Thursday, November 6, 2014

Try a little tenderness: The Rothfuss Novella

The Slow Regard of Silent Things, Patrick Rothfuss
This arrived a little over a week ago; a tender novella that entices like an omitted chapter from The Kingkiller Chronicles...except it isn't.  Because it couldn't have been in there.  It wouldn't have belonged.  And everything must be in its place, after all.
  • I was quite taken with the overblown hero of The Name of the Wind.
  • I forgave the 10 chapters of fairy sex in The Wise Man's Fear, and got to know him better.
  • I was excited to see a female form on this cover and learn I was going to visit Auri's world.  I think Rothfuss writes well, and I wanted to see what he would do with a different looking glass.
  • Re-reading the other books in preparation is unnecessary.  But I warn that upon closing it, (well, I first reopened it and looked at all of the illustrations again -- yes, there are illustrations, I'll get to those!), I promptly reflected how I would like to revisit Kvothe's narrative with this Special Features' injection in play and see how it would enrich their encounters.  Prep-marathon-read pre-Doors of Stone (Kingkiller #3)?  I think so.
  • I like spending time with Auri.
  • I'm almost certain I could spend an entire novel in Rothfuss-size with only her, so this being born as it was?  It's for the best. 
  • It's beautiful and touching.
  • In the past month, I have read three books wherein the illustrations improved my experience instead of detracted from it.  The funny thing is, I think I have also only read three books in the past 3 years that I feel this way about. This was one of them.  Scrumptious.  SO scrumptious.  The other two?  Laini's.  To have such a drought of this sort for so long only to devour these visual treats in quick succession feels sinful.  I felt like I should save one for later.  Love the illustrations.
  • There's nothing offensive, disturbing, or profane in it.  (Although there is some deep sadness.  When you read, let us discuss!?)
  • So between the beautiful/touchingness of it all and the illustration-treats, I was going "Huh?" a little through Rothfuss' apologies for the novel being unusual.  Yup, he includes those at the end.  I'm pretty sure unusual is a good thing.  This is about Auri. 
  • It only takes around an hour and a half to read.  That's nice.  And I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I snuggled in and felt transported.  I actually feel sorry it is over, and know I will reread it.  And being the length it is, it is easier to hush the books arguing Next-in-line.
  • I'm not sure how well the book would read for those who haven't read the two titles, aforementioned.  The gaps I'm filling in, in my mind? They're helpful.  Yet...I think if you read the (incredibly thorough, non-spoiling) blurb (below), it could be enough, if you like things that are different.
I think this is only the second time I've included a blurb with my review (I deliberately don't, usually), but the Hachette write-up is excellent, and offers more than the Goodreads synopsis;

The University, a renowned bastion of knowledge, attracts the brightest minds to unravel the mysteries of enlightened sciences like artificing and alchemy. Yet deep below its bustling halls lies a complex and cavernous maze of abandoned rooms and ancient passageways - and in the heart of it all lives Auri. Formerly a student at the University, now Auri spends her days tending the world around her. She has learned that some mysteries are best left settled and safe. No longer fooled by the sharp rationality so treasured by the University, Auri sees beyond the surface of things, into subtle dangers and hidden names. At once joyous and haunting, THE SLOW REGARD OF SILENT THINGS is a rich, atmospheric and lyrical tale, featuring one of the most beloved characters from Rothfuss' acclaimed fantasy series.

Here's another cover (I prefer the first for me, this for selling it to Haki):
Thank you Hachette, for the gorgeous review copy.  I've seen a lot of disputes raging in the webourhood about the price of this small novella.  I'm not really authorised to comment, having not spent my dollars on the book.  But if I werrre, I'd say: Did you heft it?  Because the hardcover edition truly feels like a journal...and it is kind of akin to a week in the life of Auri...and it wouldn't it feeling journalesque be poetic and right and "as it should be."  /wink  Also: the illustrations, 'members?
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