'cuz this is FILLER! Filler Niiight...
Because nothing happens, that's why.
When last we left Kvothe, at the end of the brilliant The Name of the Wind
, he promised us that he would explain how he was kicked out of The University
, confronted the Chandrian and, eventually, killed a king. At the end of this book, we are still waiting to hear any of that.
Your Mileage May Vary
, to be sure, on whether that makes this Filler
. Kvothe doesn't sit around. He furthers his studies at the Arcanum, eventually calling the wind several times. He travels—a lot
—which opens up the scope of the story's world and changes the story's dynamic enormously. He learns kung fu, morality and swordwork from the Adem. He gains a patron and can finally stop worrying about money. He has more Unresolved Sexual Tension
with Denna. He has his first time
with Felurian and learns bedroom arts. Things do happen. It's just that The Kingkiller Chronicle
is about how and why Kvothe became The Kingkiller
, and this book doesn't tell much about that. The only
progress Kvothe makes in that direction is that he learns the seven names of the Chandrian, and figures out that the Order Amyr
, an anti-Chandrian force long believed extinct, are still around. He also meets the Cthaeh, which I assume will prove meaningful, but I'm not sure how.
But the other 984 pages? Kvothe Level Grinding
, which is the opposite of story progression—especially in a book, where you know for a fact that he isn't going to Game Over
. And the best part? Bast still invokes The Scottish Trope
over the Chandrian, suggesting they haven't been defeated.
It's Patrick Rothfuss's first novel(s), so he gets a bye, but I don't think he was correct in feeling Kvothe was an interesting-enough character to sustain a novel without the help of plot. While I enjoyed the book, I left it feeling like I'd been promised story but instead received DLC full of Irrelevant Sidequests
. Hopefully the third book will make it all make sense—Rothfuss is good enough to pull it off—but I can't claim it makes sense to me now.