The Wise Man’s Fear, by Patrick Rothfuss

I’ve finished the second book in the Kingkiller series by Patrick Rothfuss, and I’m ready for the third one now. (Of course, since this one has only been out for a couple of months at most, I would imagine that book 3 is a couple of years away.) It wasn’t quite as flawless as the first, but I still loved it.

Some of the reason that the first one was more engrossing, for me, was because a lot of the action of the story is still to come – we’re still in the setup of Kvothe’s story. Not that things don’t happen in this book, or in The Name of the Wind, but the main events, the point of the story – the expulsion from the University, the beginning of the war – are still to come. We’re still learning about Kvothe and the world, and so is he, to some extent. That was the best part of The Name of the Wind – because it was the first book, it was obviously going to deal with setting up the story. This book was still setup, though. From a structural sense, if The Name of the Wind is world-building, The Wise Man’s Fear is world exploration. Kvothe travels to the farther ends of the world, experiencing several different cultures including Faerie, and the reader gets a deeper understanding. Because the basic principles don’t need to be explained, more time can be spent on the more subtleties.

A lot of this book deals with the nature of wisdom and knowledge. I should have kept track of how many times the idea “the wise man fears….” came up – and what the various fears were. I definitely noticed them, even if I didn’t mark all of them. (It’s kind of obvious when the title is namechecked within the story.) Different types of knowledge are also explored – from Kvothe’s typical studies at the University to cultural education at the court of the Maer to physical and metaphysical explorations with the Adem to sexual education with Felurian.

I’m getting quite anxious to find out about the Chandrian and the Amyr: it’s Kvothe’s main purpose in life, but so far details have been rather thin. What we do know about them is fascinating, but there hasn’t been enough yet. I would assume and hope that the third book will explore them more fully.

I’m not as desperate for the next book as I was for this one – although I can easily see myself rereading these two about five times before book 3 is published, and I definitely will be reading it as soon as I can when it’s out – but the story still has me hooked. It’s definitely soothed my need for a book/series that I can lose myself in.

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