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1/11/2009 c39 3spikedmango
The chapter was untitled both times I got it, but I really like "Poison Wisdom Returns." Though in the drop-down menu in the upper corner the chapter is labeled as "More Poison Wisdom". I'm not sure which you meant to go with, personally I like the former, I think the verb makes it sound more… dynamic. If that makes sense.

The description of the poison in the first scene was particularly striking. The thought of it being like reawakening was downright scary. And seeing Slyfrys die… again (rereading)… I know exactly how she could still want to walk forward and pick him up. I know consciously, as well, that this is war, but Magyrn dying, on top of all these other things… I can understand how it got to Sasilyna so much. Ranara's connection with Damaros was well-represented as well. I love the sounds and music in her head as a symptom of their connection, and her descriptions of Damaros's protectiveness were cute and clever. And no matter how hard I try to be serious about it, her slurring is still hilarious.

Now… the change. Rereading, I think maybe Saul's muttered expletive was his realization that Damaros wasn't coming with them. And I know I said it in the beta, but "I'm not letting you go back alone" was the most perfect thing he could've said. I really do think that you made the right decision changing this. It just seemed so much more… natural than version A of the chapter. Like Ranara says, Damaros loves her. And he's protective of her. And she's his sireling. It just seems… right that he would go back with her. Not to mention that I'm looking forward to the moment where Willon realizes Damaros is actually only there to, well, I don't know yet… but obviously he has a Master Plan.

The next scene, other than being a startled interruption to their semi-escape, was incredibly amusing. Aside from the carnage (eep) on the battlefield and, well, Rekem blending into the shadows. But his treatment of Willon unfortunately made me like him (for a moment, at least). It's always nice to be reminded that not all of Willon's forces are in love with him or totally obedient to him. Though Rekem's references to Ketil… interesting that he called him by his first name, and slightly worrying since I'm still not sure just how insane/murderous/sadistic Ketil actually was.

Back to the Good Guys. Amara's reaction gave me the impression that she may be younger, emotionally-wise, than I previously thought - and at the same time answered the question I had about why she hadn't garnered more power for herself. The thread of immaturity made me think maybe she wouldn't be able to hold down a Commander's image on all sides, at all times. Plus the self-preservation thing Damaros mentioned.

His "We aren't family anymore!" outburst bowls me over every time I read it. I can't get over how amazing that entire paragraph is. It's just this brilliantly demonstrated turning point in his entire frame of thinking. I realize he was running away from Willon, and the man put him in the dungeon and horrifically abused his lover, but this seems to be the moment that he really realizes that not only does he have no loyalties left to this man, but that he can DO something about it, that he can stand up to his brother. Like he said, the "tide of family" is no longer controlling him and he realizes that he doesn't really have any family left… aside from Ranara, and maybe Saul (hmm).

Saul leaving… well… I think I'll have to see the progression of events before I can really think some more about that without just being sad. It's always sad to see characters go, especially ones that are so well-developed, have such great histories and personalities. I'm not quite sure what to make of Damaros's comment about not wanting to see him again… er… but I did love Saul's almost mind-reading "about sums me up." His farewell with Ranara makes me tear up every time I read it. (Damaros's knowledge that she's cried a lot as a vampire was a nice dose of dry fear, a shudder, too.) It was hard to see the pairs running in opposite directions, but you showed it beautifully, just enough emotion and description to give a good picture of the scene.

And then of course I have to try to picture Saul and Amara… hanging out. Obviously they'll be together on the boat for a while but I just can't wrap my mind around the image of them staying together afterwards. But then again I can't see (or I don't want to see) Saul living alone for… however long. He'll make friends, surely…

It was odd seeing my name in your author's note. I was like "I have a book?" but yeah, the recap was something a reviewer suggested to me, though I can't remember who at the moment. And AHH there are new buttons and the reviews page has been reformatted. I haven't really explored beyond the author's section of the site since their update. Only one more scene from Saul's POV? I suppose I have to trust your plan… I'm not sure how much comfort, exactly, to take from your half-cackle…

I fail for taking so long with this. (Apparently there are character limits on reviews now?) *sigh* I'll try to be faster with the review for the next chapter. This chapter was fantastic, and I love the changes you made (and were willing to make) from your original outline. I hope you like them too. You did a wonderful job writing them out, and this was an excellent chapter.
1/4/2009 c40 21Faith Adeline
Oo, good job. I can't wait to read more, so hopefully you post it soon! And congrats on finishing it!

Faith
11/20/2008 c1 10Golfbabe87
Your characters seem very interesting. I am excited to read more.
10/28/2008 c39 21Faith Adeline
Good chapter, I really liked it. Can't wait to read what you have next! Keep it up!

Faith
9/6/2008 c38 3spikedmango
I like that Ranara has kept her Ranara-ness about her even after becoming a vamp and what-all Willon did to her. Maybe being with her sire, and safe, is helping her to come out behind the shield she’s built for herself since she was turned. Little comments like ‘somewhat pointlessly’ and ‘Rash’ show that spark I associate so strongly with her. But you still fed in details that make me aware of her fledgling status; Damaros holding her back, her heightened sense of smell, the hunger making it tempting to ‘hurt something.’ You’ve made the changes to her perspective subtly, but enough that we know she’s there - and that the old Ranara isn’t gone.

The look Damaros and Saul shared, when Damaros glazed over Saul’s almost-abandonment, made me flutter a bit. It shows that his relationship with Saul’s changed; or been renewed, at least. Feels like maybe Damaros is thinking of Saul more as he did way back when, instead of the sarcastic flirty guy locked in his basement. (Don’t you wish you could say that about your basement? Oh, well, you’re in a dorm now, so that might get even more disturbing pretty fast…)

The thought of Saul and Amara still makes me giggle. The line where Ranara noticed him glancing at the snake and the vampire could be just a general protectiveness on his part, but it’d be so much more interesting if it was more than that. Plus I bet it would tick Damaros off and he’s cute when he’s angry.

The meeting between all of them in the tunnel… wow. Just, wow. All right, for one, she didn’t know that Lorenda had survived - that she was still alive. The detail about her not noticing the rest of the group at first, because she was so focused on the scent of her sisters, hit me especially hard. I wish they had time to talk, to adjust, like Lorenda was lamenting about. Ranara has to deal with the fact that her sisters are now potential food sources, and Sasilyna and Lorenda have to deal with their sister being one of ‘Them’ - the people they’ve been fighting against all this time. I can picture the sense of all the heartbeats, rolling over Ranara, emphasizing her change and the separation it puts between her and her sisters.

And then, oh, Saul. He should be like, the official ambassador of vampire kind... except he would probably skip all the meetings (and if he went to meetings in Gladshiem… can you picture him and Eerie in the same room?). The WINK he gave Sasilyna makes me laugh every time. I doubt that Sasilyna gets winked at all that often. His speech was perfect; it informed the other party of who everyone was, and still kept the taste of his eagerness to get the hell out of Willon’s castle. And Ranara’s comment was the best way to end the scene, ha.

The short scene from Sasilyna’s point of view struck me. Sasilyna’s got no control here; doesn’t even have the information necessary to understand what-all happened. Seeing Ranara’s eyes, how they’ve changed, and feeling ‘lightheaded…’ I feel so awful for her. They don’t have time to discuss what happened. I can see Sasilyna coming up to Willon and putting a little more force behind her strikes because of what he did to Ranara.

I liked the chance to see from Vedis’s perspective in wolf form. His attacker had to have been way hardcore, though, to think to himself: “Wolf? Dagger!” I liked the little bit you added to that scene. It just fleshed it out, help it fit better, made it seem like it belonged there more.

Ending the chapter with Lorenda’s perspective was nice. She voiced perfectly the most aggravating thing about what’s going on in the tunnel: there’s no time to talk. And the memory she had of Ranara breaking her ankle and screaming, triggered by Ranara actually screaming… that was so… Just made me think more of them being family. Because of course they have been through the entire story, but we never actually saw them together that much, and Ranara separated herself from the two of them anyway. I’m aching wanting to see them be together and everyone see how they’ve grown since all this mess started.

I should have paid more attention to the title, and expected something rather awful at the end. I admire your planning and audacity and cleverness and perhaps sadism in this little twist. It was rather… brilliant. I was thinking to myself, “And then they won!” but of course, ah… that’s impossible. It couldn’t have been that easy. Something else had to happen. But I still have the reaction of, “Excuse me? How could Slyfrys bite Ranara? She’s… she’s his mommy!”

This was a great chapter. I mean, it’s moving closer and closer to the culmination of everything you’ve been crafting. I still don’t know how you’re going to end it, which is great, because I don’t want to know until you actually do. I’ll probably cry. I think you’re making Ranara as a newbie vamp realistically; you played in her hunger and her hesitance at everything ‘looking different’ now that she’s different. And I don’t think she’s still quite admitted it to herself yet. Great chapter, and I’m sorry it took so long to get this review up. I’m looking forward to the next one even if you didn’t have a poetic cryptic clue to leave us, heh.
8/19/2008 c38 Essie
Peh, isn't it obvious slyfyrs is just being a good pet. He just wants to become vampy and get in on the action to. Sequel should definitely centre around him! hahahahah

Ah well dont really know whats going to happen but i like to guess...
8/15/2008 c1 1Eilinora
You like Cassandra Claire? Please tell me you're joking. You know she's basically one of the worst people ever to write, ever, right? She's down there with Christopher Paolini and Stephenie Meyer, except she's a lot worse. I wouldn't tell you this in a review, except that there's no way to message you- what's the matter, little baby, parents not let you get messages from strangers on the Internet? Or do you just not like people contacting you if it doesn't add to your review count?

Also, vampires fail, and anyone who writes them automatically fails as well. But that's the least of your problems, you... CC-reading... Thing.
8/14/2008 c38 21Faith Adeline
Oh no! Bad Slyfrys! Great chapter, I enjoyed it :) Keep it up and update soon!

Faith
7/19/2008 c37 3spikedmango
I love the way you began this chapter. It seems like Willon always has so much control over the things around him, and now he doesn't - whoops, the other army followed him home. Damn, somebody should've read more than the first chapter of The Art of War.

I liked the way you rephrased the paragraph about Lilith's death. And knowing that Corven was actually running in to save her - ah! Makes me feel even worse about hating him. Though Willon's order to keep her from harm may have had something to do with him running into the sunbeam… I like that the answer to that could go either way, or be a bit of both.

It's interesting to see Willon watch the army advancing on his home, his fortress. Since we saw the Gladshiem crew gazing out from home and now we get to see him doing the same thing. Only he doesn’t have friends to watch run around the place, to check up on, to lean on. His brother is in the dungeon (as far as he knows), I doubt he pays a second thought to his sister, and his lover's dead. He's only got servants… So, basically, he's alone. The 'rushed meal' comment emphasized that he has to deal with the lion he poked… but it still feels like he isn't taking them seriously enough. Underestimating these people is really stupid, and I have the feeling that underestimating his brother is going to be even stupider.

I don't know if you did it on purpose, but your usual scene break - the FicPress provided one, the gray line - isn't there, just a couple of dashes.

I think the thing that really struck me about the beginning of Ranara's scene was seeing her think that her family wouldn't want to see her. And her memories being 'glazed' was, perhaps, the best way you could have described it. Glazing separates you from the subject, keeps you from touching the surface, but preserves it as well and makes it stand out. I guess it made me think: her emotions are still there, but she has to learn to feel them as entirely mental things, because she no longer has the accompaniment of her body to add background music to them. She has to learn to reprocess her thoughts, separate them from the physical responses always associated with them. Or something like that. Maybe I'm totally off from what you were thinking.

The plan for distracting Willon with, well, an ARMY, while a scalpel comes in behind him to make the necessary strategic strikes, was particularly brilliant. In war, are you really going to expect the other team to send in a team of assassins while their army is marching over the hill?

'But nothing changed that they were a prime weapon,' I think, is closer to not being repetitive and still hammering the point home… but it is a little convoluted (your original, before I stepped in, was better). Hmm… 'But nothing could change that they were a prime weapon' or something like that? It just feels like there should be another word there. 'The fact that they were a…'? Something.

I love, love that Arundis is there in the assassination party. Because at first, Sasilyna's reaction was 'Necromancer? Uh - no!' and now she trusts him enough to have him in a pitch black, slippery, creepy tunnel with her. And his statement 'We may not want to hurt these ones,' makes me giggle insanely whenever I think of it. It just seems like that moment where the match flares, the light reveals who's there, and the audience gasps in unison except for the smug people who were expecting it five minutes ago.

Ranara's human and vamp instincts not knowing how to confront a threat makes me glad that she's reunited with her sire. I mean, I was already immensely thrilled that she reunited with her lover and her friend, but it’s good for her survival that her sire's the former. The comments Damaros made about her possibly turning feral were scaring me… so it's good that he's there.

And, of course, Saul being the voice of reason in his own hilarious way. I love that her shock was not entirely at 'I have been rescued!' but 'They're in the same room and not wailing on each other? What?' Oh, I missed it in the beta, but when he says 'like your some spoiled vampire princess,' your should be you're. The vamp princess comment made me laugh, too, a gentle poke at the themes of a lot of the vamp genre.

Rereading, I got a better picture of Ranara's power - since Damaros very super hero-ishly punches through a wall, yet takes two punches for a guard while Ranara bitch slaps hers into submission. (I know that's not how she hit him, but it'd be amusing if it was.)

I am buzzing waiting for the next chapter. This is like, the most perfect cliffhanger ever. I just want to see them see each other, see their reactions to Ranara's new state, to her trusting and even loving a pair of vamps (Damaros is going to have to vouch for his sister) and see how this affects everyone's plans. After all, Sasilyna and company are heading in, and Ranara and company are rather insistent on heading out.

Honeybees are definitely not equated with vampires in any other instance I can think of. Almost a metaphysical conceit! Like love and a basketball. I didn't know snakes were a symbol of rebirth, actually, so I like that the character you turned into a vamp has one as a pet. "Run really fast" doesn't seem like much of a plan, but sometimes the best plans are concocted on the fly.

I suddenly wonder what vampires in other parts of the world are thinking, if they even know anything about it, or maybe Ketil was crazier than I thought and killed most of them off so he'd be controlling the rest. "Hey, did you hear about Willon?" "You mean Ketil's boy?" "He's started a war with that human daughter Ketil sired." "Well, he's really stupid." "Yeah."

This was a great chapter, but I really squirm waiting for the next one. And this review should've been up sooner. I had half of it typed for days and somehow I forgot what day it was… I should've been paying more attention. Hopefully all the dashes I used didn't get cut out. The chapter's title made me think of Ranara's party trying to escape the castle… like rats escaping a sinking ship! HA! Okay, you probably didn't mean that, but it's an interesting image anyway. Willon is going down!
7/11/2008 c37 21Faith Adeline
Gah, what an evil place to end it! lol. I liked the chapter, good job! I can't wait to see how they handle Ranara being turned. Update soon!

Faith
6/26/2008 c36 1For What Its Worth
I commend your vocabulary. It is very pronounced, and vivid. Though perhaps too pronounced in the first few chapters. Too many beautiful flourishes, even in writing, can detract from the beauty of the flourishes, and overwhelm. I think that sums it up? It just needs a little once-over to smooth it out. Your story, though, is really awesome. I love how far Ranara has progressed from the impulsive, immature being she was. As for being undead, shouldn't the turning have simply awoken her dormant powers? She couldn't have been turned as any human would because she ISN'T human. I was looking forward to the confrontation between Sasilyna and Willon so much. Then Ryan held her back! Our beautiful, fierce general. Of course, she is going to be supremely ticked once she finds out Willon returned to turn Renara. *smiles wickedly* That will be fun. *dreams contentedly of all the torments Sasilyna might inflict upon detested undead King* I hate him so! I miss the characters you killed off, though. So many charming people just gone! Ganz, and Maris, heartwrenching losses despite the passing mention of their deaths. Angard'dul's was terribly poignant. I was so relieved when Lorenda recovered! I love your choices for the beginnings of the chapters. Particularly that snippet of The Howling by Within Temptation. For the final, huge battle, might I nominate Never-ending Story by the same? I think it would fit beautifully.
5/31/2008 c36 3spikedmango
I like the song you picked out to go at the beginning of the chapter. I think it fit well (well, of course, that would be why you chose it in the first place); I especially liked the line 'I lost my youth and now there's no returning.' Ahh… definitely hit an emotional spot, considering I knew what the chapter was about already.

The first scene… Ah… Wow. It was hard to read. That's the kind of thing that would make me scream at the television (…a habit I need to cut back on). Being introduced to Willon in that scene made me shudder. It was like 'Here we have a nice stone-faced wall, antique bed, and, oh, a scary evil vampire. He comes with the property.' And he was SUCH a bastard about it! Agh! I mean, what did I expect, but… "I'm not even torturing you yet, ahaha," just made me want to slap him. Again, would've screamed at the TV. Might've thrown a pillow at it. The dredges of sweetness and cuteness he had are totally gone. It's one thing to go back and kill the woman who killed your lover, it's another to torture them.

Her first real taste of blood… stunned me a bit. The reveal, edited a bit, packed a hard punch. (Why am I making the story into a violent character and saying it's a good thing? Hmm…) Her crying… just… She's just steeled herself for so long… but I think it's good she did cry. It was appropriate. She deserved a bit of a break down right then. But it also hurt to read. "It was better than it had been from the bowl" made me shudder. A reluctant pleasure. Just, agh. Poor Ranara! (I did notice there wasn't a period after "older than Ranara" in one place, and not a space after "swallowing became harder" later.)

In the next scene… One word you use scared me. It was eerie to think of Ranara as a 'newborn,' though I suppose technically she is one… And that just made me think of how defenseless an infant is without its parents. If you tossed a baby into a jungle it wouldn't be able to fend for itself; and Ranara is almost… at the mercy of a jaguar. A hungry jaguar. (Do jaguars live in jungles?)

I liked hearing Saul described as 'immaculate;' I don't know, it just struck me as an interesting adjective to use. He talked about Ranara's willpower and I did feel like I could see that. The fact that she tried to cross the sunlight moat more than once, the thoughts she had, I could see that she wasn't just submitting to this and letting it wash over her. And that detail about Willon making feral vamps on purpose? Just… He's just SUCH a bastard! Agh! I am so glad that Damaros is finally truly wising up to this fact and growing, yes, a spine about it.

Amara was quite the clever cookie in this chapter, though, wasn't she? I wonder if Dresaith had anything to do with that rather brilliant plan. It did make me giggle, I have to admit, that Saul kept jabbing Damaros for being slow. It just seemed such a normal thing to do. I wonder how odd it was for Damaros, though, to hear his sister engaged in… intimate… activities. Though maybe as a vampire as old as he is, he's over it.

I really like the addition of Saul's scene. I'm glad you went back and worked to add it in. It explained his behavior a lot, and I think there would've been a hole without it. I felt so awful for him even if I was aggravated that he didn't want to burst up and save his friend right away. (It helped that he did feel a bit of guilt - he realized it, and it would've been a different cup of tea if he hadn't.) I mean… being in prison for as long as he has… If he doesn't get away at the end of this, I might have to hurt you. (I am not above empty threats, obviously.)

And the fact that he knew down to the day how long he'd been there… And him screaming that the destination didn't matter… I do think he would've gone to the desert, just to get out of there. He's usually so, well, upbeat, this reminded me very well about his situation and everything. It's amazing he hasn't gone completely insane. Ranara probably helped, towards the end. It's good that he realized his debt to her… and was willing to act on it. That was very… him. And, well, literarily, it was good for the realization to come a little slowly. He did just escape from a dungeon after all.

The short scene with Damaros didn't lose anything by being short, I think. It was still a big impact when the three of them began to trudge up the stairs, even if I don't know what the plan is. I hope it's something slightly more complicated than 'Run really fast,' because that's the only thing I could think of.

And seeing Lorenda and company at the end? I was totally not expecting that. It was a great way to end the chapter. I'm worried about the alarms going off, but it's a war, so… I'd like to see, exactly, where everyone else is and what the general plan of attack is… Though I suppose you'll tell us next time. I'm wondering what this half-lit ritual would be…

Yes, them escaping from the dungeon was a bit of good-guy triumph. A relief indeed. I can only cross my fingers and hope that there's going to be more of the same to follow. This was a torturous chapter, but a good one, and a memorable one. Unfortunately. Though it was an amazing read… I feel so awful for the characters. And this wasn't your original plan, if I remember correctly… hmm…
5/27/2008 c36 21Faith Adeline
Loved the chapter. A couple sentences in the beginning should be in italics, because they're thoughts. But, it was still good. I'm glad the sister broke them out and is helping them get Ranara. Saul, although I understand where he's coming from, still disappointed me a little because he didn't want to help her at first. Le sigh. lol. Keep it up and update soon!

Faith
5/12/2008 c35 3spikedmango
This entire chapter had me riveted, flying through it, wishing I was physically capable of just reading faster. It was almost hard to beta, heh, because I wanted to just keep reading and get to the end.

Beginning the chapter again sent a little shiver down my spine. Willon is a scary, scary man. Picturing him flanked by two dozen people puts his power in great perspective, and him being able to just ignore all of them… You took out the "But that would end it too soon" line, which upped the terror level of that paragraph a good couple of notches.

And having the first scene from Willon's POV created an even MORE torturous a scene than it would've been normally, because he was so absorbed in his own actions he barely even noticed anything going on around him - denying information to the reader, forcing us to be in his head. It made it intently suspenseful and simply had me writhing in my seat.

And somehow, in the midst of all that, you made me feel sorry for the stupid idiot! Seeing him see Lilith, and his thoughts about their past… Although it completely shot my theory to hell, so now I'm left with not a single idea about what happened in the bedroom to cause all that carnage. The glass garden thing was cute. There's not another word for it. But he eats children and emotionally tortured Damaros and physically tortured Ranara and all-around has been torturing Saul for a long while now! How dare you make him cute! *sigh* It shows your skill.

I am halfway between wanting to grin and applaud your amazing writing skills for the scene of him biting Ranara (twice, no less) and halfway between wanting to grip my monitor and shake it in the hope that the words would change - to Willon getting thrown to the floor, or some other thing. I was hardly breathing, braced in my chair, whispering to myself 'please don't die Ranara!' even though I knew someone would this chapter. And still, for half a second, reading "he realized he too was weeping" made a short "aw" run through me - but ONLY for half a second.

Him ripping at her clothes was ... just ... child eater and rapist, agh! And hearing her vague awareness of it from Ranara's POV made it even more disgusting, though it was just one line. The bit you put in, her thoughts about not being stronger despite being Ketil's daughter, that was really nice. Because she's always been strong, has always fought back… and right then, she couldn't. She was... outmatched.

And, oh God, the paragraph about Damaros unwillingly gaining physical satisfaction from the feeding was an amazing addition as well. But a tiny little part of me was yelling along with him, shouting "This is what happens when you don't have a spine!" Because, as he said, he could've let her go… But Willon came back and ruined it all. The description of Willon's smile put a lot of fear into Damaros's thought that his brother would have control over Ranara if Willon sired her.

Although I half think that Willon was an idiot not to sire her himself; sure, it caused Damaros immeasurable trauma, but now he can't control her like he would've been able to. I think that'll come back to bite him on the ass. (Or, I hope it will.)

Could you possibly have created a better example of dramatic irony than the beginning of Saul's scene? The dictionary could refer to that scene. I half think that Willon put them in there together in the hopes they'd kill each other off. The additions you made to the scene ("And then Damaros was facing him" for one) were good, and added a bit more visual imagery to it that I think it needed.

"He didn't know what to think, what to feel" was kind of a startling phrase. I mean, Saul is an empath. He's got the entire range of emotions at his fingertips, he's probably more in touch with them than any other person in the entire story. So it really showed that he'd grown to care for Ranara, that her sort-of loss was able to affect him in that way.

I just sit here and think about it - and I feel like I lost someone myself. I would never have guessed at the beginning of this story that this was going to happen to bright, vibrant Ranara… Oh, damn. I hope your muse helps you out (and school doesn't hinder you) and you don't keep us waiting too long to see the rescue attempt, because I need to see a bit of 'good guy triumph' right now.

Though it'll be interesting to see Saul and Damaros spend more than three seconds with each other in between Ranara leaving and coming back to the dungeon. Your "future happenings" was a little more cryptic this time around, I think, or maybe I'm just being stupid.

Well, even though it was entirely infuriating and heart-jerking, this was a fantastic chapter. I'm glad the beta helped out, and I hope you've enjoyed the review. Till next time…
4/20/2008 c35 21Faith Adeline
Oh my. . .this was an amazing chapter. Truly. I felt so bad for Damaros :(. Great job, the emotion in it was. . .touchable, if that makes sense haha. Keep it up! And update when you can :)

Faith
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