The Wise Man's FearPaperback
- Publisher: Gollancz
- Format: Paperback | 1008 pages
- Dimensions: 153mm x 234mm x 56mm | 0g
- Publication date: 15 March 2011
- ISBN 10: 0575081422
- ISBN 13: 9780575081420
- Sales rank: 5,110
Sequel to the extraordinary THE NAME OF THE WIND, THE WISE MAN'S FEAR is the second instalment of this superb fantasy trilogy from Patrick Rothfuss. Picking up the tale of Kvothe Kingkiller once again, we follow him into exile, into political 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 its 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.
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By Sean Broughton-Wright 27 Mar 2011
The Wise Mans Fear by Patrick Rothfuss is his second novel and sequel to The Name of the Wind, released in 2007. A third book The Doors of Stone (working title) is projected to finish off the series.
I haven't read The Name of the Wind but The Wise Mans Fear's execution does not necessitate any reading of the first book to enjoy it as a single work. After having read it though, I certainly want to get a copy of the first book and the last when its released.
The Wise Mans Fear is a continuation of the story of Kvothe a warrior, musician and wizard. Its autobiographical, a tale told mostly in the first person by Kvothe- a recording of his adventures as he saw them, not as the legendary figure he is known as. It is then a series of adventures, strung together by Kvothes participation in them. It reveals a complex and varied fantasy world with enormous depth. There are various side adventures that help build the character of Kvothe in the readers mind and theres a grand story of mythic proportions that simmers just below the surface of the narrative. Who are the Amyr ? Who are the mystical Chandrian? We are presented with two Kvothes, the one in the present who is less than impressive, that seems to have lost some of the power and prowess described in his own retelling of the Kvothe of song and legend.
A note on structure
The story is split into two time frames, the present is presented in the third person, where Kvothe is telling a story of his deeds to a character called The Chronicler. These short snippets(5 to 10 pages each) of third person narrative are dispersed throughout novel breaking up the main text, which is Kvothe telling his story in the first person.
This structure works well, at close to a 1000 words, even Rothfuss' talented use of first person point of view needs a change in pace and perspective to keep the work fresh.
Harry Potter Goes to College
One of the first thoughts that occurred when reading The Wise Mans Fear, especially the early part of the novel, was that it had a Harry Potter goes to College feel to it. By which I mean, it captures a wizardly university atmosphere in the same way the the Harry Potter books evoked the atmosphere of English boarding schools. Its no surprise to note that Orson Scott Card has likened it to a darker, adult Harry Potter. For older readers of fantasy, I am reminded of elements of the Earthsea novels by LeGuin.
A literary Magpie
Rothfuss has described himself as a literary Magpie and while the book is original in craft and execution their are references or subtle hat tips to predecessors, for example a quaint love poem spoken by one of the characters uses a (Anglo Saxon I think) poetic form employed by Tolkien. Though The Wise Mans Fear samples from the genre its not merely a reimagining or a repackaging. I think that Rothfuss is actually doing something quite subversive. There are two tales told; one is whats occurring in the present the other the heroic backstory to Kvothe. By the end of the book I am not sure if I quite believe the image that Kvothe has put forward in his tale to the Chronicler. The parts of the book set in the present show Kvothe as less than impressive -compared to his image at least. This is not your ordinary heroic fantasy, theres elements of course in Kvothes retelling, but I get the feeling that Rothfuss is heading in a different direction- a more honest deconstruction of the hero perhaps.
Briefly Buy it and the The Name of the Wind as well.
This book read like it was half the size, a testament to Rothfuss skill in presenting 900 or so pages of first person narrative. Though we know as readers that Kvothe cant die (at least until the end of the series) Rothfuss manages to constantly have important things at stake, whether its people that are close to Kvothe, or his possessions. Rothfuss has crafted a character whos life and aspirations are important to the reader I felt pangs of anxiety when his loot was stolen or when he was helpless to render assistance to Denna.
I am in awe of Rothfuss ability to render the playing of a musical instrument as an action scene. The bard, often a staple of fantasy, rarely gets in the spotlight for his raison d'tre Rothfuss puts it front and centre.
Its a rare, original fantasy of epic proportions.