Welcome to the latest review on the blog, westu hal to you! I am delighted to be partnering with Justine and Timy from Storytellers on Tour for an incredible book! Welcome to my review of Vultures by Luke Tarzian, a grand example of how to knock the ball out of the cricket pitch, into another place and then take you through one of the most intriguing fantasy worlds on the written page.
Before I go anywhere, I want to give a big shout to Justine and Timy for organising this tour and please check out all the other amazing bloggers and bookstagrammers taking part in this one via this link. Now on with the show
An enemy slain is not a conflict won…
After decades of war the demon Te Mirkvahíl is dead. But its progeny endure, spilling from the Heart of Mirkúr, sowing death across the land of Ariath. If the people are to finally know peace, the Heart must be destroyed. Theailys An believes he can do just that with The Keepers’ Wrath, an infamous power focus wrought in Ariath’s yesteryears–but the weapon first must be reforged.
War spares no one…
Serece never intended to get involved in Ariath’s war. But history and demons have a way of pulling strings. When she learns Theailys An, a man whom she abhors, bears striking similarity to the first creator of The Keepers’ Wrath, Serece departs her mountain world for Ariath to ascertain the truth.
From patience, hope…
For millennia Behtréal has walked the world alone. Rewriting history to resurrect his people is easier said than done. But Ariath holds the key–soon The Keepers’ Wrath will be remade.
This is such a unique novel, running in at 300 pages Luke has created a story where you enter a surreal and dreamlike world, brimming with compelling and complex characters.
This is very much a multilayered book, there are multiple plots occurring across different times. What I admire the most is Luke keeps the plot flowing smoothly and I never felt confused or lost, particularly at this is a world where balance and chaos are most important. The characters we follow also embody this theme, for example Serece has a violent rage within her, believed to be evoked by a Goddess. Thaeilys An has something akin to an Angel and a Devil on his shoulders, both rivalling to take over his head but the dark manifesting in such a way that he blacks out and has no memory of the carnage.
Perhaps one of the best aspects of the novel is how Luke explores the Human psyche. The POV characters feel genuine remorse for the people they have wronged and killed, they just cannot forgive themselves. This leads them both down a path of redemption that leads to the brink of insanity, it is this that makes Luke one of the best and most interesting writers at work today. You are never quite sure what has happened, where these acts committed by these characters, a dark force, a mental illness or is history simply repeating itself. The narrative twists and turns skillfully leading the reader to the answers that you will desperately seek.
Now the worldbuilding is wonderful, I will say this is one of most skillfully created secondary worlds that you can read about. Ariath is a diverse, beautiful but bleak place, and the place where we spend much of the time Helvenden as much so. Aside from the human characters, this world is populated by strange and wondrous creatures, Loykyns, shapeshifters, Phalantaxians who have some form of plague and my personal favourite Illurmigists who can delve in to dreams. The other very cool part of the world is the magic system, a light magic system of light and dark, Illum and Murkir which certain characters can wield.
What I would love you to do when you read this is to have faith in Luke’s narrative style, there is a lot to comprehend in this book and it may be frustrating to some when reading it. However the skillful way Luke leads the reader will show you the way, a story is awaiting that jumps from the past, present and future. You will have many questions, some will be answered and I realised that you as the reader are not meant to know, even after the understanding comes to you, you may feel as uncertain as the characters do, it will hopefully leave you wanting to read more.
I mentioned in my initial reaction that this was a refreshing and surreal novel, it’s prose is beautiful and atmospheric. It leads you so easily down the path Luke is showing, enter this world where dreams and their interpretations lead characters down paths they could never imagine. I will admit that the final was a jaw droppingly incredible moment or several as I read, it was fantastic and easily makes this one of the best books that I have read this recently.
Finally, this is a wonderful book and for a debut novel it is incredible with some of the most amazing prose, world building at its most intricate and dare I say beautiful. A story which crosses time and planes of existence and characters that are not so sure of their grip on reality, it’s safe to say that I loved this! Particularly as yet again the most enigmatic of characters appears, Equilibrium….read the books and find out. I am so glad that I have read another or Luke’s books “The World Maker Parable” and “The Laughing Heart” in a short story collection, all I was say is that it helped me in my understanding of this world and story. Take my word for it that this a book, a world and an author that you will want to get into as it is a real experience!
That’s all from me, I hope that my review has inspired to pick up a copy of the book, westu hal and stay safe.
Further information about Luke
Luke Tarzian was born in Bucharest, Romania until his parents made the extremely poor choice of adopting him less than six months into his life. As such, he’s resided primarily in the United States and currently lives in California with his wife and their infant daughters. Fascinated by psychology and the work of Edgar Allan Poe, and inspired by his own anxieties, his character-driven fiction functions as a meditation on emotion, most commonly grief. His debut novel, Vultures, introduced a surreal, demon-ridden world where dreams are sometimes more than dreams and magic, memories, and misery are heavily entwined. Vultures is the first book in the Shadow Twins trilogy.