How We Fall Blog Tour Round-up!

My release week is almost here! Honestly, I’m a little nervous, but mostly, I’m enjoying it. It’s going to happen no matter what I do at this point, so I’ve kind of let go, and decided to have fun! The launch party is ONE WEEK FROM TODAY, and don’t forget– you’re invited!

This Friday, for the first time, I saw my real, actual book on shelves for sale! Here it is at my local Barnes and Noble:

HWF on shelves

Here’s the round-up of How We Fall across the internet– everything from giveaways to me talking about monsters:


Previously In My Blog Tour:

  • An interview with BORN WICKED author Jessica Spotswood on travel, drinks, and my book
  •  A stop on  Publishing Hub where I’m talking about Pinterest boards for novels, and releasing mine for How We Fall
  • The hardcover giveaway of my book also went up on Booklikes
  • The first chapter hit Wattpad, where you can read it for free!
  • a great review from the American Library Association’s Booklist“Jackie’s life is complicated. Her best friend is missing, she lives in a house with too many people and too little space, and she is secretly dating her cousin. Jackie has two tasks. She must break up with her cousin and simultaneously solve the mystery of her missing friend, making this novel an unusual combination of romance and suspense. Brauning is not the first author to delve into this taboo subject matter—most famously, there is Meg Rosoff’s How I Live Now (2004). But there is also something universal about Jackie’s struggles with her feelings and her desires, and readers will identify with her emotions, while going along for the plot’s ride. This quest for identity, wrapped up in an intriguing mystery, hooks from the beginning.”
  • a guest post from me on Adventures in YA Publishing, where I talk about how editors and authors see the book, the edit letter, and deadlines: Across the Desk–Thoughts from An Author-Editor
  • My publishing house launched a Goodreads giveaway of 25 hardcovers! Want a copy? You can win one!
  • Devin Norwood interviews me about writer’s block, e-books, and other genres I’d write
  • Review from Samantha Randolph, book blogger at I Heart YA Fiction
  • My brand-new author website launched recently, too. It’s at, and it has the first chapter of How We Fall, plus website-only extras, and a nice long new author bio that took me forever to write. 🙂 I’d love it if you stopped by the site and said hello!

Review of HOW WE FALL from School Library Journal

Today’s good news is that School Library Journal reviewed How We Fall! The review will be in this month’s SLJ print issue, and the full review is currently up on Book Verdict. I’m thrilled with such a great review from them, and it’s making some of the stress and nerves worthwhile!

In case you don’t have a Book Verdict subscription, here’s the review:


SLJ review

Review: CALL ME ZELDA by Erika Robuk

Review: CALL ME ZELDA by Erika Robuk

Review by Alison Doherty
Call Me Zelda
Erika Robuk
NAL Trade, 2013

Since I first read The Great Gatsby in high school, I’ve been fascinated by the Fitzgeralds – especially Zelda. In a lot of ways their story as a couple both eclipses and bolsters F. Scott Fitzgerald’s books. Lately with the resurgence of nostalgia for the 1920s, aided by Downton Abbey and Baz Luhrmann’s film, even more people are interested in Zelda. They are interested in Zelda, the southern belle who charmed all the officers, or Zelda, the flapper who drank champagne all night and danced in fountains. CALL ME ZELDA, by Erika Robuck doesn’t focus on that Zelda. Instead the book shows her in the 1930s, trying desperately to recover from a mental breakdown and trying to forge an identity separate from her famous husband.

The book succeeds in large part because it is told through the perspective of made-up character Nurse Anne Howard. Anne has a history and problems of her own, but as she gets more and more absorbed in the Fitzgeralds so does the reader. Anne eventually quits her job at the psychiatric hospital to move into the Fitzgerad’s home. She starts feeling more like a family friend than employee, but the ground in the Fitzgerald household is always shifting.

During this time, Zelda cathartically writes out memories from iconic periods of her life for Anne. While these times are fun to read about, I think it was a little too bold of Robuck to assume Zelda’s writing style. Anne joins Zelda in her obsession with finding the diaries, which F. Scott Fitzgerald stole for material for his novels and proceeded to lose. They both begin to think if the diaries can be recovered Zelda will be able to recover her identity from being mixed up with her roll as Scott’s muse and literary archetype.

Even though historical fiction hasn’t been my favorite thing to read lately, overall I really enjoyed this book. I became as absorbed in Anne’s personal story as I was in this interpretation of Zelda and Scott. It is hard to take on such iconic historical and literary figures, but I think setting the book after their success made this easier.

Both Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald created their own fictionalizations of this time period and Zelda’s breakdown. F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote TENDER IS THE NIGHT about a famous psychiatrist who sacrifices his career to marry one of his patients. Zelda wrote the very autobiographical SAVE ME THE WALTZ, in which she portrays the couple’s whole relationship. In fact, CALL ME ZELDA shows both characters working on these books.

If you want to learn more about Zelda I would suggest starting with either of those or checking out the biography ZELDA, by Nancy Mitford. However, if you are looking for something easier to read or have already read those books, CALL ME ZELDA, is definitely a book I would recommend. Erika Robuck has also written novels about Edna St. Vincent Millay and Ernest Hemingway, if stories about those authors sound more interesting to you.

Alison Doherty

Review from Alison Doherty of FANGIRL

Review: FANGIRL, by Rainbow Rowell

Review from Alison Doherty


Rainbow Rowell

St. Martins Press, 2013

Looking over all the books I read in 2013, Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell is the one I can’t get out of my head. As both a reader and a writer this book (figuratively) blew me away, and despite two rereads of the novel I’m still not entirely certain why.

I think a short summary might offer some clues. Goodreads calls Fangirl “A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love,” then goes on to describe the plight of college freshman and Simon Snow fan Cath. Cath is internet famous for writing fanfics about the Harry Potter-like fictional world. When Cath’s twin sister moves on from their previously joint obsession to experience a world of frat boys and dorm parties, Cath feels left behind. Enter problems with her grumpy roommate, a writing professor that wants her to create original stories, her father who’s experiencing more than empty nest syndrome and … well you get the picture. Cath has a lot on her plate, and she’s unsure if she can inhabit the real world as well as the world of Simon Snow. Without the support of her sister, she’d not sure which one she even wants.

In English classes and creative writing courses, students are taught to disavow clichés within literature. There is a lot in Fangirl, and in the description above, that feels if not cliché than at least very familiar. The Bildungsroman genre is full of girls who are forced to choose between childhood games/ preoccupations and the pursuits of adults, or the lives experienced within their immediate families and existing with the values of society at large. I don’t think it is a spoiler to say that throughout the book readers will see Cath learning lessons and through those lessons adjusting to life in college better.

However, something keeps the book from being boring or done before. That something is the details Rowell imbibes into each page of the book. Details that surpass the types of drinks Cath prefers from Starbucks or the posters on her walls or her predilection for sweaters that approaches the mania she saves for Simon Snow: although all of those details are also worked into the character description.

It is the details worked into the plot that make Fangirl feel both unique and timely.  While a coming of age novel of family and first love is nothing new, one based on fan fiction certainly is. The prevalence of internet and fan culture, along with the fact that this shy, straight, Midwestern girl is writing gay fan fiction (imagine a Harry Potter dating a Ron/Draco hybrid), make Fangirl feel like it couldn’t have been written in any other time.

The marketing and creation of the book also have strong connections to contemporary culture. Fangirl was chosen as the inaugural book for the tumblr book club and has inspired a plethora of fanart on the site. Web comic artist, Noelle Stevenson, designed the book’s cover. Rowell first created the story through the increasingly popular and internet based NaNoWriMo.

So maybe some of these details are the reason this book excited me so much. Or maybe the answer could be as simple as good story and strong writing. It could also be because there are lots of people who understand being highly anxious going to college and deeply missing the excitement of the Harry Potter years. Whatever the combination, one thing is for sure: the book is inspiring a lot of buzz within both reading and writing communities.

Alison Doherty can be found on Twitter @AlisonCDoherty or on her blog:

Review: VICIOUS by V.E. Schwab

Vicious – V.E. Schwab

Review by Jamie Adams

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates – brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing hidden possibility: that under the right 13638125conditions, someone could actually gain extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis inevitably moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor is breaking out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other superpowered person he can find – aside from his own sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, spurred onward by the memory of betrayal and desperate longings, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge – but who will be left alive at the end? – Jacket copy.

This is not going to be a strictly traditional review. In a traditional review, I would tell you a little bit about the book, some of what I liked and what I didn’t, and overall who I thought this book might appeal to. When it comes to Vicious, I’m less inclined to think about what group of people might like to read it, because it doesn’t matter. You NEED to read this book.

I don’t have much to say about what I liked and didn’t, because there was nothing I didn’t like. Vicious is an excellent work, filled with compelling characters, gripping story, enticing secrecy and consuming questions about morality, mortality, power, corruption, and humanity. It’s a story that will sweep you off your feet and keep you up into the wee hours (cough, two a.m. on a work night) and lingers inside you even when the words no longer go on.

So why such high praise? After all, I have read probably a thousand books between age eight and now. My favorite books list is lengthy, mostly because I like everything I read equally save for a very few books that are far above the rest. Vicious is one of those books, and here’s the reason: it asks questions that can’t be answered, and then asks you to be okay with the eternal mystery.

What makes the things we consider right, right? In what ways does trying to do what’s right cause us to do wrong to someone else? If all things are right, does that mean none of them are? But then again, doesn’t something being right automatically make something else wrong? Who gets to decide?

Wrapped in the veils of adventure, experiments, and betrayal are questions that dig into the very roots of who we are, who we want to be, and what we believe. Most of the time, we like to avoid these questions where possible, because they awaken us to the unsettling fact that we are flawed, and we are unsure, and we are afraid. Vicious won’t let you dodge these realities anymore.

Can you enjoy it just for its brilliant writing, spectacular plot and epic showdown? Definitely. But don’t be surprised if something a little deeper than that takes root in you. Read this book.

Review: WHERE WE BELONG by Emily Giffin

Review: WHERE WE BELONG, by Emily Giffin

Review by Alison Doherty
Where We Belong
Emily Giffin
St. Martins Griffin, 2013

There are some authors I read because I know exactly what I’m going to get and other authors I read to just to see what new and exciting narrative they’ve created. Emily Giffin definitely belongs in the former category. I’ve bought and read all of her books, because I know what kind of story she will write and I know that I will like it. Her latest book, Where We Belong, is no exception.12987977

In order to avoid botching the summary, here is the description of the book from

Marian Caldwell is a thirty-six year old television producer, living her dream in New York City. With a fulfilling career and satisfying relationship, she has convinced everyone, including herself, that her life is just as she wants it to be. But one night, Marian answers a knock on the door . . . only to find Kirby Rose, an eighteen-year-old girl with a key to a past that Marian thought she had sealed off forever. From the moment Kirby appears on her doorstep, Marian’s perfectly constructed world—and her very identity—will be shaken to its core, resurrecting ghosts and memories of a passionate young love affair that threaten everything that has come to define her.

For the precocious and determined Kirby, the encounter will spur a process of discovery that ushers her across the threshold of adulthood, forcing her to re-evaluate her family and future in a wise and bittersweet light. As the two women embark on a journey to find the one thing missing in their lives, each will come to recognize that where we belong is often where we least expect to find ourselves—a place that we may have willed ourselves to forget, but that the heart remembers forever.

Giffin combines highly conceptual plots, innovative story structure, and spectacular character-development into each of her novels. She is really good at getting into the heads of women. She picks out the details that are important to them and, more impressively, manages to convey to the reader the differences between how they view themselves, how others view them, and who they really are. She then uses the structure of her stories, moving between character POV and time, to make you switch your loyalty between the characters.

Where We Belong is Giffin writing at her best. It’s especially good because of the heightened emotional stakes that come along with parenthood as the story’s primary relationship. Although fear not, both characters do have romantic involvements! Unlike her previous novels, in this story none of the characters development is ever really finished. The novel does not contain a traditional beginning, middle, and end, but instead portrays spirals of beginnings and middles as both women come to terms with the new identities their growing relationship with each other creates. As a reader and aspiring writer I really enjoyed the idea of constant character growth.

This is a fun, quick read perfect for a plane ride, day at the beach, or particularly long bubble bath. If you’ve liked Giffin’s other novels then I feel like I can almost guarantee you will enjoy this one. If you don’t like Giffin’s writing or don’t like the somewhat condescendingly termed genre “chick lit” then I suggest staying away from this novel. I also wonder how you made it through my whole review.

Alison Doherty can be found on Twitter @AlisonCDoherty or on her blog:


The Rembrandt Affair – Daniel Silva (2010)

Review by Alison Doherty

Determined to sever his ties with the Office, Gabriel Allon has retreated to the windswept cliffs of Cornwall with his beautiful Venetian-born wife, Chiara. But once again his seclusion is interrupted by a visitor from his tangled past: the endearing eccentric London art dealer Julian Isherwood. As usual, Isherwood has a problem. And it is one only Gabriel can solve. In the ancient English city of Glastonbury, an art restorer has been brutally murdered and a long-lost portrait by Rembrandt mysteriously stolen. Despite his reluctance, Gabriel is persuaded to use his unique skills to search for the painting and those responsible for the crime. But as he painstakingly follows a trail of clues leading from Amsterdam to Buenos Aires and, finally, to a villa on the graceful shores of Lake Geneva, Gabriel will once again be drawn into a world he thought he had left behind forever, and will come face-to-face with a remarkable cast of characters: a glamorous London journalist who is determined to undo the worst mistake of her career,, an elusive master art thief who is burdened by a conscience, and a powerful Swiss Rembrandtbillionaire who is known for his good deeds but may just be behind one of the greatest threats facing the world.

I first met the main character, Gabriel Allon, in a hole-in-the-wall bookstore in downtown Minneapolis. My friends and I had wandered to the Minneapolis Institute of Art trying to escape a boiling hot summer afternoon, and on the way back we ducked into this little shop. Ever since then, I pick up copies of Daniel Silva’s books wherever I can, including The Rembrandt Affair.

Filled with colorful characters and a whirlwind journey across several countries, this book is the perfect escapist fiction. As Gabriel is nudged out of his safe retreat and into a world of bad guys with morals and good guys with dark secrets, the power of history and hidden things to impact generation after generation is revealed. The reader is swept into the peril the characters face, and struggles with the same questions of morality, justified behavior, and inconvenient conscience as they do. Escapist fiction it may be, but Silva does not allow any easy answers. He doesn’t skimp on realities, and even as his characters delve deeply into some of the most tragic and secret history in the world, so the reader is invited into the tragic and secret history hidden in the hearts and minds of the characters.

A fascinating blend of mystery, intrigue, history, art, and human emotion, The Rembrandt Affair takes readers on an adventure befitting the book’s length. Though it is part of an extensive series, enough background is given to allow a reader to pick it up and not feel at all lost. For the reader troubled by any sense of wanderlust whatsoever, the cities described so intimately will call irresistibly. The Rembrandt Affair is adventurous thrill, but also a solid reminder that the truth is a powerful thing, and regardless of how much we may wish to escape it, our past is entangled deeply with the very essence of who we are. I highly recommend The Rembrandt Affair to lovers of thrillers and adventures – but also to those who have a yearning, as Gabriel does, for healing and restoration. 


Review by Kate Brauning

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

by Aimee Bender

Anchor Books, 2010The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

292 pages

From Goodreads:  On the eve of her ninth birthday, unassuming Rose Edelstein, a girl at the periphery of schoolyard games and her distracted parents’ attention, bites into her mother’s homemade lemon-chocolate cake and discovers she has a magical gift: she can taste her mother’s emotions in the cake. She discovers this gift to her horror, for her mother—her cheerful, good-with-crafts, can-do mother—tastes of despair and desperation. Suddenly, and for the rest of her life, food becomes a peril and a threat to Rose.

The curse her gift has bestowed is the secret knowledge all families keep hidden—her mother’s life outside the home, her father’s detachment, her brother’s clash with the world. Yet as Rose grows up she learns to harness her gift and becomes aware that there are secrets even her taste buds cannot discern.

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake is a luminous tale about the enormous difficulty of loving someone fully when you know too much about them. It is heartbreaking and funny, wise and sad, and confirms Aimee Bender’s place as “a writer who makes you grateful for the very existence of language” (San Francisco Chronicle).


First, take a second look at that cover. Isn’t it haunting? Don’t miss the shadow. What a gorgeous piece of cover work.

I picked this book up in Barnes and Noble months ago. I was browsing, read a chapter, and put it down. I was looking for something a bit more commercial at the time, and so I didn’t take it home. But that first chapter stuck with me. The little girl in a sunny kitchen. Eggs and lemon and counter tiles. An apron with a twinned cherry pattern. I kept thinking back to what a stark and transportive first chapter that was, and so months later, I ordered it. I just finished reading it today, and I can’t get it out of my head.

Bender’s language is a gift to read. Sharp, insightful, poetic. The author has an unusual talent for showing readers the other side of things; the oddness of normal things, the comfort in the strange, and the power in what would otherwise be an ordinary moment.

The story is richly imagined with layer after layer giving texture and life to Rose’s childhood. It’s a beautiful story, full of light and heartwarming moments, framed in the knife-sharp struggle of a little girl trying to fit into her world and love her family how it is.

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake is a haunting story about siblings, the power of food, and the ordinary things that either wreck us or save us.  I highly recommend this book to readers of all kinds.

Specific Recommendations:

Readers: pick this up for gorgeous writing and a solid, contemplative read.

Writers: read this as a study of poetic devices used effectively in prose, use of a MC that progresses from MG to adult age, and subtle use of powerful emotion in writing.



Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
Genre: Historical Fiction
Page Count: 344

Review from Kat Rose

The synopsis (from Goodreads): Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they’ve known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin’s orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.betweenshadesofgray
Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously–and at great risk–documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father’s prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart

This book was absolutely amazing! I am a World War Two lover (it’s my favorite part of history to learn about…call me weird) so I’m always thrilled when I find a book that takes place in that time period with compelling characters and an exhilarating plot. This had both. It takes place in one of the darkest time periods in history but it doesn’t focus on what most people think of when hearing “World War Two.” Instead, it tells the story of a group of people from Lithuania made into criminals by Stalin.

Let me start at the beginning: Lina Vilkas is a fantastic protagonist. She starts out as a normal 15-year-old girl worrying about getting into an art school. However, by the end she has turned into a strong (mentally, though some could argue physically…even if her body is literally sapped of meat) 16-year-old striving to keep herself, her little brother, and her mother alive. It’s really quite spectacular the lengths she goes to, in caring for her family but also striving to leave her mark on the world so she is not forgotten.

I love the cast of supporting characters. Each one is different and reacts with Lina in ways that shape who she is, even without her realizing it. The bald man was one whom I especially enjoyed reading. He made the book an even nicer change from normal YA reads. How? Well, most often the love interest is the one shrouded in shadow and constantly keeping secrets that make the protagonist seem needy and whiny and just plain ole annoying. What was different about this was that the secretive one was simply some man who is with Lina the entire time, one that she doesn’t like all that much, one that she is unwilling to help from time to time because of his rude personality.

Moving on, Kretzsky was also a welcome change. When he was first introduced as young and blond, I worried that Lina would get sucked into a love triangle. This would have totally ruined the whole book for me because this is one of those books where you don’t want love to be the main focus. (Don’t get me wrong: I very rarely read a book without some romantic element in it, but I am sick and tired of the love triangle and the fact that the only reason the plot keeps going is because the protagonist can’t decide who she loves *whiny baby face*.)
It was incredibly refreshing.

Andrius Arvydas was the perfect significant other for Lina. For me (and this is only because I’m good at predicting who characters are going to be, from the love interest to the antagonist to the bratty girl everyone wants to have jump off a bridge) I knew he would most likely be the love interest the second Lina said a boy her age had climbed into the train at the start of their journey. However, Andrius was the perfect blend of rude, cocky, and caring that I love to read about and salivate over. He wasn’t a jerk, he didn’t try to kill Lina, he didn’t keep a billion secrets from her that would cause any girl outside of a sappy YA romance to walk away. He had legitimate problems that didn’t center solely on the protagonist and didn’t have a dark past to boot.

The plot was also incredible. I like that Ms. Sepetys didn’t spend pages upon pages describing every single aspect of the world. She did it in sparse prose that left a vivid picture of everything in my mind. For example, when Lina arrived in the camp by the Laptev Sea, I literally felt chills and had to remind myself that outside of my bedroom window, it was a pleasant 72 degrees.

I loved viewing this world from Lina’s perspective, experiencing things as she did, jumping to the wrong conclusions with her, rooting for her and her little brother Jonas and her mother to stay alive. I’m still salivating over this book. This is definitely worth investing money on.

I recommend it for everyone who is looking for an adventure/survival story in a bleak world with a complex group of characters and a heartbreaking yet heartwarming (and REALISTIC) love. Brava, Ms. Sepetys. This debut is fantastic!

Read on,
Kat Rose


The Name of the Wind/The Wise Man’s Fear

Note: this review does not contain spoilers

The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear, also known as Days One and Two of The Kingkiller Chronicle, are the first two installments of Patrick Rothfuss‘s complicated trilogy. (The final book has yet to be released.) Rothfuss’s website says he spent seven years developing the story of Kvothe, his main character, and I can believe that. No time lapse occurs between the two books, and they follow the same storyline, so I will discuss them together, since they really are the same story.

“Complicated trilogy”, I said. This is quite true. The far-reaching plot has many angles and complications, and it is quite a deep story from the start. Additionally, many stories relevant to the plot and characters are told along the way. Kvothe tells the Chronicler his story, starting with his early childhood. The books are set in a fictional world, in a semi-medieval age of horse-travel, swords, and magic with the twist of modern scientific knowledge in many areas.  Plot details you can find elsewhere, so I will direct my comments in another direction.

I will say that young Kvothe is a compelling character. Early tragedy forces Kvothe out into the adult world as a child, and he shows himself to be resourceful, intelligent, and determined. His natural talent for magic leads him to the University to study it and find out how to destroy the bringers of his tragedy.

Adult Kvothe, for while he is still a teenager during most of book 1 and 2, he is also definitely an adult, does become impressed with his own talent. Talented he is, and uncommonly clever, and  many other things, but he knows this and that does not always make him a pleasant character. Now, this is certainly not by itself a negative thing. However, the intensity of his egotism after he reaches the university made him semi-unrelatable to me. It was hard for me to truly be sympathetic to him until the final third of The Wise Man’s Fear. This did not make me put down the books, however, because of other quite compelling elements.

One such element was the pacing. There are slower portions, but for the most part the story is intense and it happens rapidly. In the middle of book 2, the story slows down dramatically, to the point that I nearly did stop reading. In my opinion, spending this much time with so little change was a risky move. Rothfuss could have shortened those scenes without losing much. I am glad, however, that I did not stop reading. The rest of the book was more than enough reward for working through that portion in the middle. As in the previous book and the first half of book 2, I was pulled onward smoothly from event to event, with enough progression to keep me intrigued but not so much that I was overwhelmed. This is also a testament to his skill with suspense- the information reveal is masterful, with few exceptions; there were a few instances where his foreshadowing was too heavy-handed. Otherwise, the pacing was quite effective.

Another element I thoroughly enjoyed in this story was the detail. This is where I see Rothfuss spending many of those seven years. Everything from the geography of the world to the make of the swords is research-based and has a real-world feel. Realistic supporting detail marks every event, character, and location in the story. If you have a passion or even a distaste for research-heavy writing, you will appreciate the work Rothfuss has done here.

One thing Rothfuss does particularly well is incorporate a realistic religion into the cultures shown in the books. Evil devotees of the religion, flawed but sincere believers, and nominal believers give the religion the texture of a real-world faith. One of the stories-within-the-story is of Tehlu, the god of the culture, and the demon he purges from the world in an act of self-sacrifice. I’m not sure of Rothfuss’s personal religious views, but that story itself is one of the gems of the books because it reflects a profound understanding of the relationship between humans and the divine. The believability is startling.

There is much more I could say about these books, but I will confine myself to one additional element. Rothfuss’s skill with language makes these two books some of the most memorable I have ever read. His book-end pieces to both books are masterfully poetic, and dispersed throughout the stories are elegant images and diction, beautiful and careful description, and poetic language unequaled in most genre fiction.

The themes and characters are complex and subtle, making for an absorbing, thought-provoking read. It is not dry or overly intellectual, either; the story remains a story for us all– accessible, well-crafted, and deep. I highly recommend it.

Below are links to purchase new or used copies of the first book. The Amazon link will allow you to read a portion of the book, and I definitely encourage you to do so. I and my brother-in-law Sean doubt you will regret it.

The Name of the Wind on Amazon

The Name of the Wind on Barnes and Noble

Thanks for reading!