Review: “The Slow Regard of Silent Things” by Patrick Rothfuss

Author: Patrick Rothfuss 
Publication Date: October 28th 2014
Genre: Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Find it on: Goodreads, Amazon

Synopsis

Deep below the University, there is a dark place. Few people know of it: a broken web of ancient passageways and abandoned rooms. A young woman lives there, tucked among the sprawling tunnels of the Underthing, snug in the heart of this forgotten place.

Her name is Auri, and she is full of mysteries.

The Slow Regard of Silent Things is a brief, bittersweet glimpse of Auri’s life, a small adventure all her own. At once joyous and haunting, this story offers a chance to see the world through Auri’s eyes. And it gives the reader a chance to learn things that only Auri knows…

In this book, Patrick Rothfuss brings us into the world of one of The Kingkiller Chronicle’s most enigmatic characters. Full of secrets and mysteries, The Slow Regard of Silent Things is the story of a broken girl trying to live in a broken world.

AUTHOR’S FOREWORD

You might not want to buy this book.

I know, that’s not the sort of thing an author is supposed to say. The marketing people aren’t going to like this. My editor is going to have a fit. But I’d rather be honest with you right out of the gate.

First, if you haven’t read my other books, you don’t want to start here.

My first two books are The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear. If you’re curious to try my writing, start there. They’re the best introduction to my world. This book deals with Auri, one of the characters from that series. Without the context of those books, you’re probably going to feel pretty lost.

Second, even if you have read my other books, I think it’s only fair to warn you that this is a bit of a strange story. I don’t go in for spoilers, but suffice to say that this one is … different. It doesn’t do a lot of the things a classic story is supposed to do. And if you’re looking for a continuation of Kvothe’s storyline, you’re not going to find it here.

On the other hand, if you’d like to learn more about Auri, this story has a lot to offer. If you love words and mysteries and secrets. If you’re curious about the Underthing and alchemy. If you want to know more about the hidden turnings of my world…

Well, then this book might be for you.

From Goodreads

Review

TLDR; This book was an enjoyable quick read altogether different from books one and two. Upon finishing it leaves a mental tickling at the edges of your consciousness and has you looking at everyday objects around you a bit more closely.

This fantasy novella is book 2.5 of the Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss, a very beloved series. Here we follow Auri exclusively, diving into a focused view of her world in the ruins below The University. As beloved as books one and two are, they are tomes. Massive undertakings brimming with an expansive world of magic and intrigue. Comparatively this book stands out as small and shy, not unlike Auri herself to those who don’t know her. The novella has an almost whimsical air, winding and seeming to lack purpose at first blush.

It’s difficult to describe this book, since really there’s nothing major that happens in the typical sense. We follow Auri as she prepares for Kvothe’s visit, gathering and tidying and exploring in her environment. She has a unique knack for telling when things are ‘just so’ and a special sensitivity for the personas and feelings of objects. Commonplace things like a vanity or door are shy, proud, unashamed, bawdy, or eager. One wonders whether she’s ‘cracked’ as we’re lead to believe in the main series, or if she’s gifted in a way that can’t be explained. Perhaps a bit of both. But more of the later than you’d think. Through the short story there are hints of some deeper perception on her part, but can we trust the bias of her own POV? We’re left to ponder Auri as a dear curiosity.

In terms of content that may broaden understanding of her backstory, there are small flashes if you pay attention. Trauma, a particular master, and skill beyond what we are privy to. I don’t want to spoil anything especially given the short story length so I’ll leave it at that.

This book was an enjoyable quick read altogether different from books one and two that leaves a mental tickling at the edges of your consciousness and has you looking at everyday objects around you a bit more closely.

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