REVIEW: The World-Maker Parable by Luke Tarzian

Luke Tarzian discovers truth in madness with The World-Maker Parable, an ingeniously constructed dark fantasy novella that feels like a nightmare brought to life. The World-Maker Parable serves as a prequal to Tarzian’s novel, Vultures, but can also be read as its own standalone story.

The World-Maker ParableThe novella opens with Rhona, a dutiful citizen of her country who leads her lover, Djen, toward execution in the corpse-laden Hang-Dead Forest. Djen has been sentenced to death for treason after unleashing the chaotic Vulture goddess, Luminíl, upon the world.

The Vulture goddess represents entropy unbounded, delivering irreversible disorder and destruction, culminating with certain death. The Vulture’s power is the opposite of the Phoenix goddess, Mirkvahíl, who signifies creation and rebirth.

The Phoenix goddess is sought by the other main point-of-view character, Varésh Lúm-talé, a notorious liar who seeks atonement for his sins. Varésh’s journey also brings him toward the Hang-Dead Forest as he uncovers truths about both himself and the Vulture goddess.

The World-Maker Parable is told on two timelines denoted “then” and “now.” I won’t say anything else about the plot of the novella, since I don’t want to spoil the myriad of surprises that Luke Tarzian has in store for the reader.

The dark, brooding atmosphere of The World-Maker Parable feels like a lucid dream. Tarzian’s prose is dense but engrossing. The author makes effective use of unreliable narration as he addresses issues of character identity and motivation, including one character who argues with a shadow twin. The novella is also bursting with a gamut of emotions. In the end, I realized that the title of the novella is meant to be taken quite literally.

The World-Maker Parable has an almost shockingly deep level of worldbuilding for such a short book. I thoroughly enjoyed the bird-inspired goddesses and their related lore of both creation and destruction. The thermodynamicist in me was delighted by both the Vulture goddess of entropy and the spirit of Equilibrium, who tries to maintain balance in the land.

Altogether, The World-Maker Parable is an impressive showcase for Luke Tarzian’s unbounded imagination and his ability to translate nightmarish visions into an unputdownable, emotionally rich story.

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John Mauro

John Mauro

John Mauro lives in a world of glass amongst the hills of central Pennsylvania. When not indulging in his passion for literature or enjoying time with family, John is training the next generation of materials scientists at Penn State University, where he teaches glass science and materials kinetics. John also loves cooking international cuisine and kayaking the beautiful Finger Lakes region of upstate New York.