The Wise Man’s Fear is the second novel in the Kingkiller Chronicles following the much acclaimed The Name of the Wind. I recently reread it as I FINALLY purchased my own copy of the book (rather than continuing to steal my mothers). I’ll keep my review general to the series, no spoilers I promise! This story follows Kvothe, a man of legends.
“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. You may have heard of me.”
Both books are told in two parts, the present where Kvothe is now simply Kote, innkeeper in hiding from his true identity and the past that Kvothe is narrating. Telling his story from the beginning, the whole truth and nothing but. The books constantly switch from past to present, slowly telling his impressive story.
These books, in my opinion, are exemplary works of fantasy fiction. Rothfuss has created a rich and enchanting world that Kvothe has lived in with both books travelling far and wide stretching your imagination. The language is poetic and draws you in. I had forgotten just how beautiful the prose is and was happily reminded its my reread. The books contain many unsolved mysteries.Why was Kvothe expelled from the University? Does he ever avenge his family? What of his and Denna’s friendship? How does he ever end up hiding in a small town, so diminished and broken? The first novel introduces them, while the second builds upon them leading to the third and final book that apparently tells all. I can’t begin to imagine how all will fit in to the last novel but I do know that I can’t wait to find out!
Kvothe is a great character and the reader will thoroughly enjoy the contradictions of the vivacity and audacity of his younger self to the self-doubting innkeeper you witness in the present. You can’t help but feel drawn to finding out what happens in between and hoping that his spark returns. Kvothe is joined by a host of other memorable and loveable characters as well as the usual host of villains and bad guys. Each of the characters are unique and well constructed. The villains are either terrifying or downright hateful. The quirky characters are certainly that, leaving you scratching your head. The loveable ones you find yourself caring for just as much as Kvothe does.
I would highly urge anyone who enjoys this genre to give this series a go (if you haven’t already). These are up there with my favourite fantasy series and the third book is my most anticipated future release. The only downside is that upon finishing the first two books you are left in a state of limbo as Rothfuss has not yet set a publishing date and seems adamant not to rush it. As much as my mind screams for completion of the series, i can’t help but feel a great sense of respect for Rothfuss, refusing to push forward publication just to pump out a novel for the gratification of others. I have every expectation that when Doors of Stone is released it will be everything I have dreamed of and more because he will have waited until the novel is worthy. Until then there is also a novella and a short story that tell the side stories of a couple of the characters to keep you entertained. I give both The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear five lutes, so important to Kvothe.