Reviews for Old Draft of The Phoenix Wars
Mad Asher chapter 22 . 12/29/2007
I think the only bad points of this story are that dialogues are skipped and the setting is rather dreary and the plot is confusing. Ok, maybe it sounds harsh when I put it like that, but it felt like that to me. I felt myself skipping the rather bulky descriptions. The only thing(s) the reader has to look forward to is the arrival of this 'Soth Maore' and how this battle plays out under this Phoenix Rekkus.

On the plus, you have well-paced characterization and weird original names (i dont know if thats good...?) I found it quite interesting to have the main character set up as a translater (in Sood, how cool). The unique concept of clans embodying weird creatures goes to you also. The wings is a new thing also. Well donne introducing that.

I just have to say that I didn't feel I agree with the slow way things are going and maybe its just me, but the dialogues reveal no suspense and there's not much irony or comedy. Perhaps fit a bit in there? S'rry mate just trying to help. Hope this helps.
Alteng chapter 22 . 12/10/2007
I'm sorry that I am a little behind. I went through several weks trying to get Chapter 21 together and I was hit with inspiration and puled two chapters out.

The scene with Dammerung semed kind of useless to me. The bit about his wife being only six years old was interesting, and I can see where that would be awkward, but it seems that he spends a goodly amount of time brooding on wanting death. I think this is because the feeling has been mentioned a couple of times before.

The bit about Aldea being a tramp for he wingless was an interesting revelation. Of course, this could be just made up on her cousin's part to get Janan to go away. I kind of feel bad for him because he seems to be lovesick for her.

Of course, he has developed from being spineless to rather bold. It does take some balls to stand up to Alban.
Tsumujikaze no Soujutsu chapter 22 . 12/6/2007
Dude, you've updated again... anyway, good chapter here again... the whole issue between Soth Maore and Alban seems rather intriguing from what I've seen here. Alban seems to have a certain bond of affection to Soth while Soth wanted Alban to lead the Ranks against the Phoenix which seems rather interesting terms of plot development. As for the issue with Aldrea, I'll take it as some passing phase of the story. Correct me if I'm wrong. Anyway, I really wonder what will happen next although it sucks a bit in my personal emotions to see Grothanin whipped for some unknown reason... that being said though, I think maybe you can try on having some developments between the Ranks and their bosses, i.e. Alban and Soth. I think I remember in a previous chapter that Grothanin said that he had this feeling that Alban might die in their place. Try to work on that as in how Alban's bond with the Ranks may be taking place in reality and how everything will turn out. Soth as well too especially since he was the official big chief there forming the entire lot with Alban. Also, this is a good time for you to further develope Grothanin's character after the whole Aldrea incident, be it with himself or Alban and Soth. Apart from that. nothing much to say. Anyway, hope to see you update soon again! Bye! :)

P.S: Ok, I know you'll be starting on a revised version of Behemoth. Just a curious question here: Will you do some story on Tyste's life and also that of Soth and Alban prior to this story? I think that will be interesting plus it can shed some light on the whole Soth-Alban issue which can play into the plots of future stories based on Cernon with the two of them in it... ;)
Tsumujikaze no Soujutsu chapter 21 . 11/19/2007
Well, glad to see you update again... anyway, I don't know if this chapter could be termed as a filler on the whole, but this is a good chapter anyway. Trust the Crow-Ravens to be a bunch of racist... that sor of reminds me of the apartheid rule in South Africa... I don't know why though... and yeah, it really seems that Grothanin hit the wall in love right now. Feel sorry fo him though. As for the whole wrangling going on in this chapter, it really seems like some form of realistic picture of the whole issue on racial and national prejudice in the past history... anyway, nothing to complain here. Just hope to see this update soon! Bye! :)
Alteng chapter 21 . 11/19/2007
Okay, I am all caught up again.

I love all your descripition about the crow religion, but I do like that kind of thing. Your description of the temple was wonderful as well.

It seems curious that the god of the bird people does not have wings. Since the wings are what make the birds superior to the non winged clans, would this mean that they are superior to their god? And if this god thought that wings made the birds superior to other men and he himself did not have them, what does this say? I know, shush! I had a few classes in philospy, so I know how to sling some bull.

The hate thing going on with Janan is okay, and I can understand his point of view. You might make a mention of the suddeness of the change of point of view in that, because not too long ago they were chatty during the sermon.

I am glad that you had Soth Maore stand up for Alban. It makes the man all the more respectable.

It is an interesting little thing I have noted. There was a scene where Alban (I think it was) reprimanded Janan for called Soth Maore just Soth, but I notice that he does it himself. This might be intentional. After all Alban and Soth would be on equal footing with each other because of their shared background.

I also liked the fact that the sermon was twisted to flatter Soth by saying the opposite of what was expected because of political reasons. That sounds so plausible.
Alteng chapter 20 . 11/18/2007
I don't find Janan over whiny in this. This something that happens with relationships. I would have thought that Alban would point on thet the girl is not just any girl, but part of the nobility. So, that could cause even more trouble.

Although I do enjoy the bits that are outside of Janan's knowledge, I still don't llke it. I know. I am a stick in the mud. The bits with Phoenix are interesting, but I like the thought of being with the Ranks and not being sure that they can win or not, although I already know the outcome. i also realise that Dammerung has a point to make. I don't know how you would go about showing that without these scenes.

I also am not sure how the bit with Soth and Alban would come out wihtout using Jannan there. Of course, this kind of condones Alban's actions in the story you wrote about him. Yet, again I don't like the slip into third person, because this has been Janan's story. Something can be surmised from Alban's drinking after the discussion with Soth. Of course, Janan might well blame this on the coming attack. Still, he hasn't done this throughout the whole story.

Also, I can say that I would have been very disappointed if Soth had denied the lepers into the Ranks. This is something that appeared in that conversation that could have been shown later on.
Alteng chapter 19 . 11/17/2007
Hey! At this rate, I will be caught up in no time! And I am still be worked to death at work!

I am still not too sure about the scenes in Phoenix, because this is a first person narrative. SInce it is something that Groth does not know, we really shouldn't either.

I understand about the game. After all, I don't know anything about any existing card games, so I just accept what is said as being a winner and what not. Bill and I were going to create a game for Bane, but I was never able to fully work in any details.

Soth Maore's appearance had some really nice descripitions to it. Somehow, when you wait for someone (or something) for so long, it is not what you expect. IT is less than expected. Although Soth Maore is an impressive figure, I would think that there would have been some disappointment in Groth at seeing. It is hard to see a god in the flesh.
Lccorp2 chapter 21 . 11/17/2007

Well. Seems like you're taking this chance to expound a little on Crow-Raven culture. Well, I'll follow along and comment where I deem it necessary.

-So, it seems that the Crow-Ravens have learnt the value of demonising other groups. There's trememdous potential value in there for the ruling class in that, from distracting the populace from domestic problems, to justifying all sorts of inane actions (Jews, Christians and other 'dhimmis' in the 14-th century arab world had to pay a sizable tax to simply stay alive. Naturally, this made the Caliphate very happy.)

Remember, though, that religion played a very big factor in people's lives back then, especially when they didn't travel much and didn't think very scientifically- and this is supposed to be the heart of Crowian culture and thought. This sort of thing is going to affect trade and diplomatic relations, at the very least.

Nobility might see Grothanin as an exquisite toy to be played with, but the common bugger in the street isn't going to be entralled by him and call back the children. Shopkeepers might try to rip off Saber Ranks soldiers buying items, pretend they don't have any in stock, or flat out refuse to sell to "evil demons". Wingless people might not be "kill on sight" like my Gold Flight-Black Flight relations, but if this is what the most prominent religion preaches, they're going to run into trouble because of it.

-What are the core principles of your religion? These are essential. I’ve read a lot of fantasy religions that have detailed descriptions of temples, high holy days, decorations that people wear at certain times of the year, the raiment of the priests, rituals that people perform before plowing their fields, and so on, but have no heart.

What does this religion stand for? If a worshipper who is typical of a particular region—or world, if the religion is global—were asked to boil down the principles of his faith to the most important ones, what would he choose? (I'll use my own example: Balance, the idea that extremes are univocally destructive and that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.) Probably not the holy days and the decorations, unless the faith has become one of those distant ones more honored in the breach than the observance.

When an author doesn’t consider this, fantasy religions have a tendency to default to one of the two models that a lot of authors base their faiths on anyway, Christian or Wiccan. see tvtropes dot org for "Crystal Dragon Jesus"; it's for video games, but also heavily applies to fantasy. (And yes, to you.)

-You know, blatantly buttering someone up who doesn't love sycophants (and it should be obvious to the characters that Soth Maore isn't that kind of person) is almost certain to offend them- and I should think that "The priest was gesturing kindly down at Soth Maore, declaring him an esteemed figure who was especially loved by the Great Beast, the Arbiter Lord, in that he was gifted with two different wings." is very obviously that, so much so that even Groth can pick it up.

They very obviously know that Soth and Alban are together, so why is our dear Crow Lord who is desperate to get Soth to be his friend allowing Alban to be insulted? This reeks of authorial intervention- even if the fool himself is a pompous, bloated dunce, there's got to be someone half-competent on the Crow side, or they'd have lost right from the start.

Seriously, it smells like something you cooked up so there'd just be tension.

That's it for now. Meh.
Alteng chapter 18 . 11/16/2007
Well. it looks like soon you will be writing about Soth in person. This should be a treat. It will be interesting to see Janan's point of view on the matter.

As for the bit of a break off to Phoenix, personally, I don't like it. This is one of the flaws of writing in the first person. If Janan doesn't know it, we shouldn't know it either.

And the thing with ALdea was cute. Oh well, we haven't really seen Janan interested in a girl before, and she seemed interested enough herself.
Alteng chapter 17 . 11/16/2007
It took a couple of days to get throught his, because there is stil quite a bit of chaos going on in the household.

I do like the suspicion that is coming up about Alban attacking his own people, and I can tell this is well thought out in the stagedies. I was wondering as to why the Crows were after Phoemix as well, unless they thought that the Phoenix held a great wealth within their walls.

This is just a curious thought, but somehow I thought that the Mark of Tway was a feline thing. It seems that there would be a different mark for a cowardly outcast in each clan. Just an odd thought for you, since i see the clan kind of like other countries foreign to each other.

Oh, and the lines about the fashion comments were interesting. I would think that such style without backs would be good for those with wings. It is odd that Janan wants so badly to see the woman's wings under the wrappings. Has he succumbed to the thought of that being sexy? I guess a person could come over to others' ways of thought after being with them for awhile.
Ivi chapter 20 . 11/9/2007
Groth doesnt seem to whiny in this chapter at all. In fact this is probably my favorit chapter because the dialouge in it feels the most real out of all the chapters so far. I think you have finally found groths voice dont go questioning your self now. That being said the last thing he says does feel a bit out of charictor "youve never been in love before" Wasnt groth just doubting that he felt much of anything for the girl? I doubt he would come straight out and say that he was in love with her especially to alban. If it was a ploy to see if alban would let him continue seeing her he should have tried it earlier in the argument because at the point where he says that it would have been obvious that alban wasnt going to change his mind.

Does Groth tell alban his mother is from Shark? Cause there is not a gap between the paragraphs and if he does then there should be a gap cause the way it is now makes it seem that groth could be answering (breaking a clan rule) or alban could be randomly choosing a name. Just a little technical detail

anyway latter

Tsumujikaze no Soujutsu chapter 20 . 11/8/2007
Sorry there for the late review. I was planning to review it earlier, but I got screwed when the review page has problem loading... anyway, good chapter here , I don't know why, but I've got this impression that Soth Maore seems to have some other agenda from his conversation with Alban. Ok, I guess that's me, so don't dwell much on what I've said here... anyway, I really wonder what will turn out from the whole scene. I'm having this impression that Alban will lead the Saber Ranks against his people, so I'll be looking forward to see what you can do on the whole development, character and plot-wise. Anyway, on Alban's talk with Grothanin (sp?), I do think it's interesting. So basically, one thing I can suggest is to have this aspect of the plot to develope from some random banter into something that can shape Grothanin as a character. Also, I'm hoping to see more of Alban, Kindran and Soth Maore's development as characters sincr from what I've remember, there weren't really much for them in this area. But then again, I maybe wrong since my memory sucks in a very real sense... anyway, glad to see you're not so mean in your review now lol! XD Hope to see you update soon! Bye! :)
Lccorp2 chapter 20 . 11/2/2007


-If you've got a good enough command structure and morale in addition to superb logistics, there isn't any reason why we can't have eighty thousand. The problem was that their numbers vs. the Phoenix Clan would have simply consisted of a roll-over, and that wouldn't have been very good for suspense. We know that the Saber Ranks will pretty much win in one way or another, but it'd be nice to think the Phoenix Clan might have some upper hand, too.

-As an extension of what you pointed out to me, the average human mind and psychology isn't exactly suited to living forever- I'd like to hear of any coping mechanisms, if they've got any. Could be interesting. I can see their attempts at keeping their home in stasis, but are there more?

-...I thought people took on physical attributes of their clan's totem animal?

-Groth's reactions in the last bit are understandable. I've seen real people do stupid things like that, so it's not stretching the imagination by any means. No, he's not a whiner, just quite unused to having to live this sort of life, especially if my guess at his childhood is correct. I'd expect a little complaining from someone in his position- so long as it doesn't turn into angsting about how horrible life is, I don't mind.
Tsumujikaze no Soujutsu chapter 19 . 10/29/2007
Okay, sorry for this belated review btw. For some unknown reason, I've missed out on your update... anyway, that was again a good chapter. I particularly like the part in the Phoenix territory. It really said quite a bit on Kindran's nature. Still, the whole negotiating part should Phoenix lost the war seems rather surprising, but not out of logic. Anyway, on the whole issue on Grothanin's love life, I'm not sure what to say here since I can't really tell whether it will have a certain impact on the story or not... also, on Soth Maore's appearance, from what I've remembered in the previous Behemoth story, nothing much has changed for him in terms of appearance. Ok, that last comment wasn't meant to be negative lol. XD It's only something that I've noticed... anyway, thanks again for your review. I thought you may have given up on me due to my stories not being up to your standards lol! :D
iamthedave chapter 7 . 10/27/2007
-I traveled in the rear of the procession with a mule-cart bearing the still form of Gelb Haut and all the luggage-

Why specify that he's still? I don't really see the significance.

-I felt that the end of the world itself was near. Perhaps the Saber Ranks were right in refusing to be associated with any Clan not paying for their loyalty. But how far would such loyalty last in the end where I could see the world enveloped in a cataclysmic battle.-

WHAT? This guy continues to be irritating. On top of his general whining he's now MELODRAMATIC and whining. What possible justification is there for that? Battles have been going on for a very long time, as far as I can tell. Surely he knew that much?

-By the end of the first day it was painful to sit down. By the third it hurt to do anything more than keep perfectly still. Sores developed on the inner parts of my thighs, the horse refused to listen to my commands. I hated that horse with a passion.-

This is a good description of saddle sores. Actually your descriptions in general are pretty good, save - so far - when it comes to tactics and stuff, but you've already said you don't know much on that side.

-“And that’s about it,” said Mjol admonishingly.-

'Admonishingly' doesn't need to be there. Kill with sticks. His reaction is very mild. In any medieval society, horses are gold. In an army, they constitute a major investment and a vital part of any supply network, aside from any overtly military use. He should be a LOT stronger in his reply, I think. At the very least he should point out its not a joking matter. Horses dying is very serious.

-He would smile softly at raucous jokes while the fire glinted gently on his wings.-

Nice imagery there.

-He would even do a trick by using a stick like a compass to find running water. The little piece of wood would bend and turn in his hands as if it had a will of its own in its quest to find a stream.-

Cute. Legitimate magic in your setting, or is he considered a bit of a fraud by comparison to REAL magic users?

-I thought I could hate Jormungander Weltmeer, if I ever got around to meeting him.-

I like this. It's like he's getting confused about how he feels about The POisoner now that he's close by but not visible.

-At the same time, the idea that he had spent his entire life in pursuit of words. In my eyes, he had nothing to show for it. No lasting tribute would be given or left behind when he died, a date that seemed to rapidly encroach on him-

That first sentence looks incomplete to my eye. Re-read it and ask if it says what it was meant to. The last one is odd. It doesn't seem to fit our hero's thought pattern at all. He's never shown any particular care about what might happen AFTER he's dead, he's just obsessed with the fact he might die soon. So why would he think about it now? Surely Gelb has the only thing that matters: A life lived longer than the thousands who've died on the battlefield? He's already achieved what the hero wants to, so why doesn't he think of that? It would make a nice break from the UNRELENTING NEGATIVITY. You've got to vary tone, Shadow, at least a little. Remember, your readers have to follow this guy to the end of the story. it'd be nice if it was at least bearable to spend time with him. At the very least, you need to show some positive qualities. We're what, 20, 30 words in, and this guy seems to me to be completely pathetic. I don't sympathize with him because all he does is whine and make no attempt to improve on his position, I don't particularly care what happens to him because he's so miserably selfish and self-centered... You see what I'm getting at? Show me other sides to his character. There have to be SOME.

-Gelb Haut, who wasn't sure where he was half of the time; Azamon Tuefel, whose pride would not accept fear; Mjolnir didn't seem to recognize the threat posed by the Poisoner; and Alban Rekkus.-

They're soldiers. He's an ally, in the same company. Surely this interpretation should be obvious? Why would an officer be afraid of another officer? It might work better for him to think of this and then violently dissect and reject it.

-"You're not that good," said Mjol dryly.-

Don't think 'dryly' is necessary either. This is one of those cases where you can hear the tone just from the words.

-"There are a few ways to do it on a smaller scale, but nothing that big. Guess I'll have to be creative." He popped his knuckles. "I'm wondering, though. Who were these guys trying to keep out?"-

What you've described is absolutely impossible to mount a siege against. They shouldn't even talk about it if the defences are that formidable. The one and only thing they should discuss is different ways to get inside. If there ARE ways to launch a proper attack on walls like that, then those should be discussed. At the moment, I find your credibility fading, simply because no mercenary group is going to accept an unwinnable contract, and every single thing anybody says is coming down to 'we can't win' 'there's no point'. There should be mentions of some kind of strategy by now. At the very least, this kind of thing is horrible for morale, and a demoralized force is useless. I might also point out that walls six hundred feet thick suggest a pretty wide circling area, too. It is, again, very hard to mount a siege without a VERY LARGE ARMY. The impression I'm getting is that they're going to be OUTNUMBERED here. You really, really need to start rolling out some ideas of how this imagined battle is going to play out. Right now it seems like a bunch of lemmings walking off to an execution, and not just because of one character's negativity. Nobody, as far as I can see, has a CLUE what they're doing or looks toward somebody who they think does.

At the VERY least, there should be a sense that the guys who will be doing the strategy have an idea that they're not letting the men in on.
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