Reviews for Crown of Thorns: Volume 3: Journey
Solemn Coyote chapter 10 . 12/28/2009
Gratuitous backlog of chapters, go! Might want to consider spacing out the posting, though. It does keep the story at the top of the in-tray longer, pulling in more unwary victi-I mean readers.

No, I'm not suggesting working the system as a sort of cheaty-hax. I simply think you deserve more than just my reviews cluttering up the place.

1) "and everything smelled of copper and slaughter" great line

2) "(at leats by her own reckoning)" least

3) "watch the Balor-spawn grasp and tear" watching

4) Meriam doesn't strike me as a particularly secure true name. It's only a syllable away from the one she goes by.

5) "It was as if the carver had personally known each and every one of the gods by name, and they had sat down to be captured by his skill in that wood.

Except for the Dark One." huh. Makes me wonder if it was Balor that sculpted it. Family photo time, guys!

6) At last! The plot! It has arrived!
Solemn Coyote chapter 9 . 12/28/2009
Man, it's been a while. Mangly claws, spring into action!

1) "often they would haul in what Daithi presumed to be an extra carcass of whatever that had managed to hunt that day and lay it before the captain’s feet as if it were some kind of gift. A morbid gift. Of a dead thing. Oft-times still warm and bleeding." I caught this extra mouse just for you! ...because you seem to be hunting-impaired.

2) "Like to tell him mother." his

3) "Mother knew that she was friendlier that he’d push himself to be" than

4) "She’…” he fished for a word, “…deep.”" She's

5) "her indignant expression was replace with one that looked frankly shocked." replaced

6) "And extra spring dogged his steps" an

7) "Shireina had just gotten herself over her head" in over her head

8) "But unlike Aunt Dánna, who assumed they were up to no good anytime they had been gone from her sight for any length of time" little bit of word repetition on 'time'

9) "His aunt began a very rousing impression either an indignant old woman, or a fish gasping air." either of

10) "though her good humor seemed more from relief than from humor." word repetition on 'humor'

11) I haven't got much to critique when it comes to the plot. This is mostly because I'm just getting back into it, though. If the next chapter comes out soon *cough cough*, I suspect I'll do more writing about content than spelling.

-SC
Solemn Coyote chapter 8 . 6/3/2009
This has been delayed more than long enough. Finally, I review!

1) "A few men had demanded she tell them if she had been a bad omen among her people," I like that detail. How the viatori kind of instinctively think that everyone has the same cultural standards as they do.

2) “I would like it very much if you would teach me. Your knife fighting, I mean.” And thus begins her legendary climb to the peak of badassitude.

3) "She smiled, thought the memories brought back the sickening feeling of never being quite good enough for her mother." though

4) "that made her think of the meditative trances of the temple priestesses. They had needed the seeds of a divine flower," whoo! Stoner elves!

5) omg elven braids!

6) "only a child who had not yet begun to experience the joys of womanhood could possess." That line weirds me out. Just sayin'.

7) "but she had been assumed by Turien that they had done nothing untoward" Assured

8) I'm suddenly overcome by the urge to write bittersweet Kanaan/'dari fic. Great exchange between them.

9) Not a lot to critique in the last part of the chapter. Just solid writing.

-sc
Solemn Coyote chapter 7 . 11/18/2008
Dear ficpress, your 80 character limit was not meant to contain a review of this chapter.

Love,

The management.

Anyways, here's my best attempt at compressed reviewing.

1)"Her next spool was not so fine as the first, but she indeed had the knack – she had bounded up to them the next day, thread in hand, and thrust it out at them like a child." Is this Saissa...likeable? Man. I'm impressed.

2)"but the silence between them seemed to be a conversation in itself." that's a fantastic line

3)"But those men lived a strict code, set into place by ancestors that Arduus imagined his great-grandfather had known as babes." That sentence was briefly hilarious until a part of my brain went 'oh, wait guys. That means babies.' Which totally ruined it for the rest of my brain. The pons and corpus collosum were very put out.

And, hey. There's a sentence I never thought I would write.

Moving right along.

4)"“I do not have to!” Kohar told him quickly." You know, guys are not *always* awkward about being buddies. Or with talking about ladies. And, when they are, they tend to react with an undue amount of shoulder-slapping and fist-pounding to gloss over the fact.

5)"thought her eyes shined in amusement." 'though'. 'shone'. Grammar hawk! Tser!

6)"what Emeria should meant to her, to them," 'mean'

7)"There would always be a few seconds he would not be able to recall about that night, and all of them occurred in the time it took for Aieinna to go from standing grimly before him to having her lips pressed against his." Oh man. That's exactly how that works.

8)"he should have known it would come at the exact moment he decided to really, truly kiss a women." Oh man. Arduus hasn't snogged anyone yet? What? That's 'aw'-worthy.

9)"The idea that perhaps his mentor would find his performance laughable stirred him to move an arm around her to," Things you generally don't think about while kissing a lady: guys in positions of authority over you.

10) "The ocean,” she began imperiously, straightening her back primly, “Is a rather large thing to handle.”" this chapter is just brimming over with different varieties of adorable.

11) Senara reminds me powerfully of Mei.

12)"She told the story of her parents’ courtship with a whimsical smile and practiced words, worn so that they came out easier with every retelling, each time a little more real than the time before." Man. This chapter. I'm getting a little misty-eyed.

13)"He had to admit it wounded his pride; who was this woman to say a son of Jhannon was less than a son of a human merchant, or whoever she thought to betroth the girl to back in Indaran." This is weird meta-thought that guys don't generally do. We're more inclined to think 'underage. ew,' and move on with things.

14)"The only think left in it was his pennant" 'thing'

15) Yays! Pirates!

16) Write less beast-y chapters than this.

-SC
Solemn Coyote chapter 6 . 11/5/2008
Don't stop believing, just hold on to that feling!

1)"And yet, still, something niggled at him, and he was not completely content.

He supposed it must be because of Eldari."

*ahem*

They need to hook up. Like burning. Right now.

That is all.

2) "Better yet, he had a disdainful set to his face and a haughty worldliness that made most women mad with the desire to be the one he turned his sweet, vulnerable smile to, while he looked upon the rest of their acquaintance with cool derision."

further proof, were it ever needed, that women are crazy.

3) Andar sorta gets mad in the way a woman would when he talks to Ilsandor. I'm not sure how else to describe it, or how to offer helpful advice here. It's a minor detail anyways. Not much to worry about.

4)"but his shirt already felt damp with sweat in the exact places that seem the least dignified."

Andar is the most awesome stodgy elf historian ever.

5)"tattling about a man’s…questionable appetites to his well-respected and well-loved mothered seemed the very definition of low." 'mother'

6) This chapter seems to have a more consistent tone throughout. I suppose this is on account of NaNo, but you should still totally write more often during non-NaNo months.

7)"The bird songs alone were enough to drive a man to the brink of sanity, never mind the tittering of young ladies who lurked behind walls and hedges to spy on young men trying to work." you've done a good job reversing the gender inequality in high elven society, I have to say.

8) Rinarra reminds me a little of Savartiri. Or Mrs. Malfoy.

9)"A couple slips of the tongue were so erroneous they made the solemn oaths into a catalogue of strangely dirty phrases." Oh man. That's fantastic. Like reading the poorly translated labels on Japanese snack-food.

10) You, uh, tastefully avoid saying, uh, lady parts several times during the ceremony.

11) “Perhaps you should start from the…uh…beginning?” Andar just can't win.

12) Aww, Perelle...

13) If there is one thing this chapter is not short on, it is drama. Man. Nicely done.

14)"Got to marry them when they’re pretty, that’s what my grandmother always said," Andar continues to be totally unable to win.

15)"Truly, if she had not disappeared, he would have been betrothed to his dearest and best friend, and a year hence the would have been married in the water of the thirteen rivers, to spend an eternity together" your writing goes crazy victorian here, which is nice, since I can very easily imagine Andar bemoaning his fate victorian-ly.

16) "Even his own mother had remarked on how she was so oddly shaped, like some sort of human girl – or worse, some sort of half-breed. There was no reason he should find her attractive in the least – by the gods, she was his friend – but still, his thoughts seemed determined to remind him of her small, slender hands…" spot. on. Sometimes you are scarily good at understanding guys.

17)"“I am not a fish,” Andar protested, knowing his lip jutted out in an entirely childish pout. “I am certainly not a fish in a bowl.”" Oh man. Fantastic.

18)"he would have been severely tempted to knock every perfect tooth out of Turien’s great big mouth." more like, his great big stupid meany mouth!

19)“’The husbynd is an unpredictable beest, and must be cayred for dyring the entirety of his lyfe, else he wuld live in squalor and destitution. He is sustainede off a diete of fryde food stuffs –‘” You...are possibly the best ever. Seriously. I love this story.

-SC

P.S. Nag!
Solemn Coyote chapter 5 . 10/21/2008
So, I'd been thinking about how best to make fun of...er, I mean appreciate the title of volume three. After all, there can't be too many more chapters left to it. I have to make the next few count.

Unfortunately, not every volume can be about a ManGod (then again, maybe they could. "ManGod", "ManGod 2: the ManGod Is 2 Manly", "ManGod 3: The Return of the Revenge of the ManGod, Who Returns As Well".) Having a volume about a Journey made things considerably more difficult for me.

Or it would have done so, if not for a certain California rock band, known for its fantastic power-ballads.

*ahem* "She's just a small town girl, livin' in a lonely world!"

1)"no one really believed that it was the season of Danu’s displeasure or whatever rot the temple tried to pass off as fact." It's getting to the point where I can't really call out individual world-building details to talk about how much I like them. If I were to do that, my reviews would easily be as long as your chapters. But I do want to note that I liked this particular bit.

2)"She did, however, wish he didn’t look quite so pretty when he blushed." D'aw, Muirinn.

Wuv, twue wuv, is a dweam wivin a dweam...

3)"Not even that woman, Beuvefille" Is that a reference to the world's most awesome grandma?

4)“That a plan to replace Lady Alia had existed previous to Lady Muirinn’s appearance in court?” Man, elves and politics. At least they're not vampires, too. Then this stuff would be truly labyrinthine.

5)"That thought conjured up the image of the Great Mother asking how many coppers it would take for Illysol’s stud to mount her – which was both humiliating and inappropriately hilarious at the same time." Arranged marriages in a nutshell. Man, well done.

6)"mucking about in courtly politics and other place men did not belong." 'places'. Score one for the grammar hawk. Tser!

7)"Most took up something like painting, or riding, or animal husbandry, or spending large piles of their allowance on things they never used or thought of again" Yeah. Being a consort sucks.

8)"The next trend seemed to involve patches of sand and randomly place rocks, paired with the artful used of a strangely shaped-rake." Oh, zen gardens. Where will they turn up next?

9)“And here I was wondering why I have found a married women wandering through a place known for its aid in infidelities.” That, uh, makes for a pretty awkward hedge-maze. People get lost, stumble onto affairs-in-progress, the participants of the affairs flee, and then they get lost in turn. It's a self-sustaining cycle of social inconvenience.

10)"Eldari, well, she is the product of over seven generations of our race’s most brilliant minds, distilled into one – unfortunately – timid girl." Best. Backstory. Ever. Eldari is hands down my favorite character.

11)"I can’t help but think there’s something…dark about him." Dark and charming and with a vagabond reputation for carelessness with women? I can see lady-elves totally totally not being interested in him at all totally. Was that too many totallys?

12)"Still, she felt flushed, and every so often she imagined the casual brush of his arm against hers, only to see that he walked too far from her to do such indecent behavior." D'aw, Victorian romance.

13)"They both halted in step, trying to look anywhere but each other. Betrothal." man, this section is flat-out beautiful.

14) Fantastic chapter. I'm glad the coronation is over with, but it made for an incredible scene all the same.

Keep writing.

-SC
Solemn Coyote chapter 4 . 7/24/2008
I am torn between apprehension at the sheer beasty size of the chapter and a feeling of unadulterated yay at seeing an update. I'll err on the side of the later, but know ye this: there are still overtones of beasty worry in my review.

1) It is at this point at I realize I have completely forgotten everything that happened in prior chapters. Ah, well. I'll pick things up fast.

2)"she worried that maybe she should think of Andar more frequently, seeing as she was going to be betrothed to him. At least, she hoped that she would be. Perhaps, she thought, her mother would have that all taken care of by the time she was rescued or returned." That's a strange blend of adorable and stalkery. 'My parents will unite us!' cannot help but be a little creepy.

3)“Is domnişoară all right?” Trying to pronounce that aloud produced a demonic death-gurgle from my throat. I can only assume that is is Celtic and I'm getting it Wrong.

4)"She whirled around, standing face-to-chest with the tall, tanned brother of Lalana." Oh, Gods. She cannot help but exert a powerful field of romantic complication!

5)"a bird so large that it could eat an adult elf whole within seconds and still turn around for more." pleasepleaseplease let it be a moa. Please?

6)“The Oracle, she is never wrong.” Eldari's dude-options have diversified from a wimpy scholar-elf to a wimpy scholar-elf and a zealot. While she may fall in love, she is yet to fall in luck.

7)"but the younger girls were more fluent in Common" train of thought went: common. Hm. That's a little DnD-ish. Hmm. CoT DnD. Hm. Covets!

8)"a sloe-eyed young woman named Vandu, clung to her like a shadow, always helpful, but sadness twisted her lips when Simona was not looking." She's crushing on Simona's betrothed. I'm calling it now.

9)“I just cannot bear the thought of my Simona leaving me.” Crap. 0 for 1.

10) The cultural gossip between 'dari and Vandu is great.

11)Vandu...is kinda awesome.

12)"she said in a way clearly told her it should be." 'that clearly told him' maybe?

13)"Forget him, child. It’s a…a distraction." What? No! No he is not! You are playing with my emotions, woman!

14) That said, great little tarot sequence.

15)"The Fool says you have started your journey, and to worry about him" 'not to worry about him'?

16)“I’m not entirely sure I like being metaphorically eaten by a lion either,” Glorious, glorious wit again in this chapter. Your characters shine their brightest when being snarky.

17) I'm curious who the Strength card represents. It's pretty probably a chick, but I can't think of any that have been already introduced that fit that description. The closest I can guess is Sola from Avia, making a surprise cameo.

18)"staying in love seemed to be a much harder task than falling in love.

How disappointing." Well said, 'dari. Well said.

19)"for one, she didn’t do ritual sacrifice, especially to furry things that her brothers probably once kept as pets" Yeah. I'd have to say that casting an augury via fluffles rates about a twelve on the evil-ometer.

20) "“Amalur’s left t –”

“Vandu!” Tereza snapped, scandalized.

“– Toe,” Vandu finished lamely," Best minor character so far. At least, until the man-render appears. Anyone who curses by a specific god's specific ball demands respect.

21“Are any of them handsome?” Go Vandu, go! Marry your way into a matrilinial society!

22)“Do you think you are plain?” I'm reasonably sure that most women think they're plain, ridiculous as that sounds.

23)“This will certainly put Hana at ease.” further proof for my 'field of romantic complications' theory. I think I will always harbor a deep and hidden love for the Eldari chapters.

24) And so Eldari becomes a kick-butt tarot mage...

25)“You could always take them off.” Open mouth, insert foot. That said, bold move all the same, Vanaan.

26)"they had discovered that lifting a wet sheep was not something two robust young ladies were particularly adept at doing," whereas young men would flip that sheep over one shoulder and carry it boldly up the hillside.

27)“He’s a sailor,” oh crap. He's doomed to being dread-pirate-roberts'd

28)"Eldari lagged behind, suddenly aching for the simplicity of Elven politics." That scene was flat out awesome. I love how you still find the space to tell fifty million other stories in the space of your one giant ur-story.

29)“Gaueko’s co –” Everyone curses by the nethers of the gods. As it should be.

30) Did Eldari totally just channel Tiffanesque plot-magic?

31)"Kill the girl." Daymn. I cannot not like this chapter. It combined Eldari hair-twirling-could-he-like-me-oh-no-I-don't-think-so with RAWK. Totally do not cut anything from it.

-SC
Solemn Coyote chapter 3 . 4/27/2008
Dode. *ahem* okay. Got that out of my system. I'm just psyched to see a new chapter out.

1) This chapter makes me smile so much. Somehow, you managed to absolutely peg the characters in a way that hasn't happened so often since you wrote Avia.

2)"Mostly it seemed to be about crawling through the underbrush and catching dinner." lines like that and the squirrel thing are absolutely amazing.

3)“What? That’s crazy, man – the dogs –” Eluin has some of the most modern dialog in the story, which feels very appropriate.

4) Holy crap. Monsters and rangers and bardic ditties. Did you write a chapter solely with the intent of making me happy? Use your own judgement in what you choose to write next, of course...but I would be extremely elated if more chapters turned out like this.

5)“Those dog, they attacked me –” dogs

6) Wow. I'm beginning to experience a familiar, Avia-esque confusion. Lots of names, things, places, and concepts that I know nothing about. Which means that you're going to have to write more chapters about this particular bunch of characters in order to explain them. Yes?

7)Nice inclusion of Celt myth, again. Although I keep misreading Moddy Dhoo as 'moody-do'. Moody-moody-do!

8) I look forward to seeing another chapter soon. Because Veth, Daithi, and Eluin rock.

-SC
Solemn Coyote chapter 2 . 3/7/2008
Crown of Thorns, volume 3: The MAN-JOURNEY! Er, I mean, just Journey...

Anyways, review.

1)"Often, he thought it was a mistake to have brought her with him, her immanent horrible marriage withstanding." Notwithstanding. I like the set-up to the chapter. Plays off of character tensions right from the get-go.

2)"lashing the flap closed in a fashion Arduus thought might be akin to slamming a door." It's a good line, but it's a little too Victorian to have much punch to it. Maybe 'doing her best to make lashing the flap closed sound like slamming a door.' It's not quite right, but I think it gets a little bit closer.

3)"If her ears are covered, and she wears nothing so fine as an elf would," hollow bones aside, I really think there should be more of a difference between elves and humans than pointy ears and politics. But it's probably way too late (don't go back and edit this in, please) to change that. Maybe there are cultural differences you could play up? Mannerisms or something? Or maybe that's cliche.

4)"“Oh, forget you then!” Arduus huffed. “I’m going to bed.”" That line felt really natural, for some reason.

5)"Distantly, he realized that her hand still lay softly on his shoulder." Bow-chika-oh-chika-mow-ow! Yeah. I'd kinda had them pegged as a couple. Briefly, at least.

6) Kohar is completely freakin' metal. Just thought you should know.

7)"He was pretty sure there was no other ship on the sea that screamed ‘pillage me’ as loudly as the Belle Sirène." nice line

8)"Yes, Bryok, I’m well aware of your opinion on my daughter’skitten." needs a space there

9)"but the minute her turned of age" 'he'

10) Bryok is excellent.

11)“Well, I suppose they’ve gone the way of the dragon. The real dragons,” good foreshadow

12)"Afarm" space needed

13)"I amdelicate," space needed

14)"to work with myhands," space needed

15) The banter between Saissa and Aienna is good.

16)“But I do not want to work like a peasant!” Saissa comes off as crazily, uncharacteristically whiny here. I liked her before. I can't stand the Saissa of this chapter. And Arduus' “Sometimes, Saissa, it isn’t about what we want to do, but what we must do”

just struck a wrong nerve with me, or something. It felt flat.

17) Well, with Saissa ditched, the story should proceed a lot faster. I like the inter-character tensions going on in this chapter, but if the pace needs to pick up, the party's probably better off without her. Keep writing. I'm looking forward to whatever happens next.

-SC
Solemn Coyote chapter 1 . 1/7/2008
Man G-oh, wait. Journey. Can't really pick on that too much. *sigh* I guess I'll have to get straight to reviewing.

1)“Now, I believe I was asking about your name, then. Tentales?” I keep seeing it as ten-tah-laes or tentacles (I swear it is not on account of the Japan!) Maybe a hyphen is due? Even if the hyphen has suffered previous abuse at the hands of many a fellow fantasy author?

2)"Kiri thought a bard would have a name more like ‘Hundredtales’ or ‘Thousandtales,’ but she figured that the minstrel probably would not appreciate her input. After all, she was just a serving girl, and he would some day be a bard." Love that line.

3) I like how there's character development within the interludes. Kiri hasn't changed too much, but the storyteller is kinda dynamic. I approve.

4)“The tale continues half a continent away, in the harsh peaks of the Warrior’s Arm, where the fallen son of Jhannon makes his way towards the sea…” That is all kinds of epic, and would probably be over-done were it a part of your narration, but coming from the mouth of your storyteller, it's excellent.

5) As always, the best thing that you can do for this story is to continue writing it. I know I've been lax with my reviews, and I will try to remedy that, but I absolutely love reading CoT. Please, when you have the time, turn out another few chapters. Maybe hold a small, personal, NaNoWriMo. That seemed to work beautifully. I'll read it the first chance I get, because I can't stand to think of the characters stuck as they are: with their lives partially unwound. Plus, I'm looking forward to hearing about paper-me sometime.

-SC