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Friday, 27 March 2015

Review: The Wise Man's Fear, Patrick Rothfuss

Day 2 of the spectacular Kingkiller chronicles, during which Kvothe reveals more of his past to Chronicler and Kvothe's friend, Bast.

We meet young Kvothe again at the University, and his long-running feud with Ambrose reaches a peak, resulting in Kvothe being firmly encouraged to take a term off away from the University. Despairing, since this has been his sole ambition, and with no idea what to do, he is rescued by his friend Threpe. Threpe has been in contact with the Maer of a place called Severen. This man happens to be very rich and powerful and Threpe and Kvothe think the same thing - a patron for Kvothe may finally be in sight.

 From his quest to help the Maer find a wife, to tracking bandits, encountering the Fae and lovely Felurian, to following one of his fellow mercenaries to Adem and learning the way of the Lethani, this novel opens up so much more of this world than we have previously seen. Kvothe, who relates this in first-person, is rich is detail and gives the reader as wide a view as is possible to see from a first-person narrative.

What I found more fascinating, though, is what the reader is not told. We have breadcrumbs - we know that Kvothe holds himself responsible for the war, the scrael, and other pieces of darkness we met in Book 1 and are followed up in Book 2. We know that he and Bast are extremely good friends, but why? And why does Bast keep calling Kvothe 'Reshi'? After meeting the Cthaeth in the Fae world, the reader is given another piece of the puzzle. However, it's one of those awkward middle pieces that you know will be important once you've found its place, but finding that place is terribly difficult.

When I first started to read these books, I remember the warning one of my friends had given me a couple of years previously - maybe hold off until the publication of the third book is announced, because it's so good and it will be really hard waiting for the third one. Sage advice. As it stands, I'll probably find myself reading the first two books again way before the third is announced just to try and fill in more blanks.

This is a compelling, rich, dazzling world, highly recommend for lovers of fantasy.

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