Readers of Patrick Rothfuss, beware. I’m afraid I didn’t quite enjoy his beloved duology. Certainly, a whole legion of fans can’t be wrong. Then I admit, this may come down to my personal taste that some may be right to call poor. If you choose to read on, you have been warned!
The Name of the Wind/The Wise Man’s Fear (Patrick Rothfuss, 2007 – 2011)
Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts. There are seven words that will make a person love you. There are ten words that will break a strong man’s will. But a word is nothing but a painting of a fire. A name is the fire itself.
From his childhood that ended in devastating carnage to his teenage years barely scraping through his wizardry studies, brooding innkeeper Kvothe tells of his gradual becoming the notorious myth in The Name of the Wind.
It is the first of 3 days he is telling his tale, each book beginning with every sunrise. For a while, the Kingkiller Chronicle remains intriguing and lives up to the massive expectations built by the praise of Patrick Rothfuss fans.
Its sequel The Wise Man’s Fear is in fact, even more well-loved by fantasy fans, or so I have heard. But for me, it fell short of everything the first novel promises. Kvothe continues his meandering tale that starts to read like tedious side quests, veering far from his mission for answers to his family tragedy.
This second chapter of an incomplete trilogy offers very little plot to justify the page count. Instead of discovering the identity of the Chandrian that killed his tribe or earning his vengeance, Kvothe gets caught in a contrived romance that takes centrestage.
Thereafter, he finds himself in a series of petty squabbles amid an endless will-they-won’t-they drama. Some moments drop hints of magic and reveal glimpses of something more, but they hardly last. Most of the plot feels devoid of purpose and empty of heart, told in an arrogant voice of self-importance.
While it is no doubt well-written, it isn’t for me. The 990-pager (!) ultimately starts to feel like a dreary drag with little to look forward to. Such disappointment leaves me in no hurry for the final book in the series, 10 years in the making… and counting.