Every now and then a novel comes along that just blows readers away and The Name of the Wind (2007) by Patrick Rothfuss, was one such novel. It was fresh, exciting and while not flawless, a damn sight better than the competition. To the joy of readers around the world, it was learned that The Name of the Wind was only the first installment of a planned trilogy named the Kingkiller Chronicles.
I was one of those readers.
Now, close to four years and numerous drafts later, we hear from Patrick Rothuss’s blog that we might finally see book two of the Kingkiller Chronicles, The Wise Man’s Fear, hit stores sometime in March, 2011 – “come hell or high water”. Great, you might think, but is it?
Two points that I think are important to keep in mind. First, Pat has openly admitted that the first draft he sent to his editor was “pure crap”. Fair enough, that is part of the writing process, or so I am told. However, it was only until he submitted the third draft of Wise Man’s Fear to his editor that he began to be “proud” of his work. I am, admittedly, not an editor, but how many times are you allowed to submit a manuscript and have it sent back? The point I am trying to make is that a number signs point to Pat being a debut author who bit off more than he can chew. I obviously pray that this isn’t true, that the story of Kovthe will continue in all its glory, and that The Name of the Wind wasn’t just a fluke.
Second, and more subjectively (if that’s even possible), I just finished reading the Kovthe short story (re)published in The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 2009. It was frigidly uninspiring for someone who is already familiar and attached to Kovthe– I fear to imagine what it was like for someone without any knowledge of the character. If Wise Man’s Fear is no better, I fear for it, pun intended.
Lastly, I might very well be fabricating this whole anti-Rothfuss narrative to lower my own expectations. I don’t like being disappointed with sequels and their authors, and I desperately want Wise Man’s Fear to carry on the sense of enchantment The Name of The Wind induced.
Am I overacting here, or is four years of rewrites actually a bad thing? That, or Wise Man’s Fear will be such a massively good epic human eyes just won’t be able to look upon it without melting. Let us only hope that the publishers blurb is accurate:
Packed with as much magic, adventure and home-grown drama as The Name of the Wind, this is a sequel in every way the equal to it's predecessor and a must-read for all fantasy fans. Readable, engaging and gripping The Wise Man's Fear is the biggest and the best new fantasy novel out there.