Guilt will always call you back…
Rhona is a faithful servant of the country Jémoon and a woman in love. Everything changes when her beloved sets the ravenous Vulture goddess loose upon the land. Forced to execute the woman she loves for committing treason, Rhona discovers a profound correlation between morality and truth. A connection that might save her people or annihilate them all.
You are a lie…
Varésh Lúm-talé is many things, most of all a genocidal liar. A falsity searching for the Phoenix goddess whom he believes can help him rectify his atrocities. Such an undertaking is an arduous one for a man with missing memories and a conscience set on rending him from inside out. A man whose journey leads to Hang-Dead Forest and a meeting with a Vulture goddess who is not entirely as she seems.
The World Maker Parable by Luke Tarzian
Series: Shadow Twins (novella)
Published: April 14, 2020
Genre: Dark Fantasy
Age Group: Adult
Nothing like a novella packed with introspection, fantasy, and world-building. Seriously, colour me impressed. Tarzian writes this novella as an introduction/prequel to his Shadow Twins books, and after reading this, I’ve already added the first book of that to my tbr.
Tarzian’s style is extremely lyrical and atmospheric. The world is full of this entrenching darkness from what troubles befoul it from the creators and magic, the characters are complex and vivid as well. These are things that take time to build up and yet Tarzian does it in 140 pages.
The depth to it is really what caught my attention, but it is also a matrix story within a matrix story within a…well you get the picture. So, I was almost lost in the thread of it all, but I enjoyed it.
It’s a great framework to set up a series and I can’t wait to read the first book!
If you’re looking for a setup for a new adult fantasy series with a dark and lyrical quality, I recommend this novella. It may be small but its content is epic.
Thank you to Storytellers on Tour and Luke Tarzian for a copy of this in exchange for my honest opinion as part of this tour! Don’t forget to check out the rest of the tour, the awesome giveaway, and the excerpt of this novella, all of which you can find below!
About the Author
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 with a prequel novella entitled The World Maker Parable due out April 2020.
The Rest of the Tour
[Click on the photo to be taken to the full schedule and details]
The World Maker Parable by Luke Tarzian
Hang-Dead Forest north of Banerowos was aptly named. Rhona had lost count of the corpses half a mile back. She towed her prisoner on a length of cord. Thus far she had ignored Djen’s every word, half because she was tired of listening to the woman spit hatred, and half because Rhona wasn’t entirely sure how to respond. Leading the woman you loved to the tree from which she was sentenced to hang had that effect.
“I do as the Raven wills,” Rhona said.
Djen spat. “Fuck Alerion. Fuck you and your reflexive bullshit.”
They ducked beneath a trio of low-hanging corpses. The dark bones were long picked dry. Only tatters of clothing remained.
“It’s the truth,” said Rhona. “Alerion’s will is our command. Those who ignore him are a threat to the continued unification of home.”
“You really are full of shit,” Djen hissed. “Alerion’s words are so ingrained into your skull they may as well be his hand shoved up your ass and moving your mouth.” She heaved a sigh. “Never in all my years would I have thought you’d be the one to dance on strings. I suppose I never really knew you at all, Rhona.”
Rhona halted. She had tried these last hours, these last days, to ignore the bitterness Djen spat her way. Some of it was rightly earned—Rhona didn’t deny that. She just wished Djen could understand why she had done what she had done.
“I suppose if I had,” Djen continued, “I would have foreseen you betraying me to Alerion.”
“How could I not?” Rhona asked. “You unleashed the Vulture from her cage.”
“I had to, you idiot,” Djen snarled. “You and Alerion all but doomed us when you imprisoned Luminíl. What I did was for the future of our home. For the survival of this country and its people. If you would open your eyes—if you would all open your eyes—you would see how absolutely wrong you were to have kept such power in chains.”
Rhona yanked the cord and they continued on the way. She focused on the forest; she had always found peace here among the dead. For that, some called her mad, but what did she care?
She inhaled deeply. The trees smelled of death and fear, if fear could be said to smell like anything at all. To Rhona, fear smelled like a foul breath clouding in the night, and that too was a very particular scent. In Hang-Dead Forest a foul breath was defined as an odor of iron and rain—magic.
They marched on through gnarled and twisted trees. Guilt nipped at Rhona’s heels like a hungry dog and her heart stung. It wasn’t supposed to have come to this. She loved Djen for all her flaws, for the gravity of her sin—could she really string her up to rot amongst the dead? Could she really watch Djen join the countless corpses in their pendulum dance?
“You’ll have to whether you like it or not,” her conscience said. It called itself Fiel. “Country over person—it is the Raven’s way. Alerion’s will is our command.” It sighed. “How could we have ever loved such a thing as Djen Shy’eth?”
Rhona frowned. Ever the formal voice of woe, she thought. Fiel—the vocal trauma to her silent grief. Loving Djen had come easily to Rhona. In fact, it had been the easiest thing she had ever done, which made it all the more nauseating how quickly she had turned Djen over to Alerion. Had Rhona always been so fickle?
“No,” Fiel said. “You are doing what you know is right. Country over person. If minds like those of
Djen Shy’eth and Sonja Lúm-talé can be so easily swayed by the darkness of the Vulture Luminíl then what reason do you have to believe a word they say? The Vulture is the personification of entropy— Luminíl had to be contained.”
They came to a small clearing in the depths of the forest. At the center was a tree unique from all the others: white of bark and black of leaves. For that Rhona called it the Lost Tree; it seemed so out of place in a wooded world of death and fog.
Yet by branches have so many lives been claimed, she thought. From the branches of the Lost Tree she would hang her beloved Djen; to its roots Rhona would give her own blood in reverence.
Blood paid was a debt owed and it was best to curry favor where you could, especially in times like this where uncertainty was king.
“If you would stop taking sips from the wine Alerion serves,” Djen said, “you would know how absolutely wrong he was, how wrong you are. You would understand the severity of what you did to Luminíl.” She sighed as they stopped at the base of the Lost Tree. “You will…”
Rhona turned to look at Djen. It was the first time she had done so since leaving Banerowos. For a moment she allowed herself to get lost in Djen’s full-moon eyes, to imagine the taste of her lips and the gentle warmth of her breath.
“Keep your tongue,” said Djen. “You have that look, but your words mean nothing.”
Rhona flinched and it pulled her from her dream. She dropped Djen to her knees and drew a dagger from her cloak. “I wish things could be different.”
Djen smirked. “No you don’t—but you will. Get on with it.”
“Alf elo nor,” Rhona chanted. “Nor elo alf!”
She punched the blade into Djen.
Then she did the same to herself.