The Downs

The Downs - Kim Fielding

Similar to The Pillar and Treasure, this is another story of a magic healer and a man in desperate need of healing, both of them social outcasts in their own way. While The Pillar felt too similar to Treasure, this novella felt unique to both of them, even though it uses the same basic themes. That could simply be due to getting the POV of the one being healed, rather than the one doing the healing, but it really is more than that.

 

The world of the Downs is lush and vividly described, and while it holds many dangers, it's also easy to see its appeal. The city, which goes unnamed, is more mysterious than the mysterious, legendary Downs, and I wonder if that was on purpose. We never really see the city before Enitan is convicted and removed from it and literally cast out into the Downs. I would've like a bit more worldbuilding for the city (why did the people settle there and why did they stay, for instance) and how it came to operate the way it does, but in the end, those things don't really matter.

 

What matters is Enitan learning to think of himself as someone with value, and Rig learning to let go his past regrets, finding healing in himself as he heals another. The story takes its time as these men get to know each other and Enitan regains his strength. There's no insta-anything here, just two men learning how to live and love when neither of them expected to have any reason to.