Book Review: The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss

There are a few books out there that polarize readers to either loving them or hating them, and this is one of them. I picked up The Slow Regard of Silent Things after finishing the first and second books of the Kingkiller Chronicles and was wringing my hands waiting for the next one. I loved the poetic language that Rothfuss used in his epic fantasy and was curious to see how he would handle novella length fiction.

I was one of the readers that loved this book, not because it had a riveting story or action-packed sequences or amazing magic, but because it was so drastically different than any other story I had ever read. And that was a good thing. I’ll probably say this a few times but Rothfuss uses language beautifully.

The Story

This book isn’t technically a story at all. Rather, it is the reader following a truly unique person through their day-to-day life. Auri is no normal person either. She lives in the complex maze of underground tunnels, sewers, and vent shafts that exist beneath the university in the Kingkiller Chronicles. Her life is guided by her own super enhanced intuition which make her feel more ethereal than human at times. For example, there are a series of doors that change what they are and where they lead according to the feelings they share with her. One of these doors is always a door she must not pass through.

The one part of her life anchored in reality is Kvothe (the main character from Kingkiller Chronicles). He is one the few people she will allow to see her. One of the most unique sections of the book describes in detail how she wants to make him a bar of soap that is truly his. In language that slips in and out of poetic flow and narration, we watch as she finds the ash, oils, and fats, along with different fragrances that capture her impression of him. It’s not the soap making process that makes this action compelling, but her need and emotional weight that she assigns each action.

The book ends with her gifting the soap to him.

My Review

For me, book was lovely, different, and proved that sometimes there doesn’t need to be a compelling story to create a compelling narrative. Sometimes, all you really need is a character that is so unique and different that it’s fascinating to watch what she will do next, how she will do it, how she thinks about it, and how her emotional journey progresses.

I can see why some people didn’t like this book. Because there isn’t a concrete problem for Auri to solve and she does not grow or change in the course of the story, some may argue that there is no point to reading it. They may argue that because of this there is nothing to be gained from reading her experience. I would argue that they missed the point. This book isn’t meant to change the character. It changes the reader. It opens up the eyes of possibility, showing how different people can be from each other but how they can be driven by the same fears and loves.

All things considered, of all of Rothfuss’s works, this book is one I would consider reading again to unlock more of the secrets held there. I have a feeling a second read-through would reveal even more about this unique character and why her being so different is so important.

Recommendations

Understandably, this book is not a fast or easy read. It requires attention to detail and patience as events and actions unfold. For those who like a beautiful read and are not tied to absolutely having to have a strong plot and a strong conclusion, I would wholeheartedly recommend this book.

I would not recommend this book for anyone other than the most ardent readers. It would not hold the attention of those easily bored or discouraged, especially if they were hoping for a story to dig their teeth into. I also wouldn’t recommend this for extremely literal thinkers as the poetic language leans heavily on metaphoric language.

My personal rating of the Slow Regard of Silent things is a very rare 5/5.


The release of my second book this last weekend went very well. To celebrate, I gave away over 2000 ebook copies of book one, Stonebearer’s Betrayal, to people all over the world. If you were one of them, thank you for taking a chance on this fantasy series, I hope you like it. If you end up reading it, please consider dropping a review, it’s the best thanks you can give to an author.

If you missed your chance to pick up Stonebearer’s Betrayal for free, the ebook is still available for a steal at $2.99.


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It’s ALIVE! Stonebearer’s Betrayal is back and better than ever

Back in October 2019, the ebook of Stonebearer’s Betrayal was removed from Amazon and hasn’t been available. While it was gone, the Stonebearer Saga brand underwent a huge renovation to renew and refresh its image in the marketplace. The biggest part of this was commissioning a fresh new cover that better represented my vision of the book.

Have I been crazy excited about this? Absolutely.

The story still revolves around Katira’s experience as she learns the truth about the magic which exists in both her world and her family, a truth which has been hidden from her.

Here’s the new back cover blurb:

Forbidden magic compelled Katira to live a lie, but learning the truth is far more dangerous than she ever dreamed.

When an innocent hunting trip turns into an attack, Katira’s world fractures. Her humble parents are actually legendary Stonebearers – immortal, powerful beings tasked with protecting the human world from creatures of the mirror realm.

Those cracks widen and shatter apart when the Archdemoness, Wrothe, escapes from her timeless prison and snatches Katira away, intending to use her as bait to destroy not only her family line, but the entire Stonebearer Society.

If Katira is to be made whole again, she must learn to trust the young stranger who’s trying to save her while finding the strength to accept not only her parents’ power, but her own.

Winner of the Quills 2019 Recommended Read

And yes, you can totally order it RIGHT NOW.

Head here for the newly branded ebook

Head here for the new paperback

Note – because the original book is still in the process of being removed from Amazon, be sure to use the above link to find the new paperback.


Thank you dear reader for stopping by! If you’d like to be notified of future posts here at JodiLMilner.com, be sure to ‘subscribe’ using the handy links. Or, even better, sign up to be part of my mailing list.

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The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance

Growing up a nerd in the 80s was a unique experience. Of everything weird and wonderful, there were two movies that stood out and still tickle my imagination every time I see any related artwork. Those two movies were Dark Crystal and Labyrinth.

I’m sure you’re all suitably shocked.

When they announced they were taking the rest of the Dark Crystal story and making a Netflix series, I was both excited and concerned. The art of the original movie is what captured it’s fans, and not necessarily the story. In fact, while I loved the art and the mystic other-worldliness of the original film, I never paid any attention to the story until I became an author. How were they going to recapture that magic and balance it out with such a complicated story?

The verdict – with amazing artistic talent and skill. The Age of Resistance is exactly what it needs to be for those who loved the art of the original movie. The producers resisted the temptation to use CGI and opted for traditional puppeting, a decision that was both more costly and challenging, and it resulted in a series that looked and felt as if it stepped out of the original movie.

My other concern was how were they going to stretch the source material into ten hours of film? This is where many new comers to the franchise might start losing interest. Because the world of the Dark Crystal, Thra, is complicated with lots of different cultures and influences, both from within the seven distinct populations of gelflings, and also from the alien Skeksis who have taken up the responsibility of ruling the world, there are parts of the series that have to slow down and explain all of this.

No amount of amazing sets and beautiful creatures can make up for the material being slow and boring at times. I didn’t mind, because I enjoy deep worldbuilding and love examining examples of when it’s been done well. For everyone else, the pace of several episodes is slower than what a standard viewer is used to.

I finished watching the series earlier this week and was very impressed at how good it all turned out to be. For me, it’s a lovely reminder of that magical world that captured my imagination as a child.

Also, the music is incredible. I pulled up the soundtrack to listen to as I worked the other day and was swept away. Managed to write 20% faster than usual to boot!

Recommendations:

I recommend The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance to anyone who liked the original Dark Crystal, or who has a love for epic fantasy story telling styles. This will both amaze and delight you. Also, if you love fantasy art and puppetry, this will rock your world.

I don’t recommend this for those who really haven’t gotten into fantasy as it requires the viewer to take a rather large leap of faith on a premise they might not understand. It’s a bit slow and the payout of the story is long in coming. That said, it is beautifully made.


Thank you dear reader for stopping by! If you’d like to be notified of future posts here at JodiLMilner.com, be sure to ‘subscribe’ using the handy links. Or, even better, sign up to be part of my mailing list.

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The Magic System of Stonebearer’s Betrayal

Magic, the final frontier, these are the voyages of… Wait a minute, wrong franchise. But seriously, let’s talk about the different kinds of magic that appear in Stonebearer’s Betrayal.

Alchemical Symbols – Pixabay contributor “MontageVogue”

In the world of Roshnii, a choice few are born with magic in them.
Despite the historians efforts to link it to lineage, it appears at random. Those blessed, or some believe cursed, with the magic are fated to live abnormally long lives and die violent deaths. This magic is formally known as the power of the Khandashii.

To earn the title of Stonebearer one must survive training and pass through the fires of testing. A proper Stonebearer has the right to carry a motherstone which allows them to more accurately use their powers to manipulate the world.

There are those born with the power who escape the attention of the towers are referred to as wielders. They are considered highly dangerous. Most don’t survive long, as the magic kills those who can’t control it.

The magic is granted by the Stonemother and she chooses those she believes are destined to have it, for good or for ill. She shows her mercy by keeping the magic dormant until a child is strong enough to command it. The longer a child lives without it manifesting, the stronger their magic is. Those who have used the power for decades develop markings along their arms, necks, and backs.

The magic is divided into five abilities. Each of these abilities has it’s own order and headmaster. While a Stonebearer in theory can work each ability to some degree, they have a natural affinity toward one far stronger than the rest. This determines what order they belong to.

The magic manipulates the physical nature of the world through a series of symbols and glyphs. The energy needed for the magic to perform a task is taken from the Stonebearer and if they use too much, it can kill them. Using an ability they don’t have an affinity for requires a prohibitive amount of energy.

The Five Orders

Travelers – can manipulate the location of objects, including themselves, and instantly move them up to the distance they can walk in a day. They enable communication over long distances and are also excellent spies, especially when pared with a seeker.

Guardians – can alter the physical strength of an object, making it either stronger or weaker. They are tasked with keeping the peace and most train to be expert fighters.

Seekers – can locate both items and knowledge in the immediate area. They are responsible for documenting the history of the world and also keeping track of magic powered artifacts. Some can see glimpses into the future.

Benders – can change the nature of an object by manipulating its particles into new formations. While it is strictly prohibited, some can even change how people think and act.

Healers – can repair what is broken and restore what has been corrupted. Most will formally train to heal people and become town and village doctors.

Katira, the main character of Stonebearer’s Betrayal, begins the story believing the magic is nothing more than a legend, a story told to children at festivals, or to scare them in to staying in their beds. She discovers, much to her horror, that the magic is indeed real when one of those storybook monsters attacks her. The world is not as it seems, it has never been. If she is to survive, she must fight against those who want to use her as a pawn in a much larger game between a dangerous demon and the entire society of Stonebearers.

You can get your own copy at all major online book retailers.

Update: In January 2020, Stonebearer’s Betrayal got a huge facelift. Click the link to see it and pick up your copy today!

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If you had the power of the Khandashii, what order would you want to belong to? Answer in the comments below!

Why Adults Should Read Fantasy with John M Olsen

I had so much fun featuring Candace J Thomas here on the blog last week that I invited another dear author friend to come join us this week. Be sure to stop by her blog to see her wonderful interview with yours truly. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, writer friends are the best.
Today we have John M Olsen with us. He is a fellow Immortal Works author who also has roots back at Xchyler Publishing. In fact, he and I met during the same event where I met Candace back in 2015. John is also currently president elect of the League of Utah Writers and just this summer released The Crystal Queen, the sequel to his first book The Crystal King. 
Crystal queen
My big question for John is:

Why should adults read fantasy?

John’s answer:

A man by the name of G. K. Chesterson said, “Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.”

Adults also know dragons exist. We face them every day. Maybe your dragon is a mortgage or a boss with a personality disorder. Maybe your dragon is a disability or a dear friend who refuses to make good life choices. Many of us like to escape into fantasy worlds, but there is much more than escape going on as we march page by page through a fantasy world. These worlds of the imagination are fraught with peril and doom, and good storytelling puts us on the edge of our seat as we hope good overcomes evil, or that true love will conquer all.

I love themes that confirm my faith in the goodness of humanity and of the universe, especially when we see so much entropy and failure if not outright evil. The bad guys may take the upper hand as a story progresses, but in the end, they will lose. Fantasy, at least the sort I prefer, shines a beacon of success despite the odds and illuminates a path forward. If the hero of your story can achieve great things, then you as a reader can as well, no matter how dark the night.

This is why I write, too. I love to write about ordinary people doing extraordinary things, something all readers can relate to. I’m a regular guy. Most readers are regular folks, too. Few achieve great fame or fortune, and the world spins on its merry way oblivious to our existence. But history is filled with true stories of ordinary people who stepped up just like fantasy characters to do what nobody could expect. We have power we don’t recognize. Power we don’t understand, and power we don’t use. But we will recognize, understand, and use that power as we learn by example. As long as we immerse ourselves in stories of success and never give up on ourselves and those around us, we put ourselves on a path to change lives, and through that to change the world.

Fantasy gives us power over reality’s dragons.

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A huge thanks to John for joining us and for his insightful thoughts on why fantasy is so important for readers of all ages, not just kids.
If you liked this message, please share it using the handy links below!
John M. Olsen 2

You can find John all over the place, here are some handy links:

Twitter: @john_m_olsen
Find his novels and short stories over on Amazon: http://amazon.com/author/johnmolsen

 

About John M. Olsen

Motivated by his lifelong love of reading, John M. Olsen writes about ordinary people doing extraordinary things and hopes to entertain and inspire others. His father’s library started him on this journey as a teenager, and he now owns and expands that library to pass his passion on to the next generation of avid readers.

He loves to create things, whether writing novels or short stories or working in his secret lair equipped with dangerous power tools. In all cases, he applies engineering principles and processes to the task at hand, often in unpredictable ways. He usually prefers “Renaissance Man” to “Mad Scientist” as a goal and aesthetic.

He lives in Utah with his lovely wife and a variable number of mostly grown children and a constantly changing subset of extended family.

Check out his ramblings on his blog. Safety goggles are optional but recommended.

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