Pat has to be one of my favorite fantasy authors. I was introduced to fantasy literature at a young age, but relatively late compared to the others who were already in the community. But, once I was in, I was in to stay. Pat’s opus, The Name of the Wind, is one of my favorites of all time. His prose lulled me deep into his story, and the way he wrote character, setting, and plot, were all very much magically spiced within that sapid fantasy stew. It was a book I didn’t want to end.
But it did, and I was sad, but I went on with life. Slowly. The first thing I did was look for the sequel. It wasn’t out. It wouldn’t come out for a while – a long tear-jerking while. But it finally did, and I couldn’t read it. Why? Because the series wasn’t done. It’s still not done. The one thing about Pat is that he takes a long time to write a book. But I don’t see this as so much a bad thing as something I need to have more patience with. Let’s face, he writes good books, and for that I’ll gladly wait. Now we have to be honest. There does come a point at which the time is taking a bit too long, and maybe Pat pushes that. But, who am I to criticize. He’s the one writing the books and were I in his shoes I’d tell my appreciative readers that they can wait. Well, maybe it’s not that black-and-white. But you get the idea.
The point is I thoroughly enjoy the series so much that I cannot bear to read two-thirds of the way through it and then wait for years for the final installment. Nope. Yep. I’m that guy. Some people think I’m crazy. But I’m not about to read seven books in a ten-book series and find out that the last two books aren’t projected to hit the market for three to five years. Sorry. I don’t want to risk forgetting the story. It’s that simple.
But let’s get to The Slow Regard of Silent Things. I was intrigued, not just because Pat released another book, but because it was a book that he himself doubted, a book for which he was tossing piles of preliminary apologies to his fans. I didn’t get it. He’s the writer. He can do whatever the (INSERT EXPLETIVE HERE) he wants. But that was what he was doing. He was unsure how his fans, his public would receive it, and it seemed that he was almost afraid, anxious, as to what their opinion of him would be.
When I cracked open the book, he did the same thing I had been hearing, almost apologizing for the book. “Some of you will like this, some of you won’t,” was how it started. He said it wasn’t all the things that most traditional fantasy books (or books in general) had in them. There was no plot, conflict, arc, etc. It was just, as my friend explained, the thoughts of the little girl.
The little girl – Auri. I have been so intrigued by this girl and I was very excited to learn more about her. So, I read it.
And I thought it was great.
You’re right, Pat, it wasn’t the same book that many fantasy fans, your fans, expected. You’re also right that it didn’t have all the ingredients many books in this genre have. But I agree with what your friend said to you over several (okay, more than several) beers that night. “Fuck those people.” This was written because you wanted to listen to Auri’s voice, and Auri wanted to speak…and this is what came out. And that’s all we need to know, right?
For those of you thinking about reading SR, I must say that I agree with Pat. You will find yourself amid a world of words without a lot of direction. This particular piece of art was not painted or wrought with the same tools as many in the community tend to use.
It’s like watching someone across a crowded room for hours. You hear her voice, see her interact with a few people, but that’s it. Then, you’re invited into a day in her life, just to see how she lives. She shows you. It may be what you expected, or completely against that. Either way, we get what we asked for.
Slow Regard is a look into the truthful and honest mind of Auri in the Underthing. It’s the girl we wanted to learn about, and when the book closes, we get what we asked for. Nothing more, nothing less.
If you’d like a closer glimpse at Auri and her mind, please open this book. If you are comfortable where you are and don’t want to take chances, stay where you are. Either way, thanks Pat. I, for one (and I know, many more) enjoyed this.