|Reviews for Regal Blood: The Birthright Genesis|
| Complex Variable 1/10/13 . chapter 11
[He raised his head as he realized, "I said it." He stood, "I said it myself! I end suffering I kill those who cause it!" his voice grew louder with each declaration, "My life is dedicated to the destruction of evil I am Glar the dragon hunter! Glar!" he roared his name and the word rang in the pillared hall, reverberating and echoing powerfully, "GLAR!"] - - - I know this is from chapter 12, but, I just want to point out how ridiculous it is for G to be yelling "Glar". XD You REEEEEEEEEAAAALLLLLLLYYYYYYY YY need to give him a better name than that. XO
Okay so, several things: yay for killing off Vegrance, that was unexpected! You could have drawn out their relationship before killing her, but that's just me. Also, G shouldn't have been able to do that much damage to the ULTIMATE DEMON. That's a little ridiculous. G should be swatted back, like a fly.
Second, I think, plot wise, the need-to-hunt-down-demon quest would actually make a good SEQUEL. Also, if you kept Vegrance in for most of the first book, instead of just killing her so soon, it would make her betrayal all the more horrific. Kill her at the very END of the book, and then have the demon-fight sequence you have here, make that the final scene of the story. Perfect cliffhanger.
As I said to you via PM, this story seems more driven by Vegrance's issues than by G's. Even though she's dead, the fact that the "big bad" of this story is the demon that SHE summoned still pisses me off—it still feels like the story is exploring her actions and their consequences than G's.
What I'm visualizing, here, is that the plot of this book should center around G's relationship to dragons and his family, etc. Vegrance could tag along—possibly collecting the artifacts with G as the story progresses—helping him (maybe even loving him) throughout his dragon-related adventure. Then, after G finishes his personal quest, he and Vegrance finish the demon quest, and the story ends with V's betrayal and the demon-summoning.
Also—in this model—you would have to have a much more dramatic and re-done version of Vegrance's betrayal of G (her attempted murder), and, you would have to make the scenes at the monastery far less info-dumpy.
Still, I have to emphasize the fact that the main plot of this story should be about G and his issues, not Vegrance's.
| Complex Variable 1/8/13 . chapter 10
You know, given the title of this story "Regal Blood: The Birthright Genesis", you would think that the plot would center around G and his relationship to the dragonic political order; his heritage, his duties. Maybe he could end up having to become the King of Dragons, or something? That would certainly tie a knot in the dragons' tails! XD
I mean, you end your first chapter in: [But matters were worse than he knew. Word travels slowly through the dragon community as they mostly keep to themselves, but eventually an evil black dragon of ancient lineage caught wind of the turmoil between the greatest of the gold dragons and his only offspring. Hatred long in brewing was stirred up once again in him and he resolved to take his revenge by slaying the daughter. And if it were true that she was dabbling with humans it would make his job all the easier. For over a year he searched the towns and villages roundabout the mountain range before he came to Varneth where the people were all on edge… and he heard whispers of dragons.] - - - One would think that this kind of vindictive dragonic politics/bloodline stuff would be more important to the plot. But, no, instead, you have to throw demon overlords into the mix. XD This sounds more like V's story than G's.
Now, if you suddenly killed V in chapter 11, now, then you would've grabbed my attention. That would be unexpected; that would be a fresh twist. Also, I can't help but think that having her around makes your plot go in the wrong direction. The whole duality that SHOULD be defining G and his struggles to figure out who and what he is (existentially speaking) seem like afterthoughts in comparison to V's silly quest to defeat her silly demon ancestor. Now, if this was G's quest to defeat his evil dragon answer, that would be slightly less criminal; at the very least, it would force you to have him learn about all of the conflict, instead of having V and some mages explain it all to him in the course of two or three chapters.
Also... *generic rant about the biological liberties you take with dragons*
| Complex Variable 1/2/13 . chapter 7
[Why? Why bother? What was the advantage to living a good, honest life? There was no hope - none. And those with the delusion of hope were merely denying the truth… the truth that in the end it was all for nothing.] - - - When I read this, I completely agreed with Vale (I am NOT calling him the G-name). So much so that I just wanted to close the window, and stop reading. The paragraph these sentences were taken from is certainly a step in the right direction, but, compared with everything that you've done so far, and, the mood of this chapter in particular, your attempt at sudden emotional depth seems forced and really, really out of place. You can't suddenly start taking Vale's issues seriously after almost totally ignoring them for most (if not all) of his youth. That's just messed up.
This chapter, too, does not really have any reason to exist. XO It's a stand-alone adventure that does nothing to advance the plot, nor to develop character. It would make a good RPG quest, though—and, of course, that's exactly the problem here. Unless you can tie this in to the underlying conflicts (emotional, between characters, etc.) that are supposed to be holding up this story's "plot", I would delete this chapter. Same thing goes for Chapter 6 (random dragon attack much? XD).
Also, if Vale can understand parts of the Goblins' language, then the parts he understands should be in "English", while the unknown word(s) should remain in the Goblin tongue.
| Complex Variable 12/31/12 . chapter 4
You certainly have a knack for choreographing nice fight scenes; I just wish that you invested a little more in descriptions, especially of settings, of forms, of actions, of emotions, and of your characters' reactions. You have plenty of action in your plot; now, add the detail.
[Glar disobeyed and ran to were the battle axe had landed. ] - - -"where", not "were"
[Glar could recognize the dwarves from their description of being short, stocky, and bearded. He guessed correctly that those tall, fair people with pointed ears were elves. He knew the orcs by their hulking, ill-favored look and their greenish skin. Halflings were a little difficult to spot through the crowd as they barely stood four feet tall.] - - - *Takes deep breath, and then begins an hour-long session of continuous screaming and ranting about how using Tolkien's races—especially dwarves and orcs and "halflings" is really, really annoying, depressingly unoriginal, and is one of the things that the new, current generation of fantasy authors should try to shy away from as much as they can, so that new ground can be struck in the genre, rather than simply ending up reiterating the beautiful, occasionally-luddite, occasionally-annoyingly-catholic tales of a mid-20th-century British genius.*
Something that I notice in your writing: you have a bit of a weakness as it regards story structure and plot. By that, I mean, there really isn't a sense of rising action or plot development going on here. It's really more like just scenes or mini-adventures lumped together. What's the conflict? Where are the issues/struggles that are supposed to be pushing the plot along? You need to invest more in your characters—in their psyches, in their dreams, in their emotions, and so on. You need to make the underlying issues of your story clearer. Right now, it feels aimless, and episodic. So far, Kael and Sav are the most well-defined characters I've come across so far; they had motivation; they had a conflict to overcome. "Glar" (Eww, yucky name!) doesn't stand out as a character. I don't "feel" for him like I did for his parents.
Every chapter of a novel should move the story forward somehow; at the end of each chapter, the characters, conflict or plot must have developed/matured or changed somehow. At the end of the chapter, you can't just bring us back to where we started and call it a night. A novel is a series of miniature stories—chapters—strung together. Each chapter has it's own "tale" to tell, and yet, each chapter is also integral to the others; they build upon one another; the events influence each other; the themes and conflicts intermix, and thicken. I don't see that happening here.
More on that in the next chapter, though.
| Complex Variable 12/30/12 . chapter 3
At this point, I have to ask: where are the chapter epigraphs coming from? If they're texts "native" to your fantasy world, I'd like to see some connection/reference made to them, or their authors, at one point or another in the course of the story. Doing so would help add yet another level of world-building detail to the story—a bonafide plus. As it is now, though they're fine as epigraphs, they feel unnecessary because they don't seem to add any dimension to the work; tie them down to the story, contextualize them, etc.
I am displeased with the first four paragraphs of this chapter; you are being lazy, and that will not do—not at all. :P
I've seen many a story like this do EXACTLY the same thing; it boils down to a "Many Years Later", and I don't like that. Think of all the world-building, character-building, plot thickening, emotion-twisting, etc., etc. things that occur in the six years that you so casually skip over. Just because you don't "show" a part of the story your readers, it doesn't mean that it simply doesn't happen. At the very least, I think your readers are entitled to a montage-like chapter—a selection of scenes from the MC's childhood. A lot of stuff can happen in six years! You're missing all the chances to develop a parental figure in the character of the Hunter, as well as chances for us to see the cool things that baby "Glar" can do. Think of greek mythology: every "hero" does some important, impressive task in h(is/er) youth, before s/he sets off on h(is/er) adventure to become the person that s/he was always meant to be. (I've written papers on this stuff, so I know what I'm talking about.)
["Yes, remarkable- but undisciplined." the hunter shook his head, "I swear he's got the strength of an ox, but about the attention span of a half-wit kobold."] - - - Imagine what literary fun you could have, describing this happening when "Glar" was a baby. (Think of Hercules, who killed the two serpents that were sent to kill him as a newborn!)
Also. I don't like the name "Glar"—it's a matter of personal taste, I know, but I don't like it. Also, I don't like the fact that the Hunter doesn't have a name—he should. It's unbelievably awkward, otherwise. (Is "Kadovan" his name? If so, use it, not "the hunter"—it's dehumanizing! XP) Having the character have a name that he doesn't want to be called is one thing, not calling him it in the narration is quite another.
Likewise, in reference to the naming thing, that's just ridiculous. Six years without a name? Six years of "boy"? Six years of him never asking for a name! X[ This angers me! I think it would be much more meaningful (and realistic) if his mother gave him a name with her dying breath. (i.e. ["My perfect little boy, my [INSERT NAME HERE].") Besides, it would make sense: you already mentioned that Kaer and Sav were thinking about a name (in chapter one); I find it hard to believe that they wouldn't have already had a name prepared for either gender. Also, I REALLY don't like "Glar" It sounds like "Gar!" or some other, stupidly over-manly grunt. XD
["I'm not human, though."] - - - XP You need to stop skipping over important psychological aspects of your characters, such as this. I command you to write the scene from earlier in his life when "Glar" (Ew, yucky name!) first learned that he wasn't human. Given the characteristics of Kadovan's personality, I would expect that he would have given "Glar" (Ew, yucky name!) hell because of his half-dragon heritage—a quasi-abusive/neglectful relationship. He might even have yelled at the boy, explaining how he wasn't human—that he wasn't normal, that he was an abomination, etc. I mean, how would YOU feel if you were all alone—no one else like you—and the nearest thing to what you were insisted on resenting you?
Of course (I can already see the chapter forming in my mind), you could add some appropriate character development by having a scene where, one day, "Glar" (Ew, yucky name!) saves Kadovan's life, or does something of similar kindness that starts to change Kadovan's attitude toward the boy. (See, perfect chapter—it has the feat of childhood heroism, and everything!) As it is now, it doesn't seem realistic, the way Kadovan suddenly warms up to the kid after six years of no-name and neglect.
So, along with the "Rescuing Kadovan" chapter, I would include (prior to it) the chapter where Kadovan is cruel to "Glar" (Ew, yucky name!) because he isn't human; the chapter where little "Glar" (Ew, yucky name!) first finds out about his true heritage.
[In the next few years, the hunter began teaching Glar to fight and defend himself. Although the boy learned quickly, he was always reluctant to practice.] - - - F-k! TWICE in one chapter! You attempt to undermine my morals, good madam! This cannot stand!
[growing more tall and broad by the day.] - - - "growing taller and broader by the day."
So, in summary:
1) "Glar" Ew, yucky name!
2) Don't skip over his childhood! At least not without giving us at least one scene from the period being skipped.
*Pouts angrily* XD
| Complex Variable 12/30/12 . chapter 2
*Checks your profile page*
Oh, wow—you've actually published this in real life! Fantastic *is now incredibly envious*
Then, again—this makes me worried. Are you just (more-or-less) copy-pasting the story from the text document containing the final version of the manuscript? 'Cause, if so, then that's kind of scary. There are quite a few grammar/technical errors here.
Eg: ["You care nothing for life." she hissed, "Yours is ] - - - the period NEEDS to be a comma, and I would recommend making that comma a period.
["Sav." he said firmly, ] - - - that period needs to be a comma.
Aww man... you skipped the transformation sequence. Magical processes are your chance to shine—to exhibit your inner literary virtuoso; describe, describe, describe!
[the ground, accidentally incinerating everything in its path,] - - - subject-verb agreement "flames" goes with "their", not with "its".
[Kael rushed from the burning house, great sword in hand,] - - - Knowing that you're a D&D player (I'm not, but I've played enough RPGs in my life to know a thing or two), I'm surprised you made this mistake. A "greatsword" is a two-handed weapon. Longswords and short-swords are one-handed weapons. So, if you meant greatsword (it's not wrong that you didn't combine the two words, but it is strange looking), you need to change this to indicate that he was using BOTH hands, not just one.
[but Sav fought with righteous motherly strength and she held her own.] - - - commas needed after "righteous" and "strength".
You don't need to say "evil dragon" over and over again. We get it; he's big, bad, and black—and with his a mind out for blood; 'nough said. XD
[She whispered sternly yet pleadingly.] - - - Okay, so, I've noticed that you tend to do this often—using adverbs in your dialogue tags. IMO, at least, that's something you should try to avoid doing. Using adverbs to describe the way dialogue occurs is "telling" not "showing". Instead of telling us that Sav is being stern or pleading, it would be much more poignant and moving if you described her mannerisms, her motions, her expressions, her emotions, or her thoughts. Eg. "she whispered, still straining her arm toward the egg," etc. In general, you use too many adverbs; you have an emotionally powerful scene here, and yet, you weaken it by skipping over possible descriptions with a hasty adverb.
[The woman's clothes were torn and her flesh bleeding from several gaping wounds. ] - - - "bleeding" should be "bled"—"bleeding" doesn't go with "were".
["My perfect little boy." Sav whispered weakly,
"Always… remember... who you are." she smiled, and closed her eyes.] - - - these shouldn't be two separate lines. The first period needs to be a comma, the comma needs to be a period, the second period needs to be a comma.
[A large glistening tear rolled down the dragon's cheek.] - - - for stylistic reasons, I think "the dragon's" should be replaced by "her"—it emphasizes the connection between mother and child, rather than just dismissing her as another "ordinary" dragon.
Once again—it's good, but it could be even better. ;)
I'm still dreadfully jealous of you, though; stupid college work, preventing me from devoting my time to my novels. XD
| Complex Variable 12/30/12 . chapter 1
[Mankind can merely speculate what causes one man to become self-serving after centuries of wise, gracious leaders. Unfortunately such a man came into power and abused it until the nation rose up in outrage and tore itself apart. The kingdom was divided into hundreds of feuding capitals; each city under its own government, and the land was thrown into decades of chaos.] - - - The first of these two sentences is in present tense, and it sounds quite awkward. You need to fix it; maybe make these two sentences into something like:
"But this golden age was not meant to last. After centuries of just and righteous leadership, the king's lineage birthed a self-serving tyrant; an evil man who abused his birthright, outraging his subjects, and quickly plunging his nation into a horrific civil war. No one could understand how the wise and gracious dynasty had produced such a horrific son—but, the reason did not matter. The kingdom was soon divided into hundreds of feuding city-states, each with its own government—each claiming to be the most deserving of ascending to the throne. And so the land was thrown into decades of chaos."
Also, you need to change the tense of the passages where you summarize Kael's past. E.g.:
[Kael's mother stayed on the farm for a few months, but grew increasingly discontent and decided to return to her family in Tordeth far away. Kael couldn't bring himself to abandon the family homestead and worked the farm alone for several years.] - - - you need to change this to the "had been" tense (passive voice, I think it's called). Ex: "Kael's mother had stayed on the farm for a few months. But, in time, she had grown increasingly discontent until, one day, she decided to return to her family in Tordeth, far away. Kael hadn't been able to bring himself to abandon the family homestead, and so, for many years, he had worked the farm, all on his own."
In general, I like the high fantasy atmosphere of this chapter. It's very well suited to the nature of the story that you are telling. I like the way you develop Sav's relationship with Kael—it's quite believable, even by fantasy standards. :) Oh, and awesome dragon names, by the way! :D
[ giant gold dragon sleeping] - - - I would make it "dragoness".
[Her giant figure shrank gracefully down to the lovely human form,] - - - um, what about clothes? Is she nude, or not? (Details like this MATTER!)
You do need to edit this, though—possibly get a beta reader, even. There are places where the phrasing is awkward and needs tweaking, or—worse—where the prose slips into the wrong tense; ex: [Word travels slowly through the dragon community as they mostly keep to themselves, ] - - - "travels" is present tense; it should be "traveled"—past tense. Likewise, "keep" should be "kept".
Cleaning up these messy parts is really important, because—as it is now—they act like bumps in the road, knocking your readers out of their "groove", so to speak.
Good job, overall—nice high fantasy voice. Your dialogue is smooth, and surprisingly realistic, in spite of the usual (and in this case, well-done) fantasy trappings. I just hope that you'll be able to make the transition from this prologue-esque style to the more active narrative style that will eventually follow, once your main character's story truly begins.
| thetruthaboutsilver 12/27/12 . chapter 1
The detail in this just blew my mind away. I can see
the start of a beautiful and great story.
Thanks for writing!