Today I am delighted to be reviewing The World Breaker Requiem by Luke Tarzian, the second book in the Adjacent Monsters series which will be released on the 21st of this month (so you still have time to read book 1 and preorder this one, and you will find the links below). You can find my review for the first book in the series – The World Maker Parable here. I apologize in advance if I’ve rambled but I loved this book so much that it’s hard to do it justice in a review – all I can say is that it is fantastic and you want to get your hands on it as soon as possible!
‘Disclaimer: I had the honour and pleasure of being a beta reader for this book, but all thoughts (and rambling) are my own. ‘
Prince of Woe…
Avaria Norrith is the adopted heir to the Ariathan throne. But that means little to a man who, for the better part of fifteen years, has sought and failed to earn his mother’s love. Fueled by pride and envy, Avaria seeks the means to prove himself and cast away his mental chains. When he’s tasked with the recreation of The Raven’s Rage he sees his chance, for with the infamous blade he can rewrite history and start anew.
Daughter of the Mountain…
Erath has not felt sunlight for a century. Not since Ariath condemned her people to a life of darkness with their misuse of The Raven’s Rage. But when an old friend comes seeking the remnants of the ancient sword, Erath cannot contain her curiosity and resolves to lend her aid. Is it true—can history be revised? Can her people be reclaimed?
Toll the Hounds…
They are hungry—and they are here.
I LOVED THIS BOOK! There is no other way for me to start this review than to say that. I’ve loved every one of Tarzian’s books so far, but I have to say that The World Breaker Requiem is peak Tarzian.
The first time I read Requiem, I spent a couple of hours just sitting there processing how amazing this book was.
The second time I read it, I was just as swept away as the first time.
The third time, I was still finding new bits to fall in love with.
As with The World Maker Parable, this really is a book that you have to experience and I think that is exemplified by the fact that every time I’ve read this book, I’ve been struck by different lines, different imagery that has given me pause. I feel as though I could read this book a dozen times more (and to be fair, I probably will) and still find new moments to hook me in. Another aspect that adds to that re-readability, and one of the reasons I love Tarzian’s books is just how powerful and lasting the emotional impact of the story is, and how it has landed each and every time and how I feel as though I am still unspooling that particular thread of the book. I wish that I could bottle the feelings that Requiem provoked because they are so profound, so complicated – that as raw as they can be, I want to experience them all and keep experiencing them as long as possible.
“I found myself by losing hope.”
That emotional impact links in with another reason why I think The World Breaker Requiem lands so well, and that is amongst the emotions and the almost dream-like feeling that Tarzian conjures with his words, there are nuggets of truth like the quote above. Phrases. Moments. That just hit like a gut-punch, because they’re raw and real. Anchors of truth, in a nightmare of lies and illusions, deceptions and buried memories.
“The mind is a dangerous place. Quite disordered, as you can see.” His expression darkened. “Especially when your dreams and memories braid together with those belonging to a monster.”
As I’ve said before I absolutely love how Tarzian writes, and one aspect of that which was really highlighted for me in Requiem was how he uses the repetition of certain motifs, phrases or even words, both throughout the entire book or in the space of a page. I love how it highlights key moments and emotions, offering subtle threads of connection, both within the book itself and in the series as a whole, but it also deepens the emotional impact of key moments – leaving you with the feeling that the words and the emotions they conjure are sinking into your soul.
There has always been a wonderfully complex sense of humanity to Tarzian’s books. Amongst the fantastical elements, the bending of reality and time itself, and the intertwining of different timelines, this is a very human story – and I feel as though that shines even brighter in Requiem. Part of that is due to the characters, who we’ve seen in so many emotional states and stages of their own individual stories, as well as part of the overarching cycles – and Tarzian knows how to create living, breathing characters who are as complex and multi-faceted as the world he’s weaved around them. There are those who flee from their past, trying to forget it, those who have forgotten, and those who face it, or stumble into it – some who seem almost caught in a web of their own making, and others desperately forging a path forward – and a thousand shades of grey between them all in a world that would break them all. But, they all have reasons to keep going – threads of hope even in the darkest moments, goals and dreams – and it leaves us as the reader rooting for them, unable to look away even as the darkness reaches its zenith.
The characterisation has always been there, but that feeling of humanity reaches another level here because the characters are searching for a way to fix the past. This has been an ongoing theme, but with characters striking out to find a legendary sword with the power to alter history and time itself, and with glimpses across the Temporal sea, it takes centre stage here.
“To save what has been lost, one first must destroy what is yet to be lost.”
In Requiem Tarzian and the characters asks questions that can’t help but resonate with readers.What price would you be willing to pay if you could change the past? If you could fix the world? Is it worth destroying the world as it is, to go back or forward to a hoped-for ideal? How many of us have pondered that in the quiet moments, how many of us have those moments we would like to undo, a choice that we would see undone? Made all the more raw and real, by the fact that we’ve experienced what the characters have gone through – what they’ve done, or had done to them, and what they’ve lost – so it is impossible not to feel the pull they have towards the potential to be able to save what has been lost because it feels as though we have lost it too. Yet, at the same time, we have also been shown the dangers of messing with the Temporal sea, the warnings of what must be sacrificed, and as the book reaches the crescendo there is very much the feeling that everything rests on A knife-edge – with hope drawn like a hair across a sharp blade, waiting to see if it will be split – and it’s just fantastic to experience.
Also, as an aside and something that I don’t think I’ve mentioned before in my reviews of these books, is that I love the names – both of the characters and the places. Again, there is that lyrical nature that is so prevalent in Tarzian’s language, and they’re not always the easiest to remember – Requiem requires focus – but there is just something so fitting about all the names, puzzle pieces that fit into the whole.
Tarzian had already become a favourite, must-read author for me, but The World Breaker Requiem has well and truly cemented that, as I loved every single dark, twisted, consuming moment of this book. This is how dark fantasy should be done, and it’s delicious, and yes it does demand one hundred per cent of your attention all the way through, but the payoff is simply sublime. If you haven’t tried Tarzian’s work yet then you are truly missing out.
If you’ve read it, or read it in the future, please feel free to shout at me about this fantastic book.