The Wise Man’s Fear
Mr. Rothfuss, you, Sir, are a magician. Coming in at six pages short of an even thousand, you can spin a tale of wonder that rarely slows and never bores. You’ve built a world of vivid beauty and populated it with people who are humanity distilled to its essence. On some level you tease me when you mention Kvothe’s future of saving empires and princesses, but on another level, I am 100% satisfied that this book ended where it did because it gives me hope that this won’t be just a trilogy. This will be a tale that is so expansive in its telling as to defy all other stories that are called epic.
(Okay, enough of the fan girl gushing.)
The plot (is completely impossible to summarize due to the sheer volume of Important Plot Points):
Rothfuss picks up the tale of Kvothe mere moments after we left him in The Name of the Wind. Kvothe is still telling the tale of his years at university, but this part of the tale transforms into high adventure, filled with men as rich as kings, fairies, hidden truths, and warriors. To say anymore would only be a grave injustice to the work. There is only one way to consume this story and it’s not in summary form. It must be read in its entirety and don’t tell me you don’t have time. Read the first hundred pages and then we’ll talk.
It’s rare for a person to recount every major event in a human’s life and keep the suspense up 100% of the time. As I often say, normal day-to-day activities in most people’s life just aren’t that interesting (okay, I’m mostly talking about myself here, but the point holds.) Rothfuss has an uncanny ability to tell the full tale of one man’s life and make it not just interesting… it’s fascinating. When I mean the full tale, I mean we’re getting everything from drunken nights out with his friends to hunting through the Archive to find a book to the number of coins in his purse. This is more information than I know about my family at the moment. But here’s the thing, that level of detail all too often becomes mind numbingly boring. The story that Rothfuss is creating is on the complete opposite side of the spectrum.
As someone who was raised on Fantasy books, I can safely tell you, this story will be added to the greats. We’re talking Tolkien, Kay, R. R. Martin, and Gaiman. I mean, The Name of the Wind was his debut book, for Pete’s sake. Writers dream of being able to create a world as vibrant as this one. Rothfuss must bleed talent because he is certainly filled to the brim. It’s not just that his characters stand crisply on the page, they stand up and walk around too. His language is so rich, it feels like eating crème brulee, it’s delicious. Part of me wanted to read the story out loud, just so I could feel the words. Most of me ignored that compulsion, since it would only slow me down.
In truth, I can’t recommend this series enough. 5 ink bottles and whatever you can find in Bag End.