“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.
Fun fact about this book: It’s a thousand pages long. Or, at least, my copy is. And it’s not giving you free pages just to make your reading skillz sound impressive. The very last pageis still story because, goddammit, they’re not wasting pages here.
(Aside: two separate people have asked me if I am reading the Bible while carrying books by Patrick Rothfuss. That’s how insanely ginormous these books are.)
Why am I telling you this?
Oh, right. Because I’m really, really bad at writing reviews for books in this series. (See: my review of The Name of the Wind) But also because while, HOLY SHIT, THESE BOOKS ARE LONG they’re also so engaging and entertaining and readable?
And I’m not saying that in the way that I told my little brother that Lord of the Rings was really readable just because I wanted him to finally read the books.
They’re honest-to-God page-turners, even considering the fact that
a) the story is somewhat episodic
b) and did I mention it’s 1000 pages long?
And then there’s the detail and depth to the world and the story. If you weren’t aware, this was actually a reread of the first two books of this series for me, and I’ve been following along with Tor.com’s very cool reread, and my eyes have been opened to the sheer scope and detail of the story Patrick Rothfuss is spinning. Don’t get me wrong – when I first read these books, I had many questions and was very intrigued by many aspects, but the person reading and the people in the comments on these posts have gone through with a fine-toothed comb and it’s so cool.
(Although, once again, I will say that Patrick Rothfuss could do better by his female characters. This book literally had our MC say to a girl who’s, um, experienced quite a lot of violence at male hands, that not all men are terrible – he’s not so bad! I’m pretty sure that Rothfuss’ intentions were good, but… uh… good intentions don’t fix real outcomes.)
All this is to say that the world, the music, the characters, the complexity is amazing. This series really is like a piece of music with melodies and countermelodies weaving together and building on each other and AAAAAH IT’S SO BEAUTIFUL AND AMAZING WHY CAN’T I WRITE LIKE THIS.
This is a sequel that builds on the first book, ripening and maturing like good wine, and I would sell my soul to know what happens next. Mr Rothfuss? Mr Rothfuss? Please?
If you have not read this book and you like fantasy with detailed, lush worlds and a sort of meditation on storytelling (this book can be very meta at times), read it. Please read it. And then tell me what you think is going to happen next because GOD KNOWS I’LL PROBABLY BE DEAD WHEN IT COMES OUT.