This novella is a supplement to the fantasy series The Kingkiller Chronicles. It is not necessary for the main story, but offers a brief glimpse into the life of one of the minor characters.
Auri is a psychologically damaged waif that Kvote (the main character of The Kingkiller Chronicles) befriended while he was attending university. In some ways, this book reads like a clinical study of a severe case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). We get one hint in one sentence that this condition might have been precipitated by sexual abuse, but by whom and for how long we don’t know.
Auri lives in the abandoned underground rooms and passages of the university, a place she calls The Underthing. The story takes you into her world for a week of her life. It is in some ways a horrifying experience, but Rothfuss tells the story with compassion. I kept wishing I could get to Auri with some prescription medicine.
Evaluation: This story certainly conveys what it is like for those who have a psychological condition for which they do not receive treatment. I didn’t find it all that engrossing, but it is well done, and it’s a very interesting departure for a fantasy writer. As usual, Rothfuss takes his writing where few others travel.
Published by DAW, a member of Penguin Group (USA), 2014