Book Review 2007 #58: The Wizard

And my last book finished this year is the second in Gene Wolfe’s Wizard Knight duology, the Knight.

The Wizard picks up after the events of the Knight. For those who haven’t read it, in the Knight, a boy from America is whisked away to a Nordic-like Faerie land consisting of seven planes of existence. He is raised both on the Earth plane,Mythgarthr, falls in love with the Queen of the Moss Aelf from Aelfrice (a world lower than Mythgarthr), is aged preternaturally, and strives to become a knight worthy of Queen Disiri. At the end of the first book, he is transported by a Valkyrie to the world above Mythgarthr, called Skai, a Valhalla analogue.
The second book deals with his return, doings in the land of the Giants, and the continuation of his quest. The typical Wolfe tricks of an unreliable narrator are in force here, since Able is young in mental age and doesn’t always understand events around him. Unfortunately, while this is a feature I’ve come to accept in Wolfe, the extremely slow opening, mired with other characters and mostly set in the land of the Giants, is not appealing at all. I couldn’t wait until Able and company started heading south.
Some things revolving around Able’s meeting with the King of Celidon, too, are somewhat unclear, and exciting events in the end are only sketchily detailed, much to my disappointment.
I have to say that overall the book is only somewhat above average, and definitely not for those who haven’t read The Knight. And readers of the Knight, like me, will consider this something of a letdown from its predecessor, alas.