Do you ever read something and just know it was written by a man? Particularly when dealing with the subject of women? Of course, I do know Patrick Rothfuss is male, but I mean, sometimes you just get this feeling of deep knowing in your soul… more on this later.
The Wise Man’s Fear is the second book in Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicle series, and I feel like the book was really split in half for me in terms of enjoyment: literally, I liked the first half just as I enjoyed the first book in the series, but the second half fell flat and started dragging.
Maybe my enjoyment of the first half was because I enjoy Kvothe’s adventures at university and searching for answers to the Chandrian mystery so much, which the first half of the book once again focuses on as an older Kvothe continues to tell the story of his life. As the tale continues, however, Kvothe leaves university in search of patronage from a powerful maer, and then comes to be involved in some work ridding the roads of bandits, falling into step with a seductive fae woman, and even learning the combat practices of another culture who try to keep their arts secret to others. Of course, Kvothe continues his trail of adoration and unrequited love of Denna throughout the novel as well.
The part where things really start getting slow and I began to not enjoy it happened once Kvothe is asked by the Maer to leave on a task of ridding an area of bandits. This takes some time and is confusing as to whether or not there is a bigger intention to the task. The period of time later in the book where Kvothe is coming to learn the secret arts and combat of the Ademic people also seems to drag and Kvothe appears to have not nearly enough patience for, which makes me wonder if he doesn’t think a little too highly of himself at times (though he does learn things quite quickly as I think I mentioned in my review of the first book, The Name of the Wind. He’s a bit of a special snowflake).
The point where I really started to get annoyed with how things were dragging on, (almost seemingly uselessly) was before Kvothe joined the Adem, and when he meets Felurian, a fae woman who drives men mad through seduction. This whole section of the book appears at this time to be solely to tell how Kvothe came to obtain a cloak made of shadow, which is great, but it goes on for such a long time seemingly just as a bit of content to fill some guys’ spank banks. This is where we get into how I could tell it was written by a man. You know that article going around that’s like, “If Women Wrote Men the Way Men Write Women”? It’s exactly like that. I swear, Rothfuss couldn’t go a single page without mentioning how “lithe” Felurian’s body was, how it was pressed against Kvothe’s, how “languid” she was, etc etc etc. I rolled my eyes more than once. And this goes on for a while, just Kvothe having his sexual awakening, which then continues on to later parts of the book where he can’t help but mention the curve of women’s bodies and breasts underneath their clothes, and all that. And hey, I’m not saying I am not down for some sexual content but I really felt like this added nothing, and just made things stretch out too much and not in an interesting fashion.
In any case, as I mentioned earlier, the first half of this book was super solid, just like the one before it, but the second half left me wanting and a little bit bored, to be totally honest. I definitely want to see what comes next, as Kvothe continues to tell the story of his life and we see implications of this during the time of the telling. But I hope it doesn’t fall into the typical “trilogy trap” as so often happens where the first book is fantastic, the second is decent, and the third just makes everything fall apart. Hoping for the best, y’all!
Also this will definitely be my last CBR review for this year, so I hope everyone has had a good one, and I’ll see you all again in the new year!