The World Breaker Requiem by Luke Tarzian

SPFBO: Semifinalist

Medium: ebook

Overview (No Spoilers):

Reclamation is a hydra.

There is no going back.

Only chaos.”

The world is off-balance. So many things have gone wrong in Ariath, where homes have been reduced to ruins and numerous lives have been lost. And things only seem to be getting worse with the unexpected return of sinhounds and demons. But there’s hope that things can still be turned around. In an effort to finally win his mother’s approval, Avaria Norrith volunteers to find The Raven’s Rage, a weapon thought to be the key to starting over. And it turns out he’s not the only one seeking this legendary sword, despite the destructive side effects that can result from its use. Driven by curiosity and seeking retribution after a sudden loss, Erath agrees to join an old friend on their own search for The Raven’s Rage. What neither of these search parties realizes is that there are also God-like beings at work, each with their own plan for how to fix things. May the best team win…

Published in December 2021, The World Breaker Requiem is the second book in the Adjacent Monsters duology by Luke Tarzian. It’s set in the same world as his Shadow Twins series where you may recognize Vultures as a participant from the SPFBO5 contest. The cover is what first drew me to The World Breaker Requiem. What I found inside is a story that’s equal parts dark, mercurial, and deep… I loved all of it. The characters are constantly evolving as more is revealed. The story continually shifts between different characters, such that it may not be entirely clear which character is being featured or how the passage ties in until later on. The setting is hauntingly beautiful with endless possibilities for worldbuilding. And with poignant prose, Tarzian masterfully examines topics of guilt, intentions versus consequences, and how far you’d go to right a wrong.

Everything is so interconnected and layered in this book that it’s nearly impossible to untangle without a second look. It does put a lot on the reader to parse out and keep straight. This strategy worked for me because I thrive on complexity and putting pieces together. After finishing The World Breaker Requiem, I immediately read The World Maker Parable (the first book in this duology) to see how much of my confusion (and thus, my enjoyment) was because I didn’t know the whole story going into it – basically, I wanted to see if the second book even qualified to participate in SPFBO. The verdict: they are different, but there are characters, places, and storylines found in both. In the end, I enjoyed The World Breaker Requiem to a greater extent, but I do think reading the first book first could help introduce new readers to recurring themes, characters, and Tarzian’s storytelling style. I look forward to reading more of his works!

Additional Insight (Spoilers Abound!):

  • If Luminíl manifests illum and Mirkvahíl is the source for mirkúr, can Alerion produce radich?
  • Mirkúr magnifies the guilt and that in turn magnifies repression [of memories]. … Illum can, to those who possess the innate talent, provide glimpses into memory, into time itself.” It was interesting to see these effects play out with Luminíl and Mirkvahíl across the Adjacent Monsters duology.
  • Now that Mirkvahíl has been dealt with, will mirkúr cease to exist in other worlds? Will Mirkvahíl be reborn? Will Erath show up elsewhere and elsewhen somehow since she had radich? I mean, was she still considered mortal after receiving all that radich?
  • If sinhounds and allhounds exist, where are the honorhounds? Where do longhounds lie on this scale?
  • Is Hush the “good girl” Geph talks about that “couldn’t quell [the sinhounds] in the end”?
  • Where is Equilibrium in this book?
  • Is Aveline showing signs of being spellscarred, like from The World Maker Parable? Is the mottling of mirkúr because she’s not in complete control of it?
  • What happened to the rest of the longhounds, Geph’s family? Did they all perish because of Hush?
  • Why is Avaria able to be reborn? Where did he come from since he isn’t in The World Maker Parable?
  • Why did Hush abandon Avaria under a tree? Did she know that Avaria would be found by Queen Ahnil?
  • Why doesn’t Aveline recognize Avaria (either before or after Hush imitates him) since he’s really her son Jor? Is it because he was just a child the last time she saw him? Is it because her memories could be muddled as a result of mirkúr?
  • Is one of Luminíl’s iterations the timeless being in Rach Na’Schuul, Oura?
  • Was Dren the one who cut off Alerésh the Dread’s head? How did his head end up in Ulm?
  • Why are Hush’s points-of-view written in present tense?
  • Why are scenes with Erath and Avaria in Sleep written in present tense when Geph’s time in Sleep with Than Sor’al isn’t in present tense?
  • When Varésh Lúm-talé mentions that he’s about to do “the eighteenth most moronic thing he had ever done”, does that mean he’s tread between worlds 18 times?
  • SPOILER FOR THE FIRST BOOK IN THE SERIES… It seems like The World Maker Parable is based more on dreams representing “false realities” as a way to explain the different personas of Luminíl and Mirkvahíl. That doesn’t seem to be the case in The World Breaker Requiem which delves into the formation of new worlds, resulting in the need for new identities. This seems to fit with the end of The World Maker Parable where Mirkvahíl states, “We will rebuild. We will rectify. We will reshape. But for now… With every life, another name. With every life, a memory…entombed.”

Vocabulary Builder:

Aegis – a shield or breastplate emblematic of majesty that was associated with Zeus and Athena

Anathema – someone or something intensely disliked or loathed

Gorget – a piece of armor protecting the throat

Pastel – a paste made of powdered pigment ranging from pale to deep colors and used for making crayons

Quisling – one who commits treason
Strafe – to rake (ground troops, an airfield, etc.) with fire at close range and especially with machine-gun fire from low-flying aircraft

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