Tuesday, September 13

The Wise Man's Fear: Book Review

by Patrick Rothfuss

Warning: Moment below contains swearing.
Moment Divine: ". . .the others were beginning to count on me for the evening's entertainment. Hoping to put an end to the trend, I'd put a lot of thought into what story I was going to tell tonight.

"Once upon a time," I began. "There was a little boy born in a a little town. He was perfect, or so his mother thought. But on thing was different about him. He had a gold screw in his belly button. Just the head of it peeping out.

"Now his mother was simply glad he had all his fingers and toes to count with. But as the boy grew up he realized not everyone had screws in their belly buttons, let alone gold ones. He asked his mother what it was for, but she didn't know. Next he asked his father, but his father didn't know. He asked his grandparents, but they didn't know either.

"That settled it for a while, but it kept nagging at him. Finally, when he was old enough, he packed a bag and set out, hoping he could find someone who knew the truth of it.

"He went from place to place, asking everyone who claimed to know something about anything. He asked midwives and physickers, but they couldn't make heads or tails of it. The boy asked arcanists, tinkers, and old hermits living in the woods, but no one had ever seen anything like it.

"He went to ask the Cealdim merchants, thinking if anyone would know about gold, it would be them. But the Cealdim merchants didn't know. He went to the arcanists at the University, thinking if anyone would know about screws and their workings, they would. But the arcanists didn't know. The boy followed the road over the Stormwal to ask the witch women of the Tahl, but none of them could give him an answer.

"Eventually he went to the King of Vint, the richest king in the world. But the king didn't know. He went the the Emperor of Atur, but even with all his power, the emperor didn't know. He went to each of the small kingdoms, one by one, but no one could tell him anything.

"Finally the boy went to the High King of Modeg, the wisest of all the kings in the world. The high king looked closely at the head of the golden screw peeping from the boy's belly button. Then the high king made a gesture, and his seneschal brought out a pillow of golden silk. One that pillow was a golden box. The high king took a golden key from around his neck, opened the box, and inside was a golden screwdriver.

"The high king took the screwdriver and motioned the boy to come closer. Trembling with excitement, the boy did. Then the high king took the golden screwdriver and put it in the boy's belly button."

I paused to take a long drink of water. I could feel my small audience leaning toward me. "Then the high king carefully turned the golden screw. Once: Nothing. Twice: Nothing. Then he turned it the third time, and the boy's ass fell off."

There was a moment of stunned silence.

"What?" Hespe asked incredulously.

"His ass fell off," I repeated with an absolutely straight face.

There was a long silence. Everyone's eyes were fixed on me. The fire snapped, sending a red ember floating upward.

"And then what happened?" Hespe finally asked.

"Nothing," I said. "That's it. The end."

"What?" she said again, more loudly. "What kind of story is that?"

I was about to respond when Tempi burst out laughing. And he kept laughing; great shaking laughs that left him breathless. Soon I began to laugh as well, partly at Tempi's display, and partly because I'd always considered it an oddly funny story myself.

Hespe's expression turned dangerous, as if she were the butt of the joke.

Dedan was the first to speak. "I don't understand. Why did . . .?" he trailed off.

"Did they get the boy's ass back on?" Hespe interjected.

I shrugged. "That's not part of the story."

Dedan gestured wildly, his expression frustrated. "What's the point of it?"

I put on an innocent face. "I thought we were just telling stories.

The big man scowled at me. "Sensible stories! Stories with endings. Not stories that just have a boy's ass . . ." He shook his head. "This is ridiculous. I'm going to sleep." He moved off to make his bed, Hespe staled off in her own direction.

I smiled, reasonably sure neither one of them would be troubling me for any more stories than I cared to tell."
Well, this book was just a bit unsatisfying.  I was left feeling that there would need to be at least twelve books in order to try to come to grasps with the enormity of stuff that is Kvothe's life.  If we have to wait a decade for each book to come out we might as well write this off.  I will be dead before it ever finishes.  Another part that left me dissatisfied was the sheer immensity of pages that covered sex.  I just felt like we were really going off tangent to the important parts of the story.  A huge chunk of this book I skipped or skimmed.  This was a let down.  Aside, from these two things it wasn't such a bad book.  There were some very awesome discussions between Kvothe and various people that were incredible.  I loved how they would describe and explain certain things.  I felt a better understanding for certain things in life after having read these parts.  My favorite parts of this book had more to do with Kvothe's sense of humor.  The whole thing about him losing his moral inhibitions was funny.

So, read this at your own discretion.  There are lots of tangents and moments of drag.  I for one won't be jumping to read the next book, which is sad because I rather like Kvothe.