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Quite the Interesting Set-up
I liked this quite a bit. A short story, one that could either stop where it does, or perhaps go on, further. I can see it going either way. It's certainly one those stories that leaves things open to the reader's interpretation, and I get the feeling this black square was a manifestation of Callow's own loneliness and solitude--with a slightly sinister twist at the end. It makes me wonder if he'll ever get out.
I think it has potential, and with some tightening up in certain areas and beefing up in others, it would make a great addition to a book of short stories--horror, mysteries, supernatural...what-have-you.
Interesting Premise, Needs Work
While I think the concept behind the story is interesting, the short story--if it can be called as such--fell flat in quite a few ways. For one, there was a great deal more telling than showing; while telling has its place in a story, it's usually best to show your readers what the characters are experiencing in their world, using their senses and their individual responses to what they are experiencing (though it's often best to focus on one character point of view at a time). Let the readers see through their eyes, smell what they smell, feel what they feel, hear what they hear...you get the idea.
I think, if you put more time and effort into this, it could become the story you want it to be, and less of the brief account that it comes across as.
A Promising Tale
First of all--congrats on being picked for publication in the Storypeak contest.
Secondly, onto the review: I've only read the first six chapters to give myself a feel for the story, which I'll explain in due course.
My thoughts on the draft provided here are as follows: the story has a good premise, and thus far, likable/relatable characters. I did find certain things either a touch repetitive at times, or a bit expository at others--superfluous information being given at certain points. Mostly, this came in the form of dialogue, in which the characters tell us too much about themselves and their intentions, instead of letting us see it through their actions over a period of time. As far as technical skills go, there were times where periods were used when it should have been commas, and other times the sentences felt a bit run-on.
Now, superfluous exposition and technical aspects aside, I've enjoyed what I've read so far, and really look forward to seeing Iosaghar in polished, physical form--hence why I have stopped reading it at six chapters. If I liked it here in its slightly-unpolished form--however many edits it may have gone through to get to this point--then I guarantee I'll love it once it's been released into the world.
Congratulations again, and I look forward to adding your novel to my collection in the near future. :)
An Interesting Premise
Hi, there! ^^
So, the story has an interesting premise (I am curious to see how things play out with this new boy, who is clearly the king of snob hill; I imagine he'll be a source of misery for Jillian and her friends).
That said--and I apologize in advance, since I don't want to come off harsh; I merely mean to help you improve--the story could use a bit of fine-tuning. There is a fair bit of repetition, extraneous detail (particularly in the way the characters said things, or in their actions while speaking), and the characters' personalities aren't quite distinguishable from one another. There was also a fair bit of head-hopping going on--as in, jumping from one character's POV to another without the benefit of starting on a new paragraph or after a scene break.
Overall, the story had the feeling of being rushed. This can be easily remedied by taking the time to go over it, insert the appropriate punctuation where needed, cut out the extraneous detail, and build up other areas--such as the characters' personalities, relationships to one another, and their environment.
All that said, I look forward to seeing more of this story, and how things play out. Likewise, I hope my critique will be of benefit to you. :)
Piqued My Interest, Worth the Read
Edit: Review after finishing the story.
Now that I've officially finished reading the story, I can say with all certainty it is the kind of book I would love to see on my shelf.
While the forbidden love concept is an old one, and while there have been variations involving angels and demons, I find this one to be quite refreshing in the way it is told. After all, it isn't always about coming up with something that's never been done before--that would be impossible, really. It's about creating something that, while it holds familiar concepts, has a fresh perspective on those same concepts; a life of its own amidst the sea of other tales like it--and you have accomplished this. :)
Now, on to the critique: there are aspects that could be improved upon. One minor complaint I have is the repetition. There were points where you stated the same thing in almost the exact same way within a single paragraph. Other issues I came across were of the technical variety--mostly in the form of typos, though there was the odd misspelling and wrongly placed word, as well. In Chapter 30, there was a continuity error dealing with where Keir was--at one point, he was behind a piece of furniture, then unconscious is Regal's arms...then behind the furniture again. I came across a similar issue in the final chapter, when Gabriel was telling Keir that Regal had gone missing.
Now, critique aside, I really did enjoy this story, and I really, really hope that there's a sequel, because I cannot believe it ends, there. :)
Has A lot of Promise
I like the way it starts off, immediately hooking the reader with action. It made me curious as to why this angel had descended and taken on a mortal life, and who her opponent was--and when that became clear, more questions cropped up to keep me engaged. :)
Its definitely a good start, and hopefully we'll get to see what becomes of Sophiel, whether she's captured by Elijah or whether he shows her mercy.
I really liked the concept behind this, though I did find some of the more scientific aspects a bit wordy. Of course, this is natural; I assume Zach (and the friend whom was narrating the story) are majors in physics, or some other scientific field. Some lay-men terms would have helped, just so the reader can follow the story more fluidly without stopping to try and make sense of the scientific jargon.
That minor complaint aside? I thought this was very interesting, and shows potential to be so much more than a short story. :) If you intend to go further with it, I'll certainly continue reading. The very idea that they stumbled upon some sort of...supernatural safe haven where these beings exist all throughout the ages, unknown to all but the few that stumble across them, is fascinating beyond measure. It's the kind of thing that you can almost convince yourself really is happening somewhere.
Great work. :)
Very Well Done
I don't have much experience playing the Elder Scroll games myself, but I have watched friends and family play them, and I find the stories, characters, etc. fascinating.
Your writing is excellent, with only a few misspellings, typos, and other grammatical errors present throughout. It had me interested from the very start, and your character, Kiz, is a very well-rounded, believable person. She had just the right balance of talent, human frailty, and emotional depth to make her relatable, and someone easily sympathized with.
The ending was certainly something of a surprise, and I really do hope to see more of the story in the future. I'd love to see what happens, now that Haim has just caught her, and what his motives might be.
Really, your work should get a lot more reviews than it does; but whether it's because people treat fanfiction as a joke (I've seen some fanfics that are far better than some of the "original", published works out there), or whether it's because there's an inherent flaw (where people get more votes not because of written talent, but because of how many people they know), I can't say.
What I can say is this was excellent, and I'll certainly be reading the one you have entered in the current writing competition, and more than likely voting for it. :)
Keep up the great work.
Very Interesting Premise Thus Far (On-Going Review)
I've only read the first eight chapters, but I wanted to get down my impressions of the story so far, so that I can come back and add on to it later.
So, here goes!
I already quite like the character of Nathan; he's charming, funny, if a bit childish at times--and that's okay. He wouldn't be much of a character if he lacked flaws, too. I get this sense from him that there's more to him than wise-cracking, that maybe he does that as a way to mitigate whatever unhappiness he's really feeling.
Likewise, the antagonists have proven interesting as well, particularly Shadow (who reminds me a bit of one of my own characters based on skill--but that's where the similarities begin and end). I'm also curious to learn more about the Baron, and what he intends for the Siren.
There were some technical errors here and there, hence the four stars. That said, I'll definitely be reading more of the Esper Files.
An Imaginative and Engaging Concept
I've only read the first five chapters (so far), but I'm already intrigued by the plot and characters. I find the concept of literally trading one's heart for the things needed or desired to be a fresh twist in the fictional world. I can't help but appreciate the irony of it as well; that in trading one's heart, they lose something else of value--though that something can be reclaimed, should they fall in love. It's a very sweet concept, yet I can see the underlying darkness that comes with it, too (due to the foreshadowing in the Prologue).
This is definitely a story I'd love to continue reading in the future.
Now, that said: I have been coming across some editorial issues. I'm betting it's safe to assume that this story was originally written in third-person POV, and then was later changed to first-person. I have come across no fewer than seven instances when it switched to third-person pronouns--particularly "her" in reference to Addie (when it shouldn't have been, given she's the one narrating) and "they" when it involves her and Silas. There weren't many, but I did find a couple of misspellings as well. While these errors don't lessen the value of the story itself, I did find it jarring at times, jolting me out of the plot whenever I noticed the errors. I strongly suggest reading through the story again to fix these errors. In so doing, it will ensure a smoother read, and undoubtedly bring in more readers in the process.
Criticism aside, I wholeheartedly intend to keep on reading, and see where the story goes from here. It's fascinating, and beyond those errors, your prose is very solid. Best of luck in the contest. :)
Interesting, Potential to Expand
This was well written, with only a couple of grammatical errors (one that comes to mind was the use of "lightening", when it should have been "lightning").. It had a nice balance of intrigue and pulse-pounding action, and the descriptions were decent--but I did feel it fell short in some regards. While I have no issue with stories revisiting existing concepts/tropes, I felt that for a Jack the Ripper story, so much more could have been thrown in to make it stand out from the many variations already in existence.
Overall though, it was a good read, and I think it has a great deal of potential to be expanded upon. :)
Shows potential, but requires polishing
Like the review title suggests--I feel this story could do with a fair bit of polishing. I hope I don't come across too harshly, and none of what I say is meant as an attack on the author. I do hope, however, that what I say will be of some use to the author in the future.
Firstly, the dialogue: it felt incredibly stiff. If it had simply been one character talking in that manner of the two, I would dismiss it as being nothing more than part of that character's nature. Because it was present in both of them however, I feel it was a bit wooden.
Secondly, the story could do with a bit more detail: environment, description of the characters themselves, and so on.
Thirdly--and this is what I noticed most--there were a fair number of times that words were omitted, and punctuation came at times when it otherwise wasn't needed (and wasn't present when it was). This made for a bit of clunky reading.
Now, all criticism aside, I think the premise of the story shows potential. With some polishing and tender loving care, it would really shine.
A Good Start
The premise behind your story is interesting, and I thought the interactions between Jordan and Nicholas were cute.
That said, I feel there are certain things that could use fleshing out, or in some cases, tightening up. I found the descriptions of environment well balanced, but I felt some of the dialogue a bit strange given what I presume to be a more medieval time period, and the pacing felt a bit off at times--particularly in the last chapter provided. Things felt like they were beginning to move too quickly in regards to Nicholas' view of Jordan. There wasn't much of a transition between having a human guest, and finding himself attracted to him.
All of that aside, I see potential for growth, and with a little polishing, I think this story could be an even more enjoyable read.
An Entertaining Tale
I loved the character and environment building early on. You could feel it all moving toward the core concept of the story, giving a clear impression of the character doing the narrating, and of the people and their belief in this King of Silent Passing.
The ending was a pleasant surprise, and I thought the descriptions--physical, emotional, etc.--were incredibly well done, though I would look out for being overly repetitive at times. ^^; That aside: excellent work.
First, I have to point out the cleverness behind the title, since "Samhain" is another name for Halloween, and it seems that this mysterious Van Helsing look-alike goes by that name (though clearly pronounced differently from the festival, which I'm glad to see you pointed out in Chapter Three). I also like how you incorporated some actual known lore/beliefs, of how the veil between our world and the world of demons, spirits, and whatnot is at its thinnest on Halloween night. :)
The waking dreams, the hallucinations or visions Alice experienced upon waking, and on her way to and from work a few days later was really well done. The details were realistic, relatable; I've had plenty of waking dreams (also during times of high stress) and you described them perfectly. That knowledge of where you are when you have them, yet seeing all of these events play out before your eyes. Alice's fear was palpable, and so far, she's shaping up to be a very believable, even likeable character.
The writing is done well; I can tell that this is a story I would very much enjoy in its entirety. Though it carries a lot of familiar concepts, I can't help feeling this will take a very unexpected turn into unknown territory--or at least lesser known. ;)
I'll certainly have to check it out on the site mentioned. Definitely a fascinating read. :)
An Amusing Read
The summary alone caught my interest, but the first paragraph was what really sunk the hook in. My first thought was, "What did this John character do to warrant a fireball being thrown at him?" Suffice it to say, I couldn't help but read it through, start to finish.
This was definitely an interesting, satirical take on the typical damsel in distress situation, with a "hero" that makes you want to laugh and roll your eyes at the same time. You did an excellent job in delivering the lines, descriptions, and of course, the action.
Some of the dialogue could use some work, and there are areas that require tightening up, but for the most part, I enjoyed the humour in it all.
Keep up the good work. Hope to see more stories from you in the future. :)
This is probably one of the most imaginative stories I've come across in a long time. You have hooking down to a fine art; every chapter has been as engaging as the one before it, the story unfurling in a way that is easy to follow and paced perfectly for each round of events or backstory.
Looking forward to reading more of this wondrous story, and hoping to see other such works from you. :)
I really liked the concept behind this story; short and simple, it got right to the heart of things, and kept me guessing what would happen until the very end--an ending that, I find, was very touching.
Hope to see more in the future. :)