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The Wise Man's Fear: The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day Two (Kingkiller Chronicles) Paperback – March 6, 2012
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Amazon Best Books of the Month, March 2011: The Wise Man's Fear continues the mesmerizing slow reveal of the story of Kvothe the Bloodless, an orphaned actor who became a fearsome hero before banishing himself to a tiny town in the middle of Newarre. The readers of Patrick Rothfuss's outstanding first book, The Name of the Wind, which has gathered both a cult following and a wide readership in the four years since it came out, will remember that Kvothe promised to tell his tale of wonder and woe to Chronicler, the king's scribe, in three days. The Wise Man's Fear makes up day two, and uncovers enough to satisfy readers and make them desperate for the full tale, from Kvothe's rapidly escalating feud with Ambrose to the shockingly brutal events that mark his transformation into a true warrior, and to his encounters with Felurian and the Adem. Rothfuss remains a remarkably adept and inventive storyteller, and Kvothe's is a riveting tale about a boy who becomes a man who becomes a hero and a killer, spinning his own mythology out of the ether until he traps himself within it. Drop everything and read these books. --Daphne Durham
Author One-on-One: Patrick Rothfuss and Brandon Sanderson
In an exclusive interview for Amazon.com, epic fantasy authors Patrick Rothfuss (The Wise Man's Fear) and Brandon Sanderson (Towers of Midnight) sat down to discuss collaborating with publishers, dealing with success, and what goes into creating and editing their work.
Rothfuss: Heya Brandon.
Sanderson: Hey there, Pat. Nice talking with you again.
Rothfuss: Thanks for being willing to do this. I know you're insanely busy these days.
Okay. Let me just jump right in here with a question. How long was Way of Kings? I heard a rumor that the ARC I read was 400,000 words long. It didn't really feel like it…
Sanderson: Let me see. I will open it right now and word count it, so you have an exact number. It’s 386,470 words, though the version you read was an advance manuscript, before I did my final 10% tightening draft, which was 423,557 words.
I didn’t really want it to be that long. At that length we’re running into problems with foreign publishers having to split it and all sorts of issues with making the paperback have enough space. I didn’t set out to write a thousand-page, 400,000-word book. It’s just what the novel demanded.
Rothfuss: Wise Man's Fear ended up being 395,000 words. And that's despite the fact that I've been pruning it back at every opportunity for more than a year. I'd spend weeks trimming superfluous words and phrases, extra lines of dialogue, slightly redundant description until the book was 12,000 words shorter.
Then a month later I'd realize I needed to add a scene to bring better resolution to a plot line. Then I'd add a couple paragraphs to clarify some some character interaction. Then I'd expand an action scene to improve tension. Suddenly the book's 8,000 words longer again.
Sanderson: Yeah, that’s exactly how it goes.
It’s very rare that I’m able to cut entire scenes. If I can cut entire scenes that means there’s something fundamentally not working with the sequence and I usually end up tossing the whole thing and rewriting it. But trimming, or pruning as you described it, works very well with my fiction.
I can usually cut fifteen percent off just by nurturing the text, pruning it, looking for the extraneous words and phrases. But I wonder if in doing that there’s a tendency to compensate. There’s a concept in dieting that if someone starts working out really hard, they start to say, “Well, that means I can now eat more,” and you’ll find people compensating for the extra calorie loss by eating more because they feel they can. I wonder if we do that with our fiction. I mean, I will get done with this big long trim and I’ll say, “Great, now I have the space to do this extra thing that I really think the story needs,” and then the story ends up going back to just as long.
Though at least in my case I can blame my editor too. He’s very good with helping me with line edits, but where we perhaps fuel each other in the wrong way is that he’ll say, “Ooh, it’d be awesome if you add this,” or “This scene needs this,” or “Can you explain this?” And I say, “Yes! I can explain that. I’d love to!” And then of course the book gets longer and then we both have to go to Tom Doherty with our eyes downward saying, “Um, the book is really long again, Tom. Sorry.”
I have a question for you, then. Did you always intend the Kingkiller Chronicle to be three days split across three books? Or did you start writing it as one book and then split it? What’s the real story behind that?
Rothfuss: Assuming I had any sort of plan at the beginning is a big mistake. I just started writing. I didn't have a plan. I didn't know what I was doing.
For years and years I just thought of it as The Book in my head. I've always thought of it as one big story. Then, eventually I realized it would need to be broken up into volumes.
I can't say why I picked three books except that three is a good number. It's sort of the classic number. And while the story is working well in this format, part of me wishes I'd broken it into smaller chunks. This second book has so many plotlines. If I'd written this trilogy as say, 10 books, each one would be much shorter and self contained. More like the Dresden Files.
That's pointless musing though. I'm sure if I'd written smaller volumes right now I'd be thinking, "Oh! if only I'd written these as longer books I could play more with interwoven plot lines…"Read the full interview --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
I received Wise Man's Fear from Amazon early Tuesday morning and devoured it. I was never bored while reading it - the characters were sharp, Rothfuss is a ridiculously skilled writer, and there's plenty in this book to keep you engrossed and entertained.
So why three stars? Why am I not falling all over myself to praise this one?
Because it's kind of a mess. An engrossing, brilliant, hot and swanky mess, but a mess just the same.
My biggest problem is that, with some minor, token exceptions, I know exactly as much about the Chandrian as I did before I read this book. Same goes for the Amyr and the Valeritas door in the archives. I actually feel like I know less about the framing story with the Scrael and Kvothe's slow-mo death wish. All the new things Rothfuss reveals in Book II are things that are kind of cool and groovy in their own right, but they seem fairly inconsequential to the overall story, and often they feel as if they've been dragged in from the Kvothe band's inferior opening act. It's like I've watched an entire season of a Kvothe TV series that is saving all the good bits for sweeps, which presumably doesn't arrive until Book III.
And, to dangerously and alchemically mix metaphors, Book III is going to have to do a whole lot of heavy lifting to tie up all the loose ends. I would not be surprised if the Kingkiller Chronicles isn't really as trilological as Rothfuss initially intended. (No, trililogical isn't really a word. Shut up.Read more ›
The book picks up precisely when the previous book left off, sparing little time to catch people up or re-explain everything in case a reader started with book two. I'm glad about that. I hate it when a series is up and running and the author or publisher feels that they need to throw in some exposition for people who didn't read the earlier books. Seriously...who starts a series at book two? Anyway...It goes great for a long while. I found the second half of the first book to be the best, and this seemed like a continuation of that. A lot happens, mostly having to do with Kvothe's adventures at the University and then on to a different land, where Kvothe gets some experience dealing with nobility and goes on an adventure with a ragtag group of adventurers.
Then...just over halfway through the book, the plot comes to a grinding halt. Don't want to spoil anything. So I'll just say that something happens that is totally unrelated to what had been going on in the first two books. It is mentioned in book one (I think), but only as one of Kvothe's many legendary accomplishments. Funny thing is, what happens is very similar to one of the fantasies I used to dream up before bed when I was a nerdy, lonely, sex-crazed teenager. I don't mind the occasional bit of self-indulgence from an author, but this goes on way too long, further emphasizing just how juvenile it is.Read more ›
*** SPOILERS FROM THIS POINT ON ***
My main problem was that every time it felt like the story was advancing and evolving in an organic way, Rothfuss slammed the breaks on the plot and sent Kvothe off in another disappointing direction. The transition from the University to the Maer's palace was fine enough, if you don't mind several chapters worth of plot excised (the shipwreck, pirates, etc.) I can see why it was removed -- anything to move the story along, right? We needed to get Kvothe to Vintas. OK, cool. And everything in that section of the book, the palace intrigue, political maneuvering, Kvothe's cunning and observation really felt like it was pushing Kvothe towards a new chapter in his life. And it was. And just as things got interesting and were leading towards a culmination of several hundred pages worth of plotting... Rothfuss decides to send Kvothe out on an elongated, drawn-out bandit hunt.
I felt the air draining from the novel's lungs. So now we have to start a whole new plotline just when things were getting REALLY good in Vintas. The Bandit Hunt. Great. What was the overall purpose? To introduce Kvothe to Tempi AND to show a brief glimpse of a Chandrian (who makes a hasty exit to no last impact).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is part of a series of two, hopefully three, books that need to be read in order. Every detail of character and minutiae of plot is important because it will show up again in... Read morePublished 1 day ago by Crockett
Second book in this series. Love it. Still waiting for the rest of the series...Published 2 days ago by ReneeCK
Patrick Rothfuss is my favorite contemporary fantasy writer! You will not be disappointed!Published 3 days ago by A Wong