Reviews for Imperial Intrigue
Eyetk chapter 5 . 3/11/2006

Note my fake-non-British accent as I said that. Wrote that! Play too many MUDs and it all becomes the same.

Hey, I promised you a review, too!

Build-up, build-up, build-up. Hm. If I may take a stab at playing the guessing game, I'm going to guess that Christos is a rather...important person in Ijan, neh? But I won't guess more specifically than that, because I feel like...well, not guessing?

Okey-dokey, then. Onto what I do best...which is, well, CCing fantasy stories. I really have to -stop- doing that so much, because I've started doing it to the published stories that I read and sometimes it takes all the fun out of merely reading.

Hmm...grammar is mostly in order-aside from a few typos here and there-and same with dialogue. Goody! Your spices are nicely blended, which means that I get to take a break from critiquing the covers of stories and actually give a review on meat and bones. Wahoo!

On the subject of characters, since this is what stands out to me: Alex is a bit of a problem. Somewhere in there she needs more flaws...or...hmm, flaws other than a temper. At one point in the last chapter she notes that she has been called ruthless, but I would say she is anything but; she takes pity on strangers-Kariana, Christos, Eleanor-too often to be ruthless. While yes, she -does- lose her temper a fair amount, this is a 'flaw' that is common to Mary Sues, and since Alex has always come out ahead after she loses her temper, it doesn't seem to be a -real- flaw.

Thus, as it is, she's rich but in touch with the commons, young but wise and skilled at politics, exotically beautiful in anything she wears, and has a kind heart. With all the power of a Queen and a skilled mage, she elevates those worthy and pushes down those who are mean and cruel, and...she needs more flaws! Yes, she accidentally throws her best friend in prison to be tortured, but...that was an honest mistake, and not brought about because of any real flaw.

I think it was this paragraph that first really made me start thinking about it:

"Why in the world did Mother name me as heir?" Alexandrite fumed, viciously pulling her long black hair into a messy bun. "Just because I'm the crown princess doesn't mean I have to be Heir Apparent. There have been plenty of times in history in which the crown princess wasn't chosen. Mother knew perfectly well that I hate politics and war. I don't care if I 'have a knack for it', as she put it, I can't stand it!..."

The last sentence is the problem, there. It makes it sound like you're deliberately building her up to be an exceptional Queen. Make us wonder about this a bit, and then back it up later. As it is, however, it seems to be something she says, but can't back up-everything else she is too blunt about to really be skilled. Once or twice is okay, but every time she deals with a noble so far she's been overly blunt or harsh.

(I have to confess I have much the same problem. I -hate- tip-toeing around issues, and characters wind up being blunt. But subtle people aren't blunt. Damn subtlety! You give me headaches and make me rewrite chapters too much!)

Er, back to the review.

She needs to have some flaws, here, so, well, here're my suggestions, now that I've over-explained my reasoning:

I would strongly suggest that unless her magical abilities are central to the plot-and I mean -very- central, as in if you take them away you won't have a story any more-that you make her a non-mage. She doesn't really need it. There're other ways for Kariana to be captured, really, and having her be a powerful mage also

I would also strongly suggest that you don't make her 'gifted at politics'. She hasn't shown to be, so far, and it'd be a bit more interesting if she had to struggle more. No eighteen-year-old queen should have everything in hand, after all. She -is- very young. Determination, internal fire, yes, yes, but wisdom...that she should still be working on. After all, from the story, she is naive-she didn't realize how her mother treated Saelina.

Besides that...perhaps make her be outwitted several times. For example (if you don't have this), have Mariah know all along that she was involved with the Rogues, but Mariah kept her mouth shut and had to cover up for Alex (without Alex knowing about it) several times. Something like that...oh, I dunno.

Okay, to save time, just assume that I'm an ignorant little person who has only the vaguest idea of what she is talking about, and I will stop putting all these troublesome 'perhaps have her do this' or 'I would suggest that' in front of my suggestions. They're suggestions! Not orders! Despite the phrasing!

Have her anger have real consequences. As she is going about it, she should soon be alienating the entire court. If you don't want that to happen, then her bluntness needs to be toned down a bit.

Have her be a bit less unconciously down-to-earth. In particular, her dialogue. For example, make her -really- think about switching between common-speech and formal noble-speech. Noble-speech should be her default, because that was how she was raised, and so she should have to be constantly aware of when she's acting like a commoner. When she's a noble, she should be avoiding informal slang, and also contractions (can't, shouldn' know what I mean), because nobles would tend to avoid that.

(Yeah, I know it's hard to write dialogue without contractions. I struggle. Strugle.)

Change the flashback. Either don't make it so she zones out that much, because it's a bit unbelievable, or make it so that this is some serious royal problem that is hushed up by the royal family and their closest advisors. Anyone who completely zones out for minutes on end should run into big problems. Actually, that could be a very interesting flaw.

Remember that a lot of what we are is who we were raised to be. Alex was raised to be a noble Heir Apparent...she needs to act more like one, and less like a commoner, or she needs to have a detailed back-story to explain this. Personally, I'd like to hear more about that priestess bit-she's a -priestess-? Alex? Oh, my...

Umm...oh, damn, I had something brilliant in my head, and I just forgot it. Gimme a minute...wait for it...uhh...

Right! On her tendency to take pity upon strays-in a world with slavery, this should be getting her into trouble pretty quick. Um...but, hey, yeah.

Okay, so, I'll stop beating on Alex because I'm starting to get lazy and I have to stop working on this soon so I can get something to eat before my stomach collapses. And that was a doozy of a sentence. Uhh...overall, yeah, I'd say-EXPAND. Some of your transitions are a little rushed, and expansion would help this. It'd also hopefully provide more insights into Alex's mind, and help round out her character with nifty flaws and wot. Other than that, you look to have the beginning of an interesting story, here, with a fully-built world (Squee! I love world-building!) and a lot of potential for conflict-as well as a good sense that you know where you are going with this story. Those are great things to have on your side.

Plus, your work isn't riddled with fifteen million spelling and grammar errors, which is a refreshing break from most of the dross I have to read through on this site. Lovely!

I await more!

- Eyetk K.

P.S-oh, and you manage to write decently-sized chapters, which is something that I'm still trying to figure out how to do, entirely. Woot!
Scales of Sapphire chapter 5 . 3/10/2006
Kinda a fast chapter but still very good. I do wish that you had done a little bit more with Alex and Writing!
Kera Eithne chapter 4 . 1/3/2006
...Interesting. The characters are a bit cliche, though. Nice cliffhanger.
ShikonSapphire chapter 2 . 9/9/2005
Whys it so serious? Thats something I dont like about your stories, lisa, you always use formal speech. Loosen up! Like the reviewer on the othwer story said, you should vary the dialogue, and not make everyone talk like fyora.
Gracey London chapter 2 . 9/8/2005
This was an interesting read. The characters have substance, and the plot is progressing well. I hope you update soon!


G. London
ice flyer chapter 1 . 8/27/2005
This is a pretty cool beginning - I like your unique writing style a lot. Alex seems like a strong character. I also like how you included background but not too much so we don't get bored - I know it's tempting to just go on and on with background, so good job on that. :)
Smittened By Marauders chapter 2 . 8/16/2005
omg, lol, love this story!Alexandrite sounds like a great queen.
BlueStone chapter 1 . 6/27/2005
*lol*ME again! I see you followed the same letter thing for at least the first name in this story... keep going! _ I actually like this plot.
crumpledpaper chapter 1 . 1/31/2005
Interesting... keep it up its going to be great, I can tell