Self-published (available from Amazon or Smashwords)
In his novelette ‘Farewell to Tyrn’, Ryan Harvey returns to the setting of his Writers of the Future award winning story, ‘Acolyte of the Black Spires’. A world of blazing hot summers populated by humans and saurians (alternate dinosaurs), powered by a strange force called ‘the Art’, and overlooked by an enigmatic and terrifying masked people – the Shapers – this has all the ingredients for a brilliant science-fantasy tale. ‘Farewell to Tyrn’ introduces us to the concepts that underlie Harvey’s setting, whilst also kicking off an action-packed storyline.
In the city of Tyrn, young Belde roams the streets with her friends and her pet saurian, Rint. But gradually she begins to notice a change in her friends. A strange ennui begins to affect them, and she learns from her father about ‘the Sorrow’, an affliction that settles upon everyone as they pass into adulthood. But Belde doesn’t understand – she doesn’t feel sad or afraid. Could it be that she’s somehow immune to the Sorrow? Her suspicions are confirmed when the Shapers appear at her parents’ door, and she is thrust out of her peaceful domestic life in a wild bid to escape.
This punchy 9000-word tale draws readers immediately into Belde’s world, wasting no time before immersing us in its fascinating setting. Belde and Rint make an endearing team, and Belde’s young perspective forms a great juxtaposition with the more ominous side of the story, as Belde struggles to understand the mysterious Sorrow and the politics of the city. Harvey’s style is swift and exciting as he takes us scrambling over the rooftops of Tyrn, though occasionally the writing indulged in slightly too much exposition. Despite this, ‘Farewell to Tyrn’ is an accomplished piece, and provides an intriguing glimpse into the world Harvey has created. I especially loved the idea of saurians: dinosaurs aren’t exactly a staple of SFF (despite Jurassic Park), and their presence in Harvey’s tale immediately gave Tyrn its own distinctive flavour.
‘Farewell to Tyrn’ is intended as the prologue of the novel Harvey is currently working on – and, if the novelette is anything to go by, Turn over the Moon is definitely a novel to look out for.