I haven’t read any of Rothfuss’ work before, so I was a little concerned by the intro to this audiobook in which he warns that readers (listeners) may not enjoy it without the background of the two previous books.
In fact, I suspect that readers of Rothfuss’ previous books may not be the best audience for this one. As it turns out The Slow Regard of Silent Things is entirely enjoyable on its own – as long as the reader is open to a meditation rather than an adventure. Not much happens in this book; it is the story of what Auri does while getting ready for a visitor.
I’m not clear on what Auri is, exactly. She is described repeatedly as small, in fact she seems to be small enough to walk through plumbing passages, but she is also described as tall enough that a large dog comes chest high. Her most defining characteristic, however, could be described as a severe case of ADHD. She spends the entire time making her rounds to ensure that everything is right; in its place and happy. This causes her some considerable personal difficulty at times – at one point her blanket touches the floor and is so offended that she is forced to put it in a special place and sleep without it. Finding the right place to put an extremely large and heavy brass gear takes a considerable amount of time and effort.
What makes this all interesting is the sense that maybe she’s on to something. There is a certain sense that she understands something about the nature of reality that isn’t apparent to the rest of us. This is clearly important work and she’s doing not for herself, but to make the world a better place.