I got sucked in by book one in this series, and for a while, I was sure book 2 was going to deliver more of the same. The beautiful prose, the questions of different people's interests clashing and combining in various ways to create a non-centralized and shifting plot focus. And I can understand why Rothfuss chose to do what he did - the conflicts, while still interesting, were edging toward "samey" and that's never a good thing.
But the problem is that the whole thing starts to feel almost episodic, and with each episode, the Mary Sue qualities of Kvothe become more and more apparent.
I was with this book at the school, and I was even with it when he first went to a new city and began trying to get himself a patron. Perhaps it's because it felt like in these places, there were consequences. He might get what he wanted, but bad things would also happen to Kvothe, even if just socially. His mouthiness got him in trouble a few times when dealing with the Maer.
But then he goes out to fight bandits, and somehow manages, through the power of being intrusive and annoying, to get himself places where other people just can't go. There's a whole huge aside with a fae which feels like it could have been 10 pages, but just went on and on and ON. And then he gets some uber unique weapons training and it goes on and on and ON. I started skimming hard in some of the places.
And during all of this section, Kvothe just sort of... gets what he wants. All of it. He wants to learn about the Fae, so he goes in, defeats the fae he encounters, then turns into some sort of sex god capable of pleasing a woman who has literally been experiencing varities of sex for centuries. And then he goes to a remote place populated by a secretive people who never teach their ways to outsiders - and they teach him. And they all come to grudgingly accept him. And he gets a cool new sword too. And there's *no real cost* other than time. And the way he got to be part of their group? He basically just irritated a mercenary into teaching him on the road. Seriously.
When it's on, the story is great, the writing is solid and the characters around Kvothe are pretty well realized (Except for Deena, but I've already complained enough so I'm just going to let it go, let it gooooooo). But Kvothe, especially in the latter half of this book, is just acting as an anchor on his own story, dragging down the pace, bloating the word count and testing the limits of my credulity.
Hoping these issues are lessened in the next book!