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Thursday, 3 March 2011

The Wise Man's Fear

I'm writing this on my phone on a train going to Cardiff. I love Android; every now and then it reminds me that I'm living in the future.

Avyway. On Tuesday I bought The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. I've been waiting 4 years for this book. I finished it last night.

It's good. Very good. Not as enthralling as The Name Of The Wind (the first book in this projected trilogy) but still better than most. It suffers from middle-of-the-series syndrome, in that there's necessarily a lot going on that will set up events for the final book.

It's also not as tense in places as it deserves to be. There's some dangerous, dramatic stuff happening to Kvothe here, but the problem is we know he's sitting in an inn telling this story years later. It's hard to worry that the Adem will cut off his thumbs or kill him when we know he's whole and alive in the future.

Despite that, its a great read. It doesn't feel like a 900+ page book. It clips along at a hell of a pace. I actually think it would have benefitted from being longer. Some of the events are obviously of massive importance, but there's so much going on here that I sometimes felt like things were being skimmed over; in places it felt episodic, almost picaresque, a sequence of events that don't seem to have much connection. That lends a lot of reality to the story though, in a way; this is Kvothe telling the story of his life, and how else do we remember our lives but as unconnected events?

Having said all that, though, its a solid, enjoyable book. I could spend a lot longer in this world with these characters and Pat's writing is a joy to read. If you haven't read The Name Of The Wind, you should. It was the best fantasy book of 2007. Then read this. Hopefully the wait for book 3 won't be as long, but if it is then so be it. I'm definitely looking forward to the next installment.

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