The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patric Rothfuss
This book has been on my “To Read” list since it first came out. I somehow remained more or less spoiler-free in the interim, perhaps because there isn’t a whole lot of spoiling to do for this kind of story. I did not expect it to be a major plot-advancing piece of The Kingkiller Chronicle, although if one looks closely, there are a number of pieces of lore to be uncovered. No, this is an ethereal, emotional sort of story, of the sort I immensely enjoy.
As with many side stories set in a pre-existing fantasy world, this one would make for a difficult first approach to the series. Although it is short, it is not exactly accessible for someone unfamiliar with Patrick Rothfuss’s world. Instead, despite its length, I would start at the beginning with The Name of the Wind—I assure you that book moves far more quickly than the page count suggests.
If one has already conquered the first two tomes, this book is a fantastic window into the life of one of the series’ most enigmatic characters, and an opportunity to experience Rothfuss’ writing in a very different style. That being said, although the cadence and voice is different, it retains that heavily-edited feel of a Rothfuss book: the reader can tell that each word and sentence has been placed intentionally.
Every page is packed so densely with feeling that the specific actions cease to matter. Instead, one is connected with the ebb and flow of the main character’s mental state, aided by some lovely illustrations. Regardless of the destination, anyone who spends time living in an inner world will understand why the story glides, sighs, and rushes from place to place, not because it can, but because it must.