|Reviews for The Curse of Ezekiel Mantavio: Friends and Enemies|
| Amanda 1/2/13 . chapter 41
James, once again, is probably your best and most human character.
Zeke’s dialogue, once again, is lacking. His interaction with the maid was getting better, but turned very preachy. But his interaction with Zack right before the parade almost seemed forced. It seemed cheesy and unnatural. He interaction between Zeke and James in the hospital was a little better.
Once again you change POV. Cannot use “you.” That’s second person POV.
I do like that you are not afraid to kill of your characters. It makes the story more believable to me.
| Amanda 12/31/12 . chapter 40
Very nice opening paragraphs. The speech is well done. Some powerful lines.
I’m still concerned about James. And Zeke doesn’t think about him at all? Really makes me question Zeke’s loyalty as a friend. Oh, OK….after running though the streets, being captured, and gaining control of the army, he finally remembers his friend. Who could have been dead at that point.
"Normally, I'd say put your arms up, but you're an exception. You're an exception to everything. I hope the president lets us kill you."- This is a good line.
| Amanda 12/31/12 . chapter 39
Please more dialogue tags.
Did Zeke just leave James behind to be arrested/killed?
You do make Zeke sound and look like a crazy person. So good job there.
| Amanda 12/31/12 . chapter 38
I don’t think having a friend whose dad is a judge in the mortal world is going to help Zeke in this situation. AT ALL. And I think Zeke realizes this too. So why waste time considering this?
Of course Zeke is going to spend this time coming up with a plan. That’s smart. He shouldn’t feel bad about not talking to James, although he certainly could be discussing the plan with James as they are eating breakfast. That’s why he should have put his things is order back in the US…he also had a whole plane ride to talk to James. This is now strategy time. This is now time to focus. Zeke made the right call here.
James is the most human character the past couple chapters. You are doing all the right things with James. He is having the right reactions, asking the right questions, everything. Well done with him.
If Zach was able to infiltrate using shape shifting/whatever he did…why can’t Zeke do the same thing? After all his planning, having to write a report for class was the best he could come up with? The great hero: report writer. Also, isn’t Zeke supposed to be some kind of hero to Palau anyway? Why wouldn’t the guard recognize him?
I have to say, if Zack took months to plan and Zeke took like a day (and breakfast), then this went about right.
| Amanda 12/31/12 . chapter 37
“Like all beautiful things, this one still had dark secrets on its underbelly.” I really like this line. This is well written.
James looked at Zeke lovingly? Maybe a different adjective would be more appropriate. However, I do like James’ reaction to this situation. This is a very human reaction-to freak out and want to turn back while drawing closer to death.
Zach is powerful and charming enough to infiltrate the UN, but he isn’t able to find himself a place to live? That doesn’t add up.
You change POV here-don’t use “you.” That’s second person POV.
This timeline doesn’t add up. Zeke, upon having his house destroyed, immediately goes to Palau. Yet Zach takes months to formulate and carry out a plan (which makes sense). So what does Zeke do for months in Palau while Zach is slowly playing out his plan? Do you see how this doesn’t quite add up?
Why would Zeke be making a speech according to Zach?
OK, and why is Zach in a prison cell, willingly it seems?
Why does Zach commission Haromi if he has, “Little faith that he would succeed?” That seems a bit silly.
| Amanda 12/31/12 . chapter 36
So, Zeke tells his friends about how he could get killed at any moment, and they don’t react? Yet, a few chapters ago Zeke mentioned he was going on a dangerous mission and with practically no training and no information, they begged Zeke to help. This seems like quite the dichotomy.
I still don’t understand why Chognitog does not pursue Zeke in the nonmortal world?
You did this in the last chapter also. It’s like you want to summarize a large passage of time in the first couple of paragraphs and then you jump straight to a specific day. This transition seems really unnatural and is kind of jarring. You would be better off to jump right into the action (seeing Zach) and folding in the other thoughts and details along the way. For instance, when Zeke sees Zack running, he could then think about how he regretted training him, how Chognitog was right, and how every day has been a blessing to survive. As Zeke is driving to Zach’s house, you could have Zeke reflect on how they haven’t been completely understanding up to this point, but you hope they will help you in the present challenge. This would really increase the flow and make these thoughts seem a bit more natural.
“Something terrible happened on a warm summer day.” You don’t really need to summarize for us what’s going to happen next. Just show the reader the scene; we can figure out for ourselves that this is a terrible thing.
Why in the world would Zeke’s first reaction be to smell the note he just found?
Zeke watches his house get destroyed and he’s only pissed? I think he would have a much larger and more complicated reaction than that. You gave us a glimpse of this reaction, but your characters seem to consistently show their reaction and then almost immediately proceed like nothing has happened. Emotions are complicated. Grief is complicated and persistent. People don’t just react immediately and then never again. These events and the emotions caused by them should be woven into your characters to reflect the total human experience. Absolutely these are powerful emotions that can guide next steps (which you show) or even be transformed into enormous power (which you also told us about a few chapters back). Think about a time in your life when you felt strong emotions. When a tragedy happened to you. How long ago was it? Do you still think about it sometimes? Do you still react to these thoughts? Probably not as strongly as when the event first occurred, but I assure you the emotions are still there. I lost my grandmother a number of years ago. I still think about her every day. I still miss her. Occasionally, I still cry when I think about her. Certainly my emotions are not as strong now as when she first passed away. But this loss has become a part of me. It has changed me forever. It sometimes guides me. It sometimes inspires me. Consider your own reactions and emotions. Consider how your friends and family have reacted to tragedy in their lives. Then try to think about these reactions and synthesize how Zeke, the great hero, might react. I think you are on the right track when his sadness turns to thoughts of anger and revenge. I think this is in line with his character. But it is certainly going to be more than “pissed.” Perhaps he considers other injustices that have recently happened to him. Perhaps he reflects on how many other people have turned on him. Perhaps he thinks about others he has lost. Perhaps he considers a part of his past that will never be again. A certain trait about his house that he will never see again. How his life has one again been inalterably changed. Perhaps he think about how he wants to protect Ashley and James, those he has left. Perhaps he stops to channel this energy, as he was taught to do, so that he can use these intense feelings as a weapon. My point is that I really believe, great hero or not, Zeke would have a much stronger and much more complicated reaction than being “pissed.”
Zeke knows his purpose in life is to kill his once best friend, and that makes him a great hero? How are those two things connected? How does killing make someone a hero? Killing makes him a peace-bringer? None of these thoughts make sense to me. Could we please have some more insight into what Zeke is thinking to have this string of thoughts make sense?
At what point did you introduce shape shifting/creating an illusion as a power? Did I miss that?
“Zach is up to stuff.” That’s what he tells his friends after all this, after frantically pounding down the door? Seriously? I think either Zeke would be so overwhelmed that he blurts out everything, or he stutters so bad that he can’t get anything out. But this vague statement just doesn’t do it for me. Also, Zeke didn’t think to carry the newspaper with him? I would think he would keep the paper for future reference. Also, did Zeke read the whole article in the paper and we didn’t know? Otherwise, how in the world does he get all that information from the headline and the picture?
I don’t understand the connection between Palau and the United States. And I don’t understand how the fall of those two means that Zach will rule the world. We also know that Zach ruling the world “won’t be good at all.”
Also, after discussing the possible downfall of humanity, someone (I can’t tell who by the way your dialogue is laid out) asks, “how’s it going?” I’m pretty sure it’s going bad. Really bad. Instead of awkwardly asking how it’s going, the two should probably discuss that, you know, they won’t die, they aren’t afraid (or maybe they are), what the plan of attack is going to be, what they will do when this crisis is over….there are all kinds of emotionally charged conversations they could be having.
OK, I am seriously confused. When did Zeke and Ashley start dating? Did I miss that? How did that happen? Also, if they are dating, they should definitely be having a stronger reaction to potentially never seeing each other again. They should be discussing that…and I know they kind of are, but they should not be making fairly neutral statement of facts, but should be showing some pretty strong emotions. This conversation makes me think they don’t romantically care about each other AT ALL.
You even follow this with the statement that all the characters realize this is the last time they might see each other. Instead of saying, “we hugged it out,” you might describe something a little bit emotionally charged. For example, describe how they each embraced in a group hug, crying and talking about what a great time its been until this point. Notice I said “describe,” not tell.
Consider if YOU, yourself, were going into battle with someone who used to be your best friend. Your house was just destroyed and you are likely looking death in the face. What would you be feeling? What would you want to say to the two people you have left ON EARTH? What would you want to do to put your effects in order, so to speak, so that you feel more at peace with facing death? This is what the friends should be discussing right now.
You also keep giving us these prophetic glimpses into the future. You do this all through the story, and honestly, it takes me out of the story itself.
| Amanda 12/28/12 . chapter 35
“It's been a while since I fought Chognitog. I'm seventeen now, and I've developed a weird relationship with Ashley. She and I have hung out a few times, but I've been so busy training, I haven't had time for a relationship. Anyways, that book was too hard to resist. During another sleepless night, I was out of reading material (I love to read.) so I started the book. Unlike the normal spells, these new ones I couldn't understand: vapporizario, muerto, praactodor, duermo ect... The moves were strange also; however, there were two that I did already know: Chognitog's moves were in there.”
This paragraph is really jumbled. You jump from thought to thought and the thoughts are so disconnected it’s really difficult to follow. You could break this into two paragraphs (from Ashley to the book) and that would help the flow slightly.
I also find it hard to believe that Chognitog didn’t just go after Zeke in the nonmortal world. He is capable of doing so.
Wow! Another jump. Not 20 paragraphs ago Zeke and Zach were great friends. Within seconds, they become enemies. What happened in the moments between to cause such a stark change?
“I got powerful help TOO” Not to.
Yeah, we really need a lot more information to understand such a huge change between the two in such a short period of time. Also, these two are talking like they are adults living on their own making their own choices….but they are still MINORS. Technically Zach is a runaway and the police should have been looking for him this whole time. Zeke, as far as we know, still has a family, one who obviously hasn’t asked a lot of questions up until this point. I feel like as a reader, I am missing large chunks of information in order for this plot and character interaction to make sense.
| Amanda 12/28/12 . chapter 34
Wow! Hold the horses here! This came out of absolutely nowhere. How did we get from Zeke training to him setting Catherine up in this trap? Oh, OK. I see that Zeke didn’t actually do this. But still, this is a HUGE leap from where we have been before. We need a LOT more explanation here. Why did Chognitog decide NOW to kill Catherine? Why would he need Zeke’s phone to summon her? Why would Zeke think he could take on his trainer? If Chognitog can predict the future, why would he allow himself to be placed in such a position for Zeke to watch this occur? Why couldn’t Chognitog just teach Zeke the water manipulation?
Also, when did Catherine become Cat?
Besides all the questions, I do think you have some powerful writing moments in this chapter. I got a good picture in my mind as to what was happening here. I felt the frenzy of this situation.
| Amanda 12/28/12 . chapter 33
“Extremely powerful power”…there you go describing power as powerful again. Could you maybe say extremely concentrated power? Or potent power?
I REALLY like the idea that emotions can be harnessed as energy for fighting. People channel their emotions into art, cooking, exercise….why shouldn’t a great hero be able to channel them to fight? That is great. And I like the meditation exercise Zeke is led through. This is a really powerful scene as he reflects on his emotions after everything that has happened. The pacing is slow enough here that I really believe the training and the interaction between Ezekiel and Chognitog. Well done.
Now, I want to know how Zach randomly shows up at their training. How does he know where they are? Doesn’t Zeke usually have to use a portal to meet Chognitog for training? And why does Zach show up for like five minutes and then suddenly decides to leave? And wouldn’t Chognitog be a bit startled at this (essential) stranger at this fairly private training session?
I really think Chognitog is way too trusting. I believe that he would show Zeke these inventions as his apprentice. But why on earth would he show Zach, this boy that he just met? I understand that he maybe heard about Zach, maybe saw him briefly at the fight. But that doesn’t mean Chognitog should trust him implicitly. He should be old and wise enough to know that.
| amanda 12/28/12 . chapter 32
Son not sun. Unless she means that the star in the sky has been kidnapped.
My aunt not me aunt.
| Amanda 12/28/12 . chapter 31
That guy is CREEPY! Good job with him.
| Amanda 12/28/12 . chapter 30
If he wanted Chognitog called then why didn’t he just say to call him? I was confused too when he said to call the police-I thought why in the world did they go to all this trouble just to call the police?
I’m also kind of confused. I understand that Vaschmed was apparently defeated with one single move. But what about his henchmen that were there? Why aren’t they part of the picture now? Did they just run away or what?
Hm. Why didn’t they escape through a portal before the police showed up?
| Amanda 12/28/12 . chapter 29
I liked this chapter because this is how the battle really should go. You have this ragtag group of kids with no experience and no plan attacking an obviously very experienced villain. The kids might get the upper hand by fluke, but obviously the villain and his henchmen and better fighters and better prepared.
Remember what I said about the german accent.
Why did you describe the wizard henchman? That seemed very abrupt and out of place unless that specific henchman had some immediate purpose.
| Amanda 12/28/12 . chapter 28
A bus goes to a discreet location of an old abandoned farm?! That’s a heck of a public transportation system and the location becomes much less discreet, don’t you think?
Do you think that children of police officers play with their parents weapons? Because I didn’t and my dad was a police officer. Why would you draw the conclusion that James is good with weapons because his mom is a police officer and dad is a lawyer? If you said that both of his parents hunt and he has gone hunting with them, that makes sense.
You do a very good job at describing the fight scene between Ashley and Zach. I got a really good picture in my mind as to what was happening between those two.
| Amanda 12/28/12 . chapter 27
I was getting extremely confused as to who was saying what/talking when. This can be easily fixed by simply adding more dialogue tags.
A lot happened very quickly in this chapter. It would be better to slow down and spend some more time on some of the bigger events that happened. For example, this character dies and everyone seems to just accept that he died and move on. That was Ashley’s boyfriend. If I were a teenage girl (again) and I watched my boyfriend get pulled into the pit of hell, I would have a fairly strong reaction. After I woke up from fainting, I would do more than “look sad” cry a bit get angry and then agree to come along on a mission with the boy that was partially responsible for my boyfriend’s death. Where did the fire hands come from, actually? Its not clear who was responsible for those, if anyone there was.
Next, Ashley, having just watched her boyfriend die, also found out that her best friends and herself have these strange powers. She accepts this overwhelming situation quite quickly. I just don’t believe she would accept all of these very devastating things so quickly. You might want to spend a few chapters delving into her processing everything that’s happening. Zeke could then console her through this difficult time, instead of trying to move in moments after her boyfriend was killed and she has been rendered unconscious. That would be the better move for a great hero, don’t you think? Better than bluntly telling her that her boyfriend was currently in hell.
What exactly would be “teenager talk?” Remember the old “show, don’t tell” rule. This also applies when you say “it was a madhouse.” You actually do a very good job of showing us how chaotic and hectic a scene this is. You don’t need to state it was a madhouse because we can see this for ourselves. Don’t do the work for the reader Let us take your words and make conclusions for ourselves.
I understand that you are trying to show that Zeke’s friends were on board and wanted to help him in this crazy time. But after all that happened I cannot imagine that they headed into dealing with this situation “happily.” This should be a very somber moment between friends. This shouldn’t be something that they treat like going to a party.