How the novella is – 4/5
How the novella worked for me – 3/5
Debut novella by D.E Wyatt, a socialite at r/fantasy, is fast and fun. Hieronymus and his protege(or met by chance, we don’t know yet) Elsabeth take on a paid recovery mission for a stolen church property. Doubts creep in when a mysterious figure cautions them of their safety that comes true. How far would you go to find the truth is the story.
I had a love/hate relation with the protagonist character. The writing is fun and prose is crisp and clear. The world is beautifully described, in par with the best in the domain.
Why love/hate with Elsabeth’s? Ok, here is the thing. She is tall but nimble, beautiful but ferocious. Though these characters should have no issue to go hand in hand, her characterization is something I would like the author to solidify.
She is motivated, ruthless but blushes and feels tingling in the stomach at a peck in the lips from a man she is trying to con. She is unafraid to use her sexuality to advance her motivation, but immediately becomes a softie romantic once the deed at the bed is done. She goes to the extent of talking how ‘fulfilling’ the event was, to her older partner. I felt it was disjointed enough for me to stop liking her. But having said that, I was able to empathize with her view of bigger picture and her cool and composed nature at the sight of trouble. But on the other side, the story coming together at the end was forced and immediate. This also contributes the issues I had with the story’s pacing.
We get little of Hieronymus, he is a drunkard, whore monger and fat for his own good types. He behaves juvenile at times when he is supposed to plot with Elsabeth, but takes the lead when interacting with Abbot and the Father. His character needs work too. Oh and yes, the dialogues between these two.
The sentences describing the world is beautiful. It also has funny moments in the lines of Scott Lynch – “love. I have seen rather more of your orb and scepter just now than I would ever like to again in my life”. I did laugh loud. But .. but.. the focus abruptly changes from action and we are presented with couple hundred words describing the world. I was especially turned off when the pair takes on their final journey – around 500 words about the river, bluffs and the church. This is a novella, so I felt the author should’ve toned down on the world and packed a punch on the characters and plot.
Would I recommend it? I would definitely. Why? Because its fun, crisp(even with it’s faults) and I want to know what Elsabeth faces.