Book Review – The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss

This year my very good friend introduced me to The Kingkiller Chronicles and I found them to be absolutely fantastic. I soon joined the frustrated group of fans who are waiting for the third book in the trilogy to be released. During the summer I heard that Patrick Rothfuss would be releasing a novella that sheds light on one of the aspects of his world. The Slow Regard of Silent Things is a strange story in that it could be said it’s not a story at all. It focuses on Auri as she scuttles around her own world and prepares for a visit from Kvothe.

If none of that means anything to you then you should not buy this book. What you should do, however, is buy (or borrow) The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear, then come back here and perhaps read The Slow Regard of Silent Things. The book begins with a strong claim by Patrick Rothfuss that the reader should not perhaps buy this book. It’s a strong warning from an author and could in fact be off-putting. I had already downloaded it from Amazon before I read this introduction so the warning wasn’t of much help to me. That being said, I most likely would have bought it anyway.

Rothfuss is aware that this story could be divisive, especially when it’s basically tossing a morsel to the hungry fans. I can imagine a lot of people will be disappointed as not much happens and it’s basically a window into the world of Auri. It’s a risky move, even though Auri is one of my favourite characters, because sometimes memorable characters aren’t so great when they’re taken away from the rest of the story. Rothfuss clearly has a great deal of affection for the character though (I know this because he says it) and this comes through in his writing.

The writing itself is lyrical, poetic, and beautiful. It’s pleasant to read almost for the language alone. Rothfuss creates this world and shows things through Auri’s eyes that reminds me of The Little Mermaid, like where Ariel finds objects from the land-dwellers and gives them names. But there isn’t much of a plot here. It takes place over about a week where she looks forward to a visit from Kvothe. It’s a nice read. It’s…pleasant. But I’m not sure I actually feel like I can recommend you must read this.

I enjoyed reading it but I don’t feel that it’s necessary and where I feel like I want to return to the main books again and re-read them, I’m not sure that I will ever read this again. It’s an interesting experiment, and as much as I love Auri there’s simply not much to keep me coming back. If you expect this to develop things from the main books then be forewarned, it doesn’t really do that. And although it sheds light on Auri I don’t think it really tells us anything that we couldn’t have inferred. It’s beautifully written but I feel it would have been better served if it was in a collection with individual stories about different members of the supporting cast. As a standalone novella it’s there, it’s worth reading if you like Auri, but I don’t think you’ll be missing out on too much if you choose not to read it.

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