Thursday, April 2, 2015

Book Review: The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

Title: The Wise Man's Fear
Series: Kingkiller Chronicles #2
Author: Patrick Rothfuss
Published: March 1, 2011 by DAW (Penguin Group)
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: In The Wise Man's Fear, Kvothe searches for answers, attempting to uncover the truth about the mysterious Amyr, the Chandrian, and the death of his parents. Along the way, Kvothe is put on trial by the legendary Adem mercenaries, forced to reclaim the honor of his family, and travels into the Fae realm. There he meets Felurian, the faerie woman no man can resist, and who no man has ever survived...until Kvothe.

Now, 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 the second book in a series and therefore the review may contain spoilers for The Name of the Wind. Read that first and then come back. If you need encouragement, here's my review. ***

What an enjoyable series! I read The Name of the Wind in January as my month long audiobook and decided to do the same thing for The Wise Man's Fear. And while I thoroughly enjoyed it and like how the series is progressing, I didn't enjoy it as much as the first book in the series (words I almost never say). While it had a lot of the same great things like an interesting and atmospheric world and unique characters, I found the pacing to be a little slow and the plot not as cohesive.

I will say, I think listening to the audio for this series was the perfect choice for me. I love audiobooks but sometimes I get let down, this series however was a perfect fit. Not only did the narrator perfectly capture the voices for the ridiculous amount of different characters, male and female, but he also perfectly captured the tone of the book. It felt atmospheric and immersive. There would be times where I was listening at work or in my apartment where it would be jarring to come back to reality because it was that good. If you are a fan of audiobooks I definitely recommend this series.

My enjoyment of the book and my enjoyment of the audio really went hand in hand with my enjoyment of the world. This is seriously one of the most imaginative fantasy worlds that I have read in a long time. It's so complex that it's hard to explain. In the first portion of the book, Kvothe is studying at the university and learning about naming and other magical and scientific things. In The Name of the Wind, the education was very specific to what Kvothe was learining, but book teaches a lot about different types of magic that we didn't get to see before. Snape would love this magical system because it's not about silly wand-waving. It's about intelligence, knowledge, and working with the world around you. It's a very science based kind of magical system. I really enjoyed it. I also really enjoyed getting to see and meet more of the larger world in this book. It took us away from the university and into different locations around the countryside. We met many different people and cultures. I particularly enjoyed the Adem people who had such a different culture, and the time that Kvothe spent in the Fae was really interesting as well. It was great to explore more of this world because it is one of my favorite part of this series.

But not these girls, they're fantastic!
I also really enjoy the characters in this series. Kvothe is such an interesting protagonist and narrator for this story. We are told he is this legendary figure that people tells stories about but I see him as this sort of anti-hero. We are given his side of the story here so he comes off so much more sympathetic though. He's far from perfect but that's what makes him all the more likable. What I like more than that, however, is that he's an unreliable narrator. In the back of my mind I know that these are all stories and they are not necessarily the whole truth. But even better than Kvothe, I love the secondary characters in this series. From his friends to his enemies Kvothe surrounds himself with some pretty eclectic and interesting people. I particularly loved getting to learn more about and spend more time with the women in this series. Devi got some serious screen time and she became all the more odious and dark. Denna also got a lot of time but she still remains a pretty big mystery. But the biggest mystery and my favorite character is Auri. She's such an inigma. I need more Auri! *adds The Slow Regard to my wishlist*

But I did found the pacing to be a little problematic here. First thing that I didn't totally enjoy was the travel monologues. There were just so many moments throughout the book where it felt like the general plot would slow down so that the characters could get to a different place. You know how I feel about travel. In general, the book just felt a little too slow and a little too wordy for me. While it made sense with the format of the book, being a personal story you are of course going to spend more time on the happier or more memorable moment and less time on other moments, but it didn't always work for me. This sort of fell into the trap that you see a lot in fantasy where it takes a very long time to get from point A to point Z. It's not a bad thing, it's good to take your time to explain and elaborate on how your characters achieved their goals and got to the places they are today. It can just run away from you sometimes. And I think that's what happened here. It's a very long book and it felt long. It was taking it's sweet time to explain things and when everything was all said and done it didn't really bring it full circle for me.

Which brings me to my thoughts on the plot of the book. In The Name of the Wind I loved the fact that there was a clear resolution and little hints along the way to help you figure out what it all meant. That was not the case for The Wise Man's Fear. There was no clear resolution. There wasn't a cliffhanger either, it just wasn't as good a conclusion for me. It did still have it's basis in a coming-of-age story kind of plot though. The purpose of this series is to have a man who is a legendary figure explain the truth about what happened to him. In this book you really get the sense about how he became a legend. There were so many moments where you can tell that people are telling stories and sharing gossip about Kvothe. In this book he starts to become larger than life which is something that I am excited to see in the final book.

And despite the fact that I didn't enjoy it as much as the first book, I did really love the book. It's definitely a new favorite fantasy series for me and I am really hooked. I can't wait for the next book in the series. I'm so hooked that I now feel the urge to read the novellas connected with this series, which is a rarity for me. But I seriously need more from this world and more from these characters.

I give The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss a 9 out of 10

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy. This is a fantastic fantasy series that fans of the genre should definitely check out. And while I do still think that this series has some crossover appeal, this one was definitely more adult. There were some really enjoyable romantic elements that I thoroughly enjoyed. But it also has a fantastic world and great characters that make it worth a read.

Have you read The Wise Man's Fear? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!


  1. Excellent review! I find it interesting that you're not sure if he's completely telling the truth. For me, I believed him all the way; I guessed I figured that if he wanted to hide the truth some more, he could just let the rumors continue without any help from him. Plus, he's clearly depressed and waiting to die, so what's the point in lying anymore?

    I seriously can't wait until book 3 is published! My impatience is starting to turn into annoyance at Patrick Rothfuss for taking so long. It's been 4 years now and there's not even a hint of when the conclusion is going to come out! Arrrgh!

    Lisa@Lisa's Library

  2. This one is totally new to me and It looks good. I love finding new books from blogs. :)

    Great Review!

    Michelle @ Book Briefs

  3. This series is seriously becoming one of my favorite fantasy books! I love them all. Fantastic imagery and writing.