Review: The Slow Regard of Silent Things, by Patrick Rothfuss

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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. 

The Slow Regard of Silent Things is, without a doubt, one of the best books I’ve read this year.

A short novella, only about thirty thousand words, The Slow Regard of Silent Things isn’t a story in the traditional sense. There is exactly one character, who says not one line of dialogue in the entire book; there’s no plot, or climax. Nevertheless, it’s a wonderful book, and I wish I could see more like it.

To be clear, this is not a book for those who have not already read the first two books of The Kingkiller Chronicles; without the content and backstory they give, the book doesn’t make much sense. If you have read them already and then pick this up, however, it comes together wonderfully. The book is a week in the life of Auri, giving us fantastic insight into her mind and worldview and tantalising insight into her past. To us, the logic seems disjointed and odd, but everything makes sense in Auri’s mind. I’ve always particularly liked her and identified with her, and this book fleshed her out to an enormous degree; even if I didn’t understand the basis for her internal logic, the writing of the book drew me in and made me celebrate her victories and sympathise with her downfalls. I was drawn in completely for the entire book, and had to give it a hug when I finished. I only reluctantly put it down.

If you’re a fan of The Kingkiller Chronicles, pick up The Slow Regard of Silent Things; if you haven’t read The Kingkiller Chronicles, read them and then read the novella. You won’t regret it, and you might just discover you love a style of storytelling you’ve never even thought of before.

Overall rating: 5/5

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