I read two books this week: The Wise Man’s Fear (by Patrick Rothfuss), and Thraxas at the Races (by Martin Scott). By coincidence, they’re both second books of trilogies.
I actually started The Wise Man’s Fear some time ago, but I set it aside half-way through, and only recently got back to it. Because of that, I had to go back and re-read the beginning to understand what was going on.
As a result, I noticed a lot of repeated events.
Many of these have a kind of symmetry — situations from early on re-occur with roles reversed. In general, these gave me the impression that Kvothe was becoming wiser and more experienced, although a few of them cut against the trend.
Thraxas at the Races uses references of a different kind: things the narrator tells us are unlikely keep happening anyway. This didn’t make much sense until I realised they were hinting at his false assumptions.
I’m not sure which approach I prefer more. The Wise Man’s Fear definitely made a bigger impact on me, and I’ve always liked the symbolism of reversed reflections; but I imagine both of these could be effective techniques.
Good luck and happy writing!