I could end the review right there.
That’s all this is.
There’s no real story here.
It is just Auri exploring the Underthing and living her best life. The ever eccentric Auri lives, laughs, and loves as she little mermaids herself through a series of tasks only loosely connected to anything else. Occasionally, the prose lapse into poetic flow as Auri explores things, makes words up, and assigns characteristics to inanimate objects. And that’s the real draw here. Rothfuss is a beautiful writer. I’m certain there are people who would read the phonebook if he wrote it. This brings me to one of my sticking points…This book only exists in published form because of who he is. No one else writes this and has a publisher say, “Yeah. Great. I want that.”
The Name of the Wind was published in what? 2007? The Wise Man’s Fear in 2011?
The Slow Regard of Silent Things and (superior) The Lightning Tree were published in 2014, and the only reason I can think of for why this exists as a separate entity is because there was money to be made...or it had been years since The Wise Man's Fear and his publisher wanted him to stay relevant. Who knows.
Damn, I really wish I had read this right after The Name of the Wind or at least right on the heels of The Wise Man’s Fear because I was enamored with his writing then. Now, I wanted to scream and throw the book across the room.
To be fair, the author’s note at the end sheds some light on how this came to be. Rothfuss acknowledges that the book doesn’t do the things a book should do, and that it was something of a writing project for him to explore Auri’s voice. All cool. He even remarks that maybe people will enjoy it more on their second read. Maybe. I’m still struggling with why this even exists. Maybe when The Doors of Stone comes out, it’ll become plain why this matters to the world. I’m sure there’s some world-building to be done with Naming magic.
However, for now, I don’t get it. I didn’t like it. I think I’ll give it a second shot between NotW and TWMF in my inevitable re-read. Give it a shot if you want poetic prose and need (desperately need) more Rothfuss.