About a third of the way through, I began to get bored reading The Wise Man’s Fear, and started flipping ahead to see where this was going. I was so disappointed that the book spent so much time at school, and with Kvothe dealing with money troubles. It was just so much of a retread of the first book. Having Kvothe himself admit that he spent too much time telling us stories from school does not actually make it any better. Things never really picked up, even when Kvothe finally left school. The Deanna relationship did nothing for me in the first book, and the second book did little to improve on it. The D&D adventure with the mercenaries was a particular low-point. So, around when Kvothe goes into the realms of the Fey, I put it down for good, after having browsed through the rest of the book to the point where I felt I’d picked up on the significant plot points. I’ll still probably read the third book whenever it comes out, but with significantly lowered expectations.
[Edit – May 23, 2011: It’s nice to see that I’m not the only one with these sorts of gripes.]
True Grit, on the other hand, was a delight. It particularly led me to appreciate the Coen Brothers’ adaptation, which felt so true to the tone of the book, and yet simultaneously felt unmistakably like a Coen Brothers movie. Maddie Ross in particular is such a great heroine, and comes across so strongly in the book.