|Reviews for Twin Moons Book 2 The Southern Journey|
| tuieri chapter 25 . 3/10/2008
oh... c'mon. it can't end there!
| John Michael Christopher chapter 25 . 12/14/2007
I love this chapter for feeding my curiosity about Gaula, but was it really necessary to end the book right there? I thought it felt like the preceding chapters were building up to another climax. I did so enjoy book 1's cliffhanger.
Anyway, I liked the way they talk about these Hounds and their leader, which sets them up extremely well. Reading further, I think I can actually appreciate the scene with the runebearer blasting at Brianna better than when I'd actually first read it. The way these people frighten Marcus is quite effective. Makes me wonder how a guy like Jared would fare against them, though I suppose all evidence leads to his being trounced.
Though I completely understand the logic behind no reconnaissance at this point, my one concern would still be lack of incoming information. After days spent in the house, there's plenty of options for people like these Hounds to find out what they want. Whereas reaction might have provided further possibilities to act on, being blindsided could mean even their current scheme has no chance of taking off.
Pretty good story. I'd hoped it would be, and I'm equally certain book 3's going to be great as well.
| S. N. Sedivec chapter 25 . 12/11/2007
After a long while I've finally caught up and am back with you to review.
I like this second part of the story. I really do not have much for constructive critism though. I know talent beyond my own when I read it, therefore, it is hard to say where to improve.
Please keep writing and I will make sure to point out anything I found confusing or unnessary (did I spell that right?)
S. N. Sedivec
| Tim chapter 1 . 6/28/2007
Keep up the story it is great!
| Lccorp2 chapter 20 . 5/22/2007
"Be off, find you're own places."
-Hm, personally, if I were Brianna I'd have made myself fairly safe, THEN spared the time to think about my rune. She's supposed to be an assasin, I'm sure she has her priorities right. I suppose I can understand her confustion and surprise, but the bounty hunters or clawfingers could still be lurking about and they wouldn't be too happy to see me still walking around. Yes, she might be sheltered, but such things were presuambly part and parcel of her job before all this.
Furthermore, the consequence of this sequence does serve to dampen down future action scenes a little- while I still suppose Brianna can be hurt or captured, as the rune hasn't done anything about it yet, there's no more "shock" value in the possibility she might lose her life-the rune will keep her alive, no matter what.
-"I reached out and pulled one of the citydwellers in front of me, let him be my shield as the crossbow bolt took him in the chest. He stiffened up, and I gasped despite myself."
This is the kind of thing I like. Characterization and action rolled up into one, subtle, showing instead of telling. Excellent work.
| Lccorp2 chapter 19 . 5/20/2007
Long chapter we have here today, do we?
-Again, as always, watch the redundant tags on the back of your speech.
"“I am beginning to wonder,” Marcus nodded. “Is Nirrti the only edgewalker who has come through Jinyo? Are you sure there are none who came and never left?” He asked, pulling the conversation back onto an obvious track."
This piece of speech should speak for itself (and it does), that Marcus is redirecting the conversation. Tacking on the end bit makes it seem quite artificial, and last time I checked, "nodded" is not a synonym of "said".
-"Gaula regarded...or scarred."
I still vaguely wonder why s/he hasn't caught a STD from one of those nasty humans.
You have a thing about the same word being used repeatedly too close together, I have a similar thing about sentence openers. These three sentence openers adjecent to each other have a monotonous, dulling effect- read it out loud, and you'll see why.
I think it's a sort of weakness of the "no -ing" thingy you asked me to do- I've found myself using "as", "I" and nouns as sentence openers much more often after starting that.
-"But he was forced me back," minor error.
About the battle with the clawfinger- good, but could have been better with a little more emotion into the scene. As it stands, it's quite mechanical, and that takes away from the excitement and sensation of danger from the scene. Brianna's not a Brown Dragonkin, she doesn't have a "suppress emotion" racial passive and from the chapters in the marsh it's quite clear she's capable of emotion. Something like the bit at the end of the chapter, only toned down and shortened to reflect the fast pace of the scene would be great IMO.
That's about it, though.
| John Michael Christopher chapter 18 . 5/18/2007
I'm glad they're out of the Marsh. I guess whatever Brianna woke there will feature later in the story. The reason to challenge the heroes' entry is because of war with the Cyldon, right? I didn't realize the Cyldon tolerated other people enough to employ them as spies. Perhaps that's a tell. The watch captain's comment, 'between the sheets...' I'm not positive he's alluding to what I think he is. I feel Marcus and Gaula revealing they had just come from the Marsh was a big slip on their part, even if they claimed they were all Edgewalkers. Should be interesting to see how the deception turns out.
| Lccorp2 chapter 18 . 5/18/2007
Well, you asked, so I'll say what I can.
-Personally, IMO, if it's been cold enough for the dew to freeze, her sleep should have been interrupted at least a little, and she should be more than shivering. I don't think the Guild asks many operatives to sleep in the wilderness during winter. Gaula I can understand, but Brianna's human. When you sleep, body temperature falls naturally and she should have woken up bitterly cold, especially if she isn't dressed properly. "as we started to dress and clear up our makeshift camp."
I know, it's a nitpick, but it'd help add to that sense of realism.
-"The Ungolas...outside of Kainas."
This is like an infodump to me actually. It doesn't seem quite relevant to what's happening at the moment, just a bit of history that could have been cut out and made not much difference. It's just my opinion.
| John Michael Christopher chapter 17 . 5/14/2007
Seemed fine to me. I wish Marcus was a little bit less vague with his history and the edgewalkers, but maybe that's part of what was cut out? Brienna was and has always been guild. Marcus has had an interesting past yet to be fully explained. I'm now wondering about how rich Gaula's life has been.
| John Michael Christopher chapter 14 . 5/6/2007
From the Tysha quote to the end of the chapter, I found this one quite entertaining. I hope you don't cut it, but integrate it in somewhere. Somehow, in the same way I liked the sword trick when Kagorr rescued Marcus, I kind of like the bittersweet acknowledgement that Gaula's probably going to die. It does say a lot about his character. Again, baiting Kagorr or whatever he's doing elicits amusing reactions from the knight. The length of the chapter makes it seem a little more episodic in nature. If you intend to chronicle an ongoing journey, you might consider writing chapters with several 'episodes' like these rather than long rolling chapters. This way, you can spend appropriate attention on the individual difficulties that arise without having to beat an underlining relationship into them. I think the best part about this chapter is how short and simple it is, yet in reality it accomplishes quite a lot.
| feeder chapter 6 . 5/6/2007
Having forgotten most of this story, I read back through all the previous chapters and arrived at a few conclusions.
One thing I really like about this story is that I can't guess what will happen when they finally get to Crescent (if I remembered his name right). Further than them actually finding him (I assume they will), I have no idea how it will all work out. Which is good, obviously.
The problem though, is that I think the journey might end up being dragged out for too long. I find reading about a journey across fields, through forests and through the occasional town or village can get very, very monotonous. So far that hasn't been the case too much, but it does occasionally feel like I've read parts before, mainly because the whole journey thing is so archetypal in fantasy.
"Gaula said, sighing happily" - as a long-time fan of Gaula since book 1 it seems to me like his personality is slowly being leeched away from him. She had a lot more depth throughout the first book, I think.
Kagorr and Marcus seem to be acting like little kids, which actually works quite well, although it makes them annoying characters. When Kagorr says, “Why are you being so unkind?” i just wish someone (preferrably Brianna, as she barely does anything) would say 'shut the hell up'. But I guess that means your characters have elicited some kind of reaction, which can only be a good thing.
To be honest I think you could cut out most of the Kagorr vs Marcus argument in every chapter that it features. Most of it is repeated regularly, and although it's realistic, it seems to be go on for a little too long. In the end, it's just gotten tedious reading them moaning about the same stuff all the time.
"“Absolutely not!” Kagorr said firmly." - this kind of dialogue tag is bad. Basically, the dialogue itself should be good enough to tell the reader how someone is speaking, and if it isn't then a little tag isn't usually going to redeem it. It's quite clear from the fact that he says 'absolutely not!' that Kagorr is speaking firmly, so you don't need to tell us. Fortunately you don't do it very often though.
"Kelrak" - whatever they are saying is obviously a translation, so why bother adding in seemingly pointless invented words? From the context it doesn't seem to be anything especially outlandish, so I don't see why it defies translation.
"I'm not so terrible that they'd consider excommunicating me". So these knight people are Catholics, are they? It's difficult to excommunicate someone unless there is a communion for them to be ex from.
"“We travel on Guild business, Knight,”" - I don't think 'Guild' should have a capital letter. Just 'guild' would be correct, if I remember my grammar lessons rightly.
"“No,” Gaula said menacingly" - again, pointless adverb. I mean, adverbs are generally frowned upon by publishers and stuff anyway, but here it's particularly unecessary, because the fact that Gaula reaches for his knives tells us that it's menacing.
"We’ll live off the land" - wouldn't an edgewalker know how stupid that is?
"“Are you still any good at hide and seek? Well, just hiding, really.”" - yes, because proficiency at hide and seek is an excellent qualification for being able to infiltrate places...
"It’s always Winter in Thorassia! You cheat." - they seem to be becoming progressively childish in character as the story goes on. I feel that a lot of the characterisation laid down in book 1 has been lost. Brianna is essentially a nonentity - she rarely even speaks anymore. Marcus is acting like an annoying little kid. Gaula's character seems far more erratic than in book 1, which may be deliberate, but I definately like him less now. I think that's the thing, I have no attachment to any of the characters in book 2 at all really. Brianna would be the main candidate, but she doesn't do enough for me to empathise with her in any way, unlike in book 1.
Considering that Brianna is the first-person narrator of the whole thing, it seems strange that throughout whole swathes of the story she has few thoughts and little speech.
In book 1 there were a lot of interesting themes, like intrigue and stuff, and they were handled very well, but to me at least, there's much less to hold my interest in this story, even more so if it is, as the title suggests, almost solely focused on the journey.
"I was reminded of another of Caliban’s claims; that I really knew almost nothing about my friends." - this is something that I feel could have been worked into the story as an excellent theme - Brianna's uncertainty over her friends' allegiances and motives, but instead it's relegated to just a tiny little thought at the end of the chapter.
As always, it's a well-written chapter apart from a couple of minor things that could be improved, but the story as a whole is much less engaging than book 1 was, in my opinion. It definately has the potential to be an interesting story, but at the moment it falls short. Book 1 was far better.
| John Michael Christopher chapter 11 . 4/28/2007
Wait a minute. Did Brienna and Gaula empty their waterskins to replace it with slimy water? Why...would they do that? Did the old water stale in their skins? Maybe I'm just not remembering what was in them?
I am worried for their survival.
With the comment on the water, Marcus isn't going off memory again, is he? I mean, he must have ways of knowing whether the water's potable- maybe certain vegetation doesn't grow under certain conditions or something? It's kind of dangerous drinking bad water.
This is going to sound funny, but microorganisms consumed in water might result in so-called "uncontrollable" diarrhea. The runs can kill with dehydration. If anyone gets dysentery, blood will also leave with the feces, which will certainly kill untreated. Because it acts kind of fast and could go on for far too long, I think we actually have to treat it with antibiotics for parasite and bacteria, and then lots of liquids to replace lost fluids; IV if it's serious. Dying this way is like one of my greatest fears. It could prevent them from ever leaving the swamp. Well, then again, I don't know much about Gaula's biology, and Brienna does have her rune.
Anyway, this leads to my next question. What are they going to do about the horses when they reach the area where the water isn't potable? What have they been doing thus far to prevent them from nibbling on dangerous plantlife? Are they clearing the area where they're being tied down? What did they do when they couldn't see?
I also believe if the swamp is so dangerous, especially with four of them, they should probably set up a watch for basic survival purposes as well as for whatever predators might come. The horses might alert them, but I don't think a horse could distinguish every threat in an environment as strange as a swamp. Anything could happen. They should be prepared.
| Lccorp2 chapter 10 . 4/27/2007
-"began to recall many of Tysha's entries on the matter; she hadn't like the Marsh, either."
"Marcus was now sat in a rocky alcove..."
Now let's see:
-"The moon was weak tonight, and when the rain came pouring down upon us our vision was reduced to shambles."
All right; I'm not sure if they've gone far south enough for the climate to have drastically changed. Swamps don't generate that much heat of their own; it's because of heat that swamps thrive with the kind of life that they're often notorious for. But I digress.
It's raining, and some chapters ago it was cold enough for the fields to be barren. As you mentioned, they're cold and wet in winter, and that means chills or even worse- hypothermia, as well as an increased risk of disease in addition to the already unhealthy swamp. The fire they manage to light at the end-just note that a lot of swamp wood is quite hard to burn (especially what with it having just rained), although it'll help keep them warm.
-"There was a flash of shimmer which caused a palpatation in my chest, before I realised it was Gaula’s eyes in the rain, and that they glimmered under the weak moonlight." I'm sure you can spot the two mistakes in this one.
-I forget-what was their footwear again? I was going to say something, but thought I'd better put it off until I confrmed this. The horses' hooves should be checked often, though.
Ah, never mind. You might want to do a little research on the human body in cold conditions and what happens to feet in footwear if they're wet and you don't air them. I don't remember the exact bits, but your toes go wrinkly before turning red, purple, black and falling off, in that order. Lovely.
-"We were stood upon a stretch of bare earth, a little island in the thick greenish blue marshwaters which surrounded us like a miniature sea. Dark, wet tree trunks draped in ash-grey vegetation poked their feeble way out of the water, but every one of them was bowed low to its surface again."
I'm having trouble visualising this. It seems as if the tree trunks are bent in a u-shape? Nah, can't be. You might want to clarify this bit.
-"upon a ground cloth that Marcus had spread around it."
If it's only cloth, water will seep right through. I'd doubt the ground of the alcove would be dry, either- the water can and will get it where it can, bringing along mud with it- plenty of us learnt that the hard way on our first field camp. (Even with drainage ditches, the rain managed to overflow the ditches and rushed into our little tents, bringing along mud with it. Not good.)
-I don't know. The last part is more told than shown, with the laughing, people asking "enthusiastically" despite being glum and reluctant to enter the place a few moments ago...I don't know. You could use some showing there, that's definite.
| John Michael Christopher chapter 9 . 4/22/2007
You know, the quotes from Tyril the Sage aren't bad or anything, but it might be more useful if they relate a parable, entertained somehow, or foreshadowed something. In this chapter, I realize they're discussing travel options while the theme of the quote is travel, but it's not like they actually encountered anything with claws that "possess more than an animal will." I think it'd be much more effective near an encounter with something. Or a journey Brienna didn't have trouble staying awake for.
Interesting chapter. The part where Gaula was trying to be nice to Kagorr was pretty funny.
I'm kind of wondering how Kagorr caught fish. Rod and reel? Spear and net? String on a stick and a pack of chewing gum? I didn't know Kagorr was actually rigged to fish. And, by the way, do the knightly nobility of Karr fish as a pastime because that isn't exactly a lordly like sport as hunting might be. Does he farm, too? To me, Marcus seems like the only person with a background where he might actually learn to catch something with relative ease and who might also have prepared the proper equipment to do so.
By the way, I thought it was pretty cool in the last chapter when Kagorr came to Brienna's rescue with the Risen. I look forward to the next chapter.
| feeder chapter 5 . 4/22/2007
"They shouldn’t be called ‘knights’ at all, in my opinion. ‘Priests’ is a far more accurate term, since almost all of them are devotees of Khaman,”" - he has some strange logic. That amounts to saying that every muslim must be an imam. Just because they are devotees of a religion doesn't make them its priests. Minor point, I know.
"he said with another sagely nod." - perhaps it should be 'with another sage nod.'
Ah, I find it too improbable that not only is Marcus Kagorr's long-lost brother, but that Kagorr just so happens to turn up at the right time to find him. Considering the size of even a city, let alone a country or whatever, the chances of that happening are unbelievably slim.
It also seems unlikely that Kagorr would have kept searching for 13 years. I would have thought that after over a decade even the most determined person would give up.
"Hopefully I’ll be able to find him quickly enough and put an end to the whole wretched business." - really? Possibly 13 years of hunting for his brother would have dispelled any hope of finding him 'quickly'.
"A little over eleven,” he said. “Well, you say ‘seperated’ but in truth we didn’t know each other all that well. lived apart for much of the time." - then why is he so bothered about finding Marcus?
"Kagorr looked at Marcus and took on an almost identical expression. “You!” He exclaimed, in a voice that was, I noticed, rather similar. “Brother!” He added, and sealed my suspicion."
- this sounds a little stilted, almost like they're reading from a script or something.
"“Excuse me,” Gaula said quietly, elbowing his way in on the conversation, “but do you two know each other?”" - I didn't think that Gaula was that stupid. They obviously do know each other, and Kagorr calls Marcus 'brother', so it's not too hard to work out, surely?
I can't think of anything else. Hope that helps.