Contrarius's Reviews > The Wise Man's Fear

The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
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's review
Sep 02, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: fantasy

This will be a bit of an atypical review for me. Another Goodreads user, Simeon (formerly YeahIknow3), has presented a very inaccurate critique of this book. In the interest of spreading accurate info, and since Simeon seems to be in the habit of deleting comments on his own review that he doesn't like or can't refute, I'm presenting corrections to his false claims about the book here. I have preceded each of his claims with asterisks.



**Felurian is a ghost from the "Fey"** – Actually, no, Felurian is not a ghost at all. She’s not a ghost, nor an apparition, nor imaginary. She is Fae, the same as Bast is.

**where we wasted 100 pages of Kvothe having sex with her over and over to no discernible end** – Actually, no, the segment that concerns Felurian is only 65 pages long in the hardback edition. In addition, several significant things happen while Kvothe is with her. For instance – he speaks with the Chthae, he gets his shadow cloak, he learns more about the moon, and so on.

**He gets away finally by singing with his beautiful voice** – Actually, no. He gets away because he manipulates Felurian’s ego. He points out to her that he can’t spread or even finish the song he’s written about her if he isn’t allowed to go back to the real world. So it is the promise of increased fame/adoration for Felurian that allows Kvothe to leave, not his singing voice.

**his beautiful voice that he brags about every single chapter.** – Actually, no. There are 152 chapters in the book, and only a few brags about his voice. In fact, several of the times that Kvothe mentions the sound of his voice, he is actually saying UN-flattering things about it – like “After Elodin's voice, my own seemed rather thin and insubstantial." (Ch.9); and “I was surprised at how quiet my voice was, how flat and dead it sounded in my own ears.”(Ch. 73); and “My voice sounded terribly thin to my own ears” (ch. 104)

**Haha, right, so by now it's getting hilarious, because this little twirp who, at age 16, manages to find two women willing to sleep with him** – Actually, one of those “women” is basically a sex fairy, so it’s no wonder that she’s willing to sleep with him. She’s essentially a nymphomaniac, she’ll sleep with anything she can catch.

**(one of whom is imaginary)** – Actually, no, Felurian is not imaginary. She’s Fae.

**decides that he's become The God of Sex,** – Well, he has been taught by the best (Felurian), and he is 16. It’s kinda natural that he might think so.

**and must now spend the rest of the book acting like an effeminate man-whore.** – This one is just plain silly.

**Kvothe's insights on women: "Each woman is like an instrument, waiting to be learned, and finely played [fucked], to have at least her own true music made."** – Sure, he’s a teenaged romantic. So sue him. ;)

**That's right guys, women are like instruments, and they exist for your use and pleasure.** – Actually, Kvothe never says anything about women existing for his use and pleasure. In fact, he has been very very restrained in NOT exploiting women like Denna or Fela or Devi throughout the book.

**Well, in defense of anyone thinking that, you do degrade women. Before the book ends, your skinny little ass has sex with half the village by the university.** – Actually, no, he doesn’t. He does go out with a lot of women – but, as Fela points out when they talk in the Eolian, he actually sleeps with relatively few of them. As Fela says: “Let’s start with your good points. You’re charming, handsome, and perfectly courteous to women.” and “you’re charming,” she said easily. “And polite. You don’t have wandering hands, which is actually a source of frustration in some cases, apparently.””

**A musician with a delicate disposition more at home at a pedicurist than a fantasy novel, he's best described as a weakling, a coward, and a fool.** – Actually, he has already killed something like 20 men by the end of the book, hardly the acts of a weakling. He has faced flogging twice and has voluntarily offered himself up for a beating with a training sword, hardly the acts of a coward. And fool? Yes, often because his arrogance often leads him to act contrary to his high intelligence. And remember, the guy’s only 16. Most 16 year olds are pretty foolish.

**At one point he actually loses a fight to a 10 year old girl.** – Yup, sure enough. So what? The 10 year old girl is the product of a long tradition of training fighters from the cradle. Kvothe has been practicing for a whole month at that point. No big surprise that he would lose to her.

**A girl he's been pining over since almost the beginning of the last book admits that she is being beaten bloody on a daily basis.** – Actually, no, she doesn’t. The Chthae tells Kvothe that she is being beaten repeatedly, when he is in Fae. Denna never admits to multiple beatings. In fact, she denies it – “I couldn’t believe she could say that. “Denna, he beat you senseless.” She went very still. “No.” Her hand went to the fading bruise on her cheek. “No he didn’t. I told you. I fell while I was out riding. The stupid horse couldn’t tell a stick from a snake.”

**What does Kvothe do? He says some dumb things and abandons her to go on a pointless expedition into the woods** – Actually, no. In fact, Denna leaves Severen before Kvothe does – the letter he writes to her as he is leaving town is not delivered because she has already left. He has no way of knowing where she’s gone. Also, he has already declared his intention of killing Master Ash if he is ever able to meet him; but he has no way of finding him either.

**and finally returns to the university by the end of the book, only to reveal that he is not in love with the original girl anymore.** – Actually, he never says any such thing. What he says is that he doesn’t understand her well enough to claim he loves her: “I don’t know her well enough to make any earnest claim of love. How can I love something I don’t understand?””

I hope this helps!


Now back to my own original review of the book --

Boy, this one's gonna take a lot of thought before I can come up with a good review for it. I'll probably need a reread, too. There's a lot going on here that is just too easy to miss on a first read.

I did not mind most of the things that other readers have criticized in this book. For instance -- the elided episodes of the trial and the boat trip can be irritating on the surface, but they fit perfectly with Rothfuss' theme of storytelling and the shaping of stories, and even with the idea of Kote/Kvothe being an unreliable narrator. For another instance, the episode with Felurian might seem to go on forever -- but, of course, every fantasy story needs a good fairy tale, everyone knows that time does move differently in the land of fairies, and some very important things happen to Kvothe while he's there. And, of course, the overall plot of the book doesn't seem to be moving Kvothe much closer to his goal of killing the Chandrian -- but this is supposed to be a man's life, not yet made into the perfectly plotted legend, so we get to see everything that makes Kvothe into the man he eventually becomes, whether or not the plot marches forward in a tidy arrow-like line.

This volume seems to me a bit more relaxed in tone than Name of the Wind, and definitely more humorous -- more willing to not take itself so seriously. That makes it easy for me to like, and also easier for me to forgive when Kvothe gets irritating. There were still times when I found myself rolling my eyes at Kvothe's Gary Stu-ness -- but there are also many times when we see Kvothe NOT being good at something, which helps to balance out the scales a bit.

I think my final opinion of this book will end up hinging on the quality of the last book of the series, once it finally comes out. Everything really depends on whether Rothfuss can make it all the way to the finish line, or whether he runs out of gas along the way. If he can really give us the big pay-off, I might have to up my rating to five stars. But, of course, that would be really traumatic for all of the people who have convinced themselves that I hate these books. ;)
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Brian As a close reader of the story I was wondering if you like me suspect that Meluan (the Maer Alveron's wife) is actually Kvothe's Aunt. Also I raised the same objection to the beaten bloody on a daily basis comment but yeahiknow(Simeon) pointed out, correctly, that Kvothe does know from Denna herself that the patron hit/beat her at least once. In the first book when she is high on the denner resin she tells him. I agree with your assessment for the most part many of the things pointed out by yeahiknow are pretty unfair. Mostly they are flaws most of us just love Kvothe for anyway. His views are pretty well supported by the story, it is really about differences of opinion, not inaccuracy. I think with respect to Simeon pointing out the inaccuracy we disputed he is right. It is unreasonable to assume that someone of Kvothe's intelligence does not know she is being beaten. Also my theory on Kvothe at the present time: A. He changed his name and that is why he lost his confidence, abilities with sympathy, fighting talents etc. B. And I like this one better, he has locked his true name inside his chest and dispossessed of his talents with naming etc. he is now unable to get the box open and recover it. These theories come from his conversation with Elodin about Denna. C. It could have been done to him by the magic Denna talks about "A magic where you sort of wrote things down, and whatever you wrote became true? Then, if someone saw the writing, it would be true for them, even if they couldn't read it. They'd think a certain thing, or act a certain way depending on what the writing said." This theory would fit with the tragedy theme of the story Kvothe's current pitiful situation brought on by the person he cares about most. Also the thinking and acting a certain way fit with Bast's interpretation of the problem. Anyway let me know what you think.

Heather You've pretty much nailed what I think of the book. I was going to write a review, but you did it for me. Thank you! :)

Rachel Sheehan Yes!!! She's definitely his aunt!!! Brilliant Brian! :D

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