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for The Sailor's General Superior

5/26/2013 c4 blackouzel
Ahhh I was so glad that Cale got to step outside a bit for this chapter, and equally happy that it caused all sorts of mayhem!

I loved the concept of homepoles and the revelation behind the word dzali/dzalin (yay linguistics and the weirdnesses of First Contact).

I felt so bad for Jara when she tried to say hi and got grabbed/shouted at. And this chapter really helped me to appreciate just how FAR over backward the General is bending as a result of his bond with Cale. (The juxtaposition of the line "The pardons are mine to request" and the harsh bark of "Enter" just goes to show that this is an unnatural situation all around).

I like that Cale CAN get quite upset and grumpy but soon returns to the more temperate, positive moods that seem normal for him. And I have to say that I REALLY enjoy the fact that you write him with such wit and a sense of humor and irony, but without treading over the line into constant, dripping sarcasm (which is usually a lot less attractive). Good work!
5/26/2013 c3 blackouzel
This chapter is SO GOOD. I was hooked from the get-go on this story, but each line seems to add another hook to the one before it.

I love the obvious thoughtfulness you've put into the different cultures, and the customs/mannerisms you've extrapolated from each.

I also really, really, really liked the details you put in about the movements and plans of the army; it really helped me to picture where Cale is (or may be) headed. Not just a vague notion like "the army" or "a hill above a battle." There are REAL places and REAL people and a REAL new life he's going to have to get used to. Jara was instantly likable and she served to represent the reality of the soldiers that Cale is going to be brushing shoulders with, soon. But she's also a fascinating and three-dimensional character in her own right (I am intrigued by how she casually referred to herself as a 'liability' and I can't wait to know more).

You've dangled more hints about the incident that took Cale overboard and (possibly) ruined the Bluefish: the Lieutenizia sounds like a bit of an incompetent bastard if Cale is wishing him misery and imprisonment on top of the injuries. I love how you are drizzling bits of the backstory into each chapter.

I love the imagery you use (you know that already, surely, but it bears repeating). One of the best parts about it is that you tend to use the specific rather than the generalized, whenever it's possible. Favorite lines:
-[You aren't—you aren't even beautiful! You are nothing like the kind of men the General prefers] I love how much is revealed, here, about Alim, about the General, and (indirectly) about Cale himself. Awww... I ache for all of them. And I love that these people are all virtually on the same side and want the same things. The fact that they could end up so opposed/miserable despite that is a really brilliant stroke.
-[she pops another date in her mouth and pokes it to the side until it creases her cheek.]
-[so long as you don't mind getting your intestines beaten out of your ears]
-[You can't leave the General's side, Calentine.] BECAUSE: IMPACT. I think my jaw dropped a bit when I read this.

Can't wait to read more!
5/25/2013 c6 2lightstheway
This chapter really works for me; it is maybe the most emotional one I've read so far. You just can't help but feel all the pain and longing in Cal. That little boat he carved almost made me cry, and if I were Asotegi, seeing it in the morning would break my heart a little. But that's not the only example. I keenly felt Cal's embarrassment and frustration when he spoke up in the meeting. He doesn't say so, but given the deference he's shown for nobility in the past, he must be terrified of speaking up in a meeting that he's not even really supposed to be a part of. And how is he rewarded for his brave act, which he only took up because he wanted to see Asotegi's side win? He's patronized to the hilt. Although Paraz's love for Cal is clear, his faith in him is not yet established.

In the end, we don't have to be explicitly told the results of the battle to learn its inevitable conclusion; the resigned disappointment is almost palpable.
5/25/2013 c5 lightstheway
Favorite line: "a sort of unspoken compromise between him needing comfort and me not being too comfortable with that." Not only does it sound good, it perfectly sums up their dilemma; in any other situation, Cal would be right to insist that the General back way, way off, but magic has put their needs on a level. The fact that Cal gets it and is trying to compromise makes me like him a lot.

I understand why Cal, who has seen a lot of blood and death in battle and nearly died himself, is so affronted that the dzali take these honor battles so seriously. His own people die in droves fighting pirates, and nobody's erecting statues of them. It seems like a lot of prancing and posturing, but I see why this way of doing battle makes sense to the dzali. The difference between the two types of battle also adds a lot of color to your world and underscores the misunderstandings between the two species. And the dialogue between Cal and Jara just goes to show the dzali are a lofty mystery to the humans; few people know what they are really like.

The way the first day of battle turned out really shocked me. I won't spoil it for other readers, but wow. Way to defy expectations.
5/23/2013 c2 blackouzel
There are so many brilliant little lines in this chapter, the kind of lines one hopes to run across a few times per BOOK. Reading so much goodness all together in one go is s real pleasure. Here are some of my favorites:

-[I nod, mind still humming along, until I catch his words and jump like I'd spotted an enemy flag on the horizon. "Do... do you mean to stay there the whole night, sir?"] Everything here, from the song itself to Cale's belated realization to the fact that you worked a bit of maritime imagery into it, is AMAZING.

-[In a moment, he is all attentiveness again, leaning over me alarmingly. "You do not care for the arrangement? Please, tell me how I have given offense so that I may correct this."
Do you have any other complaints about the way I run my ship? the lieutenitza sneers in my mind. ] I love the juxtaposition of the General's question with the smackdown contained in the lieutenitza's. Even the way that Paraz looms over Cale's bed serves the imagery of the memory, and quietly reinforces our understanding of the dzali's monopoly on high rank and power. This also tells us something about how life on the Bluefish was for Cale, so it also counts as filling in a little characterization and backstory. In other words, this is a phenomenal example of using a few simple words to accomplish several complicated things at once. I love finding little delights like this tucked into otherwise innocuous-looking paragraphs.

-I loved how you introduced the concept of Otto's codex ( I think I get the gist of the rules on sleeping arrangements although I still look forward to having it laid out in explicit form at some point) and the saints in general.

-I can tell that Paraz is coming to terms with what has happened to/between him and Cale and is already in "damage control" mode. How MUCH is going to be upheaved, how MUCH is going to change? His pointed questions about Cale's ambitions and limitations re: serving on the ocean or on land are tugging Cale along toward a big new truth about his life that I suspect Cale would rather not look at. Haha, hilarious and brilliant. I also feel bad for both of them.

-You show us a lot about both cultures in subtle ways. I especially liked how you did this with the line [...when we were sixteen and could be conscripted, they snatched us all up. Two of us boys, three girls." I give him a bit of a look, waiting to see if he'll comment, but the dzali often send their women to war and he only gazes thoughtfully back.] In other words, humans in this world (or at least this country) might find women serving in war to be a strange concept indeed, and Cale half-expects there to be some kind of reaction to this statement despite the fact that he knows better. Awesome.

-[If the General is in here, then who is directing this gods-damned war? ] BEST LINE SO FAR. Love it.

The pacing of events and the balance between exposition, dialogue, and action are all superb. I like how your descriptions reveal so much about the narrator himself despite the fact that the first-person POV means we can't "see" him from the outside.
5/22/2013 c4 lightstheway
This is my favorite chapter so far. I was impressed with Cale's determination to proactively work through his problems and find allies. And the dzalis' responses were wonderful! Even the one guard who seemed "kind" treated him like a dumb child. Throughout it all, though, he doesn't forget that the General Superior didn't choose this either, and it's also rough on him. Their tender moment at the end of the chapter was very touching. I feel awful for both of them.
5/22/2013 c3 lightstheway
The beginning of this chapter amused me, but what really got me was toward the end, when Cale realizes that he won't be able to be with his family again. I could just feel the disappointment and even anguish, and I think it worked because of everything you've been building until this point, the way the narrator is always talking about his family and his memories of home.

I like that even when things are going badly for him, Cale stops to consider the feelings of the people around him and to second-guess his prior actions. This really makes him relatable.

So I guess we are moving landwardly after all! How will Cale ever adjust...?
5/22/2013 c2 lightstheway
I'm getting more and more intrigued. I'm glad that you let some time pass to let Cale get over his shock; I'm also glad that he's no wilting flower. Even though he strikes me as innocent in a couple of ways, he is not naive, which is why I respect him for sticking up for himself in with the General Superior.

The information about the Saints is entertaining and leaves me hungry to know more, especially about the commandments the people are supposed to follow. And the question Cale asks at the end of the first chapter is exactly what I was starting to ask myself!

I wonder how this is going to work... Will Paraz get on a ship, even though he hates water? Reading to find out.
5/22/2013 c1 lightstheway
I already love it! I think you strike absolutely the right balance with the tone: comedic enough that we can jive with the part of the situation that's ridiculous, but not taken so far that we can't appreciate its gravity, too. It's tough to write a bamboozled character who doesn't sound like a broken record, but I think you succeeded. Cale's confusion is believable - his failure to understand doesn't make him look stupid. Furthermore I like that you took a concept that gets abused a lot - magical soulmates - and made it classy. I can't wait to read more, they are already my OTP.
5/22/2013 c1 blackouzel
I'm already in love with this premise; it reminds me a lot of Takagi Ryo's mangas. They are usually characterized by a powerful ardent suitor and a quailing (but not wimpy) protagonist. I love the tone of Cale's narrative and the ingenious way you introduce his situation, various characters, and the wider world they live in. Special kudos for including the image of choking with flowers and a twice-rising sun. I know I'm going to love this story. (I can't wait to catch up to the sequel you are working on. )

Lightstheway read chapter one of The Sailor's General Superior out loud to me over dinner. We both laughed numerous times. I think she'll be reviewing you presently a well.
Thank you for the smiles. I will definitely read more.
4/8/2013 c26 walk
the story was very nice
2/22/2013 c1 8DawnSister
I like this, it has me gripped so far, from the first paragraph actually. It interests me, this world you have created and I like it already. You have given clever glimpses into its structure and culture and you seem to have a lot of depth to it as if there are oodles of notes for reference.
I'll be reading on.

2/12/2013 c26 1the wild semicolon
I just looked at your reviews! 290?! I can't believe that! That's the most unbelievable thing I've ever heard.

Your story is, actually, my absolute favorite story I have ever read on this site / possibly ever. GOD. 290? That outrages me. I read it a few - sixish? - months ago, and I've thought of it reverently since. I LOVE YOU/THIS/CALE/PARAZ. I haven't bothered reviewing, partly because I'm lazy and because I assumed your review count would have hit the thousands by now. I don't understand why not. I don't get it.

This is the best story I've read on this site! I love this story with the implacable sort of love I imagine mothers feel for their children. I've read through your sequel (also haven't reviewed; sorry) also putting me through exhausting emotional turmoil (half because I had to wait to read the rest of it :P) and earlier this year, I was thinking to myself Do I Have A Favorite Story? And the rest of me enthusiastically answered THE SAILOR'S GENERAL SUPERIOR. And then I did a little dance, because I was so excited thinking of it.

I mean, seriously. Sorry this review is mostly a rant, but I wanted to re-re-read this story before I typed you the essay you deserve IN MULTITUDES FROM SEVERAL THOUSAND PEOPLE which would be what my real review would look like. And I really just wanted to get this out. I mean, 290? This deserves Way More Than That. GOD.

So, sorry this is submitted from such a vague place. I just wanted you to know how very, very much I loved this thing. I love, especially, the shyness you can see in Asotegi and Calentine (just so I can mention ONE of the reason's I'm mad about this) and again, I'm sorry I couldn't give you a thicker review. When I have the time I can't wait to read this again. This such a rich world you created - and I still remember the line about dzali being a request for food and lodgins, which made me smile.
2/8/2013 c26 7opelleam
Wonderfull story and great plot
2/6/2013 c8 Kit
Awesome chapter, really fun!
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