I'm sorry to say this book was not nearly as good as the first one. It merited three major eye rolls from me, and even one eye roll in the privacy of...moreI'm sorry to say this book was not nearly as good as the first one. It merited three major eye rolls from me, and even one eye roll in the privacy of my room with no one else watching is a lot. Let me summarize the book for you: Kvothe is at Hogwarts, I mean, the academy still. He is smarter, nicer and more under appreciated than anyone else. He leaves and has some adventures. He spends time with Felurian and has lots of sex. (Side note: Eye roll number one was when the fairy sex goddess was shocked to find he was a virgin because he was *so* amazing for his first time. Apparently our 16-year-old manling Kvothe is amazing at *everything* he does). He trains to become a ninja and has lots more sex. He returns triumphant to his school where he is nine months older, and now not only smarter and kinder than everyone else, but also a better fighter and better at sex than everyone else. Part of what got me through the eye roll moments in the first book was that I saw Kvothe as a tragic hero - he was talented but arrogant. I was interested to see what tragic mistake, what manifestation of his hubris brought him to the ruin he finds himself in as a broken innkeeper. This idea helped me dismiss critics who saw The Name of the Wind as mere teenage wish-fulfillment fantasy. Wise Man's Fear has, unfortunately, made a strong case for this being teenage wish fulfillment fantasy after all, and did not show any signs of the depth I had hopes to find underneath. Kvothe becomes more obnoxious the more awesome he gets and the thought of this as a frame story, where he is actually narrating his own awesomeness to someone else, kind of makes me want to punch him in the face. I could go on about the stereotyped female characters, the obnoxious attempts to make us feel sorry for poor awesome Kvothe, and the cliche pseudophilosophy, but I'm typing this on my phone and my thumbs are tired. So why three stars? Parts of this book were quite compelling still, mostly the parts with the Maer and his trek into the Eld. I know I will still be tempted to read the third one, so I have to give credit for that. But if I do read the third one, I will have my eye-roll ready. I'm sure I'm going to need it. (less)
I should start by admitting that I don't read a lot of fantasy. Aside from Lord of the Rings, the Chronicles of Narnia and Harry Potter this is the fi...moreI should start by admitting that I don't read a lot of fantasy. Aside from Lord of the Rings, the Chronicles of Narnia and Harry Potter this is the first fantasy book I've ever read . . . or at least that I've gotten more than 50 pages into. Most of my exposure to the genre has come from trying to play Neverwinter Nights type video games, which I never manage to get through, mostly because, frankly, I find them insufferably dorky. There, I've said it. On to the book . . .
TNOTW came highly recommended by my fantasy-reading friends, which gave me the courage to push through the first hundred pages or so, which bored me with Kvothe's idyllic childhood. After the idyllic portion of his childhood was over, however, the book became much more interesting. Rothfuss's writing is brisk and while he is prone to occasionally try too hard to be poetic his writing pushed the book along at a good clip.
I noticed that a lot of the negative reviews focused on how Kvothe was too perfect and how arrogant he was. I agree that he was arrogant, and impossibly good at everything he tried. However, given that the story starts by showing us Kvothe as a man who has fallen from grace, I found his arrogance intriguing. His principal weakness is the pride that forces him to retaliate when hurt, and to prove his genius to anyone who might doubt him. Since we know he ends up as a barkeeper in an out-of-the-way town, I spent the whole book anxiously waiting to see when his pride was going to blow up in his face, leading to his downfall. Maybe that's not going to happen (which would disappoint me), but it lent a sort of fascinating dread to the whole story.
TNOTW isn't perfect - as others have mentioned his female characters are flat and his side characters seem like they were imported from a D&D video game, but I gave the book 4 stars and I stand by that. I thought sympathy was cool, in that it provided magical solutions to problems, but within the bounds of simple rules simply explained. I thought Kvothe was a fascinating character. I'm interested in the Chandrian. Mostly, I gave it fours stars because for whatever reason, in spite of its flaws I had trouble putting it down. Once I had adjusted to the norms of Kvothe's world, I was totally engrossed in his story. And though it may just be Enders Game mashed up with a grown-up version of Harry Potter, I'm going to the library today to get the next one. (less)
This was given to me by someone who didn't want it anymore and I sort of read it on a whim. As popcorn books go it was pretty good. I was pleasantly s...moreThis was given to me by someone who didn't want it anymore and I sort of read it on a whim. As popcorn books go it was pretty good. I was pleasantly surprised. I mean, putting aside the suspension of disbelief required of most thrillers, the plot was compelling, and I enjoyed the relationship between the two main characters. I'll definitely keep Brad Meltzer in mind next time I'm looking for a beach book. (less)