Review | The World Maker Parable (Shadow Twins #0) – Luke Tarzian

About the Book

Guilt will always call you back…

Rhona is a faithful servant of the country Jémoon and a woman in love. Everything changes when her beloved sets the ravenous Vulture goddess loose upon the land. Forced to execute the woman she loves for committing treason, Rhona discovers a profound correlation between morality and truth. A connection that might save her people or annihilate them all.

You are a lie…

Varésh Lúm-talé is many things, most of all a genocidal liar. A falsity searching for the Phoenix goddess whom he believes can help him rectify his atrocities. Such an undertaking is an arduous one for a man with missing memories and a conscience set on rending him from inside out. A man whose journey leads to Hang-Dead Forest and a meeting with a Vulture goddess who is not entirely as she seems.

151 pages
Published on April 14, 2020
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This book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.


I’ve been dying to read Luke Tarzian’s books. The cover art is magnificent, and I’ve seen some snippets and knew his writing style was really something to behold (I adore lyrical writing full of metaphor and Tarzian has all of that in spades). I had a feeling his books were right up my alley. When I got a copy, I devoured it. The World Maker Parable is the prequel to his other book, Vultures. I believe, unless I’m wrong, he is working on more books in that series as well. Now, most people, it seems, read Vultures first, and then this one. Since I’ve never read either, I just decided to start with the prequel and work my way on as nature intended (har har). 

The World Maker Parable is a touch 151 pages long. Once you get into it, the book will absolutely fly past you. This is not only due to its relatively short length, but because Tarzian has a knack for writing a book that grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go. I will go so far as to say, I read this in a night because I absolutely just could not stop. I was up until 2am. It was an event.

The World Maker Parable is one of those books that is really hard to pin down. Part of the reason is due to all of this books layers. A lot of the story is told through memories, ruminations, and different timelines (alternating chapters of then and now). There are multiple individuals, sometimes remembering or experiencing the same event from different perspectives. This can lead to some repetition, but I actually didn’t mind that because these different angles often give the reader other sets of information, which can add to and change your understanding of what happened, and what is happening. 

“They marched on through gnarled and twisted trees. Guilt nipped at Rhona’s heels like a hungry dog and her heart stung. It wasn’t supposed to have come to this.”

The book starts out with a grim sort of bang. There are corpses. A whole lot of them, but I never really felt like this book veered into blood, guts, and glorification (fantastic imagery, like “Hang-Dead Forest” is the icing on the cake). Tarzian has a way with carefully unfolding his story, and making sure he’s layered his characters with enough emotion to make everything, even the most fantastic elements, feel so incredibly grounded and real. I am a huge sucker for emotional fantasy, and Tarzian is one of the few authors who manages to not only hook me with all his unique darkness, but also stab me right in the heart with all the emotions he weaves through his story. 

I loved it so much, I’ll address it a few times in this review.

I am a big sucker for fables, and the writing or re-writing of them. A really good fantasy fable will absolutely captivate me. What Tarzian manages here, is not only that dark fairy tale feel that I love, but also the emotional impact of the story as he unflinchingly explores aspects of guilt, action/consequence, personal development and evolution, questioning one’s identity and more. I was quite surprised with just how much depth and realism Tarzian could attain in so few pages.

“And with great power came great emotional instability.”

Now, you might notice that I’m not saying a whole lot about the plot, and there’s a reason for that. It’s really hard for me to say much about the book without giving away important bits of it. Suffice it to say, Tarzian writes character-driven dark fantasy with plenty of layers and texture. This book is 150 pages, but the depth offered here was quite honestly, one of the most surprising, delightful parts of the book. Tarzian is unafraid to reach in, and make every moment count, from furthering the plot, to character development, to emotional punch. 

All of this works together to make The World Maker Parable both fast and engrossing. He sets the stage for an incredibly unique world, and does so with a stunning amount of attention to detail. You have to completely focus on this book to understand it. Tarzian doesn’t lob information at you, rather, he delicately drops clues along the way. If you aren’t paying attention, you’ll miss them. But Tarzian trusts his reader to figure everything out, and if you pay attention, you will. If you don’t, you’ll become completely and absolutely confused. He doesn’t tell a story the same way most people do (be still, my heart). He has his own unique way to lead readers down the path of his choosing. Pay attention, or you’ll get lost in the weeds.

One thing I haven’t touched on that I really want to, is how Tarzian makes the tiny moments sing. It’s one thing to show all the big scenes and the flashpoint moments, but Tarzian has a knack for taking these small, quiet, intimate scenes and making them just as important as all the big stuff. This is so true to life, and human nature. Big things stick in our minds, but often it’s the little moments that drive us to certain actions, and the choices we make. I cannot begin to tell you how much I enjoyed that. It honestly might be my favorite part of the book. Every little thing matters in The World Maker Parable, and I mean that as literally as possible.

Life where once there had been death. Brilliance where once the light was silent. But most of all, the dreams. The images and whispers born of illium prying memories from the depths of the abyss.

The atmosphere is well done, dark with a sort of looming, mysterious, almost angsty feel that burrowed right into my bones. I was very pleasantly surprised by just how well Tarzian crafted his world and atmosphere, to the point where it felt as though the world he’d created became a character in its own right. I could almost see the trees, and feel the looming tension and emotional turmoil that was as a part of the world as the characters themselves. 

In all, The World maker Parable was brilliantly done, with prose that made the book sing, and an attention to detail that pleasantly surprised me. This isn’t a book where you can overlook anything. Every little detail matters, and every little detail is glorious. Here, you will find small, quiet moments as important as the big flashbang plot points. You’ll find characters grappling with the essence of who they are. Here is a book that is told in an atypical way, with numerous timelines and memories, different perspectives of one event, it almost broke my brain trying to figure out how Tarzian wrote it, but he did, and oh, is the world a better place for this book existing. 

5/5 stars