The Call for Finis: Pride is a quick novella full of deeper meaning. Told in a type of omniscient third person POV that flows between the three main characters as needed, we’re presented with a story that may feel a bit familiar to some readers. The main character may be Salvia, but the reader is given almost equal page time with the knight Baldric and his companion, Zinnia as they travel the countryside—rather reluctantly at times—keeping Salvia safe as she and the demon within travel to purge a city of sin. It was an interesting look at demons and angels that flipped the traditional view of demons on its head. I really loved the demon, Ultor! The novella is also not subtle about the social issues it incorporates from our current world and places within this fantasy setting, keeping it very rooted in a world that is unnervingly similar to ours at times.
This novella manages to touch on the racism surrounding immigration, slavery, and even sexual abuse from powerful men within the “church”—yes, trigger warning for mentions of sexual abuse against children. It also reminded me very strongly at times of different Christian/early Judaism creation myths. Specifically the Passover and Sodom and Gomorrah, where the whole purpose of the character’s journey is to remove sinners from a particular city. You never meet any of the other people with demons—not really—the way we do with Salvia, so what they do on their holy missions isn’t seen, though the aftermath of the quest is on full display come the end. Which was a nice surprise for a novella that is the first in a series: the quest the characters set out to accomplish is completed, there is no cliffhanger, just the promise of more to come, which I rather liked.
I think the one thing that kept me from really feeling attached to the characters, was there were simply a lot of them for such a short novella. Between Ultor, Salvia, Balderic, Zinnia, and a few other brief side characters that pop in and out of the story, coupled with the omniscient style of the POV where the reader gets the perspective of the active character before it moves on to the next, often from paragraph to paragraph, it became hard for me to get a good sense of the characters or feel attached to any of them in particular. Outside of Ultor, who I found to be a refreshingly fun touch to an otherwise very tragic cast of characters, of course. And because the novella touches on so many important topics, it can feel a little slow at times as the characters discuss the social issues while they travel, which is why I am giving it 4 stars. However, I did find Salvia and Balderic’s arcs to be very well done and I loved the last chapter with them! Can’t wait to see where this series goes next, and thank you to the author for providing a copy for an honest review!
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