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for Children of Ashes

2/24/2023 c1 bollylolly23
a dark story with real characters who you want to get to know better. As far as I can see it's just a begining. and the author knows what he wants to convey to the reader. a competent description of the environment allows you to see a colorful picture. please keep writing
12/15/2022 c1 knockmeoffmyfeet
Hello! I would like to invite you to join our platform to present a good quality story to our readers! Kindly send me a message if this offer piqued your interest
9/12/2022 c8 6She Who Loves Pineapples II
I like Tiana. She’s witty and smart.
2/1/2022 c7 She Who Loves Pineapples II
That was a bit gruesome…
1/22/2022 c6 She Who Loves Pineapples II
I gotta admit I have no memory of what’s going on in this story but I’m glad you’re still working on it
1/2/2022 c4 avalavaa
fantastic story and I really like it. Do you mind if I ask your ema1l? Because I want to 0ffer you something related to your work and through this chance I would like to invite you to join our platf0rm. Thank you and happy new year
4/22/2021 c1 SammyJones
Whoa, what a great story I just read. I suggest you join NovelStar’s writing competition, you might be their next big star.
2/14/2021 c5 She Who Loves Pineapples II
[With a platter on each hand and one atop her head, Prim made a round. She was in a tight black dress that gave a generous view of her cleavage and legs. He doubted Prim, being as conservative as she was, would have such clothing in her wardrobe.]

This doesn’t make sense to me. She’s currently wearing it but he doubts she would wear it? What?

Anyway, another good chapter. I’m glad you updated and am looking forward to more.
2/6/2021 c4 She Who Loves Pineapples II
So, we have a new POV character! And the return of Isondre, who rescued Zaile when he was a child. I wonder how it was known that Isabelle was a favorite of Finnardi, and furthermore, I’d like to see into Isabelle’s head more to see how she thinks of Finnardi – is he a person she’s met? A voice in her head? A feeling in her heart?

I’m also seeing more terminology I don’t know – Aurael, Zohrenburg, Rieva – the fact that we’re seeing inside the head of a new POV character makes this a little bit more forgivable, but it is at the point of becoming frustrating. The fact that there’s not even enough context to begin to classify these things is more of a problem – I’ve listened to the chapter read by Siri, so I know Aurael is a country, but there’s nothing in the context to say if it’s a person, place, monster, religion, etc. Zohrenburg – it sounds like a town because it ends with -burg, but I don’t know that. What’s the significance of a divine weapon; magical nukes? What’s a Rieva, how am I supposed to have any understanding of the conflict Isabelle is facing if I don’t know that?

“warriors of Mercy” – Mercy being capitalized when “warriors” isn’t makes me think even “mercy” has a new meaning that I don’t know of, in this world.

[Upon concluding her speech, two girls raced to Isabelle] Misplaced modifiers. The two girls aren’t giving the speech so this is wrong. “Upon the conclusion of her speech” is what you mean.

[Decades on the western front have done irreparable damage to his sense of humor.] This is a hilarious line. It’s another tense error though. (Should be past perfect, “had done.”)

It’s really interesting the way you portray Isabelle’s reaction to Aurael – by all objective evidence, this is a good place to live. Healthy kids. Open to trade with multiple countries. Democratically elected leaders. And yet, Isabelle sees it as heresy. I love how subtly you characterize both Isabelle and the world around them that way.

Anyway. In sum, I’m loving this story so far. I can sense some absolutely fascinating worldbuilding went into this – please, don’t be afraid to share it with the readers. More exposition, please. Don’t infodump, but the first time you mention something, make sure you take the chance to either show the reader or tell the reader what it is. Don’t be afraid to delve more deeply into your POV characters’ heads – if they’re thinking about something, use descriptive details to show us what they know of that thing.
I am very much hoping you update this soon! Nice work so far!
2/6/2021 c3 She Who Loves Pineapples II
[The Graystar marched forward] - putting "the" here makes me think there's some significance to the name Graystar, and I'm assuming there is - but Zaile doesn't know about it and neither does the reader, so it's better to take the "The" out. It made me go back and double check to see if you had explained what a Graystar was yet.

[The boys began...] I didn’t know Graystar was a boy. Thought he was an adult.

I like Ferric’s sudden change of heart here. I wasn’t expecting it. So, a new term – Zukarnian. Zukarnians are the ones who made the freaks (out of normal people, maybe? Hmm) and Zukarnians are responsible for the Curse. And getting the Curse gets people confined in here – so is that the name thing as being Fallen? I have my thoughts, but still hoping for explicit confirmation in the text.

I didn’t remember the name Krugo at first – so I think the part when is name is mentioned again would work better if it was more fleshed out, with a line like “Zaile froze at hearing the name of his would-be executioner, the name he now heard nightly in his dreams” or something.

I like Ruan! I’m starting to like Prim, too.

I like the way you described Zaile’s thinking about what the war would be like, and his memories of past hard times. I think you’re saying a lot in this story about religion, war, prejudice – things like this hint at a deep story without being preachy, and are part of why I’m enjoying this story so much.

So, Finnardi is like their god. I wonder if he’s present in this world? Interesting. I wonder if he really has the divine power to remove Zaile and Ferric’s “curses” or if he only pretends to? Will be interesting to see.
2/6/2021 c2 She Who Loves Pineapples II
The flashback packs a suitably emotional punch, and provides a compelling hint at Zaile’s backstory without over-explaining, leaving the reader with questions to making them want to read on – what happened to the baby? Why doesn’t Zaile have other memories? And why is their ambiguity in Zaile’s appearance that the men were arguing about if he was a Freak or a child? I also like how the final line of the last chapter, “It was time to face his demons” implies that he has this nightmare frequently enough that he expects it.

[as he did not care for the look of his peers] – this read funny to me, as though he doesn’t like the way his fellow orphans look like, but after thinking about it I realize you probably meant he doesn’t like the way they look at him. Maybe change looks to “stares” or “fearful gaze” or another fitting word.

[Somebody has been to his room, as his nose can attest…] this sentence is randomly in present tense. But anyway, hmm, now we know Zaile has a strong sense of smell – one of his freakish traits?

[the minority prepared to speak to Zaile] – I’m not sure “prepared” is the word you mean here (though if it is, correct me if I’m wrong – did she go through some kind of process beforehand to enable her to not be scared of his freakish features? Are the others going to go through that process) – but it seems more like “brave enough” or something is more like what you mean. Anyway, at this point I’m pretty sure Finnardian is a religion.

[“About time,” smoke billowed…] “Smoke billowed” isn’t a dialogue tag so you need to put a period instead of a comma and capitalize “smoke.”

[will have to wait till the next day] – this sentence is also the wrong tense.

[nobody had ever told him that the baby who slept in his arms] more tense stuff; this should be “had slept.”

Ah, I’m spotting more and more tense issues. I’m getting too lazy to point them out.

At this point, I feel like I need less questions and more answers, before it becomes too difficult to keep track of all the terminology that isn’t explained. It’s important not to infodump, but at this point a little exposition would only help. What’s a fallen, what’s a Finnardian, what is the overlap between people who look like freaks, people with curses, and hunters?

[“Leave,” Zaile gave Blake a soft shove on the shoulders.] – “Zaile gave” – gave, not said/murmured/asked/whispered etc. “Gave” isn’t a way to say something, so you need to treat what’s in the quotation marks as a separate sentence and end with a period instead of a comma.

I had to reread that last part a couple times to figure out what was going on. I was confused by why Zaile was so angry – he punches kids, too, so it can’t just be a moral issue. Does Zaile have a particular relationship with Blake and Drake? I did notice that they call Zaile “brother” and don’t seem scared of him – so that’s a good way of showing that these must be some of the few orphans who Zaile has a good relationship with. But still, a little exposition on top of that wouldn’t hurt.
2/4/2021 c1 She Who Loves Pineapples II
Okay, so as far as I’ve read so far, this is some amazing writing. Some of the best writing I’ve encountered in the Fictionpress review game. This is a second, fine-toothed-comb read for this chapter. I had Siri read it first to get the basic gist, but I usually miss key info if I’m listening to Siri read, so now I’m going over it again.

Nice job painting the setting in the middle of the action by showing ash blowing in the air while Zaile hunts.

[He looked to… against other hunters.] Might be a bit nitpicky, but when is “before lunch?” He’s out on his own, hunting Freaks; who is telling him when lunch is? If someone back in civilization gives him food at a specific time, it’s better to specify that. The wording also kinda implies that he hunts Freaks for food.

I’m also a little confused by his logic here. Only weaker preys get close to the Settlement. Why? Do they originate in the Settlement, and the stronger ones can get away? Does weaker mean stupider, and the smarter ones know to avoid humans? When you say he doesn’t want to give a Freak the chance to sneak up on him and he doesn’t want to compete with other hunters, I’m not sure if those are problems with being close to the Settlement or with going farther out, and why those problems correlate to whatever location he means.

I do like Freaks as a word for the monsters here – implies something humanoid, scary, and weird, which pretty much sounds like how you describe them later. Also implies a bit of meanness in calling them that, and that they might be more than just monsters – which, I’m not sure about, but I think might be a possibility – especially since, as we see later, Zaile has “Freakish” traits, and he’s persecuted for them. Anyway, it seems like a nickname people might have started referring to these monsters as when they first appeared – a taunt that later became a simple denotative word. And makes me wonder about the history behind it.

Interesting how “curse” seems to mean “skill” here. And I just noticed that these things are implied to be exclusive to hunters – which is curious. Is this the result of a caste system, in which those with Freakish heritage are required to do the dangerous work of hunting Freaks to earn their living?

[quarantine the Fallen] Wondering what a Fallen is. I thought it might be something to do with Zaile’s freakish qualities, but seeing as how the city is made to quarantine the Fallen and everyone else keeps mistaking Zaile for a Freak, I assume it must be something else.

Speaking of quarantine, though, is it really quarantine if people are allowed to leave to go to other cities so frequently that there’s a long line at the entrance? They’re being “escorted” by warriors in white so I assume they’re watched closely, but if their Fallenness is contagious is that enough? Are they being quarantined or just interned?

I lose a bit of sympathy when he breaks a street kid’s nose. If he’s so scary that even his fellow orphans avoid him, shouldn’t it be fairly easy to scare away the street kids?

[Here, all three… on land.] Lots of redundancy here; do we need to know the terminology when you can just show us what they’re doing? Try this: [Here, all three afflictions of Sandfire were on display. Some of the addicts snoozed on the ground. Others stared at the ceiling with lifeless eyes. A few flailed about like a fish on land.]

Interesting worldbuilding to explain the food shortage. The land is covered in ash, and it needs to be purified in order for people to be able to grow crops, and for some reason the Finnardians aren’t blessing those crops at the moment. (Wondering what a Finnardian is – a religion? A nationality? A magic philosophy?) I’m going to nitpick at the phrasing “he discovered there was nothing worth buying” – this isn’t new information to him, is it? Just say “there was nothing worth buying. There rarely was.” Or something.
4/13/2020 c1 5Whirlymerle
Hi there from the RG!

Setting: This is a really interesting prologue! I thought the idea of humans hunting Freaks for their bones and “dust” was well thought out. The way the Divine Blades buy up all the bones for far below their worth hints at future conflict among the humans as well.

Writing: Overall, I thought the writing was polished. I particularly enjoyed the description of Zaile fighting the Freak, as it was really vivid. A few nitpicks:

[Zaile tore off a chunk] a chunk of what? I believe this is the first time food was referenced, and it reads a little jarringly right now. In a later sentence, you mention that it’s pastry, but it would read better if you mention it upfront.

[Zaile could see how he almost thought the creature human] I don’t really buy this because in the previous paragraph, Zaile already identified this creature as his “target” and “prey.” I think it reads better if you rephrase as Zaile noting how this creature looks almost human.

Personally, I would have liked some dialogue to balance out the exposition

Character: I’m intrigued by Zaile but I want more interiority. Even though this chapter is from his perspective, I don’t get a great sense of his thoughts and motivations, and I think having that would make it easier for the reader to get hooked into the story. There’s hints that Zaile looks like a Freak so my best guess is that Zaile chose this particular path because he has a chip on his shoulder. Whatever the reason is though, I think you should make it more explicit earlier (ideally before the fight with the Freak starts, so that we have a sense of stakes).

Enjoyment: On the whole, I enjoyed this. You’ve set up some interesting dominoes and I’ve curious to see how they fall.
4/8/2020 c2 Puddlejumper
Please write more! I love it
1/31/2020 c1 1BookDilo92
Hey, there! I'm from the review game. Thanks for your critique of the first chapter of my story, and let's get started! Also, if you feel like any of my critiques are undeserved or rude, please let me know; I'm more than willing to discuss them.

Opening: I'm interested as to why, specifically, the wind is so chilly and there's ashes everywhere. Especially with this sentence, the one mentioning a red sky, and the Hunger-Games-like descriptions of Zaile's rations, his competition against other hunters, and his weapons, you set the grim and edgy post-apocalyptic tone very well. However, I found the opening a bit slow-moving for my tastes; there's a lot of sentences here, many of them reading too short and blocky, almost like a traffic jam. We start one sentence, then stop abruptly before starting again on another short trip, and that really breaks up the flow of your narrative. I'd really suggest combining more (though not all) of your sentences with commas and conjunctions or semicolons, especially between two sentences that are interrelated. For example, the sentence where Zaile tears off a chunk of bread and puts the rest back into his pack because the loaf needs to last for the rest of the day really convey two very related parts of one idea and, as such, should be in the same sentence together for better flow and clarity.

Style: For the most part, excepting the rather blocky sentences and an occasional other error here and there (i.e. like "He studied the silhouette but even..." since there needs to be a comma before the "but"; everything that comes after that word can stand alone as its own complete sentence), your story is very well-written. (If you want a full report on every error, please PM me; I'm rather ill at the moment and don't have the energy to go into every SP&G error I've seen.) The spelling and grammar are also on-point, neither too simple nor too elevated, and your MC's third-person POV serves to frame the setting, his feelings, and the dark, anxious tone very well. Also, I like your word-choice for describing things like the Freak ("Its eyes, as red as the sky, swirled with a hateful and crazed light") as they're very vivid and paint a clear picture in my mind of everything that's going on.

Combat Scene: Here, I think I'll temporarily rescind my complaint about the short sentences. They serve to carry intense action very well, not being too long to get boring or throw too much information at me. Your talent for vivid descriptions also helps this aspect, and I find myself really enjoying reading about the Freak, what it looks like, and how it acts within this combat situation, as these parts ramp up the tension and stakes for our MC.

MC: I'm liking Zaile as our protagonist. He's intelligent, skilled, crafty, tenacious, and determined, all traits which I admire. I'm also really interested to know just how his "Freakish features" came about, especially since the Freaks fascinate me as a species. However, I would've liked to see more personality within his POV; sometimes, the narrative focuses so much on describing either the setting or action that I don't see a lot of Zaile come through. To be honest, he kind of sounds bland at times, like every other intelligent, skilled, crafty, tenacious, and determined dystopic fiction protagonist I've ever read about (which, honestly, is most of them; the post-apocalyptic & dystopian fiction market seems to be (over)saturated with these kinds of characters of late.) Is Zaile snarky? Does he have any fears? What about strange behaviors/quirks? I think you'd do well to inject more of him into the narrative to help further establish his character and set him apart as an MC in this story's genre.

Setting: Just like the tone, you build the post-apocalyptic, dystopian setting very well in this chapter. The dark, dangerous, and bleak landscapes filled with ashes and Freaks combined with the hive of scum, villainy, and brokenness that is Sahjak really come through well in how you appropriately and clearly describe the shady surroundings, organizations, items, and people. Great job!

Ending: Wow! That image of sleep strangling out Zaile plus that ending sentence is so striking! It conveys the dark inner struggle Zaile's about to experience in no uncertain terms and ratchets up the tension after the relative calm of him going about his business in the city. I'm even more interested to keep reading and see how this story goes, so more kudos to you for both this specific ending and you pulling it off so well!

Thanks for the read! This is a very promising first chapter, and I hope to read more! Best wishes to you, and I hope you have a fantastic day!

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