Dec 17 2010 1:08pm

Worth waiting for: Patrick Rothfuss’s The Wise Man’s Fear

The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick RothfussI was fortunate enough to get to read an ARC of Patrick Rothfuss's The Wise Man's Fear, which is due out from DAW on the first of March 2011. This is the Kingkiller Chronicles, Day 2, the sequel to The Name of the Wind.

The Wise Man's Fear was worth waiting for. It's about as good as this kind of fantasy can possibly get.

Absolutely no spoilers whatsoever anywhere.

This is a long book set in a complex fantasy world. I'm not surprised it took a little while to write, and I'd much rather have something this good now than something less good sooner. If you liked The Name of the Wind, you're going to like this. It is seamless. If you haven't read The Name of the Wind, go and read it now, you have plenty of time anyway. Do not attempt to read this one first. This is not in any way a standalone book. It's volume two of a trilogy, and while it has a shape, as the first one does, and doesn't end on a cliffhanger, you absolutely need to read them in order for them to make sense.

There's a lovely sequence of events, including some things I didn't see coming. There are some lovely clever things. We learn a lot more about some things mentioned briefly in the frame in the first volume, like the Fae, swords, lots of things. It's all light and easy to read and easy to absorb and be absorbed by. There are books that leave you feeling wrung out, and there are books that leave you feeling like you've had a vacation. This is definitely the latter kind.

The gender politics are much better than in the previous volume—there are sensible grown-up women. Denna continues to annoy me, but I thought that all the other female characters were a whole lot better. While Kvothe learns new skills here, we also see him being hopeless at them to begin with. He also grows up quite a bit and stops being so much of a jerk. There's also an awesome language bit that has proxemics—it reminded me of Hellspark, and in a good way.

I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of immersing myself completely in the world and the events. It's such a great world, and the people are like real people, and what happens is endlessly entertaining. The only caveat I have is that there's likely to be another long wait for the third one.'s worth it.

And in March, once it has been published and everyone has the chance to read it, I'll re-read both books together and do a long spoilerific post for us to gossip about the characters and the world. I'm really looking forward to that. There's nothing better I can say when I've just finished a book than that I am already looking forward to reading it again.

Jo Walton is a science fiction and fantasy writer. She’s published two poetry collections and eight novels, most recently Lifelode. She has a ninth novel coming out in January, Among Others, and if you liked this post you will like it. She reads a lot, and blogs about it here regularly. She comes from Wales but lives in Montreal where the food and books are more varied.

1. DontDriveAngry
Thought the first book was mediocre but may eventually pick this up. I couldn't stand the main character for so many reasons but it sounds like maybe there's some changes for the better...
2. KiManiak
Definitely looking forward to this book. I really enjoyed The Name of the Wind, and have eagerly been awaiting book number 2 for a little while. I'll have to work in a reread of book number 1 before March.
3. Weijian
I had the same meh reaction about my first read of The Name of the Wind. Then I read it again and got the inkling that Mr. Rothfuss is setting us up and quietly maneuvering our reader expectations. Kvothe is looking to be a VERY unreliable narrator.
Kerwin Miller
4. tamyrlink
oh youre so lucky i cant stand it lol! i need to get a job at tor! i have been waiting for this book for some time. now i know i need to plan my reread of The Name of the Wind for sometime in february.
Melissa Shumake
5. cherie_2137
i've never been gushy about any author after only one book, until i read the name of the wind. i read it in one sitting, ate dinner, and wanted to start it over again. instead i looked up patrick rothfuss on the internet and started reading all of his lovely blogs. needless to say, this guy makes me super happy. can't wait for wise man's fear!
6. Noobling
I am so envious of the advanced copy...what I would do for one! Thanks for sharing.
7. dmg
LOL, Noobling! I know you mean to thank Jo for telling us all about the book, but read as one run-on sentence, it seems you thank her for sharing the ARC asap. Or did you mean it that way?

So, LOL, as I said. Thank you for the chuckle.
James Goetsch
8. Jedikalos
Loved the first book! Glad to hear we will have the next one soon.
lake sidey
9. lakesidey
Ooh, I so envy you! I am just finishing off book 1, and if this one is anything like it, March can't come too soon for me!
Brent Longstaff
10. Brentus
I can't wait! I hope they use the same narrator for the audiobook.
Jo Walton
11. bluejo
And as well as being lucky enough to read it early, I also got to sit next to my husband as he read it and see his face when he got to certain parts.

Well, it'll be out on St. David's Day, not all that long to wait really.
Maggie K
12. SneakyVerin
I was one of the few who did not get what the big fuss was over Name of the Wind. I did enjoy the book, but thought the whole 'memoir' style made it hard to care. I will be picking this up anyway, and glad to hear it is an improvement.
13. Foxessa
I really liked Name of the Wind and wrote about why way back when on DeepGenre. I'm much looking forward to reading thsi new one. It may even be the only novel I read in the coming months, considering the history project is eating all my reading time.

Love, C.
Sarah Bylund
14. shrain78
FINALLY! Now I need to re-read the first one. *squee!*
pat purdy
16. night owl
Yes! Fell in love with this book whaaaay back when. I remember reading on Patrick's blog that he had the whole trilogy written when it was submitted for publishing. Then he said he had to do some rewriting and then later he said he was working hard on the second book. It sounds like it paid off reviewing and reworking .
Can't wait.
Bobby Stubbs
17. Valan
Awesome, I loved the first one, but after reading it I had the feeling that it could only get better.
18. Mauryl
I actually just finished my 2nd read of The Name of the Wind today. Even better than I remembered. Can't wait for March and it's so good to hear that the transition will be seamless. I'm eager to see the effect of Bast's late night meeting has on the way Chronicler directs Kvothe in the next novel.
tayyab saeed
19. skyhawkafm
Just read "the name of the wind" got immersed in reading it, made quite a few people angry by missing a few appointments.
the best part about his writing is that the book made me feel for, rather feel wit the protogonist. Guess i am not expressing it right but simply there were time where plot line went as expected or where i didn't like the hero but still i was with him all the time. and the biggest shock was the end which fell on me out of know where and left me grasping for more
Stephen Aryan
20. StephenAryan
Really can't wait to read this as I enjoyed the first one so much. I'm very glad to hear it is as unpredictable and special as the first.
Bruce Cohen
21. SpeakerToManagers
The only thing that ameliorates my envy of your getting an ARC of the sequel to "The Name of the Wind" is getting a solid publication date, and knowing I'll be able to get a copy in only 3 more months. The uncertainty about when, or even if, it would be published has been eating at me ever since I read the first book about 8 months ago and realized that the second book's schedule had slipped.

After finishing "The Name of the Wind" I turned to my partner Eva, who had bought it without knowing anything about it and read it before I did, and she asked me if I'd liked it, and I said, "Not yes, but Hell yes!", and then that it not only was it a terrific first novel, but that it was very, very good even for a novel by a mature writer with many books published. In fact, it reminds me a little in the sureness of the structure and the confidence in the voice and word choices of Peter Beagle, especially "The Inn-Keeper's Song" and the stories in "Giant Bones". I don't know higher praise than that.
lake sidey
22. lakesidey
@ 21 SpeakerToManagers : Loved your handle! And yes, I agree it doesn't feel like a "first book", but like the voice of a long-experienced writer, honed to an easy polish by time and practice. With folks like Patrick Rothfuss and GRRM (and, I don't doubt, the prolific BWS, though I haven't read anything by him outside of WoT) writing, this is an exciting time to be reading Fantasy. (I was going to say it is the best time to be doing so, but edited it because I suspect *that* will be a dozen or so years down the line, when these series are completed!)

23. BlueRose
I loved the first one, and everyone I have recommended it to (and who were brave enough to pick up my hefty PB copy) not only loved it but went out and bought their own copies :)

So I am very very enthusiastic about finally seeing this in print, will go and place my preorder in now!
24. redhead
seeing a review for this makes it just that much easier to wait until March to read it. . . and that much harder.

I am happily surprised to see this up, I figured they would embargo reviews of this specific title.
25. Deepali
I absolutely loved the first one, and I've done a couple of re-reads already. Will probably do another the week it is released, just to keep the anticipation high!
26. Deepali
Yes, I know I had a misplaced modifier in my comment @25. 'It' refers to the second book being released :)
27. Allison (Allure of Books)
I can't wait!
28. Leah Hansen
I just finished reading The Name of the Wind today, and it absolutely blew me out of the water. Can't wait for the second one! Thanks for this non-spoilery sneak peek, Jo!
29. Tracey C.
Hrm. I read the first one, finally, after much ballyhooing on the internets about it, and was left feeling sort of meh about it. The writing seemed good enough, I was intensely interested in some of the events as they were happening, but my thought at the end, in response to someone (don't recall who) stating that most people really only need one day to tell their lives (and K's was going to take three), was that really, it could have been one with a better editor.
30. Alex S.
I've been seduced by the kingkiller chronicles since I snatched the advance reader's copy of the Name of the Wind. So suffice to say I have been waiting a long, long time. The looking back/story telling aspect leaves some people not to keen, but it really just allows the counterplay of a bit of foreshadowing occurring to leave the reader guessing and hyped to see what new secrets are revealed. I greatly appreciated the time Mrs. Walton took to read and share what she could with us. I am even hoping to make it to see Patrick Rothfuss while he is touring after the release.

@ Tracey C. I would be greatly disappointed if 2/3 rds of the first book were removed to turn the trilogy into a single day/single novel. The depth of the plot and the ability to live Kvothes' life as he did is amazing.

Subscribe to this thread

Receive notification by email when a new comment is added. You must be a registered user to subscribe to threads.
Post a comment