the Little Red Reviewer

Wise Man’s Fear, part 2: The Review

Posted on: March 7, 2011

The Wise Man’s Fear (Kingkiller Chronicles, book 2), by Patrick Rothfuss

Published: March 2011

Where I got it: the library.

why I read it: the first book in the Kingkiller Chronicles, The Name of the Wind, was a game changer book for me.

Plainly said, if you enjoyed the Name of the Wind (reviewed here), you will enjoy Wise Man’s Fear more so. If Name if the Wind didn’t really do it for you, Wise Man’s Fear probably won’t, and more so.

Still on the fence?  It may help to think of The Kingkiller Chronicles as a memoir, not a fantasy trilogy. After all, Chronicler is doing just that, writing down Kvothe’s life, isn’t he?  Kvothe is much more interested in those events, be them mundane or heroic, that shaped him as a person.  And besides, both Chronicler and Kvothe already know the stories and the songs and the legends. This is their only opportunity to get the story right.  Think about what you would put in your own memoir.  You’d put in more than just the “action” moments of your life, wouldn’t you?

Did the book meet my expectations? Yes and more. Was it worth the wait? Yes and even more.

First things first, Rothfuss’s writing is tighter, more mature, and much more polished than in Name of the Wind. The dialog is snappier and funnier.  The plots, subplots, and undercurrents are at the same time both more and less subtle than the first book.

This book is nearly 1,000 pages long.  It took me 5 days to read, and I’m not a slow reader.  And in nearly one thousand pages you can be sure that a lot happens.  But if I made this a plot based review, I believe we’d both be missing the point.

But I’ll give you this: the first half the book is lighthearted and fun, somewhat like my underclassman years at college. Chilled out, relaxed, fun.  The second half, however, is akin to my upperclassmen years at college, as in: this shit just got serious.  there will be tears, and there will be blood. If only my university offered a class with the name of Master Namer Elodin’s class.

Kvothe is obscenely talented, charming, confident, and occasionaly cocky. He knows can make you laugh or cry, with a story or a song. He is young, he is impatient. He wants to know everything, about certain things especially, right now.  What he does not know, even slightly, is the shape of the world.  And this in and of itself is a learning. Elodin makes the best attempt he can to teach Kvothe, sometimes the best way to learn the shape of the world is to leave learning behind, to live.  Or perhaps, to read a nearly one thousand page book.

You know how some books in a series have little reminders of what came before? little hints, in case you don’t remember something? Wise Man’s Fear doesn’t. At all. As I’ve already mentioned elsewhere, I am kicking myself for not doing a re-read of Name of the Wind last month, and to Kvothe, he’s just continuing a conversation that he started yesterday.

My most favorite parts of the book are the “framing” portions: where Kvothe and Bast and Chronicler sit around talking in the Inn, and various and sundry townspeople make their way in and out and talk about things that are happening in the village.  Bast and Chronicler I felt were much better developed, their uneasy bargain gaining depth and teeth.  It’s nice to know I’m in good company with all the other women in the world by being fascinated by Bast.  These are the portions that have the aftertaste of resigned melancholy, leading me to believe this can only ever be a trilogy. Kvothe admits he know exactly what kind of story he is telling, Bast is in denial, and Chronicler is a little confused.  Which group do you fall into?

While reading, I took copious notes to aid in writing this review. Notes about the four panel door, prophecies, stubborness and patience, how mistranslation and mistransliteration can change everything,  hilarious and disastrous encounters with Ambrose, Kvothe learning the hard way that he can’t get by on charm and good looks, that learning has nothing to do with books, and sometimes winning means you lose in the end.

my scribbled notes all boil down to this: The Wise Man’s Fear is everything I ever wanted and more.  In my humble opinion, Rothfuss has taken the tried and true “hero’s story”, and turned it into what it always knew it could be, something beyond magical, beyond mythical.  Rothfuss has unwittingly become the father of something new and yet unnamed.

I know the book(s) I pick up after reading The Wise Man’s Fear will automatically pale in comparison. So I’ve purposely picked up something light and fun, not too challenging, and less than 300 pages.


23 Responses to "Wise Man’s Fear, part 2: The Review"

Couldn’t agree more. I was a little taken aback at the amount of sexuality in the book though. It shouldn’t have been too surprising given Kvothe’s age I guess, but it just caught me off guard. I had a few people I wanted to recommend the books to, but now I would feel a little awkward because that may make them feel uncomfortable while reading.

All that aside, the quality of Rothfuss’s writing and it’s popularity is causing me to hope this is an actual possibility someday!!!


The sex was a surprise, but not when you think about who Kvothe finds himself , umm, hanging out with. . . and then after, well, things are different. I felt those scenes were fairly delicately written, mostly inuendo that a younger reader might completely gloss over. Might.

I have seen that Rothfuss proposal to Nathan Fillion, and I’m curious to see what happens. We were watching Firefly on Science Channel last night, couldn’t stand the commercials and hokey add-ins, so we popped the DVD in instead.


Right on. Of the (few) negative reader reviews I’ve seen, the common thread is that they don’t understand the pacing. They don’t understand why, at points, the plot didn’t move as fast as they would have liked. That’s partly reader and partly author error.

I doubt if Rothfuss could say, convincingly, that he’ll be done after one more book. But he has said it’s a trilogy, and it’s hard to fault readers for assuming it will be. My opinion is that everyone should worry about what’s going on in this book, rather than speculating about what’s going to happen with the next book(s).

At the end of the day, Rothfuss is a phenomenal storyteller. I can’t remember the last time I anticipated a book this much and then had it really pay off, like this one did. It may or may not have been a long wait, depending on your perspective. But TWMF is the best fantasy I’ve read since the first book in the series, and easily in the top 10 books–of any genre–I’ve read in the last five years.


Hi Bart, thanks for commenting! As much as I can’t help myself with speculating, you’re right, that we should be worrying about what we’re reading right now, as opposed to what we’ll be reading of him in the future.

I completely agree that Rothfuss is a phenom story teller, and to be a little meta about the whole thing, Kingkiller Chronicles is very much about the lost art of storytelling.


What a good book. When i was through i wanted to search for reviews and found that i dont like reviews that much. Most of them are outlines and picking apart the timing of the writer, wether good or bad. I did read your part one and two however, and I like your review. I too found myself saying strange things, dreaming, and thinking about this book alot. It has a way of bringing you in to a different world, my mind is so occupied by it! what a wonderful thing to experience.
I liked this book alot and wish there were more people to talk to it about.


Hi Nail, thanks for visiting! I’m surprised I haven’t been tripping over reviews of WMF, as nearly every blog I visit said it was their most anticipated book of 2011. I suppose folks are waiting for the hubbub to die down, not to mention it is a killer long book.

The more I like a book, the less I tend to fill the review with plot points. because so often, the plot is the smallest part of the reading experience.


Hi Redhead, love the review, I can’t wait to read the book! Only finished Name of the Wind a few months ago so it’s still reasonably fresh. I haven’t looked forward to a new book this much since…. well ever, actually 😀


I think your review might be better than mine. 😛

I will say that I just don’t understand why people like Bast so much; I don’t think he’s terribly well developed yet (a little more in this book, hopefully more in the third book) so I don’t think there’s that much of him to fall in love with. Yes, he’s loyal and wants the best for his friend — but so do all of Kvothe’s friends. Why single out Bast and not, say, Wil?

Great post! 😀


In addition, we don’t even know what Bast’s true motives are. Is he really just being a good friend? Or is he trying to use Kvothe to his own purpose?


Jeff – regarding Bast, he’s dark, handsome, and oh so mysterious. i think it’s a girl thing! 😉

217episode – I think he’s using Kvothe to his own purposes. Bast needs/wants Kvothe to do something he doesn’t care to do, so Bast is going to do whatever it damn takes to get him to do it.


Great review.
I’m a big fan of Rothfuss and Kvothe is one of the most engaging characters to come around in a while. What I’m finding with these books, is that Pat never writes an unnecessary scene. Clues are hidden in the lyrics of songs, in the translation of a word from one culture to the next. Descriptions of certain characters start matching up, but it’s subtle…very subtle.
I did think we would get more info on the Chandrians. I thought we would learn more about Bast but now I’m even more confused and intrigued. I love Auri and worry about what will happen to her.
I too was taken back with the sexuality. The cavalier approach did put me off, especially since Kvothe seemed so restrained with Denna and that actually added to his appeal.

I will read this book again as I did NOTW and look forward to the third though it will probably be a long wait. *Sigh*
Thanks again for the review.


Hi Kim, thanks for commenting!

I do love me some subtlety. About not learning more about the Chandrian, I feel that we’re learning at the same speed Kvothe is, which me for, allowed me to sympathize even more with his frustrations.

I want so badly to know more about Auri and Elodin that sometimes I completely forget about the Chandrian.

OMG, I just realized who you are!! You’re the creator of all of my favorite Kvothe fan art!!!! And, i totally swiped your famous Kvothe image off the Tor website without crediting you. It’s being fixed right now!


Dear Red,
Valid point about the Chandrians. And I do feel his frustration.

[I appreciate you giving me credit. I didn’t know it was on the Tor site. Keep finding him in the most interesting places.]

Great blog!


spot on review. the paragraph about wishing u had re-read the Name of the Wind struck me because i thought the exact same thing. wasnt a big deal in the end tho. im glad he didnt refresh in this book because it leaves out filler for more substance to the story. and with 1000 pages, that’s saying alot for Pat’s storytelling skillz.


LOVELY review Redhead. See, this is why I didn’t write one, you write it much better than I ever could!


I love this review! You have completely hit the nail on the head (not hit your thumb which I did a bit with mine). I was trying to say this isn’t action packed but I didn’t want it to sound lame – it’s just so good. And what on earth is going on with Bast at the end!!
Have you checked out PR’s blog – he had a brilliant cartoon which recapped The Name of the Wind just before the Wise Man’s Fear came out. It was really excellent. I also didn’t reread No.1 but to be honest I don’t think you need to and I think I actually preferred to not keep rereading explanations from other books.
Love your book list.


[…] Patrick Rothfuss’s The Name of the Wind (reviewed here) and The Wise Man’s Fear (reviewed here), which, for the uninitiated are books one and two in Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicles. We […]


[…] The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss (2011) Of course this book made the list, how could you think it wouldn’t? Through his Kingkiller Chronicles, Rothfuss has taken the tried and true “hero’s story”, and turned it into what it always knew it could be, something beyond magical, beyond mythical, unwittingly becoming the father of something new and yet unnamed. […]


Hi,I would like to spice the conversation a little bit because I defer with all of you in one thing: I don’t think Patrick Rothfuss is a great writer, I mean, hi is a good story teller and has a great imagination but his writing is not up to the story.


[…] Little Red Reviewer: “In my humble opinion, Rothfuss has taken the tried and true “hero’s story”, and turned it into what it always knew it could be, something beyond magical, beyond mythical.” […]


[…] George R.R. Martin (Bantam; Harper Voyager UK) Snuff, Terry Pratchett (Harper; Doubleday UK) The Wise Man’s Fear, Patrick Rothfuss (DAW; Gollancz) Deathless, Catherynne M. Valente (Tor) Among Others, Jo Walton […]


[…] Between the Covers, Book Monkey Scribbles, It’s All About Books, Let’s Eat Grandpa!, The Little Red Reviewer, Stella Matutina and many, many more at the Book Blogs Search Engine. Have you reviewed this book? […]


join the conversation

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow me on Twitter!

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,621 other subscribers
Follow the Little Red Reviewer on



FTC Stuff

some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.
%d bloggers like this: