Welcome to my weekly segment, Waiting on Wednesday, where I look at upcoming books that I am planning to order and review in the next few months and which I think I will really enjoy. Stay tuned to see reviews of these books when I get a copy of them.
For this week’s Waiting on Wednesday, I am going to look at the book that is easily number 1 on my personal must-read list, the third book in Patrick Rothfuss’s epic The Kingkiller Chronicle, which is at the moment tentatively titled Doors of Stone.
There are several problems with wanting to read this book. I have no idea when it is going to be released, nor do I have a firm idea of the book’s plot. Even the title, Doors of Stone, might change, and the cover I have included above is a fan-made cover that features on Goodreads. Nonetheless, it tops my list mostly due to how exceptionally awesome the first two books in the series were.
The Kingkiller Chronicles is a series of massive fantasy books written by Patrick Rothfuss. The first book in the series, The Name of the Wind, was released in 2007, and the second book, The Wise Man’s Fear, was released in 2011. The series focuses on a young man called Kvothe, a legendary figure known throughout the land as a master magician, swordfighter, musician and adventurer who gained the epitaph ‘Kingkiller’ after killing a king and igniting a war that is still being fought to this day. Kvothe has since hidden himself from the world, disguising himself as an innkeeper in a small town. At the start of The Name of the Wind, Kvothe is recognised by a renowned historian known as Chronicler, who wishes to know and record the true story of Kvothe’s life. Kvothe agrees and tells Chronicler that his story will take three days to tell, with each day of storytelling corresponding to one of the three planned books in The Kingkiller Chronicles.
Over the course of the first two days, Kvothe regales Chronicler with a long and detailed story of his early life, starting with his childhood as a travelling performer, his early training and the violent death of his family and performing troupe by the Chandrian, which are mythical demonic creatures his father somehow angered. Kvothe eventually makes his way to the University, the most prestigious education institute in the world, where he manages to gain admission despite his lack of funds. There he learns various forms of magic, as well as other academic interests, while also gaining a reputation as a musical prodigy. The story told during the first day mainly recounts his first year in the University, while the second day recounts more of his educational experiences, as well as a long and fateful trip outside the University. At the same time as the story is being told, strange events are occurring around Kvothe’s inn, and it soon becomes apparent that Kvothe has somehow lost most of his magic and martial skill since the events he described.
These first two books in The Kingkiller Chronicles are absolutely incredible and are by far two of the best fantasy novels I have ever read. The story of Kvothe is a deeply fascinating, and Rothfuss has an uncanny ability to tell a captivating tale that plucks at the imagination and stays with a reader long after they have read the book. The series is set in an amazingly detailed world, filled with all manner of intriguing secrets and history, many of which the protagonist is destined to unravel. I am a huge fan of fantasy books that feature schools, magical education or extensive training sequences, and The Kingkiller Chronicles is easily the most well-written and enjoyable example of this sort of fantasy sub-genre that I have ever read. I also love how Rothfuss’s story contains such a major focus on music, and the various songs and performances in the two books pretty much flow off the page. There is honestly so much to love about both of these books that I could go on for pages and pages about both of them (something I intend to do in future reviews). Unsurprisingly to anyone who has read these books, The Kingkiller Chronicles is a massive bestseller, and many consider it to be the best fantasy series in the world today. The series has also been optioned for adaption, with rumours of both a movie and television series in the near future. Lin-Manuel Miranda is even attached to the television show and will compose the show’s music, which is pretty darn exciting.
Unfortunately, this series has remained unfinished, and the third book has yet to appear. Readers have been waiting for this third book since 2011, and it is probably one of the most anticipated fantasy releases in the world today, rivalled only by the next book in A Song of Ice and Fire, or perhaps The Thorn of Emberlain (my Waiting on Wednesday review for The Thorn of Emberlain certainly gets a lot a views). The third book in The Kingkiller Chronicles, which will feature the third and final day of Kvothe’s story to Chronicler, will apparently conclude all the events of Kvothe’s life that led to his current life of exile and the loss of his powers. Unfortunately, after eight years of waiting, there is still no sign of the book on the horizon, and no-one is certain when the third book will be published.
Rothfuss has apparently been working on this book for some time, with a note on Goodreads in 2012 indicating he was working on polishing the book and he hoped to transform it from a 3½-star book to a five-star book. Since then there have been innumerable speculations from a variety of sources about when the book would be released, but these potential release dates keep getting pushed back. There has been some recent discussion about the book coming out in 2019, with some interviews or Q&As with Rothfuss apparently indicating this. Rothfuss also sparked speculation in January 2019 when he retweeted some fan art that contained the words “I want to return in 2019 – Kvothe”. However, as we are now in mid-May and there have been no official announcements, a 2019 release date seems incredibly unlikely. I honestly doubt that this book will even be released in 2020. An interview from April 2019 indicates he is still working on it, and I imagine that even when he is finished with it the publication process is going to take a while. I had hoped that the work on the movies or television shows might spur the author on, although progress on both of these projects is also apparently going quite slowly as well. As a result, it might be a while before we see the third book in this series, which is a real shame, as there are so many open plot points that need to be concluded in order to give this story a satisfactory conclusion.
While no plot synopsis for the third book has been released yet, it is possible to puzzle out what needs to happen in it. According to dialogue in the first two books, a number of events need to occur to define the story of Kvothe. These include Kvothe’s banishment from the University; his meeting with his assistant, Bast; the loss of his great love; the battle he apparently had with an angel to bring her back; the events that broke him and his magic; and, most importantly, his meeting with and subsequent murder of a king. In addition to all of these, there ought to be some explanation for all the open plot points, such as the mysterious artefact from the Maer’s new, bigoted wife (who is totally his aunt), the reason for the mysterious stone door in the University archives or the identity and origin of the Chandrian, just to name a few. There also has to be an explanation for the events occurring at the inn, such as the reason he is being hunted by demons, and there also needs to be some indication of where Rothfuss’s universe will go from there.
I actually think that all these open plot points that need to be addressed are why Rothfuss is having such a hard time finishing the book. For the life of me, I cannot see how it is possible to include or explore all of these potential plot points in one book and keep the story as interesting or rich in detail as the first two books in the series. As a result, he may have shot himself in the foot by claiming that the story could be told in just three days/books, and I think that he may have let the story get way more extensive than he originally intended (not that I’m complaining).
Whatever the reason, it seems like we may be waiting a while to read the third book in The Kingkiller Chronicles, although I will make sure to grab a copy as soon as it is available, and I know many readers will be doing the same. The third book is going to be epic, and I am really looking forward to seeing how Rothfuss ends this chapter in his story. I may do another one of these Waiting on Wednesday articles for this book later down the track when more details of the plot are revealed, or when a proper cover comes out. I also intend to eventually post a review of the first two books in The Kingkiller Chronicles at some point in the future; I just need to carve out some time to reread them first.