Speculating on SpecFic

Fantastic Literature: From epic fantasy to fairytales to myth-making

The Wise Man's Fear (The Kingkiller Chronicle) - Patrick Rothfuss This book both surprised and disappointed me. I’m stil not sure how I feel about it, but when reading The Wise Man’s Fear I got the impression that Patrick Rothfuss took all these wonderful ideas about how he is going to change fantasy literature, and then proceeded to stuff his book with them without really thinking about the flow of the narrative or character development. When reading these books it’s sometimes hard to remember that Kvothe is sixteen - the adventures he has are befitting of an older man. But he assumes he is all-knowing until proven wrong and is generally irritating. What else can you expect from a sixteen year old? I’m glad that he matured by the end of the book and finally empathised with those around him instead of just assuming he knows what’s best for everyone. I find the interludes most interesting because Kvothe-the-man is wonderful, grounded and haunted by his past. He makes a more interesting protagonist than Kvothe-the-teenager.I hated aspects of the plot of this book. The beginning was ridiculous - a complete rehashing of the first book with Kvothe being poor, working hard to scrape every coin together for his tuition, the recklessly borrowing money from Levi, then spending all his money like he has no cares. The first mildly interesting thing that happens is that Kvothe decides to take some time off studying and journey to Severen. But Rothfuss skips over the journey in a page, and somehow contrives it so Kvothe arrives in Severen penniless and in rags. And then has to earn money coin by coin again. I can’t read one more page about Kvothe having no money! The plot improves vastly during Kvothe’s time in Severen - it was great to learn about a new culture and see Kvothe in a different environment. The time with Felurian - the incredibly beautiful, sex-crazed Fean - that follows is tedious and boring. It seems like Rothfuss had included this whole section to indulge himself, with no thought to the story at all. In fact, the Felurian adventure did nothing to progress the story except to introduce Kvothe’s legendary cloak and the mysterious all-knowing, future-wrecking tree. The best part of the book occurs after the Felurian episode, with a followup of the Adem culture and Kvothe’s experiences there. Kvothe became calmer and more thoughtful after his stay with the Adem, who have one of the most unique and interesting cultures that I have read about in fantasy novels. The upturn of the story at the end makes me want to read the next book, The Doors of Stone, now. However, I no longer feel in awe of Patrick Rothfuss’ writing skills and can’t credit him with writing superior fantasy stories - he seems to simply be churning out a story full of the usual tropes in the genre.You can read more of my reviews at Speculating on SpecFic.