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The Wise Man's Fear Hardcover – Mar 1 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 79 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 994 pages
  • Publisher: DAW (March 1 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0756404738
  • ISBN-13: 978-0756404734
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 4.8 x 23.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 79 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #77,409 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

Amazon Best Books of the Month, March 2011: 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 readers of Patrick Rothfuss's outstanding first book, The Name of the Wind, which has gathered both a cult following and a wide readership in the four years since it came out, will remember that Kvothe promised to tell his tale of wonder and woe to Chronicler, the king's scribe, in three days. The Wise Man's Fear makes up day two, and 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. Drop everything and read these books. --Daphne Durham

Author Q&A with Patrick Rothfuss

Q: Your first novel, The Name of the Wind introduces the hero (or some may say anti-hero) Kvothe as a larger-than-life living legend.

A: I don't know if I'd call him larger-than-life. His reputation is larger-than-life, certainly. The man himself is remarkably life-sized. I think that's part of the reason people like him.

Q: How did you create him?

A: I got the idea for Kvothe after I finished reading Cyranno De Bergerac for the first time. I was completely knocked over by that character. He was passionate, arrogant, witty, clever, a fighter, a poet, a philosopher. He was compelling and interesting, and a bit of a bastard, but you loved him and felt sorry for him. I remember thinking, "Why haven't I ever read a fantasy novel with a character this good?"

Shortly after that I read Casanova's memoirs. That's when I realized that autobiography could be really compelling so long as the person's life is exciting, and their personality is interesting.

Those two things might not have been the seed for the book, they were certainly around when the seed was sprouting....

Q: What contemporary superhero would you put Kvothe up against?

A: Batman.

Q: Who would win?

A: Ah hell. If we're talking about Kvothe as he appears in the second book. Batman would probably come out on top. I'd say Kvothe would only have about a 30% chance of pulling off the win there.

But even if Batman did win, he'd walk away with a limp.

Q: Kvothe leads readers through the entire series—from the storytelling, to the action, to the inner monologue. Are there any similarities between Kvothe and yourself?

A: A few. But less than people typically think. People are always saying, "Why do you hate poets so much?" I have to remind them that Kvothe is the one with that particular grudge.

But yeah. There are a few similarities. We both have the bad habit of expressing ourselves freely and clearly when it would be better to keep our mouths shut.

Q: Fans love the books and are fascinated by the characters, but you’ve also garnered a cult-like following. Can you tell us what that’s like?

A: I've got a cult? That's awesome. Do they have robes and stuff? Do we have baccanals? We better have baccanals. If I have cult it better old-school. Dionysian. Orgiastic. If I find out they're just drinking tang and handing out pamphlets on streetcorners I'm going to be pissed.

Q: When did you realize that you wanted to become a writer?

A: I’ve known I wanted to be a writer for a long time. Since forever. I started my first fantasy novel when I was 15 or so. It wasn’t very good, of course. In fact, it was horrible. Beyond horrible. It had cat-man samurai in it. I'm not even kidding. But it was a good learning experience. The mistakes I made in that novel taught me a lot about writing. Generally speaking, our failures teach us more than our successes. Part of the reason The Name of the Wind turned out so good is because I made so many rookie mistakes in that first, horrible novel.

Q: Did any of your experiences in college influence some of the scenes at the University?

A: No. Not really. You're making that whole Pat/Kvothe mistake again. He's the one with the red hair. I'm the one with the beard.

A lot of people assume that because I spent 11 years in college, I based the University off my experiences as a student. It's a reasonable thought, but it couldn't be further from the truth. It wouldn't have taken me nearly so long to write this book I was just stealing things out of the real world.

The truth is, I find stories that are thinly-veiled autobiography pretty tiresome. Authors inevitably put something of themselves into a book, but that doesn't mean you should turn your 3rd grade math teacher into a villain in a desperate attempt to get revenge. I've read books like that in the past. They're terrible.

Q: What was the best class you took in all that time?

A: Basic Critical Thinking. This is usually taught as a philosophy class at most universities, but in my opinion it should be required for every college student.

You see, everyone assumes they know how to think rationally, but most people don't. We are emotional, messy-headed creatures. And even very clever, well-informed people can be very stupid when it comes to dealing with things in a rational, critical way.

I've had people try to have arguments with me. They say things like, "What you have to realize is that logically..." and then they spout off the most ridiculous bullshit. They don't know what logic is. They think that if they feel strongly about something, it's logic. They think if they grew up believing it, it's logic.

I had a guy try to convince me that ESP was real because he was thinking about his girlfriend before the phone rang. Not only was he sure he was right, but he was absolutely certain that he was providing a crushing argument. He felt unassailable in his reasoning.

All I could think was, 'Sweet baby Jesus. That's a post hoc fallacy. You're trying to convince me using faulty logic that Aristotle was making fun of over 2000 years ago.' Maybe that shit works in whatever N-sync chatroom you grew up in. But don't bring it round here. Here we have rational discourse. You want to sit at the grown-up table, you learn the rules.

Q: The structure of your story is different than most fantasy novels. Why did you choose to write your book that way?

A: Everyone always seems so surprised by the framed story, but it isn't anything new. The Princess Bride is a framed tale. The Arabian Nights is a framed tale.... Taming of the Shrew is a... well... it's half a framed tale.

As for the first person, it’s the most natural form of storytelling there is. When you tell your friend a story, you say, "I almost got hit by a truck today.” You don't hide behind third person.

Yeah. Sure. Most novels are written a different way. Tradition. The Aristotelian unities. Three act structure. What do I care about that? I'm not doing a paint-by-numbers here. I'm not doing a connect-the-dots. I’m looking to tell a different type of story here. I'll do it my way.

Q: The first edition of The Name of the Wind was released in 2007. What kinds of projects have you been involved with over the past 3 years, besides writing The Wise Man's Fear, the long-awaited and highly anticipated sequel?

A: Let's see…

I started a charity called Worldbuilders. Fantasy authors and publishers donate books that we use to encourage people to donate to Heifer International. In the last three years we've raised over half a million dollars for Heifer International.

I also wrote a not-for-children picture book illustrated by my friend Nate Taylor. It turned out amazing. I think of it as Calvin and Hobbes meets Coraline meets Edward Gorey.

Oh. And I had a baby. Does that count as a project? I think it counts as a project.

Q: What’s next for Kvothe and the Kingkiller Chronicle?

A: Explosions. Gunfights. Moonlit swordfights across rooftops. Johnny Depp. Naked supermodels. Kung-fu. Car chases. A thousand elephants.

Actually, that's all a lie. I don't believe in spoilers.

Still, I think it's safe to say that Kvothe grows up a bit in the second book. There's a big difference between the story of a young boy and the story of a young man. It wouldn't be realistic to have twelve-year-old Kvothe doing much swashbuckling. But sixteen-year-old Kvothe? Yeah. It's safe to say that he'll be buckling a little swash.


"The best epic fantasy I read last year.... He's bloody good, this Rothfuss guy." — George R. R. Martin, author of The Song of Ice and Fire series

"The Wise Man's Fear is a beautiful book to read. Masterful prose, a sense of cohesion to the storytelling, a wonderful sense of pacing.... There is a beauty to Pat's writing that defies description." — Brandon Sanderson

"As seamless as a song...this breathtakingly epic story is heartrending in its intimacy and masterful in its narrative essence." — Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed The Name of the Wind and was expecting
more in this second book. I like the character of Kvothe
especially as an adult. You want more but half way through
book two, there really isn't much more we know. It seems to
go a bit too slow as to his development. Especially since
book three is still not done. It's now been 5 years.
I sincerely hope it doesn' end up being another 'Game of Thrones' - no end in sight.
I hesitate to suggest to others to read it, not knowing when Book Three will be out.
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Format: Paperback
[[SPOILERS by the barrel-load! Yes, this is a long review, but it's a really long book.]]
'The Name of the Wind' annoyed me on many levels, at many times, but I never considered giving up on it, once I got past the terrible intro. To me, that's a testament to Rothfuss' gifts as a storyteller... in some respects. The opening paragraph of that first book made me wince, then laugh, and a clock started ticking; any writer who would open a story with such a meaningless puff of poetics about 3-part silences has blundered through the tripwire of my tolerance. The storyteller has to move very fast to survive the countdown, and the accompanying big, heavy thud of a 1000 page book being slammed shut and shelved for all eternity. Obviously it caught my interest long before I reached the ineffable 'F**k This' threshold. For all his faults, Patrick Rothfuss can hook a reader as surely as the drugstore-spinrack masters like King and Koontz. He always manages to reach escape velocity, even when the gravitational pull of his ill-conceived ideas would send most writers plummeting back to the surface in a fiery heap. His abilities as a prose stylist have been exaggerated, but for a writer of fantasy, Rothfuss is definitely top-tier. Most of the writing shies away from pretentious, extraneous poetics and philosophical bulls**t, but the narrative device he employs -- a story within a story, told mostly in the first-person -- makes it hard to get carried away, since every sentence has to retain a realistic, near-conversational feel. The biggest problem in using a first-person perspective for a sweeping fantasy epic is that the reader is seeing an entire 'alien' world through one person's eyes.

One of the weakest aspects of TNOTW was it's attempt at world-building.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
The Wise Man's Fear is book two in The Kingkiller Chronicle, picking up the story of the legendary arcanist Kvothe from where it left off in Rothfuss' debut, The Name of the Wind. True to its predecessor, The Wise Man's Fear is the story of Kvothe telling his own story—in the present action, Kvothe is expecting mortal danger, and enlists a scribe to write down the truth behind the legends before he dies.

Now roughly sixteen years old in his tales, Kvothe takes a leave from the University to become court musician in a distant province. There, he discovers a plot on the mayor's life, helps the mayor court a noblewoman, and is later sent into the wilds with hired mercenaries to hunt down bandits. On his way back, Kvothe has a run-in with the goddess of lust, Felurian, then studies swordfighting with the stoic Adem warriors.

Adventures like these make up most of the novel, with very little action in the present. As I mentioned in my review of The Name of the Wind, I wish Rothfuss would spend more time in the present—the town has just been attacked by demons, yet Kvothe's past is somehow more pressing. Again, there's also no real end to the novel—Kvothe finishes telling one of his tales and decides it's getting late—but at least the final adventure was the result of a conscious decision and not something that Kvothe literally stumbles into like in book one. In this respect, I suppose Kvothe is becoming somewhat less of the accidental hero he was at the outset.

Halfway through the book, I was convinced The Wise Man's Fear was a three-star novel. Early on there are scenes in which the story is told, rather than shown, and others in which all of Kvothe's outstanding problems are solved in the span of a few short chapters. As the book progresses, however, the novel's depth improves substantially, with Kvothe facing several difficult and defining challenges that begin to bridge the gap between the young student and the man of legend. Four stars.
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Format: Hardcover
For those looking for a mature, first person narrative instead of all action all the time epic fantasy novel, this is an excellent read.
The character development is amazing, the world creation is fantastic, and the flow of the story is great.
I have read A Song of Ice and Fire, Wheel of Time, Memory Sorrow Thorn, Gentlemen Bastards, and several other excellent fantasy novels, and this ranks among the best of them.
I will warn those of you who are into books like Game of Thrones, or Wheel of Time, that this is NOT epic fantasy it is just a really really good first person story about growing, making mistakes, and learning... or not learning from them.
Definitely recommend for all those who like the fantasy genre, and even those who do not.
You are not going to get better than this.
PS: Please read 'Name of the Wind' first.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm only about halfway through the book at this point, but I had to set it down (with difficulty) to post a much-deserved 5 star review. As with Name of the Wind, never before though do I recall appreciating fantasy this much for the writing itself, let alone the story (which is also one of the most engaging I've read). I am a fan of first-person writing, more intimate fantasy stories (as opposed to massive world building) for the most part, and this is the best I've read. The humour is great too, without being overdone or cheapening the story at all. Basically I can't recommend these books enough.
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