Thank you to the author for providing me with these books in exchange for my honest opinion. The Adjacent Monsters duology is available now.
Some authors guide you into their book, gently holding your hand and providing a safe space from which to explore their world. That is far from the case with Luke Tarzian. Readers will instead find themselves lost in a twisted landscape of beautiful, raw writing, so full of emotion and truth that it sometimes hurts. It’s glorious.
Adjacent Monsters takes trust. Trust on the part of the author, who bared his soul to strangers, writing honestly and unflinchingly about themes that are obviously very personal to him. And trust from the reader, to follow dark and winding paths, believing that it will pay off. And wow, does it pay off!
I first fell in love with Luke Tarzian’s writing when reading Vultures. I can honestly say that I have never read anything similar to the absolute distortion of reality that I experience in his writing. If you don’t pay attention, you’ll end up completely lost. His writing is easy to pay attention to, though. It’s pulling yourself out of the story that you’ll find difficult.
Themes of grief, guilt, and regret lace through this duology and the characters make difficult choices while questioning the very decisions they must make. It is sad and rather relatable (although I have yet to be in the position of leading a loved one to their own execution). Who hasn’t felt guilt or regret? A word of warning: Don’t read Adjacent Monsters if you are in a difficult headspace: Luke Tarzian’s writing is superb, but it is also difficult to read if you are struggling emotionally.
It’s hard to have a “favorite character” in books such as these. I was drawn to the inner torment of each character and the way it is explored in their actions. It’s almost as though you’re watching them go through the stages of grief that we’re always told about. Rhona and Varésh sucked me into The World Maker Parable (the first in the duology). Despite being very different characters with separate motivations, they were linked in the deep feeling they provoked in me.
As much as I loved The World Maker Parable, The World Breaker Requiem left me stunned. It’s gorgeous in a heartbreaking, surreal way. The characters seem so much more than what they are: questers looking for a legendary sword. At times they are in fact overshadowed by the writing itself which is both stark and beautiful.
Reading Adjacent Monsters is like being in a fever dream: uncomfortable, disorienting, and utterly engrossing. I loved it.