Reviews for Chooser of the Slain
Counting Petals chapter 5 . 8/4/2007
"...Raptora returned after her brief conference with the group of fillies and colts." I don't think you need that last bit. We know about the "fillies and colts" from the last paragraph, so we'll know what conference you're referring to.

But what WILL Lara do without deodorant? And they didn't bathe nearly as often back then, either.

Looking forward to the next chapter!
Counting Petals chapter 4 . 8/1/2007
"All started as Ali and Raptora as they entered the meadow." Typo?

I hope you update soon! I'm going to be putting this on my alerts, so I'll know when you do. )
Counting Petals chapter 3 . 8/1/2007
I loved Ali's reaction to seeing the men coming out of the trees. I'd be really scared, but at the same time so intrigued by it all...

Ooh, cliffhanger! I can't wait to read the next chapter.
RuathaWehrling chapter 4 . 8/1/2007
And another today, I think. I really don't want to work...

1.) "There are a few villages safe from him, but they are soon to be at his mercy." - I'd suggest just saying "they will soon be at his mercy", unless you're intentionally going to use more complicated sentence structure for horses or something.

2.) "We are as intelligent as humans, in our own way- in this world, anyway." - I can see Ali tacking on the "in this world" part, but why would Raptora do so? After all, she's from "this world" and has known no other.

3.) "We would serve men as it was, but it would be far better if we had something other than slavery going on." - This sentence is sort of awkward.

Another nice chapter. I'm glad you didn't make all the horses jump at her like she was some savior or princess or something. Much more realistic this way. Let them grow accustomed to her.

I was thinking (both last chapter and this one) that this really strikes me more as a young-adult's book than an adult's book. Mostly it's the topic (talking horses are much more cool when you're younger), but also the way you write it (simple and literal) encourages that feeling. Mind you, I'm not calling it a children's book, but I think I'd have liked it best in middle school or high school, rather than as a full-grown adult, you know? So I was just wondering who your audience was and if you'd thought about labeling this as "young adult" instead of ordinary fantasy. Anyhow, think about it. It's not a big deal to me, since I'll read it in any case, but you may as well market it properly!

Thanks for the read!

-Ruatha
RuathaWehrling chapter 3 . 8/1/2007
Hi again!

1.) "As she strayed, she wondered what had happened to her four friends." - A couple of questions about this. First off, where is she "straying" from? Secondly, if she's worried about her friends, I'd think she'd open her eyes to see if they're near her. Actually, I found it very depressing that she never LOOKED to see where she was. I mean, if she looked and found that it was pure darkness or disorienting swirls of light or something and THEN got scared and closed her eyes, I'd find that more realistic.

2.) "She collapsed, her body shaking from both the cold and nerves as she lay there, not willing to either move her spread-eagled body" - How do you "collapse" into a spread-eagle position? Try it - it does't work. Your knees buckle first and you end up flopped in a huddle instead. Also, if she's cold, wouldn't she want to curl up?

3.) "Slowly uncurling her stiff body" - Ah! But here you say she IS curled up (ie: definitely NOT spread-eagle). Be consistent!

4.) "only to discover the clouds was red" - Were.

5.) "whoever was approaching trudged through the forest floor" - I think you want to use "over" instead of "through", since trudging THROUGH a floor would hurt!

6.) "What haven’t you gone there yet?" - You should probably put some sort of punctuation after "what". A dash or questionmark would work.

7.) "There were worst people to talk to, after all, than dapple-gray equine" - Equines.

8.) Ahh... And thus your pen-name. ;)

Good chapter! I think that as a kid, I'd have really liked the talking horse. You do a good job of showing Ali as a scaredy cat, too (though I, personally, found it frustrating to read about, it's not unlikely). In general, your grammar was good and your style was clear, which made this most pleasant to read.

Nice work! I'll be back for more later. Alas, now I really need to get my work done. :(

-Ruatha
Counting Petals chapter 2 . 7/30/2007
"After the song had ended, the preacher read off some announcements, most regarding how pleased the church was that they had received so many donations for repairing the roof (which was, in fact, not in need of repair at all)." Hahaha, nice. I actually laughed out loud at this.

You're very good at describing things in such a way that we can picture them exactly, but at the same time it's not excessive, a difficult balance to maintain. I applaud you for that. )
Counting Petals chapter 1 . 7/29/2007
I like how well you've set the scene here. And...that's it. No complaints.
RuathaWehrling chapter 2 . 6/21/2007
Greetings again! I've been busy, but I just saw your review in my inbox (again) and decided, "Hey - stop being a slacker and go read another chapter." And thus, here I am!

1.) "there was still five minutes to spare before church started" - "were", not "was" (since it matches with the plural "minutes")

2.) "He had light brown hair and intense blue eyes, set in a sculpture-like face; straight eyebrows, full lips, and complexion" - Why the random semicolon? This is a list, so either separate everything by commas or everything by semicolons, but don't flip-flop. We grammar freaks like consistency!

3.) "despite the difference in some of their ages" - I would advice deleting this, since you've already told us what the ages are and there isn't any unusual age jump to speak of.

4.) "the double-doors leading into the sanctuary before they closed for good—once shut, no one was allowed in" - Ah... So friendly and welcoming. This is a good detail that tells me a lot about the church without actually TELLING me anything, if you know what I mean.

5.) "Because they were usually late coming to church, the Amherst’s almost always had the same seats every Sunday" - This should be "Amhersts". It's not possessive, so it doesn't need that apostrophe. I just realized it, so you may have been doing it all along and you might want to double check it all (when you go back to edit this story).

6.) "The constant lightning had not abated since she saw it last, but now its tips did not reach the ground, as they should" - Actually, lightning rarely hits the ground. Just fyi. No point in putting scientific inaccuracies in your work. :) Of course, the lightning being pulled to the side would be odd in any case!

7.) "Has anyone noticed?" - Suggest: "anyone ELSE", since clearly THEY have noticed it!

8.) "Lara snapped." - Unexpected persona switch! Reader, beware!

9.) "Lara, what did you do?" - This seems like a VERY strange question. It almost feels like he's suggesting that she CAUSED the odd "storm". Why would he be upset with her for pointing it out (even rudely)?

10.) "He started to squirm towards them." - This makes it seem like he's crawling, but I presume he's still on his feet.

11.) "The light spread out over the mass of people, covering them all with a luminous glow, before it started to ebb away" - Why sees this (that is around to tell the story)? None of the siblings are...

Good chapter! Very interesting plot - I can't wait to see where they end up. Presumably not dead, since that would be a VERY short story!

For the record, #8 and #11 (and some I made in the previous chapter) are comments that deal with your choice of narration. I've seen books written in this style, where you jump back and forth between main characters without section breaks, and sometimes even tell us things that those characters couldn't know. David Eddings actually uses this narrative tactic in most of his books. So it's not wrong, per se, but it's also not standard. I guess my point is just that you should realize you're doing it - and realize that if you're not careful, your persona jumps can confuse people. You haven't done that yet, but, well, just watch out.

Thanks for the good read! I'll be back for more another day.

-Ruatha
RuathaWehrling chapter 1 . 4/7/2007
Greetings! I'll do my best to give you a return review as helpful and considerate as yours was. I'll comment as I read...

1.) "she hurried from the deluged house behind her to her destination" - the "behind her" is a bit redundant. (Where else would she be hurrying from, but the place behind her?)

2.) "He was an athletically built sixteen" - You probably want to hyphenate "athletically-built" since it's a compound adjective.

3.) " Lara groaned out loud at the sight of her sister with yet another novel. / "Don’t you ever stop reading?" she complained, tucking away her brush in her purse. " - Why did you separate these two lines into two different paragraphs? The first describes Lara's actions and the second the speech that accompanies them. Why not join them together logically as well, into a single paragraph? (You do this again in the next two lines as well, about Ali.)

4.) "Dave Amherst was rather tall and muscular for his mid-forties." - You've done all these descriptions well, but I have to admit that when I saw this one, I sighed. This whole chapter has been descriptions, it seems, and they slow down the motion a great deal. Now, some of the characters you have to describe right away - like Lara, for sure, and as it turns out, her father. But does Lara's whole family really need to be physically described yet? Do exact descriptions (ie: red, curly hair and blue eyes) add anything, or would simply saying "Lara's younger brother got in the car" be sufficient, and then let their personalities talk for themselves? You're great at writing description, but sometimes it just gets to be too much for the reader to remember if you do it all at once. Give us a chapter or two to get into the story and THEN give us some of these "non-urgent" descriptive paragraphs. It's not important right now to know Lara's dad's hair color: it IS important to know his personality. Know what I mean?

5.) "From the backseat, Ali felt a fist clench in her heart" - Whoa! From the beginning til here, the 'speaking' character has been Lara. Now suddenly it's Ali. Are you SURE you want to head-hop like this? Some (professional) writers do, but it's generally frowned upon since it can confuse readers. Just be sure you mean to do it and ALWAYS be sure the reader knows who's 'speaking'.

6.) "As often as she wished Jane would stick up for herself in the face of her husband’s domination, she knew she couldn’t accuse the woman of failing to do something she herself could not do." - This is a very good sentence (and a sad but true concept in abusive families). Very realistic. :)

7.) " ...I think it’s high time we be on our way." said Dave" - Typo: that period should be a comma.

8.) "Lara nodded, adding “You’re probably just a little paranoid about bad weather..." - Better throw a comma in after "adding", since you start a quote there.

Okie-dokie! Finished reading. First off, from a purely grammatical perspective, your writing is excellent - which I most whole-heartedly thank you for! :) I admit to being a bit of a grammar freak, as you may have noticed based on some of my comments. Also, you're clearly very good at showing things clearly and realistically and you've put together a solid cast of characters.

About the only thing I can complain about is the pace of this first chapter. It's a wonderfully-written chapter, but it moves very slowly. Towards the end, when you switched to Ali's perspective and had her getting worried about the 'unnatural' storm, I was really interested and intrigued. But before that, the only thing that had happened is that the family got in the car. You described the scene well, but, frankly, it wasn't really enough to catch my interest all by itself. That's what drew comment #4 from me: I was getting bored and wanted something to happen, and really, nothing did this chapter. I'm not saying to go back and rewrite the whole thing or anything, but you might think about what you can do to really draw your readers in right from the start. And the easiest (in my opinion) is simply to move some of the descriptions til later in the story, and let the dialogue carry the first chapter. I think that'd interest readers a lot faster. (Then again, I should mention that I am a notorious Hater Of Descriptive Passages, so maybe you should take this particular comment with a grain of salt!)

In any case, this is a well-written piece with potential, so I'll definitely be back for another chapter! Thanks much for the read!

-Ruatha
RandoMaia chapter 3 . 9/16/2006
o.0 DAMN THIS CLIFFHANGER!

Hehe nice chapter. Seriously, I can't find anything wrong with it. And Ali's awesome. Random dialogue with the horse made me laugh out lout... _ eagerly waiting for more
RandoMaia chapter 2 . 9/6/2006
E... loving it! _ I want more! I like your pacing, and you're descriptions are excellent, as well as dialogue. The only things I would say are that, in the first chapter, Dave talks pretty damn sophisticated-ly. And sometimes, when you describe things... okay, I don't really know how to say this... you do it in the same format, the same rhythm. If that makes any sense at all. It's still really good, but I'm just suggesting that you vary that form a little. But, good job! Update soon. Please?
rvtolentino chapter 1 . 9/5/2006
first i really want to thank you for your review of my story. i will keep in mind all those suggestions and corrections you have said, and here i am returning the favor.

while i actually do not understand why both chapters look to be the same (aside from some revisions here and there), and that this was the rewrite of an older story, i am pleased to say that i did not spot anything worth mentioning here in my review that you might need to change. there is however some confusion with this line, "...to the point where the saying 'a face only a mother could love' had been proved distressingly incorrect". this first points out to the idea that contradicts the first statement. you can change this for more clarity, like for example 'to the point that not even a mother could love' (or something like that), but you can also leave it as is and just trust the IQ of your readers. i was kinda slow in picking it up, lol.

i also love the title, as i've just finished the game Valkyrie Profile Lenneth (if you don't know it, the main character Lenneth is a class known as a Valkyrie, or a 'chooser of the slain'). i'm particularly interested as how Lara, Rider (i like his name) and Ali will get involved or will relate to this intriguing title, especially with such a nice development in the first chapter. will they get to be some kind of death deities? will they meet one? will they die and embark on an otherworldly adventure? i'm kinda presuming too much, but it's a good sign that i'm interested. that storm is creepy, btw; with the way you described it, the violence and urgency of the situation really came across and i totally felt it-especially with the description of the swerving car because of the strong winds. your descriptive work, probably the greatest distinction in this story, is beautiful, vivid, and simply delicious. i feel myself reveling in your words.

the relationships between the siblings, and even their individual personalities, were also greatly emphasized that they shine out as unique and recognizable characters of their own. but not only that, but i was glad to see you not only made work with the three main characters but with their parents as well (who play supporting roles in here)-Dave was a monstrous tyrant, and Jane plump and meek. in fact, i can't find of anything worth complaining about here; your pace was flowing and gorgeous, the words and the style in which they were delivered were both awesome, and the grammar was perfect (although there were some instances that needed some clarification on sentence and thought structure, there were no glaring errors that i've spotted).

i'd ask you keep writing, because this story has great potential, and you'd do yourself a favor by continuing it. and this time, try not to make more rewrites; just keep at it until it's finished, then double back to correct the mistakes reviewers like me have found for you.

ja ne~

~DD
The Yardstick chapter 1 . 8/22/2006
THERE it is! There's that descriptive, intense, exciting groove! Hoo, flying away like an EAGLE, LGM, like a BALD eagle, man! Flying away like Lava Man, man! And doing it easily, under a hand ride. Good for you! Write some more! I want to see this world they're going to; and you can show it to me-you've got a great descriptive voice to you. Raptora's coming, man, right? Whoo!
Gr33d chapter 1 . 8/21/2006
Wow. I must say this story is amazing. your story seemed to take hold of me from the first 4 lines and after that I just couldnt look away! You have the right balance between how you explain the detail of your characters and settings, but at the same time leave just enough up to the readers imagination. Your characters seem like reall people and not just actors reading a script, and your story has the robust action without overwhelming the reader. You are deffinitly a write to keep an eye on.