Reviews for Old Draft of The Phoenix Wars
Tsumujikaze no Soujutsu chapter 5 . 6/15/2007
Ok, nothing much to say for that except that you did extremely well in portraying the reality of your world here. The chapters are also very well-described as well. Basically, nothing to pick on here. I really wonder what will happen next. Sorry if this review is short, but my brains were a bit occupied here. Sorry.
Lccorp2 chapter 5 . 6/14/2007

Some spelling erors and wrongly-used words.

-"I would never have guessed that a simple word like skret could go from meaning ‘how are you?’ to ‘why don’t you go fornicate with yourself.’"

That wouldn't be too odd, so to speak. Since your people take on physical attributes of their clan totem animals (IIRC from Behemoth and the Cernon shorts you've done), there would be a lot of variation in conjunction with gestures, accents, emphasis on certain syllables and the like.

-Just a small bone of contention: I understand he knows Sood already, but presuambly he'll have to learn completely new languages sometime down the road. There's a problem with that, though- it's not going to be easy, especially for an adult. If the physiology is anywhere near a human's, the neural connections dealing with language will have mostly been anchored into place- which makes learning a language much harder, and almost certainly there'll be an accent which can't be gotten rid of. In a language like Sood, this would pretty much be disastrous.

I speak mandarin, a Hongkonger can also speak mandarin, and so can a chinese national- but it's obvious who's speaking once our mouths open.

-Tiny problem with your crow-city. Defensible? Yes. Water? Hmm...sewerage? Hmm... Other basic necessities which might be hard to get because it's so high? Hm... roads? Elevators like the ones the Tauren use at Thunder Bluff?
Tsumujikaze no Soujutsu chapter 3 . 6/7/2007
Okay, I'm planning to read only one chapter, but given the length of both chapters, I guess maybe I should cram both together in one review... anyway, I do see that the life in Saber Ranks is rather realistic. For one thing, I've never really come across basic military life in fantasy fiction in a detailed way... also, I really wonder what will happen next. Apart from that nothing much to say...
hiro0911 chapter 3 . 6/6/2007
"I don’t notice that the men around me have been dismissed by the boss sergeant."

- "I failed to notice that the men around me have been dismissed by the boss sergeant."

It is ironic for Janan. It was only later when he realized that he has being trained only to die later in battle like a pig fed only to be slaughtered later. However, hope seemed to have enfolded in him upon realizing that he's given the 'translator' job. Saves him quite much from an unfortunate fate, doesn't it?

I must admit that I quite enjoyed reviewing this one. Keep it up Shadowhound _

hiro0911 chapter 2 . 6/6/2007
An err I've spotted in this chap:

"Most everyone here only speaks Nord"

- "Most here speak only Nord"


The name Mjolnir reminded me of a certain item in Ragnarok Online, well enough of that. This story never ceased to portray its vastness. But, I must say that I am truly amazed of how you are able to effectively narrate the story clearly despite the numerous terms that are seemingly foreign to me. I just hope that you would be able to keep these overwhelming infos under your control as your story progresses.

It seems that Janan finally found his place, thanks to his gift of language. The part where he got a spear aside from a sword was a clever choice too.

Not much of a plot here though. Guess I have to read on.

hiro0911 chapter 1 . 6/6/2007
Review for Phoenix Wars [Shadowhound]


I've gone through random browsing and came across your story. Upon a quick read, I thought this was worth giving a review. This one's quite an interesting read, I being a fantasy story author myself.

To start things, some grammar/spelling errs I've encountered so far:

1) Wrong choice of words:

"... was stupefying..."

"...Very stubborn fact..."

"...assaulted by..."


Although the sentences may seem correct, these words may not have been the best choice.

Take for example the word 'stupefying'. Though it could be considered synonymous to 'astonishing' and 'incredible', using it in this particular sentence sound rather confusing since it had this certain 'negative tinge', if you know what I mean. I would prefer "As I first gazed upon the City of Raban, I could not help but marvel from the sight of the biggest city I have seen in my entire life. The northern trade city, Hiban, did not even compare. A massive castle stood in the epicenter of the city, surrounding which were buildings stacked on top of each other."

"The only thing keeping me from joining in was the very stubborn fact that had haunted me since leaving home."

- "The only thing that kept me from trading in was the unfortunate reality that has haunted me since I left home. I was broke."

"I made my way through the bazaar, asking for work and being assaulted by exotic scents and flavors."

- "And so, I paved my way towards the bazaar, inquiring left and right for work while being bombarded with countless exotic scents and flavors."


- Uh, why mite? (I'm not really sure of this one. But it disturbed me, honestly. Or could you have meant 'little')

2) Some other Little things to be corrected

“What are you talking about?” I ALL but shouted.

- you can simply say 'I shouted'. The 'all' sounds kinda misplaced there.

"The chapter house in the southern quarter JUST TOOK ON six!"

- 'have just taken in'

"Clan Lord hasn’t seen fit to be asending the guard more funds.”

- 'has not seen it fitting to asend the guards more funds' (i thought that the 'a's are apparently "speaking-styles" so I added that one to 'send' asend _)


Upon reading this one, I couldn't help but notice several similarities to Final Fantasy XII, if you know of it. Raban 'Rabanastre', Clans, including the overall setting.

You've introduced a vast world indeed. You did a good job in presenting the setting. I was able to get a good picture of it. What made it interesting is the existence of extraordinary beings (winged ones, eh?). The names are kinda catchy too. And yes, writing in first person may be quite hard. But upon reading it, you seem to have the hang of it. Keep it up _

Lccorp2 chapter 3 . 6/3/2007

Well, let's take a look.

-Why are there so many tense flips for no good reason? There are so many times where you pass from present to past and back to present again, it's NOT funny. Dave slaps me around for using too many -ing verbs in my writing, but this is absurd.

-The training could be more detailed and engaging- here it seems as if you've summarised too much. The PoV character might not be a military genius, but at least he should have described it a little more- how he feels during the numbness if nothing else.

-"All the while his underlings and fellow torturers were handing out slips of paper from burlap sacks."

This is a bit circumspect. This is (1) assuming that all the recruits are literate, which I seriously doubt in the absence of public education AND the fact that they're poor enough to want to do this work for food and (2) if they need burlap sacks, there's going to be a LOT of paper slips in there. How are they going to sort out the slips to be handed out so that the correct people get the correct slips?

-Again, my personal thing about people blacking out, especially if there's not much of a good reason for it...
P.B. Lee chapter 3 . 6/3/2007
I like your writing style, Shadowhound.

You have this dry, dark, witty humor about you.

Unfortunately, some of your jokes are lost amongst punctuation. I had to stop and reread some lines, at least five, over and over again until i made sense of them. Here's an example:

You have this:

"I still hadn’t heard anything about how to resign from the Saber Ranks. Dead, obviously, but I was hoping to avoid that outcome. Perhaps something with me alive at the end would be preferable."

When you should have:

"I still hadn’t heard anything about how to resign from the Saber Ranks. Dead, obviously, but I was hoping to avoid that outcome. Perhaps something with me, alive at the end, would be preferable."

It's just a minor thing but your jokes would be more easily perceptible if you did it.

Its cool though.

I cant wait for the fourth chapter.
P.B. Lee chapter 1 . 6/3/2007
Engrossing, to say the least.

Your grammar could use some working on, but so could mine.

So far, i can say i'm engaged.

Make sure you tie up the loose ends, though. You vaguely mention all sorts of cities and crap. Make sure the reader is able to understand what you're talking about. Be sure to fill in the details later on.

Also, have Vleugels explain to Janan more stuff. It should be more-i don't know, engaging. Have Vleugels actually lead him around camp, don't just mention it.
anti-climax chapter 1 . 5/30/2007
I like it.

The setting is established very nicely-a place intolerant of foreigners, stern mercenaries and the like. The character is believable and can be empathized with...

There are some errors however, at least I think they are, given the somewhat authentic slang you have given to the residents of your world...

For instance, 'Wouldn’t be good to spend you’re first night out of Southside back on the streets.' You're isn't quite appropriate for this sentence I do believe, your should have been used instead.

And 'One of the commander.' Commander ought to be referred in plural here...

Minor errors aside, this is a good story thus far...
iamthedave chapter 1 . 5/30/2007
hiho. Not a bad start, but the worldbuilding aspect seems a bit slack in places. It's ok, but i think it needs to be seriously tightened up.

-The city of Raban was stupefying when I first gazed upon it. It was the first big city I’d ever seen. The northern trade city, Hiban, didn’t even compare. I couldn’t believe what my senses told me.

The first and last sentences say the same thing, really.

-WEALTHy men strolled the streets displaying their WEALTH

Try to use different words.

-Unsurprisingly, a guard followed the more flamboyant to keep a poor hand touching the men of high standing while the less obtrusive made their own way.

I'm not sure what this sentence is trying to say, in all honesty. I think there may be a word missing.

-I’m glad I’m not from this land.

That doesn't follow, given he's already said he almost wishes he was. From what he's seen, being from this land would make his life so much easier... and he's already admitted that what he does at home is no better or worse than what they're doing. It's an odd psychological jump, I find.

-The man swore as I left about wasting money on a foreigner.

Don't they have their own language? Usually people who want to mock foreigners do it in their own tongue.

-I gritted ... I returned ... I couldn't ... I applied... It wasn't ... I dusted...

LOTS of identical or very similar beginnings. Try to mix them up a little.

-Chop wood, clean chimneys, anything and everything

Consider listing more jobs. A list isn't always undesirable when it puts across emotion i.e. desperation. it would help if we had a clearer indication of this guy's talents. Maybe a recounting of why he's here would be good earlier on.

-In a way, I hated the intense nationalism Raban’s inhabitants had.

In what way? And how is this nationalistic? It's really just racist. How does it differ from where he's come from? You've already said there's similarities.

-and return back to my search for any work possible. They had large,

Missing 'a' after 'had' and I think it should be 'and returned'.

-The Saber Ranks. To me, it sounded more like a band of circus performers than a small band of mercenaries.

Why? That seems a fairly illogical connection. 'Saber' is a weapon. 'Ranks' is how armies form up. Where's the circus connection? You need a bit more detail for this to add up.

-I wondered how it could possibly compare to these beautiful things that could only be thought of in an artist’s mind. They were so beautiful.

Gah! That's pretty ugly; describe them if they're so beautiful! A little poeticism wouldn't be out of place around now, possibly a hint of thoughts or stories the sights churn up.

-He asked if I had any experience, I told him that, aside from my work in the local militia, I hadn’t any. Any special skills? None. Ever been in a life threatening situation before? No.

Do this in dialogue; you're skipping over character background and chances for both worldbuilding and characterization.

-Him and his buddy, Alban Rekkus.”

possible anachronism?

-wonderful wings

you've used that twice now, and he's named. I don't think it needs re-emphasising. If you want to draw attention to it you could highlight someone else's reaction, or focus on little movements of said wings.

you know the sign-off by now. hope to hear from you soon.
Lccorp2 chapter 2 . 5/30/2007

-I know better than to distrust you, but I suppose there's a special reason Grothanin is being looked after? With so many new recruits in, not everyone can be assigned a "personal handler", so to speak. It could also explain the kid gloves with which everyone seems to be handling him with- I'd expect him to be "broken down" ASAP, especially in a merc company that *requires* strict discipline. I know I got worse than that during my first week of BMT.

-"A dark breastplate was tossed my way and I was handed a wire brush and a scrap of leather. “Keep it clean,” the quartermaster warned menacingly."

Correct, as far as I know. Rifle-cleaning with regards to rust usually involved me, a tough wire brush, a paintbrush rags as well as thick, dark yellow oil. Summarize if you want, but not too far.

-"Mjolnir prodded my back with the butt end of a spear. “Your weapon,” he said."

Taken from I-clauswitsz's LJ:

"There is no doubt that a spear and a shield was among the cheapest ways to equip an effective warrior. The spear provides reach, while the shield affords considerable protection; these benefits are greatly magnified when the spear-and-shield combination is wielded within a solid phalanx formation that can present the enemy with either a wall of shields or a thicket of spearheads or both. The effectiveness of the spear, shield, and phalanx combination is never more clearly demonstrated than in its widespread adoption by the practitioners of ancient and medieval warfare, ranging from the ancient Sumerians, the Greeks, and the Chinese empires to the Anglo-Saxons, the Russian principalities, and the urban militia forces of medieval Central and Western Europe.

Surprisingly, modern experts have not come upon an unanimous consensus about how men in such formations employed their spears. The first possibility is the overhand method, where the spear is held near the middle, beside the warrior's head, and used to stab downwards at the enemy's face, neck, and shoulders. The alternative is the underhand grip, in which the hand grips the spear somewhat closer to the butt and holds it level beside the body, thrusting through the small gap between the warrior's shield and that of the man to his right (or the nooks and crannies if the shields are large enough to be overlapped). In addition, when facing similarly-armed adversaries, the phalanx might opt not to use its spears, relying instead on the collective push of shields to drive back and scatter the opposing formation.

Supporters of the overhand grip contend that it allows the spear's thrusts to strike the areas most frequently left unprotected by armor, while its detractors say that a warrior wielding a spear overhand would most likely find the butt of his spear slamming into the face of the man behind him every time he draws it back before making a thrust, not to mention that he would not be able to attack any part of the opponent's body below the shield without exposing himself. The underhand grip, on the other hand, allows greater reach and hence a broader selection of targets extending all the way from head to foot, but there is no guarantee that the butt of the spear would not hit the man behind either-and the spear's leveled position means (rather paradoxically) that it is more likely to hit the shield than when wielded in an overhand grip. To make the problem worse, both methods are amply attested by pictorial evidence, although the representations from some cultures do seem to favor one method over another."

In any case, the spear was largely like a crossbow, in that fighting with one at a non-expert level often included repetitive, simple movements and thus would be ideal for a recruit to train with. Keeping in mind the large number of mercs, it would be obvious that drills would be conducted in "standardized" steps that fit a general mould, rather than individualised, personal training and spears would be good.

So, yeah. good work.

-The last bit, though- why the tense flip from past to present in there? Numerous nitpicks that should be corrected, too.
Tsumujikaze no Soujutsu chapter 1 . 5/27/2007
Heya there! It's me again! Well, could have reviewed earlier, but internet's gone buggy at that time... :( anyway, this first chapter's rather well described and I like the way you put in an commoner character first compared to the big shots in the Saber Ranks, i.e. Alban Rekkus and Soth Maore. Just one question and that is, are you going to revolve the story around the POV of one character or will there be several other characters' POV? And yeah, just finding things strange to see that you've taken down Behemoth again...
Microwave background chapter 1 . 5/23/2007
I've not read any of your stories before, but the setting seems intuitive enough. Looking forward to further updates!
Lccorp2 chapter 1 . 5/22/2007

Sorry for the short review, but it's the truth-not much wrong I can see with this, apart from some subjective, stylictic nitpicks. Then again, it's the beginning and I've been following your works for some time, so I have a grip of what's been going on- you might want to ask the opinion of someone who hasn't read your works before, to see if it still makes sense to them.
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