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The Wizard

(The Wizard Knight #2)

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  3,002 ratings  ·  125 reviews
Sir Able returns to Mythgathr on his steed Cloud, a great mare the color of her name. Able is filled with new knowledge of the ways of the seven-fold world and possessed of great magical secrets. His knighthood now beyond question, Able works to fulfill his vows to his king, his lover, his friends, his gods, and even his enemies. Able must set his world right, restoring th
Paperback, 587 pages
Published August 29th 2006 by Tor Fantasy (first published 2004)
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Average rating 3.86  · 
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 ·  3,002 ratings  ·  125 reviews

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Mar 24, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Juho Pohjalainen
Sep 10, 2020 rated it liked it
Much tougher to follow than the first one, but that may have just been me. I'll need to re-read these one day.
Michael Roetzel
Oct 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The Wizard continues (and finishes?) the heroic journey began in The Knight. The reader has already watched Able transform himself into a knight, and so that plot is done and not continued here. Instead we find at the outset that Able truly died at the end of the last book, and has been in Skai perfecting his knightly skills. He returns as a being of truly vast power, inherent in his person, his servants, and his magical arms and armor. I think it's important to understand that. In the first boo ...more
Althea Ann
The Knight - Gene Wolfe
The Wizard - Gene Wolfe

One story, two books.
I expected to LOVE these - I'd really been anticipating reading them.
But - I didn't love them. I tried, but I just didn't.
For one thing, this story uses the exact same gimmick as Wolfe's The Book of the Short Sun trilogy (you are reading book written for an unseen, not-present person). Not only that, I am sorry, but the narrator has the EXACT SAME VOICE as in that other book. It is written as the exact same character, even though
May 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One small piece of advice: when you have finished The Knight, please suppress any unwillingness to read this sequel just after. This I am afraid to say I have not done myself and something I regret. Some readers say Wolfe turned a straightforward fantasy YA story into a multilayered tour-de-force, the good old metaphor of the peeled onions book which I like a lot so I use it a lot too since I am no literature critic, just a reader so it won't contribute to my own dishonor.

There are parts of the
Sep 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
So upon further pondering... this book is certainly 4 stars. I don't know why I was grading it harder for certain, but looking back I would have to bring down a lot of other books to feel like I was properly grading these things.

And as for my claims on the main character... umm, false. It is a way to read it perhaps, but it really doesn't fit. I next jumped to Able (the main character) is to Wolfe as Prince Myshkin is to Dostoevsky. But this is rather presumptuous on my end (presumptu
Apr 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
(Contains spoilers) A wonderful meld of Norse and Arthurian mythology that I enjoyed very much, the sequel to The Knight, in which a now matured and experienced Sir Able returns from Skai to resume his quest for Queen Disiri. Battles with Frost giants, dragons, invading Eastern hordes, and drauger (living dead) amid political intrigues and inner journeys, all tied together with a varying degrees of existentialism. Having read the reviews of others, I think Wolfe's often laconic, understated pros ...more
Aug 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, own
So last night at midnight I had 57 pages left in this book, but I had to get up in the morning at 6:30. So what did I do? Wolfe didn't leave me much choice as I was sucked into the story and ended up finishing it last night around 1:15am.

Wolfe is such a compelling storyteller and this book was wonderful. A great fantasy book that feels fresh and new while incorporating that which makes fantasy fantasy. Not only is it fantasy, but he talks a lot about honor and what it really means to be a knigh
Jul 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book, as its narrator's name suggests, rewards the Able reader. Wolfe pulls in other texts here subtly, and having read things like Gawain and the Green Knight, I was really tickled by the references, and only wish I knew more of the source material Wolfe pulled from to create this masterful piece of fantasy. As with almost every Wolfe-work, I will be sure to reread The Wizard Knight in the future.
Dec 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Children playing at adult games.

The continued story of American boy magically turned into heroic knight (and in this second volume, wizard) Sir Able of the High Heart continues across the 7 realms (with much borrowed from Norse mythology--think Odin, Thor, Loki, et al). Wolfe described this book as "Chivalry without Christianity" and that is accurate.

What struck me however, was that this was a book of children playing at roles they think they needed to emulate. From Sir Able on down, nearly ev
Oct 02, 2013 rated it liked it
The second book in this duology was not quite as gripping as the first. The world building is still magnificent, and Able gets to see the rest of the levels above and below, which would have been a wasted opportunity to explore if he hadn’t. His trip to see the Most Low God still gives me chills. But the story drags in the middle, and despite the magnificent ending, this novel can’t quite reach the heights of the first.

The plot stalls in certain locations and we spend too many chapters where ver
Edward Rathke
Sep 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
So very great. Incredibly impressed by this, and it's crazy different from the first book. While The Knight is extremely episodic, tied together mostly by character and setting. At times it felt like a serialised novel, in that there were links between chapters, but those didn't seem as important to the chapter you're reading. This, of course, is used to great effect. All the details return and compile and so on.

Anyrate, the Wizard, the second book, is almost the exact opposite. It's more narra
Sean Camoni
Jan 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I would have to read each series by Gene Wolfe twenty times to squeeze all the juice from the fruit. So layered and subtle and beautiful and true. Love this writer's work, and grateful for having stumbled on it.
Adam Heine
Jul 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Great ending. I still don't know what to make of everything, but then that's normal with Gene Wolfe. I'm glad I read it.
Brian Yatman
Oct 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Stirring, challenging, fantastic, unnerving: classic Wolfe.
Sep 06, 2018 rated it did not like it
What a misery. I really thought when I was reading The Knight that all the various plot threads raised there would be resolved in the second book of the series, The Wizard. What I got instead was a terrible mish-mosh of utter crap. Yes there are a few redeeming moments but a novel is not really just a collection of those moments. I am sorry I ever started this series and am utterly delighted to be finished with it.
Rachel Ayers
I think I have to read the whole duology again to understand how I feel about this.
Perry Whitford
Apr 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having slew the dragon GrenGarm at the end of The Knight and being welcomed into Skai by the Valfather, Sir Able of the High Heart returns to Mythgarthr a wizard, brought back by his love for Disiri the Aelf Queen, keen to serve King Arnthor against the encroachments of the Frost Giants in the north and against the marauding, cannibalistic Osterlings in the east.

Assisted by the same band of friends as before and further aided by a new one, Cloud, a magical grey mare from Odin's own stable, Sir A
McNevin Hayes
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Five stars. I reread paragraphs, and chapters, immediately after finishing them, for their sheer beauty and surprise. Gene Wolfe is definitely coming with me to the desert island; I would want either this, or The Book of the New Sun (including its end coda, The Urth of the New Sun.)

But how to explain this one? It feels like living inside Myth. The story is told in the form of an endless letter to the main character's brother, after the hero--Sir Able--has disappeared from our world. A line of d
Dec 27, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Overall this series was a disappointment. I thought the story felt haphazard and lacked focus--shifting from one world to another or one set of characters to another very suddenly. I've heard others describe this particular quirk as being dream-like, but it didn't read that way to me--it wasn't quite haphazard enough to capture the strange logic of dreams but too haphazard to seem realistic. The strange shifts were infrequent enough, also, that it sometimes felt less than intentional (although i ...more
Benjamin Kahn
Aug 12, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I should preface this review by saying that I read this book about a month after The Knight. I hadn't realized that the second novel was a continuation of the first novel rather than a sequel, and although I tried to get The Wizard right away, circumstances conspired to prevent it. In the interim, I had read about 10 other novels, so the story of the first book wasn't fresh in my mind when I started the second.

All this to say that I was a little confused when I began this novel. I didn't know wh
Jun 04, 2010 rated it it was ok
THE WIZARD is the second half of "The Wizard Knight", Gene Wolfe's fantasy novel in two volumes. I read THE KNIGHT when it came out and was deeply disappointed by it, enough so that I stopped following Wolfe's work. But as I recently came across a copy of the work's completion, I decided to press on nevertheless.

As THE WIZARD opens, Sir Able returns to Mythgarthr from Skai. 20 years have passed for him in that higher sphere, but only a couple of days for the embassy to the Giants. Most of the n
May 20, 2017 rated it liked it
The conclusion of the Wizard Knight story is both weaker and stronger than its predecessor.

The first 60% of the book is static, taking place in a single locale (Jotunland), and consists mostly of conversations and mild skulduggery around the reception of a diplomatic delegation and the wounding of a king. I found it muddy and draggy, and with the exception of a visit to the curious Room of Lost Loves, lacking in the misty dreaminess that pervades and energizes the first volume. Moreover, most o
Apr 30, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: given-up, fantasy
Okay, I have only looked at the first, and read a few pages. I thought I'd see what was going on with this one first...
The answer is, incomprehensible nonsense, that grows tired by about the third paragraph. There are a few books that work with a vernacular style of writing. Pilgerman, A Clockwork Orange and Feersun Endgin come to mind. But characters portrayed only by their wonky way of talking are usually tiresome. Pratchett makes good use of it in the odd character.
But when it is the main pro
William K.
Dec 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I have come to love Able and his host of friends, servants, pets, lords, gods, and even enemies. After being sucked into the grim, hopeless world of Westeros for a few years, I found Gene Wolfe's seven-fold fantasy world to be a huge breath of fresh air. Although there is still ignorance, vice, and greed to be found aplenty among the people in these books, there is also redemption, generosity, and change for the better. Chivalry and honor are practically living characters in this story and can b ...more
Jan 15, 2016 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 16, 2016 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the combination of Celtic legends in the storytelling along with the cosmology based on Norse and Christian concepts. The early and late parts of the story were really enjoyable, but that long middle section in Jotunland was a real drag.

Wolfe has a way of telling you stuff that isn't what he's really telling. It can be intriguing at times but also frustrating when characters are endlessly dancing around a topic.

Reviewing this as a single novel since that's what it is.
Dec 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sff, 2000s, 20th-century
This is one of the few, few instances where I don't find talking animals cheesy. There's a talking dog and a talking cat and both of them are wonderful. There are many more things to love in this book but that's the best.
Aaron Grossman
May 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Gene Wolfe's The Wizard Knight is, in my opinion, probably the greatest work of written fantasy that I've read. I've read quite a bit. Undeniably good, and although it's not as well regarded as The Book of the New Sun (not much is in fantasy or science fiction) I feel it deserves to be in the conversation.

Marc Aramini has said that he views audiences' dislike of later Wolfe to be a failing on their part, as opposed to a failing of the author. Maybe a bit of an elitist take, but I think I agree.
Aug 21, 2017 rated it liked it
The first 2/3 of this book is (like the preceding book) a real slog, but in the final 1/3 it gets rolling and partly redeems itself.

Wolfe has an unusual combination of strengths and weaknesses as an author. I've read a decent amount of his other stuff (New Sun, Long Sun, Short Sun), and while his weaknesses are obvious even in those series, his strengths win out and make those series really fantastic. Wolfe is creative and clever, to a degree that makes those series something special.

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Gene Wolfe was an American science fiction and fantasy writer. He was 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 was 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 f

Other books in the series

The Wizard Knight (2 books)
  • The Knight (The Wizard Knight #1)

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