Chapter 1 (for realz)
I should probably mention that this book has quite a few illustrations in it, drawn by one Nate Taylor. They’re pretty good! They’re done in a nice pen and ink style, very comic book-y. It kind of makes me wonder if this whole thing would have worked better in that format.
Anyway, Auri makes her way into another part of the Underthing, closer to the surface (the Overthing?) and quirks out some more over bottles, or something. Then she jumps over some cracks, in a quirky and whimsical way.
The third she jumped as wildly as a pretty girl who looked like the sun.
I once again feel compelled to remind everyone that Auri is supposed to be a fully grown woman.
After jumping over the cracks she goes skinny-dipping in a pool to find stuff that washes into the Underthing from above, in accordance with the inscrutable whims of her highly quirky personality.
Auri balanced for a moment, holding her nekkid self up with both hands,
I am reading an officially purchased ebook copy, that isn’t a bizarre typo.
There was nothing peppermint about the cold stone edge. It was a dull, blunt bite against her tender altogether hindmost self.
THIS BOOK IS GOING TO KILL MEEEEEEE
Okay. Okay, deep breaths. Let’s all just calm down here.
Wait hold on I have to quote more of this shit at you so you can share my pain
Then she drew a few deep breaths, screwed her eyes shut, and bared her teeth before letting go with her toes and ducking her nethers underneath the surface. She squeaked a little, and the chill made her whole self go gooseprickle.
DO YOU SEE WHAT I HAVE TO PUT UP WITH
Okay. Right. Continuing on. After hearing a bit more about Auri’s nethers she dives into the pool and through a tunnel of pipes, in a bit that’s actually quite evocative. You always have these juxtapositions with Rothfuss, where it goes from SCREAMING FOREVER to “hey actually, not bad”.
During multiple dives Auri finds a random assortment of stuff, including a bone and a Mystery Key. I’m really wondering how clean this water is; even in a modern city I wouldn’t generally recommend diving in underground tunnels no matter what their purpose, to say nothing of a pre-indusrial Ye Olde Fantasy world.
Her lips had gone from pink to pale pink tinged with blue.
Swimming in water cold enough to induce hypothermia: always a good idea.
On her third dive she finds something “full of love and answers” (what does that meeeeaaaaan) that’s heavy and metallic. She compares it to “raw iridium” in terms of weight. According to Wikipedia Iridium is one of the rarest metals found in the Earth’s crust; only three tons of it are produced and consumed every year on the entire planet. I guess since Wizard School is all about the science it’s not inconceivable that Auri, a former student, would have handled iridium bars often enough to use them as a comparison.
(While we’re on the subject of things that are more interesting than this book, did you know that Iridium deposits are found in meteorites? It’s true! This led to the hypothesis that the K-Pg boundary marking the extinction of the dinosaurs, which contains a higher than average amount of iridium, was caused by a meteorite impact)
What were we talking about? Nethers, or something?
Oh right, Auri!
So Auri is swimming up with her metal bundle of love (more or less exactly what she calls it) but it’s super heavy so she starts running out of air, and then she drops the bottle she’s holding Foxen in and I guess this is supposed to be tense or exciting but there’s no stakes or context or…. well, anything to make us care, really.
Man, when I think of all the times in the Kvothe books when I would have killed for a near-drowning…..
burdened as she was with the heavy lump of sharp, hard love she held so tightly to her chest. Was it the answers that it held that gave it so much weight?
LOLOLOLOL SO QUIRKY
I will say this, this section proves that Rothfuss is capable of writing prose that doesn’t largely consist of people faffing around doing nothing. I don’t know why he doesn’t employ this skill more often.
Even though she’s in imminent danger of drowning Auri refuses to let the piece of metal fall, convinced that this would be worse than her dying for some reason. Realistic depiction of mental illness? Not qualified to answer that, but in any case it kind of sheds new light on Kvothe’s insistence on keeping Auri out of the Crockery or whatever it’s called, the place where students who have been affected by magic are kept. We see here that she has strong and irrational delusions of a nature that seriously impair her decision making and endanger her life; that’s not the sort of person that should be living on her own in a dangerous environment. Elodin’s claim that his confinement represented an injustice was more compelling since his magic damage seemed to manifest entirely as excessive quirkiness rather than anything that was going to result in him getting hurt.
It was a bright brass gear, big as a platter. Thicker than her thumb with some to spare. It had a hole in the middle, nine teeth, and a jagged gap where a tenth had long ago been torn away.
MYSTERIES WITHIN MYSTERIES
Incidentally while I’m unfairly nit-picking, a brass gear seems like the sort of thing a magic engineering student would be more familiar with than an iridium bar.