Friday, October 10, 2014

Review: The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss is book two in the Kingkiller Chronicle trilogy, and having thoroughly enjoyed book one I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this instalment. 

In summary, Excellent storytelling (Rothfuss could make the phonebook a pleasure to read), and so many good and wonderful things about it, and only one little annoyance.

I’ve mentioned in another review for a book in a totally different genre, that having a main protagonist who is miraculously good at everything is not a good thing.  Kvothe barely pauses before finding the right way of dealing with any given challenge.  Escape from Pirates?  Discover a murder plot?  Cure a fatal illness?  Create life-saving charms and gadgets?  Woo a lady for a pseudo-King?  Learn a few new languages? Dispatch multiple bandits, kidnappers and rapists?  No problem!  All in an afternoon’s work for our Kvothe!

That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the book immensely!  As I alluded earlier Rothfuss knows how to write, he really does.  This is epic storytelling, but on an intimate scale, what I mean by that is that the scope is large, and the story roams all over, but it is recalled in minute detail.  For me this meant that I had the feeling of living the story myself.  No detail seems too small or too insignificant, and it makes Kvothe’s world so rich and real that you could be walking the Archives, playing the lute, or running across rooftops right along with him.  The other side of this is that the books have to be suitably large to be able to cram all this in!  Purportedly 390,000 words over 994 pages for just the second book in the series!  By the end of the trilogy I’ll have read over 1 million words (not including the two novellas).

Didn’t like:  Perfect Kvothe, all hail Kvothe!  There are a few plot threads that seem to go nowhere.  I’m prepared to forgive Rothfuss because his writing is so enthralling, and I just hope that those plot threads tie up in book three.

Did like:  Everything else!

PS:  Though Kvothe manages to get through an awful lot in this book, there are events that have to be sacrificed.  I think I would have loved to see what happened when Kvothe sailed to Severen.  If it had meant a Quadrilogy instead of a Trilogy I’d be happy with that.  Or maybe I sense another Novella to come…

PPS – In my review of The Name Of The Wind I said I would share my theories of Chronicler… so here they are.


May be more than who and what he claims to be.  Something in the back of mind is telling me this has to be the case, especiallly given Rothfuss’ inclination towards complicated plots.
May be one of the Amyr, recording the story only to alter/cover up their continued existence (by the end of this book their existence is theoretical, no spoilers here).
May be one of the Chandrian, reluctant to engage Kvothe in Battle but needing to assess his next move/intentions.  Doubtful as I think by the end of book three the Chandrian will probably be no more.  Also, I don't think they are inclined to hold off on an attack.

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