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The Wise Man's Fear: The Kingkiller Chronicles, Book 2
Patrick Rothfuss
Gollancz, 994 pages

The Wise Man's Fear
Patrick Rothfuss
Patrick Rothfuss was born in Madison, Wisconsin, in 1973. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1999 with a B.A. in English, returning two years later to teach. After completing an extremely long fantasy novel called The Song of Flame and Thunder, Rothfuss submitted it to several publishing companies, but it was rejected. Finally, DAW Books bought it and split it into a three-volume series entitled The Kingkiller Chronicle, the first installment of which, The Name of the Wind, was published in March 2007.

Patrick Rothfuss Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle: The Thing Beneath the Bed
SF Site Review: The Name of the Wind
SF Site Interview: A Conversation With Patrick Rothfuss

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Dominic Cilli

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Patrick Rothfuss's first novel The Name of the Wind was an incredible read. It was good enough to earn the number one spot on our reader's choice award in 2007 and, at the time of its publication, we knew he had the potential to become a master storyteller; we just didn't realize it would happen this quickly. I have just finished his second novel The Wise Man's Fear and I can't express enough how much I enjoyed it. There is a certain sense of poetry and rhythm to Rothfuss's writing that is quite unlike anything else out there. It's difficult to put my finger on it. But, I can recall a line in the book that states, "All the truth in the world is held in stories" and, at times, I thought that line particularly fitting for the book. Readers will find simple wisdoms like this littered throughout the novel that give a sense of poignancy to Patrick Rothfuss's writing and make The Wise Man's Fear a complete triumph.

The Wise Man's Fear continues the story told in The Name of the Wind with Kvothe recounting his life's story to Chronicler at the Wayside Inn. His recollections pick up right where they left off with Kvothe attending the University. His conflict with Ambrose continues in earnest and his exploits in and around Imre continue to build his legend. When circumstances at the University compel Kvothe to take a term off, he travels to the distant land of Vintas to work for one of the wealthiest men in the world. During his travels in Vintas, besides conquering the world, Kvothe manages to uncover more about the Chandrian and furthers his quest to locate them in order to seek vengeance for the death of his parents and his entire troupe of Edema Ruh.

The tale Rothfuss weaves is a simple one. It is just one basic storyline the entire way through, but what it lacks in complexity, it more than makes up for in pure storytelling and entertainment. Kvothe's tale is a terrific one and The Wise Man's Fear is a real page turner. If I had to nitpick, I can say that, at times, Kvothe's character comes off as a bit too much of a superman and not a very realistic human. It's a bit of a stretch to be a master lutist, composer, poet, magician, doctor, linguist, herbalist, inventor, scholar, student, ladies-man, etc. all by the age of seventeen. When Rothfuss tells us Kvothe isn't very good at math, I was shocked to not find him mentally calculating pi out to 1,000 digits a chapter later. However, this is fantasy literature and if Kvothe's character comes off as a bit too much, so be it. I didn't find it to be overly distracting, just slightly annoying.

Overall, The Wise Man's Fear is transcendent. In two books, Patrick Rothfuss has entered into the fantasy elite joining the likes of Martin, Erikson, Bakker, Abercrombie, Williams, Sanderson, Lynch and Kay. Yes, he is that talented a writer. You will be hard pressed to find any fantasy expert out there that won't put Rothfuss on his or her short list of the genre's finest authors. Rothfuss is a truly amazing writer and The Kingkiller Chronicles appears as if it is one of those extremely rare series that will eclipse its genre. When it's all said and done, The Kingkiller Chronicles will be able to not only pull in readers of all other types of fiction, but keep them thoroughly entertained as well. I would recommend Patrick Rothfuss to anyone who is capable of appreciating a top-notch author when they read one. I fully expect The Wise Man's Fear to make another appearance on this year's readers choice awards list and anyone truly loves great writing should keep their fingers crossed and hope Patrick Rothfuss lives to write at least another 40 or 50 novels.

Copyright © 2011 Dominic Cilli

When asked to write a third-person tag line for his reviews, Dominic Cilli farmed the work out to an actual 3rd person, his friend Neal, who in turn turned it over to a second person who then asked his third cousin to help out and this person whom Dom doesn't even know then wrote in 8th person Omniscient mode "Dom's breadth of knowledge in literature runs the gamut and is certainly not bounded by the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre. One thing I can say with certainty is that of all the people I don't know who've ever recommended books to read, Dom's recommendations are the best.


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