Booktour: Vultures by Luke Tarzain

Booktour: Vultures by Luke TarzainVultures by Luke Tarzian

Published by Also by this author: The World Maker Parable, The World Breaker Requiem, A Cup of Tea at the Mouth of Hell
Pages: 344

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.

Truth from madness...

As paths converge and a shadow falls across Ariath, one thing becomes increasingly and horrifyingly clear--these events have played out many times before.

This review is part of the booktour hosted by The Write Reads. Thank you to the author and the host for a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

As you might know, Vultures by Luke Tarzain was also submitted to the Book Blogger Novel of the Year Award, where I’m a panelist. I actually read the first thousand words in the first round and it was my favourite of the ten excerpts I read. Sadly, it didn’t make it through to the next round, but I knew I’d read the whole book soon. That’s when the book tour came up and I immediately signed up.

Having read the first thousand words already, I had expectations but it didn’t prepare me of what was to come. Vultures is a hard book to review and it doesn’t help that I’m on painkillers while writing this or while I read it. The story and the themes aren’t easy. To explain that I’ll have to give minor spoilers about the character backgrounds.

Let me talk about major storyline first. At first glance, it might seem like a generic epic fantasy story in which the main character has to forge/find a weapon to destroy all evil. This evil caused wars, violence, hate, death. And it’s time to put an end it. This the story at the surface, but once you break it, you’ll see an bottomless ocean of hidden motives of everyone involved. This story isn’t just about the mortals, the ones who can die. This is also about the gods, or Celestials.

The further you get into the story, the more it seems like Inception. Stories within stories, worlds within worlds, people within people. History, present, and future mixed together, influencing each other. The word ‘triptych’ is used in these instances and it’s telling. There’s a deep philosophic question at play and you won’t notice it if you just look at the surface. I’ll be honest, being drugged doesn’t help and I’m sure I don’t understand things as well as I could have with a clear mind. Still, it made me think, and I’m sure that when I read it again with a clear mind, it’ll make me think some more.

There’s another layer that sets Vultures apart from most other fantasy books. Mental health plays a big part in all of the characters’ lives. It seems like all spouses and partners were killed, as are the children. Of course, this results in trauma with the characters and I think Tarzain has done a great job of showing their depression. But by having no contrast, it feels weaker than it could have been. It also gives me no hope that the world as it’s described would survive anyhow. There seems to be no hope at all. Dying might be kindness in this case. This might have been the intent of the writer, I don’t know. But it makes me feel like I don’t want to recommend it to others unless they’re prepared for something so heavy.

I give Vultures by Luke Tarzain four and half stars. It’s a heavy book with a lot of layers. You can read it multiple times and still find new things or connect dots you didn’t see before. I’m really curious about what’s coming next. Before that, I’m going to read the prequel. So keep your eyes out for a review of The World Maker Parable.

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