Tuesday, 11 November 2014
Review: The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss
Format: Hardcover / eBook
Released: October 28th, 2014
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.
I feel like I should start this review with a disclaimer: I am a Patrick Rothfuss fangirl, and I don't think he can ever or will ever write anything less than good. I just don't think he has it in him. I'm a pretty new convert to his fan club, but it's a club I'm going to be a part of forever - I've thought about The Name of the Wind every day since finishing it, and so it was with great excitement that I settled down to read The Slow Regard of Silent Things.
Now, this isn't the continuation of Kvothe's story, nor is he featured or really even mentioned. He's alluded to, but you won't ever see his flaming red hair or his famous lute. You might hear the tinkling of his music, and a footstep or two, but that's all. So, if you go into this book knowing that, I think you're set for a nice little treat and an opportunity to get to know Auri, a character almost as mysterious as the fabled Chandrian.
The Slow Regard of Silent Things sees Auri preparing for a long-awaited visit, and she has seven days to go. She explores the Underthing, the cavernous space of passages and rooms below the University, looking for treasure and gathering gifts. Her approach to life and her situation is as dreamlike as ever; she sees thoughts and feelings differently and has a way with names. I often think of her as an ethereal fae creature, gliding from passage to passage with her long blonde hair swirling behind her as she goes. She has an air of sophistication and propriety that becomes even more apparent in this book, and she's an enigma just waiting to be unravelled. Thankfully this book offers an insight into some of those questions raised, though not all. I'm sure they're being saved for another day and another book.
As always, Patrick Rothfuss writes as if he's a poet. His beautiful, structured prose brings Auri and the Underthing to life; even inanimate objects have thoughts and feelings befitting a human being. The walls have eyes, Auri's lamp has a name, her dress has thoughts. It's unbelievably clever, which is of course what we've all come to expect from one of fantasy's greats. There's no conversation in this novella, no dialogue to speak of, but still it's raw with emotion. Auri sees and feels things differently to everyone else, and that's why she is who she is. She's attuned to everything, whether it be a rippling pool of water or the sweet sound of music floating on the breeze. She sees all, and she knows everything has a name.
This book is worth the excitement and frantic scrabbling of pages; it's worth waiting to get to know Auri that little bit better, to step further into her world and see how she survives. Anything Rothfuss-related is a must-read, whether it be an epic novel, a short story or a novella, and The Slow Regard of Silent Things is no exception. I've read it twice so far and plan to read it again soon, just so I can disappear into Auri's Underthing for a while, to wait with her as she prepares for a meeting with the University's most revered student. A meeting of great inportance, no doubt...