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1/7/2010 c12 619Jave Harron
I definitely get the impression something big is going down soon. The Devil Gang's showing quite a bit more structure than I'd first thought, but given certain actions recently, they're pretty nasty. Fun chapter, and looking forward to more battles to come.
1/5/2010 c12 Daranak
Superb characterization, as usual. I wonder how the Sai/Tu Shen situation will turn out? And when will the Bottom Four make their move? I was half-surprised they didn't pounce when Lien's party came out. Also interesting that Devil Yuan became a Heavenly King without really exerting himself. I wonder if that would play a part in a fight with Ah Tian or Ah Fei?
12/13/2009 c11 Passer-by
Wow, this is a great story! It really made my day. I spent the whole afternoon reading it instead of studying for my test.

The whole eastern-influenced setting and wuxia elements really make it stand out from the other stories. And it's all so expertly done too. I really can't wait for the next chapter.
12/13/2009 c11 JCHL
(: I like the slightly eery aspect of Uncle Han's "friends". Kind of draws you in, or maybe I'm just sadistic. Heh.

And now I'm looking forward to Sai's infiltration. ;D Especially how she'll work with Fei.
12/11/2009 c11 JaveHarron
Really liking the chapter so far. There's the investigation angle that will rock, some foreshadowing, and the villains putting their own plan into motion. Glad this story was updated, and hope to see another one soon!
12/11/2009 c11 1shimba
Sorry, I know this is really rude, but I just wanted to say to Tel Loiryn that I would really love if he/she could find the time to tear my work (Shimbalama. Real fantasy) apart like that. Great review.
11/27/2009 c10 Daranak
Hi! I finished reading the latest chapter of your splendid story a few days ago, and waited up until now to mentally 'cool off' before writing this review.

I have to say, this is one of the best stories I've read on Fictionpress, and I find it sad that it doesn't have more reviews. I can only speculate that this is due to the obvious Eastern influences, while most readers seem to be from Western countries. Also, you don't go for vampires or male slash, which seems a surefire way to get reviews on this site (ugh).

What I most enjoyed while reading your story was how evocative it was. At all times, and particularly during the appropriately over-the-top battles, I found it very easy to picture in my mind what you were describing. Also, you seem to have found just the right amount of setting description to put in – enough so that readers know the characters' surroundings and important historical points, but not enough that the story becomes bogged down in extraneous details and infodumps.

Another high point is your characterization. You've given each major character a distinct personality – even for the bad guys. Everyone has his or her own traits, ambitions, strengths, weaknesses. This makes it a lot easier for readers to empathize with the cast (though of course I do not sympathize with the Devil Gang).

Anyway, I look forward to reading more of this story. :-)
11/25/2009 c10 JaveHarron
Damn! I've been missing some good stuff so far. Looking forward to seeing all of the Immortals in action. I've got a bad vibe about their current "guest."
11/16/2009 c8 48Michael Panush
This was a pretty cool chapter, and I liked seeing the new characters, like Ah Tien's brother and the new hired killers. The bit about the evil eunuch was also very intriguing. The one Wizard of Oz reference though was really jarring and out of place. You have to watch any reference you make carefully to make sure it can apply to this fantastic world. Otherwise good job and I'll be sure to read more soon.
11/10/2009 c10 Tel Loiryn
This story would have been better without the sorcery part. If it had just been about martial artists fighting to defeat the Devil Gang, it would have a smaller scope (the story would be shorter) and more manageable, not to mention flow better. In any story involving magical powers you want to introduce the magic in the first chapter or two just so that people know it's there. I had gotten through the first 8 chapters without thinking that the promised sorcery would show up, and was a bit disappointed when it did. The other problem with sorcery is that its very appearance puts everything about martial arts to shame. What's the good of fighting if your enemy can make a staircase phase out? Why not just make warriors phase out? At any rate, don't incorporate sorceresses into the story's summary. People who want to read about them will look elsewhere after reading chapter 1, and people who don't want to read them will miss all the good stuff through chapter 8.

Other things:

1. Try to use less !'s.

2. You don't need to repeat things. "Person A does thing B, C-ing" is a situation where C repeats B and it slows down the story.

3. You could potentially go a bit deeper in various places, especially the melodramatic moments (prologue: two people die in the space of 15 pages or so. The first one's okay, but the second one needs some priming the pump.)

4. Some of the characters seem really immature or inexperienced in a way that I wouldn't expect from such characters.

5. Avoid adjective-ly adverbs, ie. "A did B patiently", and other general commentary, ie. "it was interesting". This tells me nothing.

6. Your story will become stronger if you show, not tell. Like point 5 above, avoid commentary if you can show it happening, at least in most situations.

7. You underestimate the pain and blood loss resulting from losing a limb. Most people pass out right away, and most people die soon after from blood loss. You have two characters in which this doesn't happen.

8. Improve your combat description by adding more imagery and more martial art terms/jargon. A lot of it as it is right now seems condescending to the reader.

9. Don't try to frontload character description. In the description for Sai, you launch into a paragraph about her looks. The looks don't make the person - I'm sure you wouldn't have spent so many words describing a male character being well-muscled, for example. Tell me about Sai's personality.

10. Generally, you need to learn to get an eye for what's cheap fiction and what isn't. Cheap fiction is where you do things to convey something but doesn't work well to some readers. Good fiction is harder to describe. For example, instead of saying Ah Tian's oak box looks "ominous", which tells me nothing because how can a box be ominous?, instead have write something else that conveys this sense of it being ominous.

11. It may be stronger if you don't try to adopt everybody's point of view as well as everybody's thoughts. It's confusing, this constant change in point of view.

12. Ah Tian and Ah Fei have what are known as character shields. That is, the prologue focuses on them in such a way that starting from chapter one we know that they had better come out alive (and generally, victorious) or else the story would just abruptly end. For example, for the first battle they have, I knew the outcome before it began. Try to find some way to make the reader think that they might actually lose. It adds to suspense.

Good things:

1. Attractive story. It's not often that a story manages to get me to keep going, although parts of it smell cliched (the brothers asking for the Crimson King to be their mentor, for instance). I read for plot, and the plot advances sufficiently fast in this story to keep my attention. I'd say you don't have to accelerate or retard your plot at all.

2. You have added some rather humorous elements into your story. Good; it's just the right amount, I'd say.

3. You have taken the time to depict things from the antagonists' point of view. This helps us associate with them and makes for more significant battles.
11/2/2009 c10 pinoy1
This new chapter is so cool! Reminds me of the TV series Highlander! There can only be one!
11/1/2009 c9 pinoy1
Nice! I hope the next update comes soon!
11/1/2009 c8 pinoy1
My God, this is one of the most high-quality stories I have ever read! Keep on writing man! I certainly think your story deserves more reviews!
10/31/2009 c7 Michael Panush
This was a nice chapter. Pretty standard, getting-to-the-next section stuff, but it was well written. The modern dialogue and shifts of Point of View continue to annoy me though. I did like the villains. I figured the big bad would be a totally depraved nutball, but he seems like a decent guy. I guess his evil eunuch assistant is the real major villain? Either way, good job and I'll get to the next one soon.
10/24/2009 c7 JaveHarron
Looking forward to the Mercenaries! I am liking Garr as a character. Even your villains seem quasi-humane at points.
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