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Bookmarks Issue: 
52-May-June-2011
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The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day Two

A-The Wise Mans FearAmerican fantasy writer Patrick Rothfuss published his debut novel, New York Times bestseller The Name of the Wind: The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day One (4 of 5 Stars Selection Nov/Dec 2007), to widespread acclaim, winning the Quill Award for best science fiction/fantasy.

The Story: The day after his first sitting with Chronicler, disillusioned hero-turned-innkeeper Kvothe resumes the story of his life as a young and penniless but determined student of magic at the University. When his continuing feud with fellow student Ambrose lands him in serious trouble, Kvothe is persuaded to leave school for a few months and serve the powerful Maer Alveron across the sea in the land of Vintas. Kvothe quickly wins his new employer's trust and is recruited by the Maer to track down a gang of bandits that have been preying on his tax collectors--a dangerous quest that will lead to a hazardous brush with the Fae and an alliance with a secretive clan of warriors.
DAW. 1008 pages. $29.95. ISBN: 9780756404734

LEC Book Reviews 4.5 of 5 Stars
"Readers who fell for The Name of the Wind will love this one--it's everything its predecessor was but better. Rothfuss is not afraid to write the fairytale-like stories we'd forgotten we wanted to read, and his Kvothe story serves to remind what makes fantasy so appealing."

SFFWorld.com 4.5 of 5 Stars
"Rothfuss really had no room for improvement from the last book, in terms of his powerfully addictive narrative abilities, but he may have just upped his ante a bit in Wise Man's Fear. ... My final verdict ... is that it is an incredible novel, a rare novel that lives up to the promise of its predecessor." Rob H. Bedford

Barnes & Noble Review 4 of 5 Stars
"Carefully omitting spoilers, I'll say that the new book delivers all the same pleasures as the first, with a deepening and extension of its chosen territory and remit and Kvothe's character. Readers who enjoyed Wind will surely devour this successor." Paul Di Filippo

Las Vegas Review-Journal 4 of 5 Stars
"Rothfuss fleshes out the side characters so well, readers will enjoy their roles as much as Kvothe's. ... Returning to Kvothe's world feels like an overdue reunion, but it's well worth the wait." Lindsey Losnedahl

Spec Fiction Examiner 4 of 5 Stars
"While some chapters might be more languid than others, you easily get the sense that if you keep going just a bit further, everything is going to start tumbling downhill again. ... The Wise Man's Fear is a stellar addition to this series, and will no doubt only further establish Rothfuss' reputation as well as readers' desire to see the third book out as soon as possible so this grand adventure might reach its inevitable conclusion." Josh Vogt

Onion AV Club 3.5 of 5 Stars
"Fear's prose is solid but unremarkable, its metaphors and descriptive phrases often falling back on comforting clich├ęs. Given the book's length, though, and the remarkable pull of its story, the words don't need to be particularly striking--they just need to get out of the way." Zack Handlen

SF Reviews.net 3 of 5 Stars
"It's as a storyteller that he's all over the map, literally and figuratively. ... This sequel is much too episodic, too drawn out, too lacking in narrative focus to provide a wholly satisfying reading experience." Thomas M. Wagner

Critical Summary

This second entry in the Kingkiller trilogy sent most critics into raptures rivaling those inspired by its predecessor, The Name of the Wind. Rothfuss spins an irresistible web of magic, adventure, and intrigue, but The Wise Man's Fear works on a deeper level as well. As Kvothe matures into manhood, Rothfuss explores his world and its fantastic elements in greater detail--developments that round out character and setting but, claimed a few critics, also impede narrative thrust. By the end, they noted, there is still no hint of the events that will eventually label Kvothe a "Kingkiller," and only one installment to go. Nevertheless, readers who enjoyed Wind should not miss The Wise Man's Fear and will no doubt join the critics in singing Rothfuss's praises.

First in the Series

The Name of the Wind The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day One (2007): 4 of 5 Stars Selection Nov/Dec 2007. A traveling scribe arrives at an inn and soon discovers that the innkeeper, Kote, is really the great hero and wizard Kvothe the Kingkiller. After much prodding, Kvothe agrees to relate the story of his life over the next three days, and, on this first day, recounts the death of his parents at the hands of the mysterious Chandrian and his pledge to avenge them at any cost.