Just In
for I Never Said I Was Brave

5/28/2012 c4 1Animel
The interweaving with memory adds an interesting element and helps to develop Charlotte as a character, but it also can be a bit disruptive of the flow and not necessarily 100% relevant or important back story.

The perspective added by the other humans is important because their suspicion reiterates the strangeness of their situation.

It is very chilling to have a potential ally become an enemy, as well as more unexpected than, say, another vampire. It really shows how in this kind of warring world, the danger can come from anywhere.

It is for just that reason that both characters are so dedicated to their own survival, using the other when they help their odds and willing to sacrifice them should they become a burden. It shows the necessity of selfishness in order to have survived this long and also how quickly things can change.
5/27/2012 c3 Animel
I really like the use of multiple perspectives in a story and this one is done well. I appreciated the subtlety of her introduction. We learn it over the course of the story's unfolding without her having to come out and blatantly narrate her whole history. Similarly, through her perspective we learn more about the shapeshifter. It helps as well to have to chapter titles indicating who is speaking for clarity from the start.

Love the unlikely pairing. It should be interesting to see how they continue to get along and whether the two stick together.

One thing I did notice is that several times you use the word 'would' in place of where 'should' would make more sense. I noticed it in the previous chapter one time as well.
5/27/2012 c2 Animel
Well, I’m excited and of course still don’t know how it will happen, but the chapter title is a bit of a spoiler!

I am a big fan, by the way, of the italicized openings to each chapter. I feel that they set the tone and add a lot. They’re very interesting and fun to try to relate to the chapter specifically as well as the tale as a whole.

Okay, just finished the chapter and am very impressed. The fear seems to leap off the page. It is a difficult art to craft something truly scary and it often comes across as cheap or overdone to the point of being almost silly. You, my friend, constructed it perfectly. I really felt the helplessness of the situation, the intimidation of such power, the uncertainty of how things could unfold in its presence. Brilliant, just brilliant. Ooh, so creepy, got to keep reading! Beautifully done ending to this chapter.
5/27/2012 c1 Animel
I love this story already and will definitely continue to read. It is infinitely more interesting to have the hero be lacking bravery, one of the most archetypal characteristics of the usual protagonist. I also like the way that they can do brave things but still not feel or necessarily be brave in personality. In this first chapter, the main character has not done anything particularly likeable and yet I find myself rooting for them nonetheless. I’m certainly interested to see where it’s going. A good flow of the story, so my only ‘negative’ comment would be the minor grammar mistakes. I have edited the ones I noticed, none of them much to worry about and almost all of them common comma errors, below in order.

…upon thee,” he sighed and flicked his cigarette again, “to…

I lived comfortably and brought

my faith in language burned, too. (need one before the too, not after language)

When I saw I was close to Cypress, something

So, stupidly (if you mean ‘so’ like thus and not emphasizing how stupidly)

They’d beaten me into my natural form; my shift had bought me enough

With these simple gold rings my people would fall if they hadn’t already. (No need for the dash or the comma.)

There’s nothing precisely wrong with this sentence, but it could be cleaner: “I finally sat, blinking away…me.” It just feels a bit clunky.

Cross-legged not crossed legged.

She had a blanket pulled around her shoulders and was

Let alone a non-magic woman

When I’d woken from their inflicted

Overall, I’m eager to head to the next chapter and will do so now!
5/23/2012 c27 this wild abyss
As per usual, my critique will be not a critique. And sorry for the late return!

Well, I love this thing you do with the mixing of scenes. The stage and the fight in this chapter, the club and the forest a couple chapters ago. It's such a cool trick, and it's effective in creating mood and atmosphere without too much description, which is something I love about your writing—how tight and crisp it is. It's also great for laying backstory and characterizing, since the characters are in a "memory" of sorts. I like how even this late in the story you're still laying down foundations for your characters, giving them a more nuanced and detailed history.

And great ending! If you were ever in doubt that there was no plot (I wasn't but I know some people were...), don't worry about that any more, because it's there. You've got a group of four, all separated and suchlike, with one possibly dead, the other lost, and two going to meet a not-so-nice witch king/bro. Great tension and suspense! This, I think, is where having the split narrative is really going to pay off.

Can't wait to see what you do with this!
5/23/2012 c27 Whatsoever
I love your story and I love your writing style so much. It kinda inspires me. Please update soon!
5/23/2012 c5 76The Autumn Queen
So this is the witch from the last chapter? Wicked? Apparently.

Opening: clever. Particularly clever. Distinguishing between the thrall and the womanly scent – the two forms of lust while leaning towards death, uncontrollability…and then coming back with restraint and distance. A barrier of emotion…but I can’t help but wonder where the anger came from? That was somewhat sudden. I like the return to humanity too. Especially when comparing this beginning to the end from the last chapter. It’s very suitable.

Spelling/grammar: Your commas this time.

“"You remember me," I tried to keep the magic out of my words, but it was exceedingly difficult. “ – I think a fullstop would be more suitable there. The bit outside talking marks doesn’t particularly continue on in a flowing manner from the speech. And “He was scared, he'd been scared” – a semicolon would be appropriate as both sides are stand-alone phrases. You seem to perhaps be overusing commas – it gets a little ineffective when you can’t vary the pause.

Character: my favourite so far, although perhaps it’s more to do with his narrative quality than anything else. But I love how you’ve dug deep into his mind. A mix between control/uncontrollability of magic, his human vs. non-human side, the cold calculating face, and all perfectly transitory too. And how Nikky’s thoughts filter into his narrative. And the little flashback of his past snugly fitting into the present while at the same time giving us an explanation, not only of his circumstances, but of his character and current standpoint. I like how he says “it was thought a gross thing, in fact if such an abomination were to exist it should be destroyed.” – it shows the segregation, not only of the community, but of himself. Really homes in on the whole outer war vs. inner. And then, just the way he says: “Well, after I ate one of them.” And the effort he puts into resistance – it’s obvious he doesn’t want to be a bloodsucking monster (as if the narration before that wasn’t enough. :) )

And this war’s making a whole lot more sense now too.

The ending: it’s unusual, but not denying its effectiveness. The short snappy sentences that have Jude bordering on loss of control and the black magic that could bind him. It’s almost ironic; an interplay between two means of control and the wrong one is being offered. And the last sentence: “there was an art to losing your mind” – not only was it neat, but it leaves me wondering which way the scales have tipped. Implication states it didn’t quite go how Al wanted it to.

I hope these fulfill the depth requirements.
5/23/2012 c4 The Autumn Queen
I think I get it now. The first two chapters were the male writer/savage. The last chapter and this were the young woman with them. That explains the slight inconsistency when changing narrations. My bad there.

Opening: this time, your opening wasn’t quite as enthralling as your previous ones. Perhaps it’s because of the stage of the narration, but I think you could have described the scene and the aura in the air before going on to access. That might have made it more effective – unless you’re like me and can spend pages on that stuff.

“he walked so clumsy, moved clumsy” – is this a matter of the narration, because I thought clumsily is more usual.

Let’s skip the spelling/grammar this time.

Technique: your first person narrative is far more exploited in this chapter. You’ve used the opportunity to plunge into the depths of the situation and the character. I suppose it was the situation; now that things have slowed down a little, there’s time to think about the tightness of one’s boots, so to speak. I did think there were a couple of opportunities you could have further utilised in the earlier chapters though. For example, when the savage sat in the cage.

“I reached for a light switch, but still no light.” – no reaction to that though?

Aside from the narrative, you’ve eased out of the punching lines and adapted a more fleshy narration, again appropriate for the situation as they head towards safety. At the same time, you’ve maintained a little abruptness, for example the vampire comments, which remind us that they’re not out of the clear yet while looping back and reconnecting with the previous chapters. That is, until we get to the action scene which adapts its fast paced and succinct narration again.

Setting: well described, with motifs of light and darkness, the use of smell, the ploy on memories…one thing I have to wonder about though is your choice of using “hallows” as a descriptor. Reminds me of Ground Zero, and you mentioned a similar thing in the first chapter. Ground Zero for The Rebellion?

And the turnabout when it’s light burning when a slight scroll up, it was the lack of light being the problem. The contrasts between a place that should have represented safety but didn’t, and the unfamiliar one that perhaps did. The description of the men complimented that as well.

Ending: I particularly liked the ending of this chapter. It was powerful for one thing, perhaps more so than anything else in this chapter. It gave a little more to Charlotte’s character and the situation of war as a whole, particularly how trust and friendship and loyalty pale when anyone could be a traitor. It complements the scene before when Al suggests she may be a sympathiser, while at the same time giving us a hanging sort of feeling. The sort that prompts someone to click the “next” button. Even if it is a somewhat clichéd idea, you’ve gotten rid of the cliché part of it and left the raw material you’ve then threaded into your own rope leading on to the next chapter. Particularly since you’ve just mentioned the confliction and gone from there into action and burning thoughts. In this particular case, I think the lack of expansion works; keeps the end nicely concise so it sticks in one’s head and since we’re back to a scene where action seems more appropriate than reaction, works.

I would have put a comma in the last sentence though.
5/23/2012 c3 The Autumn Queen
Opening: I’ve noticed your openings don’t necessarily flow in from the previous chapter. Considering the monumentous relief that seemed to permeate the ending of the last chapter, this beginning seems to have rewound a little…or else skipped ahead. Perhaps it may have been easier to mentally link if you had filled in that little gap or overlapped it with the ending.

Who’s the savage by the way? I thought the witch called the narrator a savage, and yet he states: ‘the savage and I’. Is it a marker they’ve posted on each other? Insult or something like that?

“Then I came down, fast.” – double meaning. That part’s really catchy.

Pace: seems to be jumping around a little. As I said above, and in my review for ch 1, some parts seem disjointed from other. Without page breaks, I’m expecting your narration to smoothly flow and transit from one to another. While between chapters is another thing entirely, even within chapters your pace is jerking somewhat. Other than that, I think you’ve paced this out nicely.

“…concrete floor. Ah. Yes./ Next, I searched the …” seems rather jerky too. What made him search the body? You didn’t go on a whole lot either about how he felt about Nikoli being dead. Considering the circumstances, that would have been a particularly good spot to elaborate on first person narrative.

Spelling/grammar: You’re spelling’s good. Better than good actually, to write chapters of this length and to find only one questionable spelling case over three chapters. I think you’re overusing dashes though; this is somewhat like me overusing ellipses. “I looked at Nikolai's mangled body—the witch who took everything from me.” – for example, you could use a colon instead of a dash. In fact, I think it would be more appropriate as the successive cause elaborates on the subject of the preceding one. There are a few other examples of that; while dashes are definitely more appropriate here than ellipses, there have been places where they're perhaps less appropriate than the other alternatives available.

"The witch's" - makes it sound like you're talking in singular while the system is in reference for plural. A minor point, but "witches'?"

Techniques: back to the irony/contradictions: "annoyingly informative." for one. My favourite. The constant movement you've outlined throughout this chapter is quite effective as well...unless I'm reading into things again. I seem to think he appears rather nervous. Somewhat short-tempered...although that's questionable as we haven't seen him in a reasonable situation so far. Constantly moving. Checking the body. Now searching through filing cabinets and rooms at large. And the reference to the dog - back to the irony again. Dogs pacing in their cages. And suddenly throwing in the dialogue at such a monumental time as soon as he found the book. Now that's good transitioning. And "careful; giddy" - another contradiction. The play on words unravels a deeper meaning and adds a few more spider threads to the narrative.

Hang on, is the narrator a guy or a girl? Something in the first chapter made me think it's a guy, but this chapter...the heels, and now "Isabella" and the forced kisses...leans more towards girls.

Sorry I just realised my paragraph breaks were vanishing. I really hope that didn't cause any inconveniences for you.
5/23/2012 c2 The Autumn Queen
This part was for the previous chapter, but I forgot it on my file: It’s interesting you brought in the human factor and yet showed no humans so far to compare with. Makes me wonder if that’s something you’re going to come back to.

But that comes in later into this chapter.

“Recent rumors said the city had been taken by humans, and I had taken the risk.” – I’m afraid I’m a little muddled up there. It sounds like the humans are worse than the witches from that sentence, but I suppose I’ll find out in future chapters.

Techniques: one disadvantage of introducing a new language is we don’t understand it. On that note, since it’s the narrator’s native tongue, isn’t that also the language he’s theoretically narrating in, and it’s thus a given that his language would be understandable to him, and thus written in the same form? It’s obvious from the witch scene in the previous chapter that he writes in his native tongue, so why doesn’t he narrate in it? It would have been more natural to have the witches language something else as opposed to the shape-shifter’s.

More progression by the means of reflection though, albeit I’d have liked you expanded a little on that cursing scene.

You also seem to be employing the use of irony in narration. “against my morals” for example.

Dialogue: I liked your first dialogue, between the shapeshifter and the male witch. The second one I found somewhat lacking in emotive depth, especially considering the circumstances. The first part was fine, but the “decency to inquire” part threw me off a little, making the next transition of emotion a little too quick for my liking. Particularly the lack of description of tone for the following recount. The bit after that was abrupt as well, but that was a good abrupt, if that makes any sense. A snap of the fingers sort of effect. Almost reminiscent to any woman’s reaction on the street in a slightly more downplayed and/or warped situation.

Spelling/grammar: “I barely believe it, we wiped you out,” – two separate clauses are generically separated by a semicolon as opposed to a comma, even in dialogues and particularly when there are other commas within the same sentence.

The sentence: “But I was as far away as I could get, and it wasn't going to do me a bit of good.” – he was already far away, and it isn’t as in future tense. That’s somewhat inconsistent. Unless you meant any further attempts wouldn’t do any good. Otherwise, it might be better to change that last part into, for example, “it wasn’t doing me a bit of good.”

“The young woman was drug around the corner, barely conscious” – drugdragged?

"had been wrong to think Nikolai was death. This monster was death./ And death tossed us a well deserved miracle." - death reads like a title here, so perhaps in capital?

Style: “haunting hallow laugh” – nothing wrong with that, but to me the rhythm reads a little off. Perhaps switch haunting and hallow. That sounds better to me. But that’s a matter of perspective though.

“Suddenly, a heavy door slammed shut, and I immediately backed against the far wall, waiting.” – considering the suddenness, breaking that sentence up might work better. You’re dragging the event a little. It works in passive events, but you’ve written so far in active despite being in past tense.

Shorter and more concise sentences work best in active action. I think that’s part of the reason I find myself relapsing into passive, particularly when reflection is more important than action.

Now I’m confused. Witches captured him, and now he’s stuck in the cell with two witches (or one witch? Was the other a prisoner or guarding because I got both impressions) with humans as the captives? When did that transition happen? Or is the witch-general working for the humans?

Time for the next chapter...actually, time for dinner, then next chapter.
5/23/2012 c1 The Autumn Queen
Is that first bit in italics a quote or a part of the narration? I initially thought it was a quote since it was centered, but then the lack of quotations marks of either variety and the first person narrative somewhat threw me off. It might be better to specify that in case you wind up with more crazy people like me sitting there and thinking about whether it was a quote or a narration while memorising the Cori cycle.

Anyway, I think I’ll segment my depth reviews this time like you did. Makes it easier to follow.

Opening: Your first line (barring the italics part which for the moment I won’t consider as part of the opening) was rather attention grabbing. You certainly didn’t beat around the bush. A straight action with no description or reflection to complement that. The style of first person tends to vary and I find this form the harder of the two to achieve. But that first line was good. The second paragraph…the second like in that is somewhat mincing words. “…morbid looking, just like the rest of them, but he was wearing…” – could easily be shortened to “morbid looking like the rest, except he was wearing…” or something similar to that and perhaps more suited to your own narrative style. Considering the concise nature that follows through, mincing words in what can still be considered the opening somewhat dampens the effect of your attention-grabbing start. Having concise then word mincing then concise again…considering the nature of the scene specifically as one focused on action rather than reflection, I think it works far better if you cut the unnecessary words out of that and draw the focus a little more firmly to the situation. You somewhat drew my attention away to the leader’s appearance at that point…a little too much perhaps. Rereading it, I find the reader isn’t the central focus but rather a conduit.

Writing: quite clear, particularly considering this is first person narrative and thus subjected to bias from the narrator. My word processor seems to think shapeshifter is two words, but that might just be the word processor. Your descriptions are nicely illuminated too. I find your scene transitions a little jerky though. For instance after the line “Go ahead and throw him with the others” the narrator has suddenly started babbling on about his past. Normally, that elicits a lead-in of reflection or a scene change. You’ve got neither of those. Same with the bit between the “looming trees seemed to whisper” and “I had spent five…”

“…my only possession: One folded…” – I don’t think the one should be capitalised there.

“I supported our people, I pushed…” – I think a semicolon would work there better than a comma. Word processor agreed – but I wouldn’t always listen to it.

“How dare you, the looming trees seemed to whisper.” – How dare you reads as a question. No question mark?

“And though I had kept myself on the edge, skittering in exile among the outer regions of the kingdoms, I made a mistake.” – The “I made a mistake” part seems unduly abrupt. “I knew I had made a mistake” perhaps?

Techniques: There’s several examples of that in here. The first person narrative is somewhat difficult to judge at the current point because you’ve started off with action. I think the real differences with first person as opposed to third person come out in terms of reflection, because there’s a limit to how deep you can go while standing outside. At the moment, while there’s nothing wrong with your narrative, there’s very little that particularly makes it stand out from your third person work. No doubt that will change later down the track; this is the first chapter after all.

What I can comment a little more on is your motif of the pen/writing, which I think, while not unique, was used extremely effectively. Writings during war and times of communal difficulties is quite common in modern literature (why they call it modern when it was early 1900s, I’ve got no idea) and we commonly see authors leaving their countries, but returning for inspiration is somewhat different. Not only that, your description of that segment was nicely crafted for the most part.

Plot: seems to be a nice blend of the conventional war, a supernatural element (aka. the witches) and a philosophical quest for writing inspiration and, unless I’m reading too much into this, a quest for the narrator to create a life for himself or something akin, because I think I spy some guilt in here. No proof though. Having a physical and mental war complementing each other works quite nicely though, even if this is only the first chapter. It’s surprising; normally I struggle to comment on plots so early but I definitely had something to say so far.

Right, next chapter. Sorry it’s taking so long Potter.
5/22/2012 c27 13VelvetyCheerio
Does this mean they are finally going to speak with Jude's sister? Because if that is the case, Kit and Ephraim had better not get left behind. XD This group has been through quite enough for them to not get anything done.

Although, that is considering the King doesn't kill them all first.

I really don't know what to say about this chapter. XD I usually enjoy Charlotte's POV's because they are easier for me to follow, as opposed to Jude who is constantly insane and Kit who is just... Kit.

But now that she's gone all magic user, her perspective has changed completely. Which, I mean, that makes sense, but now she's got a taste of Jude about her. She's hard to understand.

Anyway, I thought the way her magic manifested into a Jude shaped weapon was really cool. The contrast between that and when she woke up from being knocked unconscious was also a nice touch, I thought. At least she still remembers she's human.

Things never work out smoothly in situations like these, so all I can hope is that everyone will live. xD This wasn't a bad chapter, Potter. At the very least, you are moving the plot forward!

5/18/2012 c27 99Dreamers-Requiem
I think this is one of my favourite chapters so far. I love the description of the hallucination; it was written brilliantly, and in a really clear way but with a real dream-like feel to it, which I think is sometimes a little hard to pull off but you did it well here. I think the imagery you use is really powerful in places; it packs a punch exactly where it should, and really draws the reader in. As always, I love the different voices used for the different characters, and the way they remain distinct and seperate.

Now, please update soon, because I really want to know what happens to Jude and Charlotte, and what's become of Kit!
5/13/2012 c27 18Stephanie M. Moore
Short chapter!

The first half of this chapter is so chaotic- in the best sense, of course. Charlotte was clearly lost in her hallucination, because I could barely tell what was real and what wasn't.

It made me happy when Char managed to cast with Jude's magic. I don't know why, but I smiled in that section.

Mm. I like the way you include Jude's and the other witches' sadness for the ones he killed. You created sympathy for the enemy, which I thought was unique. Very sad.

As for your poor editing, I couldn't find anything to indicate that.

And oh, what a fantastic ending! I'm looking forward to learning more about Jude's past and his strange family. And we get to meet the king! Update soon, Em!
5/11/2012 c27 5Dr. Self Destruct
[I would just like to point out that I came up with the Fus Ro Dah before there was a Fus Ro Dah...]

I saw this in your Author's Note, and when I saw what you were referring to I couldn't help but laugh, haha. xD Jude would make quite the dragon-born, if you ask me.

Okay, so, I know I haven't review the past few chapters and I'm a bad girl for doing that, but I've definitely read them. I'll probably go back in the future and review them later on, but I want to be current with this story, dammit, and no one can stop me!

Anyways, I really like how you opened this with the concert and Charlotte remembering her family and everyone she loved. It was really touching and sentimental... and I think it was an awesome way to revisit her past and how much of a star she used to be. With the current war and how the story started, I sometimes forget how high of a position she once had in society, considering how the war pretty much pulled everyone down to the same level. And I think it's only natural for her to think about it, remember it, and wish to have it all once again - and it's even cuter that she wants to relive it all with Jude. At least she finally found a guy that actually sees her, unlike all those other brave boys who tried and failed.

That paragraph of her introducing Jude to everyone and Jude introducing her to all his friends was really cute. It's also very sad knowing it'll never really happen in reality... but at least they both have experienced the same level of suffering and loss to where they can relate on a much more intimate level. I really think you've come a long way with their relationship, and I really enjoyed how you transformed their feelings of hostility, almost hate, into this deep bond and connection between them. It's very believable and happened gradually, morphing into something very powerful.

Oh, and the guitar! Gotta love how Jude uses that guitar/sword to whoop some ass. I just had this huge grin on my face because it made me think of Devil May Cry 3 where Dante (one of my most favorite characters in the WORLD) has this guitar that turns into a scythe that he uses to kill shit. xD And Jude is definitely a rock-and-roll badass type of guy - I thought it fit him perfectly.

["Go get 'em, tiger," I said. I let Jude's magic go.]

I want my own tiger, too. Not fair, Charlotte. ._.

The Fus Ro Dah blast was really cool. Also like that little remark of Charlotte's about how she refuses to be the damsel in distress. You go girl! I thought it was also awesome how she uses Jude's magic to attack a witch - I thought that was another great opportunity you utilized to show the reader just what in fact that type of connection between them really means.

[One of them was trying not to cry—we killed his brother.]

Ah, and such are the horrors of war. I think this was a big eye opened for both the characters and the reader... it shows that sometimes there really isn't a good or bad side, that everyone bleed and cries when the smoke settles and the battles are done. Very sad... actually makes me feel bad for the witches. After all, they were just following orders. But still, if I were in Jude's or Charlotte's position, I wouldn't have hesitated in killing them to try and survive. I think what this does it effectively shows that Charlotte, while brave and willing to do what has to be done, still has a heart through all this madness, no matter how much torture the witches put her through.

Oh yeah, this must be the chapter where you're hoping the reader won't remember they're kinda naked, right? xD Well, considering there was a scene break I think it's safe to assume they could have dressed in that time. And also, originally I didn't picture them getting completely naked anyways - after all, if they're in the forest having sexy-time they should probably keep their clothes on as much as possible. Don't want dirt and pine-needles getting into those naughty-no-no places. But, if you're really concerned about it, you could always just address it by saying Charlotte pulls up her pants or pulls her shirt down back over her chest - but that's only if you're worried about it. I think it's fine as is right now. xD

Glad I'm finally caught up. Now I can stand next to Lyra and keep yelling at you to update. :D
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