Free Culture Book Club — WNV Universe — Woethief 1

Hi! It looks like I have since continued, updated, or rethought this post in some ways, so you may want to look at these after you're done reading here.

This week, our Free Culture Book Club starts reading Woethief, from WoeNyl Fights Ankor to The Final Duel.

The book's cover, featuring silhouettes of spiders, bat-wings, a woman, and characters in various action poses

To give this series some sense of organization, check out some basic facts without much in the way of context.

This should go without saying—even though I plan to repeat it with every Book Club installment—but Content Advisories do not suggest any sort of judgment on my part, only topics that come up in the work that I noticed and might benefit from a particular mood or head space for certain audiences. I provide it to help you make a decision, rather than a decision in and of itself.

The Woethief

The blurb for the repository.

The WNV universe is a free culture story world featuring. Woethief Nyla Valora as the main character.

This repository contains stories and outlines for future stories. Stories can be any genre as long as they take place in the WNV Universe.

I should note that the project has another seventy-five-or-so thousand words in stories marked as in-progress. I opted not to look at those, at least for now, given that the repository has some recent activity.

What Works Well?

While I unfortunately didn’t find much to praise about this chunk of the story, by the end of its run, the pacing has finally started to gain some speed.

What Works…Less Well?

Despite the introduction giving us an overview of this world, and more supplemental material at the end of the book, the text still somehow feels the need to explain things that we should already know from the introduction, the characters should surely know, and doesn’t seem to have any bearing on the plot. Despite this redundancy, it also feels like the story ignores information that would make it easier for us to care about the characters.

Related, at least in early chapters, this story seems to have serious “hat on a hat syndrome.” As if the author doesn’t trust any idea to turn out useful, each gets a mention before another one joins it. Nyla has multiple characters sharing her body, one of which has powers, but she also had a secret wedding and more-secret divorce, gestates a fetus, routinely comes back from the dead, comes from outside the world, and more. You could probably sustain a novel with only a couple of those elements in the protagonist, but I find it highly unlikely that every single one of those choices will have serious ramifications for how the story unfolds.

I also hate the “WoeNyl” abbreviation, especially for a character who I know nothing about. Can we not call her “Nyla” after her name?


The project has the Codeberg repository mentioned above, which seems at least somewhat active, though only Patterson appears to have contributed, so far.

What’s Adaptable?

Primarily, we get the subterranean world of Ildylia. The “woethief” concept also seems fairly novel, bearing some conceptual similarity to the soulclaine role in Solitudes and Silence, while remaining entirely distinct.


Coming up next week, we’ll continue reading Woethief, from chapters Empty Victory to Coronation Day. If you find yourself in WoeNyl Saves Thelia, then you’ve gone too far.

As mentioned previously, by the way, the list of potential works to discuss has run low, so I need to ask for help, again. If you know of any works—or want to create them—that fit these posts (fictional, narrative, Free Culture, available to the public, and not by creators who we’ve already discussed), please tell me about them. Every person who points me to at least one appropriate work with an explanation will receive a free membership on my Buy Me a Coffee page.

Anyway, while we wait for that, what did everybody else think about the book so far?

Credits: The header image is the book’s cover, by Autumn Patterson, released under the same terms as the book.

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 Tags:   freeculture   bookclub

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