The Bloodlands Book 1
By Sarah Chorn
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.
I must admit I found this book a little tough to start with. It is written with beautiful prose but it took me some time to connect truly connect with the characters. Maybe because it is such dark subject matter – and while I have read ‘grimdark’ before I don’t think I’ve read anything as grim or as dark as this- or the Holodomor that Chorn used to anchor her world (an actual real life historical event that is appalling – check it out).
I’ve read Chorn mention that she deliberately chose such vibrant and beautiful language because the subject matter is disturbing and confronting. It certainly makes for a remarkable and intense foil.
But I’ve followed Chorn online for a very long time so I stuck it out – and I am so glad I did. When this story shifted gears, when we reached the cliff – and were pushed off – the story exploded into an epic conflagration. And I am still reeling from the shock-waves.
Seraphina’s Lament is a brilliant grimdark fantasy with lyrical prose set in a world where love is love and same sex couples not a thing, they just are; Chorn also gives voice to the many readers out there who live with a disability but never see themselves reflected in the books they read.
If you enjoy fantasy that pushes boundaries while remaining epic in scope, that delves the soul while reaching for the stars, then I highly recommend you give this book a try.
I can’t wait for book two – An Elegy for Hope – when it’s done.