Review: The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss


The Wise Man’s Fear

The Kingkiller Chronicle #2

Written: Patrick Rothfuss

Published: March 1, 2011

Publisher: DAW

ISBN: 0756404738

Obtained via: Purchase


For nearly four years, fantasy and science fiction enthusiasts have been eagerly awaiting this second volume to Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicles. The first volume, The Name of the Wind, won the prestigious Quill Award and was recently voted as the third-best SFF novel of the decade on In this linchpin book of the trilogy, Kvothe continues his perilous search for answers about the Chandrian even as he grapples with more pressing dangers.

My Review:

Pat Rothfuss’ writing ranks about an 8 on the Sanderson scale. What? You don’t know about the Sanderson scale?

Have you ever read any of Brandon Sanderson’s stuff? Not his Wheel of Time work, but the books that spring from his own imagination like Elantris, Mistborn or — most especially — The Way of Kings? You see, Sanderson writes a mind-bogglingly good fantasy novel. A very highly complex, really good fantasy novel.

If you’ve read any of the above, especially TWoK, you’ll understand. The Sanderson scale is when you come across a book that is a mind-blowing, amazingly fun read — even though you have no idea what the capital-F is going on. And it’s an exponential scale, kind of like the one they have for earthquakes. An 8 on the Sanderson scale is like 100 times more crazily weird than a 7, and so on.

The Wise Man’s Fear is about an 8 on the Sanderson scale because Rothfuss manages to slip in about a 100,000 tiny little mysteries and then MAKES YOU FORGET ABOUT THEM in the next five words, because of the other awesomeness he is writing about.

There are the big ones, of course. Like the Chandrian and the Amyr or who Denna’s patron is. But there are hundreds of smaller ones, too. Like why is Denna’s ring so important to her? And why did Auri come to Kvothe’s room the night Ambrose drugged him? There are tons of little things like that, the ones that make me wonder for an instant and then are gone by the next page.

Intricate is about the only word I can use to describe this book. Kvothe’s whole world seems so intricately locked together that it’s no wonder it took so long for Rothfuss to write and edit book two. I couldn’t even begin to pull out all the threads for examination, let alone keep them all straight in my head if I were the author of this beast!

So yes, here is my summary of adjectives: mind-blowing, amazing, intricate, mysterious, complex. Wonderful. Stunning. (And lots of people say “stunning” in regard to books and movies, but I say I am seriously *stunned* to even think about the amount of effort that went into creating this story.)

Patrick Rothfuss is a rare and delightful storyteller, the likes of which come along by only a handful in each generation. The writer in me can only grovel, bang my forehead on the floor and weep, “I’m not worthy!” The reader in me would say something profound… Except she is still stunned by the depth and richness of this story, and can only blink and rub her eyes and look mystified.

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2 Replies to “Review: The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss”

  1. Stunning, indeed. So much so that after finishing this book, it took me nearly two weeks to collect my thoughts before starting my review.

    So. Much. Happens. And you really do forget about some things that are mentioned, even though they spike your curiosity at the time. I heartily agree with all of your adjectives and I LOVE the Sanderson scale! ;o)

  2. YEP, that pretty much sums it up for me, too. Definitely an 8 on the Sanderson scale. I finished reading it and sat and stared at a wall for an hour because I couldn’t muster up the mental fortitude to move! LOL

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