Thursday, February 23, 2012
The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
If you like: intrigue * supernatural powers * wit
The Wise Man’s Fear is the second book of the Kingkiller Chronicles. Kvothe continues to tell his life story to the Chronicler, and the story moves between the past and present. Unlike day one, I did not find myself longing to hear more about the present in this book. We are at a more mature stage of Kvothe’s life, though he still makes many rash decisions that shape his path. Much of the book is still spent with Kvothe at University, but his travels and education are very different. As he has advanced in his coursework, the projects he works on are much more interesting. Learning about other cultures in this world enriches the story much further. Time spent in a distant royal court and even further desert culture help to make all of the events seem more plausible.
Kvothe is responsible for making his own way in the world. It is never easy for him, but his situation has greatly improved once he has established himself at the University and gained the ability to use his numerous skills to support himself. Reading about creative inventions, or masterful deceptions, is more engaging than reading about a starving child. Kvothe’s growing reputation is also very interesting to follow. The invented and the embellished blend into a godlike narrative. When Kvothe performs on his lute you can almost hear the music coming from the pages. Rothfuss is an adept storyteller to make each of the stories within the story captivating. Having followed many year’s of Kvothe’s life, the reader learns many details of his culture. Instead of needing the story to be told, small clues and details help the reader to observe discrepancies as Kvothe does.
Although I enjoyed reading the first book of this series, I found it much more difficult to tear myself away from The Wise Man’s Fear. When waiting in line at the store, or on hold, I would read a few pages so that I didn’t have to stray too far from the story. Though the end of the book felt like it had wrapped up naturally, I was still very disappointed it was over. The short interludes in the present have an amazing amount of depth. We can forgive many of Kvothe’s youthful transgressions knowing the sort of adult he becomes. At times during The Name of the Wind it felt like Kvothe was traveling just to move the narrative to a new location. In The Wise Man’s Fear, all of his travels make sense to his personal journey.
If you are looking to continue an epic journey and unravel the mysteries of the ages, read The Wise Man’s Fear.
Rothfuss, Patrick. “The Wise Man’s Fear: The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day Two (Kingkiller Chronicles)” (Patrick Rothfuss). New York: Penguin Group, 2011. Kindle Edition.