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Adult Books 4 Teens
Inside Adult Books 4 Teens

The Wise Man’s Fear

The day finally came! The time is here! The long-awaited second volume of the Kingkiller Chronicles, following The Name of the Wind, has arrived.

I served on the Alex Awards committee in 2007, and still remember the thrill of reading The Name of the Wind for the first time. We knew that we had discovered (along with many, many other people) a major new talent. We were also fortunate that Patrick accepted our invitation to participate in the Alex Awards program at ALA the following summer. He was very entertaining, and obviously a little awed and surprised by all of the fuss surrounding his book.

Our reviewer, Karyn Silverman, had the wonderful, difficult task of summarizing and critiquing in 250 words or less a tome of nearly 1,000 pages. Thank you, Karyn!

Let me summarize — The Wise Man’s Fear was well worth the wait. As far as quality fantasy with teen appeal goes, this is as good as it gets. But it does not stand alone. For those without the leisure to re-read The Name of the Wind (and most of us read it four years ago), Patrick Rothfuss and Nathan Taylor offer an informative (not to mention funny) web comic to refresh our memories.Enjoy!

ROTHFUSS, Patrick. The Wise Man’s Fear. 994p. (Kingkiller Chronicles). DAW. 2011. Tr $29.95. ISBN 978-0-7564-0473-4. LC number unavailable.

The Wise Man's Fear

Adult/High School–This may be epic fantasy, but it’s also an intensely personal, sometimes painful coming-of-age for a boy both wiser and stupider than anyone else. The second day of Kvothe’s self-narrated life story chronicles a journey (from humor-filled days at the University surrounded by friends to intrigue in a Vintas court into life as a lowly barbarian in a martial school in the wilds of Adem and back again to the University) that is less circle than spiral. Slowly, he is being refined into a hero and a legend, but the price is steep and the few scenes set in Kvothe’s present show him broken in heart and body. As in The Name of the Wind (DAW, 2007), the plot moves deliberately if not rapidly. The adventures are bigger: Kvothe fights a drug-addled dragon, beds a fae creature made of desire and survives to tell the tale (and vaunt his newfound prowess), wipes out a nest of bandits, and learns to call the wind. But despite the successes, Kvothe is a boy searching for the fearful Chandrian, for the woman he loves, and for a place to belong, so that happy moments are undercut by a plangent sense of what is missing, and further tempered by the increasingly dark revelations from Kvothe’s present. There is not enough great fantasy out there, and nothing else manages this blend of genuine adolescent voice; sophisticated, beautiful writing; and heart-wrenching, pulse-pounding action. This spectacular follow-up to Rothfuss’s Alex Award-winning first book is another winner.–Karyn N. Silverman, LREI (Little Red School House and Elisabeth Irwin High School), New York City

Angela Carstensen About Angela Carstensen

Angela Carstensen is Head Librarian and an Upper School Librarian at Convent of the Sacred Heart in New York City. Angela served on the Alex Awards committee for four years, chairing the 2008 committee, and chaired the first YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adult committee in 2009. Recently, she edited Outstanding Books for the College Bound: Titles and Programs for a New Generation (ALA Editions, 2011). Contact her via Twitter @AngeReads.


  1. Karyn Silverman says:

    Is it cheating to comment on my own review? I just want to add a few things. First: the paper in the hardcover feels wonderful! Really. This is a book you can pet. Second: a qualification on the humor I mention in the review: we’re talking really sly, dry, make-you-snort humor. Finally: on April 17, the television event genre geeks– I mean readers– have been waiting for: George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones hits the screen. This means epic fantasy is about to get a big boost, and I know the readalike display I’m doing will include Patrick Rothfuss, because this is great fantasy. This is world-class, even.

  2. My hat is off to Karyn for being able to summarize the sprawling, epic tale. I loved it, but agree with Angela that it is not a stand alone book. I had to reference the web comic to remind myself of characters and plot points! All in all, well worth the (long) wait.