This was an interesting read. I can’t say that I enjoyed it but also I can’t say that I didn’t. It was just okay for me. I think my main issues were plot-related. Something about the timeline of the secondary main character. He goes off on a journey that takes him days away from his town while a whole tragedy of events and accusations are happening back in his home town. Yet, somehow, at the end of the story he manages to just show up on time like he wasn’t days away. If the timelines are simultaneous after all it would stand to reason when he found out the truth he would be days away. Not nearly enough time to get back. Unless I missed something, which is possible, it just seemed off.
That and during his travels he finds out something about the priest he met on the way. If what he learns is true, then it begs the question of how strange things were happening before he left on his journey when the priest in question had not arrived yet. Who was performing the evil magic then?
The ending just read weird. There are two magicians in the same space and one is innocent and the other clearly a villain and the innocent one is still trying to pretend to be human. It’s the oddest thing. Almost like they wanted to be burned and ostracised. And the death was foreseeable literally from the first few chapters so when it finally happened all that emotional attachment to it wasn’t there because the surprise wasn’t there.
The other issue is that the bulk of the story is attached to the journey of one character to find out if there is a witch in his hometown, and said witch is being accused back home. Other than the opening sequence, readers don’t get to spend enough time with who I thought would be the main character and the witch as their love affair grows to attach to any tragedy that befalls them. Almost all of my emotional investment went with the character journeying to find the truth about what’s going on back home in time to go back and stop it.
And what was the priest’s motivation? I’m all here for evil just existing but this seemed very vendetta driven. Especially from someone who clearly also had magical powers so why all the hoax and subterfuge? Not knowing the why here just made it seem odd two magical people were enemies cause usually, when this is the case, we know why one sect hates the other. This just seemed to be a personal thing and it was left unexplained.
Basically, even though the story was engaging in some spots there were a few odd choices made that didn’t quite make sense to me. Also, as far as short stories go, this one definitely felt like it wanted to be a much bigger story. Something that would explain the hero’s lack of action better at the end. A deep connection with readers to the loss of one character. A more clearly defined timeline so it could be understood how the character outside of the city managed to show up right on time. And other minor things. Unfortunately, though the idea was great, in the end this one didn’t pull together as neatly as it could’ve.