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8/3/2012 c14 4Solomon Sia
Wow. REveletions are really flying thick and fast.

It's funny how everyone respects Dmitriv and considers him to be an outstanding individual, especially given the fact that he has done nothing but gotten his badge stolen and reading detective novels thus far in this story. I feel that Cirasu was so much stronger as a leader, although maybe Dmitriv has a more idealistic vision and a more 'ordinary' style of leadership.

At the same time, I didn't expect blood to fly, within the group no less. This shocked me a little, to see Mia, S. and Yuriy come to blows. I didn't think Yuriy would hit his friend, but wow, Dmitriv a vampire, hmhmhm. And of course, half the group are stvorenjies too, that really keeps me guessing.
As I knew it, the case is not solved so easily! Still many chapters to go before the true murderer is discovered.

I'm intrigued by what importance the past crime of 85 years ago has on this case, despite the obvious parallels. Does this mean that him has been active for over 85 years, or is simply mirroring an old, famous case for his benefit?

Also thought it cute that Cirasu paused for dramatic effect, because she doesn't seem like that kind of woman. She's the calming, authoritative presence in the group, and works well with all the information during the crisis. I just feel that the other detectives are so much weaker than her in comparison, although they do manage to find the occasional nugget of information, they seem to have spent more time venting at each other instead of actually solving the case.

Reading on...
8/3/2012 c13 Solomon Sia
This was a pretty good chapter with action, revelations, thought, and even a moral message behind it.

However, I'm suddenly thinking elevator worker is a pretty good job with nice perks!

I felt that this chapter made a very strong statement of greed and stupidity. Those rich people gave away their bank account information and entered a deal they had no idea about, only to find themselves in such trouble as a result. In contrast, it was up to the tired detectives (Mia) to pound them on the head so as to retrieve important, otherwise hidden information from them. Wow.

At the same time, I like the interactions between Yuriy and Mia, how he restrains her when she's going too far, yet at the same time how her method finds quick and brutal results. I feel that Mia is pretty impulsive for someone who's both a detective and a technique assassin.

Somehow, despite the apparent revelation of the end at chapter 13, I doubt that this investigation will prove to be so simple. I forsee a deeper evil, where Sanders' crime only serves to reveal an even greater, more heinous one!
7/29/2012 c12 Solomon Sia
The start of the story, as is appropriate at the halfway mark after a series of sudden revelations, is one of exhaustion mixed with accomplishment. It's an interesting decision with regard to how you pace the story, because this slows it down once again and allows a more intimate focus on the characters.

I like the brief moment of foreshadowing before Tom Buckley is dragged in. I also appreciated the image of a child and a frail woman dragging in a young man. Also the reactions of Mia and Xin, which bright to light the unofficial hierarchy within the group. Cirasu Kaine Mia and Xin?

I found the secrets dug up on Buckley were pretty crushing. This gives me more respect to the group, and it looks like it was all Cirasu's work.

Once again, Kaine gives me the impression of someone who wanted to make the omelette, but know doesn't dare to break any eggs. I'm beginning to doubt his perspective, although I'm looking forward to seeing more of him than that which meets the eye.

As Buckley is caught, I like the catharsis we get from watching him squirm and lose all his former arrogance. It's hard to sympathise with him, and I have no inclination to do so. His confession only makes me think he is more the fool, for having taken part in a deal he knew nothing about. Careless greed leads to certain ruin. Now we can see the shape of the deal, as well someone pulling the strings from the shadows. I'm getting the sense that this is much bigger than a mere corporate secret, and I'm really eager to see how everything comes together: all the major businesses, a promise, Sanders, and the murder.

Once again, your author note reveals interesting things about your thought process. I feel that humor was a worthwhile experimentation in this kind of chapter, and wouldn't have minded seeing an earlier draft, if that was available. What you have here is deadly serious though, which is more appropriate considering the revelation that this whole plot is going a deeper shade of grey.

Bug fixes:
[slight problems with the past perfect tense]
[The two didn't answer him as they released Buckley and pushed him forward.]
[none of them were in Buckley's favor.]
["Just don't release those stories about me."]
7/28/2012 c11 Solomon Sia
We have very human responses of the group members here at the start of this chapter. Despite being on the appearance seasoned professionals, all of them exhibit some form of discomfort. Yuriy becomes brittle and irritable, Kaine is nervous as usual. Even S. with his foot tapping seems to be less cool than usual. It felt slightly strange to me that Yuriy would be unnerved by the interview he should have been looking forward to, but this only serves to increase the tension and the reader's desire to read further. A good use of emotion to build the reader's interest here.

Everything after that goes straight to...um...what was the name of the Sphere's underworld? The bad one? I really didn't expect Yuriy to pull out a gun, but apparently the show of madness worked its magic and restored order. The plot only deepens with Sanders' words, and I like how the secret business deal shifts in tone from some commercial secret to one that seems so much more personal.

As I read on, I can see why these are your better chapters! There's more attention and inspiration, and I like how the innocent is interwoven with the tragic and suspicious. The dramatic comedy of the last part was right up my alley. And all the pieces you've carefully laid at the beginning are starting to fall neatly into place.

Was I right about the murderer, now? Now that I feel that it has been revealed I'm not sure anymore, dang. Also, if the typist doesn't die or suffer harm in some way I'm going to be unhappy. No one should be able to unsettle S. by beauty alone.

Favorite line:
["You're into charity, too?" Mikola looked surprised]
[Great S., Yuriy thought. Way to not be suspicious.]
Bug fixes:
[He beckoned o the three to enter the room.]
[And S. lacked the tact]
7/28/2012 c10 Solomon Sia
Love the introduction of the hotel scene, especially how you introduce the characters present one by one, I thought that was a great example of choreography. One by one, Kaine, Cirasu, Mia, Yuriy, S., and finally Xin appear, perfectly timed. Within the hotel, things just got better, with the hedonistic environment that caused even the nervous outsiders like Kaine to relax.

I like how things come so suddenly to a head with the rest of the group subdued by Cirasu's unfocused but grim report while Buckley faces off against the group alone. Kaine does quite a bit of gaping and gasping here, which suits his personality and highlights the gravity of the situation.

Cirasu's acting received 5 stars from me during the approach, keeping her group in control and also playing a perfect part.

[The night sky shining on him was completely and utterly black] Interesting simile that the darkness was shining on him. It adds to the oppresiveness, compared to the more traditional 'the night sky above him'.
Bug fix:
[All that was there was the darkness]
[His manners spoke of arrogance.]
[Buckley had not said what Kaine thought he had said. He had not.]
[The heir did not have any clue what he had just done and who he had just crossed.]

Direct responses to your author questions:
-I think the murderer is Sanders.
-I'm rather surprised that an assassin has such a nervous disposition! Kaine looks innocent to the point of naivette. Xin plays off well when paired with Mia due to the role reversal between the adult and the child. You know I like S. Yuriy and Cirasu.
-I feel a faster lead is more important to the story, maybe a deeper thought so as to leave more clues in the beginning. There were many dead ends in the beginning and weak leads, that helped with world building and characterisation. But dead ends slow the plot down.
-I predict that my favorite chapters are still to come!

Looking forward to the conclusion of this story!
7/28/2012 c9 Solomon Sia
This chapter is indeed pretty well edited.

The plot is certainly moving along now that Yuriy and Cirasu have stronger leads. Also, thanks to your comment, I have a better idea now of why the Group has more time on their hands.

I'm naturally wary of every new character introduced during a detective novel, so I'll be keeping my eye out for evelynn especially to see if she brings any surprises to the table.

I was not surprised to see that Cirasu had some surprises. (I'd be surprised if Cirasu didn't surprise me,) but, her as a steel baron is pretty impressive all the same. I see she's still keeping up the cross-dressing trait, and it was rather well presented here, especially in contrast to the more effeminate wealthy.

At the same time, I notice the power of your name choices. Calling the secretary Fifi instantly causes us to dismiss her as a non-entity, allowing the reader's attention to be drawn towards Miss Vandwell. We also get to see some group cooperation here, which is a trait of your writing, as the members work together to achieve their aims.

This chapter was good. I'm especially excited to see the story moving along and the leads growing warmer.

[That was until it caught his eye.] Instead of saying it, maybe 'the blood' would have a stronger impact. (Personal preference)
Bug fix:
[Had her meeting with the Parliament gone so badly?]
[So what had he missed?]

I like reading chapters that are 1500-3000 words, although this is only for the case of fictionpress, naturally, because there is no natural page to set the pace and scrolling down gets tiring easily. For most published books I don't even realise when a chapter has gone by.
7/26/2012 c8 Solomon Sia
Khorcinne city poses an interesting conundrum, at first sight. HOw can the city be so peaceful and ideal if the police headquarters is a corrupt mess? But I like the way even though the place is corrupt, there still seem to be honest people working there, such as Jonathon, who seems actively interested in helping Mia and Jin solve the case. Yet is ungentlemanly, not helping the woman with the heavy case! Although this helps to highlight Mia's frail physique, and make us interested about her area of expertise.

This one was nice: "The patting continued with a greater fervor. She rolled her eyes. The childish act was cute, but it was also taxing at the same time." Anyone who has ever patted someone else knows how taxing a child's singlemindedness can be. But at the same time, Xin does have a rather confrontational attitude towards Mia, trying to make the peace between her and S. He's like the conscience! Just as annoying, but can't he ignored.
Xin reached up and took a hand out of her mouth. "Don't bite your nails," he scolded. "It's a nasty habit."
I laughed out loud. It's such a role reversal. Which only get's better when Mia puts her nail back into her mouth wilfully.
"Basically, they are your average, every day rich people." - Jin. I found that summary very telling of Jin's character, because at that point he seemed to drop out of his professional recounting, and give a personal summary of the victims. But at the same time, he seems to have a cynical view of the rich, since he considers the donations to charity to be obligatory rather than stemming from real feeling.

[He looked down. "Not to be a bother, but…" He trailed off.] Hehe, for a moment I thought he was about to ask Mia out for a date!
[Seeing her lack of answer, Jonathon grew red]

One thing interesting is that the Group, for a bunch of private detectives, seem to have a lot of idle time with which to paint and take up cases they are not assigned to. Wouldn't they be constantly working, since there is so much chaos going on?
In general, I felt that this chapter was once again more about the world, and about the characters, and a brief summary of the case rather than any advancement into the plot. The revelations should come soon, though, with the list of names. Something suspicious is bound to turn up!

[He was surprised seeing the two; he didn't expect to meet a woman and boy.] Maybe if you removed the phrase he was surprised...because his eyes widening slightly already shows it, rather than tells.
[and he was found in a random alleyway of no concern dead.] This looks like the author is signposting. Perhaps Xin could at least state the location of the alleyway, so the investigation is more professional.
[the bullet was fired from the same gun] How do they know it's the same gun, besides the insignia? Maybe you could mention about the signature grooves a gun's barrel leaves in all its bullets, informative and cool.
[The knife used to make the wounds was found by the body.] Maybe found beside the body, although there's no real ambiguity here.

bug fix:
[Jonathon glanced in confusion at her.]
[She grinned, masking her true unease with giving the debriefing.]
[According to him, the merger would scam many corporate giants and investors out of millions of dollars.]
[.d how the Sanders investigation could be fruitless.]
7/26/2012 c7 Solomon Sia
This chapter is one of your strengths.

The conversation, and interactions between Jin and Xin are interesting to watch, firstly because they are siblings and because they are the child members of the group. The words seem stilted however, and it seems that there's more behind their minds than the thoughts of mere children. After all, Jin is concerned about her brother rather than taking the painting at face value, whereas Xin's mind is taking a turn which Jin sees to be wary about. But it's a beautiful painting, so what could be the reason? So this simple act of painting opens up a lot of questions, which I like.

I like Yuriy's logic, and I find to my surprise that I totally agree with him. Ridiculous as it sounds, it is up to family members to correct each other, in order to save face in front of strangers.

Hurray for Dmitriv! "He decided to deal with the problem as he normally did – yelling and interrogating everybody harshly." He's such an ineffective leader, walking around with a competent group that does everythign for him. I can't for the life of me figure if the black square object Dmitriv had dropped has any significance, thinking what it could be.

Aha, I like your contrast between S. and Kaine, even though they are together, Kaine is a deer caught in headlights and S. is the driver! Also, hinting about Mia's past, regarding human life, but it's something that should not be mentioned. So I guess not a doctor? Once again, the other side of S. is shown, constricting, tricky, but also at times strangely vulnerable to a direct question, S. seems to have a fragile personality. I'm watching to see if it cracks and the poison that might spill out if it does.

Regarding the revelation of Mia as an assassin. You're right, it did feel a bit too sudden, especially since it came directly from her, unbidden. Maybe if someone had whispered it to another person out of her earshot, or maybe, during an exploration into the past, or during times of great stress, she could reveal herself. Otherwise, she could simply remain hidden, whistling with her hands in her pockets in the happy knowledge that she killd people, and the longer she hides the more shocking the revelation is when it finally comes.

Overall great chapter! I'm reading on.

Bug fixes
The painting was stunning in itself but what surprised her was the fact her brother had painted it
She just wasn't sure if she liked the implications [of] him having painted it.
7/26/2012 c6 Solomon Sia
I enjoyed this chapter, but yes, this one wasn't the your best.

I was disappointed by a lack of revealing information from the morgue, although maybe something odd has occurred and they will realise it later in the story! A clue, even a red herring, might have captured the attention more.

I did find it interesting that Kaine was defending the stvorenjie, however since his integrity has been the one driving the investigation I'm not surprised to find more instances of his highly moral behaviour. He did question the use of the badge.

I guess the main takeaway is the look into S.'s past. His hatred for the stvorenjie stems from his experimentation on them, so I think he can pull a lot of tricks in the future. You're definitely creating an intriguing character and the revelations from S. are just going to increase, I think.
7/24/2012 c5 Solomon Sia
"Currently in the book, the main detective had still not made any progress in his investigation. Instead, he was building a romantic relationship with a young heiress"
The opening paragraph is exactly why I love Dmitriv. He's so laughable.

[He was disappointed, and he cooked during his most frustrating moments.]
This is such a unique characterisation of the hunter. I totally imagine the camera slowly zooming out in order to display Kaine standing in an entire bakery's worth of sweet pastries. I'm glad that his attempts to find help met initially with frustration but now he has found an ally in S. Aha, a mention of stvorenjie again! Vampires and werewolves.

Also, very deceptive, very interesting twist at the end, Yuriy is now special in my eyes. Very well thought out means of getting the badge, and as a reader I was completely dragged in to the pathetic display of magic from Yuriy. We moved from disgust to embarrassment to sympathy and again to shock and admiration.

I felt that more description of the characters are in order, now I'm reading this through a second time, and I have some idea of what they look like, but I feel that a new reader would want more precise descriptions of the bespectacled S., the stern and condescending Dmitriv, etc.
7/23/2012 c2 Solomon Sia
Your author's note invited questions, so I'm going to ask one: "Who's him?" Such impossible motives. I can only suppose it's some genius anarchist.

Cirasu sounded so powerful and exciting in this story, I immediately assumed her to have a massive backstory, so I refrained from reading on until I had finished the earlier story: "Prejudices Lying". How shocked I was to realise that there was no mention of Cirasu at all, until...
I love the way you put such leading information regarding Cirasu's character: the phrase 'Immoral One' I found to be particularly well turned. I am absolutely sold on Cirasu. I hope you don't mind if I don't remember anyone else except Cirasu from the long conversation with the parliament.

And now things are going deeper, with a connection between Cirasu and Dmitriv, a brother in between, and a scattering of other groups and individuals. I actually found it slightly intimidating, because I felt that it might have been introduced at a more moderate pace.

In terms of environment, I liked the menacing authority, bleakness of the descriptions for Cirasu's meeting. It was ornate, and yet the people were not dispassionate, for there were occasional bursts of emotion and power. This leads to a very interesting dynamic for Cirasu, as she has the unique position of being middleman between her superiors and the Group she leads.

Overall, a very tense introduction of a key character, I'm liking.
7/23/2012 c1 Solomon Sia
A nice start to the story, and a pleasure to revisit your work. I like how the previous story starts with someone who is presumed innocent, whereas this one begins with someone who is presumed guilty! Sweet twists. Leaves me wondering how the third story will begin. It's a very nice hook, and made me turn the chapter instantly.

I found this special:
[Mention the name Anthony Vandwell, and a mixture of reactions would be produced. There would be fear. There would be anger. There would be pride. There would be happiness. There would be wariness. Of course, such reactions were expected to be produced for the founder and CEO of Vandwell Company.]
It really painted a picture of the world, and lent a deep gravitas to the importance of the crime.

Your deaths do have a tendency to be rather epic, I note. Knife wounds, yes. Bullet wounds yes. But both at the same time...special, and suspicious. I like how the guilt of the man is immediately thrown into question simply by the way you have him act. He is found unconscious, with no idea of his surroundings, instant mystery rather than mystery solved. I felt the amount of description used in this chapter will be appreciated by readers, especially polished one such as this:
A domineering, overreaching syndicate which frightened any competitors from ever trying to beat it.

Good luck with your story!
6/12/2012 c3 13Tsumujikaze no Soujutsu
I'm not too sure on your previous write, so I can't say anything here. But if there's anything to go by, maybe you can try cutting down on who's-doing-what. In fact I believe the opening part on Dmitriv could have been more focused on his own thoughts pertaining to the novel itself and not just the customary "I'm seeing this-and-that in the book". Although to be fair, you did make a clear-cut account on his current state. Just try to expand the whole thing on a far more emotional scale. You don't have to let his feelings all out in one shot. For someone of his caliber, I suspect subtle portrayals will be more apt. In fact I might end up going one step further and said that your final POV should promise so much more. It's like I'm having this impression that the dialogue might have gotten a bit dry. That as a reader, I'm just reading a deadpanned third person narrative. Maybe you can try to take a breather and envision what kind of emotions will be shown as if the entire scenario is for real.

But if there's any positive aspects to the chapter, it will be the first two parts. For part one, it's Xin. In a very real sense, people might not take him seriously. For me though, he's the kind of character who is an essential pariah not because he chose to or others forced him to, but rather whatever his life has defined for him, he's just this way. Its pretty much complicated to understand the cause and effect since I can't pinpoint the reason unto one single source. Its actually more of a multiple facets kind of thing.

Part two is all about the philosophy argument. On the first glance, it's easy to call Yuriy an emo. But yet interestingly enough, he doesn't really whine about his lot barring his identity as the lost sheep. That actually made me feel far better since I really hate Anakin Skywalker back then during the Star Wars prelude. In a very twisted sense, he might the sanest bloke out of the lot. And why I say that is very simple. If someone can be construed as abnormal just because he tends to see things differently, then what does it truly say on our part? That are we truly THAT much better off? The entire killing debate is what I'll call the crowning moment of the chapter. Because once I end up linking the bits and pieces, it's really a no-brainer that his very own self-questions will play a vital role in the current case.

I don't know if you've seen Fate/Zero or at least read the original novels, but I can virtually compare Yuriy with Emiya Kiritsugu aka the proxy main character. In a very ironic sense, the life Yuriy was forced to confront IS the kind of life Kiritsugu can only choose to survive. So will another major mind rape tragedy follow suit? Given his mental state here, I'm not gonna put it past you. ;)

The RH.

P.S: So nothing owed? Sorry. Hungry now, can't focus. x.x
6/4/2012 c19 1esthaelum
I can see why Mia would be uncomfortable. Her job is to kill people - not find out who killed them. It would obviously feel really weird to her because she's not in her element. I do like how everyone is so different in this story though. Like they have different beliefs and jobs, but they all need to sort out this investigation. Mia is badass too. I like her *_* IDK WHY BUT SHE REMINDS ME OF MAI FROM AVATAR. IDK.


I LOVE how self conscious Mia was in here! Like how she kept repeating her words mentally and asking if it was okay. It's really endearing and it makes me love her so much as a character! I really enjoyed reading her worrying about talking to that man, and if she should use 'miss' or it was polite enough. aaw :')

I felt really sorry for Ava... But I suppose it was lucky that she was there so that they could finally get some evidence!

AND GASP. WHAT IS THIS ABOUT CIRASU? I'm guessing that Ava knew Cirasu from before and that she didn't expect her to be there..? OR I'm also guessing that Cirasu must be hiding something... e_e I have a feeling she is. But whatever it is, I have no idea at all.

Anyway, great chapter as usual! I shall review more when I have time! :)
6/3/2012 c25 5Dr. Self Destruct
[The dank, dusty prison cell spoke misery and captivity.]

So much love for this opening sentence. It's very short and to the point, but also is a great metaphor and really sets the mood magnificently. At the risk of sounding pretentious or arrogant, I've noticed while reading this story that on a whole your writing has become a lot tighter and flows a lot smoother now as opposed to the first chapter. I think this is great progress, and it really shows that you're improving - which is always nice to see! There's nothing more disheartening than spending hours reading and critiquing a story to not see any progress - I'm sure you can relate to this as well. But it's great seeing that you take the time to go back and edit your chapters well after you've written them - it shows you have a lot of dedication, and that's certainly refreshing.

I really liked this opening chapter. Normally I don't enjoy an overload of description, but there are always exceptions like when it's used to get across a certain tone/mood or an image that's important and really needs to stick with the reader. I thought this was one of those times, and I really liked how you got across the very depressing condition of the jail cell, then contrasted it with Kaine's temperament. I thought it really stuck out. :)

I know I've already said this plenty of times, but I really like S. lol He reminds me a lot of myself, especially with how he hates uncertainty. I really am impressed with how many characters you have in this story, and how you're able to make them all so unique. I think out of all of them, I was able to sympathize with S. the most, though, even though he was supposedly a villain at one point in time.

Overall, I really think this story came a long way from start to finish, and I highly enjoyed reading it. I thought the whole mystery aspect was well done, and I'm feeling a bit proud of myself to see I was somewhat right about the whole Sanders being controlled, thing. Very disappointed in myself that I couldn't figure out who it was - but I think that's great, because it still left a feeling of surprise when the answer finally appeared. I'm really excited after seeing this mention of Him and how S. is going to start researching him. It makes me wonder if Him is going to be the main character of the next book! I can't wait to get started on that.

Thanks so much for the read! I've really found myself attached to these characters and their situations. I also, I think the flow/tone of your narration at the end of this chapter during the scene with S. was my favorite throughout the final chapter. It really ended on a brilliant note. :)

Just a few little observations:

[ Somebody was gracious of him for saving lives instead of killing them.]

I thought this sentence really showed a lot about Kaine's character. Considering how nervous he can act, sometimes I forget he's a hunter at heart. It's nice to see that he's able to be thanked for doing something good rather than doing something violent. I'm glad you took the time to point that out, too, because I think it really shows a growing point in Kaine's character. It makes me feel happy as well to see him being thanked for saving lives instead of taking them.

["Don't worry," Kaine reassured patting the man affably.]

Edit: Need a comma before 'patting.'

["I'll be going then," Kaine said approaching the door.]

Edit: Need a comma before 'approaching.' I know I badgered you in the past about commas (at least, I think I did xD) but remember that when you're going into a clause with a different tense, normally with verbs ending in -ing, usually you need a comma separating it from the preceding complete clause. Not all the time, though. It's kinda hard determining which ones do and don't. x_x

["I need you to some research."]

Edit: missing a 'do' after 'to.'
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