Review: The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss

SilentRegardSeries: The Kingkiller Chronicle #2.5
Subtitle: Tales from Temerant
Published by: Gollancz
ISBN: 1473209323
ISBN 13: 9781473209329
Published: October 2014
Pages: 155
Format reviewed: Hardcover from publisher
Site: Author Site
Goodreads: Book Page
Stars: Five out of Five

The Slow Regard of Silent Things is set in the same world as Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicles, and is listed as taking place between book two and the adoringly-awaited book three. Though there are mentions of Kvothe he is not seen in this book, which features Auri instead. We follow her life for six days as she awaits her next meeting with Kvothe, and we get a bit better understanding for how she survives, living and hiding as she does.

Rothfuss posted about this novella, and has commented several times that he’s nervous about its release. It’s not a normal, typical novel – well, nothing Rothfuss does could be counted as that. Even for him this is a bit weird. As everyone is reporting, there’s a large chunk of this book (which is already short at 150 or so pages) dedicated to soap. How her soap is sabotaged. How she goes about making more. How perfect the soap then is. For those who write they would understand how hard it would be to write any kind of piece of writing about one person, who doesn’t speak to anyone else, and keep it interesting. Rothfuss has managed this by choosing Auri, who suits that type of thing anyway. Auri is rather a special character, who believes that things literally have their own place – items can’t just be placed anywhere after all, the item won’t be happy unless it’s placed in a particular way on a certain shelf, rather than left on a desk or elsewhere. She goes to great lengths to keep everything in balance. Even as far as not thinking she’s entitled to take bed linen from a place no longer used, even if she’s in need of it herself.

So yes, it’s a strange novel and if I’m perfectly honest, it isn’t something I entirely loved depending on my mood. At times when reading it I was a little disappointed. Or a little bored. It was sometimes easy to put down – though I did always pick it up again quite soon after. And all in all it’s a lovely book, it’s a good read but… This is only a book for those who have read his Kingkiller Chronicles series – if you haven’t, you either won’t understand what’s going on or why you should care, and if not that you would most probably be bored. Unless you are able to focus purely on the writing which is quite lyrical and beautiful, the way Rothfuss, through Auri, focuses on simple and natural things, and the simple and natural joys we all should be paying more attention to.

The audiobook is narrated by Rothfuss himself, and is apparently quite enjoyable.

Though I wasn’t head over heels in love with this book without second thought (like I assumed I would be), overall it is rather special and enjoyable, and as such I didn’t hesitate to rate it highly. Rothfuss could write a damn shopping list and it would be very readable, after all.

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