|Reviews for Kumi|
| WhenceComethThisBoredom 5/18/09 . chapter 4
Is this chapter longer than the others, or am I just becoming more nitpicky? sorry, I'm not holding my reviews hostage, I promise. sigh. nope, just really... really... REALLY... freakin' slow. gourd dam. (that's right, ficpress, try to edit out my swearing now!)
But you already said the first guy was fat, so that answers the question. Also, I get an image of Laurel and Hardy. Also also, I'd combine this and the next sentence into a single paragraph.
"Leyal’s interest was almost insulting." insulting to whom? Kumi? maybe instead something like, "Leyal's interest made Kumi want to punch him. Had they no respect or decency?" or whatever; I mean that gets the same sort of point across.
Aelin harnesses his own animal? Psshaw, that's what slaves are for.
"Even from his hiding spot, the expression Kumi saw Aelin shoot at the first man was enough to cause Kumi to cower so low he was nearly flat on his belly in the grass. / Leyal, however, was the one who answered. “You cannot ‘get rid’ of one of the Dánaidh, you fool,” he spat. “Where is your sense, Rothnack?” Again, I'd either combine these into one paragraph, or else split it right after "answered", to make it flow better.
something sinister is afoot here, methinks.
you used "the bay" twice in two successive sentences.
wouldn't use a semicolon after "builders'"; it looks weird. I'd just end the sentence and start another.
Kumi's becoming more daring, eh? about time.
ah, and the dog returns. wondered where he'd been. ...asides like this are what make my reviews so long. man, if they get on your nerves, just tell me and I'll be sure and hold off next time. ...though if you're anything like me you'll be glad of them, since, I dunno, it tells you what the reader's thinking. stream of consciousness reviewing. the heck.
wow, the soldiers just let them on board? no questions, no nothing? maybe they go unnoticed in the hubbub?
CHAINS? jeez, Aelin doesn't fool around. ...hmm, interesting slash pairing, Cathael and Aelin... sorry sorry sorry, blame the internet or something. or the fact that it's 11.30 pm and i'm not quite on top of things. tired and depressed does not a good reader make...
"and Kumi really did feel like he was back in the clearing." or, "and Kumi's nostalgia (or temporal vertigo or, I dunno, whatever) quadrupled" or something like that. to avoid using the exact same wording.
maybe killed danaidh become watchers, and the dog is the spirit of a Kumi-like victim ages past.
I like the repeated personification of the guilt you've got going on. it works.
"Stern as a master as" : As stern a master as
"“Exactly.” Cathael said." comma after exactly.
aw, man. poor cathael. I've liked his character ever since I saw your drawing of him on devart; now he's gonna get thrown in prison for all eternity or something. though I do like how he basically just told Kumi to work on his magic. way to buck the system.
I think this last part read much faster because, as I said before, you do good dialogue. also I was getting caught up in the action, trying to figure out what was going on, what's gonna happen, etc. I feel accomplished now.
Phew. Okay, next chapter!
| Boredom. again 5/14/09 . chapter 4
"He expected some sort of protest from Jahari. To say that they should just forget about it and stay put—they could get in trouble, or to suggest again that they try to ask Master Éoghan." The second bit is a fragment, and would sound much better if connected with the first bit into one sentence, as "He expected Jaharin to protest - to say that they should just forget about it and stay put, that they could get in trouble - or to suggest again that they try to ask Master Éoghan." Something like that. (I don't think my sample is the greatest sentence either...)
“It’s a two hour walk... We might have to travel faster than that to catch Master Cathael in time.” I know what you're trying to say, but it's grammatically awkward in the current configuration; the articles don't match up. It sounds as if the two-hour walk is a creature they have to beat. Maybe say "It'll take two hours to get there at a walk" or "“It’s a two hour walk, usually... we might not be able to catch Master Cathael in time if we don't move fast."
"he noticed how true this prediction was." Was it really a prediction? I think it was more an observation, or an assessment. A prediction would be "Kumi would never be able to keep up with Jahari" or something like.
He wouldn't be so out of breath if he wasn't talking so much...
"Inhuman, Kumi thought." I like, I like.
"“You’d get in a lot less trouble, for one.” Jahari continued." comma after "one"
Wow, Kumi knows a lot more magic than I expected. Of course, he apparently sucks at it, but I'm still vaguely impressed.
"“I meant to ask,” He said now as Kumi scowled" : he said. also, I'd get rid of the "now". it adds nothing.
"Kumi tried to think about how to word this carefully," : He tried to think. You already used Kumi's name in the sentence just before, so we know who the "he" is.
"into his skewed thought process" : I'd say "the" instead of "his", since the his is implied. also I think it sounds better.
"So, the words came tumbling from his mouth, unfiltered and unprocessed." I'd take out the commas. The words would come no matter what; it's the unfilteredness of 'em that comes of his realisation that he'll sound mad either way. Also, "so" is a bad word to start a sentence with - maybe "thus" or "therefore"? but i guess it doesn't really matter here; it's just stylistics.
"but now heard only his footsteps" : alternative: "now he heard only his own footsteps". but not necessary.
"Kumi was ready to tell Jahari he didn’t think serving as one of the Dánaidh was much different from serving the Adaerians elsewhere when they suddenly heard rustling behind them." Sounds like it's the Adaerians that heard the rustling. maybe say "the two boys" or one of their names or something.
The next part confused me for a moment. I thought it was Jahari speaking to- I dunno, some newcomer, something. I may just have not registered who "they" were due to being tired, though. Even so, then I imagined them "ask"ing in loud voices, and I thought, is that really the smartest thing to be doing when you're being snuck up on by something who you do not want to alert to your position? and why are they asking each other this at all? so perhaps they should hiss incredulously, instead. or something along those lines.
"said Kumi, waving his hands in a smooth, upward motion and the grass they were hiding in stretched up high enough to shield the tops of their heads from view." This sentence is hella confusing. I think you should split it into its component sentences at "and", as in "smooth, upward motion. The grass" etc. I'm not getting, however, why Kumi is making this gesture, what point he's trying to make. Or why the height of the grass matters here, either. I would move the grass sentence to right after "tugged him down in the grass with him." as it makes more sense there.
yay dog! 'course, if Aelin IS around, he now knows exactly where our heroes are, thanks to the dog's barking...
I've heard the phrase "shit-eating grin" many times, but I'm still not exactly sure what it means. But the swearing does catch me off guard. so far this just doesn't feel like a "swearing" kind of story, y'know? like, it feels more... young-adult friendly. the curse words feel out of place.
"tongue lolling out of the side of its mouth" : the of's not needed
"He thought about that for a moment" : here I'd say "Kumi", since the he could also be Jahari.
I love that dog.
"In that one word" : consider sticking an "even" on the front of that, to emphasize that the hesitancy is more that could normally be expressing in just one word.
How exactly does a bug fester?
Ceiling Cat is a watcher. And the merchant's tabby is apparently Ceiling Cat. *snicker* oh, gosh. once my numb brain made the connection here, I did in fact laugh, and I will also add I appreciated this quick little infodump and think you did it well, keeping it interesting and all. Infodumps are hard, but your record so far, if I recall, is pretty good. bravo.
snorfling sounds! tee-hee! ...my dog does that.
yep, love the dog. by putting it in there you give the reader something that he or she (if they have ever owned a dog) can immediately relate to, and appreciate. also, before I forget, your dialogue feels easy and natural, which is good.
"An hour passed of Kumi struggling" : I think "with" would be better than "of" here.
"taking more tentative sips from it even though Jahari had still yet to touch it himself." More tentative than what? Also, "had still yet to" sounds weird. oughta be "still had yet to". is Kumi tentative about drinking Jahari's water cuz he's afraid they'll run out? I'm gonna guess that's the case, but it's unclear. I think you should state it explicitly. but, I mean, that's just me.
Whoa, Kumi's in the lead? How'd he pull that off?
"Kumi smelled it before he saw it; the breeze carried the sharp, salty aroma of seawater and the slightly more pungent aroma of what Kumi could only assume was an abundance of fish shit." I no likey this sentence. By now I'm sure you've noticed I don't like swearing; fine, that's just me and not really important. However, firstly the seimcolon should be a regular colon so we can tell the "it" refers to the breeze... or maybe the seawater... See, I know what you're trying to say, but it's unclear in execution. That's what I don't like. Also, I don't think "fish shit" is what he's likely to be smelling - it's far more likely to be rotting fish carcasses and seaweed. Can't say I've ever been to a beach where I could pick out the smell of the actual excrement of the sea creatures, and it makes Kumi seem like he's never been to the ocean and doesn't know what he's talking about. Which is silly, cuz he lives on an island and goes down to the beach all the time. and it conjures ridiculous image in my head of an actual heap of steaming poop sitting on the shore...
"bobbing up and down with the tide" : alternative: surf
that dog it totally going to give them away.
"An encampment was set up" : had been set up. also, I'd put a colon instead of a comma after "shore". and you can say "ones" instead of the second tents to avoid using the word too much.
Wow, Aelin's tents match his clothes? and he needs TWO? for just him? what a douche.
"There, among the tents, were the twenty slaves, the two Adaerian builders and Lord Aelin." you use "the" before the slaves and builders, but I don't remember if you mentioned them before. the "the"s imply you did, so I'm gonna just assume.
I'm guessing the "quick work from Kumi" is magic, but what about the dog? it's not going to run on down into the camp? and Aelin and co didn't hear it barking? maybe you should mention what it's doing now, or that Kumi used his magic to cover it, too.
Right, I guess this review's going to end up being a three-parter. I'm so freakin' long-winded. what the hell.
| Boredom haius whatever 5/8/09 . chapter 4
Yeah, I'm pretty sure the barfing happens at night while the person is still drunk, not the morning after. Barfing in the morning is a symptom of pregnancy, not hangover. Also: ew. Could he not tell that he was about to throw up? Did he not have time to aim his mouth somewhere where it wasn't going to spew all over his clothes?
"Jahari was peering closely at his face, of course bright and alert, seemingly jovial at the thought of starting new training techniques. There was a teasing grin on his face. “You only had one mug." It took me a moment to figure out why you had "of course" in there; to this end I would reorganize the sentence something like so: "Jahari was peering closely at his face, grinning teasingly. Of course HE seemed bright and alert, Kumi thought resentfully. Jahari's grin broadened. "You only had one mug!"" Something like that. This explains the "of course" and it gets rid of the second "his face" in the paragraph, which was bugging me.
I'd also say "It was enough" 'stead of "that", but merely because something makes me think that sounds better.
"Kumi had bypassed the dining room without a second look after his stomach lurched at the smell of porridge." When was his first look? I'd also get rid of the "after" and make it two sentences.
"also a little rounder around the stomach" : or "rounder about"
I get an image of Friar Tuck from Robin Hood, or the ghost of Christmas past - y'know, holding his middle and chuckling all Santa-Claus-like - even though I'm pretty sure Eoghan isn't quite as fat as all that. I also quite like the way he talks.
I'm a bit suspicious of Eoghan now. He's too laid-back, too nice-seeming. He's gonna turn out to have a dark side, like Foghorn or Leghorn or whatever his name was from the 6th Harry Potter book. I just know it.
"they would be taught to hunt and spent the better part" : "hunt, and he spent" or "hunt. He spent" or "hunt; to this end, he spent" or... etc etc.
Kumi is bugging me. He's a freakin' lightweight, number one, which is silly because, if he's really been eating that one guy's awful food for six years, you'd think he'd have developed a strong stomach by now. He's so far just been hella whiny, and it's beginning to get on my nerves. I'm sorry to be so harsh if he's, y'know, your favorite or something - it always bugs me when people say my Erythor's whiny (jeez, I sound like a mom talking about her kid...) - but I'm being honest, and that's more important than being nice. :P
"said Kumi and Dunah gave him" : comma before "and"
I hate uppity underclassmen. Thus, I think very little of this "Dunah". Jahari should menace him and then the little twerp'll shut up and behave, all right, if he knows what's good for 'im.
I'm not sure "sect" is the right word here... If not "age group", or "age class"... maybe "among his agemates"? "Sect" makes me think of religions.
"Kumi Jr", ha ha ha.
Aelin, that rat. I knew he was going to pull something like this. I wonder if Cathael's just been transferred, or if Aelin's the overreactive sort who would pull something even worse, like maybe kill or imprison him.
Okay, before I continue on this review I started a week ago and then never finished, I shall tell you: I DID ask my coworker what a hangover is like, since the other day he came to work with exactly such a physical phenomenon going down. "Coworker," I said, "what is it like having a hangover?" Since I've never had one myself thanks be to God. And this is how he described it. "The difference between a hangover and a headache," he said, "is movement." He says you wake up with a hangover feeling fine - tired, but no worse than that - until you move. Then, instantly, a crushing, throbbing, pulsing headache, all in the top of your head, behind your forehead rather than, say, your eyes. When you move what you see blurs, like the starfield effect in Star Wars. But so long as you don't move your head, you're fine. He says nausea does not happen unless you're still drunk when you wake up, and even then it's not uncontrollable. So. Now we both know what a hangover is like, and you can go and rewrite your chapter to match! :D
Kind of selfish for Kumi to assume Aelin's punishing Cathael to spite Kumi. There's obviously some deeper hatred between the two that Kumi's behaviour only served to highlight and exacerbate. He IS the proverbial straw on the camel's back.
I am going to post this now and finish my review later. The more the merrier, right?
| WhenceComethThisBoredom 4/15/09 . chapter 3
I think it's really funny that ficpress edited out your swear words. In case you wondered.
O-ho! New character!
"in anticipation of the older boys bringing back what they hoped was a large haul from their hunt" : feels like one too many phrases in this sentence.
you used "felt" twice in as many sentences. tsk tsk tsk.
"The builders had arrived at midday just as Lord Aelin said, at least twenty burly slaves and two Adaerian overseers." consider instead: "The builders - at least twenty burly slaves and two Adaerian overseers - had arrived" etc. or just use a : instead of the comma. (When I saw "slaves", I immediately wondered if they were Southlanders or something else.)
Sounds like a wonderful song.
Screaming and jumping up so fast he falls over? Kumi's not one for subdued reactions, is he? I'm with Mahlah.
har har. this scene makes me giggle.
ah, so they DO recycle the robes. I had been wondering about that, actually. But an outfit worn only one day a year out to last far more than nineteen years...
"at the Jahari’s exasperated look" : this typo also made me giggle. THE Jahari. the one and only.
"but this time he wasn’t paying attention" : I'd say "he himself wasn't", just to further divorce Kumi from his stomach.
"When Nineteen began preparing the game" : I'd say "while", but perhaps that's the wrong implication here. "When" sounds like Kumi's waiting impatiently for his chance to sneak off; while sounds like they had already been doing it and Kumi doesn't wait at all.
I kinda figured it was Cathael who was in trouble, not Kumi. but he's a teen so he's entitled to assume it's all about him.
"But then again, he thought desperately" : I'd use Kumi's name here, since there's some confusion about who the "he" refers to, since the last proper name used was Aelin's.
"Big, unfathomable trouble." XD
Wait, so why's he hiding? Shouldn't he be acting like nothing's wrong in hopes of passing himself off as innocent and the whole magic thing as a mistake, a trick of the light? Also, he's going to miss the food! but seriously, sneaking off to the barracks alone seems like it would look suspicious.
I too have always found voices easier to recall, years on, than faces. 'Specially memorable ones.
"having it beaten out of them" : "having had it"
Oh, Kumi, don't worry. It'll come back once you hear it spoken again, just as it's easier to recognize a face than recall it. Also, the "also" in this sentence is unnecessary.
"didn’t exactly see the importance of what his mother was telling him until years later." I'd say, "hadn't exactly seen", and maybe also "until recently" or "until now, years later". but the last two aren't necessary.
"The anguished cries of Kumi’s mother rung in his ears" : "Kumi's mother's anguished cries rang", and the rang is a necessary change, for the sake of All-Powerful Grammar.
"The smells from the feast" : or, "the smells of", since you use "from" immediately afterwards. "his stomach growled for attention again" : this is purely stylistic, but I'd either say "again growled" or "attention once more". but that's not important AT ALL, just I personally think it sounds better.
you used "ground" twice in successive sentences... TSK TSK TSK.
aha! the circles! he's doing magic!
sheesh, how long has this kid been sitting there lost in thought? and isn't it, like, a really bad conspicuous thing that he missed the Advancement whatchamahoozie? like, isn't that important? and furthermore, minors! drinking! hello! AND Kumi and Jahari act like this is not a new thing... please tell me they weren't getting drunk every year from age eleven... very not good for the young brain, alcohol is...
"that could only been acquired" : "that could only have been"
"Mahlah asked with far much more enthusiasm than was necessary, Kumi thought." I would say instead, "Mahlah asked (with far more enthusiasm than was necessary, Kumi thought)." or, if you don't like brackets, put a hyphen after "asked".
"Considering they were only able to sneak in the wood ale once a year from the trading ships that pulled into the bay" : this sentence needs restructuring, as, as it is, it is confusing... but it's almost midnight and I'm too tired to fix it.
ONE DRINK and his head is swimming? And immediately, too. Seems just a TEENSY bit unrealistic...
"but as it usually involved recitation" etc : I'd maybe say "usually only involved", just to emphasize the rout and unmeaningful nature of the ceremony.
I would append something to this last sentence in the paragraph, like "so he doubted his new master would have any trouble doing the same" or something like that. better written, of course, since as I already mentioned it's past my bedtime. ha. ha ha. snort.
that's actually a very accurate description of tipsiness. but I still think he got drunk WAYY too easily. Also he konked out super fast too. but that's immaterial in the grand scheme of things. I think it's just the "unyielding wave" that makes it seem his drunk sleepiness is exaggerated... but then again, it certainly sounds nice, and not inaccurate. so, I dunno.
Very few errors in this one. also it was short. I like that. Aelin's planning something, I just know it. poor Cathael's gonna really get it, and for a contrived reason, too, having something to do with Kumi. also I predict Aelin will try to use Kumi's powers to his own benefit. just a guess.
AND I'm done! in only one go! go me!
okay, you can post more chapters now.
| BOREDOM 4/14/09 . chapter 2
Okay, I'm back. I figure that even if you are creeped out or annoyed by me or whatever, you'll still be glad for the review, and I did say I'd finish it, so here I am. Yak yak yak, blah blah blah etc. I should also mention that this review was written over the course of, like, a week and a half? so it might be kinda choppy.
Maybe Kumi should start paying more attention to his teacher and less to Jahari, and he'll actually learn something instead of sucking. Jeez.
"it had been Jahari’s rapt attention to the point of fixation" : this feels like more words than it needs to be. but I'm not sure... it might be okay as is. I can't decide.
"the smell of piss and shit" : I've gotta say, I found the swear words (gasp!) a bit jarring. it's such a laid-back kind of story, I think something milder, and preferably humorous, like "human waste" or "the indelible remnants of Wassye's cooking" would fit better.
the shovelling really should make him stronger, though.
"Lord Aelin returned from his trade route with the newest group of boys" : he's a slave trader, isn't he. I figured he moonlighted as a merchant, but no, he's totally a slave-raiding bastard. I haven't even met Aelin and already I hate him.
Ah! HE IS! BASTARD! No wonder magic is outlawed - if the southies kept it up, they'd rule the north in a week.
I'm too lazy to look it up, so six years ago makes these kids how old? ten?
"He watched as the newest Dánaidh warriors were pulled along by their rope chain." This is redundant, and thus unnecessary. I would just get rid of it and continue as the same paragraph; I like long paragraphs, but maybe you don't.
"perhaps even born into it" : "into captivity". it's not clear what "it" refers to.
I see your cleverly hidden infodump, and I agree that it is indeed clever, but I think it needs a little restructuring, as I got a little confused reading it. Hurm.
This spot is delaying me, so I'll skip it and come back later.
"away from the other Dánaidh or Lord Aelin" : 'and Lord Aelin'.
"Kumi cradled his wrist to his chest, rubbing it, and Jahari took notice. His expression softened." firstly, I'd get rid of ", rubbing it," since you use it again a few sentences on and this would flow better, I think, without it. secondly, you do realise that the little fangirls everywhere will immediately glom their little fangs onto this and say Jahari's getting a crush on Kumi. ESPECIALLY once they find out Jahari's g-a-y. but anyhow.
"Kumi was still watching over his shoulder as the boys were led to Barracks Ten, rubbing his wrist absentmindedly, his expression unreadable." I would flip "rubbing"etc with "his expression"etc. for some reason it sounds better to my mind.
Won't Aelin or somebody be suspicious about Jahari suddenly grabbing Kumi and dragging him off? also, I just now got that the barracks are numbered based on the age of the occupants. seriously: duh. I feel really special now. and you can ignore all my questions about age, too. sheesh.
"he had witnessed the proceedings for six years now" : I'd say, oh, "he'd been witnessing the" or "each year for six years now" or something, so that instead of it sounding like one action, it sounds like an ongoing or repeated action. there's a name for that tense, but darned if I remember it.
they don't wear pants! ! scandalous!
"The Dánaidh of Barracks Sixteen and above stood now in their usual linen tunics" : but Kumi and Jahari are in 16, aren't they, and they just changed...
"Aelin looked simultaneously older and younger than Cathael, his face barely lined, his hair still a pale blond, free from streaks of white unlike Cathael, but Kumi was sure that in his six years as a Dánaidh, he had never once seen Lord Aelin smile." I think I would split this into two sentences, or change the punctuation. Like, "Aelin looked simultaneously older and younger than Cathael; for though his face was barely lined and his hair still a pale blond, free from streaks of white unlike Cathael, Kumi was sure that, also unlike Cathael, he had never once seen Lord Aelin smile - not once in all his six years as a Dánaidh." Wow, I really did just put my mark on that sentence, didn't I? OH WELL.
“We can’t have our Dánaidh fighting for space every night, sleeping outside.” That's what I've been saying all along.
Aelin's character is very well defined. I hate him, but I really like him because I know exactly his type. The phrases you use in describing him are very effective at getting the point across. In case you wondered.
Wait, Adaeria owns the Southlands? I had got the impression the South was its own country. If this is the case, "resistance" is not the right word.
Only one day off a year? Yikes. And I thought two weeks was bad.
Very nice. Also, he can aim his magic? Also, is this his way of getting back at the smug 19s?
Keedokee. I think I've said everything that's occurred to me so far, so the last thing is that one paragraph. Hurm. Yeah...
Okay. Here goes. My rewrite. "Maybe they had been servants first, working at their mother’s sides for the lords of Athol, in Western Adaeria, or laboring in the kitchens of the kingdom of Branwen in Eastern Adaeria. Maybe they had been taken from the Southlands without ever having stepped foot into Northlands, and now stood terrified of Aelin and the other masters’ strange appearances and this foreign land. Whereas Lord Aelin, Master Cathael, and most of the people native to Adaeria were fair of hair and skin, the Dánaidh were all dark of complexion, hair, and eyes, their features varying in shades of brown.
"The majority of the boys had been taken from the central Southlands, a sprawling, lush country called Nyameke. Kumi, however, like many of the Dánaidh, had never seen Nyameke. From birth he was a slave, and if not for what he assumed were his deceptively well-built parents, he would have never been selected to become one of the Dánaidh, trained for years to be Adaeria’s first line of defense, the protectors of their captors."
I guess maybe you see what I'm trying to do? It's still a little redundant. If you could, like, consolidate it somehow, or rearrange the order... yeah. I dunno. Can't imagine this is being all that helpful.
Okay, I'll call that good. On to chapter three!
| WhenceComethThisBoredom 4/3/09 . chapter 2
Okay. I keep opening this up and then not reading, and I even started to read without editing, but dammit I am
going to do this! I mean, jeez, if it were me that had written it, I'd be seriously, Boredom, get your act
together! Quit being a flake! Make somebody happy, just one person happy, la la la don't remember the rest of
the song. Because I feel your pain. More and more I am finding people like me, who are just as obsessed with
their creations and just as desperate for attention, and if I can aid them, well, then that's something, isn't
it? and if I can maybe possibly get something COUGH COUGH APICTURESCOUGH COUGH out of it myself, well, then
that's something else. Shall I ramble on? No, I think you're wanting me to get to the actual helpful bit. And
so I begin.
"the whole sight would have been very beautiful if Kumi hadn’t been staring" : I think "seemed very beautiful"
would be better here. I mean, it's beautiful whether he's looking at it or not; it's his ability to appreciate
it that's been compromised. or maybe "and Kumi would have thought the whole sight very beautiful if he hadn't
been" etc. Also, he was staring for FIVE HOURS? unblinking? can't be good for his eyes...
gosh I crack myself up.
anyhow. "Cathael was reasonable, if not tough" : shouldn't it be "if tough"? he seems pretty tough to me.
comma after "students"
"eradicated, Kumi hazily recalled" : I'd say "having been eradicated", just because I got a little confused at
first reading of this sentence.
"how shocked some of the other boys were to learn this" : this confused me. are they shocked because magic is
allowed in the south, or because it's outlawed in the north? the sentence after this also confused me. firstly,
how young was Kumi when he got taken from his home (drafted? pressganged? enslaved?) that he feels he's lived
his whole life in the north? are ALL of the danaith from the south? also, as you can see by the typo I just
made, I keep hearing "danaidh" pronounced "danaith" in my head, because that's how tolkien did his dh's, but how
exactly is that supposed to be pronounced? but, in summary, after having read through the paragraph several
times, my conclusion is thusly: kumi and the other boys have no memory of the south, so they were surprised when
their teachers told them that in the south magic is condoned. yes? is that what you mean? in closing, I think
you oughta restructure the paragraph.
dear God I'm long-winded. hope you don't mind.
personally, I would put "implied (correctly) that Kumi had" etc, but I know some people are very
anti-parentheses, and it's certainly fine the way it is. I just like to use stuff other than commas when I can,
or... you know what I mean? I like parentheses; I like dashes and semicolons even better. but I'm rambling
I did actually laugh when I read this the first time, Kumi smacking his head on the ceiling, since I too had
forgotten how low the ceilings were. sigh. I'm still wondering what kind of crack the Adaerian military
architects were on...
speaking of which, did you ever answer any of the questions I posed in my Ch 1 review? not like you have to; I
mean, I did get a free picture out of it. but I am curious. possibly they will all be answered in the coming
oh, poor Jahari, he's like a hopeful puppy, just looking for love... XD
"as they passed by him, flattened against the wall" : I know it's Kumi who's flattened, but I think I'd at least
take out that comma, just to make it indisputably obvious. Also, XD on the "embarrassingly clean". typical guy
"right outside of the doorway" : "of" unecessary
"his fairly lined face" : "fair lined face"? I'm not sure exactly what you mean.
the duration? doesn't that mean the rest of the year? yeah, he's tough all right. Also, I get this image of
Aelin as one of those prissy playboy noble's kids who have a sense of entitlement twenty miles wide, while
Cathael worked his way up from poverty or something and knows the value of hard work (obviously!). Cathael is
possibly a Calvinist. and I got all that from his touch of disdain. so, good.
"The outcome was still far better than he expected it to be if Cathael did not tell Lord Aelin about Kumi’s slip
up." think you mean "if Cathael DID tell" Aelin (um, did in italics), since this implies Cathael's not telling
will make it worse, and also that that's not what he's doing, but it is, but... wait, what was I saying?
yep. definitely a noble's kid. they're always going nutso with the whips for small impudences. see, I know
these things. I've seen movies. he's- he's like the dad in "Pan's Labryinth", the horrible one. ugh, not a
nice playboy, then - rather, the kind who rapes and murders village girls for laughs, sets the dogs on little
maybe a Methodist... sorry, that's Cathael I mean. I'm writing comments as I go along, see. at this rate my
review will be longer than the chapter itself!
"Kumi counted down the days ... fast enough." these sentences felt like an "elapsed time" marker, like the next
paragraph would be, "as august drew to a close," yaketty yak yak. so I would reword it, like "Kumi would be
counting the days until" etc.
What, the boys aren't going to kick the dog out so they can get the bed? sheesh, softies.
wow, Kumi, about time. and he's known Jahari how long?
"explained what?" I thought, but then I understood that you were talking about the "simple-minded" part. you
oughta clarify this somehow.
how long is it until august? how many months will this punishment be going for?
he could just dump the porridge out somewhere else... I must admit, at first I misinterpreted this to something
like he was going to dump the porridge out BECAUSE he didn't want to spend time in the latrines, which I thought
was a horrible joke about the digestibility of Wassye's food, which disgusted me, but now I see I was wrong. But
I decided to share anyhow. Because that's how I roll.
Anomaly! Ha ha! what's his mutant power? no, no, I'm kidding. lordy I KILL myself sometimes, I really do.
Anyhow, I'm going to finish this review next week, but I'm going to post this part of it now, because then it will feel like getting two reviews instead of one, and that's much more exciting. You know: double the reviews, it's double the fun, double the pleasure, like doublemint gum.
| WhenceComethThisBoredom 1/30/09 . chapter 1
Now, is blunt not implied by wooden sword? Well, I guess if it were hardwood you could get it pretty sharp... Anyhow, it feels like one too many adjectives. But that's nitpicky; really it's not important.
Waster: a kind of cudgel; also, a blunt-edged sword used as a foil. I had to look this up.
"from his dark dreadlocks that spilled out of a not-so-elegant ponytail" ... I would rephrase this just slightly to "from the dark dreadlocks spilling out of his not-so-elegant ponytail". Why? Um. Less words? I think it's something about the possessive article being first that sounds wrong.
Typo: apart of a part of
"growing hair in manly places..." - oh lordy, I giggled aloud here.
"Kumi still resembled a twelve-year-old whipping boy, scrawny and mostly a large, yellowing field" ... huh? what happened to the rest of the sentence?
Typo: "the moment the set foot" they
"made Kumi feel that much more embarrassed when yelped whenever one flew towards" ... maybe "for yelping whenever one"... the when/whenever are too close together. Also you're missing a "he"...
hmph! I smell a sexual harassment suit... I'm joking, I'm joking, I swear. jeez I have a juvenile mind.
poor Jahari. That's stereotyping, Kumi's putting him in the stupid box just cuz he's bulky... I haven't even met him and now I feel indignant for him.
"“Are you ready?” the mound of muscles asked..." this is good.
"and the moment they had straighten back up" ... the moment they had straightened? also, I think "back up" is unnecessary. in fact, I might even say "no sooner had Kumi straightened then a sword was being thrust at his face" or something, which puts it from his perspective and makes it more active and personal.
"he supposed it would help to pay better attention" I'd add, "next time" or "in the future" or "it would help if he actually paid attention once in a while" or something etc.
This fight is giving me a very funny image.
He's been doing this how long? So every single day since he was a kid Kumi can't help but yell and scream when he gets attacked? shoot, no wonder they make fun of him. I can imagine him still yelping occasionally, but a constant stream of shouting seems a bit much after more than a little while.
I like the lion/sheep/screaming thing.
Ha, I'm really liking this part, the two guys "Oh crap!" throwing dirt on this magic flaming sword. It feels like a chemistry class where something goes wrong and you desperately scramble to hide the fact you just blew up the sink or something before the teacher sees. great image.
"“Uh…gardening?” Kumi offered." I want you to know I am giggling heartily.
Typo: "Have you’ve been using it" Have you
"Jahari and Kumi came upon the high gate that separated the commune from the fields. But the gate was apparently just for appearances; there were no guards at the entrance, and no door for that matter." this is confusing me a little. I'm thinking there's a gap in the wall with no door or means of blocking it, but then it's not putting up much of an appearance, right? but if there actually is a gate, then what does "no door" entail?
Dánaidh sounds Irish. how would you pronounce that? DAN-ai-d? Dan-aith?
I like all these mudane things you're mentioning - pots for bathing, dirty stray dog. they lend a sense of place to your world, make it feel realer. I also like the dog. like, as a character.
That's lame, they shouldn't make the unlucky guys sleep outside. They should at least be able to sleep, I dunno, on the dining room tables or something. Or in the hallway. Or the dining room floor. or give them blankets already.
Typo: "but as Jahari’s words" at
dude, that is one cramped barrack. you weren't kidding.
in other news, this is quite good. I'm glad Kumi's reassessing his opinion of Jahari as brick-headed jock. also, the chapter got better as it went along - the writing became smoother, the story more and more entertaining. so. yes. two thumbs up.
| Fractured Illusion 11/11/08 . chapter 1
It’s the birthday of The Review Game Forum! To celebrate we send gifts to those important to RG. Thank you for having been part of the community, we notice and appreciate it And also first I wanna say I have been interested in reading this story since I saw the drawings of Kumi-characters but I am too lazy -.-‘’ But now I have an excuse! Ha!
“They weren’t even real swords”
So far all names except Kumi have an “h” in them. Conscious or not, I don’t think that is needed, unless the culture really like “h”? But Kumi got no h so…yeah.
““You seem to be getting better,”” This line made me like Jahari :3 Eventhough Kumi seems to think him as brawns no brains, he is awfully considerate for a loser like himself. I mean, he is screaming in terror and Jahari compliments him. I refuse to believe ill of this man! :D
I am a bit surprised the fire wasn’t noticed so quickly. You never really mention how afar from each other everyone is but from my mental picture it was close, and taken into the fact that Kumi looked over easily to see his master, as well Jahari screaming (which must probably be an odd occurrence) I find it strange it wasn’t noticed immediately.
And aww at the ending :3 Jahari and Kumi’s interaction was so sweet. I just hope Kumi will realize Jahari is much more than meets the eye.
Good pace so far too. The events and actions come off as natural/realistic. Nothing to complain about there.
| sugaplumprincess 9/14/08 . chapter 3
I think this chapter could have been a bit longer, and we could have gotten a bit more development of the secondary characters or situation, especially after how much time passed in the last chapter. Or you could have put a bit more description in. Mostly I would have just liked a little bit more to read on this installment, so maybe I’m just being greedy. However you picked a good stopping point to end at, which might be why it turned out short.
I’m glad you introduced Mahlah here because I was starting to wonder about the other boys and whether Kumi and Jahari had other friends. I wish we had gotten just a bit more of him though, so that his personality would stand out a bit more. Maybe he’s the jokester of the group or something?
Good description of the effect Aelin has on the boys, fits in with his cold, fear-inducing persona. This interaction also shows that Kumi is not the coward one might assume him to be from the opening paragraph. He declines Jahari’s help even though Aelin seems to be the person he is most afraid of.
“He didn’t have long to dwell, however…” Your later statements seem to contradict this because Kumi does indeed fixate on this conversation. Only moments later when the food is arriving he can’t eat and worrying, goes back to the barracks. To me it seems like Aelin is the kind of person who would get pissy over singed robes, though we haven’t seen a lot of him yet, I guess he isn’t, or there was something else in his manner that caused Kumi to worry. Was it his last comment? I wasn’t completely clear on what clued him in.
I really liked the section on his mother. The way his memory of her continues to fade over time even though he tries to remember is very touching. It also develops his character a lot more, showing what his motivations are and how she continues to affect his life even though they’ve been separated. Also having their language, along with their magic, taken from the boys is a great way of impressing the severity of Adaerian society on the reader. I also liked that we got to see Kumi doing a different type of magic in this section, I was starting to think he could only control fire.
Kumi is such a lightweight here, lol, but the he’s a scrawny 15-yr old. It’s unfortunate he doesn’t get more time to enjoy the party, but that seems to fit in with his luck. So the next chapter will bring a new master and probably more drama with Aelin, I look forward to it! Despite my nitpicking, I thought it was a very good chapter
“The boys had gone through four choruses of “Summer’s End Is Here, Why Are These Men Still Bothering Us?” before the builders finally departed back to the bay where their lodgings were set up[;] the overseers informing Aelin that they would return in the morning.”
“Jahari said to Kumi [from his seat] on the other side of Mahlah”
He poked the crackling fire with a branch and it hissed, spitting embers[. A] a handful flew [up] and caught on the hem of Kumi’s robes.
“It was odd how the second time that day Aelin’s voice sucked the very humor from the air. Jahari started to stand, but Kumi attempted to communicate to his friend through a series of facial ticks and pointed [glares] that he didn’t need saving yet again. He turned around warily to face Aelin, his hands gripping the scorched hem.” I would make this paragraph separate from Aelin’s dialogue and avoid using ‘stare’ because I think it implies that a larger amount of time passes between Aein speaking and Kumi responding than you mean.
““Until nightfall. Sir,” Kumi added quickly at the Jahari’s exasperated look from behind Aelin.” At firs I couldn’t tell what he had added quickly though I got it after a second read-through. Maybe rephrase it to put some kind of break between nightfall and Sir so that his pause is clearer.
“He dragged himself into the Barracks, settling into the cell furthest from the square [though] the smells of the feast continued to waft towards him.”
“He had been practicing magic in secret for years, [from] before he had been brought to West Adaerian Island…”
“handed their wealthy merchant owner” I think you could cut out ‘merchant’ here as that phrase quite a mouthful together.
| sugaplumprincess 9/12/08 . chapter 2
Review number two! “Brilliant rays of pink, purple, and orange…would have been very beautiful if Kumi hadn’t been staring unblinkingly up at the low ceiling for the past five hours.” Good imagery and it gives us a clear picture of how nervous he is. I think everyone can relate to sitting around and waiting for something bad to happen.
“leaving in their wake the smell of sweat and grass,” Yay, smells! I’m glad you included them here, though I’d still like to see them more often. If Kumi smells clean, does that mean that they wash every night, or at least when they feel like it? And great description of the food, definitely cringe-worthy.
I continue to like Jahari more and more, I guess because you set him up to be the dumb jock, which he completely is not, so it’s a nice turn. Kumi’s an interesting one. I wonder why he’s practicing in secret if magic’s forbidden and can get him in so much trouble. By the end of the chapter it seems like he does intend to use it against others, probably the northlanders, and all the training and rituals haven’t managed to bring him into the system like they have the other boys. He’s quite sneaky to have gotten away with practicing on the sly in such a cramped community. I guess you do have to watch the quiet ones.
The dialogue, where it appears, is good and flows naturally. You don’t use it very often, but manage to convey what the characters are thinking in other ways. However, because there’s so little you might want to work on distinguishing Jahari and Kumi’s voices a bit more. Give them slightly different expressions, or turns of phrase, that way if you end up with a spot where you have unmarked dialogue readers will still be able to tell who’s who, and it can be a subtle way to build character. [It’s something I’ve been trying to work on lately; I don’t want to come across as pushy :)]
Also I think you could maybe make it a bit more slangy. At one point Jahari says “You’re going to get yourself in trouble,” But most people in a rush would not actually say ‘going to’ especially teenaged boys so I think you could get away with a ‘gonna’ here.
I’m glad we get a quick, concise summary of the situation with magic, though I am wondering why the war prince wiped it out in the first place. It seems like it would have been really helpful to have on his side in a battle. Hopefully we’ll find out a bit more in due course.
However, I’m a little confused about just what makes up Adaeria. There’s mainland Adaeria, which is divided into Northlands and Southlands; the island the boys are on is East Adaeria Island, and they’re being trained as warriors to protect the whole continent and not just one northern kingdom, since there seem to be several kingdoms? Or are only the northlands part of Adaeria?
I was kind of expecting Kumi to name the dog in this one, since he thinks about it. Hopefully he won’t forget. The plot’s progressed a lot and so has time in this chapter. It seems like you’re moving towards a conflict pretty quickly, and I like the pacing so far. Aelin makes a good antagonist for this part of the story; I’m looking forward to a bit more development of him before Kumi ends of leaving, or lighting him on fire or whatever happens so that he can go exploring. I hope to get the next chapter done by tomorrow night! And then I hope you’ll write more so that I can keep reading :)
“But if it was not practiced for years, it would fall dormant, and by adulthood, disappear completely.” I don’t think you need the commas in this sentence, it would read more smoothly without.
“He seemed a lot taller than how Kumi remembered him earlier that morning.” I like this sentence a lot, but I think you could drop the ‘how’ and put ‘from’ before earlier.
“The outcome was still far better than he expected it to be if Cathael did not tell Lord Aelin about Kumi’s slip up.” The wording on this is a bit awkward, because it seems like you’re saying this outcome is better than if Cathael didn’t tell… So maybe: “...expected, since Cathael was not going to tell Lord Aelin…”
“He couldn’t possibly be finished already?” I don’t like the question mark here without any question words in the sentence.
I would make the part where he offers the dog his food a separate paragraph between the lines of dialogue, instead of having it connect them since it doesn’t directly tie into what’s being said, but that’s more stylistic on my part. And maybe use a page break when you shift from the boys sitting to overview of the passing weeks as the change is slightly abrupt.
“Even the stray dog began to keep its distance from him on its nightly visits, after Kumi resumed [sleeping] on the hard dirt outside.” I’d avoid having ‘nights’ and ‘nightly’ in the same sentence if possible.
“They were in front of the entrance to Barracks Fifteen, now completely empty as the boys prepared for the Summer’s End Ceremony that evening[; most] carrying water from the well to bathe with.”
| sugaplumprincess 9/10/08 . chapter 1
I’m sorry if this comes across slightly jumbled, I’m writing as I read.
First off, I love the opening, it’s great; you have my attention from the very beginning. Starting with action is a good hook and by making it funny and unexpected it’s even better.
“growing hair in manly places” lol, I love the description in this paragraph, you develop the setting nicely and the imagery is vivid and engaging. I can really see the setting and the boys practicing.
“dropped his sword like one would drop a suddenly flaming object” Great humor :) makes it a fun read.
One thing I’d ask for are more sights and smells. With that many adolescent boys living in close quarters there has to be a definite smell inside. Also, you say the square is deserted, but does it also sound deserted, can you hear animals from the fields, or people practicing in the distance? Maybe it’s eerily quiet.
I like the plot you have set up so far, you’ve introduced the conflict and main characters already, and I want to know more. Your world feels well thought out and developed, not just a thin fantasy version of our own, which I really hate when I see it. I’m also wondering about their culture: why is magic forbidden? Why this need to train warriors? Are children taken from their parents at a young age and trained to be citizen soldiers like in Sparta, or are they slaves of the ruler like in the Ottoman empire? Anyway, I can’t wait to read more.
The first line of dialogue gives great insight into Kumi’s character by showing just how fed up with him the master is. You develop him pretty quickly, but without dragging paragraphs (though maybe you could condense the couple sentences on his hair). I’m glad he’s able to block a couple of Jahari’s blows, it shows that he’s not ridiculously incompetent, but the fact that he’s screaming keeps up the sense of his panic in this situation.
“Handsome and brawny as he was stupid, Jahari was indeed reminiscent of a bull ox,” I hope he is a bit more than this, because while a funny description it’s also very much a stereotype. By the end of the chapter he does seem quite nice, and helpful, so I look forward to him not being ‘the dumb jock.’ His and Kumi’s relationship is interesting at this point, obviously Kumi is jealous and resentful, which makes sense given Jahari’s skills, but they’ve also known each other for at least five years, so it’ll be interesting to see how that affects their relationship.
“Kumi let out an undignified squeal as a club slammed [into the trunk of an oak tree] just inches above his head…”
“shaking the bark from [the] dark dreadlocks that spilled out of [his] not-so-elegant ponytail. Wayward locks swung into his bewildered face, obstructing his view. If it had not been a part of their uniform to wear their hair long, Kumi would have cut them long ago.
“trained to become the protectors of the mainland of Adaeria from the moment the[y] set foot on (I think ‘on’ flows better than ‘onto’ here) the island”
“It sprouted up from the yellow-green stalks of grass, made of crumbling dark adobe, large enough to house not only Kumi and his twenty-six peers, but the other Dánaidh who also trained on East Adaeria Island.” This phrasing makes it sound like the grass is made of dark adobe. Maybe try “Sprouting up from the yellow-green stalks of grass, the compound was…” or add a “and was” between ‘grass’ and ‘made’
“Inside the gate, the small square that sat in the middle of the ten barracks opened up before them” Slightly awkward wording here :/
“Still so early in the day[,] it sat empty [while] the other Dánaidh [were] out training in the fields.”
“Jahari was saying as they passed by the well in the center of the square.[L]arge clay pots used for bathing leaned against [its] crumbling stone. To the right of the well a few yards away, a [dust]-colored[,] stray dog was rolling in the dirt, tongue lolling happily from his mouth [as] his wagging tail stirred up eddies of dirt.”
| Tigger Lilly 1 8/11/08 . chapter 1
really great. Excellent detail, funny, love it. keep up the good work.
| sckry 8/4/08 . chapter 3
I was really impressed by your story, it has some great descriptive language to it and there is definitely a distinct sense of an established culture/system just within the island itself. You made very clear the racial definitions of characters such as Kumi and Jahari when compared to Cathael and Aelin, and the organization of the Danaidh settlement sounded very practical and realistic.
Yoou have a great introduction to your main character. Kumi’s personality is presented pretty straightforwardly as a meek kind of person who thinks a lot with not so much physical powress. However, his skills in magic would change the way he acts. As a meek/quiet person I would initially assume that he taught himself magic as a sort of refuge to escape his physical shortcomings, maybe to find a connection with his lost mother. At some points though (e.g. when seeing the new batch of 10 year old slaves) it seems that he practices magic with the intent to learn a way of fighting back at his masters, as if he hopes to one day liberate himself (and maybe the others) from their slavery. This second one seems a bit extreme for my initial interpretation of the character. It could work better if you made Kumi dream about liberating his people, but know that realistically that he doesn’t have a hope in hell of achieving it, or even being too afraid to.
I really disliked the last line in the second chapter ‘Inwardly, however, he smiled to himself. He was getting better.’ Because it implies that Kumi did it for his own amusement, thus making him a bold, daring person who pushes the boundaries of what is acceptable and dangerous regardless of the consequences, when you seem to have assured us that he is not like that at all.
One more thing about Kumi is the magic. He seems to be loosing control of it far too regularly. I think it’s three times in the first three chapters, and considering he’s meant to have kept it secret for years, it just feels implausible. I would suggest on making the time gap between the first event and the Summer’s End Ceremony more noticeable. I didn’t actually realize any time had passed until I reread the chapter. This puts spacing between Kumi’s first out burst of magic and the second.
I must say, I love Jahari. He really is a sweet guy, and I love the subtle form of friendship between him and Kumi. The one thing that bothers me is Kumi’s assumption that Jahari is dense, and his lack of surprise when Jahari correctly and quickly comes to the conclusion that Kumi has been practicing magic in Chapter One. Does everyone view Jahari as a blockhead? Does Jahari have any other friends amongst his year group and if so do they treat him like his stupid? If so, then Kumi should at least have some reaction at Jahari’s guess. Though you do state that he was preoccupied by his awaiting punishment, it might be apt for him to ponder at Jahari’s surprising cleverness in that bit in the second chapter. I know it’s relatively a small thing, but it might add an interesting dynamic to their friendship. Each could be surprised at traits they thought the other didn’t have.
One last bit on characterization, I think you have the perfect balance with Aelin and Cathael. The different sort of authority they both had is great.
And one last point, the only faulty thing with the plot that I can see is the problem of making warriors that are former slaves of Southern descent the main armed force used to protect the Northlands from Southern attacks. Unless there was some heavy brain washing going on, as a king I would think very carefully before stationing the Danaidh troops there. In all likelihood, I would expect them to revolt and defect to their native land. However, I would (as the hypothetical king) send them to fight another enemy on my border the other side of the country. Not only would this free up my native soldiers there to deal with the Southern problem, but my slave warriors are no where near their native land with little chance of finding their way there. That sort of outlook would make them more resigned to their fate. Since your making this slightly based around the European-African thing, this point is very relevant in regards to the African slaves who were sent to the Americas to work on sugar cane plantations. They had no hope of returning home and most just resigned themselves to their fate.
Once again, I love this story, and I think you have a great potential not only with the character dynamics, but also with the plot as well. Basing of similar situations in our own world makes this feel that bit more realistic and believable. Great job and can’t wait to read more of it!
| 123456DoesNotExist 7/12/08 . chapter 1
Woah! The beginning definitely was interesting, it got me hooked and made me want to know why the hell a club is being aimed at his head...
Ok, reading on.
Ah, well, that would explain it. Anyway...
Your descriptions are wonderful, I can really picture the characters and what's happening in my mind. I also like your style of writing, it flows well and keeps one reading (except when they're writing their review...)
Whoops, found a typo in the 5th paragraph: "...from the moment the set foot onto the island." It should be: from the moment 'they' set foot onto the island.
Heh, he's standing as though he's constipated. Heheh.
Aw, the stereotypical strong and handsome, and of course, he's slow as a rock. I like him though, he seems real.
I like the small doses of humor, it makes me smile.
Hm, I like it. It was good. :)
| tmelange1 7/10/08 . chapter 3
Very interesting so far. O look forward to reading more. Bravo!