I have been a fan of Patrick Rothfuss and have loved the first two books in The Kingkiller Chronicle. But all that seems ages ago. Rothfuss published The Name of The Wind (Kingkiller #1) in 2007, and The Wise Man's Fear (Kingkiller #2) in 2011. It has been 9 years but the third book is nowhere in sight. I got tired of waiting so I picked up this novella connected to The Kingkiller Chronicle. Mind you, even this came out in 2014.
The first thing I noticed about The Slow Regard of Silent Things (after just a few pages), was the beautiful writing. The prose was bordering on poetry, as Rothfuss went about describing the peculiar ways of Auri and her bittersweet world of inanimate objects. In fact, I bookmarked a portion and sent it to a friend to convince her that fantasy fiction can also be beautiful. They may be very different from the likes of Handmaid’s Tale, Normal People, Forty Rules of Love or a comic, like Y: The Last Man, and yet, be a thing of beauty.
Unfortunately, as I went on with The Slow Regard of Silent Things, I could not find anything else that appealed to me. My reading speed dropped considerably, and I was unable to pick up the pace. Days went by, trying to read a 150-page novella, and finishing it became a task. The entire experience of reading it feels completely pointless. There is no plot, no beginning, middle or end. I don’t say that these are necessary because a story can still work if the characters and their lives are interesting. In this case, neither is true.
Auri is a very small character in The Kingkiller Chronicle. She does come across as strange and interesting in The Wise Man's Fear, but over there, she is a supporting character, coming in to bridge certain gaps. In The Slow Regard of Silent Things, Auri is the main protagonist. So there is a lot more expected from her. Let me take an example from a film.
'Despicable Me' has a bunch of adorable little characters called Minions. They do a great job of providing additional comic relief. But when an entire film was made on them (Minions), they did not seem as interesting or funny. No one wanted to watch an entire film full of silly little pranks. Some things are great in small doses. Auri is like that according to me.
It is tedious to read every little detail of Auri's life, the things she does, her quirks, her fears. It may have been interesting had her life been more than something resembling Feng Shui in action. Even the near-poetic descriptions start becoming tiresome. I don’t have anything against Feng Shui or Poetry for that matter. But that is not what I expect to read when I pick up a book in the fantasy fiction genre.
It genuinely hurts me to say this about a book, even more so when it is written by an author who re-introduced me to the world of fantasy fiction. But I feel what I feel, and The Slow Regard of Silent Things is the most uninteresting book I have read in a long time.