A fairy tale of sorrow, hunger, and the apocalyptic birth of gods – 4-Stars
Without a doubt, “Seraphina’s Lament” by Sarah Chorn is one of the most unique fantasy pieces I’ve read in years. It largely bypasses the traditional storytelling conventions of the modern fantasy genre and taps into formula all its own.
Told in the manner of a literary fairy tale, it’s driven by theme over plot and internal character conflicts dominate center stage against a backdrop of external conflicts — which are themselves used much like the musical score for the story. A dying world and the end-days of a crippling famine do make a positively operatic score for a tale like this.
In Seraphina’s Lament, 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 and famine ravage the east, and in the west, borders slam shut in the face of fleeing refugees. While behind them, where the hunger reigns supreme and hope is lost, something dark is rising. Enter The Ascended, awakening from their long slumber — and the cello strings of fate they begin to pluck in this symphony of Armageddon. Strings that lead back to a ragged band of survivors seemingly drawn together by happenstance… or perhaps design.
It’s ambitious and mythic in scope — a story focused on the dying of a world and the birth of its new gods. Whether that will lead to the world’s salvation or destruction remains to be seen.
Don’t expect feasts and halls, clashing swords, roaring dragons, and swashbuckling adventure in Seraphina’s Lament. It’s not that sort of fantasy story. In place of mythic wizards and daring swordsmen are elemental furies and the newborn gods who wield them. Seraphina’s Lament is an apocalypse myth paired with a creation myth — a lyrical and poetic experiment of a dark fairy tale.
I think a genre fan might detect reflections of “Mistborn” and “The Last Airbender” in the razor blade garden of this story, but Seraphina’s Lament, without doubt, has a voice uniquely its own. Its darkest notes are devilishly grim and the author’s passion bleeds across every page.
Recommended for fans of poetic narrative, character-driven stories, and the occasional act of apocalyptic cannibalism. 4-Stars.