The Narrow Road Between Desires

Recorded Books. Nov. 2023. 4:15 hrs. ISBN 9798890594082. $12.99. FANTASY
Rothfuss’s (The Wise Man’s Fear) novella, a brief foray into his “Kingkiller Chronicle” universe, takes place over a single day and centers on Bast, a disguised fae, and his antics bargaining with the village kids for lies and secrets. Although he is very much a trickster archetype, Bast lets his tender side sneak through just often enough to be likable. Several small incidents throughout the story come together in the end, and the child characters are written with as much complexity as the older townsfolk. Bast is often a morally vague character, although he has a moment of preachiness toward the end. The author’s note and preface are narrated by Rothfuss, while the bulk of the book is narrated by Nick Podehl. Podehl occasionally adopts an actorly persona, speaking with exaggerated inflection and rhythm. This approach captures the personality of the point-of-view character and makes the dialogue engaging but can be distracting during descriptions. Rothfuss’s narration is brief but more conversational.
VERDICT Fans of fairy tales with a grown-up spin and Rothfuss’s other works will enjoy this audiobook that requires a smaller time investment than most fantasy novels.
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