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for Thicker Than Water

6/15/2006 c6 Cedric Quilfeather
You start the chapter with simple, effective statements that are short and concise. Very well done . . . I feel like I've been saying that a lot . . .

"If ye want all yer limbs intact and workin’, the jus’ leave it alone!" I like Dalen's accent . . But I think you meant "then jus'," not "the jus." Could be wrong. If so, ignore this comment.

"She quickly learnt that while" Learnt? Is this another Australian idiosyncrasy? Lol, it would be fine for dialogue, but in proper prose . . . . Eh, I don't like it, lol. I would use good old "learned," but, that's your choice.

"And then he left, leaving Lia staring incredulously after him." I love the word incredulous. It's a fantastic word. But here, it just sits kind of awkwardly. I think it's because you've already used it quite a few times: you never say "unbelieving," or any other synonym. I also think that for this sentence, the word has too many syllables. But, this is a really minor critique, and I only mention it because I feel that I owe you something after the fantastic reviews I got from you.

Anyway, awesome, awesome plot development. I can't wait to see the updates.
6/13/2006 c5 Cedric Quilfeather
Well. You've silenced this critic. Either it's 12:39 in the morning, or I couldn't find one thing wrong with this chapter. Lol, perhaps both. It's great. The drama is gripping, but not overdone. It's filled with so much angst, but never feels forced or artificial. I hope Lia kick's Lance's arrogant bootay, lol. Great stuff, this, and I will read more tomorrow!
6/13/2006 c4 Cedric Quilfeather
Another great chapter. The dialogue is, as it has been right along, marvelous.

"That’s different. I never said all women could do it - and I’m not some fainting court flower who wilts in the sun." No, she's certainly not . . . But, this sentence seems to over-reach just a bit. I think cutting it to "That's different. I never said all women could do it - and I'm not some fainting court flower." would make it seem a little less soap-opera-ish, but that's just a passing thought.

Again, the term "trial-run" feels a little anachronistic, but I don't know what to do with it. It might be the best terminology, I suppose.

One thing I noticed was you forgot to mention putting Ferrie up in a stable, when Lia started her work at the palace. Otherwise, the entire description, the characterization of the new people and the fleshing out of the new environment was fantastically done.

Lance! That little . . Gr . . . Well, had to expect it, I suppose.

You aren't wordy at all, if you ask me. I love everything. If I don't point something out, then I don't think you should change it. Anyway, a great chapter: it leads wonderfully into the tension that Lia will be facing.
6/13/2006 c3 Cedric Quilfeather
"Ferrie gave her a very scornful snort, but Lia paid her no attention. She was too busy examining the route to the city. Thankfully, they were already heading in the right direction - although no thanks to her. Lia felt very put out by that thought." Heh. This sort of nullifies one of my edits on chapter 1. Anyway, I'm back for more!

"For the first time he looked at her with clear hazel eyes and stopped. He stared at her, one hand still frozen in the tangles of Ferrie’s mane. Lia felt a slow flush creep over her neck under his scrutiny, although she kept her gaze steady and firm." Hm... Hee hee...

"I’ll give you a two week trial run," Eh, I like the concept, but the phrase is a bit modern for my tastes. I don't know what you could change it to, but maybe consider something less anachronistic. Considering all the lively dialogue, though, you've kept things in good place, so this little glitch is no big deal.

I like this story. It's nice how you don't have to get epic, dramatic or intense, but keep a nice, rolling plot that engages one . . . Surely, the drama will come, but you don't need to rush into it to keep things interesting. The dialogue is organic, the descriptions are vivid, and the prose is nigh flawless. Very enjoyable; and, onward I go!

~CedricIn Libris, Libertas
6/13/2006 c2 Cedric Quilfeather
I like your characters, including the animals. Your simple way of fleshing out characterization is quite effective. Funny . . . Ferrie and Lia seem to have the same temperament, lol. Hm . . . I notice a lot of people who have the same attitudes of their pets, or vice versa . . .

Anyhoo.

"The pair continued their progress down the dusty road, Lia busy trying to fend off the flies and mosquitoes that were their unwanted entourage." With most writers, I wouldn't notice this, but your prose is normally so tight and smooth, this seems like a bit of a clunker. It's the "that were their unwanted entourage" part, really . . . which I love, but it feels a bit tacked on. Maybe, keeping the same words, if you rework it you can convince the reader that those words are really part of the sentence, not an afterthough: "The pair continued their progress down the dusty road, Lia busy trying to fend off their unwanted entourage of flies and mosquitoes." By the way, I love the word entourage, lol. I once had a teacher ask me if it was a real word when she read one of my pieces . . . =D

"It is not right for a respectable girl like yourself, Liabelle, to go off adventuring." Now, that is a great way to slip in info: her full name is Liabelle, and it's fitting that a priest, generally more proper and staunch, would use her more formal name. Fantastic.

And a chauvinist priest. How typical, lol. Not a bad thing on your part, of course.

"...Headstrong girls are not so desirable as the wives of honest, hard-working farmers." Silly priest. I love headstrong girls! Lol. =P

Become a farmer’s wife?

I love using single, sharp sentences to pointedly throw a character's feelings in the reader's face; it makes the idea very poignant, without becoming intrusive (becoming intrusive in narratives is one of my personal pitfalls, as you noticed, lol). I can almost hear Lia's sarcasm and incredulity in that question. Again, effective characterization.

Last night, her father had been even less understanding."Are you completely out of your mind, Lia?" he roared, almost overturning the table at which the family had gathered for dinner. "Do you even realise the kind of dangers would-be travellers brave out there? Even when your brothers and I go to market, we’re in constant danger of bandit attacks."

I like the flashback, but would suggest separating it from your regular prose, just for aesthetics.

The tension between Lia and her familial advisors is classical and well done.

"The Elkwood Forest - the largest forest in the whole of Quentra - lay next to Hantril." Same edit as I suggested in the prologue: Your introductory "the" seems a bit excessive and ruins the otherwise easy flow of prose. Of course, I am not a perfect writer, and as a stranger don't expect you to take my edits as gospel. But, hey, what're reviews for, right?

"I must be crazy," she muttered softly out loud. This time, Ferrie did respond - and with a snort that sounded very derisive to Lia’s ears. She glared at the mare. "I didn’t ask for your opinion, you old mule."

Tee hee. ^_^

In understanding Lia's character, I see why she purposefully wandered into a dark forest when there were safer paths around . . . But you still might want to give her rationale for it a little better.

"I-I don’t know what you’re talking about, she stammered. Ah, the plight of the typist! I miss punctuation all the time, because I write everything by hand and when I'm typing it up, sometimes I skip over things . . . Anyway, you missed a quotation mark. No biggie.

"You evade answering like a rabbit does a fox," Eh . . . I'm a little on the fence about this. I wouldn't know how to change it . . . But it seems kind of . . . Oh, I dunno, it's not bad, just a little stereotypical. it's almost like someone mimicking how a person in a fantasy novel would speak; alligorical statements are usually reserved for wise old gurus who can't seem to speak without comparing you to grasshoppers and trees, rather than young girls. Just my opinion; but as is, it's not wrong, it just seemed a little juvenile for someone otherwise so mature in her writing.

"Nevertheless, she was still dubious about accepting help from a complete stranger." I'm sorry, I'm really nit-picking here; but it's only because I like your story a lot, so I'm paying close attention to every word. "Dubious" has negative connotations; in its pure meaning, your use of the word is correct, but usually when i think of dubious people, I think of thieves, assassins, lawyers, presidents, used car salesmen, and vanity presses . . . Er, ahem, but I don't think of young, smart, and somewhat inexperienced girls as dubious. Maybe a less lofty word, a simple "uncertain," would make do?

"sceptically" I'm no spellcheck, but I don't think that's right, lol.

Roland nodded at her, but as he turned to go he suddenly looked back. "Tell Pip, when you see him, that I am well and that I send my greetings to both him and his sister." Heh, his attitude is very Roland-esque, from what little we've seen of the mystery man. He doesn't say, "If you see Pip, tell him . .. " He says "When," suggesting that he KNOWS Lia will bite onto his offer. Quite the persuasive and perceptive one, non?

Well! A simple, nice, modest plot, with enough mystery and intruige to attract anyone, I think, and supported by very strong prose. I do try to supply the constructive criticism, but really, this story is great, with or without my suggestions. Good work; I shall be reading more soon!
6/12/2006 c1 Cedric Quilfeather
Hey there!

Sorry it's taken me so long to give you a review; yours were very helpful to me, and I appreciate the input. But, enough about that . . .

"The Elkwood Forest lay still beneath the cloudy night sky." I think this would be a much more powerful opening sentence if you removed the first word: "The." If the forest is known as Elkwood, then "The" is superfluous, anyway. "Elkwood Forest lay still beneath the cloudy night sky." Ah, simple elegance. Your prose is full of it, and I like your endeavor to be less descriptive: I remember these words every time I start to get into sophisticated sentence Hades, "Say the most with the fewest words." You accomplish that very nicely; the prose is solid, a smooth read that encourages one to continue at say, oh, I dunno, 12:30 at night . . . Who would be reading that late . . . Certainly not me . . .

"He pretended indifference, preening his dull feathers as if to prove this fact to any who watched him." I really like the way you open with personification of the owl. It's not forced or overdone; you don't have the owl's stream of consciousness stumbling over one thousand dollar words, but keep everything simple and pointed, as such an animal might think.

"A long low wolf howl sounded suddenly, shattering the stillness and quiet." Maybe a little extra punctuation between "long low wolf howl" would be nice, because I kept stopping, thinking a word was a noun, when it was only an adjective. Perhaps "a long, low wolf howl," that seems like the best place to interject a comma.

Ah, and we find an abandoned child in the woods. Always bodes interesting, no? Well, simple, effective prologue: if nothing, it does its job, because I am sure hooked!
9/5/2005 c6 3Ameko and Yumeko
I love the story. *jumps up and down on her chair* MOREMOREMOREMORE...ahem...

Well I guess it'll be a while till next update...^_^ k then, I just hope you update soon, I love it. Can't criticize much cuz there isn't anything that I don't like.

Waiting for next update ^_^

Yumeko
9/5/2005 c4 Ameko and Yumeko
Okay hmm...I know you aleady have gotten reviews on these chapters but I can't help but leave reviews as I read em ^_^

Okay, you say wordiness is your weakness but I don't think you're too wordy. It's always nice to give a good description of stuff because it makes it clear to imagine it. But wordy can also make people get bored so I know what you mean but like I said before I don't think yours is too wordy at all.

I actually quite like the descriptions. Wordy would only be if you describe something totally unrelated to your story or go to lenghty descriptions of the characters, which I haven't noticed yet so it's all ok ^_^

Wow thats a long review XD *goes to read more*

Yumeko
8/18/2005 c2 Ameko and Yumeko
Wow, that's a very good so far. I really love how you describe things, even though in the beginning you said you are making this less descriptive. I can almost see the images. I loved that scene with her horse and her in the beginning. It's cute.

I am not very good at criticism, yet I try anyway. But I don't see anything to criticize here. I am slow at reading stuff on the net cuz I have a short attention span, but I will read the rest of the chapters very soon. Keep updating :)

Yumeko
7/29/2005 c6 T. L. Reese
You continue to amaze! And I'm so glad to see Pip back!

Is he royalty? Did he as Dalen once have a spat or something? Am I too presumptous?

All right, enough guessing what I can't know.

A minor thing: in either this chapter or the last, I can't remember, sorry. You mentioned once about a week trial thing and every where else you say its 2 weeks. minor concern at best.

I did notice one thing: if there is anything you might need to work on as something that threads itself continuely through all your chapters is that you use very modern dialogue. They have sass and that's so cool but be careful that they seem to speak as any other person you would hear walking around your high school. Now, that doesn't mean you have to default to a thee thou thine type of speech-please DON'T! But there is a healthy balance. I know this is my big problem in my writing as well, I guess that's why I'm so conscious of it.
7/29/2005 c5 T. L. Reese
Dalen, another interesting addition to the litte group here! Awesome! You have so many awesom male leads I don't know where to lead (though I think my fav. is still Pip). They are all interesting though. Roland is dark and brooding. Pip has an ego and attitude to match hers. And Dalen is in need of some anger management classes even though his motives are in the right place. I LOVE IT! Haha

Couple of things:

Sleeping quarters will work but there will probably not be "bathing rooms"In the kitchen there may be a large washing basin that gets filled like once a week approx (maybe more or less depending on how big) it could be as small as a pitcher and basin or as big as like 3 bathtubs. Maybe there is simply a fountain in the courtyard they use? There were no "bathing rooms" bathing was in the nearest river.

Is this field where they let the horses graze in the castle gates? the city gates? most likely outside city limits for mere space issues, i would have thought. just something to consider.

stable hands having their own rooms? at best, picture the college dorm thing, with two bunks in a closet size room. or even a common women's bunking room.

and a last minor squabble: i was surprised she had ink. Being able to read would be amazing! but being able to write and having ink to do it with! wow! is she rich? then, about less than 10% of the population would be litterate. But its workable. maybe even lance pinched the ink from somewhere and used it?your story.

Can't wait to keep reading! You have such a talent!
7/29/2005 c4 T. L. Reese
Hey! Another triumph!

Wow, I mean that was so cruel of Lance. I never liked him from the beginning but I never expected that!

And wow, what a rich king-that is a lot of horses-must be a huge standing army. In those days, owning one horse was a sign of immense wealth, a noble would have one or two. Wow, that's like a legion!

Some very quick things, minor really:

First, she's in the town Voliton - isn't that where her brother works? That's what she told her father in the flashback

And Amos says that he can always tell a traveler - well, she's in an inn - what else would she be besides a traveler - towns are so closed communities usually, that everyone knows everyone, anyone would be able to identify the new person in town. I just though his statement was really kinda obvious.

But, I LOVE this story! I can't wait to see what happens next!
7/29/2005 c3 T. L. Reese
Sorry its taken me this long to get back to your story. I really do enjoy it A LOT.

I really love Lia. She especially is a character that just jumps out at you. She is just so human.

And Pip is wonderful. He is my fav. A perfect counterpart to her personality and he's completely not what I had expected by what Roland was saying and that's good.

You have so much going for you here, I can't wait to see what happens.

My biggest critique is minor - people did not have last names then - as odd as that seems for someone to not have one. Its because people really did not travel so there was no need, you were really the only John or Suzie in town, no need for a last name. Outide of one's hometown, you were known by either suzie, daughter of billy-bob or suzie of philadelphia (haha, feel free to substitute names of course)

I can't wait though to keep reading!
5/26/2005 c6 Sparx100
This story is... okay, there's not even a word good enough to describe how incredibly awesome it is. I'm in love with this story. You evil fiend, I have an addiction now that can only be fed by you writing more chapters! Is this some sort of evil plot to take over the world? If you think you going to get away with it, I've got news for you missy... all hail Empress naughty little munchkin! Lol. Seriously though, I LOVE this story. I'm torn between wanting Lia to fall Pip or Roland. Also, I have the sneaky suspicion that Pip is part of the royal family... am I right? Wait, don't tell me, just update!
5/26/2005 c6 Sparx100
This story is... okay, there's not even a word good enough to describe how incredibly awesome it is. I'm in love with this story. You evil fiend, I have an addiction now that can only be fed by you writing more chapters! Is this some sort of evil plot to take over the world? If you think you going to get away with it, I've got news for you missy... all hail Empress naughty little munchkin! Lol. Seriously though, I LOVE this story. I'm torn between wanting Lia to fall Pip or Roland. Also, I have the sneaky suspicion that Pip is part of the royal family... am I right? Wait, don't tell me, just update!
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