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The Knight (The Wizard Knight #1)

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  2,946 ratings  ·  178 reviews
A young man in his teens is transported from our world to a magical realm that contains seven levels of reality. Very quickly transformed by magic into a grown man of heroic proportions, he takes the name Able and sets out on a quest to find the sword that has been promised to him, a sword he will get from a dragon, the one very special blade that will help him fulfill his ...more
Paperback, 544 pages
Published August 1st 2005 by Tor Fantasy (first published January 3rd 2004)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Terry
This review covers both volumes of the Wizard Knight duology.

Gene Wolfe and I have an interesting relationship. Of course we have no actual relationship at all aside that which belongs to any reader/writer pair, but since I'm reviewing a book that's fair enough. Here's the thing: I really want to be one of those people who can sing Gene Wolfe's praises to the sky and knowingly wink about all of those complex and enigmatic stories that I totally got the first time I read them. But I can't. Don't
...more
Pierre
When a novel starts off with a glossary, my eyes roll. When an author tells you in the second paragraph of the book that I am wasting my time reading the preface, I get annoyed. And when the author tells me this as a first person narrator, I get nauseous. And when the writing of the first three chapters fails to draw me in, I give up and toss the book into a pile to be returned to the library. Guess I won't be reading any more Gene Wolfe.
Christopher
Gene Wolfe's THE KNIGHT is the first half of a fantasy diptych called "The Wizard Knight". Abel, an American boy in his early teens, finds himself transported to another world with similarities to Norse mythology, divided into seven tiers of reality. Abel lands in Mythgarthr, a plane similar to medieval Earth, and dreams of becoming a knight. He has intriguing interactions with the Aelf, a race of elemental spirits and tricksters, and the dragons who inhabit the worlds below, and he has his sigh ...more
LordofDorkness
I picked this book up because it was a great deal ($18 for both The Knight and The Wizard actually, which usually sell for $19 each) and I've read some Gene Wolfe befor and liked it. I got home, opened the book, and it started with the Lord Dunsany quote at the beginning... I looked around and found myself lost in a strange and wonderful place.
Wonder. Maybe that's it, that's what I can say about it. Here's some of the main “components” of the book: heros, honor, dragons, magic, humanity, stra
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Anthony
Wolfe is a flawed genius. I read this book and it's prequel in 48 hours while I with laid up with a cold. It is easily one of the best fantasy books I have ever read. I would put it an a shelf next to Lord of the Rings and Alice in Wonderland. While it's achievements are incredible it's shortcomings are equally enourmous. Wolfe as usual has created an enormous and breath takingly realized world. One that is vivid and recognizable as well as wondrous and strange as fantasy should be.

His prose, di
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Ethan
This book disappointed me. The world was complex, with lots of different mythologies layered into it, but the characters and prose style couldn't hold my interest, and I put the book down after about 100 pages.

I'd read Shadow of the Torturer, one of Wolfe's earlier books, and enjoyed its strange setting and interesting, detached voice. Unfortunately, it seems that Wolfe's writing style has evolved (devolved?) into something much more sparse. Typically, I'm not a fan of incredibly detailed descri
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Tim
In The Knight Gene Wolfe has created another complete world, familiar to us (and thus easier to enter than with some of his other books) but also foreign. It begins in medieval history and folklore, heavy with Norse mythology, but expands in Wolfe's hands. The main character Able is a knight, who will become a great hero. In his ambling journey he makes many friends who aid him in his quest to find the sword Eterne and earn a place with his love Disiri. The first story is self-contained and is ...more
Johnny
Gene Wolfe is a master at offering something that seems familiar and giving it an amazing freshness. I never would have thought that I would have liked reading about a torturer in an Inquisitorial environment before Wolfe gave it his spin and my first glances at the covers of The Wizard Knight series failed to give me any clue as to how different this book could be from standard fantasy fare. The Knight seemed to start off with a familiar psychological trope. When I began reading this account al ...more
Shivering William
What a bizarre journey. One moment I was enthralled, mystified, anxious to turn the page, the next I was glazing over, bored, ready to quit.

I love how passive the protagonist is about all the fantastic situations he finds himself in. But that also contributes to the mundane feel of it all. I wavered back and forth between wanting him to have a bit more personality and happy he was so hollow so I could step into his skin and enjoy the ride.

Wolfe is a master of atmosphere, but the story reads li
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Andrew
This was not the first Gene Wolfe book I intended to read. It was by accident that I picked up this one, to be honest. But I love falling into the reading of something where I have no bearing of the landscape going in. This book is a lot of what I have been trying to find in contemporary fantasy for a while now. As in, good writing. He actually challenges the audience. (And I think in at least one case the editor.) The writing bears a strong semblance to a dream. Disjointed, anachronistic, easy ...more
Cloud
Nov 05, 2009 Cloud rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no one
Recommended to Cloud by: no one
I could not stand this author's writing style. The only reason I kept reading was to figure out what just happened and any hope that the plot might go somewhere. It felt very disconnected between chapters and jumping from one thing to another. The main character is doing X then he turns around and he is in Y place. But the book never goes back to the people/situation he just left. By the last few chapters I was thinking there might be some kind of conclusion, no matter how small, nope. The chara ...more
Edward Rathke
Took me a crazy long time to finish the first 150 pages, but I read the last three hundred today, and it was pretty difficult to pull myself away for even just a bit. It's fast paced, surreal, and intelligent. For a novel with such a stupid premise, it's really quite brilliant, and though it's fantasy, it's not the kind of fantasy that's built around you, but more the kind that you simply slide into without noticing.

I'm super invested at this point, and hope I have the time to dive in and run th
...more
Christopher
This was my first Gene Wolfe book I have read. I know this book was not considered his masterpiece, but what a fantastic adventure.

I am trying to find the words to describe Gene Wolfe's style of writing. Someone once explained to me that reading Gene Wolfe was like drinking wine. For those who develop a taste for his writing are very well rewarded. I have to agree. I read every page with anticipation.

Gene Wolfe plays with your mind by giving you biased and unpredictible narration. His understan
...more
Joseph Michael Owens
4.75 stars

This book is pretty fantastic, especially at the end. Wolfe's retelling of Faerie is just wonderful, in the way I wish other retellings would strive toward.

The book, in true Wolfeian fashion, is a little confusing at parts, and his ability to dip you into the world of the surreal when you least expect it is uncanny. The story often appears to be a straightforward telling of Able, a boy who becomes a knight, seemingly overnight, and his exploits searching for a legendary sword. These ar
...more
Ryn
Fool that I am, I tried reading this after giving up on Pirate Freedom by the same author. Still didn't work. Something about the beginning of Gene Wolfe's novels always captures me, but about halfway through, I realize how much I hate reading them and give up. This has happened both times. I'm really not a fan of his writing (possibly because I've not yet attained the level of intelligence required for it).

I found the novel a load of gibberish, and I barely had a clue what was going on. The ma
...more
Lucinda
Gene Wolfe's 2 part series is utterly captivating which is also subtly brilliant and just a wonderful adition to the fantasy genre. The Knight delves beneath the surface of fantasy whilst incorperating myths, that bring the work to life in so becoming a masterful sucsess. I loved the concept of having a character from modern day being transported to a magical relm containing several levels of reality, in which he sets out on a quest containing perilous danger and adventure, that helps him to ful ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Another book that may be better than I'm rating it. Admittedly I've had a bad few months (read couple of years). This is the second time I've tried this book and it just doesn't hold my interest. I've read better Wolfe.

The attempt here is to tell a story from the point of view of a boy "yanked" into "manhood" (apparently body only) by a queen of the Aelf (I'd call her a Fairy Queen), who is apparently guilty of statutory rape. The boy/man continues with an obsesive love for "Disiri" from then on
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Todd Johnson
Everyone knows that 1) I'm a hopeless Neil Gaiman fanboy, and 2) I've never completely lost my soft spot for sword and sorcery.

So, when Neil says, "Gene Wolfe is the smartest, subtlest, most dangerous writer alive today, in genre or out of it. If you don't read this book you'll have missed out on something important and wonderful and all the cool people will laugh at you," and then "Gene's latest book The Knight is now out. It's a fantasy, with swords and dragons and elves and giants, and a nob
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Derek


I always find the good in novels, even poorly-written slop. This book is the lowest of the low. It's a shame, because I had such high hopes. The moment I opened the book and saw that it started with a motherfucking glossary of names that flat-out said 'skip this shit, dawg' I knew I was in for a rough time.

I hate everything about this book: the lousy plot, the wafer-thin, infantile characters, the atrocious dialogue, the fragmented letter-like writing style. Everything about this book makes me w
...more
Max
Dec 25, 2010 Max rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: fantasy
I suppose I can see why so many people dislike this book—Wolfe's writing is certainly confusing (obviously intentionally so, but still), and the spare prose is definitely a change from the highly descriptive style most fantasy novels are written in. Still, I found these supposed 'problems' to be assets more than anything; I think Wolfe does a good job of portraying the changes that coming into contact with full-blown magick faerie nonsense would have on someone, and the way that they would perce ...more
Liam Johnstone
A lot of the books I've read this year have been the kind where you can just read it, take what it said at face value, and move on to the next. This is not one of those books. I'm always worried, when I read a Gene Wolfe book, that I didn't get it. That I missed something that was subtle. So I read his books carefully, then I think about them for awhile after.
I tried to read this book way back in 2006, just when we were moving out of the condo and into our first house. I lost the book in the mo
...more
Gericke
I loved this book from start to finish. The writing is done in such a way as to create a completely different feel for the book: It's written as a letter from a younger brother to his older brother. That being said the writing can be difficult to follow, because he leaves out any unimportant fact (like traveling through the forest when nothing actually happens), and I do suggest reading or at least referring to the character guide in the beginning as that will help cut down on any confusion.

The
...more
wychwood
SFRG book, and one of the most roundly hated in a long time! I found it easy enough to read, but also incoherent and often boring. Female characters were handled poorly (hint: if you can add "sexy sexy" into the one-line description of every female character appearing on more than one page without changing them at all, you're doing something wrong), the plot leapt about from place to place and time to time, the protagonist was a bully, everything was about HONOUR and KEEPING ONE'S WORD except wh ...more
Track_eye
Aug 04, 2010 Track_eye rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Perry
Recommended to Track_eye by: Greg
Of course the amazing Gene Wolfe dazzled me again with his beautifully clever wordplay, except this time he didn't throw the entirety of Webster's at me so I had less looking-up to do.

Honestly, the thing that stands out most about The Knight is that I identified with the narrator so much that I began to speak of the storyline to others in terms of 'we' --as in WE do not yet understand the dog Gylf. I also began referring to Wolfe (the author) and Able (the fictional narrator) as 'they', like th
...more
Gary
Gene has gone for a change of pace and style with this one. It reminds me a little of James Branch Cabel in it's slightly old fashioned manner. It's a bit like a faery tale epic (this being the first in a series) with a slightly incongruous angle (to me) of the main protagonist being a 'modern day' guy who has found himself in the land from the sagas and is writing his memoirs to a family member who he thinks he will never see again.

The story moves along with some interesting characters but it's
...more
Kyle Muntz
A surreal, singular book, that does a lot of interesting things in ways that have never been done before. (It reinvents fantasy and YA in particular, and a lot of the time there are chapters that would be whole books by other authors, and a few sections so inventive and strange it's hard to believe.) But rather than reviewing it myself I think I'm just going to link to this great review by my friend Eddy Rathke, which sticks pretty close to a conversation we had about the book and that I pretty ...more
Joshua Bryant
This is like epic fantasy meets George MacDonald. You've got frequent, strange dream or dream-like sequences of incredible imagination. The prose is sparse, giving so few sensory details that when they do come, they stand out as very memorable (I like this a lot). But on the other hand you've got the stereotypical hero, going from nobody to renowned and powerful, and a quest to . In this book though, it feels quite different.

The world is fascinating, but it's very hazy. You're not going to be ab
...more
Perry Whitford
"A knight is a man who lives honorably, for he cares more for his honor than for his life ... His word id good, no matter to whom he gives it."

In this, the first book of a two-part epic entitled 'The Wizard-Knight' by seasoned fantasy writer Gene Wolfe, the above quote is, in a nutshell, the answer to the question the author sets out to investigate through his chosen representative Sir Able of the High Heart, a teenage American boy transported to a magical world of Norse and Arthurian myth.
Able
...more
Jeffrey
Mar 30, 2008 Jeffrey rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Young fantasy readers who are willing to wait for the payoff
Its hard for me to read 275 pages in a book and not read the remaining 155, but I did not care about the main character, the plot did not move along, the action was tepid at best and the dialogue did not crackle. I do not have time to waste reading this kind of book.
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Gene Wolfe is an American science fiction and fantasy writer. He is noted for his dense, allusive prose as well as the strong influence of his Catholic faith, to which he converted after marrying a Catholic. He is a prolific short story writer and a novelist, and has won many awards in the field.

The Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award is given by SFWA for ‘lifetime achievement in science fict
...more
More about Gene Wolfe...
The Shadow of the Torturer (The Book of the New Sun #1) Shadow & Claw (The Book of the New Sun #1-2) Sword and Citadel (The Book of the New Sun, #3-4) The Claw of the Conciliator (The Book of the New Sun #2) The Sword of the Lictor (The Book of the New Sun #3)

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