There’s really nothing like dipping into a book feeling returning to an old friend. Comfortable, comforting, like it’s an old story you know and love. Reading The Wise Man’s Fear was like continuing on a long journey with people and places I was already very intimate with. It took a very long time (nearly 1000 pages), we got a bit lost in the middle (nearly 1000 pages), we fell out a little bit (nearly 1000 pages), but eventually we made it to the end. (Except this is a trilogy and I can’t help but feel like the end is still very far away.)
I said it before about The Wise Man’s Fear’s precursor, The Name of the Wind, but Rothfuss really does have the most beautiful and captivating writing style . There’s something just so easy and clever about it, every detail captured so elegantly, characters brought to life so vividly. Returning to the University with Kvothe was like returning to Hogwarts and I loved every second. And just when you think it’s going to be the same, and you’re a little bit tired with the same old routines and school terms, Rothfuss rips him away from it all and sends him on an adventure so ginormous and so ridiculous that at some points I honestly thought Kvothe was just having a very elaborate dream.
It’s the stuff of legend, the material from ancient adventure tales and that really is the whole point. We know who Kvothe is in the present as he tells the stories of his past, and we know his reputation, what has and what hasn’t happened, and how stories have been created both by and about him.
As Rothfuss writes:
“No story can move a thousand miles by word of mouth and keep its shape”
Rothfuss is obsessed with showcasing the power and significance of stories, of words and of names, and he enters into this narrative in such a magical and compelling way. The story he tells is simultaneously of and about legend, and there is an awareness throughout of exactly what he, and Kvothe too, is doing. They are weaving their own stories together as lives both real and imaginary, ordinary and extraordinary.
It’s beautiful and it’s clever and it’s fun and it’s funny, and to be honest one more book just won’t do it for me because Rothfuss has created a world inhabited with people I do not want to leave behind. And that takes some doing. We should all try and learn something from the master story-teller, I know I already have.