The Slow Regard of Silent Things
by Patrick Rothfuss
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/920489478
Read from October 30 to December 22, 2014
It physically pains me to review The Slow Regard of SilentThings by Patrick Rothfuss. I love Patrick Rothfuss! I adored reading The Nameof the Wind and the The Wise Man's Fear (I gave both of them 5-star ratings and raving reviews)! I cannot wait to get my hands on Doors of Stone! Nonetheless, I did not enjoy this novella :(
It makes me sad to admit it, but I struggled to even finish it, and it is only 159 pages long! I could easily read that many pages in one sitting, but this book took me FOREVER to get through. If it were written by any other author, I might have DNF'd it, but out of respect and love for Mr. Rothfuss, I had to see it through. But sadly, there was no action, no intrigue, and I found it tedious and tiresome.
It read like a book about nothing - and that pains me because Auri is one of the most fascinatingly strange and intriguing characters I've ever read. And that what's most sad: this was the perfect opportunity for him to give some backstory and context to Auri - to explain why she dropped out of University, why she lives underground, why she is so socially awkward. And while he did provide some insight to her OCD tendencies, it really didn't reveal much about the why.
And even though Rothfuss alludes to "his" coming, "he" never actually arrives. I am assuming that the "he" in question is Kvothe, but it could be Elodin, or Mandraug, or any other "he" in the Kingkiller Chronicles, for that matter. But I knew the intrigue of the "he" would never be answered in this novella, and if it ever does get answered, it would not be answered until book 3 comes out, and who knows when that will be.
And while I very much appreciated Marc Aplin's review which brilliantly interprets this novella as an analogy for Rothfuss's own struggles with finding perfection, I couldn't quite appreciate it enough for that reason. I did wonder the entire time if the novella was meant as a giant string of clues that would tie directly into book 3: there is a few mentions of a few doors, even one made of stone!; it does provide a quasi-layout for the underground tunnels, which might come in handy later; it does leave one to wonder of Auri's significance in Kvothe's journey; but I was even more frustrated because I can't answer any of these questions without book 3! And the whole time the other voice in my head kept saying, "but what if none of this matters, and Auri's story is just completely superfluous?" If that is the case, then I'd probably drop my rating down to one star, but again I won't know until book 3! Arrgggg!
And then there was the Coda: it was downright insulting, to be honest. Essentially, in the coda, Rothfuss relates the story of the time that he met with Ms. Vi Hart. He tells about how she loved the novella, even if it is eccentric and convoluted. When Rothfuss worried that people won't get this story, Ms. Hart retorted with "F*** those people...Those people have stories written for them all the time. What about me? Where's the story for people like me?" (Rothfuss 153). Then Rothfuss continues by talking about how his beta readers liked it; his agent liked it; his publisher liked it. All people with credibility and ethos. Then he brings home the insult with his last few lines:
"If you're one of the people who found this story disconcerting, off-putting, or confusing, I apologize. The truth is, it probably just wasn't for you. The good news is that there are many other stories out there that are written for you. Stories you will enjoy much more. This story is for all the slightly broken people out there. I am one of you. You are not alone. You are all beautiful to me" (Rothfuss 159).
Ouch, right!?!? Basically the coda shoots down any fan who doesn't like this novella, and it made me sad to think that I am one of those fans! Double ouch, right? Basically, if Vi Hart, the beta readers, the agent, and the publisher all like it, and broken people like it, and he's a broken person like all the other broken people who like it, then that makes me the enemy, the outsider, the loser who isn't cool enough, smart enough, broken enough to like it like all of those credible readers listed above. I'm not "one of them." But I am one of them, damn it! I am broken; I love intriguing stories; I like eccentric plot lines. The idea that "there are many other stories out there that are written for you" is like saying that I am beneath this novella. But the other stories out there that are for me are HIS BOOKS! I adore his other two books. And I am bidding my time waiting for the third books by reading any other series I can find, but I am DYING to read the culmination to the series. But with this coda, it makes me feel that I'm not in the cool club with all of his "real" fans. It bumed me out.
I'm sure that this was not his intention when writing the coda: he probably didn't intend it to be insulting, so I don't plan to hold it against him. However, even with that said, the pathos in his coda are not strong enough to make me like this novella. Maybe when book 3 comes out and all of the loose ends are tied up, I will come to appreciate this novella more. But right now it felt repetitive, tedious, and downright boring. And it makes me sad to admit that. But it's the plain and simple truth!
Here's hoping that you are one of the cool kids who likes this novella like Vi Hart, the beta readers, the agent, and the publisher. But as for this lowly, loser reader, I did not enjoy it.