The Wise Man's Fear (The Kingkiller Chronicle #2)

Write on: Wed, 05 Apr 2017 by  in Archive Read 6304

Rating: 4/5 Stars

The Wise Man’s Fear had all the potential to be better than The Name of the Wind and although this is still a great book, putting it in comparison with its prequel show how this one fell short in quality.

 Picture: The Wise Man’s Fear main catchphrase

The plot of WMF, still as simplistic as the previous book, started on Day 2 straight after the end of NotW with Kvothe sharing his life journey to Chronicler with Bast listening to it. If you think the pacing of NotW was slow, believe me that Rothfuss managed to slow it down even more. Don’t be fooled by my six days reading pace of this tome. This is actually one of the slowest paced books I ever read in my entire life.

Are the plot and pacing bad for the story? No, it’s actually really great, it had the sense of danger that the previous book lacked and it still followed the root of the series. I’ve always love slow paced or fast paced book equally but for a book that’s filled with 994 pages, Rothfuss could’ve done so much more with the story especially with its pacing. Looking at it from bird’s eye view, the overall story is fantastic. There are some important events that provide information to why the present world is in its state, especially the meeting with a new entity called Ctaeh. This meeting itself added a lot of depth to Kvothe’s chronicle and the trilogy’s overarching story. It’s only after this encounter that I realized why KKC fans are so eager for what events may occur in The Doors of Stone. 

However, as great as the plot is, WMF suffers from the infamous 2nd book syndrome in which there are a lot of unnecessary emphases on the filler contents. The important story aren’t given enough focus and the filler parts are given way too many. I know the fillers parts are necessary for Kvothe’s character development but they could’ve been cut down or replaced with something much more important to the present story. For example, compiling from the available two book, that’s around 1600 pages, out of those pages Kvothe spent around 600 pages in the University, that’s the entire length of NotW already. I admit I love the time Kvothe spent in the University but I’m starting to think Rothfuss had a horrible grudge with student tuition and student loan as those 600 pages and most of Kvothe’s chronicle up to now had to do with settling that tuition rather than giving more information on the Chandrian. Also, The Name of the Wind had Kvothe’s chronicle told right from he’s 8 years old up to when he’s 15 years old, The Wise Man’s Fear only focused on Kvothe’s life until 17 years old, that’s only 2 years despite having almost 400 pages more than NotW.

My previous point doesn’t mean that I dislike the book or saying that it’s a negative point, no it’s not. I stated that only to emphasize that the plot HAD a lot of potential to be more engrossing than the current state. The worst part of the book for me, however, should not be a surprise to anyone who has read this already. Denna. This is what made my reading enjoyment of this book decreased. Not only Denna’s personality encapsulates everything I don’t ever want to see in a girl, Kvothe’s hundreds of pages infatuation with her is really tedious and infuriating to read. Kvothe’s and Denna’s stupid romance really put a sour taste to my enjoyment of the book, it was okay in NotW but it only got worse here that I literally face palmed myself at one point. For me, every time Denna is not in the picture, the story became compelling despite how slow paced and fillery it is, it’s not an exaggeration to say that Denna is one of the worst heroine of all time out of all medium for me. Luckily, this part is the only problem I had with the book, the characters, the scarce actions, music, world building and prose still work together in bringing the charm of the series.

Kvothe’s has a lot of greatly written character development, whether you like it or not, it really depends on your preferences and patience. I personally like it, I do think, again, his sex spree ever since his meeting with Felurian could be cut down a bit. Kvothe himself as a character is quite complex, yes he’s a genius, kind-hearted, charming and talented but at the same time he’s also temperament, stupid in love and made a lot of rash decision which kinda equalized his character. 

“It's the questions we can't answer that teach us the most. They teach us how to think. If you give a man an answer, all he gains is a little fact. But give him a question and he'll look for his own answers.”

The other side characters, Bast, Simmon, Wilem ,Elodin, Auri, and a new addition, Tempi continued to intrigued me. I love their interactions, developments and can’t wait to see how the story concludes for Kvothe and them in the last book.

The magic system, Sympathy, which in my opinion is a combination of Voodoo Dolls curse mixed with science, received a lot of focus here and I was really enthralled by it. To see how it finally utilized in combat is amazing. Don’t get me wrong, as before, the action scenes are really scarce, in fact, out of two books in total you’ll only see around 50 pages of actions give or take but when it’s there, it’s written really well.

Picture: Kvothe The Arcane

The book’s focus on music continued to be my favorite part of the series despite lacking in content compared with the other factors this time, it’s a rhapsody that I can’t ever get enough of. I love how the music were implemented with the world-building which I must say, is fantastic to say the least. Amazing exploration on the lore, different cultures from each part of the world and intricate metafictional stories within stories, combined with Rothfuss’s highest rank prose, the book never fails to capture my attention when it doesn’t have Denna in the plot.

“Anyone can love a thing because. That's as easy as putting a penny in your pocket. But to love something despite. To know the flaws and love them too. That is rare and pure and perfect.” 

At the end of Day 2, this particular quote summed up exactly how I feel about The Wise Man’s Fear. Yes the book has it flaws and missed potential but despite that, I still love this book and the trilogy. I really enjoyed reading it and I will definitely recommend this trilogy to anyone who’s looking for a relaxing adult high fantasy book. However, I’m going to say that despite my love for this series, The Kingkiller Chronicle is probably the most overrated series I ever read, it still going to be included into one of my favorite series of all time but IF I have to ranked it, it’s not even at my Top 5 favorite series right now. Doors of Stone have a huge potential to change that notion but as we all know, Rothfuss pretty much pushed himself into a corner with his decision on this book.

There’s still a lot more to tell in Kvothe’s legend and stories from the past and he still have to conclude the present story as well. Unless the last book is around 2000 pages, which it won’t since Rothfuss confirmed already that it will be lower in length compared to WMF, I’m pretty sure that the last book won’t avoid disappointment, especially for those who’ve waited for years already.

"When you wait a few span or month to hear a finished song, the anticipation adds savor. But after a year excitement begins to sour." -Kvothe, The Name of the Wind

How about 6 years for a book? ;)

Oh well, that particular Door won’t be opened for many more years to come (I predict 2021) or probably never anyway. Until we see the arrival of that door, this is where I part way with this trilogy cause I won’t reread it until the last book is out. Overall, the unfinished Kingkiller Chronicle is a fantastic high adult fantasy, it had it flaws but the method of storytelling is unique and engrossing enough that you should read it, do take into mind though that you’re going to wait for a LONG time for the conclusion of the trilogy before starting it.

Picture: The Wise Man’s Fear by Marc Simonetti

Last modified on Thursday, 06 April 2017 01:57

Petrik has been a gamer and reader since he was 5 years old. Not once did he thought back then that these two passion of his will last a lifetime, turns out they will. His favorite genres are Adult Epic Fantasy, High Fantasy, Grimdark and Sci-Fi.