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for The Sagara warrior's ascension

7/17/2010 c31 2underground-writing
I love this chapter. It was insanely good and I agree this chapter makes Kai seem more human and he proves to be a well-rounded character. Character development seems to be difficult (for some people), but definitly not you. You've done a great job developing Kai. Good work :)
6/19/2010 c29 3Beast King
Sorry it took me so long to review, I had to read the story again from the beginning so that I would remember things and it would make sense.

I have to say, reading the story from the very start to this point, without the interruption of waiting for chapters made it that much more fulfilling.

I suppose my theory about Gwen herself being the Sagara was wrong :) it's an object not a person. I'm still a little confused about the soldiers kidnapping her, weren't they from the "good" kingdom? Oh well, those questions are the very reason that I continue reading; your work is engaging to say the least.
5/17/2010 c30 2underground-writing
Hey sorry it took me so long to review! My you write long chapters XD Anyways I still love this story. You have a knack for creating believable characters and developing them properly. I'd advise you work on your word choice though. Sometimes your sentences come across forced. This isn't really a major issue though. That's about it. I can't wait to read another chapter! :)
3/25/2010 c6 2DeepSeaDragon
You know, thus far this reminds me of a classic RPG, like Lunar or Grandia or the like. You've got all the classic tropes- the scumbag who killed the hero's parents, the kindly mentor who takes the hero in, the hero discovering a secret power within, a mysterious and beautiful amnesiac girl, and (as of this chapter) a doomed hometown! Is this a bad thing? Well, not thus far. I can tell that you seem very passionate about this story, and that love shows through.

The writing isn't very professional thus far; I noted a large number of typos, misspellings, awkwardly-worded sentences and the like. Not to worry, however, for with the help of a beta reader you should be able to catch and fix things like these, as well as incorrect word usage and fragmented sentences (Note that with this being in the first person, a few fragments here and there are okay, provided they follow the narrator's line of thought- but keep an eye out for things like that!). I also noticed a few instances where multiple characters would speak during the same paragraph- avoid this, as you should begin a new paragraph each time the speaker changes.

During the big fight scene in this chapter, the action itself was pretty cool, but the description needs a little spice. For instance, when Kai lambastes the soldier holding Gwen hostage with a energy bolt from his hand, all we get for description is ["A blast of green energy expelled out of my hand, taken back the commander struck instantly and launched a rag doll he slammed onto the ground"]. I want to see a more creative and visceral sort of description here that really makes me feel the impact of that moment. Kai is just starting to manifest these new abilities, so spend a little more time with it. I know that in your author's note you mentioned that the chapter went by so quickly for pacing reasons, and that's a noble goal, but this is also a big, important moment and the first real action sequence. Give it a little room to breathe.

As far as the characters go, I like them so far, albeit it's still very early on and I've only just been introduced to Gwen. Kai feels like a somewhat straightforward main character (although your prologue hints at big things to come from him- I do hope he delivers!). I did note that, what with him running around barefoot in the woods, bathing in the lake (iirc) and spelunking in mysterious temple grounds, he comes off like a sort of a "wild boy," almost Tarzan-like. Also, I'm hoping that he sticks with that dagger instead of taking the usual fantasy hero route of using a sword; it gives him a sort of primal, visceral edge that is in keeping with the aforementioned raised-in-the-wild image I've got of him.

While I've seen quie a few of the ol' "ethereally beautiful, mysterious girl with no memory" archetypes in my time, I don't mind because I happen to have a soft spot for that sort of character. Gwen sounds pretty cute, although I did note the odd contradiction of having "white tanned skin"- is she pale, or is she tan? Anyway, I did feel, not unlike Kai, a sort of instant attraction to the character and felt a need to sort of... I don't know, protect her, or something. She could be a good emotional anchor for the rest of the story.

For a little (good-natured) nitpicking, how is Gwen able to keep up with Kai when he's running through the woods to get back to his village? He does this sort of thing all the time, but she just woke up out of some kind of stasis (thusly is probably pretty weak) and seems to be a sort of frail, pixie-like waif whom I would imagine would have a pretty difficult time navigating the foliage at night (also note that I have assumed from her description that she is also barefoot, so unless she did a lot of similar traipsing about prior to her being frozen in that capsule-thing, this should be a pretty incumbering experience for her). At first I assumed that Kai was just going to carry her or something, but no, she was definitely running alongside him. Something to think about, I guess- but don't let such finicky things bug you too much. ;)

I like the juxtaposition of these bad-ass gun-wielding spec-ops soldiers in what otherwise seems to be a fantasy setting. Cool idea. Keep that up.

One last odd note: I thought Kai was a girl until sometime during the sequence in which Gwen was introduced. *shrug*

Anyway, in spite of some flaws (none of which can't be fixed with a little rewriting and careful editing), this is a pretty cool little story so far. I'll definitely keep reading and letting you know what I think if you want- and feel free to message me if you want any more feedback.
3/24/2010 c30 6soccer diva
That's awesome that you are going to have a beta reader! I think it will definitely help the flow of your story. I just hope it doesn't take too long :P

In terms of this particular chapter, as always, I thought the battle scene was well done. Your powers of description in these scenes never ceases to amaze me. I thought this time it was a ~bit~ drawn out, with the tons of reinforcements that kept coming, but if it was a base, I suppose this is reasonable.

However...Kai really seems to rely upon and-dare I say it-revel in his supreme power. This chapter kind of turned Kai into the bad guy, in my opinion, because he wantonly killed hundreds and hundreds of people. He thought there was no other choice, but I can think of a few other options that were available to him rather than killing every single soldier there. Instead of killing the commander at the beginning, for instance, he could have soul-stepped to his side and restrained him with a sword to his ribs or something like that. The other soldiers aren't going to fire immediately on him when it would put their commander into the line of fire. Then he could of handed him the letter and boom. Disaster averted. Another option was to not kill everyone but restrain them, break into the base later, or (with his awesome powers of evasion) simply slip past the soldiers during the battle. I don't know if you just didn't think of these things, or if you really just wanted an awesome battle scene with Kai's sword :P, or if you purposefully did it this way as a means of revealing the kind of person Kai is (not a bad person, but immediately falling upon force and killing, like a killing machine but one with a conscience that none-the-less does not keep him from killing :P) Anyway, that's just some food for thought.

The only thing to note here is that your grammar was much better this chapter and the story flowed pretty well. My only complaint in this aspect is the usage of "and thus" which you use quite frequently and needlessly. It kind of halts the flow of the sentences when you use it, and it is used VERY often, which kind of bugs me. But this does have a lot to do with my personal preference so whether or not you choose to heed that advice is entirely up to you :D
2/10/2010 c29 soccer diva
YAY! I'm done! Again, I apologize for how long it took me to finish. Busy busy busy am I with college work and parents moving to England, but I made a promise and I broke it so I am sincerely sorry. Anyway, back to the review. Since I'm essentially reviewing so many chapters, it's going to be a more generalized critique.

One of the things that amazes me about your writing is your attention to detail. This is most prevalent in the battle scenes, but it is seen every time there is a new character or town is introduced. You describe the person and the scene very vividly, making it easy for the reader to picture the scene.

Your characterization of Kai is a mixture of good and bad, in my opinion. Mostly good, but I say this for these reasons. What I love about Kai is his dynamic character. He has these awesome powers but they are tempered by his belief in the value of life, so while he could be an immense killing machine (which, in a war, if he would just kill all his enemies instead of knocking them out, he would be much better off) but he chooses not to. He incures grief after grief for not killing his opponents, since they keep coming back for revenge, but he refuses to sink to that level, and I think that says a lot about who he is. Another thing that helps offset his powers is his attachment to Gwen. It's very easy for me to see this attachment, because having failed (in his mind) all the people he has cared about before, having the opportunity to protect someone so inherently fragile is almost a way to redeem himself, so he immediately attaches himself to this damsel in distress.

On the other side, I think Kai acts way too mature for his age. He's only, what, sixteen? Somewhere around there. This struck me the most when Melanie was introduced. She is around the same age, and yet she's crying helplessly "daddy!" like a little girl. Kai has never expressed such childish reactions, has always acted with the confidence and authority of an adult, even before he recieved his powers. However, he ~does~ show some weakness and doubt whenever he flashbacks on his parents' deaths and the burning town and such. This is a contradiction in his characterization that I find a bit confusing. For the majority of the time, he pushes down and suppresses his emotions for the sake of being strong, focused, etc... *except* when it's convenient for you, the author. It really should be one way or the other, maybe a vague mix, but not so two starkly contrasted attitudes. This really is easily fixed though, and so isn't a big deal. For the most part, I find Kai to have many layers in his personality.

What I like about Kai is what I DON'T like about Gwen. Really, she has no characterization in my eyes. She's the typical, drop-dead gorgeous damsel in distress, following Kai around like a dog, being the object of his protection and affection and angsting over his safety. End of story. She has this mysterious, unknown past, but it doesn't play into her characterization almost at all. It's -there- but it doesn't play a part in how she acts or who she is, that I can discern.

Kai mastered his powers incredibly fast. It's very convenient, but not very realistic. You seem to have attempted to make physical limitations to his power in one of the chapters, having him use a large amount of energy in his shielding, and being "winded," but spoiled it by having him recover and take down a squad of jets immediately. This isn't necessarily a criticism, depending on what you, the author, are aiming for. If his powers are unlimited, make them unlimited. As I've already pointed out, Kai already has emotional limitations attached, so to have unlimited physical abilities isn't as bad as it could be. But if he has physical drawbacks, make them apparent, and make them consistent.

I won't ramble on for too much longer, so bear with me. Collectively, your writing has greatly improved over the course of the story. The structure and flow are becoming better and better, and the grammatical aspects are easily fixed with a little outside help and application. The biggest thing that I think will help you right now is something I am going to share with you from one of my own critiques, and that is the idea of showing, not telling. You come right out and tell the reader through narrative exactly what your characters are thinking and feeling. You have them come to conclusions (such as Gwen's unconscious state being connected to her locked memories, and the soldiers being after her necklace) that are not actually apparent in-story, but are apparent to -you- because you, of course, are the author and know exactly what is going on. Something to bear in mind is that you are not writing down what -you- know is happening, but rather what your -characters- know is happening. You can show emotions and thoughts more authentically through actions and character to character dialogue/interactions. Does that make sense?

Instead of TELLING us, through Kai's first person narrative, that he is angry, that he is sad, that he is worried or guilty, etc, etc, have his actions SHOW us. Have the way he interacts with Gwen be more dejected and less warm. Have him snap at her if he's angry about something else, but he's venting. You do this better with Gwen, having her feel things that Kai has to notice and coax her to explain, and that's a step up. Kai shouldn't immediately know what everyone is feeling though, either (unless this is an effect of his powers, which I just didn't catch). Emotions are complicated things that, more often than not, we try to hide from one another, and this should be apparent in actions. Just remember; show, don't tell. That doesn't mean that you can't occasionally state "Kai felt anger swirling in his chest" or whatever, but have his actions show his emotions as well.

I hope that I haven't offended you in any way. I'm only trying to tell you both the good and bad that I have seen, so that you can improve. It's something that I encourage my readers, both here and outside of this site, to do for me. Even though my pride may be stung a bit :P I always am striving to improve my writing, so I've always wanted people to tell me EXACTLY what they don't like about my writing. I do know that not everyone appreciates such bluntness though. Keep writing, and I look forward to both your reply and your next update!
2/10/2010 c27 soccer diva
I. Am. So. Sorry. I went home this past weekend, but didn't realize that there wouldn't be a computer waiting for me! So no internet at all. And this week I had my first tests, so i've been really busy studying! But I'm about to finish tonight. I just want to apologize for how long it has taken me to finish your story.

A quick note here. The old man, Taven, said that without those supplies he and his daughter would starve, and that they were struggling with the huge taxes in that town. However, when Kai and Gwen arrive at their home, it is extremely nice and clean and almost luxurious, and the food that he provides is of wide variety and very good quality. You can see the contradiction there. It's just something to watch out for, to stay consistent between your statements and your details and have them support one another rather than be contradictory.
2/5/2010 c18 soccer diva
Okay, just a quick note here, your battle scenes remind me of anime battle scenes :P

They were very structured and exciting, and very detailed, and on the whole I thought that was well done. I do have a few nit-picky things, though.

I think that the incantation for Kai's spells are too long. He would never be able to do that in a real battle, because his opponent would simply interrupt him or keep him from speaking it, since the length gives them time to react.

Also, the dialogue was a bit iffy, in my opinion, simply because it was, well, it was a bit cheesy XD "I'm going to end it for I, Kai Sekara, pledge to defeat individuals such as yourself and put an end to the war." I would think that this line, and others like it, are better thought than said. It's overly dramatic and not very realistic to how people actually talk. It would be better if he made this pledge in his mind than out loud, or said it in a different way. Like, "I've promised myself that I am going to end this war, and I won't let arrogant, sadistic people like you stand in the way of that promise." Just my opinion. And so we go to the next chapter...
1/31/2010 c1 5Alias Blue
First, I want to say thanks for favouriting my story. :) I tend to check out the profiles of people who take an interest, and I came across this.

I like it. I really like the metaphor of the river at the beginning, although maybe you extend it on a little too long. I'd shorten it to give it the full impact. Or maybe change a bit of the sentence structure, as you repeat 'some paths' three times. Varying that would improve it I think, unless the repetition was what you were aiming for, in which case ignore me. It's just a personal niggle of mine.

You make a couple of mistakes with sentence structure, for example, "be aware that whatever path you wish to take for there’s no turning back." I think it should be something like:

"Be aware that on whichever path you wish to take; there's no turning back."

That's your only problem though, and I really did enjoy reading this and I really like the sophistication you give your writing, maybe an indication of Kai's character? Who I'm already liking, and can't wait to find out more about.

I absolutely loved this line!

"In the blink of an eye I was changed, embodied with a mystical power along with ancient prophecy that I would be destined to follow. Coursing through my veins, I sought to use my ascended gifts in order to accomplish my goal"

I absolutely loved the language you used here though, like 'embodied with a mystical power' and 'coursing through my veins'. It's just fantastic, and so epic!
1/22/2010 c4 6soccer diva
You use the word "pain" about eight times in three paragraphs, so you might want to think about changing a few of them with words like "agony" or "torment" or describe the pain, as in is it burning? Throbbing? Like someone stabbing him?

Also, I'm not too fond of using "anyway" as a transition, which you seem to do relatively often. It isn't really necessary and sounds more like speaking than writing. That's just a personal opinion, though.

Other than that, I greatly enjoyed the descriptions in this chapter. They were very vivid and complete, and I could see exactly what the character was seeing in my mind.

(Oh, and I do apologize for thinking Kai was a girl. I don't know why I assumed that, and looking back, there wasn't any indication of gender, so...oops ^_^ His height worries make a bit more sense now)
1/20/2010 c3 soccer diva
Just a couple of things that struck me to point out. You have some inconsistencies in your descriptions. You say she washed her clothes then put them on. So she's running around wearing wet clothes? Also, her mother is only slightly tan, but her skin looks like her mom's but less tanned. Basically, white. And if she's 5'8 or 5'9, she's pretty tall for a girl. If the edge in battle you wrote about is being small, quick and agile, that really doesn't work when you're that tall. Being tall could make her more powerful though. You just need to make sure that whichever height you make her, the edge is appropriate.

Technically, I think the overall writing creates a nice portrait of this place. Your grammar is a little iffy, but it isn't terrible and doesn't bother me incredibly. It isn't nearly as bad as one of my friend's, and I read her stories all the time, so I'll definitely keep reading. If you put your documents up for a beta reader, they can fix the technical aspects of your chapters before you update. Just a suggestion. But so far at least, I don't think that the grammatical issues are very distracting and detract from the writing. I still think that your writing is descriptive and insightful.
1/19/2010 c1 soccer diva
Hey there! Just dropping a quick note as I start to read your story. You've written quite a lot, so it may take me a while to get through all your chapters, but never fear, I will finish.

Obviously there isn't much plot-wise that I can remark upon in your prologue, so I'm just going to let you know my first impression on your writing style. To me, the first chapter is the most important one, because you want to catch the reader's attention. That basically means that, in my opinion, you should really put a lot of effort into making it fluid and interesting. So, in regards to your prologue, here are my thoughts.

It seems to me you have a very...formal style of writing, as in the way you form your sentences. This isn't necessarily criticism or praise, merely an observation. I notice how my writing style tends to be very similar to how I speak, which makes it generally smooth and easy to follow, but sometimes not very intellectual. Yours kind of reminds me of some of the historical fantasies I've read, where the author creates a fiction work drawing on historical events or myths. They tend to have more formal sentence structure as well.

The subject matter drew me in; you have me curious, which I consider to be a plus. I did think that the paragraph on the character's view of life didn't flow very well, though. The ideas presented were good, but it seemed a little forced, like you knew what you wanted to say but weren't quite sure how to fit it all together. I think it may be because you don't vary the length of your sentences in that paragraph; all of them present long, insightful ideas that when you put them one after another drone on and on, kind of sounding like a lecture, which isn't that interesting.

hat was really they only thing that stood out to me. The rest of the prologue was smooth and intriguing, with just a few grammatical things here and there that didn't really detract from the effect, so they weren't a big deal. (I'm a big grammar person, it somes from having been an editor. I'll try not to be too nitpicky and thus too annoying.)

Anyway, i probably won't reveiw every chapter after this, most likely just the last few unless I see a big mistake or awesome detail that I just HAVE to comment on.
1/6/2010 c3 2underground-writing
Once again thank you for the reviews! Sorry it took me so long to get to reading your story, but alas I'm here now. Ok so you really have an interesting story so far. Kai looks like a troubled character and is already pretty in depth (no one wants a flat character). You might want to consider going back and fixing some grammar errors. Also, when a new character speaks you have to start a new paragraph. Other than that I find your story fun to read and will certaintly keep reading it.

P.S. Kai is sixteen and around 5'8, lucky! A lot of girls I know, including myself are only 5'2 or 5'4. Why would she want to be any taller?
12/1/2009 c12 24Chesterfield
Thanks for pointing me in the direction of this story because I think there's a lot of substance to it. I'm also really happy that I have seen your writing abilities actually improve over the past 12 chapters. The only thing that remains distracting for me is the way you're structuring dialogue. Each time the speaker changes, there should be a new paragraph to avoid confusion. Also, the punctuation should go in the inside of the quotation marks. I picked this sentence out in particular:

“Your task begins now”. With those words uttered he vanishes, generating a blur like effect upon disappearing.

There's a bit of tense confusion. See how it's suddenly present tense when the rest of your story is always in past tense? It's just something I noticed.

I'm very high maintainence when it comes to grammatical errors, so this might not bother other people as much as it bothers me. I think you have a really great story with a unique character, and I hate that I keep getting distracted by structure things which should not be part of the story. I look forward to finishing reading what you have and following along as you continue. I hope you plan on continuing to update.

Thanks and good luck!
11/15/2009 c28 3Beast King
Amazing chapter, once again. It was well worth the wait. I knew that they hadn't seen the last of those evil soldiers; but i didn't think they would take Gwen! I thought that they were the good guys?

Amazing and well written as usual; I'd forgotten how good it was to read this story. I also forgot how much the spells remined me of Bleach and as die-hard fan, that's one of the things that makes me love this tale.

I'm looking forward to another chapter :)
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