Reviews for Verge
chasing givenchy chapter 1 . 3/20/2009
A little patchy in places, especially the initial conversation between Verge and Faustave, but extremely engrossing. It started off gappily and clichéd, and I didn't get a lot of tiny details like components and shadow script. But from what I could grasp of it, the premise is really good, even if it isn't very well fleshed-out.

Mei, I like. "Plucky" doesn't do her enough justice, but she does react unrealistically to Verge when they landed at Congradia. His shame is too vague, as well. The Verge-Mei dynamic was at its best when they were clattering about in the ship to Delgratti, and I like how you handled the sociolology classes on the Fishbowl and Delgratti.

Verge is an amazing protagonist. He's well-balanced, if not a little trite when talking to his arch-nemesis. The atrocities he's committed are too sketchy and gappy to inspire anything, however. His black humour and sense of timing is lovable (especially the Chi versus Verge conversation.)

Escapades in Haven was a brilliant prelude to the Dead World, and the battle royale. Again, I was lost in lots of places, like what happened/happens to Mei, and just who Faustave's "she" is. (The latter is more cryptic and feels more relevant to the plot, than Mei's mysterious Tom.)

The ending was the highlight; brilliant parting shot. I loved how Verge does have time tweaked for him, just as Eye instigated him to do. That he ended up with Tom's coat was a nice touch.

Overall, it reads like manga, and like good manga, it was a great read. (Minus the gaps and the few minor typos.)
Solemn Coyote chapter 5 . 8/30/2007
Okay, chapter five review up. We're gonna see if I can write this before my laptop's battery expires.

1)"They got to Haven in one piece. Or rather, two pieces: Verge and Mei. But each were in one piece. The bean helped. It certainly made the going easier than it would have been. Verge decided he would have to thank those two when he saw them next." That's an excellent opening line for the chapter. It recaps without being dry (which I appreciate. It's probably been a week since I reviewed,) and it's got a healthy dose of absurd humor.

2)"They arrive in the common jump arrival area." tense change there

3)"Verge, Mei, and a few blades of grass arrived about a quarter inch off of the ground and landed softly." a welcome bit of realism with the blades of grass. Apparently, in every other story that uses teleportation, no one drags pieces of their scenery with them.

4)"He was a lot cuter when he was a kid. He was certainly happier as a kid." points for trotting out baby pictures of the angsty hero. That adds a dimension that was previously missing from his character.

5)"It must have been a picture of the “that place” that Verge talks about sometimes when he’s upset." another accidental slip into the present tense.

6)"As she passed through, she was pictures of Chi and Nanites." suggest rephrase. However, I like the idea of having a sort of tourist's biography for the heroes of haven.

7)"A few moments later he heard some rustling and Mei’s calls for him to wait up.

The pair was at the Haven port in a matter of minutes." I've found that a single hyphen in the center of the page makes a scene break that ficpress actually tolerates.

8)"“Are you even aware of the words that come out of your mouth?” she yelled." that sounds a touch too formal. maybe something like 'do you even hear the words coming out of your mouth?"

9)"01 shot glasses," which ironically have two settings: empty or full.

10)"“It’s about to crash,” Verge said. “Just stay calm.”" for a character with goku-esque powers, he really doesn't let it get to his head too much. He can be pretty matter of fact about it, which I think is a good detail.

11) alright. I haven't got any particularly deep insight about this chapter, but it is a lot smoother than the ones before it. That means you're improving with each chapter, ergo: you should write more.

-SC
Solemn Coyote chapter 4 . 7/28/2007
So, I'm still reviewing this. I'm just reviewing slowly. Here's my take on chapter 4.

1)"The Sound of stuff shaking in her pockets was always with Mei." I like that. Too many writers describe characters by sight alone.

2)"Tom had been very clear to never let boys do as they please just because they’re strong." that's a great bit of character developement, but Tom's name is dropped out of nowhere. I assume that he's a father figure, but it might help to say it outright.

3)"If she couldn’t use him, Mei thought, at least she could cheer him up." That's almost uncharacteristically pragmatic of her.

4)"A Nanite. Based on the intensity, he figured it was a larva or pupa," That's another really interesting detail about the nanites. On the one hand, I'm glad it wasn't all part of the beginning info-blob, but on the other hand I want to know a lot more about them.

5) "He didn’t want the in keeper to have trouble, should there be a fight." minor typo in there, but I like how Verge considers every situation tactically.

6)"Verge could feel the air become even colder in the instant he moved." Is he pulling thermal energy from the air or something like that? My physics isn't terribly sound, but it feels a little more realistic than the pull-energy-out-of-nowhere stuff that mages tend to do.

7)"The two attacks sped by and passed through each other, quite unremarkably." Good. For some reason, powerful beams of energy always seem to meet in midair, while the two people directing them engage in a contest of wills. This is a refreshing break from that cliche.

8)“You’re weaker than I thought. Or perhaps I’m just strong. After all, such is the power of a Nanite!” That line is a bit corny. I suppose it's an easy thing for powerful Nanites to say, but I think it would be interesting if Faustave taunted more about his past with Verge than about his newfound power.

9)"Faustave smiled with venom in his words. It was exactly what Verge said to him on Enuth." Nevermind. I stand corrected. I kinda wish you would change Verge's original taunt, though.

10) "Just because you can regenerate, that doesn’t mean you don’t feel pain. His shadow form enhanced all of his senses." Another good detail.

11) "Then his skull started to crack. It was a dry creak that reverberated within his head. It was like when you bite too hard and grind your molars together, except inside his brain." That description was strong enough to make me wince. Really good.

12) “Then leave. You always leave the taste of sulfur in my mouth.” That's a good line.

13) “It’s like hopscotch. The high jumps, or light jumps, are when you jump from block to block. The low jumps, or shadow jumps, are when you claw your way through the pavement, tunnel with your bare hands, and then use your head to smash through the block you aimed for.” Another good line.

14) This story gets better with each chapter. A bit more refined, and a bit better explained. There's always about the same concentration of good concepts. I guess I don't have anything more specific to say about chapter 4, so I'll proceed to chapter 5.
Solemn Coyote chapter 3 . 7/14/2007
1)"The Teacup was everything he dreaded and more." A good sentence, and I'm pretty fond of the ship's name.

2)"The corridors were confined. He ducked at each" You've talked about the ship for the last couple've lines, so it might be better to substitute 'he' for 'Verge'.

3)“Food ish at sixsh and sixsh. Don’t bother my crew,” Since there are no S's to change into SH's in the second sentence, it feels kinda like the captain's drunken slur disappeared. I've always found that it's easier to describe the way someone talks than to actually type it out (i.e. '"That's it," he slurred' instead of '"Thatsh it," he said'). However, you could also try adding pauses between words. i.e. "Don't bother...my crew."

4)“No doofus! There’s laws against going that fast.” 'Doofus' feels a little understrength, but Mei seems a bit immature, so it sorta works out.

5)"He had expected to be thrown to the wall or something dramatic. What he felt was the uneasy hum of the inertial dampers and the slow shaking as they caught up with the Teacup’s movement through space." Good introduction of physics. Space travel tends to get over-dramatized in sci-fi.

6)“Let’s talk about you. Girls love that.” I really like the dialogue between Verge and Mei. It flows naturally, and it does a good job of developing the characters.

7)“O, guar gum, glucose, indigo numbah eighteen..." That's just excellent.

8)"There are thirty-seven ingredients in a Hanchun Chew." This paragraph shifts to present tense, which is a little bit confusing.

9)"By the last two weeks of the trip he had given up and just decided to accept his delicious, chewy fate." Another good line

10)"They use Low Delgratti when speaking to people of a lower class. They think it keeps them in their place." That's kind of an interesting system. It's a good world-building detail.

11)“Fine! Die,” he hissed, “See what I care.” It's slightly unclear why he decides to take her with him at this point. I mean, besides for reasons of plot. It's not a story-breaking problem, but Mei and Verge met by accident. It just seems like there should be more of a connection between them before they go haring off to Congradia. Or, if that's unnecessary work, you could throw in a line or two explaining that Verge still feels obligated to help her find Nanite Verge.

12) "She turned away from him and pulled her arms inside her coat. A small, crying, Mei shaped bell was standing before Verge." That's a really cool way to look at it.

13) "he said pleasantly." Just something to consider: you tend to use 'said' as a default word for dialogue. It might be worthwhile to exchange that 'said' for a synonym more often.

14)"He sprang up into the air and trotted along the treetops by the side of the road." that's got a very Eastern feel to it. Now that I think about it, the Chi and the Center of the Fishbowl have the same feel to them. I dunno how much of that is intentional, but I think it's kinda cool.
Solemn Coyote chapter 2 . 7/14/2007
Here again for chapter 2.

1) I really like the intro-sequence, but this line could stand to be tweaked just slightly: "He launched his fist with molasses quick speed at the nearest face." maybe 'he launched his fist quick as molasses' or 'he launched his fist molasses quick'. 'quick speed' is slightly redundant.

2) "Of course, just what was staring you down didn’t matter when it was Eye that was behind it." This sentence is confusing, no matter how you slice it. It isn't worded poorly. It just throws the reader for a loop by going from eye to Eye so quickly.

3) Verge's encounter with Ford feels very anime. i.e. the Minion appears out of nowhere to cryptically mock Our Hero. This isn't a critique, just an observation.

4)"He still had his soul scripts; souvenirs from his first battle with Talon’s forces." There is a ton of story-specific information in this. I'm still not sure how to best introduce it. All the major worldbuilding stuff seems like it would fit at the beginning of the first chapter, but smaller stuff like soulscripts is harder to define without breaking the soul of the story. Maybe you could spend more time describing it and let the reader intuit what it does?

5)"Coria was orange." The strength of this story is in its raw details. Even little things like this are completely awesome.

6)"She had the smile of the kind of people who always smile, no matter what." Maybe 'she had a permanent smile'?

7) Your description of Ens reminds me a bit of the way Terry Pratchett writes. This is a compliment.

8) The Mei is a good counterpoint to Verge's seriousness/angstiness/quietness.

9)"and Verge knew nobody liked a guy who made a woman cry," that last bit is sort of a given. I dunno that it needs to be said.

10) Mei seems like she's been decieved way too easily.

11) "At least I’m getting to Delgratti.

Verge let Mei negotiate the travel arrangements." Fictionpress can be kinda weird about scene breaks. I've found that the best way to split up scenes is with a hyphen.

12)“But thersh only one free room.” That seems a little bit forced, but it's a good way to promote character developement.

13) I kinda like the crazily drunk captain. I don't figure that he's going to be an important character, but he has a bit of personality to him.

14) This is a longer chapter than the last one, and it flows a bit better. There are still plenty of good ideas, and they're not packed together like sardines anymore. I look forward to reading the next chapter.

-SC
Solemn Coyote chapter 1 . 7/13/2007
Hey. Je-er, Sabrael pointed me towards this story, so I thought I'd give it a review. Just as a heads up, all my reviews are numbered for convenience.

1) like this.

2)"Nanite Verge Union Component Breaker. He was a tall, thin, merciless killer. Talon’s bane and self-proclaimed War Elemental, Verge scoured the Fishbowl, his home, for remnants of his enemy; that cursed empire." On the one hand, this is a vocab loaded opening paragraph. It's sorta a lot for the reader to digest at once. On the other hand, it puts the reader just enough off-balance that they have an easier time suspending their disbelief later. If you decide to change anything about this first paragraph, try whittling the sentences down a bit. That'll make them easier to digest. Example: "Native Verge Union Component Breaker. He was tall. Thin. A merciless killer."

3)"And, in no more than two years, Verge had brought Talon and his empire to his knees." try cutting out the commas and see if you like this sentence better. This chapter might flow a little better with fewer pauses.

4)"It is common knowledge that everything in existence is sphere-shaped. It is common knowledge that at the center of it all sits the Spawning Dimension, source of all worlds." This is an absolutely excellent idea. A council of Gods would definitely make an ordered, geometric universe.

5)"By their will, the Fishbowl remains." Maybe it wasn't intended that way, but I keep snickering every time I read 'fishbowl' as the word for 'multiiverse'.

6)"The moon shone blood red as it silhouetted Verge’s slender form." The opening jumps back and forth from the Fishbowl to Verge. Maybe it would work better with all the Fishbowl exposition at the beginning?

7)"Cleaning up after yourself was always the worst part of destroying an empire." Good line

8)"It was his name" 'they were his name' I think.

9)"voice sounded like it was made of rusty knives when he was mad" solid description.

10)"As he faded away, Verge heard Owen speak to his tumbling body" This happens a little too quickly. I feel like the story keeps grabbing me by the neck and saying "here, look at this now." I like all the concepts so far, but I wish you'd spend just a bit more time developing them.

11)"Still, Verge remained helpless as that little voice in his gut faded and was replaced by what usually talks back down there, guts." another really solid line. Maybe change the comma to a colon?

12)"Things got clearer still." maybe 'became cleared still'?

13)“ENOUGH. OUR DECISION IS FINAL." Doesn't need the 'enough'. There isn't much protest to cut off.

14) This is a good first chapter, particularly concept-wise. It feels like it moves a little too fast (the exact opposite of my problem with writing), but it has quite a lot of good plot in it. I look forward to reading more of this.

-SC

15) By the way, do you listen to Coheed & Cambria at all? This isn't supposed to be a plug. Your story just sorta puts me in mind of them.
Sabraeal chapter 1 . 5/10/2007
I think I've told you everything that I've thought about this while you were writing it, so I won't reiterate everything, but it has a lot of promise and with some work it could be really excellent. For now, I'd chapter it - I think it would make it easier to go through and read as well as revise later.