This book took me almost three weeks to read. I would usually feel a little guilty about that, but not this time. The Wise Man’s Fear is a book to be savoured. Racing through it doesn’t give you enough time to appreciate how Patrick Rothfuss constructs his sentences, his paragraphs, and his story. This man is a genius, and is now firmly cemented in my list of favourite authors. He is amazing.
I was skimming my review of The Name of the Wind, just to jog my memory of what I’ve already said. And you know what? I may have said everything I needed to in that first review. Everything I say carries over for this, the sequel. Which is a review in and of itself. How many books have you read that have suffered from Second Book Syndrome? Where the story meanders without getting anywhere, without any real tension, because the author is saving all of the juicy stuff for the last book? The Wise Man’s Fear does not do that at all. Reading it feels like an extension of the first book of The Kingkiller Chronicles. The flow of the story remains natural. There’s none of that ridiculous rehashing of the previous books. The story simply picks up where we left off. And I love that. I have never seen the point of rehashing. It bores loyal readers and anyone reading the third book in a series before the first book is an idiot.
But I digress.
Rothfuss begins The Wise Man’s Fear with the familiar characters of The Name of The Wind, introducing new characters approximately a third of the way in, and then having us return to the familiar University cast. We are eased into the new story, giving us enough time to start building a rapport with the new characters. And in this way, Rothfuss keeps his readers invested in his story.
What I loved most was the constant presence of Denna. Not only does she present something comforting in among the new lands Kvothe visits, but her constant presence, or the constant mentioning of her name, reminds us just how much Kvothe cares for her; how much of his mind is consumed by her. I loved this.
And when Kvothe goes back to Tarbean and helps Trapis as Trapis once helped Kvothe when he was a homeless orphan living on the streets? That was a beautiful moment.
What I admire most about Rothfuss is his ability to create and maintain tension. We learn bits and pieces about the Chandrian, Kvothe “now”, and Denna but never too much or too little. Just enough to keep us interested. It is a skill I envy.
I’m going to have to keep this review short, because otherwise I’m just going to start gushing. And no one wants to read that.
Bottom line: The Wise Man’s Fear is every bit as amazing and brilliant as The Name of the Wind and you would be a fool not to pick it up if you loved the first book.
I’m going to leave you with a quote, for the sake of continuity. This one scene raised a possible plot point that I sat in awe of for a good two minutes. It’s not exactly a spoiler, but I would proceed with caution anyway:
“Master Elodin,” I asked slowly. “What would you think of someone who kept changing their own name?”
“What?” He sat up suddenly, his eyes wild and panicked. “What have you done?”
His reaction startled me, and I held up my hands defensively. “Nothing! It’s not me. It’s a girl I know…Every time I turn around she’s picked another name for herself.”
“Oh,” Elodin said, relaxing. He leaned back against the tree, laughing softly. “Calling names,” he said with tangible relief…”It could indicate she doesn’t know who she is … or that she does know and doesn’t like it.” He looked up and rubbed his nose thoughtfully. “It could indicate restlessness and dissatisfaction. It could mean her nature is changeable and she shifts her name to fit it. Or it could mean she changes her name with the hope it might help her be a different person.”