Intriguing, beautifully detailed, with some confusion
I decided to write my review now upon the completion of chapter 6 because the amount of notes I've taken have reached 8 pages haha. The chapters that I will be reviewing are the rewritten chapters 1-6.
Read the story now
Alright to start off: upon reading the blurb, no real plot is known. Going into the story, the reader is aware the novel is of the sci-fi/ fantasy genre, but beyond that nothing mentioned in the blurb about what to expect. Chapter 1 opens on a boy exploring a swamp and continuing something he personally, enjoys doing. While it may not be safe or expected of him to do, he is curious of the land and what it out there. This leads up to an important discovery which is the inciting incident of moving the story along. The detail is well thought out from the very beginning. It is clear the author has fleshed this world out completely from top to bottom and if asked a question in a Q & A about any pieces of this world, I'm sure they could answer in depth every time. A job well done on that. It is hard for many authors to completely flesh out everything, but from the beginning it feels like the reader is transported to another world to follow the adventure of this young boy.
The youthful tone of the boy is well captured. He is of 15 years, and from his first words, his first actions, talking to himself... you can tell his youth. A hard thing to capture is age in characters, but this was well shown.
Only thing I could suggest about chapter 1 is splitting this up into two chapters. I could also make this suggestion about all of your chapters because of how long they are. They are exceptionally long and more than once there is an abrupt transition to another location or place. It easily confuses the reader and jolts them from enjoying the story as a whole, but more on that in the next paragraph.
Chapter 2: One moment father and son are discussing ancient power creatures. The next, Killigan is waking up to his village being attacked. It would make sense if there were a chapter split here, but these events occur in back to back paragraphs. There isn't a symbol to indicate a time skip either. Which could also be used if you would like to keep both events in one chapter. Considering the length of each chapter, I would advise splitting them up, but that is your choice.
The fighting scenes need a little more love. When reading the first real fighting scene of the novel, it is told from the perspective of everyone it feels like. It moves from Killigan, to dad. to the berserker, and back again. I understand the need to show how everything is happening, but as a reader, we are like children going into a novel without any information and relying on the author to detail everything in a way that is easily understandable. In the fight scene, the details kept jumping around to try to show who was doing what and when all at the same time. It helps if one PoV is chosen and followed throughout a fighting scene. I would recommend Killigans. When the reader follows the main character of the story through a fight, they become more bonded with the main character, they start to feel for them, and understand their internal thoughts about WTF is happening. Also, the fighting scene feels a little rushed. Don't be afraid to expand on it. There was 1 paragraph for the ambush of Killigan. Pull the reader in more with details. How the berserkers moved into place, how they made noise alerting Killigan that something was going to happen, etc. I will say the next paragraph following was much smoother. I want to feel the rage of the berserker, not just through his words, through the blood lust in his eyes, the hard grip on his weapon, the amped up sounds he's making.
One more thing about this fight, during this fight, it reads as if Killigan is a pro. He's 15 years old. Just found these amazing gauntlets and suddenly, first fight with them, he's a winner, proficient, and walks away without a scratch? If this is his first fight, add some stumbling. Make it more realistic for the reader to connect with a 15 year old using these all mighty gauntlets for the first time. Give him some mistakes to make. Add some running away in there. These berserkers are twice this kids size... why doesn't he run? Why does he just suddenly thing, oh hey come at me bro? Where does his confidence come from?
When Killigan makes his choice to become a pillar, he just says yes and they move on. This is the most important choice this kid could make, the most important choice that happens in this story! Its the choice the ignites everything from here on out. A little more thought and emotion from Killigan would be huge in this moment and will continue to draw the reader in. It also gives the character depth. Also, didn't feel sympathy for him when he left home. Details and further insight into what emotions he is feeling would be extremely helpful. Thus far, Killigan is surface based at most by chapter 3.
Grammar.... Grammar... Grammar. More than once I found grammatical errors. Semi colons were used twice, back to back in the same sentence. Commas were missing. Words weren't capitalized when they started sentences. Run on sentences, etc. Needs some love for grammar.
In chapter 3, there was a great separation of detail vs. the events.
Chapter 4: He's being dragged around by his head and there is no indication what Killigan is feeling. He feels pain, but what are his emotions? We don't really see any indication of panic until he is placed on the table. I'd be panicked if someone grabbed my head and dragged me around. It is a great detail at showing how small Killigan is to the others though. Just some more detail and emotion for Killigan would be welcome. Flesh Killigan out more. What are his hopes? Dreams? Fears? What is he thinking? I've yet to feel connected to this 15 year old boy going through hell in a hand basket to become a great warrior. He is the main character right?
Great detail in creating the over bearing medic. Really felt her personality in the chapter. Enjoyed that and how Levitum has been established as a character. Feels as if they are really coming alive. Which is good. Unfortunately, Killigan is being overpowered by their personalities and overshadowed. I enjoyed reading about the actions of the medic and Levitum more than Killigan and often forgot Killigan was a part of the story he'd become part of the background. If he is the main character, this shouldn't happen. He should always be at the forefront. The reader doesn't know what Killigan's thinking a lot of the time because the author details everything else, It feels the author forgets to keep his main character as part of the story. This happens often in chapters 3-6.
Would love to see Killigan more fleshed out. The author did a great job in the first chapter with Killigan, but all we know is he is a boy mapping out a swamp. As a reader, I want to now what the kid is thinking at all times. He is being placed in new situations continuously; show his thoughts, show his emotions, show everything about this 15 year old boy. Make the reader tear up a bit when he makes the choice to leave his father. Make the reader sit on the edge of their seat, anxious to keep reading to see if he survives the Puwandese. I've yet to feel that anxiety. What I feel, is awe for the world. The author has captured that element of world building excellently. Just need to get the main character fleshed out on the same level, it feels like. The supporting characters have also been fleshed out nicely. And it gives the feeling that Killigan is lagging behind.
There is no separation between when the medic and her assistant at the end of Killigans injection and when Killigan and Levitum have moved on. Would be good to start a new chapter or put a symbol indicating a scene jump. Abrupt transition without it.
Use "very" often in front of adjectives that don't need it. "Very messy" "Very rare" The word "messy" and "rare" are enough on their own to give the imagery needed for the reader to create the scene.
At one point you describe the tone of the drone annoying in general. Who is it annoying to? Annoying can be categorized as an opinion. Some people feel some thing are annoying where others may not see them as the same. This is something where picking a PoV to tell the story would help. As in, it was annoying to Killigan.
Love the detail.
Again the world building is fantastic.
I've notice you have some awkward sentences scattered throughout. Ex. "The boy couldn't finish his thoughts that he was thrust forward against a table and fell over." This is a sentence that could be split up into two. "The boy couldn't finish his thoughts. He was abruptly thrust forward against a table causing him to fall over." Try to go back through and see if you can find the other sentences of a similar nature to the one above. The sentences would flow a little smoother if they were split.
You state Killigans never fought before in this chapter. He fought against the berserkers in Chapter 2. Conflicting statements.
Dialogue feels awkward with Killigan and the others in the pod. Take some time to expand on this interaction and smooth it out. Flesh out the relationship between these characters. Don't feel so eager to get on to the action and what's about to happen next. Give a moment for the reader to understand where Killigan is and who he is dealing with in the pod. Create the connection between Killigan and the characters. And follow it up by pulling the reader in to be intrigued by these characters and their actions/ personalities.
"The others but stayed near the pod..." Why is there a but? This happens a few times.
At one point Jeffer trails off with his thoughts during this chapter. Ends on ."..but..." Next paragraph goes into detail and doesn't come back to explain what Jeffer was going to say. Did he just stop talking? Confusing.
Killigan vs. Puwandese.
The scene feels awkward. PoV jumps around again and it is hard to keep track of what is going on. As a reader, I was also confused when he said "Crap.." after he defeated the Puwandese. Why did he say crap? Nothing is coming for him and later he admits he killed the Puwandese, why not grin or be like "oh... hey... wow..." kind of like a revelation for himself?
Details get a little awkward after the first Puwandese attack. Ex. How they hid Killigan when they continued on. Feels like you're trying to detail how and the details are a bit disorganized. Killigans trying to talk to Black. An explosion happens. You detail the Puwandese towering over the two humans nearby. Who are the two humans? Is it Black and Killigan? If so, this is another example of PoV confusion. It would be helpful if you described things from one PoV in this case. Ex.... "Towering over him, a Puwandese leered at Killigan and the semi-unconcious form of Black."
The scene with the magus. I would like to see more emotion from Killigan. The magus connects to the reader easily, fantastic job. But Killigan is just reacting. What are his thoughts? What are his emotions? Give more to the reader. We are after all, following this boy through all of this. Maybe it could help if you detail Killigan forcing himself to leave and him contemplating what might happen next to the magus which is why he didn't want to leave?
When Killigan is engulfed in a blue light, the teleportation moment, he takes a moment to examine his surroundings before the sickness occurs. Wouldn't the sickness happen immediately after being teleported?
"He was smiling, excited, and looking to something behind him." It reads awkwardly. Might help to re-examine sentences like this and feel out a different way of saying what you're trying to show.
Watch your tenses. "The behemoth sweeped his arm back...." Should be... "The behemoth swept his arm back..."
During the fight, you tell the reader the consequences that could happen. Don't lay everything out on the table for the reader. Allow your words to create the image and show, allow the reader to do a bit of the imagining themselves. Describe the sweat on their brow. The nervous tick to some of their fingers. The tightened muscles. The jittery gaze. Use that to describe the anxiety they might be feeling to convey the possible consequences.
There is also one moment during the fight you put reaction before action. The pillars and Puwandese stop what they're doing. Then you mention because of explosions. It would read more smoothly to put the action first. "Explosions littered the ground forcing the puwandese and pillars to stop what they are doing."
Another instance you write... "ceased almost instantly the moment..." When you put instantly and the moment together you are reiterating the same thing. Choose "Ceased the moment" or "ceased almost instantly".
"The tower should have paid more attention..." This is another instance where you tell not show. This is a statement the reader can come to a conclusion on their own. Instead of telling the reader what they should be thinking, describe the scene. Focus on the tower reacting to the generator thrown and suddenly finding Slackjaw there on the attack. It is more fun for the reader to come to their own conclusions and think to themselves... "Heh... he should've paid more attention..." You know?
There was another instance where you wrote... "Instead he brought his hammer down, but the tower stood his ground..." But isn't needed because it isn't a contrast or an exception. The one bringing the hammer down is the Puwandese. If it were the tower, it would be different, but you have two subjects here. This is a sentence that could be split into two.
Have you considered capitalizing Pillar and Tower? Both words can be interchangeable with pillar and tower. As in, the pillar is there to hold up the ceiling or he was as tall as a tower. It might help with the confusion for the reader in the case you choose to use pillar and tower in the object sense and not in the sense of titles.
There were a few times I got confused as to who was talking as well. Might help to go back through and give some more detail.
HUGE transition upset when Jeffer is mumbling to himself. I was getting ready to read about this man's mental break on reality and the author ripped that away by transporting us to another place. Take that moment and detail the mental break. Show the reader the difficulties of war. Detail why it is so hard and not everyone can do it. The scene detailing Jeffer's mental break to the reader and Killigan is another huge moment. You touch on it later on, but really get into that scene. It could be a really good one.
Another transition upset when Killigan is talking to the bregu and then he is talking about his life in general. Could be where you start a chapter? A time skip? Something would be helpful there. It is up to the reader to realize the scene has changed mid chapter. It feels awkward.
Oh, and then we skip forward 50 years haha. In the middle of a chapter. This would definitely be a good start to a new chapter. Also, use detail to show Killigans new height. Don't tell us. You started off great with him towering over someone. That is a great sentence to show. But then you say "He's big..." Continue with the first sentence of showing by use of comparison. It was a great start on that.
Question... If 50 years have passed... Does he look 65? Does he look a different age? It would help if you describe that for the reader to understand what kind of man they should be picturing, because at this moment I am picturing my grandpa haha.
Question 2: Have you considered splitting this into 2 novels? One novel to capture his adventures as a 15 year old? And another to show him grown? Or maybe split it into 2 parts?
Okay. So overall, great world building. It is very clear the author has thought through every intricate detail of the world and the people who live within it. I love that. However, it feels that in his excitement of building this world, he loses Killigan. Also, what is the plot? I could be at the point where things are going right and they're about to go wrong again. I thought when Killigan was fighting the puwandese he was about to be placed in the middle of conflict there, but it transitioned to him becoming a bregu and earning his title. Which is nice... but I am curious.... will more problems arise that he has to solve? Guess I will have to continue reading to find out!!
Its a great scifi/ fantasy novel. Really captures both genres. Just needs a little more work. Keep it up!!! I think this can be a great novel with some more work.