Wergild by J.L. Hickey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Wergild starts off very well, with interesting characters and good dialogue, but I found the ending didn't fit the attitude of the protagonist at all, even after going through some trying circumstances. The story concerns a young artist who is pushed into a terrible ordeal due to his wretched uncle, who is my favorite character since he's such a scoundrel. A lot of the story, which is much more of a short story than a novella, concerns the time period itself and the concept of what the gods, or the creator, have to do with the daily lives of mankind. This theme is played out in a story within the story written by the protagonist, who has the potential to change the world some day with his words.
That said, there is a bit too much philosophy going on in this story, which slows down the otherwise pretty good pacing. I would have liked if that aspect--the questioning of theology and the troubling times of the story--had been put on the back burner, and the compelling narrative itself had taken center stage, but oh, well. I will say that I did enjoy the overall story arc and the growth of the protagonist (Even if it's not entirely consistent), so this story definitely has that going for it. The author is very talented and knows his stuff around crafting a story, so I will definitely read more of his work someday. He is quite skilled.
View all my reviews