Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wise Man's Fear

by Patrick Rothfuss
Daw Books, 2011.

This is the second day of Kvothe's story. He takes up where he left off at the end of The Name of the Wind, still learning at the university and little more than a few pennies to his name. While The Name of the Wind focused on the set up and early education of Kvothe, The Wise Man's Fear presents the truth behind a series of incidents that eventually made up the legend of Kvothe. The truth itself is fantastical, of course, but perhaps a little less so that the stories of Kvothe the Bloodless, Kvothe the Arcane - well, you get the idea.

What happens to your identity when the stories of your legendary deeds have grown up around you, and no one knows the truth anymore? Kvothe seems to grapple with some version of this question. He may not be just the simple innkeeper he masquerades as, but neither is he Taborlin the Great. Among his deeds, the thread of his search for the truth of the Chandrian who killed his parents and the Amyr continues with a shocking lack of information in the Archives and tantalizing rumor. In nearly 1,000 pages, it would be difficult not to have whole chapters and events that bored some readers, and this tome in so exception. The middle dropped out a bit for me, personally. Interspersed throughout the story of Kvothe's past are interludes with Bast, Kvothe, and the Chronicler that give us, again, a slightly different picture of who Kvothe is now. Why, as shown in The Name of the Wind for example, can he no longer use sympathy? This and more questions remain, meaning I will wait impatiently for the final installment of his story.

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