A joyous offering of literary excellence. And heart-breaking.
The only way that I can legitimately start this review is by saying that I am unsure of what I think of this book.
As with any right-thinking fan of fantasy literature, I loved ‘The Name of the Wind’ by Patrick Rothfuss. I raved about the skill of the writing, the lovingly crafted words, and the magical storyline.
Unlike (apparently) every other right-thinking fan of fantasy literature, I wasn’t the biggest fan of ‘A Wise Man’s Fear’, for I thought Rothfuss had tried too hard to create a similarly ‘lovingly crafted’ book and instead provided us with a book that only appeared lovingly crafted.
So when I heard that Patrick Rothfuss, geek-god and internet-holy man that he is, was releasing a novella about Auri, one of the most enigmatic characters in all of fantasy writing, I was uncertain.
And I am still uncertain, because I don’t know if what I read was pretentious, or brilliant.
Pretentious, because Rothfuss wanted to write a book that was “brilliant” and “literary”.
Brilliant, because Rothfuss so wonderfully got into the mind of his character.
You see, it all comes down to what drove the need for this story: If Rothfuss built this story from the ground up on the basis of wanting to confirm to everyone that he has an amazing skill with words, then it’s pretentious, and I feel robbed; If, however, Rothfuss found himself needing to write a story about Auri, and this is what came of it, then I simply want more.
‘The Slow Regard of Silent Things’ is a wordsmith’s dream, and I challenge anyone to convince me that Patrick Rothfuss didn’t rely heavily on a thesaurus to see him through safely to the other side of this book. But more than that, the words and lovingly crafted sentences are heavily littered with the rambling, twisted, more-intelligent-than-you word-choices Auri would make. It is brilliant and sad; much like Auri, who is broken and hollow inside, but beautiful and faery on the out. The book makes you want to craft something of equal brilliance and brokenness, just so you can exorcise the hurt in your heart after reading about such a brilliantly broken girl.
I don’t know what the story was about. I’m only vaguely sure that “He” is Kvothe, and if that is the case, I’m almost certain this book takes place after A Wise Man’s Fear (if not, then my now-necessary re-read will soon correct me) and that I cannot wait for the story to continue between the both of them, Auri and Kvothe.
I also now want to learn how to make soap.
And I desperately want to know just how many people are involved in surreptitiously keeping Auri alive.
All in all, there is no way on Earth I would possibly consider reviewing this book as anything other than brilliant. If Patrick Rothfuss has conned me, then so be it. I stand conned, and taken advantage of. However I hope that is not the case, and I long for more stories of Auri and her adventures through the Underthing.
Joshua S Hill, 10/10
The University, a renowned bastion of knowledge, attracts the brightest minds to unravel the mysteries of enlightened sciences like artificing and alchemy. Yet deep below its bustling halls lies a complex and cavernous maze of abandoned rooms and ancient passageways - and in the heart of it all lives Auri.
Formerly a student at the University, now Auri spends her days tending the world around her. She has learned that some mysteries are best left settled and safe. No longer fooled by the sharp rationality so treasured by the University, Auri sees beyond the surface of things, into subtle dangers and hidden names.
The Slow Regard of Silent Things is a tender tale of childlike imagining seen through the eyes and heard through the voice of a wounded mind finding friends, family and meaning in everyday objects. Under it all is a masked element of unnamed atonement and a desire from Auri to bring balance and nurture to her world.
What Patrick Rothfuss has brought us are soft words spoken with reverence, love and loss of a character little understood. Words alone are unable to describe the investment of yourself in this short story. There is a commitment of emotions and feelings for each page and paragraph and the texture of the words are just as important as how they were written, leaving you with a gentle feeling of longing and sorrow.
What I loved about this story was its structure and phrasing. Growing up, one of my favourite pieces was Lewis Carroll's poem Jabberwocky. Its use of nonsense words engaged and illustrated to me the power stories and words have over the reader. Truly admirable works like this captivate and instil feelings of love, lost, joy, sadness and fear. Patrick Rothfuss has given us all of these and more in the telling a single girl, her hidden world and the life and names she brings to it.
The story itself is broken up to the days until the visit of Kvothe. While searching for the perfect gift for Kvothe, we are given a brief glimpse into the inner workings of Auri and her splintered self as she brings her need for order to the unseen voices and lives of the items in the Underthing.
It’s surprising and wonderful the investment and sense you gain from the interactions Auri has with the objects and places in the Underthing. Patrick Rothfuss masterfully expresses and projects for the reader the voice Auri gives to these objects, so much so you can sometimes forget that they are not individuals or beings with their own personalities.
The Slow Regard of Silent Things is a joyous offering of literary excellence and a heart-breaking delving of loss, loneliness and the mysteries that are Auri.
Fergus McCartan, 10/10
4 positive reader review(s) for The Slow Regard of Silent Things
Patrick Rothfuss, author, beard master and all round nice guy speaks with Fantasy Book Review about his charity Worldbuilders, the good works it has accomplished and how he would like to see the charity grow and develop in th [...]
Martin from Sweden
I absolutely LOVE this book. It is unlike any I have ever read before. It resonates with me in a way I really wasn't expecting, and I'm kind of scared hiw much I relate with Auri. The book does nearly nothing that a normal story is supposed to; there is no real plot, no characters aside from Auri, no dialouge, and one of the most exiting moments in the book is those famous eight pages where ahe makes SOAP. It is not for everyone, that is, not everyone ia going to like it. But you should absolutely read it. Because despite the lack of plot and characters, this is a masterpeice, in my opinion. Hell, I'd say that it is a masterpeice BECAUSE of that. It is a story about a cracked and broken girl trying to suvive in a world where she is all alone. It is about names, and strange words. It is a bit of fresh air, a bit of chaos in a world where everything is supposed to be this and that, ordered, structured, and free, somehow. If you would like to see the world from Auris perspective, and if you like strange and interesting stories, then this book is defenitly for you.
Heather from Australia
This book has touched me so deeply and its about a bloody broken girl running round with inanimate objects. But I've been travelling for the past year and have read many books in the time, always leaving them in random hostels or charity shops so other people can read them but this is the only book I can't bear to even think about parting with, which may just be selfishness on my part but that's just how it is. I would do anything for this girl or this book or even Mr Rothfuss who made them both <3 Now I'm going to go get me a big hunk of love shaped metal 100/10 would recommend to anyone and everyone
Xavier from Austria
A must for those who have read The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man's Fear. Auri is the enchanting and fragile being about which this strange, poetic story centres and come the end you may, like me, be left both a little bit happy and little bit sad.
Nikki @ Book Punks from Germany
I had quite a different take on this one. I loved it, but it was such a huge feminist fail that I remain rather angry at it as well. Full review here: http://www.bookpunks.com/slow-regard-silent-things-patrick-rothfuss/
10/10 from 5 reviews