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6/19/2006 c6 16Islandbreeze
Ah, back to dear old Ancepsus.

"Ancepsus lay groaning and rolling in his bed; ravished by the "- comma not semi colon, needs two complete sentences for that. Sounds like an intense dream. Hmm...

Sulther appears very mysterious, somber, and surprisingly wise. Ancepsus's thoughts helped organize the complexities of the plot so far, but it might read better if you spaced them out a little more, or worked action inbetween the paragraphs of thought. But I liked the chap, and I wonder if he'll agree to be his apprentice later on, or meet up with him, or something. Nice work!
6/19/2006 c5 Islandbreeze
Good action in this chapter, and keeping it very well in tone and style and everything with the last one, since it is a continuation right away. Also, I thought the dialogue sounded good in this chapter, maybe it was a little stilted in the previous one, but different worlds in fantasy is different than just odd dialogue in modern world stories, so it's hard to tell sometimes. But this chapter really moved along well...going fast with the review cause I wanna finish reading...Oh, creepy, good, powerful ending lines. Nice job.
6/19/2006 c4 Islandbreeze
You brought across the woman's sense of annoyance, and unease clearly, with a good picture of the tavern in the beginning, and got me wondering what was going on, why was she looking/waiting for the man.

Drunkards...hm, not very pleasant. Still it seems as though Lysala can handle herself. And the description of Gareth was nice, gave a sense of him.

Lysala seems to solve many things with blades. "Sleep was needed before tonights operation." Here, you use passive voice, and it would be really easy just to say "she needed sleep", and I noticed this tendency in a lot of other places too, this one just stood out. Also, "tonight's operation" is posessive.

Full moons and creepy voices...tone was good in the second half of the chapter. I liked it...going on..
5/31/2006 c2 20Pheobe Meryll
First off, in answer to your note in the first part: I don't reccomend trying to thwart fcpress' paragraph format. I've seen peices on here without double spaces and it's so hard to read. Online it's a lot easier when they're spaced out.

Okay, onto the story! ;;

"all of them with their own unique outlook on life and man." "for demons are tricky and would have found a way to survive, even if it mean pretending to be human." this is something styalistic i'm pointing out - not neccisarily grammatic. You use fragments a lot. I like fragments sometimes and they have their place in creative writing, but overused, they can weigh down a good peice of writing. You might want to look out for too heavy a use of those. Same with sentances that start with "for," "and," or "and so."

This story has a very folklore-ish feel to it. I like that.

Some of the grammar needs work. Since you don't seem to want grammar corrections I guess I won't point it all out but there are some basic things you have trouble with... so do let me know if you want help with it.

"maybe the earring marks him as such" - marked him as such, otherwise it's a tense slip.

"Rosen laughed as his guards frantically tried miserably to keep up" O.o look at that poor little verb "tried" sandwiched betwixt those two adjectives!

The action was very well-described. Action is something I cannot do - as much as I love a good action scene, it's incredibly hard for me to formulate one in my own mind and put it on paper (although I am working on it in my new story). The only thing that hampered my following was, i think, the POV (point of view). You're using the omnicinet pov, i guess, but during the action it felt kind of choppy, switching from Shurin to Rosen so that it was hard to follow the flow of events. pov is a hard thing to figure out, but you might wanna take a second look at that.

thanks for your review, btw!
5/29/2006 c5 3Jenny Rocker
Hi there! Here's another review to add to your collection ;) Please note, however, that I am not nearly as wonderfully analytical as you, so I'll do my best and hope that at least something I say is helpful.

Nice chapter, btw, love the action. Guts and gore. VERY descriptive-you've got a bit of a dark side, dontcha? ;)

I think it's great how you infuse a sense of humor into your writing. To me, one of the most refreshing things when you are reading something-especially something that is not primarily a comedy-is when the writer makes me smile. "What Lord Ernst lacked in height he more than made up for in chins"-great line!

I also thought in this particular chapter (or, this particular section of Lysala's chapter) you did a really nice job of slipping Lysala's thoughts into the narrative. While I realize each time you did it in this chapter, it was only one line, but it ran very smoothly, especially since there is a lot of action going at at this point in the story. I think in the previous two chapters, the injection of the character's thoughts were not always quite as flowing with the rest of the narrative. I couldn't put my finger on exactly what is was that made those parts so halting though . . . sorry I'm being so vague . . . what can I say, I'm an artist, man. In any case, I think her thoughts were very effective in this part.

So yeah, keep going and I'll keep reading, AND reviewing ;)
5/25/2006 c4 Jenny Rocker
I dare say, this story is like a breath of fresh air in fictionpress's fantasy section. You're writing is so thorough and so intricate that it immediately pulls you in. The opening section where you talk about legend and history is where you hooked me, in those first few paragraphs before even the prologue you just nailed it. That's really all I can say about that.

One this that is great about your writing is that it is filled with detail, I know exactly how these people look right down to the way they are dressed. And you do a really good job at creating a setting by not necessarily describing what the place looks like, but by describing the people and the mood. I also think you do an excellent job at develping your characters in such a short amount of time, since you are switching between characters so much. I love the personality clash between Ancepsus and Theerus.

Honestly, at the moment I'm at a loss of suggestions of what needs improving. As you mentioned yourself, sure there are little typos here and there, but I, myself, haven't kept track of them. One thing I can think of is that the scene in the prologue with the horses-when the bright light spooks them and Shurin is trying to get away-it gets a little confusing when things start happening, like who's attacking who, is Shurin attacking them, are they attackig him?

In any case, I do hope that reviewers (like myself) have helped to motivate you, because I cannot wait to read more! So keep it up and I'll definitely come back!
5/23/2006 c3 1rrmehta364
I know the beginning is a dream and all but I think it nevertheless should stay in the past tense.

"Ancepsus woke up suddenly in his bed; sweat streaming down his face and his mouth had run dry." : I think the semicolon should be a comma. Also, I think making the second clause parralel may make it flow better.

In addition to tense shifts (very obvious to a reader) you might want to look into making your sentencs be parralel (a lot harder to notice, but I think it would really help the flow of the story)

"Ancepsus could only glare at his mother in return." : Is there reason that was all he could do. I think if you said he 'only glared' you wouldn't have to explain why that's the only response he could have if he wanted to.

"Theerus was a good 4 inches or so taller than Ancepsus." : small numbers should be written out.

I like Ancepsus is given flaws and you know, an actual personality.

That said, I think some of the lines tell us a little too much.

"hand and it was so fast." : I think the long so sounded a little funny.

" The art form of it," : I think the form in the middle sounds a bit funny.

I find some of the modern slang such as use of the word 'cool' a bit weird. Oh, and what's the age of the character. At the beginning of the chapter, I imagined Ansepsus to be oldish (twenties) while later on, he seems a more like fourteen.

"“Theerus could get excited by a lump of dirt if it was shaped right.”" : What exactly does that mean?

Well, good chapter. As always, looking forward to reading more.

-goodbye.
5/21/2006 c3 1slayn
I guess... the way to reply to reviews is to add a review myself... or is there a way to actually place my comments amoungst the reviews?

Thank you for the honest reviews, Islandbreeze, and rrmehta.

Changing tenses has been a particularly bad habit of mine in writing. I noticed it happens if I write part of a scene, then leave and come back and finish it later. I need someone with like an electric shocker standing over me so that whenever I switch into present tense *bzzt* “argh!” I tried to pick out the tense changes this time and fix all of them. Hopefully I did better.

"The jump idea showed Theerus's personality, and Ancepsus as pretty much his follower...but if he didn't really want to jump off, I don't see a guy just jumping off a building to "join in the pain." I thought either than needed more build up, like Ancepsus didn't want to look like a coward, or he also thought it would be fun, just something, more incentive."

as a side note, this first chapter actually originally started out as a video game script a long time ago. And the player was given the choice to jump/not jump with varying consequences. I hadn't really considered this problem when changing it into a full chapter. It is mildly within Ancepsus's personality to jump just to follow in a morbid curiosity of Theerus, but perhaps the more interesting chain of events would be for Theerus to shove him off :)

"Song of Fire and Ice...pretty high place you're aspiring to."

not even in my dreams would I achieve that level :( Its simply my favorite and so one of the greater sources of inspiration.

"And so it was that The Creator," : Any reason to capitalize the 'the' ? I generally speaking of the opinion that you should capitalize as little as necessary. It makes the world feel more immersive, because often times forces that are meant to be portrayed as completely normal are capitalized, making everything seem a bit more contrived."

I'm not sure I understand. I capitalized it simply because in my mind that is what the entity is referred to as. "The Creator." It'd be like capitalized 'The' in the name of a book or something because it was the first word of the title.

"To be quite honest, I don't particularly like the way the legend is introduced. It seems like a bit of an info-dump to me, and there wasn't anything particularly unique about the set-up."

I'm getting that. I don't have many ideas of what to do with it though. It *will* become important later on. I wanted this to be something that the reader would go over, forget about, and when it comes up later be like, "wait... *flip to the beginning* oh yeah!" The Malazan books do this thing where the actual chapters always start on the right hand page. And on the left, it gives a piece of history/legend that has nothing to do with the chapter you are reading. Its sort of... optional reading... I guess. For those that are interested. Maybe this could be placed in a similar manner in between the prologue and chapter 1.

"Instead of making Rosen seem more heroic, that makes Rosen seem more stupid to me, and an example of someone who I wouldn't particularly want being king. See, there's a reason most soldiers wear armour. Also, since Prince Rosen is the prince, he wouldn't normally be fighting if it is a trully established monarchy."

This isn't so much a mark against Rosen, and it was my inability to communicate what they were doing. There was no battle being fought or anything. Rosen was spending the morning hunting boar. Shurin was recently placed there as his personal body guard, and the royal guards were there simply because they have to be. Its their job. This was not Rosen leading a charge into battle or anything, but a prince, fed up with never being allowed to be alone, enjoying the hunt signaled by the dogs and what amount of 'freedom,' he can achieve for a brief moment in riding.

I didn't want to really dwell on it *too* long since it was all just to set up his death.
5/20/2006 c2 1rrmehta364
Well, since you wanted the harshest things I could say about the story, that is exactly what you will get.

"And so it was that The Creator," : Any reason to capitalize the 'the' ? I generally speaking of the opinion that you should capitalize as little as necessary. It makes the world feel more immersive, because often times forces that are meant to be portrayed as completely normal are capitalized, making everything seem a bit more contrived.

To be quite honest, I don't particularly like the way the legend is introduced. It seems like a bit of an info-dump to me, and there wasn't anything particularly unique about the set-up. That said, I do admire that you set up the whole idea of history being far from perfect. I also like that the world has syncretism. All of this is an excellent example of world building, but I think it could be introduced with a bit more subtlety.

"Rosen was an excellent horseman and despite all complaints he refused to wear anything more protective since it would hamper his ability." : Instead of making Rosen seem more heroic, that makes Rosen seem more stupid to me, and an example of someone who I wouldn't particularly want being king. See, there's a reason most soldiers wear armour. Also, since Prince Rosen is the prince, he wouldn't normally be fighting if it is a trully established monarchy.

"Where the guards seemed to stand out, ego's demanding that their presence be recognized, Shurin faded away into his surroundings" : Its not clear what the ego's are referring to on the first read. Its clear in context, but I think putting a their in front of the ego's would make it flow better.

The whole assasin thing skips into present tense. Also, the information begins to become an infodump. I think that's sort of the problem with the beginning. Its a lot of information thrown at the reader without any action. A lot of great authors begin their novels as such, but they normally pick something that would be a lot more interesting. Actually, I think the second half of the chapter would be a better place to open in my opinion.

hm...can a concealable crossbow work?

Oh, and I'd advise against making Shurin too good. These guards must be rather well trained so getting away from them shouldn't be too easy.

Well, those were the only major things.

I'm not sure how to word this, but the style of writing didn't sing to me. There were descriptions of various physical things, but not enough to really get an image or feel to my head. I'm not saying bog your writing down with of pointless descriptive prose, but I think more detail, especially details that aren't just visual would help.

Well, that's all. I know its a lot of cc, but I was trying to be my hardest. Its a good opening. Its not brilliantly written to be perfectly honest, but a deep world building definately shines through here, and a good world is really what you need to set up the most in the rough draft.

Well, with that I say

-goodbye.
5/20/2006 c1 rrmehta364
Well, I don't know how to, but if you do figure out, I'd advise you to keep the double spaced paragraphs. I know you don't see it in real books, but I think it makes it easier to read online.

Also, my review will prolly consist of a lot of grammar (bigger stuff will be pointed out when I find it) but I find when I stop pointing out small stuff, I stop pointing out everything else too.

Song of Fire and Ice...pretty high place you're aspiring to.

Well, off to the real story soon. Perhaps tomomrow.

Looking forward to reading.

-goodnight.
5/20/2006 c3 16Islandbreeze
The dream is a good way to start this chapter with some action, and since you brought up someone reading too much into it...I do wonder what it means.

Good descriptions of the room, kind of helps you get a picture of Ancepsus also. One thing I noticed is that you switch tenses- and I know you said that this is a rough draft, but moreso than grammer/spelling, the tense changes really interrupt the flow of reading. Ex:""The Wartime Philosophy of Nihil,' lies half read on a bed table in the corner. A small window on the far side lets in the morning sunlight./Ancepsus got up and closed the worn"- lies and lets are present, right after it, got/closed are past...to me, at least, that's very jarring.

The exchange between Ancepsus and his mother also gave him some character, and a picture of what his life is like, his relationships, how he thinks of himself...and it wasn't too long or going on about little details, reiterating or anything. It was good.

I like the name Sulther, and also the description of the men, and pre-fight from An.'s thoughts, it gave it more personality. Also, that helped me picture it, since obviously, I haven't been watching a lot of sword to axe battles recently :) and it would otherwise be hard to picture how certain moves might affect the opponent.

The jump idea showed Theerus's personality, and Ancepsus as pretty much his follower...but if he didn't really want to jump off, I don't see a guy just jumping off a building to "join in the pain." I thought either than needed more build up, like Ancepsus didn't want to look like a coward, or he also thought it would be fun, just something, more incentive.

Hm, wonder who Sulther knows in the gaveyard, and how that ties into the story, and if the unknown flower is important. Mysterious...

Ancepsus sure is curious about Sulther, from what it sounds like, more from boredom than anything else, but still...wonder what he'll find out. Nice way to end the chapter, certainly interesting, and I wonder how this ties into Shurin/Rosen plot. Could Sulther perhaps know Shurin, be involved with him, be a shadowblade? You left a lot of good questions... Please update soon, nice chapter.
5/19/2006 c2 Islandbreeze
The history, the Legend of the Beginning was interesting, but I think to start off with, the prologue pulls you in better. I did really like the bit about history being rewritten to suit the rulers, reminded me of that thing that says history is written only by the victors, or something like that. Maybe you could work that info about the legend into the story, or just give it at a later section, after you catch attention with the drama of Rosen/Shurin's situation.

I like the tone of mystery in the start about the men, a little bit of summarizing there rather than showing, but not too bad. The story still has a nice flow.

Hm, a mysterious earring...like the name shadowblades. The part about the assassin's was cool, liked how they were watched, and the little whisper before their death. Good build up of tension before Rosen's death, and intensity during Shurin's flight. A nice start.
5/19/2006 c1 Lessien Telperin
I know exactly how you feel...my story i've been writing for a REALLY long time...it started out as an idea about 4 or 5 years ago and i've been writing it and rewriting it over and over for about 3 years..i also have dont really know what to rate it because it starts out totally innocent in the beginning..but it changes..just put it out there and let everyone help you out! i am interested because it seems like you've put alot of thought and careful consideration into this business..so go ahead and post it! i was afraid to do the same but i decided if it got reviews i would continue and if it didn't, i would just drop it..so go ahead :)

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