The Wise Man’s Fear – Patrick Rothfuss

The second of an unfinished fantasy trilogy, this book continues the biographical narrative by Kvothe, as he tells the story of his life to a scribe. Around this island of history, we get hints of a world on fire, with death and destruction circling in the background and perhaps getting closer with every chapter in the telling.

The quality of the writing also continues the same high standard on show in the first book, and it is an immensely enthralling tale in the main. I would exclude from that one extended sexual encounter which simply did not work for me. Or, it didn’t work because it went on for too long and bored me. That apart, there were plenty of surprises, some loose ends tantalizingly dangled in front of us to – no doubt – give some meaty hooks for the next book to connect to.

It’s not the absolute best of the genre that I have read (as mentioned last time) but I’ll be getting the next book whenever it finally appears.

If you like fantasy fiction, this is a pretty close thing to a sure bet.

The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss

This is a fantasy novel – the first in an as yet unfinished trilogy – which was highly (and repeatedly) recommended to me. It’s the life story of Kvothe, who starts off as part of a travelling troupe, becomes a street urchin, and then a somewhat unlikely and down at heel student. The book begins with Kvothe in the role of an innkeeper who, eventually, starts telling his whole story to a travelling scribe. Therefore, we get the first person perspective driving the main narrative, with the occasional intercession as the focus switches back to various scenes with Kvothe taking a break from his story to deal with several issues, like customers, and wandering mercenaries.

The following are worth noting:

  • The world around Kvothe is vast, but more hinted at than completely described
  • The magical system is lovingly rendered, and adds real weight to the sense of awe
  • The characterization is good
  • The storytelling is mostly good, too, though there were a few patches that I thought were over written
  • This is no Tolkien ripoff, nor juvenile fantasy; it’s solid, believable, and gripping

Despite all of the above, while it is a good book, it did not hit me the same way my first contact with Joe Abercrombie or K. J. Parker did. So, while I am happy to say that I enjoyed it, for me it does not quite reach the top rank. It’s absolutely worth reading though, and I do recommend it.