The Fellowship of the Ring: A Review

The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.

I finally started my journey into The Lord of the Rings, courtesy of another buddy read, which I will link at the bottom. I probably would have never gotten to it if it wasn’t for this push! I’ve got some mixed feelings. If I were to give an overall rating, I would give it a 3/5 stars. Bear in mind, I have never watched the movies or formed an attachment to this series in any way. This is one case where I think I would have enjoyed the books more if I watched the movies first, and I intend to watch at least the first one before I go into the next book, which I will continue with eventually. Unfortunately, you shouldn’t have to watch a movie to get into the book that it is based off of, so the rating will stand.

The Road goes ever on and on

Down from the door where it began.

Now far ahead the Road has gone,

And I must follow, if I can,

Pursuing it with eager feet,

Until it joins some larger way

Where many paths and errands meet.

And whither then? I cannot say

I started off pretty intrigued in the hobbits and Frodo and that quickly turned to boredom. 50% of the book, it felt like a struggle to get through. I got to Tom Bombadil and was like, this guy is pretty unique and then got bored again because that section lingered a bit too long. I think Tom in general is pretty interesting since he’s shrouded in a bit of mystery. I actually love when our authors don’t feel like they have to tell us every little bit about a character, because that’s true to life, we don’t know everything about ANYONE. Two of my favorite authors, Rothfuss and Hobb, employ this tactic. It can drive you absolutely mad with wanting to know more about specific characters, but that intrigue can build an amazing story. It’s good for us to use our imagination to complete characters in our minds. Then Strider came in and things started to get interesting. Up until this point, I felt like the character development with our forefront characters was so bland that I wasn’t connecting with Frodo’s group. In contrast, the world building is outstanding. Tolkien spends most of his time building this world up instead of developing his characters. For some people, this is exactly what they’re looking for. There’s a reason why people love Middle Earth, and it’s absolutely due to Tolkien’s time spent weaving its illusion. The lore and the songs were something that I adored because I have a penchant for subtle clues when building a story, if you pay attention to the words in the songs, they provide a lot of detail. I LOVE world building but my true heart lies in character development. When Strider came in, I felt like we finally start to get some depth to our characters and our merry little band of friends start talking more, rather than it feeling like we are just reading about them walking. It wasn’t until about 75% that I actually was INVESTED in the story and I felt like we were starting to experience enough action for me not to glaze over and have to reread paragraphs.

Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.

Don’t get me wrong, I knew that this was going to be a verbose novel. At times, it’s more than just verbose… it’s plain ole dry in that first 50%, at least to me. There’s always going to be people that have read more fantasy than I have, but I have a decent range. I read A Song of Ice and Fire before watching Game of Thrones and fell into the camp of wanting people to read the books before watching the show because I feel like the show is more enjoyable after having read the books. It is another series that is loquacious, but I can’t say that I ever spent 50% of the first novel glazing over. I say this because you get scoffs here and there about not having read LotR. I’ve read plenty of fantasy. This personally would never be the book I recommend to get someone into fantasy. Most people aren’t going to wait 50-75% of a book to see if it gets better. It makes me wonder how many of the people who have told me that they have tried fantasy and hated it was due to trying to start with LotR. That’s not to say that people can’t (in fact, I know many people HAVE) jump into fantasy by reading this first, but I would recommend something more universally palatable. That being said, Tolkien drops these little nuggets of wisdom that absolutely reminds me of why I love the fantasy genre. It’s a testament to the fact that fantasy is capable of being this magical journey while teaching us about ourselves and our world. We are capable of bravery in unlikely times, we can be compassionate when we least want to. Fantasy has always been so much more than it is marketed, it’s not just for “nerds” or dreamers, it’s for people that like looking deeper into themselves and humanity as a whole. Tolkien drives that point home effortlessly.

Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.

There’s no doubt that Tolkien was truly a pioneer of the fantasy genre. I am not debating that in the least. Throughout Fellowship, there were times that I was found myself with that Eureka! moment during a scene or when seeing certain terms or an expression, where it was obvious that another author’s book was heavily influenced by Tolkien. He’s the father of epic fantasy and there’s no doubt that the fantasy genre as whole would be much smaller without his influence. Gandalf’s awareness that absolute power corrupts absolutely is groundbreaking. To have a powerful being capable of taking more power into his hands and saying no is monumental. This certainly isn’t a new comparison but you can’t read Harry Potter, learn about Dumbledore and not think of that influence. This is just one of the millions of comparisons you could make.

All in all, I am excited to see where this journey goes, as it leaves on quite the cliffhanger and I am completely in the dark about what happens. I’m happy I did finally decide to read this because now I am able to have some narrative on the subject. Thanks to David, Pato, and J.M. for the push on this buddy read, I wouldn’t have done it without you!

David: Twitter | Blog | Goodreads | IG | David’s review for this book can be found Here

Pato: Goodreads | Youtube | Twitter

J.M.: Twitter

My links: Twitter | Goodreads | Blog | IG

Hollywood Park by Mike Jollett

Happy Release Day to Mikel Jollett! Well, I absolutely adored Hollywood Park. 5/5 stars. First off, I love memoirs. Getting access to someone else’s brain and a true insight to their life is something that we don’t often get in real life. People can tell you, but I find when someone is able to sit down and sort through their life and the feelings attached to their experiences, it’s so much more thorough and enlightening. You can see from the way my cover won’t lay flat that I took this book everywhere with me until I finished it. It was breathtaking, heart-wrenching, horrific, and endearing all at once.

Hollywood Park is written by Mikel Jollett, front man to The Toxic Airborne Event who was a child escapee of the cult Synanon. If you haven’t heard of Synanon, it started out more as a drug rehab and turned into taking children from their parents to become children of the universe (aka, raised as independent beings instead of nurtured by biological parents), forcing couples to divorce and be with other partners, and beating the hell out of anyone that disobeys the rules or tries to leave the commune. Eventually, Mikel’s parents leave the commune separately and Mikel’s mom sneaks him and his brother Tony out and here is where our book really takes off.

Hollywood Park is a poignant, revelatory window into a child’s brain that has been affected by trauma. Not only that, but the way that trauma follows us into adulthood. Mikel’s mother is clearly a narcissist, it’s plain as day from the first few chapters. Once she frees her sons from Synanon, it’s all about hers It’s INFURIATING to watch her play her emotions off of her two sons, to put the blame of her depression on them, to constantly tell Mikel that he’s supposed to be taking care of her. She takes no responsibility for what has happened in her life, or the misery she inflicted on her children. Mikel perfectly describes this pure love that a child has for their family, and how easy it is for an adult to take advantage of that pure love instead of nurturing it. When he starts the story off, he does his best to put us in his childhood perspective, his misunderstanding of words and their meaning, of behaviors, of all the bad parenting that he was none the wiser to at the time. How different the world would be if children were able to recognize the trauma that they are being exposed to, if they could set themselves aside for it and say, “I’m not going to let this affect me.” Kids don’t have that ability, though. They are sponges, absorbing the good and the bad parts of their parents, and later in life it will be up to them to sort through those parts of themselves and see what they can keep, what they desperately need to work on, and where they need to cut things off completely before it destroys them.

We see the way Mikel transforms. He has this amazing journey of succumbing to his childhood, fighting his way out of that destruction, and the long and winding road of constant vigilance that is often required when you’re a child that has been mentally, emotionally, or physically abused. Trauma is similar to addiction, in that it’s something you spend your whole life fighting, relapsing, and fighting some more. Through his sad childhood, through all the bad stuff, there’s this sweet spot that runs through it. Mikel’s relationship with his father is absolutely beautiful. It’s not perfect. Mikel has this reckoning where he realizes he can love his dad and not want the same path as him. He describes that feeling of love for a parent, even admiration you have for a parent, while wanting better for yourself. He struggles with this, and I think it’s something that really should be talked about because it’s very natural to want more for yourself. I believe his father would have been completely understanding of that as well, and probably was subconsciously. You should always want your kids to be a little (or a lot) better than you are. It’s okay to not be perfect, to make mistakes as a parent. I have the utmost respect for Jollett’s father. He had a hard life and still managed to be there emotionally and physically for his sons, where their mother failed to do so. I just really loved how this book took us from a child’s perspective, to a teenager’s, to a young adult’s, to a man’s. Seeing the way his thoughts changed through the different stages of his life, his reactions to his family’s behavior, to his own self awareness becoming more potent. I think there’s a lot of adults out there with traumatic childhoods that this book might be cathartic for. I hope that writing this WAS cathartic for Mikel Jollett. I can’t imagine something more freeing than writing down these raw moments and putting them out into the world regardless of judgement or the shame he felt in these moments, regardless of what his mother might think. There was a part of the book that Jollett talks about that shame, about how ridiculous it is that we feel shame for the things that were done to us. It’s a natural human reaction, but man, that just stuck with me. Well done, Mikel. I wish you all the success. Thank you for sharing your life story with us, there’s a lot of people you’ll be helping by doing so. Thank you to Celadon for this ARC to review, I am very appreciative of this chance.

Re-read, Review, and Theory Speculation of the Wise Man’s Fear

“All the truth in the world is held in stories.”

* theories will be separated at the bottom, after a mostly spoiler free review (I won’t go into specifics throughout the first portion of this)*

Ahhh, the series that makes my soul sing, the one I have read countless times and yet… it gets no less intriguing, no less confounding, no less eloquent. For this reread of The Wise Man’s Fear, I joined my bookish friends David and Lily for a buddy read. I had never done a buddy read prior to this, but I am a big fan now. Though I have read the series many times and gained something each time, this was the first time that I got to go chapter by chapter, write out my thoughts, and discuss it. For a book like Name of the Wind or Wise Man’s Fear, WOW. Whole new perspectives, more time to thoroughly get my hands dirty by digging through those theories, it was so satisfying to be able to discuss this phenomenal book as I read through it. This is one of those series that you BURST to talk to someone about but by time you find someone, you forget half of what you wanted to say.

“Then I played the song that hides in the center of me. That wordless music that moves through the secret places in my heart. I played it carefully, strumming it slow and low into the dark stillness of the night. I would like to say it is a happy song, that it is sweet and bright, but it is not.”

Okay okay, enough. Onto the gushing. Here’s the thing that sets Rothfuss apart for me. I think it’s safe to say that he really distinguishes a writing style for himself, nobody writes like him. One thing that is really remarkable, is that we don’t linger in certain areas you would think are important such as his trial or the adventure on the ship to the Maer’s. The focus of this series is on building the legend of Kvothe, and where other authors would use that time on a ship or a trial as filler for the book, it serves no purpose here. This book doesn’t need fillers, on the contrary, there’s SO MUCH knowledge and so many intertwining lines that if anything, I think we all agree that the next book will be far too short for our liking at whatever length (and Rothfuss has indicated that he doesn’t intend for it to be any longer than the previous ones). Rothfuss has pulled us in so thoroughly and efficiently. As I said: let us not forget, this series IS about the building a legendary man. I’ve heard people complain that Kvothe is too perfect, too good at things. Kvothe is extremely talented in many ways. That’s the thing about legends though… they are gods among men, so to say. They become legends for a reason. Kvothe takes his share of beatings, literally and figuratively. He knows tragedy. His life isn’t perfect, but he makes himself into something larger than life. I love how Rothfuss touches on all of these simple folklore that have been mentioned in passing, in some way these shaped Kvothe’s story and the tales told about him. Dracus, Chandrian, Fae, Amyr, even the Adem. These seemingly mythic people and creatures all come to life, after being mentioned casually throughout the novels. Honestly, I’m waiting for the shamblemen to make an appearance in the next book, they’re one of the only superstitions talked about more than a few times that we haven’t come across yet. There’s even whispers about Kvothe wearing varied rings that we eventually get reasoning for. All of these little pieces are making this story, and it’s beautifully done. As I said, I think the way Rothfuss does this is so unique, using smaller moments to create a whole instead of leading us into a pirate ship for months at a time or dragging us through a trial. We get a shock almost, when he chooses not to divulge those moments, but these would-be interesting things have been done many times in fantasy. Alternatively, I can’t say that this intricate and subtle way of building this larger-than-life person is something I’m often exposed to.

“On his first hand he wore rings of stone,
Iron, Amber, Wood and Bone.
There were rings unseen on his second hand,
One blood in a flowing band,
One was air all whisper thin,
And the ring of ice had a flaw within.
Full faintly shone the ring of flame,
And the final ring was without name.”

The subtleties create such an immense and powerful story, which I find extremely satisfying in tandem with the innate magic system that Rothfuss creates. I can’t say enough about how much I love this magic system. It’s the best sort of “sorcery”, the kind that is wholly believable because it comes from probing your brain, from reaching deep within and coaxing, training yourself to harness this power that people so rarely have the discipline or self-awareness to reach. That’s the magic that as young kids or teenagers we wish to find within ourselves, until we are older and shelf that longing, immersing ourselves in fictional worlds where it IS possible.

“What use is care? What good is watching for that matter? People are forever watching things. They should be seeing. I see the things I look at. I am a see-er.”

As I mentioned in my review of Name of the Wind, Rothfuss is a god when it comes to characterization. The women burn with passion for life and for control over their own lives. This is furthered even more when we meet the Adem women. That is a whole new scope of female empowerment. I won’t spoil anything about their culture, but I will say: lol, man-mothers. Rothfuss takes something that is a very well known fact and completely spins it on its head. The best thing is, though it seems illogical to us, Kvothe has no way of convincing the women otherwise, especially in this time period where scientific advancement hasn’t progressed that far yet. I always get the best chuckle out of this part. While we are talking about characters, I’d like to mention that every time Bast calls Reshi, my heart grows three sizes. The tenderness between these two is something that is scored on my heart, and I long to know the journey that led them to this absolutely endearing friendship. I love that Rothfuss has created this world at the University where the oddballs of society have found a home. Puppet, Auri, Elodin. Even Manet, to some degree. The overly intelligent, the cracked ones, the ones in need of a safe haven, the ones who regard knowledge as the meaning of life. The man has absolutely seized my heart with these books. They are pretty close to perfect, my ideal fantasy series. The streak of humor that runs through them too, at the most unexpected times (the disposal of the rings, the letter to Ambrose, Elodin’s absolute manic weirdness).

“You can divide infinity an infinite number of times, and the resulting pieces will still be infinitely large,” Uresh said in his odd Lenatti accent. “But if you divide a non-infinite number an infinite number of times the resulting pieces are non-infinitely small. Since they are non-infinitely small, but there are an infinite number of them, if you add them back together, their sum is infinite. This implies any number is, in fact, infinite.”
“Wow,” Elodin said after a long pause. He leveled a serious finger at the Lenatti man. “Uresh. Your next assignment is to have sex. If you do not know how to do this, see me after class.”

The last thing I’d like to touch on is the progression of love in this novel. You can finally see the maturity in Kvothe and Denna’s love. After Tarbean, when they picnic by the river, you can feel a palpable tension in the air. The first awareness between the two of them that their relationship is special. It’s like going from middle school-high school relationships to that first true, deep love. You can feel it, others can see it. No longer are they two street urchins with a fondness for each other. Their fates are set together, in a way. Their souls call to each other. They might be annoyingly afraid to tell each other, but I think they finally feel it, subconsciously. Rothfuss made ME feel that raw emotion between them, so vicarious that it brought about nostalgia for the times I’ve experienced it. This is the end of my spoiler free review, if you couldn’t guess, it’s. 5/5 stars for me. After linking David and Lily’s pages, I’ll be posting some of my favorite theories, please scroll down if you’d like to read any of those! As we know, Rothfuss hides so much meaning in his words, I can help but pour over them for clues of the story to come.

“There are so many men, all endlessly attempting to sweep me off my feet. And there is one of you, trying just the opposite. Making sure my feet are firm beneath me, lest I fall.”

You can find my fabulous buddy readers at the following links

David (BookMeanderings at Fanfiaaddict): Blog | Twitter | IG | Goodreads

Lily: Twitter | IG | Goodreads

If you’d like to follow me elsewhere:

Me: Twitter | IG | Goodreads

Favorite theories:

•Auri being the piece of the moon that Jax/Iax kept. We do hear a bit more of this story in The Fae. Earlier, Elodin takes notice in Kvothe’s naming abilities once he sees what Kvothe has named her, and Kvothe thinks of her as his little moon Fae. I am also equally fond of the theory of her being a cracked Princess Ariel. Kvothe does try to tell the Smith’s Apprentice that he could tell him the true story of Princess Ariel, so we can probably expect to hear more about her in the next book. There’s a very interesting reddit link on that HERE. I’m also very scared that she’s the angel that Kvothe supposedly killed to get his heart’s desire. I think that would break my heart more than it being Denna, though I would SOB regardless (I don’t fall into the Denna hate group, a woman has gotta hustle to live and she IS good to Kvothe, he’s just a shy little lamb around her and doesn’t take his chances).

•Bredon as Master Ash. Dude. You cannot convince me otherwise. Bredon is Master Ash. First off, white hair. Second, why does this dude just come and insert himself into Kvothe’s life and guide him with the nobles? Why is he being so giving? Duh, he wants to play a beautiful game. I’m talking about more than Tak. What is more beautiful of a game than you having your hand in Denna’s live, beating her, while cozying up to Kvothe and making him trust you? Getting little secrets out of him. He puts such an emphasis on playing a beautiful game that I am sold on this theory. Also, the Cthaeh mentions that Denna’s patron BEATS HER WITH A WALKING STICK (ahem, Bredon uses a walking stick with a wolf’s head) and that IT IS A GAME TO HIM, to see how far he can push her. Yep. Also, the letters about Bredon being some pagan because he dances in rituals in the woods, Denna mentions dancing with her patron (which I assume is in private since nobody can know about him), and I think Bredon mentions something about learning to dance. There’s also a theory about Cinder being her patron but I am not convinced there.

•Kvothe’s loss of power is due to his “true” name somehow being changed. Elodin FREAKS when he thinks Kvothe or Fela has been changing their name, so we can assume this is very bad. I can’t see how else he’s lost the ability to do sympathy, to fight like an Adem, or any of the other things he’s learned. This is probably combined with the obvious tragedies he’s experienced before becoming Kote but there’s obviously a larger power at play.

•Kvothe might have some Amyr blood + some Lackless theories. Okay, okay, hear me out. Cthaeh promises Kvothe will eventually get its witty comment about sticking with the Maer because he will lead him to the Amyr’s door. After leaving the Fae he comes across some travelers and the son tells him a song about the Lackless, which mentions the Lackless door that is unopenable (and is similar to the song about the Lackless box in NotW) unless you have or do these 7 things (interesting number, given that the Chandrian are called the 7, but 7 and 3 are the most common numbers used in this world). Anyway, Felurian mentions that the Amyr sealed the first shaper behind stone. It’s curious that the Lackless supposedly have a stone door that they cannot open, though we haven’t heard a mention of it yet. Hence, Amyr blood may distantly run through their veins, if this sealed door is that same door. The Lackless were said to be much more powerful than they are now (which would make sense as they are all very intelligent but want to keep a low profile). This also would mean that Kvothe has Amyr blood running through his veins, if his mother is indeed Netalia Lackless (which, I THINK it’s safe to say, she is). If you aren’t aware of that theory, I think Kvothe’s father’s song about Laurian confirms it: Dark Laurian, Arliden’s wife,
Has a face like the blade of a knife
Has a voice like a pricklebrown burr
But can tally a sum like a moneylender.
My sweet Tally cannot cook.
But she keeps a tidy ledger-book
For all her faults, I do confess
It’s worth my life
To make my wife
Not tally a lot less
|(Netalia Lackless)

The Loeclos box that Meluan shows Kvothe may be the key to the door, or one of the 7 things needed to open the door. Either way, Kvothe’s training at the University makes it so he can feel some sort of power in the Yllish knot, and Meluan can barely feel it, whereas the Maer can’t at all. The Lackless/Amyr blood running through this undoubtably has something to do with them being able to sense it, and Kvothe will probably be the one to open the door. Here’s the two Lackless Rhymes. Kvothe already has the ring of wood, which could be the ring unworn, or a ring of air like Elodin and the song about his rings suggests. This box undoubtably holds another part of the puzzle. Sorry that this portion was a bunch of random thoughts but it’s still fun to try to piece stuff together!

•This is more of an observation, but I think we can take “It was the patient, cut-flower sound of a man waiting to die” quite literally. Kvothe is speaking of the Chandrian, the Cthaeh, of the teachings at the University, of the teachings of the Adem. He’s not supposed to be talking about any of these things and he’s putting them all in print. He isn’t just waiting to die, he’s inviting death with relish.

Thanks for listening to a few of my theory ramblings, it’s so hard to get my thoughts straight when there’s so much to speculate.

“It’s the questions we can’t answer that teach us the most. They teach us how to think. If you give a man an answer, all he gains is a little fact. But give him a question and he’ll look for his own answers. The harder the question, the harder we hunt. The harder we hunt, the more we learn.”

Think he’s trolling us, just a wee bit?

Now I’d love to hear your thoughts! What are your favorite Kingkiller Theories? Is Ambrose the king? Is Simmon? Who is the Angel? Is it Auri, Denna, or Fela? Why is Cinder stealing money, isn’t that a petty crime for a mythical being? Are the Amyr good or bad? Is the Chandrian’s evil fueled by a great cause? What’s behind the four plated door? How did Kvothe start the war? Who is Auri? What happens to Denna? Where is Caesura?

“Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts.”

Daughters of Smoke and Fire By Ava Homa: A Review

“Trees and flowers bloom despite human barbarism. Maybe I can too?”

Happy Release Day to Daughters of Smoke and Fire by Ava Homa! You can pick this novel up starting today. One of the first novels written in English by a Kurdish woman, this book is a beacon for Kurds everywhere. I was woefully ignorant of their plight beyond minor knowledge of ongoing turmoil in the Middle East. We have all heard of the different customs, torture, and outright genocide, but when you live the US, it’s easy to view these as nightmarish tales used to scare us into valuing our freedoms. This is a deeper look into the things we hear, and while it may not be the experience of everyone, it is certainly the experience of many Kurds. The Kurdish people are an estimated 30-40 million and are stateless, having been denied land, forbidden to speak their own language and practice their own customs.

“I can’t fucking stand the degradation anymore. If you are a leftist, they kill you; if you are an activist, they kill you; even if you don’t believe in anything and just say ‘Yes, sir,” they kill you. Maybe not physically, but they kill you inside.”

Leila is our primary voice and she’s expresses how the only people treated worse than a Kurd, is a Kurdish woman. She lives in a world where women set their own bodies on fire rather than go on living the painful lives they are allowed, where anything traumatic that happens to a woman is only what she deserved, where SHE can be punished for a man raping her. Through Leila’s eyes, I learned about the Peshmerga, a group that fights for security and an independent Kurdish state. They were partly responsible for the capture of Saddam Hussein and their name literally means, “those that face death”. They are quite revolutionary for their region. Leila’s brother is an activist that has followed in his father’s footsteps, and though he is younger, Leila looks up to his strength and courage in the face of tyranny. In the US, we make jibes about the government’s ability to make us discreetly disappear if they wanted to, without any real concern of it. Where they live, the government will bust in your house in light of day and shoot you for having banned books or torture you for the slightest bit of “progressive” thinking. Leila and her friend Shiler live under the constant threat of the morality police, that will sentence you as they please for any impure contact with a man. Leila, at one point, is hit by a car and is terrified that she will be ruined in the eyes of her father because of the possibility that her hymen broke from the impact. The world that these women live in is completely different from what I am used to. Leila eventually has an opportunity at life in a new area and she marvels at the differences. She is able to see the beauty in her culture and religion when not surrounded by an oppressive government, the beauty in the choice instead of the cruel hand suffocating her with the requirement of all that she’s supposed to be, all the rules of how a woman must act.

A large part of the novel focuses on her brother’s activism, which is modeled loosely around Farzad Kamangar. Throughout his imprisonment and torture that transpired because of his work, Leila publishes his words and it spreads like wildfire. His words offer hope and a huge focus for him is progressiveness for women. Throughout this, he inspired Kurdish women to fight, protest, and learn more about their forbidden culture and language. Hence, the title Daughters of Smoke and Fire. This novel is a testament to the willpower it takes to fight those who would do anything they can to take away your humanity and leave your life in ruin. It’s a recognition of the women that would rather die a fiery death than live a life where they are barely acknowledged as human.

“Women who lost all reason to live wanted their internalized, burning rage to manifest on the outside too. A dramatic death testified to an agonizing life.”

It’s a novel like this that reminds me why people flee their homes and face judgement for immigrating, or the possibility of being torn from their families because they had to leave too hastily to apply legally. Whatever you feel on the immigration process, you cannot read a book like this and not feel empathy for those that are forced to take this route. Sometimes it’s the choice between an unmarked grave in a oppressive country or a jail cell in a “safe” country. It’s the choice of a country that you know the language and customs, but could be killed at any moment, or a country that offers you security but doesn’t fully welcome you, that wants you to adhere to their customs.

Ava Homa writes a novel that expresses the pain and terror that the Kurdish people experience. It’s heart-rending in its injustice, but it isn’t self-pitying. It’s a novel about finding your strength when it doesn’t seem possible, about making revolutionary moments with simple words and actions, with a gentle hand in contrast to the abuse suffered. This is one of the best novels I will read all year, and easily five stars. Homa writes piercingly and her story will quickly grab hold and set root into your heart. I marvel at the strength and courage it must take to write a novel such as this, the author herself is just as important to the Kurdish cause as she has portrayed her characters as being.

Head Over Heels by Hannah Orenstein: A Review

I was offered a galley of Head Over Heels by Hannah Orenstein through Atria Books and I gladly accepted! This rom-com focuses on the 2020 Olympics, which were unfortunately cancelled, but was no less satisfying despite that detail. It did make me feel even more horrible for the Olympic athletes that have put themselves under immense pressure and rigorous training for this chance of a lifetime.

As far as rom-coms go, this was a 5 star within the genre. Our main character is Avery, a former gymnast that missed her shot at the Olympics after an injury. Years down the road, she still deals with depression that stems not only from this twist of fate but from the emotional abuse that her renowned coach spewed at her during her years of training. She finds herself lost and reeling after a breakup and back in her hometown when she’s offered the chance to coach a promising contender for the 2020 Olympics. This offer is extended by a former Olympian acquaintance named Ryan (hence where the romance comes in).

When Avery is thrust back into this world, she really has to face the repercussions that stem from years of training with an emotionally abusive coach. This novel stands above most that I’ve read within this genre because it addresses some serious issues. It focuses on the sexual abuse a lot of a female athletes face, which is often a product of trusted professionals or adults grooming and taking advantage of young girls. It discusses the self-image issues that come from some of the more severe coaching strategies and whether the brutal techniques are worth the results if they come at a detriment to a young woman’s mental or physical health. I loved that this novel managed to keep me interested enough to read this all in one go, with lighthearted prose, while tackling these issues. The romance was there, for those that are interested in the relationship aspect, but it didn’t play a more important part in Avery’s life than her addressing the issues she faced in the world of female athletes. This sends such a good message, because Avery didn’t sacrifice herself or what she believed in for a man, when it came down to having to put her experience out there. She cared more about helping other female athletes than getting the guy. Another aspect I really enjoyed was Ryan’s coaching style in contrast to the experience that Avery had when she was in training. He coaches with authority but gentleness in comparison to the ridicule, insults, and taunting that she experienced as motivators. They also recognize that his experience as a male athlete was likely very different than her experience as a female athlete in the same sport.

All in all, this was a delightful and brisk read. It never felt like a chore to read, and it wasn’t filled with fluff like a lot of rom-coms are (which, there’s nothing wrong with, if that’s what you’re looking for). I felt like I got an insight into the lives of a female Olympic athlete (since I’m the farthest thing from it) and this is an important novel to have available for young women, especially in a time when women are finally starting to be heard when it comes to holding men accountable for their mistreatment of them. Thank you to Atria and the author for the opportunity to read this wonderful distraction from the reality that 2020 is, which is utterly lacking from the excitement that the Olympics would have brought. Pick this up on June 23rd, 2020!

The Hilarious World of Depression: A Review

“Depression is formless, colorless, and odorless, and doesn’t show up on medical imaging.”

See all of those bookmarks? The Hilarious World of Depression by John Moe was a delight to read. He makes a point early on to say that he hopes that this book helps people, that they highlight or bookmark and I certainly did that. 4.5/5 stars for me. Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for sending me a copy to review. For those of you who are into podcasts, the author is actually a host of a podcast under the same name, which discusses depression with a bit of a comedic take.

First let me say, as someone who most certainly deals with depression, but has been too embarrassed to ever get screened for it… this book was extremely relatable. I felt as if John Moe plucked thoughts from my head. The more I read this book, the more I am convinced that there will come a point where I have to deal with it. He talks about how people with depression often think that if you are able to stop from getting worse, that you’ll be fine. No need for treatment, therapy, but also no improvement mentally. You become a standstill of numbness. He says often, we think the next big achievement in our life will make our depressive thoughts go away and then it follows us, and we think, “if I could only get to THIS POINT, I would be so much happier.” Then you get to that point and you’re not happier. That isn’t your fault, you’re not just pessimistic or an overachiever. You’re probably depressed or at least suffering mentally.

With such clarity and honesty, Moe talks about his journey of dealing with the idea of death. It started out as not wanting to be alive, but not actually wanting to kill himself. As his mental state worsens, he talks about contemplating killings himself and how he would do it. It might have been half serious, he might not have ever gone through with it, but that act itself is a cry for help in your own mind. If you think of how you would kill yourself in the most efficient way, that’s not a normal thing people think about when mentally stable. He even talks about his anger and guilt when his brother actually does kill himself in a manner that Moe felt like his previous writings may have influenced. People that commit suicide are people that have fallen to their illness. If someone dies from cancer, we say that their cancer killed them. When people kill themselves, others are angry or confused, like how could they have done that? How selfish? We don’t say, “their depression killed them” or “they fell prey to their illness” when it IS an illness. Moe drives this point home.

“Trauma is a wolf and your mind is a house and it’s like, “Oh, I’m safe from that wild because I trapped it in my house before it could hurt me.” But then a while later, it’s “Oh no! What happened to my house? My furniture is shredded and there’s wolf poop everywhere! How did that happen? Oh hey, I’m being mauled.”

What I love about this book is that it is so quotable. Moe talks in metaphors and through his experiences, because when it comes to depression, that’s what we’ve got. He teaches us through his traumas, through his reaction to them. He doesn’t paint himself better than he was or is, he talks about mistakes, moments of rage, moments of hilarity. He relates his comedic streak and self-deprecation to his depression, which is something not talked about enough. A lot of people hide mental insecurities and instability through humor. This is obviously a mask, a way to keep people from seeing the turmoil that lies underneath, but it made me really ponder… if we screened every comedian for depression, I wonder how high the statistics would favor positive for depression? Moe prods at this topic throughout his book and brought that question forth in my mind.

There was a part in this book that really stood out to me. I think we all know teachers have enough on their plates, we unfairly expect them to teach our kids EVERYTHING. So, I’m not pinning this on them and I don’t think THEY failed us, especially since they are following the curriculum that higher ups provide for them. Anyway, Moe talks about during his health classes, how depression or mental health was never brought up. I can relate to that, our health class was no more than a week block in a classroom near our PE class, and lightly covered STDs and the food pyramid. Now, it is definitely a parent’s job to teach all of this stuff. Sex Ed, proper nutrition, healthy ways to deal with mental health issues but if we are going to include health into the curriculum, it should include mental AND physical, as they’re equally important to our wellbeing. As a society, we do not prioritize mental health. We all fail each other when we view depression as taboo to speak about. My earlier mention of being embarrassed to be screened for depression is proof of that. Why am I embarrassed? Probably because I’ve been conditioned to think that way. It isn’t acceptable to succumb to your mental health even during tragedies, it seems. In college, there’s professors that don’t even view family death as an excuse to be late on an assignment. We are just taught throughout our lives that we need to be strong at all times, we live through war and watching death on the television. We saw people DIE on a live broadcast during 9/11 and we are all just supposed to be okay. We are supposed to happy all the time even though for generations now, we have lived with the threat of nuclear warfare hanging over our heads, which is something I never thought about until John Moe mentioned. I look around and I can say that there’s a pretty equal amount of mentally distressed and mentally healthy people in my life. Thankfully due to books and podcasts like this, our conversation is starting to turn to more acceptance and honesty in relation to mental instability even though we have a long way to go.

I get that this review has turned more into a think piece, but that’s what a good book should make you do. Honestly, I probably covered about 4 out of 20 highlights in a book that’s under 300 pages. I can’t quote every relatable thing he said. Well, I could but then I’d just be relaying the entire book to you when you should just read it for yourself. So here’s a long story short: John Moe takes a topic that is… well, depressing (because yes, talking about depression IS often as depressing and draining as it is therapeutic) and he makes it not seem like a chore. He brings laughter and moments of camaraderie to his writing. He makes you feel seen because of his own experiences and vocalization of those experiences and the thoughts that stem from them. Pick up this book if you suffer from depression or if you have a loved one that does, it is amazingly easy to read. It comes out May 5th!

The Book of Unknown Americans: A Review

“We’re the unknown Americans, the ones no one even wants to know, because they’ve been told they’re supposed to be scared of us and because maybe if they did take the time to get to know us, they might realize that we’re not that bad, maybe even that we’re a lot like them. And who would they hate then?”

Five stars for The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henríquez. I devoured this richly-written novel, that is simultaneously poignant and hopeful. We follow the lives of two immigrant families closely, as well as pepperings of perspectives from minor characters.

“and I felt the way I often felt in this country—simultaneously conspicuous and invisible, like an oddity whom everyone noticed but chose to ignore.”

As a white woman born in the United States, I will not even pretend to know the hardships that the average immigrant faces. This book doesn’t focus so much on the journey TO the US but the fight to survive once you’re in the US. In the US, we loudly proclaim about our freedoms and our progress, but if you’re not a white, English speaking, native born American, the experience is likely very different. We build our nation on the back of immigrants but make it so hard for them to succeed. Henríquez highlights the longing for home, the longing for safety, for acceptance and recognition, for the chance at a specialized education. Our characters love their countries of origin, where they aren’t an outsider, where the food is familiar and people speak their language, where they had a nice house that they traded for the cramped apartment building, but they all have their reasons for emigrating. One of our families moved solely to provide their daughter that sustained a head injury with better treatment and education. They gave up a comfortable life for a one bedroom apartment, for a low wage job, for looks of disdain and intolerance, for threats of their safety solely for being an immigrant. Through this writing, I felt a fraction of the weight that our immigrants carry, how small they’re made to feel, the huge sacrifices for some of the liberties that we take advantage of every day. I could feel our characters silently retreating into themselves. Henríquez writes so vividly that I was able to get a window into their lives.

“Like they really want to be tied to the underside of a car or stuffed into a trunk like a rug or walking in nothing but some sorry-ass sandals through the burning sand for days, a bottle of hot water in their hands? Half of them ending up dead, or burned up so bad that when someone finds them, their skin is black and their lips are cracked open? Another half of them drowning in rivers. And half after that picked up by la migra and sent back to where they came from, or beaten, or arrested.”

The thing is, this book had tragic moments but it managed to maintain a clear vision of hope. I spoke of our characters retreating into themselves but they were also resilient, beating back at the forces trying their damndest to make them feel insignificant. At heartbreakingly depressing moments, they found laughter. Some of our characters soldier on through, make a humble life for themselves, some achieve great things, some go back to their home countries willingly, happy to return. We get a sense of how brutal the US can be, how unsafe for some, and we also get a sense of pride that our immigrants hold for having built a life here, pride for the US itself. It isn’t one or the other. We can be brutal and safe at the same time. Everyone doesn’t have the same experience. Some people are more realistic and others are more idealistic, some people maintain their optimism despite anything they’ve experienced. The thing is, I felt more resentment for the way we treat immigrants after reading this book than the characters themselves did. The forgiveness and kindness in these characters was humbling, the optimism while breaking their backs for a chance at a simple life was simply awe-inspiring. Natural born Americans often treat immigrants cruelly, and in this book I am reminded at how often we are undeserving of the kindness that they unselfishly extend. I don’t know if that was even a point intended in the book, but it very much rang true for me.

All in all, this was a book I read very quickly and turned to most often while simultaneously reading multiple other books. Henríquez gives each characters their own voice that is easily distinguishable each other. They speak clearly and evocatively. Their feelings and experiences are varied but there is a unity threaded lovingly into their stories. I could envision Panama or Mexico from her words, imagine the scenery or the respective foods described. I could sense the longing for home warring with their will to start a new life. Things aren’t tidied up neatly with a bow on top. There’s some harsh moments. At the end of the day, this was a beautiful and heartbreaking read.

Lock Every Door: A Review

My library hold on Lock Every Door came through. I have a weird pattern where I finish phenomenal fantasy series and break up those reads with fast paced, one-time-use thriller reads. The thriller genre will always be that for me —essentially a palate cleanser. Please keep that in mind when taking my review into account. This is not my top genre.

I was shocked at the coincidence of some of the content in this book with modern concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic. Jules is picked to be an apartment sitter in a high end but infamous complex. This apartment happens to have ties with the Spanish flu that ripped through the world in 1918, which I’ve heard mentioned more during this year than in my entire life. Jules is also suffering through the unemployment process and the shame that comes with it, as an unfathomable amount of people are experiencing today. I think that if I hadn’t read this novel at this exact moment, I wouldn’t have connected quite as much. Jules is just trying survive in modern America, she feels the guilt that comes when collecting a paycheck that you feel like you haven’t earned, even though it is a hard time. Bad things happen to people and there’s times where everyone needs some help, but that doesn’t mean people are delighted to have to resort to unemployment.

I’m sure some would say it’s my own damn fault. That it was my responsibility to build an emergency fund. At least three months’ salary, the experts say. I would love to backhand whoever came up with that number. They clearly never had a job with take-home pay that barely covers rent, food, and utilities.

Through this experience, Jules connects with her favorite author, who wrote a book called Heart of the Dreamer set in the very apartment she’s living in. In addition, she meets doctors, ex-actresses, and uber wealthy people while living there. Jules feels very fortunate until the moment when she begins to suspect that the disappearance of several people stems from the apartment building that she’s staying in. From here begins a quest to find out what is happening within the building.

I’ll say, though I guessed the culprit(s), the actual motive behind the disappearances actually came as a surprise to me. That won major points with me because it rarely happens. There were some cliche moments that made me roll my eyes —you know, those moments where someone walks into a room they shouldn’t, or er, TEXTS someone that they’re onto the villain’s master plan. Moments where you’re like, “okay dummy, do you really think that was the smart idea when you’re aware that someone might be watching your every move?”

The background of Jules’ parents contributed to the ending but I feel like her sister’s story didn’t contribute much to the story overall. The emphasis on her made you expect more from her disappearance, whereas her parents’ deaths were barely spoken about but had a bigger contribution.

This was a fast-paced novel, easy to finish. It didn’t win any points in the character predictability category which brings me down to a 3.5 but as I said, won points in other categories. If you’re looking for an easy and mindless read, this is a good bet.

Wrath by John Gwynne: A Review

“This day,” he cried, shouting now, “we will live or die, but whatever the outcome, this will still be the day we avenge ourselves for those we’ve lost, the day we right the wrongs done to us, or die in the trying. It will be a dark day, a bloody day, a proud day, for this is the day of our wrath.” “WRATH,” the cry went up, ringing and echoing through the branches.

The chills. The line is drawn in the sand: do you fight for good or do you fight for evil? No longer are our characters able to hide behind oaths made in ignorance, they must stand for something. We have come to a point where, after literally and figuratively getting the shit kicked out of them, our *Bright Star* and his allies have a fighting chance. John Gwynne PUT US (and them) THROUGH IT. He lovingly built up characters just to snatch them away from us. He tore down our defenses and stabbed us in the heart. We get a reprieve in this book. A lot of good happens, redemption that makes all the heartbreak we endured worth it. Oh ho ho, did you think that meant we were getting off easy? No, my friend. There’s still tendrils of devastation waiting to clutch at your tender, primed heart.

“My friend, why are you stood against me?”

“Because you are wrong,” his friend said simply.

We see the devastation that greed and power can bring, simply for the sake of it. Gwynne explores how the best of intentions can be laid bare to the reveal the fault in them. That even the idealistic figures that we’ve always looked to, might let us down. He shows that morality often takes a backseat to the lure of supremacy. And yet, though they might not be the loudest, or the strongest, there are always people that fight for what is right for the majority, not just the few. Though in modern day, we might fight our battles a bit differently, it’s always good to have a reminder that underneath the evil or power hungry raging the loudest, there is good that persists, true and comforting. TRUTH AND COURAGE, as Ban would remind us. Also, wonderfully, subtly, it addresses how doing nothing is as detrimental to the greater good of humanity as actively fighting against it is.

“This is the God-War; it does not work like that. All choose a side,” he said. “If you choose not to fight against Asroth, then you have already chosen him. Doing nothing does not absolve you of choice. Doing nothing puts you firmly on Asroth’s side and makes you a coward, as well, for not having the stones to admit it.”

Gwynne manages to take these characters that we’ve already been with for three books and teach us more about them. We feel closer than ever to them. The terror that men feel when they see Maquin gets more hilarious and grin-inducing as the story goes. He went from an exceptional fighter to a complete fear-inducing savage, striking panic in the heart of the hardest men. It was satisfying to see the likes of Jael and Lykos humbled by that panic whenever he was mentioned. At the same time, Maquin stays strong and true, always fighting for his heart’s home, whether it is Fidele or Kastell.

“It’s the Old Wolf,” a Vin Thalun shouted; the cry was taken up, rippling around the room.

The animals in this story are more than companions, they’re vital. We already know Storm and her brood are more than capable. Craf, comedic and grumpy, becomes a real player in this book. I loved his dry remarks and commentary before, but he proves that he’s essential to the success of his friends. The raw emotion exchanged between these characters and the animals tugs at my heartstrings. Any book that expertly weaves a love for animals into the plot line only wins my favor more. It’s no coincidence that my top five in fantasy have plenty of animal counterparts between them.

“For one moment, it stood on the table, beady eyes darting about, locking with Rafe’s, silence settling upon the room as men, giants, and a queen all start in dumbfounded shock at the crow. Then it was airborne, flapping away, back out the window.”

Even in Rafe, we see the way that love for an animal can humanize us when we have little to live for otherwise. Rafe was one of those exceptional characters that you want to hate but you can’t help but pity. His whole life was set on a path of destruction, starting with a father that didn’t nurture him during his upbringing in a way that set him up for success. This is in contrast to Corban, who was raised lovingly by parents AND a community, is an excellent case for the psychology behind nature vs nurture. We see an average boy like Corban thrive because of this advantage. We also have characters like Trigg, that scheme as a way of survival in an unfair world. I am sure many fantasy fans have gotten a polite brush off here and there, like I have, when people ask them what they like to read. I’ll tell you now, and I’ll tell you again: within the fantasy genre, I have subtly learned more about compassion, psychology, and humanity than I have in any other genre all whilst taking me on an unimaginable journey. Gwynne is an author that understands their audience needs relatability in the midst of their fantastical story.

“Because this is not who I am,” she eventually said. “One act of darkness, of treachery. But also many of loyalty, too. Judge me by the sum of my deeds, not just the one mistake.”

Speaking of Corban, I think we really learn that you can be great without being some prophesied hero. Being chosen by your people for who you are and how you lead is more satisfying than being chosen because an old document foretold your leadership. I think it goes without saying that Corban has proved himself worthy of command over and over. Respectively, Edana has taken council and come into her own, as well. She makes decisions with her head instead of her heart, which is actually in contrast to Ban’s approach. They’ve both found leadership styles that work for them, an excellent example of how leadership is unique to the individual.

“I for one do not care. I never followed you because of a prophecy. I followed because you saved me, and because my enemies are here, and if I don’t face them, they will kill me, or worse, make me a slave again. I still want to kill them. The prophecy changes nothing.”

I could talk about these characters forever. Cywen, Veradis, Gar, Brina, Halion, Camlin, Haelen. Here’s to you. I think if I delved in as far as I would like, I would spoil a bit of the story. Choosing a favorite is almost impossible to me, outside of Ban (I said almost *cough* Veradis, *cough* Maquin). They’ve all been crafted so expertly that they jump off the page. That’s one of the reasons we read, to connect. I had no trouble connecting here. Hence, the heart that was broken and patched, broken and patched, broken and patched again. If you haven’t guessed, this book and series have earned an easy 5/5 stars for me. I savored every bit of this journey. It will forever have a place on my bookshelves. This book is an embodiment of love, passion, and GOODNESS that shines through during a time where our world is very much fraying at the edges. I hope you will, or have already, enjoy these as much as I have. To The Banished Lands, until we meet again.

The Name of the Wind: A Re-Read

“I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep. You may have heard of me.”

When I am having a bad day, one of the things I do is click through The Name of the Wind quotes on Goodreads. Something about the melodious writing style of Patrick Rothfuss calms my soul. So, during this pandemic, when my anxiety is at an all-time high, it was the perfect read to turn to. I set aside my climbing TBR, which is steeped high with book challenge reads, ARCs, galleys, BOTM reads, and the backlist of various books that I’ve wanted to get to. Now is the time for comfort.

“Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts.”

For this re-read, I started with the audiobook but returned to the physical book at times, too. Turning on audible and hearing Nick Podehl’s narration was immediately like reconnecting with my oldest friend. My eyes well with tears and I let out a deep breath: I am home in this story. As the story progresses, I feel a weight lifted from my shoulders as the story washes over me, completely immersing me as if it was the first time experiencing it all over. Rothfuss has a talent, he took a character’s journey and lovingly threaded a musical quality into his words, each passage hums with a harmonious continuity that few books accomplish. Every word has meaning and hints at something later in the book, but it is done subtly and expertly. You learn more, become more enveloped and invested with every re-read. For first time readers, take note of his words and phrasing. Hint: After you read Wise Man’s Fear, revisit Arliden’s little song about Kvothe’s mother, Laurian. At the time, things that you read may seem insignificant, but they’re deliberate. Rothfuss has centered this story around the importance of names and words, take note.

“Using words to talk of words is like using a pencil to draw a picture of itself, on itself. Impossible. Confusing. Frustrating … but there are other ways to understanding.”

I, like many other readers and bloggers, can’t fully capture with words why this series is scored on my heart. When I was reading this time, I really took note of Kvothe’s emotional range. I think we are used to seeing female characters in touch with their emotions but with male characters, it is less common. Seeing Kvothe openly weep at kindness, fortune and misfortune, at the beauty of art is something that I can relate to. In turn, if Kvothe displays this much depth and compassion, it only speaks magnitudes to the type of person that Patrick Rothfuss is. We see this extended in other male characters besides Kvothe, we see the sensitive and tender heart of Simmon. We see Bast’s unconditional and fierce protectiveness, his adoration of Kvothe. The men in this book aren’t afraid of feeling. Reversely, the women in this book aren’t afraid of embracing their power. Denna doesn’t apologize for hustling her way into men’s hearts to survive. Mola doesn’t show any doubt in herself in her medical training, she fully embraces her intelligence. Fela has the inventive mind and strength required to work in the Archives and the Fishery. Devi is scary, intelligent, and cunning enough to be a Gaelet, unafraid and imposing enough to deal of the threats of her job.

“Congratulations, that was the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen.” -Elodin

Through the tragedy, through the compassionate moments, the breathtaking moments, there is a streak of comedy. It’s one of the things that makes this series so easy to love. I can be laughing out loud and then crying within a few paragraphs, my heart can swell or break at any moment. We see Elodin humming along to Jackass Jackass, or telling Kvothe to jump off a building (which Kvothe actually does). We see Bast threatening Chronicler so heartily that it brings a chuckle spilling from our lips, we see Bast singing merrily during his mischief. We smirk while the townspeople skew stories of Kvothe right in front of him. These are just a few examples, yet for every beautiful moment, every heart-wrenching mishap, there’s one to make you laugh. The dry sense of humor that Rothfuss possesses shines through.

“Third is the door of madness. There are times when the mind is dealt such a blow it hides itself in insanity. While this may not seem beneficial, it is. There are times when reality is nothing but pain, and to escape that pain the mind must leave reality behind.”

The characters are multi-faceted. Rothfuss understands depression and mental health to a degree that can only be understood if you’ve experienced those pressings on your mind. Elodin is written off by many as a complete wack job, but he shows such moments of clarity and genius that it becomes clear that he prefers to be left to his own devices and thus, embraces his “cracked” personality. I think it becomes obvious, at least in my eyes, that Elodin understands TOO much. A genius mind is a great and a terrible thing. We see duality in Kvothe, of course. He rides the line of dark and light, always. He takes his revenge and he schemes, all while loving and caring for others. He builds himself a reputation as terrible as it is great.

Lastly, I’d like to mention how Rothfuss can write scenes so beautifully, you feel like you’re there. Kvothe’s scene at The Eolian is one of the few scenes I can recall so vividly that I feels like it came from my own memory instead of from a page. Each time I read the passage where young Kvothe approaches his camp, I break out in goosebumps. My stomach painfully clenches whenever I read about Kvothe on the street of Tarbean. My eyes well with tears when Kvothe breaks down and sobs on his entrance into the University.

“When the hearthfire turns to blue,
what to do? what to do?
run outside, run and hide

when his eyes are black as crow?
where to go? where to go?
near and far. Here they are.

see a man without a face?
move like ghosts from place to place.
whats their plan? whats their plan?
Chandrian. Chandrian.”

If you haven’t read this book, know this: this is a story of a boy that found his parents and their troupe murdered as he was out in the forest. He comes back and unknown to him at the time, uncovers a secret. The Chandrian. A nightmare fairytale come to life. It’s the story of a boy looking to revenge his family and seek knowledge of why they were murdered, of a boy fighting his way off the streets into a University that studies mental magic and has paths to the information he seeks. It’s the tale of a talented musician leaving songs and legends in his wake. It’s a story of love, it’s a story of tragedy. Very few books have every awakened my soul and made my mind sing the way this book has. I think it goes without saying that this was a 5/5 the first time I read it and every time thereafter. Thanks for sticking with me on this, if you’ve read it, I hope some of this was relatable to you. If not, what are you waiting for?

“Someone’s parents have been singing entirely the wrong sort of songs.”

I can’t resist adding: please be kind to the authors that haven’t finished their series yet. We have no idea of their mental state or home life, how long it took them to write their first book, their standards for themselves and their writing.