When it comes to novellas, authors must pack in a lot in a limited amount of space. Dorman's novella doesn't just pack in plot, characters, setting, and theme. This piece is greater than the sum of its parts. Initially it's a simple story of family, betrayal, and a search for purpose; however, Dorman's tight, control over language and description conveys in this short novella what many other authors need far longer works to do. One of the most amazing elements is how this is a self-contained fantasy story, and in just 80 pages I had a firm grasp of the fantastic world inhabited by the characters: religion, politics, setting, weather, history... all were so carefully described as to leave a lasting impression.
The characters' emotional arcs created excellent tension, and the pacing was spot on, and perhaps what, along with the sense of place, makes this work so well. The ending is bittersweet, leaving much open for interpretation, while still providing closure, and, most importantly, a sense of hope. Overall this was a most enjoyable read.