Sequel to the extraordinary Name of the Wind, The Wise Man’s Fear is the second installment of this superb fantasy trilogy from Patrick Rothfuss. Picking up the tale of Kvothe Kingkiller once again, we follow him into exile, into policital intrigue, courtship, adventure, love and magic …and further along the path that has turned Kvothe, the mightiest magician of his age, a legend in his own time, into Kote, the unassuming pub landlord. Packed with as much magic, adventure and home-grown drama as The Name of the Wind, this is a sequel in every way the equal to it’s predecessor and a must-read for all fantasy fans. Readable, engaging and gripping The Wise Man’s Fear is the biggest and the best new fantasy novel out there.
Where I stand
After a (not so) restful night, we come back to the Inn, sharing our table with the Chronicler and Bast, while we listen to Kvote tell his (side of the) story. Although it took me a while to get into the story in the first book, that didn’t happen in the second; perhaps I was already anticipating the revelations and the unlocking of mysteries that, not to the book’s prejudice, didn’t always happen. And yet, I persevered, reading its thousand pages throughout the night.
As I put down the book – feeling somewhat let down by the ending and extremely disappointed at how long it will take the author to release the next and final book – I started wondering what kept me so interested in a book that keeps its mysteries to itself, giving barely any clues, and that, on an objective scrutiny had several shortcomings (and here I consider shortcomings on a personal level, things I don’t enjoy).
I enjoyed Pathrick Rothfuss writing, but, at times, it felt blown out, hyperbolised, and just filled with cliches…not out of place considering the story is about a teenage boy, musician, romantic,… But I found myself rolling my eyes a lot, especially with descriptions and dialogues that involved Kvothe and women.
I didn’t really empathise with young Kvothe, who is brilliant at everything he does, including finding enemies and getting himself into trouble. However, I enjoyed old(der) Kvothe, who definitely does not take himself too seriously and is (painfully) aware of his shortcomings. Because of this discrepancy, I’ve come to believe that the author probably made it on purpose. The hero, who is the best at everything, is so full of faults that you almost pity him.
After thinking for a while, I realised what I loved about this book: Rothfuss is a wonderful storyteller. Before you get annoyed at the hero, you are reminded he is a teenager and should not be taken too seriously. When you least expect it, you remember that there is a huge, important, and ongoing quest that goes beyond trying to be the best or paying the bills. You want to know who is Auri (if you enjoy her, I recommend reading The Slow Regard of Silent Things), Denna, or Bast? What happened to the Amyr? What is the truth about the Chandrian? And what has Kvothe done to be where and in the situation he is? (and….how old is Kvothe as he tells his story? People keep noticing he is younger than he looks, what’s up with that?)
I look forward to reading the next book on the series, which unfortunately only comes out in 2017. I think there might be a bet between fantasy writers about how long they can delay releasing books before their fans start going crazy(ier)…