Saturday, 6 March 2021

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Review: The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss


Published: 6th March 2012 | Publisher: Gollancz | Source: Bought
Patrick Rothfuss' Website

"There are three things all wise men fear: the sea in storm, a night with no moon, and the anger of a gentle man."

My name is Kvothe.
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.

So begins the tale of a hero told from his own point of view — a story unequaled in fantasy literature. Now in The Wise Man's Fear, an escalating rivalry with a powerful member of the nobility forces Kvothe to leave the University and seek his fortune abroad. Adrift, penniless, and alone, he travels to Vintas, where he quickly becomes entangled in the politics of courtly society. While attempting to curry favor with a powerful noble, Kvothe uncovers an assassination attempt, comes into conflict with a rival arcanist, and leads a group of mercenaries into the wild, in an attempt to solve the mystery of who (or what) is waylaying travelers on the King's Road.

All the while, Kvothe searches for answers, attempting to uncover the truth about the mysterious Amyr, the Chandrian, and the death of his parents. Along the way, Kvothe is put on trial by the legendary Adem mercenaries, is forced to reclaim the honor of the Edema Ruh, and travels into the Fae realm. There he meets Felurian, the faerie woman no man can resist, and who no man has ever survived ... until Kvothe.

In The Wise Man's Fear, Kvothe takes his first steps on the path of the hero and learns how difficult life can be when a man becomes a legend in his own time.
The StoryGraph

My other reviews of The Kingkiller Chronicles:
The Name of the Wind

WARNING! I cannot review this book without spoiling the others in the series. Read no further if you're planning on reading this series and don't want it spoilt for you.


Having loved The Name of the Wind, there was no way I was going to miss the follow up in The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss, The Wise Man's Fear. It's an absolute dream of a book, and I'm pretty sure this series is going to become one of my favourites.

I adore this world, the characters - especially, of course, Kvothe. I love reading about his life and his experiences, mundane and incredible. This series is very much storytelling at it's best. Kvothe is dictating the story of his life to the Chronicler, but he himself is a skilled storyteller. I become completely engrossed in this story, and it's just such an enjoyable reading experience, even when it seems like not an awful lot is happening.

The Wise Man's Fear sees Kvothe properly stepping out into the world and experiencing the things that are at the heart of some of his stories. I personally really love Kvothe's time at the University, so when I discovered he would be leaving for a time, I can't say I wasn't disappointed. I really like all the people he knows - Sim, Wil, Fela, Devi, Auri, Deena and even some of the Masters - and wasn't too keen on leaving them behind. But a legend has to live before he becomes a legend, and I soon started enjoying his adventures abroad, and the new characters we met. There's a lot that happens in this book, but I can't really talk too much about it without spoiling it. Kvothe's story takes some wild twists and turns - ingratiating himself with the nobility, hunting bandits, time in the arms of a Femme Fatale fae queen, and learning from the highly skilled and respected Adem mercenaries, among others. It was so satisfying, after being in danger so many times, seeing where he finds himself at the end of the book, and the position he's in.

I loved how incredibly sex positive this book is, too! Because of the time period most high fantasies seem to be inspired by, there's propriety to think about, and behaving in a way that is appropriate and honourable - especially for women. The Kingkiller Chronicles has this aspect to it, as well, but when Kvothe finds himself in another part of the world, Rothfuss takes that idea and turns it on his head. There, sex is just sex, and is to be enjoyed. It's not improper to have sex outside of wedlock, it's not improper for a woman to have sex with multiple men, there is no scandal surrounding sex at all. It was so refreshing, and I loved the conversations had around it, and how those people thought it was completely ridiculous for others to think any differently. It just felt so feminist and wonderful, and I loved it. That being said, while Kvothe does have a fair number of sexual encounters, they're never really on page; they're brushed over and barely described.

Despite loving this series a huge amount myself, I think The Kingkiller Chronicles could definitely be a marmite series, and it should be pointed out. At 994 pages long, I can see people thinking the book is far too long, that a lot of it could be cut and made tighter, etc. But for me, just being immersed in this world, in Kvothe's voice, is enough. It's just absolutely my bag. Rothfuss definitely has a knack of telling a story where the mundane seems interesting. But I'd also say that nothing is mundane. Kvothe is telling this story, and no-one knows his story better. There are times in his past that he summarieses quickly instead of describing in much detail, much to the annoyance of the Chronicler and Bast, but Kvothe is telling us only that which is important to his story. He has become a legend, a hero stories are told over and over. He is telling us the truth behind those stories, and though I don't know where exactly the story will go, I believe everything we read matters, is important, even if it doesn't seem so.

When I started this book, I believed the whole trilogy had been finished and published, considering The Wise Man's Fear was originally published in 2011, and that I could just order the final book as I got close to the end and contune to revel in this world. I found out before finishing the book that, actually, the final book hasn't been published yet, and isn't coming out until next year. I was frustrated at first, but I've waited for books before, and it's not like I would have had to wait 11 years like some readers would have. But then I read the final line of the book and despaired. I actually shouted, "No! NO!" at the book and slammed my hand down on the cover. Oh my god, it's such a cruel ending! It's just one line, it's kind of vague, and only really implies a possibility that I had a feeling might be coming becuase of things read earlier in the book. But that possibility is more possible now that Rothfuss wrote it himself! And I have just over a year and a half to wait for The Doors of Stone! And I am chomping at the bit to read it, I desperately need to know what happens! It's going to be an agonising wait, but I'm pretty damn sure it's going to be worth it. Though I do think the final book may possibly break my heart, and I don't know if I'll ever be prepared. In the meantime, I have ordered The Slow Regard of Silent Things, a novella from Auri's point of view, who I completely adore, and that will have to tide me over.

I am so, so in love with this series, and really loved seeing where Kvothe's story took him in The Wise Man's Fear. I honestly can't recommend this series enough!

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