Book Reviews, Reviews

The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

★ ★ ★ ★

Managing expectations is difficult. Because I enjoyed Name of the Wind so much, when I finished it I dove right into Wise Man’s Fear. I think now that that was a mistake. There was very little chance I would have enjoyed the book as much as the first in the series. That said, I still like Wise Man’s Fear quite a bit, but it definitely had its faults.

First, it is LONG. Name of the Wind was already 600+ pages. Wise Man’s Fear is 50% longer on top of that; almost 1,000 pages. I listened to the audiobook, and I think if I had actually read it, I would have liked this book even less. I’m a slow reader and I probably wouldn’t be half way through it by now if I were reading it. I listened to the audiobook at double speed. I made it through the book much quicker, and because of that, I think it was easier to deal with the problems a lot of other people have had with it.

Ultimately, I think the problem with the book is that Rothfuss set himself a hard limit on the number of books this story will have. In Name of the Wind, he makes it very clear that the inn-keeper will be telling his story over exactly three days; and each book is a day. Without this self-imposed restriction, Rothfuss could have made Name of the Wind shorter, tacked its ending onto the front of Wise Man’s Fear, and split that into two books instead of one. That would make the story much easier to digest, I think.

As it stands, the author tries to pack so much into each book that it actually becomes a problem. Which leads my to the biggest issue I had with the book. I really enjoyed hearing about the time spent in the mayor’s service, and especially the main character’s mercenary training. However, when Kvothe makes it back to the university, everyone thinks he had died. I could not for the life of me remember the shipwreck that caused everyone to think this. Once I finished the book, I had to do a fair bit of digging to find out that the shipwreck is mentioned in passing in a single sentence. I suspect there used to be much more to that story, but it had to be cut for length. Ultimately, I still really liked Wise Man’s Fear, but I’m worried now about the author’s ability to wrap everything up in book three.

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