“ɪᴛ ᴡᴀꜱ ᴏɴᴇ ᴏꜰ ᴛʜᴇ ᴘʀɪᴍᴀʀʏ ʀᴜʟᴇꜱ ᴏꜰ ᴛʜɪᴇᴠᴇʀʏ. ᴡʜᴇɴ ʜɪᴅɪɴɢ, ꜱɴᴇᴀᴋɪɴɢ, ᴀɴᴅ ᴛʀɪᴄᴋᴇʀʏ ᴀʀᴇ ᴀʟʟ ᴏᴜᴛ, ᴛʜᴇ ᴄᴏʀʀᴇᴄᴛ ᴀɴꜱᴡᴇʀ ɪꜱ « ʀᴜɴ ʟɪᴋᴇ ʜᴇʟʟ.”
- Author : Ari Marmell
- Translator : Émlie Gourdet
- Release date : April 03rd 2014 (French edition)
- Publishing House : Lumen
- Number of pages : 413
Once she was Adrienne Satti. An orphan of Davillon, she had somehow escaped destitution and climbed to the ranks of the city’s aristocracy in a rags-to-riches story straight from an ancient fairy tale. Until one horrid night, when a conspiracy of forces–human and other–stole it all away in a flurry of blood and murder. Today she is Widdershins, a thief making her way through Davillon’s underbelly with a sharp blade, a sharper wit, and the mystical aid of Olgun, a foreign god with no other worshippers but Widdershins herself. It’s not a great life, certainly nothing compared to the one she once had, but it’s hers.
But now, in the midst of Davillon’s political turmoil, an array of hands are once again rising up against her, prepared to tear down all that she’s built. The City Guard wants her in prison. Members of her own Guild want her dead. And something horrid, something dark, something ancient is reaching out for her, a past that refuses to let her go.
Widdershins and Olgun are going to find answers, and justice, for what happened to her–but only if those who almost destroyed her in those years gone by don’t finish the job first.
Widdershins / Adrienne Sati : I have really loved her. She is witty (with a shred of madness…), funny and she is gutsy. She has had a troubled life : from a street child to a noblewoman then to a thief, she has known everything and that way of life toughened her up. She has also been able to meet some allies whom she needs to survive.
She was taken in by a noble whom she considers as her father. She is taught about Olgun, a forgotten god, (who by the way is quite friendly) by a friend of hers. However, one day, during her initiation ceremony, a creature kill every single one of the cultists except herself and the noble who was not there. Afraid of being held responsible for their murders, she has to flee hide herself in Davillon’s dodgy areas. Now a member of the most infamous guild, she has built a reputation and soldiers and thieves know about her. One member of her guild does not like her very much : Lisette. She is even ready to brave her master’s orders in order to bring her down.
Her (rash) actions will lead her to being part of a conspiracy and only with the help of her allies (Olgun, Renard, or Genevieve) will she be able to outsmart it.
Olgun : Well, we don’t know a lot about him, except that he was found far away and he had only one man left venerating him. He is not part of what is called the Hallowed Pact but the Archbishop says that it is okay to revere him as long as he is not bad. He seems to be really prideful and playful saying that without him she couldn’t have succeeded. However, it does not say that to be mean but more to make fun of her. He appears to have grown attached to her as both of them need the other.
Renard Lambert / Shrouded Lord: I really was not expecting him to be the Shourded Lord. But, when I think about when he was hesitating over accepting Lisette’s requests, I should have seen it coming ! When he is described, he looks and sounds more like a smooth talker and a dandy and not like a cold-blooded killer. I really hope that in the second book, we will see more of him !
Geneviève Marguilles : she was rejected by her father because of her disability (she would never marry a noble). So, she decided to open a peaceful and lovely inn. She has known Widdershins for a long time. I would describe her as considerate, clever and gutsy. As Renard, I would have loved her to be more developed, but her sudden and atrocious death is not going to give me that.
The story seems to be taking place in a 17th century France. As soon as we read the opening pages, we go right into the action with a slaughter and our heroine fleeing. Then, the pace slows down and some passages are overlong. But do not stop reading as the spark created and kept up by the author gets bigger and bigger until the end which leaves us wanting to read more. Overall, the story kept me on tenterhooks.
The god/goddess system was a good thing. You can choose to revere a god belonging to the Pact or not as the Archibishop said it to Widdershins. Theses gods draw their powers from their supporters’ prayers and if nobody does it, they die. To improve their power, other means exist (murders for instance) but they were banned by the Church for a long time. However, the conspiracy involves just that.
That’s why the Archbishop William de Laurent came to Davillon. Officially, he is here to appoint a replacement to a long-vacant position within the Church. But informally, the Church has felt that something demonic was living in the city and it is his job to find out what it is.
You have to pay close attention to the chronology as the author often comes back into the past to reveal Widdershins’ life. Some complained that it bothered them but I have not had this problem as I found this means necessary to deepen our understanding of the story.