2 Pretzels. Need a Pretzel rating refresher?
Book Two in the Kingkiller Chronicles was just sorta meh. I flew through the first book last year, totally wrapped up in Kvothe’s tale of being a travelling performing, losing his family and troupe to a group of magical monsters no one wants to talk about, living on the streets, and finally making his way to the magical university. I was there for every minute of it. Patrick Rothfuss left us with questions: What’s up with Kvothe and Deena? Why is Kvothe eventually banished from the school? How did he end up owning a tavern in the middle of nowhere? I picked up book two, ready for answers.
I got none. A Wise Man’s Fear is 1107 pages. About 150 of them actually drive the original plot. The rest are tangents off of tangents off of tangents. Kvothe, needing money for university, heads off to work for a rich dude in another town. See, Kvothe is a brilliant lute player and song writer. This rich dude has no game; he needs Kvothe to help him get a girl. It’s pathetic, really. While in his service, Kvothe thwarts an assassination attempt, heads out with a gang of mercenaries to stop bandits, ends up hooking up with a fairy, and then, instead of going back like he’s supposed to, goes with one of the mercenaries to train. All of that sounds pretty interesting, but it is somehow not. I mean, it is, but it has nothing to do with the actual story and seems to serve no purpose later in the book.
At some point I switched to audio because I had devoted a lot of time to this series, but my interest was fading. So, I listened to the back half. The guy does a lot of accents and voices to differentiate the characters and one of them sounded just like Ricardio from Adventure Time. So, that was fun.
So, Kvothe goes to the train with the group of mercenaries who primarily speak with their hands. Which came as a relief to me when the narrator adopted the voice and accent of this guy:
Ricardio is one thing, but we can leave Twin Peaks out of this, please?
Kvothe trains with the mercenaries. Has sex with a few of them because, after his time with the fairy, that seems to be the only thing he’s interested in. He learns as much as he can for… we don’t know why he learned any of this stuff.
After saving two girls from kidnappers who were posing as an acting troupe, Kvothe finally makes his way back to his benefactor, who is pleased as punch to see him. His benefactor’s new wife, however, is not. See, she’s prejudiced as hell against the edema ruh – a troupe of travelling actors that just so happen to be Kvothe’s family. Some nasty words are exchanged, Kvothe is fired, and he heads back to school.
Rumors are swirling around him. Some heard he’d died in a shipwreck. Others know of his time with the fairy. He’s magic. He’s an assassin. He saved two girls from a gang of bandits. The rumors are true. Well, except dying in a shipwreck. Kvothe is pretty awesome. I just feel like Patrick Rothfuss took too long to get us there. Depsite the book being action packed, I got bored. Book two ended with the same questions. What’s up with Kvothe and Deena? When and why is he expelled from school? Why is someone so famous and powerful living in hiding tending bar? After 2000 pages, we still don’t know.
The release date for the third and final book as not been announced. A Wise Man’s Fear released in 2011, so I’ll likely be dead before book three hits the shelves. I get that it takes time and not everyone can write at Lynx & LeRoux speed, but come on. I have devoted a lot of time to this series, so I’ll definitely finish it. I just hope we finally get some answers.