Friday, November 11, 2011

The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

Wise Man's Fear is like some great heavy beast, black and furry, that comes and sits on your chest to wake you in the middle of a moonless night. And it is literally heavy; at nearly one thousand pages the hardback copy is hard to hold in one hand while you're up way past your bedtime trying to finish it. Rothfuss has definitely written a worthy sequel to his first book in the Kingkiller Chronicles, Name of the Wind.

The subtitle is "The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day Two", and Rothfuss plays an interesting game with the reader of spending one day in the life of the innkeeper, Kote, as he relates the story of many days in the life of Kvothe, the young arcanist. Troubles are brewing in the world, and we get the sense that understanding Kvothe's story and his quest to learn of the Chandrian and the Amyr may bring the story to a point of resolution, with a great evil destroyed.

Kvothe is finally allowed to study Naming with Master Elodin, along with some other students. Knowing the name of a thing allows control over it for an arcanist, similar to Naming as found in LeGuin's Earthsea books. Kvothe has been occasionally successful in naming the Wind, but he finds that study with Elodin is still more elusive a practice.

Kvothe's enmity with the young noble, Ambrose, continues, and eventually his allies recommend that he take a term off from his studies and make himself scarce, so as to avoid having things come to a head and destroy his career completely, after he and his friends set fire to and burgle Ambrose's rooms at an inn. His sole friend in the nobility introduces him to a powerful nobleman, The Maer, in a city far from the University. The Maer has a task well suited for Kvothe to accomplish, he needs a poet and musician to help him woo the woman he wants to marry. When Kvothe arrives, though, he finds the situation far more complex, and is able to solve more than one problem for his patron.

Kvothe also finds his relationship with the girl he's been enthralled with for some time, Denna, elusive. She pops in and out of the story, as she often pops in and out of town, and takes up with a series of foolish young men, while maintaining what is probably an abusive relationship with her mysterious patron. I have a feeling that the patron, as well, will be key to the overall story, when Kvothe is able to find out who or what he is.

This book is just chock full of adventure, intrigue, and romance. I highly recommend you read this series.

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