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The Art of Travelling Without Actually Going Anywhere
With his second book in the Kingkiller Chronicles, Patrick Rothfuss manages to simultaneously go a lot of places and remain on the same spot as when the first book ended. He expands greatly on the world, giving a glimpse of different cultures and the nature of magic and the order of things. Kvothe, ever in the spotlight, grows and develops in interesting fashions, but there is no lack of interesting side characters and the Mary Sue stamp is still thoroughly inapplicable. All in all, looking back at the Name of the Wind, it's more of the same. And so far, so good.

On the other hand, comparing the end of book one to the end of book two... the general situation is basically the same. Kvothe is still in the university, even if we know he's the youngest student to ever get expelled. He still plays music, even if we know he refuses to play in the frame story. He still dances his delicate dance with Denna and yet, despite being quite experienced by this point, we still don't know what he meant by "my first real lover called me Dulator because she liked the sound of it" from the intro in the first book, making us wonder if he didn't yet consider any of his lovers "real". Hell, he hasn't even met Bast yet!

Comparing to a TV series or animated cartoon, if the Name of the Wind was the first couple of episodes where the foundation of the show is detailed and the main characters fleshed out, and the next book will be the grand, climactic finale, this the Wise Man's Fear is the episodes in the middle, where the cast goes on a bunch of little side adventures which are interesting in their own right but only tangentially related to the show's main story. I enjoyed the Wise Man's Fear a lot, particularly the first parts Kvothe spent in the University and the time among the Adem, and I'm glad that Rothfuss realized that the concept of book one needed to be expanded, but fact is that we still haven't gotten much closer to the known end state.

This tells me that book three will either be concentrated, condensed essence of intensity, or come with free delivery to your door by forklift.
I love everything Pat Rothfuss writes, and he is my favorite writer, period. However, as much as I liked it, there are problems with WMF. As before, the writing is stellar, and the characters are so real I want to hit them. However, from talking to other people, the primary problem I saw was that he tried to hint at EVERYTHING, without conclusively finishing any of the things hinted at in book one and two. Now, I suspect that's because when he tried to resolve one, they all came pouring out, as so many are interconnected. After all, if he reveals who Denna's patron is, then most likely he's just: Revealed the chandrian's position, possibly break his friendship with Bredon, and thrown pretty much all the events into the third act. As such, it's a delight to predict what will happen, but little HAS.
comment #16502 LordByronic 15th Oct 12
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