Last week I finally got around to reviewing the great debut novel from Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind. Thus, I will waste no time getting into the second installment of The Kingkiller Chronicles, The Wise Man’s Fear. Fitting, as this was one of the rare events where I had read both books, back to back. This proved to be a solid decision at the time, because, as far as sequels go, these novels read like they were one in the same. Picking up directly where the first novel had finished and getting directly into day 2.
Released in March 2011, four years after the release of The Name of the Wind, and nearly three years from the original anticipated publication date. Multiple revisions took place after Mr. Rothfuss’ first working version, reportedly submitted to the editor in May of 2009. The process and revisions are well worth the wait, as the novel boasts a 347,200 word count, filled with Patrick Rothfuss’ signature poetic prose. The end result is a beautiful story that would take many established authors a lifetime to create. With five and a half years passing, with next to no information on the release of the third and final installment many fans pressure the author with their warranted anticipation. Personally, I take the long wait as a good sign that Mr. Rothfuss is producing a masterpiece and a fitting conclusion to what is literatures most popular, unfinished trilogy. And, honestly, its not like he is letting some television show tell his story for him.
The Wise Man’s Fear opens with the same third person narrative introduced in the first novel, as Kote settles in to commence his life story. With life at the University going seemingly well for Kvothe, it is an ongoing feud with another student that reaches a breaking point. The negative attention that Kvothe has garnered for himself forces the young student to take a sabbatical from his studies. The tale leads Kvothe to the opposite ends of the world, where he transitions from youth to man through a series of life changing events. Upon his return, Kvothe is already starting to hear the rumours of his exploits, and his reputation takes a life of its own.
This sequel takes a new approach to story telling than readers may be used to. As the world and the magic grow, the story and the stakes seem to be as equally important as the first novel. Kvothe is on the same search for answers and by the end seems no closer to resolve, possibly with the puzzle growing further. It is the predicaments and situations that the protagonist finds himself in that drive the story forward, frustrating the character and the reader equally. The manner in which Kvothe handles himself, in an everyman sort of way, is what makes the story interesting; driving the reader onward in search of answers on how Kote had gained his reputation and what lead him to the semi-retired life. Despite the many mistakes and character flaws, there are glimpses in this book of Kvothe’s power and brilliance, which is why everyone is losing their minds for the final novel.
One of the best books I have read this year, err… one of the best books I have read, Patrick Rothfuss hits another homerun. 5/5, the magical author is two for two, and has earned his place as one of the most highly respected fantasy scribes today. Again, I recommend this book to everyone, waste no more time. Many of the readers I talked to, who have yet to approach these books, tell me that they are waiting upon announcement of the third book so they can read it all in one go. To them I say this, that’s stupid. No, I would never, but there is no point in waiting, these books are a masterful treat that you deserve to read. I understand that you see all this hubbub over the final book and it seems like you will be in equal turmoil. The truth of the matter is these books are just that good, books that are worth the anticipation, books that you will remember, books you will want to reread. Honestly, waiting is part of the entertainment, contemplating how the tale will end or discussing theories with other fans, it is all adding up to a glorious release, and you are missing out on all the fun.
Thanks booknerds, there is only three things a wise man fears, spiders, spiders and even more spiders.