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Thursday, November 09, 2017

The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

Book Stats:  

Reading level: Adult
Genre: High Fantasy
Hardcover: 993 pages
Publisher: DAW
Release date: March 1, 2011

Series:  The Kingkiller Chronicles, #2

Source: Library

Reviewed by: Kara

Order: Amazon | Book Depository


“There are three things all wise men fear: the sea in storm, a night with no moon, and the anger of a gentle man.”

My name is Kvothe. You may have heard of me.

So begins a tale told from his own point of view—a story unequaled in fantasy literature. Now in The Wise Man’s Fear, Day Two of The Kingkiller Chronicle, Kvothe takes his first steps on the path of the hero and learns how difficult life can be when a man becomes a legend in his own time.

Our mysterious innkeeper, Kote, continues the story of Kvothe, really his own secret story, and his many unbelievable adventures. Having called the name of the wind in the last revelation, Kvothe is still at the University and participating in some of his usual antics: playing tricks on Ambrose, learning nonsense from Elodin, and fawning over Denna. However, when he heroically attempts to help Denna by snubbing Ambrose, this creates a mess where Kvothe is forced to take a term off from the University and travel to perhaps find a wealthy patron.

This book takes us on Kvothe's longest journey yet and well away from the University and classes, but not losing any bit of the magnitude of his learning and maturity. Where Kvothe seemed like a chip-on-the-shoulder wily teenager in the last book, here he gains some perspective and a great deal of wisdom. Having made brash decisions in the past and well-paid for them, he attempts to give more consideration to the consequences of potential outcomes though there are still plenty of opportunities for spontaneity and hilarity. Almost every wild escapade seems to happen in this book with masterfully credible storytelling, both on the part of Kvothe and Rothfuss. Here his greatest personal gains are discipline and in romance, for the Kvothe who sets out from the University is nowhere near the man who returns. However, despite the fun adventure, there is still the undercurrent of great danger as Kvothe hunts for lore on the Chandrian and comes quite close to imminent disaster.

Quite a few world details caught me this time as we encounter the world of the Fae, which hasn't much been explained by the presence of Bast and their vague references to Fae; and the unconventional modes of culture and communication by the Ademre, who are largely stoics and staunch observers of tradition. I quite enjoyed learning about the Ademre, in particular. The Fae, on the other hand, is still a great mystery as not much is revealed except about Felurian and the Cthaeh. I also liked the parts in Vintas (I think this was where Severen was, on the coast? I'm really bad with locations if I haven't mentally mapped it out.) with the Maer and his romance. There were a lot of thought-provoking details about that culture and social behaviors that I savored reading.

Though the narrative is not fast-paced, it still is an interesting adventure. (In adventures, you still have to have boring days, and Kvothe has no few of them but still even if it is a boring day, he manages to learn something or give a few details for the reader to worry over.) We also learn a bit more details about Denna, find out what's in the Archives, and discover some truth and some folly in the tales of the magnificent Kvothe. Lastly, we leave our hero not quite as pitiful as he was before, for he has actually made some money on a few ventures. It's downright positive! But wait...that means he'll have to get kicked out of the University in the next novel. I'll be nervously fidgeting until then.

I still loved this second book despite its daunting size (993 pages!), and will count myself in the hordes of people eagerly anticipating his third novel, currently still TBD due to the vast number of revisions. Look for my brief review of his novella about sweet Auri very soon!

(Please note, he has been at work on the final book, but as stated on his blog, he's had a tough few years personally with his family and regular life responsibilities. That is a lot for any person to take, let alone a writer who has to get out of his own head and into his character's. I have a lot of sympathy for him, and no, I'm not talking about the ones that make magical lamps...) 

Kara is a teen librarian living in the southeastern US with her husband (who listens to books), young daughter (who sleeps with books), and dog (who tastes the books). She loves all sorts of books, but mostly YA, and will never catch up to all of the wonderful things to read.


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