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Messages - akoebel

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I would very much like to have more information about that event she's so angry about.

Adding that bit of backstory might do the trick, but to be effective, you would have to also insert some reminders of her troubles later (more at first, then less as she begins to forget about them).

The immediate effect would be to have a heavier chapter when you wanted a light one, so be careful in the amount of backstory you want to add.

I always liked the Darkclaw chapters more than the other ones, so I'm happy to see him in action again.

As mentioned by the others, some things bugged me as I was reading:
* "standard time" : as Trodoon are a closed species, it should only be plain "minutes"
* the phone call : even if the High Lord is all knowing, all seeing, it seems rude to take a call without at least asking for permission to do so.

What mostly is starting to bug me is the way the High Lord behaves. I get that he likes to play god, but every time I saw him say "I know this thing is on your mind, here's what I'm thinking about it", I felt like some cliché villain from the fifties was talking. Wouldn't it be better for him to get to the point ("Here's what I want about this question ...") rather than saying over and over again "I can read your mind". At least, since we're leaving him on the station, we won't see him in a while (I hope).
It's nice to see Darkclaw having independent ideas, especially if those don't match the High Lord's wishes. I hope to see more and more independent thoughts as DarkClaw gets away from his master.

I found that the cloaked station was a cool view. Its presence raises a lot of interesting questions.

Hi everyone,

After a month and a half hiatus, I'm back.

This is the sixth chapter from my first novel, The Fifth Compendium.

Last time on "The Fifth Compendium" : Destra, throws herself into the river to prevent Lorn and his men from taking away the book she's carrying. Ciera, a librarian, discovers the book while doing inventory and finds an old friend in the process. Lorn discovers that the book is still hidden in a library he can't enter

Chapter 6 : Ciera has an inventory to complete; Onmk comes to the rescue!

As always, comments will be greatly appreciated.

Sorry for the very, very late comments.

This chapter reads really well. It has some fun moments and is enjoyable as such.

My main comment here will be more about the contents. What has happened or what have we learned from the characters from this chapter?
* Nayasar is a really focused character with a stubborn streak => we knew that already from the earlier chapters
* Nayasar is trying to build a strategy and hasn't got anywhere => that's new
* Felivas is concerned about her and loves her => we also knew that already

As much as I enjoyed the chapter, I'm forced to conclude that not much happened in it, so you might want to remove it or merge it with an earlier part. I understand that you need to contrast with the Darkclaw's chapters, but if nothing happens to your characters, you might lose readers there.

A few other comments:
* An Admiral is not supposed to be on duty or off duty, I believe, so Felivas's argument is kind of moot.
* The banter between the two was very well played. None appears to be subdued by the other, so you're playing against the usual clichés (one being a superior, the other one being male), which is good.
* "Everything she thought of had a flaw" : for some reason, that sentence confused me, and I had to re-read it.

I get the feeling that Albione's set of moral values differs strongly from the one imposed on the priesthood (a life is a life vs only the faithful's lives matter). If so, why is Albione so internally conflicted? He might feel like the penance is unjust (though not unwarranted : he knew what was coming), but here, I mostly get confusion from him, and that confusion is getting in the way of my sympathizing with him.

I also get very little feelings of relief from him when he learns he won't be kicked out. He was sure his punishment would be quite severe, and he got only chores. He should have been celebrating his luck!

The penance itself left me with a strange question : Albione is a healer. Why doesn't he heal himself? He complains about his hands, his feet, and so on, but he should have been able to get himself better in just a few seconds. Instead, he never even thinks about it! Maybe he's unable or unwilling to do this, but this should be stated plainly (right now, all I'm thinking is 'stop complaining, you chose this').

The burial ceremony was a nice touch. Bringing in the children really helped cranking up the tension.

Reading Excuses / Re: June 24 – Hubay, Lord Domestic Ch12
« on: June 26, 2011, 03:32:11 PM »
I'm coming a little late for the battle. I'll try to find new things to mention.

I also loved the "Do cows have bacon" sentence. It feels really like something someone might say while half drunk. The whole felt like a really good release from the tension in the former chapter.
The only problem I have with this part is where Elizo explains to Jhuz why the herdsman is so quiet. It seems like herd-metsi are a major part of the empire battle strategy. If so, Jhuz should have learned all about them in the academy, and he doesn't need Elizo to tell him.
I think having Jhuz mention in passing that the herdsman was in post-herd stupor would have worked better.

I have difficulties with your description of the DomBow : I imagine a regular crossbow with a magazine affixed, which takes care of having to reload quarrels (though it is not a time-consuming task by itself).
I get that you have some spring-metsi mechanism in action, but I don't see how the string(s) gets pulled back. There appears to be only one string.
When you showed us Zeisha firing, I evaluated the reloading time to a couple of seconds, maybe even less. I don't see how wooden springs could get a string taunt in that time (and without Jhuz noticing the reloading sound). Maybe I underestimate the capabilities of your enchanted wood and it is really that fast.

Looking forward to the incoming confrontation!

Reading Excuses / Re: Email List + Submission Dates
« on: June 26, 2011, 03:00:47 PM »
Vacation + con = no writing done in  a month.

I'm almost glad it's all over now. My next chapter is ready for tomorrow.

Now, I have some critiquing to do...

Reading Excuses / Re: June 6th - Will777r - Soul Yearning - Chapter 3
« on: June 13, 2011, 09:41:16 AM »
The beginning didn't work for me : you have a soldier bearer of dire and urgent news who takes the time to examine corpses on the way? This character has a mission, he should be doing it. He might want to stop and try to help people (and it's OK to say it), but right now, his mission requires speed.

I thought that Albione found the sanctuary a little too easily. In the previous chapter, it is shown as a secret entrance. Here, it's just protected by a wooden door. Did the elves close the door behind them, or is it another entrance, one that's not hidden. If so, why bother to build a secret passage?

Yes, the "I'm a lowly priest being addressed by the high priestess" worked quite well.

What could have worked better was the showdown between the priestess and Ferris. We get they don't see eye to eye, but as we have no background as said Hubay, there are probably tons of things we're missing on here.

Once again, I would worry about the magic system.
* The priestess seems to be able to do pretty much anything she wants (and she does it in a different manner than her other priests).
* BTW, the gateways looked too much like Saidin gateways, and if such a technology was available, why not use it in battle? Transportation is key in the military.
* There is no defined cost to using magic. Extensive healing tires the healer, but that's about it.

Last, I didn't get why Albione feels so ashamed about what he did. He made a decision in battle to heal someone. True, this prevented him from helping someone else and he could feel some guilt about that, but why fear actual trouble? If nobody knows, only his conscience should trouble him, but here, Albione has very real fears.

Reading Excuses / Re: May 30 - Will77r - Soul Yearning - Chapter 2
« on: June 13, 2011, 09:24:55 AM »
I agree with the others : dropping Iaon's viewpoint wouldn't hurt the story (actually, it wouldn't make any difference altogether). As it is, it's an unneeded distraction.

There is this recurring reference to "evil" approaching. I very much doubt that night elves are evil to the man. Their leader might be, and some of the soldiers too, but you make it sound as if every night elf is evil - by virtue of being a night elf. I'd like a little more balanced description (as well as some explanation about why elves and humans are ... at odds).
On the same point, the "priest(ess) senses evil" sounds too much like the D&D spell. You could say that her god sent her bad tidings or something like that.

When Kase came back, Charom sent her to the healers. The temple is under heavy attack and you send a standing fighter out? That didn't make sense to me (especially coming from priests who should be a little more fanatical about defending their temple than regular soldiers).

I liked that you described the priestess's impact on Charom as a woman. It felt very manly for Charom to feel this way.

What is starting to bother me is your use of magic. Right now, it's mainly lights of every color doing some things. As you're showing this magic quite extensively, you're going to have to explain quite a lot about how it works. I agree that here is not the place, since the viewpoint character isn't an actual user himself (he should see only pretty lights, sure).
As we don't understand how things work, the duel between the mage and the priestess falls flat.

Thanks for all the comments, Asmodemon.

Yes, Listeria is one of the 4 regular viewpoint characters. I always worried a little that I introduced her too late (she was first seen in early act 2 and her first viewpoint was a few chapters later), so that's why I decided to write her a new chapter here. The problem is that I wasn't sure this was the right place to do it. Apparently, nobody here objected, so mission accomplished.

For my "extra words" : I have established a list of dreaded words I have to cut out (have, had, was, that, it, *ly). I'll just add 'those' to the list. Thanks for pointing it out.

Reading Excuses / Re: May 30 – Hubay – Lord Domestic Ch 11
« on: June 06, 2011, 08:49:24 PM »
You would think that being on vacation gives me more time for reviews, but no. Sorry for the delay.

I really, really liked that chapter.

My original comments on the first battle scene were that I was missing a global picture that Jhuz should have been able to provide with his keen vision. I'm pleased to note that none of those happened in this chapter : I have a clear view of what's going on and I have the feeling to see through Jhuz's eyes. Congratulations on  that!

For the "too much telling part", I think it's inherent when you took the general as the viewpoint character. He has to give clear commands and grasp everything that happens in the battlefield, so you can't cut too much on the narrative. I wasn't bothered by that at all. While I'm on the subject, "belay that order" didn't bother me at all, but it's a natural sentence for me, having watched way too much Star Trek.

The part about Manto's decapitation : I enjoyed it, but I really feel it could have been written in a cooler way. The way it's presented, some of the tension vanishes when you say "And a Chell stepped...". At that point, we know what's going to happen, so the effect is not as sudden as it could have been. I would have preferred Jhuz to hear a thump on the ground from Manto's body falling and his head rolling down the slope.

I liked Jhuz taking over. It felt very natural and in character (thank you). Loved the "level a ballista at him" part!
The herd-metsi were a very good idea as well.

I have a small worldbuilding question : you said earlier that 10% of the population are *metsi. In the army, I didn't see any regular troops. Are they present, but not seen (as Officers are logically *metsi), or does the army only use metsi people? In that case, don't they have recruitment problems, since they can only conscript a small part of the population?

Reading Excuses / Re: May 23 – Hubay – Lord Domestic Ch 10
« on: May 31, 2011, 11:37:58 AM »
For the Decurion, I would worry a little about using well known words in a slightly different meaning than the original one: that generates some confusion (even if those are small details).

For Rince's reason, I completely forgot that Jhuz had hunted the fox before. Maybe you should add a comment from Jhuz stating that this was some sort of payback for this event.

I'm all ok with the 'trickster' aspect of Foxes. Redirecting emotions didn't feel much like a trickster capacity (even if it can be used in that manner).

For the Javelin tactics, I'll bet that Romans used different tactics when facing different types of enemies (barbarian warriors or trained soldiers) or different formations (cavalry or infantry). It seems stupid to throw javelins at something like cavalry when cavalry can pretty much evade the incoming missiles. In that respect, boar enemies can be seen as heavy cavalry. So, even if your soldiers used the standard tactics once (when they didn't know what their opponents have in store), they should not even consider using the same tactics now that they know what they are up against (fool me once...). Instead, you tell us that those soldiers only know this one tactical move and can't use another? I should add that having soldiers fake the throwing of their javelins is a little too complicated to implement (especially without training).

Reading Excuses / Re: May 23 – Hubay – Lord Domestic Ch 10
« on: May 29, 2011, 09:20:34 PM »
I have mixed feelings on this chapter. It was as interesting as the earlier ones, but left me a little troubled, especially at the end.

Here are my objections:

* A decurion is the equivalent of a Centurion for Auxiliae, often cavalry. Here, the man looks like a soldier (good with a bow), not like an officer (despite the fact that he acts like one).

* Killing the eagle and the porcupine look like grave insults. Rince makes it look like it was only a joke, but it wasn't funny at all, and downright stupid.

* I didn't get how foxes related to Rince's abilities ; that doesn't connect with the rest of the metsi we have seen so far.

* The war council felt a little wrong to me. I get that the commander is inexperimented, but he didn't look like he knew what he was doing. His outburst at Brusco didn't seem justified (which is OK), but I believe that Jhuz should have known the reason of the outburst. Since Jhuz didn't mention it, I feel like the entire scene is crooked here.

* Why are the men throwing javelins in the front line? It seems reasonable to mount a shield wall between the throwers and the enemy. And yes, charging boars should be met like cavalry, by a spear wall; if regulars are prepared, they should be able to meet this charge.

* Now, my biggest issue is with the scene about Jhuz's orders : first, Jhuz gives in much too easily. I expected some more internal turmoil before he signed the paper (given what I know of the character). We now learn that his father built a revolt that brought down the entire family. We should have been given this information way earlier, since it's one of the defining events of Jhuz's past. BTW, why did the emperor send him to the academy instead of killing off the entire family?

Aside from that, it was very enjoyable. I'm waiting to see the big battle next!

Reading Excuses / Re: May 23 - Will777r - Soul Yearning - Chapter 1
« on: May 25, 2011, 09:23:24 PM »
This was a very nice first chapter. I especially liked the way you handled action : everything that was happening felt very clear and connected well.

I only have two grievances :

First, the first two sentences don't connect at all with what follows. It felt more like a hook to me than anything else.

Second, the setting feels very derivative (It felt rather D&D universe than Warcraft, though). We get a paladin who is able to feel evil and heal by laying hands. We have dark elves with scimitars (I even kept expecting them to have white hair). Now, that might not be a problem depending on your audience. For me, it felt too much like something I have read a thousand times. If you want to widen your audience, you might want to change part of the setting so it feels a little different.

Once again, this was a very enjoyable introduction. I hope to read more from you soon.

Nice chapter, I'd have liked to have much more.

The epigram is shorter this time : seems like I like them this way. It may not have been as strong as the one a few chapters back, but it was sharp nonetheless.

A few recriminations though :

* Once again, when put into a difficult situation, Jin goes off describing his surroundings (in this instance, the folds in the nurse's dress) instead of reacting to what's happening to him. It's almost like he doesn't care.

* Talvin's character has changed so much in this chapter, it's hard to believe he's not been replaced by a nicer doppelganger version of himself. I know that I've stressed in the past that Talvin wasn't fatherly enough for me, but this complete reversal to a caring father figure is quite unsettling. I get that he has now reason to be prouder of his son, but either tone it down a notch (especially at the beginning of the scene), or rewrite the earlier chapters so we can see more of this new "improved" version of Talvin.
* Now someone at last seems to care that there is a hole in the world, but it's still very very mild. Kind of like "oh, since you can do those sparks thingies, maybe you could patch this pesky hole in the universe? No rush, though." Right now, I'm not getting the feeling that anything is at risk : either I'm wrong in assuming the danger (in that case, mind the Chekov's gun here), or this is really a big issue and it should appear as one - it should affect people who know of it very strongly. As a side comment, what was Talvin's plan to patch the hole if his son had turned out to be ungifted?

Finally, to answer your previous comment, I'm told you have to say things three times if you want your readers to acknowledge something, so add more instances!

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