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on 14 May 2015
This is a book for those who. savour a story, who enjoy an unfolding and gentle, thoughtful adventure. It is not for those who prefer blood and guts and glory. Having said that, it could have used a bit more speed and a bit more excitement. I found myself getting impatient. I'll read the next but sadly, I'm not panting for it.
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on 18 July 2016
It takes until around page 300 for the story of Kvothe to finally get going at a good click. And fortunately the storytelling gets better as well. Reading this book has actually made me want to read the final in the series when it comes out just to see what happens. It's still a story of "no good deed goes unpunished", and Patrick Rothfuss does make it clear at the beginning and end of both books that things are just going to end up badly no matter what Kvothe does. The hero is not going to win in any way, shape or form in this series, but at least now the series is far more readable.
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on 16 April 2012
I really wish Kvothe had remained a virgin.

I'm not a prude or anything, but I can't stand hearing about sex, page after page. It really does read like a fantasy after a while - not the type that thrills you or makes you turn the page, but the type a sweaty fourteen year old would appreciate.

The first book was amazing, but every so often I would have to fight against the thought that Kvothe was a Mary Sue character for an SCA buff. The second book I just couldn't overcome that thought, as I was having breasts pressed to my face metaphorically through print. After reading for the thousandth time about some minx's lithe figure, I was close to closing the book and having done with it.

Worst offenders:

1. About fifty bajillion bits of sex to do with what's her name, fairy type sexpot.

2. Quasi-zen garden fanatics who don't believe that men are part of the process of making babies! So they have wild sex with the main character! How absolutely stupid must this culture be, when prehistoric man figured that one out! Argh!

3. Hearing sort of tangentially about his many conquests, and how the women he sleeps with don't think he'll stay with them, which is why he doesn't have any girlfriends. Maybe, just maybe, it's because he's kind of a whore.

Why did I finish it? Purely from the promise of the first book.

I may give the next one a look but if it's the same as this one I'm not going to bother. What a disappointment.
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on 24 June 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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on 14 January 2012
It seems a little redundant to write a review for the second book of a fantasy trilogy. If you haven't read the first one, there's not much point reading the second just yet, if you have, you'll probably already have a fairly firm idea of whether or not you want to continue with the series. Nonetheless, I haven't reviewed the first book in the series (The Name of the Wind) despite absolutely loving it, and one of my New Year's Resolutions is to review every book I read, so I'm going to do a bit of a review of both.

In essence, I'd definitely recommend this to anyone who likes fantasy, and it's well written and engaging enough that it could well be worth giving it a try even if that isn't your usual genre. I hugely enjoyed it and can't wait to read the third book when it comes out. Nonetheless I think there were some flaws and on balance, I feel that the first instalment was the better book.

How much you enjoy the tale will probably depend on how you feel about the main character, Kvothe, as the story really does revolve entirely around him. Personally, I really liked him and was rooting for him all the way through, but I've heard several people say they found him extremely annoying, and I can see where they are coming from. He is extremely, instantly good at almost everything he puts his hands too and throughout this book he only gets more skilled, powerful and popular with the ladies. In the hands of a lesser author he could easily have become a total Mary Sue and clearly some people think that he has crossed that line. For me though, he gets into just enough scrapes to be believable and, especially in the present day sections in the Inn is well aware of his faults and emphasises the way his reputation has been blown out of proportion.

There are two very unusual and clever things about this book - firstly, the framing device - something bad has happened and modern day Kvothe is hiding out as an innkeeper, with his powers now seemingly reduced, and telling his story. This allows for lots of fun foreshadowing and raises all sorts of questions of what happened. It also allows us to hear the overblown legends that have grown up around him from yokel customers, which provide an interesting counterpoint to the more rational tale being told by Kvothe himself.
Secondly, there is lots of use of old stories, poems and legends that really add depth the the world, but which also make an interesting point about how tales change over time - for example a smutty poem recited by one character turns out to be a newer version of an older prophetic rhyme; or two characters write a song about an event, one making the main character a hero, the other a villain.

All of this means that there is lots to analyse and speculate about if that's your cup of tea (and I've certainly had lots of geeky fun working through some of the references and guessing at events in the third book over the last couple of days!) but unlike some books, which get bogged down in this sort of thing (A Dance with Dragons for example was practically unreadable in parts without the detailed lists of all the characters), it is also a smooth, easy read that makes perfect sense to readers who don't have or want an encyclopaedic knowledge of the line of succession in Vintas or all the myths around the Chandrian.

The main problem was one that seems all too common with recent fantasy books - it was too long and too little was resolved. Few of the plot lines and questions set up in the first book have been resolved after nearly 1000 pages and some were barely touched on. There were parts - a trip with some mercenaries, an encounter with a sex-mad fairy - that could have been half the length they were without really losing anything.

On a similar note, I was surprised that roughly the first third of the book is still set at the University and there seemed to have been no progress since the first book - Kvothe still desperately needs money and schemes to get it, Kvothe once again goes through admissions, dividing the teachers between those who love him and those who hate him. Ambrose attacks him some more, he gets further revenge, Ambrose attacks him yet again. Kvothe meets Denna. They still don't get it on. She disappears again. All of this is actually very enjoyable to read, and the university sections are actually some of the best in the book, but all of these plot elements were getting a bit repetitive by the end of the first book and I wasn't expecting this cycle to recur again.

These points however really didn't drastically affect my appreciation of the book. The writing is so smooth and in parts genuinely laugh out loud funny that even parts that are a little dull plot wise are still a pleasure to read, though I'm hoping for some resolution and some rather more vicious editing in part three.
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on 26 February 2015
So here we are once more in the world of Kvothe. If you've read the first book you will know what to expect. If you haven't already read the first book you are going to be so confused. Go read it. I'll wait.
Once again we are immersed in a fully realised world. We are still going through the story of Kvothes early days and life is getting more interesting. The friendships and relationships built up in the first book are still there as he starts to learn his place in the world.
A big chunk of the novel is built upon Kvothe having a 'gap year' from the University. It's during his travels, still as a relatively young man, that his reputation starts to take seed. Although it has to be said, he is not unchanged by it. A particularly interesting scene late in the book with Fela talking about how other people see him shows more of his new character than pages of exposition could do.
If I was to have one quibble, it would be the amount of time spent in the past. We do have short jumps back to the present, where it is becoming obvious he is not the man he was, but for my taste not enough. Saying that of course this is the second book in a trilogy so next novel should pull it all together.
Once again this was incredibly hard to put down once I'd started it, and for a book the size of a house brick that's saying something. The writing flows easily, the characters are all well rounded and believable, even the Fae ones, and the world itself is exquisite. Not entirely sure how I am going to manage to wait for book 3.
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on 4 November 2015
mmm! note to self, do not ever,ever buy parts 1 & 2 of a trilogy unless part 3 has been already written. could it be this fantasy world is just too complicated for the author to round up all the loose ends???? maybe the hero has been abductected by spider creatures and is thus unable to finish his tale. whatever the reason by the time the book is written i will either have lost the will to live or (more likely) lost interest in the story
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on 20 November 2014
I absolutely loved the first novel in Patrick Rothfuss's Kingkiller Chronicles, so it's possibly not surprising that the follow up was slightly disappointing.

While the characters were still strong and engaging, there were times when it felt like the author had a tick list of 'fae' which he was trying to work through. The very nature of the fantasy novel means that it can't be seen as 'realistic', but that doesn't mean that the story can get away with feeling implausible within the context... Which is exactly what this novel does. It starts well enough; it finishes well enough; but there's a whole chunk in the middle which it would be far better without.

Having read 'The Name of the Wind' I waited eagerly for the sequel. While I will still read the third instalment, I'm willing to wait for it to come out in paperback.
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on 15 April 2014
I love S&F all types of it, and as I learnt to read at 2 1/2 yrs of age, by now I am a speed reader, some 40 odd years later! But this and its companion, have had me on the edge of my seat, really wanting to know the name of the wind, feeling each whip lash, wanting that blooming woman to stand still for more than 5 minutes, and I do sincerely hope that that "Toff" (could use another name to more accurately convey my opinion of him but they would be too strong for younger eyes!) gets his comeuppance!
These are really well written which brings me back to speed reading. If a book isnt well written then I zoom through it, but this one..... well it took me (for me) a long time! Its not a book full of obscure language by any means but the combination of the wording slows you down and enables you to read the story fully, appreciating the whole depth of the characters and issues. Such a long time since I have read a book that has slowed me down! I think the last one was T H Whites Sword in the Stone! And I read that at 8!
My question now is:
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on 8 April 2015
Where to begin... The first book in the Kingkiller chronicles was outstanding, and one of my favourite books EVER. The Wise Man's Fear kept up the same quality, and I loved it just as much as the first one. It was a sheer pleasure to re-enter Kvothe's world, and I can't wait for the third instalment to carry on the story. Rothfuss has woven an amazing world, filled with wonderful characters, and his writing style is just pure magic. I wish everyone would read these books, and the world is a better place for having them in it. My deepest thanks to Patrick Rothfuss for bringing such joy into my life.
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