Blook Back: The Wise Man’s Fear

Another absolutely ripping yarn from the pen of Patrick Rothfuss. I was led to believe that this second installment was a failure because it does little to advance the story of Kvothe the Bloodless, but I have to heartily disagree with that sentiment.

In The Wise Man’s Fear, Kvothe takes his first serious sojourn into the wider world since he took resident at the University. My biggest criticism of the last book was that the adventures away from the school felt like tacked on filler. Not so in this work, as Kvothe’s adventures under the Maer, hunting bandits, cavorting with Felurian, studying at Ademre, and finally returning home show us some of the truth behind this bloated reputation of a virtual living god that we’re introduced to in the first book. We finally learn that, while there is a hard nugget of truth to Kvothe’s reputation, it is largely hot air.

It’s hard to express what a relief this is. Another one of my complaints about the last book was a displeasure at being told that a protagonist was super gifted at everything he tried, just like EVERY other protagonist in pulp sci-fi and fantasy ever. Oh, he’s a child prodigy who is great at the lute, and fighting and magic and thieving and memorization and woeing women and on and on? What a relief that he’s also the result of a bunch of rumors and hearsay.

In any case, this series has so far been very much about the ride, and not the destination, so unlikely many others, I’m not dissatisfied with where it ended. I can see why some are concerned, since there appears to be an inordinately large period of time to cover to stitch together the two narratives in the final book of what has been described as a trilogy. I’m confident that Rothfuss will either split out the series into another book, or failing that, rely on ebook publishing to give us a 2000-page monstrosity next time.

I know I will be lined up (at my computer) to buy it!

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