Narrator: Nick Podehl
Rating: 8 out of 10
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Length: 42 hours, 59 minutes
Pages: 993 (print version)
Challenges: 2012 Audio Book Challenge
Synopsis (from Amazon): The Wise Man’s Fear continues the mesmerizing slow reveal of the story of Kvothe the Bloodless, an orphaned actor who became a fearsome hero before banishing himself to a tiny town in the middle of Newarre. The Wise Man’s Fear uncovers enough to satisfy readers and make them desperate for the full tale, from Kvothe’s rapidly escalating feud with Ambrose to the shockingly brutal events that mark his transformation into a true warrior, and to his encounters with Felurian and the Adem. Rothfuss remains a remarkably adept and inventive storyteller, and Kvothe’s is a riveting tale about a boy who becomes a man who becomes a hero and a killer, spinning his own mythology out of the ether until he traps himself within it.
* * * This review contains mild spoilers about The Name of the Wind.
I recommend reading it first before reading this review. * * *
Overall Impression: After finishing up The Name of the Wind, I wasn’t really in the mood to start something new — so I just continued Kvothe’s chronicles in The Wise Man’s Fear. This meant that I listened to what amounted to a 71-hour book. Holy crap. Thank goodness I was enjoying the ride.
Kvothe’s story continues at the University for a while, as he and his arch-enemy Ambrose try and make life truly miserable for each other. There are some really wonderful scenes in this part of the book, of Kvothe’s cunning to get certain things from Ambrose and his lovable-yet-terrifying loan shark Devi. He continues to call the name of the wind, and we begin to see pieces of the heroic Kvothe, the Kvothe of legend.
The Wise Man’s Fear then takes a departure from the Harry Potterness of the first book, as Kvothe leaves the University and heads to Severen and the world of Adem beyond. I loved both of the different cultures Rothfuss created for the people of Severen and Adem. The social customs, the world-views, and the behavior of the inhabitants of Severen and Adem made for some very interesting stories and encounters for Kvothe, and he continued to grow from a boy into a man. I particularly loved his interactions with both the Mayor of Severen, and Tempe from Adem. Additionally, we learn where Kvothe gets shadow cloak and his ancient sword. We learn about how he survived his visit to the Faen realm and his encounter with the immortal Felurian. Rothfuss does a marvelous job of giving hints of these things toward the beginning of the series, and then expanding upon them so that Kvothe is indeed the legend the reader believes him to be.
Toward the end, the book takes a very dark turn, which at first felt sudden and unpredictable, but then led to some excellent revelations about Kvothe’s later life.
Positives: Just a really great story. I enjoyed the whole thing.
Negatives: I felt like Kvothe’s time in the University at the beginning of this book should have been part of the first book. Also, I wish it had been trimmed just a bit — by the end I was ready to be reading something else.
Narration: I have the same gripe about anachronism as I did for The Name of the Wind.
Other books I’ve read by Patrick Rothfuss: The Name of the Wind (review)
Other books I’ve listened to narrated by Nick Podehl: The Name of the Wind
Other blogger opinions:
The Broke and the Bookish: “If you couldn’t tell already: I LOVED THIS BOOK! GO READ IT RIGHT NOW!”
Little Red Reviewer: “In my humble opinion, Rothfuss has taken the tried and true “hero’s story”, and turned it into what it always knew it could be, something beyond magical, beyond mythical.”
Book Banter: “While the heavy tome could’ve stood to lose a few pages in editing, readers will no doubt be delighted with its length and depth.”