11 May 2011

The Wise Man's Fear - Patrick Rothfuss


The Blurb:
 In The Wise Man's Fear, Day Two of The Kingkiller Chronicle, Kvothe searches for answers, attempting to uncover the truth about the mysterious Amyr, the Chandrian, and the death of his parents. Along the way, Kvothe is put on trial by the legendary Adem mercenaries, forced to reclaim the honor of his family, and travels into the Fae realm. There he meets Felurian, the faerie woman no man can resist, and who no man has ever survived...until Kvothe.

In The Wise Man's Fear, Kvothe takes his first steps on the path of the hero and learns how difficult life can be when a man becomes a legend in his own time

Patrick Rothfuss dazzled everyone with his debut novel published in 2007, The Name of the Wind. This is his second instalment in the series and one of the most anticipated books of 2011. The first one was pretty brilliant. The way that Mr. Rothfuss writes pulls you into the story, and the pages just fly by. His pacing, humour, and settings are masterfully crafted.

Kvothe is still a student at the University, struggling to make tuition each term and battling with Ambrose, the “rich kid” in the book that had everything handed to him. Their animosity gets out of hand a bit and Kvothe decides to take some time off from his studies until the dust settles. Denna is the one constant in his life, even if she is never around. And a bit slutty.

I’m glad that Rothfuss managed to get him out into the world, since there is only so much that can be said about student life. Yes, he gets expelled sometime in the future as mentioned in The Name of the Wind, but a less serious break was needed to move the story along. He still has to earn some of his reputation.

He gets a hand from his friend, Count Threpe, to travel to a distant land to help a king court a lady, saving the king form poisoning, hunting bandits and becoming one of his trusted advisors, even though he is only sixteen. Then he meets Felurian, the sex bot Fae who can steal a man’s sanity with her prowess. Except for Kvothe, of course. He’s the man.

It is about here in the book that I started rolling my eyes and wishing some serious bodily harm on Kvothe.

I understand that he has to enter the Fae realm, otherwise how is his friendship with Bast explained? Did he have to meet the sex-elf as a sixteen year old? And then trick her into letting him go? As a SIXTEEN year old? And of course he learns her pleasure secrets, so that he can basically make a woman orgasm with a look. (Insert me puking my guts out here).

Yes, I understand that it’s fantasy. I understand that there should be a reason for it beyond the sex education of a young man. Or at least I hope there is a better explanation. Otherwise, why not just use a hot prostitute? Or milkmaid?

The training with the Adem was just as brutal. Zen buggers with a life philosophy that helps them kick you in the neck faster than you can blink. Yawn. And Kvothe gets accepted and trains and he get the pretty girl. Again.

Now he can speak with his hands and slice you to pieces with a sword. Since he is awesome and spent two months with them. But it’s mostly the awesomeness. And the sex tricks he picked up of course.

Throughout the first and second books Kvothe brags about inventing rumours about himself, writing songs about his exploits and padding his experiences a bit to make the stories better, for the sole reason to stoke his reputation. That’s all well and good, but then he goes and achieves all of the above before he is eighteen? Not to judge, why invent anything, since the sun shines out of your ass anyways?

The breaks in the story shows Kvothe as a broken innkeeper who cannot use his sympathy or secret ninja training received from the Adem. The world is at war. That is well and good. It shows that the third book has to be a helluva lot better than this one.

My biggest problem with the book is that it’s been reading as a classic fantasy novel thus far. Good guy is good in everything, he gets the girl(s) and he is the smartest, best looking and most talented bugger to walk the earth. I do not like that type of fantasy. If I want that, I’d go and re read Eddings.

I’m not saying that Rothfuss should kill off half his characters to show that he is serious, but jeez. Making your one hero so heroic that he’s nauseating?
If all Edema Ruh are as arrogant as Kvothe, it would explain why no one likes them much.

My opinion: The writing is beautiful. Interaction between characters are well done, the world is explained enough so that you know what is going on, but not so much that Rothfuss can be accused of wordbuilding just for worldbuildings sake. I just hate Kvothe, which makes it hard to enjoy the book.

No one should be as good as that. Not even in fantasy.
6 out of 10.

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