It feels wonderful getting back into reading books. This book is dark fantasy in its purest form, and it does it without the weaknesses a lot of grimdark novels suffer from: edgelord characters doing evil stuff for the sake of it. There is none of that in this book. It debuts on the 19th February. Have you ever watched Threads? It did something no horror film could, and that was frighten me to the bone. It covers a nuclear attack on Britain and its catastrophic aftermath.
Every person in the world should see it. This book hit me on levels similar to Threads, on a form that few other books have achieved.
There is a deep level of human suffering in the book. This is a brutal book that goes beyond the rest in many ways, but it does so in a way that made me keep reading. Not once did it annoy me or wind me up with things some grimdark books do. In a way this is historical fantasy at its core, but there is a powerful magic at heart in this book. The cast of the book is small with the number of dedicated POVs in the single digits.
The story focuses on these select few and it does well. Having a focused character setup is a good thing for any fiction, and we really get to grips with the characters. There is a deep level of characterisation and development with all of them. The plot sounds simple at first. Remember what I said about Stalin? The main antagonist Eyad is a brutal man with plans to turn his realm into something breaker. You must break before you become and under such ruthless economic reforms, hatred and suffering are everything.
His lover and rival Vadden leads rebels against him — and he is someone not of mercy. Magic begins to break into the world properly as Eyad tries to collect all those who can use it. When his favourite slave Seraphina escapes, it starts a destructive path that rebirths the gods. The prose is excellent without being too flowery and the world-building is well done, again without going over the top. Even if you get queasy, I still recommend giving the book a try. I loved this book. Mar 15, Tim Martin rated it it was amazing Shelves: fantasy , reviewed.
There is quite a bit to recommend about this book, including its unusual Soviet-inspired setting, the strange nature of magic in this world, its most unusual deities, its evocative prose, several gripping central characters, and the deft and skillful way the author made something so very, very dark compelling and fascinating, that as dark as the book got and make no mistake, it does get extremely dark it never ceased for me to be compelling reading whether because I cared about the characters or the central plot or just enjoyed the prose. Another feature of the book I liked was its relatively small cast, unusual when compared to many fantasy novels.
In addition it had a relatively small scope not in terms of impact of the events of the novel, no, those are huge indeed, but in terms of the numbers of different locales and settings to keep track of. It will be interesting to see if later installments in the series will maintain such a relatively tight focus in terms of numbers of characters or locations. The novel centers on a brother and sister and their enemies and allies. Other characters include Vadden, fellow counterrevolutionary and friend of Neryan in exile and little known to anyone else, also former husband of Eyad who despite being his biggest political opponent still has feelings for Eyad , and a young woman nicknamed Mouse, adoptive daughter of Neryan.
Many of the standard fantasy tropes are not present in this novel. There are no dragons, no dwarves, no elves, no faerie or unicorns or doddering wizards. There are prophecies of a sort, kind of, but they are vaguer and more ad hoc or improvisational than any prophecies I have ever seen; there are roles to play, but how these roles are filled and by whom has lots and lots of wiggle room, with no guarantee of success at multiple levels. It felt like the best of both worlds; the structure and foreboding a prophecy gives to a novel without any sense of fates being sealed or any sort of success guaranteed.
There is relatively little I can say about the plot without risking major spoilers. It moves at a very brisk pace, slowing down a bit when the author takes care to show multiple points of view of the same events at the very end but never dragging or become tiresome or tedious. The ending of the book is surprising and world shattering; I have literally no idea what is going to happen next and have a hard time imagining what the world is now like.efcisubstingmon.tk/arrested-making-decisions-for-yourself.php
The Need For Sarah
For all the relatively small scope in terms of places used or characters followed it is a huge, huge outcome that changes absolutely everything. All I can say about the ending is I cannot wait to see what happens next. For all its dark tone there is a lot of beauty in the book, the author making lonely fields, starry nights, sunsets, old city streets, quiet pauses in conversations, good meals all things of beauty without drowning the reader in descriptive prose. A dark book where characters suffer and die, it is never quite bleak and certainly never nihilistic, as even in the darkest times the writing is beautiful and characters always seem to hold onto some sort of hope or brightness, that to paraphrase a certain hobbit there is always some good worth fighting for, and the worst of the worst can only take away so much.
Great start to a great series! Feb 23, E. Hamill rated it it was amazing. Every once in a while you read a book that's unlike anything you've ever read. Seraphina's Lament is that book. Part fantasy, part zombie, and all grimdark, the book blew me away. Sarah Chorn's prose is lyrical, heartbreaking poetry in so many places that I just had to stop and digest some of the merciless beauty at times. Seraphina is a fire talent, a kind of Dark Phoenix in a broken body that seethes with rage.
Her twin, Varyen, is a water elemental: shapeless and lost without Seraphina, who is Every once in a while you read a book that's unlike anything you've ever read. Her twin, Varyen, is a water elemental: shapeless and lost without Seraphina, who is enslaved by a dictator. Vaddon is a revolutionary with lightning in his veins, and grief in his heart for the man his husband has become - the dictator Eyad, a despotic and cruel man with mind talents that keep his citizens in fear. When these literal forces of nature come together, manipulated and molded by an ancient god, the world will burn.
This book is not for the weak of heart. Cannibalism among starving people is prominent, and the harsh conditions of the Sunset Lands are based on the horrific event of the Holomodor Ukrainian Genocide in Russia in the early 30's. I can't say enough good things about this book, but its strengths were some of its weaknesses for me, too. I found myself rushing through the last third to "get to the good stuff" and was completely rewarded.
I waffled on a rating between four and five stars because of that, but ultimately, this book is a work of art and deserves five because, goddamn, this is a DEBUT NOVEL and it knocked my socks off. Apr 07, Rituranjan Gogoi rated it it was amazing. A devastating jewel of indie grimdark fantasy.
Passionate, poetic, and agonizingly beautiful, this book is a crafted artwork of death, violence, oppression, and magic that enacts a dark and grand drama of gods and mortals caught in the conflict of a dying world. I hail Sarah Chorn as the new Queen of grimdark fantasy. The worldbuilding is brilliant, and, concerning the story there is an allegorical nature to it. The setting is undoubtedly Russian inspired, and the author draws her themes from the Bolshevik Revolution, and the autocracy of Joseph Stalin. She uses the terrifying event of Holodomor to vamp the grimdark element of the novel.
The effect is horrifically realistic and gut-wrenching. Sarah beautifully interweaves the themes of slavery, oppression of the state, freedom, and love, into the narrative that provides an empathetic connection with the reader. The mythology is still vague, though we are given a few glimpse to its nature and the gods. The magic system is based on elements which reminded me of 'The Last Airbender. In fact, it is so polished and vivid that the book doesn't feel like a debut at all.
The characters are phenomenal, full of depth, and conflicting emotions roil in them. They're all painted in varied shades of grey. Seraphina, the central character is a slave to the antagonist Eyad. She is broken, both in body and spirit. She is a tragic character, exuding anger and sorrow like a tempest. She is fire incarnate, and longs to burn everything into ashes. It was interesting to see the Yin-Yang relationship between her and her brother Neryan, who is water incarnate. They're twins, and they balance each other's element. Neryan is gentle and wants a normal life with his sister, but Seraphina is an unrelenting force of vengeance.
The most disturbing character dynamics was between Vadden and the antagonist Eyad. Eyad is the Stalin who will do anything for power. He rules with an iron hand. He is a tyrant, cruel, selfish and devoid of any compassion. I detested him in every part of the book. The others like Taub and Mousumi are equally integral part of the group. All these characters are opposing forces who are attracted and drawn to each other like a piece of iron to a magnet.
The ending was awesomely catastrophic with fire and storm ravaging everything in the way. It was also poignant in a way. It concludes with a sort of metaphysical and existential dilemma. The notion of 'Becoming' is woven into the theme of 'Ascending'. One have to be broken down completely in order to rise anew. At the end, I have to say that Sarah Chorn's book has a terrible beauty in it, that pierces the heart in a dying manner. I'll eagerly wait for the next book in the series. Sarah is definitely an author to watch, a talent to be appreciated with all the deserving stars.
This book needs to reach a more wider readership, and get all the awards it can snatch. Mar 03, Lynn K : Grimmedian rated it it was amazing. Gods of power have awakened to the death of the world. A call must be sent that changes the magic of those who hear that call. Minor abilities become rampaging forces. The Sunset Lands have been ravaged by collectivism and the people are dying. The cast of the story must heed the call, and may lose their humanity in the process of becoming one of the brethren of forces that keep the world alive. How far until they break and become?
A tragedy with a tiny spark of hope. This book will appeal to those who appreciate poetic allegory. I found the prose just swept me in and kept me invested. Although tragic and jarring it is at once pain, horror, death, and hope. It is Grimdark that shatters your heart. A powerful debut that leaves just enough in the epilogue to end an epoch and perhaps begin another.
May 08, Frank Steele rated it really liked it. I so enjoyed, not only the story, but the style and creativity that Ms. Chorn used to paint the story. Did it work all the time? Looking forward to the next one! May 03, Travis Riddle rated it really liked it Shelves: spfbo5. Sarah Chorn has created a fascinating world known as the Sunset Lands, filled with a dynamic, intertwined cast of characters hurtling toward a volatile, unknown fate. The setting of the book was interesting, something that I haven't encountered before in a novel. The Sunset Lands are plagued by famine, leading to unrest among its populace, who resort either to secret revolutionary measures or, more often in most cases, cannibalism.
We follow a cast of several core characters in the Sunset Lands Sarah Chorn has created a fascinating world known as the Sunset Lands, filled with a dynamic, intertwined cast of characters hurtling toward a volatile, unknown fate. We follow a cast of several core characters in the Sunset Lands as well as dipping into the POVs of a few other unfortunate souls in interludes , and I really enjoyed the complex character relationships between everybody.
My favorite was Vadden, who we quickly learn was deeply involved with the country's less-than-stellar leader back when he was a revolutionary himself. I spent the whole book looking forward to their inevitable confrontation at the climax. I suppose that's where my one criticism of the book would be, though. Chorn created a lot of rich characters with interesting, complicated relationships to each other, but I don't feel like any of those threads were explored as fully as they could have been. Each character shares highly emotional scenes with others, but I didn't feel fully invested in their relationships so those moments didn't land quite as hard; I wanted to know them better, as well as Chorn clearly knows and cares for them.
There's a lot underneath the surface there, and I wish we had gotten to see more. But the book concludes with a huge event, one that dramatically shifts the direction the series is going in, giving us hints at the world's history and lore that I hope are explored in further books, because the mystery of what exactly is going on and the purpose of it has truly hooked me. Jun 18, Mark rated it really liked it Shelves: fantasy. I must admit I found this book a little tough to start with. It is written with beautiful prose but it took me some time to connect truly connect with the characters.
Maybe because it is such dark subject matter - and while I have read 'grimdark' before I don't think I've read anything as grim or as dark as this- or the Holodomor that Chorn used to anchor her world an actual real life historical event that is appalling - check it out. I've read Chorn mention that she deliberately chose such vi I must admit I found this book a little tough to start with. I've read Chorn mention that she deliberately chose such vibrant and beautiful language because the subject matter is disturbing and confronting. It certainly makes for a remarkable and intense foil. When this story shifted gears, when we reached the cliff - and were pushed off - the story exploded into an epic conflagration.
And I am still reeling from the shock-waves. If you enjoy fantasy that pushes boundaries while remaining epic in scope, that delves the soul while reaching for the stars, then I highly recommend you give this book a try. I can't wait for book two - An Elegy for Hope - when it's done. May 05, Gabriel rated it it was amazing.
I had read one free chapter when it was released and wasn't sure how to react at first. I'm glad I gave it a shot. Seraphina's a complex and interesting character. She's one of that characters you wish you had written. Disfigured and disabled, she finds out that surviving requires more than just physical labor. There is a cast of many different characters, all of which have their own motivations and personalities.
You have a couple of POVs, and a ruthless governor as an antagonist. The representation in this book is also something worth mentioning. It's interesting that, unlike what we know from our History of our world, having pale skin usually tends to demote you to slavery, while having darker tones is considered a privilege. There is also sexuality representation as well as the disabled protagonist's medical condition, making it all the more immersive characteristics to notice within the story, not just the perfectly physiques you are used to see in many Fantasy stories.
The magic system is composed of what you call "talents", which are used as the four nature elements, and more besides, such as mind talents. Overall, it's a dark, well-written story painted with beautiful and delicate words for a world too brutal to be grateful for them. May 06, Joy rated it really liked it Shelves: fantastic-fiction , series. This was a most engaging debut novel. Character driven, the writing style very poetic. Set in a country ruled by a cruel dictator who started the revolution that began a communal State. As in real world Communism it became a country of harsh repression and starvation.
That is until an immortal, long asleep, awakens among ancient ruins beneath the city. This immortal is a vague presence through most of the story but his efforts impact the lives of those he wants to "become. Feb 24, Galen Strickland rated it really liked it. I've seen others describe this as 'grimdark,' and while I have not read much within that sub-genre I think it's an apt description.
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It's the reason it took me longer to read than I thought it would, because I could only take the darkness for short periods of time. It's still good though, and recommended, except for those who only want light and positivity in their fantasy. May 15, Mihir rated it really liked it.
This title was high on my list once she announced it. The story is set in a secondary world and one wherein magic is present but not in a high fantasy sense. Sarah Chorn deftly gives us a landscape wherein famine and magic co-exist. There have been calamities on all fronts and Premier Eyad is forced to take certain hard steps or is he The story is dark and right off the bat, I can see this is going to be one of those wherein readers will be divided into camps about it. The author brandishes a deft hand in handling a sensitive subject such as the Holodomor as well showing a thing or two about communism.
Not that she names them as such. Even the villains as well those manipulated by the higher beings. The author also has highlighted characters with disability and I found that to be another unique feather in her cap. The prose is perhaps the best part of this debut.
The author manages to show the depth of suffering and yet elegantly describes feelings, emotions and such. There are such gems strewn throughout: "Belief was a terrifying thing, he realized. Sarah Chorn is an author who impressed me mightily and if his debut is any indication. Then we can wonder what further brilliance there is to come. Jun 15, Nancy Foster rated it it was amazing Shelves: spfbo. A part of me was hesitant to read this book, mostly because I don't read Grimdark that much due to personal preferences.
Canned Peaches After the Apocalypse – Post-Apocalyptic Cities
However, I heard really good comments regarding this book and decided to give it a shot. And I was glad that I did. Sarah Chorn has set aside her book reviewing hobby in order to delve into the murky and uncertain waters of indie publishing to bring her work to the masses and bite her nails as the reviews come. As a freelance editor herself, you can see that she has tried to av A part of me was hesitant to read this book, mostly because I don't read Grimdark that much due to personal preferences.
Canned Peaches After the Apocalypse
As a freelance editor herself, you can see that she has tried to avoid a lot of the pitfalls of first time book writers by carefully crafting the words, and I must admit I was bemused by the poetic beauty of her descriptions, the feelings each character and mostly dreary scenery of the collapsing society of the Sunset Lands.
It is well known among the writing community that Sarah has several health issues and you can indeed see her bringing a lot of her personal life experiences into the pain of the crippled protagonist Seraphina as she holds onto the walls of the Premier Eyad's palace and claws her way while he tugs at her silken neck leash like she were a whipped dog. Fantasy books starring handicapped protagonists are still rather uncommon, and I always enjoy reading them because they not only have to do great things usually involving magic , all of their hurdles are further tampered due to reduced mobility or other assorted issues and different characters emotionally react to them very differently.
Seraphina was brutally punished by her owner Eyad when she helped her twin brother Neyren escape, and while she hates feeling pain and humiliation when she walks, she doesn't regret her decision. It shapes her contrasting character very well. Relatively normal. He probably would have invented something important to the survival of the human race. Perhaps something that would have prevented such a thing, had he only been born sooner.
What's it like jumping in as a newbie surrounded by so many people who've been doing American Horror Story for so long? I mean, you just watch and learn. It's really that simple. They have their own rhythm, their own vibe, their own way of working with each other. And you do your best not to step on it.
Be aware, alert. You've got to learn the ropes. Evan Peters is completely free. He's an absolute clown in the artistic sense, not the kind of — I think he actually went to clown school, if I'm not mistaken. They let him improvise and stuff like that. And Sarah [Paulson] 's very, very well trained and takes her craft very seriously.
So she can just kind of be doing whatever and then turn on Ms. Venable and command the entire room with her voice and her demeanor. If I can grab a little bit of that'd be awesome, if I can grab a little bit of clown from Evan that'd be awesome. And Kathy Bates is just so relaxed and still. And watching her, you just get it. Like she's just magic It's kind of a difficult thing to articulate, but like if you watch her, she's doing nothing and everything at the same time It's amazing. We all come and they give us this huge amount of rewritten script — I don't know if I'm supposed to say that, but whatever — at the last minute, because that's the nature of television And not everyone's off-book.
You work with it on the day and that's the status quo — that's how it goes. But Cody comes in with the most things to say out of anyone, 10 times as much as anyone else, and has it all entirely off-book. I don't know when he sleeps. Furthermore, in the historical record, few attest to anthropophagy actually taking place. Rather, a topos of the genre is the witness stumbling over the remains of a cannibal feast, with the flesh eaters themselves absent Dominy Yet in The Road cannibalism is a normal part of a new culture which the man and the boy experience firsthand.
This assertion rests at least in part on the accusation of the bad guys being cannibals. Of course the man and boy do not consume human flesh. Still, the claim that the man and the boy are the good guys can be judged by readers to be highly subjective beyond the one crucial fact of not committing cannibalism. The boy knows that they are not cannibals but still challenges the good guy narrative increasingly as the text nears its conclusion.
The boy wants to feed the old wanderer and take him with them but the man refuses to accept the responsibility and risk. In the second incident the man shoots a bandit with the flare gun in self-defense Anthropophagy is continually referenced implicitly often and explicitly less often throughout the novel. This is because the destroyed wilderness spaces retain an eerie power; they lie outside the purview of human understanding.
The barren landscapes are often malignant and align better with Hobbes than Aristotle and Cicero. In this sense, it recalls pan-cultural myths of flesh-eating such as the Polyphemus episode in The Odyssey. It is not an intellectual tool used to emancipate the postcolonial subject. It is real and indisputable; it is the true nature of nature. In the novel, nature as commonly understood has disappeared altogether.
This is important because our modern moment often defines nature as needing protection the Environmental Protection Agency , as a picturesque backdrop or something studied by specialists—science is divided up into ever smaller and more specific fields. In The Road nature, as understood by wilderness spaces, is no longer under threat by built environments and human pollution. It has been irrevocably altered by the apocalyptic event. The text does not specify whether this event was human caused but for the two protagonists the result is the same.
The natural has ceased to exist yet the other half of the binary, the human, has been decimated as well, with the man and the boy representing one of the last recognizably human communities. The grey skies, bad air and lack of agricultural fertility eventually kill the man although he technically dies from some form of respiratory disease. The wanderer who gets struck by lightning 50 and the many trees that threaten to smash the man and the boy 97 attest to the sudden withdrawal of the natural. Just the opposite point has been made by Rebecca Solnit.
She argues that one often witnesses a coming together and human flourishing in times of natural catastrophe. In The Rights of Man Paine argues:. There is a natural aptness in man, and moreso in society, because it embraces a greater variety of abilities and resources, to accommodate itself to whatever situation it is in.
The instant formal government is abolished, society begins to act. A general association takes place, and common interest produces common security. So far is it from being true, as has been pretended, that the abolition of any formal Government is the dissolution of society, that it acts by a contrary impulse, and brings the latter closer together. Instead of exploring new ways of social organization and cooperation, The Road falls back on the nuclear family and the father-son relationship as the lynchpin of society. This can be read as reactionary, but is wholly in keeping with the dark vision of nature outlined above.
So much so that the binary ceases to hold and what the text depicts is a gray sameness. Stylistically, The Road echoes this liminality. The text turns away from humans in its use of minimalist dialogues and lack of speech and thought tags. The Road depicts the end of humans, but also the end of humanism.
Oceans, mountains. The ponderous counterspectacle of things ceasing to be. The sweeping waste, hydroptic and coldly secular. Nature in the form of wilderness spaces has ceased to exist. Likewise, the human communities have been almost wiped out as well. Here, civic institutions and religions are ripped away to expose the raw underpinnings of culture. This is but another instance in which The Road aligns itself with pan-cultural myths in its evocation of apocalypse and flesh-eating. A focus on cannibalism allows readers to see it as a brilliant reworking of the very oldest and most established tropes that literature possesses.
Only a human can commit cannibalism by definition. Yet this act is enshrined across many cultures as one of the most extreme forms of transgression and thus becomes a marker of the in human. Positioned this way, cannibalism questions the very notion of the human. This connectedness explains the odd embrace of consumer culture, which is often linked to environmental problems. Why, in a text where the end of the world perhaps results from over-consumption, should a Coca Cola be so celebrated? Yet, when the man and the boy stumble upon a fallout shelter, the remnants of this same consumer culture are invoked in a thoroughly positive, un-ironic way:.
Crate upon crate of canned goods. Tomatoes, peaches, beans, apricots. Canned hams. Corned beef. Hundreds of gallons of water in ten gallon plastic jerry jugs. Paper towels, toiletpaper, paper plates. Plastic trashbags stuffed with blankets.
He held his forehead in his hand. Oh my God, he said. The Road The above items reflect the normally mundane contents of a typical American supermarket, but they achieve epic status in this post-apocalyptic world. If Don DeLillo in White Noise could poke fun at the way consumer culture permeates every aspect of American existence, there is no such irony here. In McCarthy, the few cans of beans and paper towels mark the last instances of American superabundance.
If the text has represented cannibalism as the ultimate evil, its opposite, a high-calorie pre-apocalyptic feast, must necessarily be the ultimate good. Arens, William.
Related The Need For Sarah (Apocalyptic Cannibalism Book 2)
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