The Wise Man’s Fear (The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day Two) is the second fantasy book of the Kingkiller Chronicle fantasy series by Patrick Rothfuss.
I recently read the first fantasy book of the Kingkiller Chronicle The Name of the Wind and absolutely savored every bit of it. Consequentially, I gave the sequel a shot and ended up reading the entirety of the nigh on one thousand pages with little difficulty.
If you’re not familiar with how I conduct my book reviews, I typically just deliver the general gist of the book to give you an idea of whether or not this novel might be to your liking. I refrain from analyzing specific plot details that would spoil the reading experience for you.
The Wise Man’s Fear review is meant to be a preview trailer, not a plot summary. I only include spoilers for previous novels if the novel is a sequential installment in a series.
In this case, The Wise Man’s Fear is book two of the Kingkiller Chronicle, so if you haven’t read any of the prior books… beware!
In short, The Wise Man’s Fear review DOES NOT contain any major spoilers for the plot of The Wise Man’s Fear. Enjoy!
What reading genre is The Wise Man’s Fear?
The Wise Man’s Fear is considered a part of the heroic fantasy reading genre.
When does The Wise Man’s Fear pick up after the events of The Name of the Wind?
The story picks up where The Name of the Wind left off with Kvothe at university admissions.
How does the story of The Wise Man’s Fear compare to the story of The Name of the Wind?
In contrast to the debut novel, the narrative concentrates on other elements of Kvothe’s repertoire. The progression of his skill in sympathy (the magical system of the Kingkiller Chronicle) is less of a focal point.
He still continues to hone his skills in sympathy but also pursues other interests hinted at in the debut novel.
He quests off campus, leading him on an unforeseen adventure. The purpose of his mission is to find a respectable patron for his music to advance his social standing.
Kvothe even finds himself getting himself tangled up with divine entities in the most unconventional of ways, sparking rumors of what becomes the storybook legend Kvothe.
After what seems like a lifetime of waiting, the reader is finally introduced to something we have all been yearning to hear. The origin story of how Kvothe acquired his unprecedented combat skills is finally unveiled.
Which Kingkiller Chronicle novel is better: The Name of the Wind or The Wise Man’s Fear?
The two novels are definitely superb in their own rights. Nonetheless, if I had to choose between these two titans, I would consider the debut novel The Name of the Wind to be the superior of the pair.
The Name of the Wind is more of an origin story than anything else.
I suppose I am just drawn to the reveal of Kvothe and the descriptive passages surrounding his upbringing. These passages comprised the foundation of The Name of the Wind and were one of the main reasons I adored the story atmosphere.
The Wise Man’s Fear had some similarities to The Name of the Wind, but also focused on other aspects of Kvothe that we did not see in the debut novel.
I enjoyed the dangerous quests and mischievous adventures that he embarks on, but at the same time it was an altogether different atmosphere.
There is something about being thrust into the shoes of Kvothe for the first time that cannot be recreated. Getting to know the inner workings of Kvothe in The Name of the Wind and the world of naming was a completely new concept.
With a sequel, it is difficult to mimic this refreshing aura of change since the thunder is almost always taken by the debut novel.
What is the perspective of The Wise Man’s Fear?
There is no major perspective shift in The Wise Man’s Fear as compared to the debut novel.
The perspective alternates between the first person perspective of Kvothe and an omniscient third party perspective, just like in The Name of the Wind. So if you were worried that the perspective would shift dramatically with the release of this sequel, worry no longer!
How easy of a read is The Wise Man’s Fear?
This novel, similar to the previous one, is certainly a lengthy read with a total page count of 994 pages. This novel takes the average reader approximately a mammoth 25 hours to finish.
If you struggle to commit strictly to a single story for an extended period of time, this book may not be the one for you.
Once I was able to overlook the sheer magnitude of the novel, I found the pacing of the novel to be meticulously calculated.
I was hard pressed to find Rothfuss rush the reader into any situation. Whenever the action was unraveling I did not skip a beat, even during abrupt transitions in the setting.
In books I have read in the past, I easily lost myself when certain complications were presented. When the setting was relocated or when a new plot point building on previous knowledge was introduced, I typically lost my place in such novels. With Rothfuss, this was never a problem.
Does the lengthy content of The Wise Man’s Fear distract from the plot?
With the gargantuan amount of detail, there are definitely some hurdles you have to get through as a reader. Sometimes you feel as though you are stranded, stuck speculating as to when the next chunk of action will strike.
Plot twists are present without question, but they are not present in the frequency that I had expected. For this reason, I would say this novel does contain action. Though, it does not contain nearly enough action to be classified as action-packed.
What are the predominant themes in The Wise Man’s Fear?
A major theme in The Wise Man’s Fear is coming of age.
In The Wise Man’s Fear, Kvothe is still very much a teenager trying to figure out what he wants to make of himself. Although his character matured significantly over the course of The Name of the Wind, Kvothe remains a kid at heart. His goals are ambitious and at times conflicting with one another.
Kvothe wants to accomplish so much in such a short span. This overreaching is one of his biggest fallacies. Kvothe must choose which goals he holds the closest to heart and realign his objectives accordingly. Otherwise, none of his goals will ever be accomplished.
Kvothe is still ignorant of many aspects of the world in the beginning stages of The Wise Man’s Fear. His lonesome journey and quest for knowledge expands his perspective beyond his former, limited scope.
This new perspective is evident in the way he analyzes and attacks situations later on in the novel. I will not go into specifics to avoid spoiling anything for you.
The characterization of Kvothe is interlinked with this coming of age story. This a crucial part of the allure of The Wise Man’s Fear to the young adult audience. If you have a particular preference for coming of age stories, The Wise Man’s Fear may be the novel for you.
Another prevalent theme in The Wise Man’s Fear is hubris.
What is hubris? Hubris is excessive pride in oneself that results in the undoing of that character.
Kvothe is a certainly a victim of hubris. As easy as it is to adore Kvothe, he is not without flaws. And this flaw is of paramount importance.
Kvothe has a tendency to overestimate his abilities which backs him into corners that he cannot escape from. Although he is sometimes able to slip away from these complicated situations unscathed, it is a rare occasion. More often than not, Kvothe ends up harming himself and those around him.
Kvothe makes the eventual realization that he is not above reality as he perceives himself to be. He is certainly gifted, but he is not superhuman. One teenage boy can only handle so much hardship.
I have to admit that the reckless nature of Kvothe is part of his intrigue. Very rarely in life do you come across someone as headstrong and ambitious as Kvothe. He pursues his goals with an unshakable will.
It is interesting to see how he responds to circumstances where he simply cannot win. The failures he endures reveal the most about his character. This a major reason why I paid more attention to his failures rather than his successes.
Will Kvothe prevail on his journey to becoming a legend? Read The Wise Man’s Fear to unearth the truth for yourself.
What sort of emotions did The Wise Man’s Fear invoke while you were reading?
I definitely felt a sense of adventure as I was reading The Wise Man’s Fear.
Kvothe throws himself into some precarious conditions all for the quest of obtaining knowledge. These sticky situations made my heart flutter every time Kvothe got too close to danger. At points the action scenes literally gave me an adrenaline rush!
I attribute these magnified feelings to my emotional attachment to Kvothe. After sticking with Kvothe throughout the entire novel of The Name of the Wind, I have a strong desire to see him succeed.
Unfortunately, Kvothe is no stranger to dire circumstances. Consequently, all of the harsh trials that he faces lights a fire underneath me. I empathize with his pain and misery and cheer him on every step of the way.
Kvothe is likely one of my top five favorite protagonists of all time, so it is hard to emotionally detach when he endures emotional hardship. It makes it that much more rewarding when he does experience an upswing in his life.
I like to feel every emotion in the fantasy novels that I read. The Wise Man’s Fear did a solid job of doing just that.
What distinguishes The Wise Man’s Fear from other fantasy novels?
The descriptive nature of The Wise Man’s Fear is certainly a distinguishing feature of this novel.
The level of depth that Patrick Rothfuss utilizes with each chapter is unequivocal in nature, especially compared to other fantasy novels on the market.
The pure descriptiveness of The Wise Man’s Fear has a direct correlation on the lengthy nature of the novel. Although this additional description makes the novel a bit of a challenging read for some, I believe that the costs do not outweigh the benefits.
This descriptive depth feeds into all literary aspects of the novel, from the quality of the world building to the quality of the characterization.
It is a major element that pulls the reader into this fantasy universe. You will be hard pressed to find another novel that can make you forget about reality so quickly.
At the end of the day, an escape from reality is the main reason why so many of us take up the fantasy genre.
What was the biggest takeaway from The Wise Man’s Fear?
The underlying focal point of the story is the character development of Kvothe.
There is a heavy emphasis placed on the trials that sculpted him into the cold, calculated man he is. It this characterization of Kvothe and the genuine curiosity I have in his past that encouraged me to continue onward.
Will there be a follow-up to The Wise Man’s Fear?
According to Patrick Rothfuss, he is working on a follow-up to The Wise Man’s Fear this very moment. This is the good news.
Unfortunately, there is also bad news. As of the time this blog was written, there is still no official release date on book three of the Kingkiller Chronicles. In a podcast with Barnes & Noble, Rothfuss issued the following statement:
“I never talk about deadlines anymore. I say, ‘When it’s ready I will bring it to you,’ and until then, trust that I am working,”
Book three does have a title however. The third edition of this best selling series will be titled The Doors of Stone when it finally does come out. Until there is an official release date, I guess we will just have to go back to the humdrum of reality and wait in anticipation.
The Wise Man’s Fear Review Recap
The Name of the Wind is certainly a tough act to follow. Nonetheless, I would consider The Wise Man’s Fear more than a worthy sequel.
Kvothe continues to deliver again and again. As long as the characterization of this protagonist remains brilliant, I will be staying loyal to the Kingkiller Chronicles series. A bit on the lengthy side, but I’ll take as much Kvothe as I can get!
Visit Amazon if you would like to check out the prices on The Wise Man’s Fear for either the text or audible versions.
For more spectacular options in the fantasy genre, click over to My Top Fantasy Books where I list out all of the best fantasy novels I’ve personally reviewed.
You better believe I will be getting my hands on The Doors of Stone as soon as Rothfuss decides its fit for publication.
“There are three things all wise men fear: the sea in storm, a night with no moon, and the anger of a gentle man.”
“It’s the questions we can’t answer that teach us the most. They teach us how to think. If you give a man an answer, all he gains is a little fact. But give him a question and he’ll look for his own answers.”
“Half of seeming clever is keeping your mouth shut at the right times.”
“I’ve waited a long time to show these flowers how pretty you are.”
The Wise Man’s Fear Review Rating: 7/10!
Back of the Book Blurb
DAY TWO: THE WISE MAN’S FEAR
“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 a tale 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 the path of the hero and learns how difficult life can be when a man becomes a legend in his own time.