The Wise Man’s Fear
The Wise Man’s Fear
By Patrick Rothfuss
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In A Nutshell:
The Wise Man’s Fear was four years in the making, but it was worth every moment.
The story picks up with Kvothe still languishing in the present as a fallen hero tending his inn while also picking up on the far more interesting Kvothe of the past who is still working towards making the reputation that has left people so enthralled with his less than interesting present incarnation. Thankfully Wise Man’s Fear spends more of its time on the past than it does on the framing story that enjoyed more prominence in Name of the Wind.
And that back story really starts to get interesting. Sure we know that Kvothe is an interesting guy because he’s told us so, and to be sure he undertook some pretty dramatic acts of derring-do in the first book, but in Fear Rothfuss dives headfirst into plot points hinted at in the first book that elevates Kvothe from talented hero-in-training to certifiable badass and legendary magician in the making.
To be sure some of the same complaints leveled at The Name of the Wind are still there in Wise Man’s Fear. Kvothe is almost too competent at times to the point that his character skirts around the edges of becoming an overpowered Mary Sue, but Rothfuss has a talent for telling a fascinating page-turning story in a breezy but compelling voice that more than makes up for a few shortcomings in plot and characterization.
If you enjoyed The Name of the Wind then you’ll get just as much pleasure from Wise Man’s Fear. If you didn’t like the first book then chances are you won’t like the second as it takes most of the tropes on display there and turns it up to eleven.
As always there is the standard warning regarding the time in between publication. The Name of the Wind was published in 2007 and it was another four years before The Wise Man’s Fear hit shelves. I haven’t been able to find a reliable release date for the third entry in the trilogy, tentatively titled The Doors of Stone. The best guess I’ve been able to find is some time in 2014, though even that is likely going to change given the delays on this book. Proceed with caution if you’ve been burned in the past by fantasy authors with liberal ideas about publishing schedules.
Rothfuss also maintains that it will be a trilogy, but it will be interesting to see how he resolves Kvothe’s current location in the backstory with his situation in the framing story within the confines of one book even if it is a doorstopper. It wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen the best laid plans of a trilogy burst past its initial page limit.