Audiobook Review: The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

11 03 2011

The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss (Kingkiller Chronicles, Day 2)

Read By Nick Podehl

Brilliance Audio

Genre: Fantasy

Quick Thoughts: Brilliant storytelling and a narrator able to handle the rhythms of the tale makes this one of the best listening experiences of the year.

Grade: A+

I am not too sure how time works in the world created by Patrick Rothfuss in The Kingkiller Chronicles, but I am sure it’s a bit screwy. Like the first book in the trilogy, The Name of the Wind, Kvothe, now living as a simple Inn Keeper, is telling his life story to Chronicler, a famous biographer. The Wise Man’s Fear is the second day of the tale, where Kvothe tells more about his young life at the University, and his travels during a hiatus. Kvothe is a very versatile young hero, as we can see by the fact that he can battle wits with his nemesis Ambrose, go drinking with his friends, search for his beloved Denna, go to class, work in the Artificery, play Lute at Anchors, chat with Ari, work at the Physicers, save damsels in distress, trade quips with the masters, scour the Archives, and battle dark forces all in a single day. This amazed me, until I realized something. Time must be screwy there, because despite breaks, the need for sleep and encounters with bandits, Kvothe spends 43 hours talking to Chronicler on Day 2. Yep, the audiobook version of this one days telling is 43 hours. In order for a person to be able to stand listening to the same audiobook for 43 hours, it better be one hell of a story.

Trust me, it is. The Wise Man’s Fear easily proves The Name of the Wind was no fluke. Rothfuss brings another beautifully told story to us eager readers and listeners. The Wise Man’s Fear is not just the tale of a young man, but a series of moments. Each moment in it self is fulfilling. There are so many times in the book where I laughed out loud, was moved nearly to tears, became angry, frustrated, excited and giddy that it was tough to concentrate on anything other than the book. Rothfuss has brilliant timing as well, each time I was beginning to feel that the tale may start to become stagnant, that Kvothe was in one place too long, Rothfuss would open a new unexpected path for us to follow Kvothe down. As with the first book, this is the type of Fantasy novel that offers so many things to all different types of fantasy fans. No matter how easy it is for people to lump together the fantasy geeks of this world, there is a lot of variety among the geekdom, and The Kingkiller Chronicles is one of the few series I have read or listened to that would appeal to all.

Again Nick Podehl handles the narration. In the first novel, I thought he took some time to get into the flow of things, but in The Wise Man’s Fear, Podehl hits his stride fast and never lets it go. The Wise Man’s Fear is not an easy read for a narrator, full of verse and rhythm, of songs and fairy tales and Podehl does it all justice. His voice handles the young eager narrator as well as the older Masters and nobles with ease. Podehl natural rhythm fits so well with Rothfuss’ world it was like they were made for each other. It is tough for such an eagerly awaited book to fulfill its promise, yet The Wise Man’s Fear eclipses it, easily offering us one of the best listening experiences of the year.

 

My Reviews of The Name of the Wind:

Text Version

Audio Version

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5 responses

11 03 2011
Redhead

holy cow, 43 hours!!! I’ve got a 2 hour audio book that I’m struggling to finish. It’s good, I’m just not used to it.

How did Podehl handle the “hand-sign” communications?

17 03 2011
Seer

I didn’t listen to this on audio – I read the printed version because I couldn’t wait 43 hours to get through it – but still loved it!

Very interesting point about the time. Obviously Rothfuss didn’t think about the audio version when he decided to make one book=one day of storytelling. Not that I think it really matters.

There were many things to love about this story, particularly the mysteries and secrets, and I enjoyed it even more than The Name of the Wind.

30 03 2011
MissingJohn

I DO think it matters, actually. Rothfuss created the limits within his own story. If it didn’t matter then he shouldn’t have created the limit of each book being told in one day. Don’t get me wrong – the books are brilliant and I love them, but because it’s not explained in the canon it does kind of take me out of the world that Rothfuss has created. I’ve actually asked him about this on his Facebok site and he’s promised an answer on his blog. I think that the answer is likely to be that time is different in his world, but whatever he says will satisfy me and then I can put it to rest. I doubt very seriously it’s not something he thought about or his editors thought about. His world is too carefully thought out to conclude that he didn’t realize this. He just decided not to explain in the canon and his fans will be curious, I think.

15 12 2011
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