The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
The Name of the Wind I said I was going to wait until book three was announced before reading book two, but I needed a literary rebound after the disappointments of the last couple of books and I was fairly certain The Wise Man's Fear would reverse the recent trend – it did.
This installment leaves the first one in the dust as far as size and scope is concerned. It's just shy of 1,000 pages long and while the first book took place primarily at the University, this one begins there but soon expands when Kvothe’s ongoing feud with his wealthy and privileged nemesis, Ambrose, comes to a head, forcing him to suspend his studies for a year and try to pursue information about the elusive Chandrian out in the world.
I’m really enjoying how Rothfuss has framed his story. He’s done it in a unique and interesting way. On the inside flap of the first book, he has Kvothe describe himself, saying “I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep” But when the book begins, we meet Kvothe and he appears in stark contrast to the man he described. He’s the owner of a simple tavern about to tell his tale to the King’s scribe.
The books consist primarily of that tale, interjected occasionally with “real-time” chapters that repeatedly remind the reader that the man telling the story has changed drastically since the events that he’s describing took place. This second book describes his journey to the courts of the Maer, one of the country’s wealthiest men where he uncovers an assassination attempt on the Maer’s life. It describes his journey to the land of Fae and his encounter with the mythical Felurian, and it tells of the time he spent with the Adem, an isolated society of well trained fighters who possess what appears to be unnatural speed and agility.
The Wise Man's Fear is fantastic, just as good as the first one. But now, I’m going to have to pay the price for my impatience and will have to wait a couple of years for the last book in the trilogy to come out and to find out how things conclude.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★