Analogies is the word you’re looking for I think.
Yeah, it is, shockingly so actually.
I’m about 2/3rds of the way through Red Wolf, Black Leopard by Marlon James.
It’s been called “the African Game of Thrones”, but it’s actually a lot better than that. It’s definitely going to be “too much” for the kind of reader who doesn’t read much fantasy, and basically only reads GoT or and other mainstream stuff maybe claims to have read LotR but actually hasn’t or the like.
It’s much closer to Gene Wolfe’s Book of the New Sun series, which are weird fantasy, rather than high fantasy, and this is very definitely weird fantasy. It’s similar to China Mieville and Patrick Rothfuss (the latter being high fantasy but of and odd kind), but with the weird fantasy, constant storytelling, and clearly unreliable narrative elements (the two sequels will be the same story from different perspectives, we hear), it’s very much in line with what Gene Wolfe did with the Book of the New Sun (which is probably one of the best-written and most challenging fantasy series - it’s better written than LotR for example, which is saying something).
It’s interesting to see that most reviewers have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what to make of it, because they’ve never read weird fantasy or even good, risk-taking fantasy, only fairly straightforward stuff like LotR or ASoIaF. The amount of whinging about the sentences being hard to read from some is particularly bizarre to me. I’ve found pretty easy to get through, and actually really like the way he writes. But it’s definitely not a book for everyone. It’s also really brutal and gritty, but not in a cheap, exploitative way (unlike, say some of Joe Abercrombie’s stuff), but in a way that will disturb a lot of readers. I will admit that it is incredibly long, which will put off more people. Plus the writing is extremely good, which has always been a problem in the fantasy market - generally the stronger the writing, the higher the reading level, the less fantasy-reading audiences engage with it. Something like Brandon Sanderson, which is solidly mediocre in it’s actual prose will always get more readers than China Mieville or the like, no matter the subject matter or story. Rothfuss is a rare exception in that he master-polished his excellent prose to make it accessible, but that was at the cost of a certain amount of poetry and power, I would suggest (also it unfortunately means he is able to put out about 1 book per 5 years, if that).
And I hear the last section is actually the strongest, so if it’s this good at 2/3rd of the way in, that’s a very good sign.