|Reviews for Dragonflesh|
| honey1112 chapter 36 . 9/19/2010
Really good story!
You have great ideas..
Hey can you answser this survey, it's a research i'm working on. Thanks!
| KorakKarnar chapter 1 . 6/22/2010
I apologise in advance if my style of reviewing (adding questions/comments as I read instead of waiting til the end) causes me to ask anything stupid.
"Respectable Karan" Is respectable part of his name? Otherwise why is it capitalized? (note: rescinded upon clearly realizing the answer to be yes.)
"For what seemed to him like an eternity, Respectable Karan sat upon the stout chair in the small room that served as his living room and study, the only sounds being that of soft scratching as pencil traced marks across the paper and his own tired, heavy breathing through his snout." This sentence feels like an eternity. A lot of descriptive words weighing it down, and it seems to border on run-on.
"waiting and watching for the one who wait tailing him." Do you mean one who WAS tailing him?
"With only the maddening drip-dripping of water being the only sound audible to his ears," I would get rid of the first only, it's unneeded to state twice that he only hears one thing.
""It's no good, It's no good," respectable Karan" If it's part of his name, capitalize it. If it's not, lowercase the other instances of Respectable. I don't care which it is, but be consistent.
"I'm supposed to be the author, and even I don't know in what direction the story is going to turn…" This made me laugh. I often have this exact same reaction when trying to write.
"Because he wasn't sure which one had aroused him from his slumber, the mild light of dawn streaming into the study from the open window or the landlady's insistent hammering upon the door." I think the Because here is totally unneccesary and confusing.
"grown to big to pass through the doorway?" Too big.
"other more pressing matters" I would put a comma after other.
"Piled to the brim with huge cuts or raw beef-and around it waited his neighbours." This is an incomplete sentence. What is piled high with raw beef? And I prefer commas to hyphens, but that might just be because I'm unfamiliar with the rules for hyphens.
"the landlady insisted that they all took their meals" I believe the word that could be eliminated with no ill effect.
All in all I must say I quite enjoyed this first chapter. Karan's writings about Marshall Windsor are entertaining and exactly what you said they'd be: a human randomly doing dragon-like things and being described in a dragon-like way, both of which make no sense. I also especially liked the "OMG why are you on all fours!" discussion. A well-done reminder that we are, in fact, dealing with non-humans here.
Good luck in your writing!
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| Gliss chapter 14 . 1/17/2010
I realise this is finished, so comments may be redundant, but I have to procrastinate somehow...
Only at chapter 14 atm, but this is what I like so far:
- the fact that although Karan's connected to the social changes happening, he isn't a visionary or a revolutionary; he appears, so far at least, to be perfectly happy with the status quo and his own privilege and interested only in advancing within it; he's alarmed by the reaction his stories are getting. All of which is much more realistic than nobles who feel desperately sorry for the oppressed peasants and the like.
- the dragon-ness of the dragons. Which I get the impression is kind of the point. I think you could probably go even further with this, but on the whole it's really good, and it's nice to read a story entirely about non-humans and a non-human society.
- the gradual explanation of the society. There is...a fair amount of infodumping, but that's almost impossible to avoid in this kind of story, when you're trying to create an entire society, and there's less than I'd expect.
- the fact that the society isn't completely uniform, even if it's basic things like things being slightly different in the city from how they are in the country.
- people's jobs. Karan being a writer doesn't interest me so much, although it works pretty well, and as mentioned above I like the way his writing's being interpreted in ways he never meant it to and so on, but more things like Quirl's clerk job. Because there should be more people with ordinary boring jobs in fantasy, really (though also more people with interesting jobs specific to their world - I would love to see some jobs that would only be necessary in a dragon world, actually...).
I'm not sure about the religion - especially the bit in chapter 14 when religious text is quoted and it sounds a bit pseudo-biblical. & I think Quirl's comments on the Marshal Windsor story and how the humans are too dragonlike are a bit heavy-handed and seem very much like they're trying to get a point across. Overall though enjoying this very much; thanks for posting it!
| iat410 chapter 1 . 9/7/2009
the eating bit was gruesome, all that blood..ha..
I like it. Look forward to read more
| sagewolf chapter 36 . 11/2/2008
Ho... finally finished. Well, after reading your profile, I think it's safe to assume you don't care if I'm nice or not. Good. Trying to accommodate emotions hinders my logic, so- lucky, lucky you- logic is what you shall get.
1) Way back in the first chapter, after Karan eats, he wonders if he's not growing bigger, as he can't fit back through his door. ...You never do mention this again, and I can't see what the point of mentioning it at all was, in that case, unless it was to give that scene a reason to be. It would have fit with the pilfered Dragonflesh and the trial, and the Sercanethyst, and it would have given him an actual argument in court if he was growing bigger. Yet you just seem to have forgotten about it.
2) Anvar. Look, I'm sorry, but I don't give a damn. When you're in his POV you don't bother to actually give him a real personality, so he just comes off as the rich dragon, who has no bearing on the plot whatsoever except that he happens to have a crush on another dragon who has barely any bearing on the main plot whatsoever. Except that I actually liked Quirl: you gave her a personality and it was possible to connect with her, especially when she was dealing with Hanor's death and the Sercanethyst find. My suggestion for the ending is to move Karan's scene to the end of the epilogue, and replace Anvar's scene with one from Quirl's POV. My advice for the entire story is to cut Anvar entirely, unless you plan to invest a lot more time in him. He would be useful if it was HIS family Karan stole Dragonflesh from, or if Quirl's dealings with him actually jeopardised her dealings with his father. Otherwise he's just a bore.
3) Pencils. And chairs and desks and tables... I suppose I can understand eating off a table. Not writing on one: wouldn't a dragon just lie on the ground to write, maybe with a board to write on? Wouldn't a chair be horribly uncomfortable for a being with wings? And as for his body paints being smudged when he flies through the water, I thought they'd be water-resistant: otherwise they'd smudge if they flew though a cloud. An attachment for their claws, like a pen-nib, that dipped into ink would be as good as a pencil, and it wouldn't be as human, either. Or a wax or some other substance that they scorched, to leave a permanent residue on the 'paper'... considering the amount of meat they eat, why don't they use vellum, or sheepskin, or any cured animal skin more? It could be made flame resistant, so that it could be scorched.
Oh, and an idea I had: at a social gathering, like the one Karan and Anvar attended, what if foods were arranged on shelves, so that the best delicacies were at the top, and only the highest-ranking could reach them? The simpler foods, suitable for Res. and Notables, would be nearer to the bottom. Just a thought, and maybe it doesn't fit wit the society the way you envisioned it.
That said, if I didn't enjoy reading it, I would have stopped. (It's not like this was short or anything.) I did like Karan, and the class-structure-based-on-size, as a leftover from when dragons Devoured each other wantonly, was a nice idea to see. I hope you do manage to get this published, but I also hope you make it better, because it could be better.
(And Paolini isn't as TERRIBLY AWFULLY BAD as you say. He's just terribly awfully cliché, and it IS annoying to see him do so well when far more original and gifted authors languish in the dust. But he's not demonisation-level bad.)
| Written chapter 36 . 9/24/2008
I feel so satisfied after getting to the finish! very, very good. thanks for writing this and for taking me on a spin with your imagination. your prose is impeccable and your characters are wonderful. loved it.
| Skyward Ending chapter 6 . 9/21/2008
The part about Anvar is really obscure, and you should move some of his description to right after she bumps into him, because I had no idea what she was talking about until afterwards, and had to re-read.
I thought it was rather interesting, especially Quirl's thoughts upon Karan's story...it's what I read in the forum Too Much Magic.
| kittymobile chapter 1 . 8/19/2008
I must say, I'm disappointed. I found this story on a C2 when I thought that it might do me some good to read a slightly different genre for once. Boy, was I wrong.
This story's plot is completely unbelievable. Not only that, but you only GET to the plot after about a page of ranting. Frankly, as a reader, we want the story, not a short autobiography. If you MUST talk about yourself, place your ramblings AFTER the chapter or cut down on how much you say. A paragraph is plently.
Going back to the plot: if you're so keen to make dragons seem realistic with their own heirarchy and way of life then why have them living in a building which seems much like a normal inn and why have them writing a story - shouldnt dragons have weird and wonderful careers like being aerial daredevils or waterskimmers or firestone chewers...ANYTHING! What's worse about Karan's stereotypically human pursuit is that we, as readers, don't want to know about a story within a story. That defeats the point of reading a story. It's like reading a story about an author writing a bestseller.
Then there's Marshal's decidedly boring adventures. I'll be honest: I got bored and skim read the things he got up to. It bored me. I wanted the REAL story.
The names you use for your characters are also bland. "Respectable" is hardly a title that rolls of the tongue, nor one that seems like a title. It sounds far more like a pleasantry than anything else. Boring.
Then there's the way your dragon and his friends interact with the world around them. They have pencils? Are you kidding me? I see you're not. How about they gouge into wood with their claws? Something different. For someone so loudmouthed about wanting to have dragons as real dragons and not something akin to a human society, you're certainly hypocrtical.
All this said, your prose IS good and there's not much wrong with the way you write. You have a sense of humour and your characters do seem to have distinguishable personalities...so far. The problem is your plot: you need to create something that a reader can empathise with and become involved in, not an "experiment" that is dysfunctional and everything you claim it isn't.
I'm sorry to be so derisive and, usually, I'm not. I was going to just leave after reading this chapter without comment but, on a gander, i checked out your profile too.
You certainly let your thoughts be known, don't you. I can't see why you're dissing Christopher Paolini when his works, unoriginal or not, have sold millions. Surely if he's that popular there must be SOMEthing right in what he's writing? You have to bear in mind that near every storyline and plot has been explored before and those that haven't there's usually a reason why not. The talent in being a writer is taking a used concept and changing it so it's something new, something less cliché and, most importantly, something worth reading.
Thanks for reading,
| Lopez Fox chapter 36 . 7/31/2008
I read this story over the course of two days, and I must say that I am very impressed. I also write stories inside the vein of alternate cultures and society, so when I found your story it intrigued me to practically no end. Your imagination for the story is very good, but since it is also followed up by your logic, it leads to an even more stunning effect. However, there were a few problems. As is with any story. I'll start light. Also, please note, that this is just my opinion. This is not fact. No one can ever be perfectly objective of a work, so we must simply use our opinions to judge it. As Stephen Colbert once said, "Fact Changes, my opinion doesn't."
1. Spelling errors. All stories have these, naturally. It's not much, just a few or's that were accidentally typed as of's. But it does break the flow of the story. But that just comes down to editing and revision.
2. THIS LINE.(Chapter 30) "Vald the Flame, Vald the burning, Vald, father of dragons, if you can hear my thoughts…" For the love of Christianity...please. It even has the same rhythmical pattern. It won't take much to change this, and placing this kind of line in the story just makes it feel humanized, which isn't what you're going for at all.
3. The Second line of reasoning. One of the problems with creating a story about a new culture, is creating the themes that will be present both inside your story and inside the culture itself. Some of the plots did NOT make sense according to the culture rules that you yourself had made. Such as, "Why didn't the August's family just EAT Karan? They could easily get away with it. Since they were so much bigger and probably couldn't be punished anyway, why didn't they just use self-help?" Also, another burning question, "Why is Karan being judged in a jury of his peers? According to the society, shouldn't he be judged by the upper classes?" There isn't very much information about the jury. -So, it seems like you break out of the system that you, yourself, created. However, the problem is, that this is only the First Line of Reasoning. But,(In my opinion,) You are operating on the Second Line of Reasoning. That there were prescences and forces within the society that are causing it to change. In this case, you might be going with the "The system is breaking down," theme.(One that I am very experienced with using myself.) If you are trying to parlay a particular underlying theme with societal change, you need to do a "set and shatter" method more often.(Meaning, display a particular cultural norm, and then contract what you just wrote.) If you are NOT trying to go for this, this will take just a little bit of fixing up here and there? Or maybe you should just leave it be. It's only something that a person like me would ever be bothered about anyway.
4. Huge...metal...something...WITH TEETH! I know you're trying to do well with this, but it's just too long. It's nice for a one-shot deal,(and it was funny the first time,) but it starts to break up how the story flows at some key points, especially the end of chapter 35. I'm sure you'll be able to find something a little...shorter...so that it doesn't feel just awkwardly placed.
5. Quirl and Anvar. Honestly, I'm sorry. I just didn't care enough about them. After reading about Karan, all of the other characters felt bland and unimaginative. I think the reason behind that was because you introduced the characters a bit too...late. Anvar didn't get his own backstory until around chapter 14, and by that time I had become so emotionally attached to Karan that I had no care for them. In my opinion, get the reader involved with these characters early. Because by the time you introduced them, it was too late. I just wanted to read about Karan and skip the other chapters.
6. The ENDING. NO!...(Sorry 'bout that.) As soon as I read the last line of Karan writing about Marshal Windsor again, I was ecstatic. Then...I read the other ending...No, just, no. Leave it at Karan's ending. (In my opinion), put Anvar's story before Karan's. Karan's ending left me with a sweet taste in my mouth, and Anvar's just left me bitter. Anvar's ending is VERY important if you want to conclude on the note of societal change, but it kind of leaves a sore aftertaste. Like, the opposite of Dragonflesh. (In my opinion, and like, I believe, one of my reviewers have said before me,) the whole story started with Karan writing, and it should end with writing as well.
7.(Not a problem, but a question.) Humans, and...So, I'm reading how Karan pictures the human society early on in the story, and it hits me. Wait a minute. Humans don't wear clothes. That's right, like dragons, they just use body-paint. It's a fantastic leap to make, with all of the structure of the dragon's culturally acceptable norms versus our own. But then I read later that humans wore "Artificial hide and scales," and then I was confused. Now I don't know what to think. Can you help me out here?
All in all, I do think that this was an excellently crafted story, (and I am sory that my negative comments rambled on for a bit, hope they don't get you down.) I was always amazed at what you came up with involving Karan writing about Marshal Windsor. Any less-experienced writer probably would have just made Karan's imagined society perfectly mathing our own, but I was so glad that you chose to go beyond this. There were SO MANY lines that made my Laugh Out Loud, like the one where he talks about Marshal Windsor trying to dig his way through stone. And the line about gold. That was awesome. Also, capitalizing the would "Devour" was a VERY smart move. It lends weight to the phrase, which helped me to gain understanding of it, since it is such a bizarre concept. I look forward to reading more of your stories when I get the chance. Just remember, always keep your inner writer fire burning, and don't let anything put it out.
| Speckleddove chapter 36 . 3/11/2008
I found your story very interesting. It was different to the usual fantasy stuff. However, I have to say that I found the tone very uneasy and uncomfortable throughout -though maby that's a good thing, it certainly built up suspense in the court case. I liked Karen's ending, but I'm not sure about Quirl's. I would have liked to have heard how she felt after beginning to destroy the boarding house. Altogether though, it was pretty good. I like your style of writing.
| LucienofShadow chapter 36 . 2/24/2008
The only thing I would change about the Epilogue is that I would reorganize the two portions. Tell us about Anvar first. Not only do I not like the note it ends on (it just sat wrong with me for some reason- no flaw in the writing mind you, just not a tone I liked ending with). That way you can finish the way you began- with Karan writing about Marshal. That would be wonderful.
Thank you for the excellent and thought inspiring read.
-Lucien of the Review Marathon (link in profile)
| LucienofShadow chapter 35 . 2/24/2008
Again, 'defence' should be 'defense.' Unlike with 'civilised' I see continue to see no purpose in misspelling 'defense.'
"to be replaced by what sounded like thousands of fires blazing into life." Could be stronger. How about 'to be replaced by the sound of thousands of fires blazing into life.' Take out some of the qualifiers to create a stronger statement.
The first insert into the story 'As Karan read on...' is very well done. The second paragraph of the next insert, not so much. But the first was potent.
-Lucien of the Review Marathon (link in profile)
| LucienofShadow chapter 34 . 2/24/2008
"worriedSuch" space and period, please.
Also, I don't like Calexia's mention of how she was being paid at that time. You can have her mention it later, after the case, but saying it there both seems very insensitive of her and pulls the reader out of the otherwise engaging conversation.
Very well thought out penalty. I think I see what's going to happen here. Or at least I have a guess. This is all drawing together very nicely. Good arguments from Calexia as well.
-Lucien from the Review Marathon (link in profile)
| LucienofShadow chapter 33 . 2/24/2008
"Hanor died in the night." The best way I can think of introducing that section. Very effective choice. The entire section is very well written with exception of the ending.
"as Gren laid back and continued to gnaw at Hanor’s skull, making a mental note to remind those two that Hanor’s spines should be ground to powder and drunk with something hot." doesn't have the same tone as the rest of it. You've been building up to a climax, no that's the wrong word, but you understand my meaning. That last bit I quoted just drops the energy level so much. I would recommend just cutting it.
-Lucien of the Review Marathon, link in profile