Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Wise Man's Fear Book Review

Such a wonderful book

The Name of the Wind might be my favorite book ever.  For that reason, I came into this book with pretty high expectations.  That being said, I read this book in 9 days.  It. IS. AWESOME!

The Name of the Wind was a coming of age tale for Kvothe (the protagonist).  The Wise Man’s Fear is a story of how a young man makes a name for himself.

The Protagonist

The story starts off right where the last story left off.  Kote (the guy telling the inner story) cleans up a bit in his inn, then jumps right back into where the previous story left off.  In the last book Kvothe made a name for himself.  He’s not just some crazy prodigy anymore, he’s a 16 year old who has commanded respect and shown himself to be quite remarkable. 

The story starts off with Kvothe continuing with the momentum where the last book left off.  The first 200 pages of the book feature Kvothe doing pretty well for himself.  Learning more advanced magic, being fairly successful with the ladies, and having some good friends nearby.  After the dark beginning of Name of the Wind, it’s quite pleasant to read about Kvothe actually living a pleasant and fun life.

One of the Chandrain

But of course, things don’t stay peachy forever.  The events of the last book catch up to Kvothe, and he ends up being forced to leave the school for a bit.  The University sections are phenomenal, and it kind of sucks seeing him leave, but the events that follow are quite interesting as well.

Kvothe goes out seeking a patron (sponsor) for his music, and ends up finding some pretty different things.  He deals with deception, the complexity of the nobility, romance, and quite a bit of violence.  It’s this violence that actually is quite unique in the literature I’ve read.  Most stories like this feature a hero who follows a strong moral code and always does the right thing

Like this guy! (Harry Potter)

Our protagonist is no harry potter though.   Kvothe gets the job done.  Sometimes this leads him doing some things that sound like a normal villain.  Dark magic, disturbing the dead, putting himself in seriously bad situations, but in the attempt to serve the greater good. 

Decisions, decisions...

This book portrays the real struggle of the world.  Sometimes in order to do the right thing you have to do some questionable things.  Some of us have the nerve and guts to get the job done, and some of us don’t.   Things like Guantanamo bay come to mind.  Is violating human rights acceptable if it allows innocents to be better protected?  I don’t have an answer to that question, but the Wise Man’s Fear gets you asking questions like that.

The book also has a section near the end with certain mystical characters that really cranks up the fantasy element of this book.  Those sections are absolutely phenomenal, and are incredibly thematic.  They put Kvothe straight into a bed time story, and he rises to the occasion in a remarkable way.  (I don’t want to spoil anything else, but it’s wonderful.  Truly wonderful).

Throughout this book Kvothe also happens to start practicing a fighting practice forbidden to ‘Barbarians’.  In an attempt to help the friend who taught him, Kvothe also goes to a school of the martial arts.  This book is a fascinating change of pace, and it is an opportunity for the theme of the ‘right path’ or Lethani to be discussed.  Here the theme of the ends justifying the means is examined further.  Kvothe is put in many situations where he is forced to find hard answers to hard questions.

And then Kvothe is finally permitted to wrap up unfinished business.  I don’t want to give away the ending, but the book hints that the end of book 2 is the calm before the storm, which is the finale of this three book series.

The Wise Man’s Fear continues to entertain the reader in a thrilling fantasy series while simultaneously delivering a powerful thematic message

And unfortunately, now we all have to wait, as book 3 is still in the works.


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