ampersandromeda

Seattle

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Beelzebufo

Intriguing title and implied concept. My mind went from the Divine/Cosmic Turtle to Hypnotoad and the Plagues of Egypt. Maybe that was your intent. Maybe not. A combination with immense potential. Except, unfortunately, the vast cast of characters and brash humor both felt forced and fell flat. I think, with some major edits, reigning in the random bits (that detract from the overall invasion) and a smattering of historical references, it has a hellishly bright future.

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In the interest of time

A variant of the movie TiMER (2009). I recommend watching it, if you haven't already.

On a more technical note overall: The vignettes were disjointed. I didn't feel connected to anyone. Each chapter was too short to really know any of the characters (let alone care about them). The protagonist, despite being in every snippet, still felt one-dimensional. After the introduction, I expected something...intimate. An expose. Cracking open someone's diary and sniffing the pages. Sneaking inside their head; exposing the squishy underbelly. Sharing favorite experiences. Instead, it was all very matter-of-fact and emotionally detached. I do, however, know several writers who've grown numb to certain topics because of how frequently they must be discussed at length. It's a potential angle. I just don't feel like it'd be the ideal route here.

Now, oddly enough, I can accept being born with a forearm death predictor. Not so much the aspect of finding and immediately recognizing your soulmate. (Maybe these folks just got lucky.) Or an abrupt change in the countdown if your love suffers from 'wrong place, wrong time' syndrome. The preternatural aspect of said clock should account for these circumstances. Otherwise, how could you trust it? Same concept goes for it suddenly starting over. What's the use?

In the movie I mentioned, the devices are implanted. Optionally. Being born with one offers a new twist. But its laws should be consistent. I look forward to future edits or expansions.

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Or is it endearingly savage...

I agree with PLMcMillan about the introduction. Skimmed most of it, picking up where Boy met Rael and Lir. Because of that, unfortunately, I lost context for these two characters throughout the rest of the story. (I had a hard time telling them apart at points.) Thankfully Boy was plucky enough for me to keep going--and reminded me of the golden retriever from Up. I could see him in sequels or spin-offs. Perhaps even turning feral after a savagely endearing ending like this.

Other notes: I'm still not entirely sure if he was bipedal or moved around on all fours. Certain scenes could play either way. And, in terms of his heritage (/deliberate gene splicing), scent hounds tend to have broad, elongated muzzles housing their complex olfactory network. You used the word "stubby" to describe Boy's. A minor detail to most, probably.

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