Monday 8 March 2021

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Review: The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss

The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss

The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss

Published: 28th October 2014 | Publisher: Gollancz | Source: Bought
Patrick Rothfuss' Website

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 StoryGraph

My other reviews of The Kingkiller Chronicles:
The Name of the Wind | The Wise Man's Fear

WARNING! I cannot review this book without spoiling the others in the series. Read no further if you're planning on reading this series and don't want it spoilt for you.

Also, because of the nature of this book, I can't discuss it in any real detail without spoiling parts of the story. But spoilers will be hidden under spoiler buttons.

Having recently finished reading The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss, and being a little frustrated at having to wait for the sequel after the cliffhanger last sentence, I immediately bought The Slow Regard of Silent Things, and I absolutely, completely adored it!

The Slow Regard of Silent Things is a novella from Auri's point of view that takes place after The Wise Man's Fear. Auri is Kvothe's friend, a young woman who lives in the Underthing - what she calls the huge number of connected tunnels and disused rooms under the University town. She is a former student whose mental state was effected by her studies, and consequently seems quite childlike and innocent, is very nervous and skittish, and doesn't like being around people, accept Kvothe.

The times when Kvothe visits Auri are some of my favourites in both books. I adore Auri; while innocent and sometimes seeming like she doesn't make much sense, there is a profoundness to her, and I just think she's completely wonderful. So I was really excited to read her own story and get a glimpse at her life. And that's exactly what it is, a glimpse over the course of a few days. Before the story starts, there's a foreward from the author saying that it, "Doesn't do a lot of the things a classic story is supposed to do," which is very much the case. With Silent Things, we get to see Auri's day-to-day; nothing especially exciting happens, she doesn't talk to anyone, it just shows us what she gets up to when she's not hanging out with Kvothe. But what we do get is the chance to get to know Auri better, and a deeper understanding of who she is.

At first, it was completely joyous, just being with Auri and her curious way of thinking, seeing what she gets up to. Inanimate objects have personalities to her, they have names, they are her friends. On the first day we see how she takes Foxen, a stone that emits a blue-green glow when drops of some solution are added to it, with her to The Yellow Twelve, where there is an exceptionally deep pool that she dives into to find new treasures. We go with her as she discovers new rooms in the Underthing, and see her put things to rights. Not necessarily make things tidy, but put objects in the exact place that is right for them. Even if it's under the carpet. Even if it's left tilted and spilled across a vanity.

But the more I read, the more disconcerted I grew. Although Auri is skitish and nervous, and doesn't like being asked certain kinds of questions, I had always previously felt that she was happy. She doesn't have the kind of life anyone would want for her, and there's only so much Kvothe can do without offending her or scaring her off. But I still thought she was ok. Yes, she has neurological issues, but she's happy in her world. But while it doesn't take an awful lot to make Auri happy, it doesn't take much to send her mind spinning. And the more I read, the more my heart broke for Auri.

Auri's life is difficult, and it was just so sad. She needs help, but what proper help can she get? The only option is to have her locked up in Haven, the mental hospital, which would kill her. I adore her even more now; Auri is just so precious and needs protecting, she needs looking after. But I don't know how she can be given the help she needs, in the world she lives in, and also given how skittish she is. I just want someone to help her.

But there's also so much more to Auri. I don't want to give anything away, but she remembers her studies, and is still capable of doing the things she learnt. There's also something else, something more, that was surprising and amazing, but also makes me feel kind of wary. I don't know what that would mean for her, where it would lead in The Doors of Stone, and I'm scared about where things will take her. The ending is also absolutely heartbreaking in completely different ways, and I'm just so worried for her.

The Slow Regard of Silent Things is a weird little story, but it's absolutely brilliant, and I loved it more than I can say. It made Auri even more real to me, and despite how sad it made me, it's such a beautiful, precious story. It's fantastic, and I'm so looking forward to seeing more of Auri in The Doors of Stone, even if I'm worried for her.

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