**Warning! If you haven’t read The Name of the Wind which is the first book in the trilogy by Patrick Rothfuss, there will be mild spoilers ahead. You can read my review of the first book instead if you haven’t started the series yet!**
After reading The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss I was so immediately enthralled with Kvothe’s world and Rothfuss’ fierce storytelling skills that I knew The Wise Man’s Fear would be another instant favorite of mine and I was 100% correct. The story is structured the same way as the first, with Kvothe recounting his adventures to a chronicler inside the tavern he now resides in. His story is being told over the course of three days, so book two covers his second day with the chronicler.
Overall, I loved The Wise Man’s Fear so much, particularly because of the turn of events that Kvothe faces. Since The Name of the Wind we have been hearing these legendary stories about Kvothe and in the second installment, Rothfuss satiates some of our curiosity with adventures Kvothe’s had outside of the university. He doesn’t even come close to explaining half of the things we have been promised (which leads me to believe that book 3 will be larger than an Oxford dictionary), but I look forward to dedicating a huge chunk of time to them once they’re available. I am still theorizing about Kvothe’s current age versus his age in the stories he tells but I feel like I have a much better handle on the possibilities now. There’s a thing that keeps being hinted at which is my prediction for where the story will go, but I’m going to post it here in case anyone considers it spoilery (although I would be happy to tell you on another platform if you’re interested)
One of the aspects I loved most about The Wise Man’s Fear is that Kvothe’s relationships with others develop further. After losing his entire family to the Chandrian, Kvothe has always had issues trusting other people but he engages in much stronger friendships during the course of the book. I also just have to give a shoutout to Elodin because he is one of the greatest characters ever written. He comes off as nonsensical and a little bit nuts but if you pay close attention to his words, you’ll be able to see that there is a definitive method to his madness. Kvothe’s struggle to understand Elodin enriches the story and provides an excellent lesson about gaining knowledge.
While The Wise Man’s Fear is damn near perfect, there is one big chunk of the book that I took issue with. Again, I do not want to go into spoilers, but in talking with some other people who have also read the book, we’ve all agreed that it came across as Patrick Rothfuss basically publishing fanfic about his own character. And it’s over 100 pages long. It took me longer to get through this small section of the book than it did for me to read the other 800+ pages combined. I understand why it adds to Kvothe’s legend, but I could’ve enjoyed it more if it were shorter.
Final Thoughts: The Wise Man’s Fear is the near perfect follow up to The Name of the Wind. I love it for all of the reasons I loved the first book (a scientific and attainable description of magic, some of the best worldbuilding I’ve ever read, and of course, a narrator that I am fascinated by and care about deeply) and for even more such as getting to see Kvothe’s adventures outside of university.
There are three things all wise men fear: the sea in storm, a night with no moon, and the anger of a gentle man.”
My name is Kvothe.
I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trehon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.
You may have heard of me.
So begins the tale of a hero told from his own point of view — a story unequaled in fantasy literature. Now in The Wise Man’s Fear, an escalating rivalry with a powerful member of the nobility forces Kvothe to leave the University and seek his fortune abroad. Adrift, penniless, and alone, he travels to Vintas, where he quickly becomes entangled in the politics of courtly society. While attempting to curry favor with a powerful noble, Kvothe uncovers an assassination attempt, comes into conflict with a rival arcanist, and leads a group of mercenaries into the wild, in an attempt to solve the mystery of who (or what) is waylaying travelers on the King’s Road.
All the while, 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, is forced to reclaim the honor of the Edema Ruh, 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.
In The Wise Man’s Fear, 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. (via Goodreads)