In Brief: Patrick Rothfuss returns to the saga of Kvothe (aka The Boss) in this beautifully written book. It’s Portrait of the Wizard as a Young Man, with Kvothe telling the continuing story of his days at the University, his ongoing love with Denna, and adventures out in the world.
Pros: Rothfuss can really, really write, and with Kvothe he’s created a wonderfully accessible and fascinating lead character. This volume of the story features adventures outside the university, to include a trip to faerie and a sort of internship with a quasi-bushido culture.
Cons: The books is long, long, long, and the pacing drags for at points. Also, the sense of tragedy within the third-person frame started to feel strained.
Review: Since this book was published, I’ve been looking forward to diving in. It had been sitting on my shelf, awaiting the right time in the old reading schedule (it is nearly 1,000 pages after all). I was pretty certain The Wise Man’s Fear would deliver, based on how much I enjoyed the first book (The Name of the Wind), as well as the knowledge that Pat Rothfuss was doing it right, taking some time, and getting the second volume out on what we can assume was something close to his timetable. It was worth the wait.
Kvothe is a wonderful character, flawed, self-aware, sensitive yet prone to temper-induced lapses of judgment. But always, he’s a kind and decent soul at heart – the kind of guy you can root for. And it just so happens that he’s the most famous magician of his time. As in volume 1, Kvothe is telling the tale of his youth to the Chronicler, so most of the book is a 1st person recounting of adventures. The third person frame takes place in a distant future, with Kvothe surviving as a simple innkeeper, seemingly a shadow of his former self.