Epeolatry Book Review: Projections by S.E. Porter


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Title: Projections
Author: S.E. Porter
Genre: Dark Fantasy, Swords and Sorcery
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: 13th February, 2024

Synopsis: Love may last a lifetime, but in this dark historical fantasy, the bitterness of rejection endures for centuries.
As a young woman seeks vengeance on the obsessed sorcerer who murdered her because he could not have her, her murderer sends projections of himself out into the world to seek out and seduce women who will return the love she denied―or suffer mortal consequence. A lush, gothic journey across worlds full of strange characters and even stranger magic.
Sarah Porter’s adult debut explores misogyny and the soul-corrupting power of unrequited love through an enchanted lens of violence and revenge.

Greetings Reader! St. Valentine’s Day is around the corner. What better way to celebrate than with a gushy, sappy, romantic story, right? Wrong! This is Horror Tree! If there’s going to be hearts laying around, they might not be anatomically correct. So, hold your loved ones tight, reader, and maybe your not-so-loved ones just a bit tighter.

  1. E. Porter’s Projections is a dark fantasy novel about unrequited love. Set between the past, present, and future, the novel transitions between the main characters’ discovery of magic, tragic separation, and efforts to create the love not returned. A fair amount of world jumping takes place between three major settings. Chapter titles identify the lead character and adjust the reader to time and place.

The main characters, Catherine and Angus, are well spelled out in the books Synopsis. Angus is a quintessential bad guy. From page one, he will be a character you despise. Angus has no redeeming qualities, and every motive is self-serving. Even when he is trying to help his Great Aunt Margo, he does so only to his benefit. Catherine serves a narrow role as the narrating victim. It’s unfortunate that even in scenes where Catherine is alive, she seems to simply move the story along rather than be part of it.

That being said, a multitude of other characters do the tale more justice. Great Aunt Margo serves, at times, as comic relief. Her chastising of Angus for almost everything is laughable especially when Angus takes it like the dim character he is. Asterion, a minotaur, serves as Angus’ confidant and has his own self-serving interests. I enjoyed watching Angus fall for his schemes through almost the entire book. A slew of other characters throughout help make the transition worthwhile, but there’s simply too many to talk about here. They serve as a great variety of character development in this novel. 

At its best, Projections is a great example of well-constructed magical systems and world building. Novelists can have a hard enough time tackling just one of these tasks, but not in Porter’s case. His magical system, both as a tool and a currency, is well thought out. Early on, Porter establishes magic as a currency needed for everything. The means of acquiring said currency is heart breaking when we see the lengths Gus is willing to go to while accumulating his wealth. 

When it comes to world building, Nautilus—the magical realm, is a place run on magical systems. The inhabitants think about magic in the same way we think about air. It’s an afterthought with the expectation that it will always be there. Gus, who begins life as a normal human, goes through the process of acquiring magic to elevate himself in this society, which I think it gives the reader an appreciation of what it means to be rich and poor in these worlds.

In short, the fantasy world building and unique side characters held my interest through this novel. And so, my love-struck reader, I would recommend Projections by S. E. Porter to fans of fantastic worlds, magical economic societies, and good old-fashioned revenge novels.


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