Review of "The Kingkiller Chronicle, Day Two: The Wise Man's Fear"
Rating: 5 smileys
"My Name is Kvothe.
I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned 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 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, Day Two of the Kingkiller Chronicle, 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 trail 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 as 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.
As the first volume, THE NAME OF THE WIND, was highly praised I think the first thing that should be mentioned is how well the second volume stands next to it. THE WISE MAN'S FEAR is just as good as the first and any fan will be more than happy with the work.
As the cover blurb above mentions, the story (as volume one does as well) is told in first person as Kvothe dictates his story to a chronicler that seeked him out for it. Only a few interludes here and there at breaks in telling the story do we come back to "present day" and the story reverts to third person. The cover blurb itself wasn't really accurate in giving you the path of the story though, so take it with a grain of salt if you read it.
Young Kvothe still spends quite a bit of time at the University until he goes abroad. I felt the story drag a little here and there during the mercenary, fae and Adem portions because it was probably supposed to a bit -- some things can only happen so fast in life. But the story was richer for taking time in those portions.
Magic is still much the same as in the first book. Though he manages a few more amazing feats this time around, mastery to the point of magic becoming commonplace for him has not been reached. All in all you get a pretty "realistic" look at magic as far as fantasy stories go and those that like their magic mysterious and lofty to grasp will be happy with Rothfuss' work.
I don't delve into the plot or spoilers much in my reviews and the cover blurb gives away more than I think it should. Personally I didn't read it until I just transcribed it and I think the story is better read without knowing some of the twists it will take. I would like to add though, that Rothfuss does a great job not only with giving us a very rich and interesting story of Kvothe's past, but also the current mystery surrounding Kvothe of the present only deepens. I'm very curious as to how this story will wrap up with the next volume (assuming the next volume is the last of the series?).
If you loved the volume of this series, chances are you already have the second as well. But if you haven't picked it up yet, do so. It is well worth it and probably (along with the first) some of the best writing I've ever read.
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