Today’s review: The Wise Man’s Fear, Patrick Rothfuss – I still haven’t figured out to whom “the wise man” in the title refers, but I’m hopeful that one of you can explain it to me.
Before we even get to the end of this review, I’m going to tell you right now that The Wise Man’s Fear gets 4 hearts out of 5.
“What?!” You might say. “How could you? The follow-up to Patrick Rothfuss’s The Name of the Wind is even better than the first one! It’s a tale of swashbuckling adventure, romance—a legend in the making!”
Well, you’d be right on all accounts. It hardly suffices to say that the prose is artistic, lovely, and easy to read. It is all of those things, and more. I devoured this book like one devours a marinated pepper steak stuffed with bleu cheese and prosciutto. I couldn’t stop. Every waking moment I wondered where Patrick would take me next, what further secrets he would reveal to me.
Our hero Kvothe has grown. He discovers sex, begins having relationships with women, commands full-grown men, holds his own in a wealthy foreign court, and even learns some humility. There is passion in this book. We philosophize about the difference between a sexual relationship and a relationship of love. We learn to appreciate the search for answers, and the peculiarities of different cultures.
On top of all that, we see power. Great power. Vicious, deadly power. And we see the beginnings of corruption.
This is what makes Kvothe an outstanding character. He is hardly Hercules; hardly a character to be admired. He kills ruthlessly. He makes obvious mistakes. He is not perfect.
Now I come to the reason The Wise Man’s Fear is only entitled to four of five hearts. I did not enjoy the ending. In some ways, endings are Patrick Rothfuss’s biggest failing. He didn’t leave me with a question, a cliffhanger to lead me into the third book. The story-inside-the-story finished at something so mundane and boring I can’t even remember it. The story-outside-the-story finished at something strange, confusing, and utterly out of character.
I want to know what happens next, but I still have a weird taste in my mouth.
This book gets: ♥♥♥♥ out of 5