The world is dying.
The Sunset Lands are broken, torn apart by a war of ideology paid for with the lives of the peasants. Drought holds the east as famine ravages the farmlands. In the west, borders slam shut in the face of waves of refugees, dooming all of those trying to flee to slow starvation, or a future in forced labor camps. There is no salvation.
In the city of Lord’s Reach, Seraphina, a slave with unique talents, sets in motion a series of events that will change everything. In a fight for the soul of the nation, everyone is a player. But something ominous is calling people to Lord’s Reach and the very nature of magic itself is changing. Paths will converge, the battle for the Sunset Lands has shifted, and now humanity itself is at stake.
First, you must break before you can become.
Seraphina’s Lament took me by surprise. Having already read everything by Sarah Chorn, up to this point, I thought I knew exactly what I’d be getting.
“Oh, sweet summer child”, I should have known better.
This book is deliciously dark and hauntingly beautiful; it is by far the darkest of her work in my opinion, and possibly the most imaginate too. Like a beautiful nightmare you cannot escape from, Sarah Chorn’s dream-like prose turns the bleakest of worlds into a strangely beautiful elegy.
The story is told from several characters’ perspectives. These shifting perspectives are very well done. I particularly liked how the POVs overlapped at times, but ultimately converging at the right times, particularly at the end. The ending is superbly set up for more from this world, with a perfect amount of mystery and intrigue that left me craving more.
What the author does best, for me, is conveying the inner thoughts and emotions of her characters – the anguish, pain and pure emotion of the characters can be felt in every beautifully constructed sentence. Combined with the vivid world building and poetic prose, the result is a piece of visceral graphic art for your mind.
Emerging gods, human suffering, elemental magic, hauntingly beautiful, lyrical prose, dark themes, complex characters and relationships, mystery, conflict, politics, love, hate, death, fear, horror – hope? This book literally has it all. I would really like to return to this world in the future – whether it be in a second book or a novella, I would devour it.
Seraphina’s Lament will take you on the grimmest of grimdark journeys. It will captivate your heart and penetrate your soul. Sarah Chorn has become one of my all-time favourite writers of any genre, at any point in my reading life. She is up there with some of my all-time favourites, such as Cormac McCarthy and Harper Lee. The power she has over words is truly magical.
Thank you for taking the time to read my review,