by Patrick Rothfuss
“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. 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, Day Two of The Kingkiller Chronicle, Kvothe takes his first steps on teh path of the hero and learns how difficult life can be when a man becomes a legend in his own time. (from the back cover)
This seems to be a theme, lately. Disappointing books. Boo.
I loved The Name of the Wind, and had been looking forward to this sequel for so very long. When a friend gave it to me for my birthday this summer, I carried it around the house for the rest of the day so that I could occasionally sniff the pages or give it a hug, or just to gaze at it's beautiful brick-like enormity (1,107 pages, folks). Finally, months later, I plucked it off the shelf and began reading. And it was awesome.
The first half contained all of the incredibleness of book one, and I drank it in. But somewhere just north of the halfway point, it started to fall apart for me. Nonetheless, I had already delved 500+ pages into this behemoth, and so I trudged in. There were yet lovely morsels to enjoy interspersed among the atrocities.
If you haven't read book one, go back and check out my review and read The Name of the Wind before you decide to write off the whole series based on this review of the second book.
As I said, there are many good things in this book. It's well-balanced with adventure, character development, wit, brilliant world-building, cultural diversity... There are just a few scenes -- chapters, even -- that I could do without. Honestly, they added nothing to the book. No one would miss them if they were removed. So what are they? Why were they so atrocious?
- Kvothe meets a woman who teaches him how to... "sleep" with her. It's not graphic, but he spends a lot of time with her. The best part: he claims to not remember much about this point in his life, that it's foggy to him, and yet it drags on for several chapters. Umm... right. Feel free to skip ahead a few pages if/when you reach this point. I certainly won't judge you for it. In fact, if you ask nicely, I'll even look up exactly which chapters you want to ignore. Except...
- This opens the floodgates for hormone-filled teenage Kvothe, and suddenly he has to sleep with every-other woman he meets. I was so excited when he finally left the above-mentioned woman, only to find we weren't done with this theme yet. Ugh.
- In an odd sense of irony, Kvothe rescues a couple of girls from slavery/rape, which is great. But he does it by slaughtering and then branding the group of people who had kidnapped them. He feels a twinge of remorse later, but is reassured by someone else that he did the right thing. People congratulate and thank him. Guys. THIS IS NOT OK. You can't just go around killing everyone who does something bad. I mean, how does this make Kvothe any better than the people he killed? Hint: it doesn't.
Have you had this problem before, reading one disappointing book after another? Does the madness end? (It does. My next review is much more positive, so stay tuned...)
Also, do you think my above complaints are valid? What is your perspective on these topics? The third is obviously an important one to me, and I'd love to hear your thoughts!