I’ve been on a self published kick, of late, for a few reasons. One. I want to support authors like myself. We’re in it together and all that. Two, the last two trad pub books I read (both finales) were huge letdowns. And three, I’ve been in the mood for something different. Luke Tarzian’s Vultures definitely delivers on being something different.
Backing up, I came across Luke’s writing in an anthology book called Dark Ends. I was immediately intrigued. His story was a dark and haunting tale that equal parts captivated and confused me. I enjoyed it, and though it wasn’t my favorite story in the anthology (Dragon Meat was), it was the one that pulled me the most. So I picked up Vultures as my next read.
i certainly wasn’t disappointed. The first thing that stood out is the writing. I don’t know how he keeps up that level of beauty for the duration of the book. The prose itself is phenomenal.
In terms of story, you have Theailys An, an emotionally crushed guy seeking to recreate a powerful magically weapon from far in the past called the Keeper’s Wrath. He has a particular set of powers that allows him to do this. Oh, and he's possessed by a sort of demon. Serece, an immortal/plague-ridden woman, hates Thealiys, but finds that their paths are interwoven. Given that Theailys looks a lot like a man from the past who used the Keeper's Wrath to destroy, well, a shit ton of stuff, she seeks to find out exactly why that might be the case.
There is a definite theme of balance through out. Light requires darkness. Peace requires entropy. The worldbuilding in general is really well-done; the world seems dark, gritty. A little mad. Demons taking over the bodies and minds of humans contribute to that. There was one scene, from the past, that particularly stood out as intense.
My biggest complaint was that, with all of the shifting timelines, I definitely lost track of what was going on at times. I like to think I'm a pretty savvy reader and can hold a lot in my memory, but even so, I struggle to figure out the connections or motivations of the different characters. If you are looking for a story that is an easy read, this probably isn't the one for you. If you are willing to work for it, you will enjoy it.
Overall, glad I read this and give it four stars. I'll definitely be reading the sequel when it comes out. Especially after that ending!