I was wrong. The Slow Regard of Silent Things was not a snack, something to devour between meals of Epic Fantasy. It was a delicacy, a rare treat to be savored for as long and as often as I can afford.
The Slow Regard of Silent Things is not about plot. It is not about character interaction. It is not about building to Moments of Awesome. If you go into it looking for these things, you’ll be sorely disappointed. But Rothfuss tells us that himself before the novella even begins.
This is about Auri. Her life, her mind, her view of the world. You can get answers to small questions that you might have wondered about, such as how she survives in the Underthing, or what she does when she’s not with Kvothe–and even some easter eggs that deepen your understanding of the world of the series. But there won’t be any keys to the larger story. This is a character study, if anything.
And you know what? I absolutely loved it. I easily loved it more than The Wise Man’s Fear, and perhaps even more than The Name of the Wind. I love it enough to recommend that others (particularly writers) read the main books in the series so that they can get to the novella. I love it enough that I’m bound to start it over again from the beginning in the next day or two.
Why do I love it so much? Is it Auri herself, who I’ve loved from the moment that we first met her? Is it the prose, which is consistently beautiful and in places so blindingly brilliant that I can almost taste the words in the air? Is it the moment that the name of the novella makes absolute sense, a true name that grows more resonant with every page? I don’t know. But The Slow Regard of Silent Things stands among my all-time favorite pieces of fiction.
This novella, above perhaps any other piece of fiction I’ve read, will not be for everyone. Some people hate it. A good friend of mine, one who recommended The Kingkiller Chronicles in the first place, didn’t enjoy this novella at all. But for me, this was a shining star of a story that I can’t wait to read again.