The characters are vivid and complex, the settings engaging and memorable, the plot compelling.....ah, then, where are the five stars?

Frankly, Felurian costs it a star. As has been pointed out by other reviewers quite well, there is a large, painful section in the book that just does not feel like it belongs. As much as I respect and admire Rothfuss as a writer, it has to be said that the whole section is self indulgent and serves very little purpose to the plot or the character or world building. It was an immersion breaking experience for me and I almost did the unthinkable and skipped ahead. It takes a while for the author to pick the threads of the story up again after the meandering section but to his credit he manages this quite well.

I wonder at how this section survived Rothfuss's diligent editorial rewrites etc.. I suspect that it was substantially cut but he was unwilling to let go of it entirely - but personally I just don't think it works.

Anyway, rant over.

It is easy to remember that this is, contrary to most people's belief, Rothfuss's FIRST professional novel. The Name of the Wind was a labour of love, where he took decades to polish it and get it right. That was easy. This was much, much harder - a middle novel of a complex trilogy involving two story lines, one a sweeping account of a life, one based over three days. Impressive. Most impressive.

Excellent book, excellent series. Anyone who has any slight leaning towards fantasy writing should grab this and the first one as soon as they can.

Now we play the waiting game.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Second Installment in Three Parts of an Immeasurably Engaging Trilogy, 5 Jan 2012
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It seems that for many of the dissatisfied readers of `A Wise Man's Fear' there were obstacles that they felt it necessary to overcome, which marred their ultimate enjoyment of this novel. The one mentioned most of all by reviewers being the lack of even a brief chapter detailing the events that occurred in the previous novel (`The Name of The Wind'), or indeed any expositional text whatsoever. I'd agree that the omission on the author's part to aid readers by familiarising them with the material will likely prove slightly detrimental to most people's grasp on the facts of the story- excluding those who may, like the story's protagonist, be endowed with unfailing recall. But the author makes the point on his blog that every detail he provides on each page is crucial and therefore any attempt to summarise the events would prove futile and misleading. Instead he recommends re-reading `The Name of the Wind' in order to familiarise yourself with the characters, settings and various intricately-woven plot threads. This, I would say (even though it's advice I couldn't follow in my haste to read the next installment of Kvothe's journey) fair enough.

Another criticism relates to the central character's sexual awakening (under the tutelage of not one, but four beautiful women). Admittedly, while engagingly erotic, these sexual encounters are over-long and the titillation factor wears thin after a while. But once again I would refer dissatisfied customers to the author's own words when describing Kvothe's opinion of the opposite sex..."Some might take offence at this way of seeing things...But those people do not understand love, or music, or me." So for those who may find Kvothe's sexual antics and opinions distasteful, which I was beginning to myself, this can be taken as a reminder that this is Kvothe's story, not the reader's, or anybody else's. Some bitterness spices the pudding after all.

Finally, the length of the novel itself (at 994 pages) appears to be a drawback for many. It is certainly long and perhaps it would be fair to say that yes, it's actually ridiculously long (especially considering the minute type face), but I, for one, found the novel absolutely mesmerising from start to finish and nigh on impossible to put down. Were it not for the biological imperatives of nourishment and warmth I doubt I would have. Why on Earth would anyone want less of such an awesome thing?

In summary, non of these obstacles, in my opinion, are justification for rewarding this book anything less than five stars. It is thoroughly compelling, populated with memorable and sympathetic characters, is clearly an incredibly well-researched tale and is basically a tour-de-force on the author's part. In fact, the quality of the novel brought to my mind one of my favourite fantasy stories of all time- `Magician' by Raymond E. Feist (especially in relation to Kvothe's combat training) and in fact I would have to say that `A Wise Man's Fear' surpasses even that great masterwork of fantasy. To say it was worth the agonizing wait would be an understatement.

My only true criticism of the novel (if I had to make one) would be the interludes in the novel that take place in the novel's present-day setting in which Kvothe/Kote, Bast and Chronicler talk and cavort at the Waystone Inn. I usually resent these interludes for interrupting the story of Kvothe's early years, which I find far more engaging. To me Chronicler is a woefully uninteresting, I don't understand the Bast character and I find Kote banal in their company. But I know I'm in the minority with this, as so many readers find these scenes utterly fascinating.

Placing all competitors firmly in the shade (including `The Name of the Wind'), `A Wise Man's Fear' is the best fantasy work of this decade to date.
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The Wise Man's Fear (The Kingkiller Chronicle): 2
The Wise Man's Fear (The Kingkiller Chronicle): 2 by Patrick Rothfuss (Paperback - 6 Mar 2012)
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