The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss

This is going to be a slightly different and maybe somewhat unusual review but one that I think is perfectly fitting for a very unconventional little book.

I was very excited to pick up the Slow Regard of Silent Things.  Firstly, it’s by Rothfuss. Secondly, it’s about one of the characters from the Kingkiller Chronicles that I thought I would enjoy reading about. And, thirdly, and very fickle of me, its an absolutely gorgeous little book, beautifully written and beautifully illustrated – which again seems perfectly fitting for a tale about Auri.  Check it out:

I won’t elaborate on the plot – I say this quite often in my reviews but in this case I’m not going to elaborate further because, to be frank, there isn’t a plot.  This is a snippet of time from Auri’s life.  Not even a full week.  Literally six days, during which we follow in the footsteps of Auri as she moves purposefully along the ancient passageways of Underthing, collecting, making and depositing things along the way.

In terms of characters – well, if you’re expecting a robust cast you’ll surely be disappointed.  This is the Auri show.  Nobody else makes an appearance and there is no dialogue or conversation, no witty repartee!  Again though, I felt like this fitted with the story as the places that Auri takes us to almost have a reverential feel to them, or a scary one when seen through her eyes, so much so that lots of dialogue would feel a little like shouting through a megaphone whilst in a library! Auri is an unusual girl. Waiflike and alone.  Not lonely though.  She sees things differently.  Some things frighten her and others make her unspeakably happy.  To Auri, there’s a place for everything and everything has to be in it’s place. The inanimate objects around her seem to almost have feelings and personalities. It’s a very unusual world!

The setting is Underneath – a labyrinth of passages that run beneath the University where Auri was once a student.  This is a very strange and fascinating place indeed and perhaps one of the only criticisms I have is that I would have quite liked, in fact I would have loved, an illustration of the layout, but that’s just a personal whim.  I was fascinated with Auri’s world.  It feels like an enormous place with twisting tunnels and secret rooms.  I couldn’t help thinking of the Phantom of the Opera – don’t even ask my why, it’s just a strange fancy that I had when reading.  I’d love to know what the dressing room was for example!

Anyway, to the crux of the review.  The writing.  The writing is beautiful.  It’s lyrical and whimsical and a little bit sad and Rothfuss is undoubtedly a master of words.  If Kvothe knows the name of the Wind then Rothfuss know the name of Prose!  I can’t deny that I adore writing like this – it’s one of the reasons why I love writers such as Gaiman and Valente.  The words are magical and the imagery they depict is captivating.

Okay, if you’re expecting a start, a middle and a conclusion to the story then get ready for disappointment.  This isn’t that type of story.  If you’re expecting to find out a little of Auri’s history or what happened to drive her into this strange and self imposed solitude – again this isn’t the right book – in fact, I think if we’re going to find out about Auri it’s more likely to be through others telling her tale.  Other things you can forget about: this doesn’t take the Chronicles forward in any way whatsoever, we don’t meet up with Kvothe or any of the others, it’s not epic, dramatic or adventurous.  It’s unconventional and Rothfuss is plainly aware of this as he states in the foreword ‘You might not want to buy this book’.  Again, unusual to say the least and probably enough to give any publicist palpitations!

I really enjoyed it though.  If you’re keen for a glimpse into the world of Auri then this is for you.  It’s a bittersweet insight that leaves you frankly wanting more and also makes you feel strangely protective of this ethereal girl!  I think the clue is in the title really – ‘the slow regard of silent things’ it’s basically what you’re doing here as a reader.  You’re having a little peep into this unusual, slow paced and very silent world.

Recommended with the provisos pointed out by the good author himself!

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20 Responses to “The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss”

  1. Tabitha (Not Yet Read)

    Oh I need to read his books! I am so ashamed I haven’t and Auri sounds amazing! And illustrations…..I love illustrations

    • lynnsbooks

      Oh, you would love this little book – it’s such a pretty little thing and Auri is such an unusual character. You would have oodles of inspiration for sketches from Auri’s world! Not sure, however, that I’d recommend if you’ve not already read his – I think you could read it as as standalone personally but not everyone agrees.
      Lynn 😀

  2. Stephen P. Bianchini

    Many thanks for the review, Lynn! Rothfuss is not an author I know well (only read The Name of the Wind, which I liked a lot) but this one seems another good pick.

    • lynnsbooks

      It’s definitely not turning out to be everyone’s cup of tea but I think I went into this one with my eyes wide open if you know what I mean so didn’t have unrealistic expectations. I think anyone reading this expecting to meet up with Kvothe would be greatly disappointed! I think Auri is an excellent side character.
      Lynn 😀

  3. Nathan

    I think I would have been more disappointed if Rothfuss had taken Auri and wrapped her up in an explainable package. She needs mystery, she doesn’t need to be fully explained. I should pick this up, I usually don’t do mid story novellas but may make an exception.

    • lynnsbooks

      I actually really like what he’s done here. I can see that people would be disappointed if they were expecting a step forward in the Chronicles but personally I think it’s perfectly fitting for Auri.
      Lynn 😀

  4. bendingoverbookwards

    I’m in two minds about starting this. I’m not the biggest Auri fan, do you think it would change my mind? I feel like more insight into her life might help…

    • lynnsbooks

      Well, if you’re not already a fan I’m not really sure – I would be tempted to err on the side of ‘not’. It doesn’t really explain anything about her in fact, if anything, the story lends her more mystery than ever and personally I came away with a number of questions.
      You do get a little insight into the life she leads – I’m not sure if she actually has any magic or whether she’s literally just in her own world. I find it quite intriguing but can see it won’t be for everyone.
      Lynn 😀

      • bendingoverbookwards

        Thanks for the advice! I might end up reading it anyway and seeing what happens…

      • lynnsbooks

        I definitely wouldn’t dissuade anyone from reading – I love his writing.
        Lynn 😀

  5. jessicabookworm

    I haven’t heard of this character, author or the original chronicles but this book looks ever so pretty 🙂

    • lynnsbooks

      The Name of the Wind is such a magnificent book. I think you would probably like Rothfuss – he’s a magician with words. Literally.
      It really is a beautiful little book.
      Lynn 😀

  6. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    Still waiting for my library hold to come through…I wonder what I’ll think of this. Auri isn’t my favorite, I admit, and I hear this book is going to be a bit different, because of who Auri is. I’m glad to hear about the beautiful writing though, looking forward to that!

    • lynnsbooks

      He is a lovely writer and i enjoyed this but if youre not that keen on Auri then you might not be keen. I think its wise to get the library book!. I have to admit its an unusual book and if this had been my first Rothfuss read i might not be persuaded to continue reading his books. Like i said. I liked it and i think itS written beautifully and also with lovely illustrations but without the knowledge of his other work i think i would have been seriously puzzled about this author!
      Lynn 😀

  7. Anastasia

    Aaaa thanks for reviewing this! 🙂 I must find this to read 😀

  8. Carl V. Anderson

    Phantom of the Opera is a great comparison. When I read the book (Phantom) I had a Barnes and Noble copy that had an opening section all about the actual Opera House. It was fascinating and sounded so deliciously creepy and intriguing, just like Auri’s world. I can easily see why you had that thought.

    “reverential” is an apt word to use in describing the book. Auri really does treat everything with reverence, even after she has the occasional outburst of anger/emotion, she makes things right.

    I’m not OCD, but when it comes to how I decorate, etc. I do like to think of things having special places and have had those flashbacks to childhood feelings when I decide to take a picture down, or move something, and feel somewhat sad that maybe I’m hurting the object’s feelings.

    I so related to this story, and loved it. Nice to finally come back and read your review.

    • lynnsbooks

      I like that – things having special places for things – not OCD at all, quite correct I think!
      It did make me think of Phantom in a really good way. And I really liked it – plus Rothfuss – he’s just a master with words!
      Lynn 😀

  9. ‘The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.’ | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss – this is not a book with students as such but a very unusual female who lives in the tunnels beneath the university.  A beautiful and quick read and a gorgeous little book. […]

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