Excited to be reviewing a Patrick Rothfuss book for the third week in a row (if you missed the other reviews, give them a read here in, The Name of the Wind and Wise Man’s Fear). Unfortunately, this is all that is available from the magical author. That is if you discount the short story featuring Bast, composed for the Rogues Anthology, collected by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois. In fact, it was that short story collection in which Mr. Rothfuss’s novella, Slow Regard of Silent Things, shares its origins.
Originally, built for George Martins short story collection, the novella featuring Auri, an overwrought supporting character from the Kingkiller Chronicles, exceeded the necessary word count for the Rogues Anthology, and Patrick Rothfuss opted to compose The Lightning Tree in its stead. Due to sheer desire Mr. Rothfuss completed the tale of Auri, and set it aside, as he was uncertain if the stories unconventional anatomy was strong enough. After some positive feedback from friends and beta readers the novella was presented to his agent, and Slow Regard of Silent Things was published in October of 2014.
The story follows the day-to-day events of a week in the life of Auri, specifically timelined in between the chapters seven and eleven of Wise Man’s Fear. The novella features no true beginning, or ending, has no true climax and is meant as a peak into the world and mind of beloved, yet, unorthodox Auri. The lonesome character lives in the ‘underthing’, a connection of rooms and tunnels lost beneath the University, and reveals her living arrangements and her navigation of the maze like underground structure. Auri has a deep connection with inanimate trinkets and is very particular, essentially obsessive compulsive, of their placement and happiness. The story flows with her search of the perfect gift for Kvothe, before his next visit at the end of the week.
Admittedly, Mr. Rothfuss recognizes that the book does not follow a proper plot, the manner of the unconventional story telling adds to the intrigue and is very fitting with its main, and only, character. Aside from the poetic prose the book is composed in, it is difficult to describe why the book is as interesting as it is. Certain aspects that would be unnecessary or boring in any other book are actually some of this novellas strengths and highlights. Even the wonderful illustrations from artist Nate Taylor are vague, not revealing too much of Auri or her world.
There is a magic to this little book. The mystery that is Auri is explained thoroughly as we live in her mind for a week, yet at the end, she is still as, if not more, enigmatic as when Kvothe first met her in Name of the Wind. There is an entertainment value in reading a book that does not follow a formulaic structure. I give Slow Regard of Silent Things a solid 4/5, and I am still a little unsure why, but that is fitting with the very nature of the novella. If you have read the first two books of the Kingkiller Chronicles than do not miss out on this short story about one of the tales most intriguingly lovable characters. Or, if you have no connection to this world at all, this book may just shake the foundations of stories as you know it; or not, I don’t even know any more, reviewing this puzzle of a book is messing with my head now.
Thanks booknerds, I feel like I should go rearrange everything in my room now, for some reason.