Review: The Wise Man’s Fear
Honestly I don’t know how anyone has reviewed this book. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve read quite a few reviews of Patrick Rothfuss‘s THE WISE MAN’S FEAR (Amazon). They were intelligent, well written and made me want to read the book even more. I just didn’t know how I was going to be able to write one.
Because the book isn’t done. I can certainly say, “Wow, that’s a heck of a start!” THE NAME OF THE WIND, the first book in The Kingkiller Chronicles, certainly was. I can say, “Geez, the second third of that book was really interesting and had some beautiful language. I can’t wait to see what happens at the end!” And THE WISE MAN’S FEAR is easily all of that. My problem is I’m a little afraid at this point. Does Patrick Rothfuss know how to finish this extremely well-told tale? I don’t know. He hasn’t done it yet.
Now, I’ve read a few series in my day. One that immediately comes to mind is the Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson. Having read all three books I can tell you that Brandon told a big wonderful beautiful story that spanned all three books. It was amazing. I loved it. But, and it’s a big “But”, he also told me three smaller stories in between. Each of the three books had a satisfying conclusion. There was conflict, there was resolution and there was character growth. Not just over the trilogy, but over each separate novel. The Kingkiller Chronicles are not like that at all. I have never seen a clearer example of one book (one big, big book) split up into several parts. The books simply end, to be continued on the next book.
So, will this series deliver a stunning conclusion? Will it rank among the great works of fantasy? At this point I just don’t know. Rothfuss has set me up (and let’s not kid ourselves, he’s set us up well and beautifully), but until that last book comes out I just can’t be sure.
OK. With that out of the way let’s talk more about this book in particular. It was beautiful. The prose is seamless and easy. Accessible. I likes me some writers that use beautiful language. I’m a huge fan of both Miéville and Valente, but every time I read one of their books, I know I’m reading it. I’m working at it. I’m devouring the language. Rothfuss manages to be effortless and beautiful at the same time. No easy feat. I would even recommend reading it out loud. The book is meant to be spoken, meant to have a voice.
The characters are great–mostly Kvothe, the central character. He is cocky, arrogant and intensely likable. There are few characters I’ve read that I feel I know better than that little red headed guy. He’s a character you root for and ache for. The other characters in the world are, by necessity, less fleshed out but feel just as real. It’s a wonderful world to visit and I was happy each time I picked the book up to spend some time with these people.
How can anyone write a review about THE WISE MAN'S FEAR when the series isn't done and there's still so much yet to come?
However, the one complaint I had with the book was that it felt a bit too long. Looking back at it I can see what happened and it doesn’t seem to warrant the 1000 + pages. I think it could have been a few hundred pages less and trimmed some of the fat. Also, since the book just… ends, it’s hard to really identify much in the way of plot progression. I discussed this with the other reviewers here at EBR, and the main comment was, “Soooo, has Kvothe really done anything other than have lots of casual sex? I don’t really feel like I know this world or this story any better than I did before.” Some will disagree, but it’s easy to see both sides of the coin here.
I just realized that I haven’t talked about the book much at all. I’m OK with that. If you’ve heard anything about fantasy books over the last year I’m sure you’ve heard of this one. It was a New York Times Number 1 Bestseller, for Pete’s sake. You all probably have it already. Most likely I’m not saying anything that hasn’t been said before. So I’ll tell you this: Despite the fact that the story isn’t done, this is a wonderful book. I enjoyed every page and even if I haven’t reached the destination yet, the journey has been well worth my time.
If you don’t have it yet, go get it. If you do have it, then don’t waste your time here, go read it, you’ll be glad you did.
- Recommended Age: 16+ for sexy times
- Language: None really to speak of. Maybe a word here or there.
- Violence: A little, but not graphic
- Sex: Surprisingly yes. Kvothe is a teenage boy who suddenly has lots of sex towards the end of the book. Never described in much detail, but make no mistake, it's there. Thank goodness he has that contraceptive he carries around with him, or he would have, like, a bajillion illegitimate offspring. Honestly, it all seemed a little much...