Reviews for The Swashbucklers
Sea Turtles chapter 9 . 2/10/2010
I liked the beginning. It was good character development between Ingrid and Gyle. I think when it got to about this point, it stopped working for me:

“Gyle, we’ll stand by you no matter what. We trust you to lead us.” She moved Gyle’s arm back to his side. “Which reminds me. Why didn’t you want Seth and Carmen to join the crew? They seem like nice people just like Hawkeye said.”

This point forward bothered me for two reasons. One, Gyle never clearly answered Ingrid's question about Seth and Carmen. The conversation jumped from that to Gyle feeling like he couldn't protect Ingrid. It's great that Gyle came out and said that, but he's still hiding something concerning Seth and Carmen. That's the way it came across for me. I felt that I couldn't trust him anymore. Two, when Ingrid asked if Gyle trusted the crew, it didn't make sense. I understand that she asked him that when she noticed that he was hiding something about Seth and Carmen, but I feel that it could easily be misinterpreted as "Ingrid asked Gyle that because she thinks that he doesn't trust that the crew can handle two more members," which doesn't make much sense.

Ingrid was obviously upset that Gyle went ahead without them b/c he got hurt, but that had nothing to do with Seth and Carmen. The mini-conversation that followed felt like an attempt to change gears to get Gyle to admit his fears. I was really glad to know that Gyle was able to admit that he had concerns, but I think you could have made a smoother transition without involving Seth and Carmen. Either that or you could have done a better job explaining why Gyle was uncomfortable with having them join his crew. If it was intentionally left out due to foreshadowing, you should maybe give Ingrid some doubts. Like maybe when she thinks to herself, she could be thinking that she was glad he was thinking of her, but she noticed that he never really answered her first question about Seth and Carmen. She could dismiss it and decide that she will ask him later when he's rested a bit.

You had great character development in the conversation that followed as Ingrid was leaving though. It really showed how close they were.

When Felicia made her appearance in the chapter, things started to unravel a bit. The main thing I noticed was that even though Gyle didn't want to let the others know about her being on the ship, they both made a lot of noise. Here are just a few instances that I picked up:

- “Stop talking like that!” Felicia yelled.

- Gyle slammed his fist on the crate he was laying on. Felicia flinched and almost fell over.

- As she was walking back to her hiding spot, Gyle yelled for her to stop.

In all of this, no one came to check on the noise. I figured that Ingrid would have been alert since he's always on her mind. If you cared about someone and heard a lot of noise in their room when they were supposed to be resting, as a pirate, the first thought would be that someone was trying to kill him in his sleep or something (not that I'd know since I'm not a pirate. This is just an assumption). Based on the description of Rowan's airship, it doesn't sound very soundproof.

Anyway, keep it up. You've got my attention. I'm interested in seeing how things unfold.
Sea Turtles chapter 8 . 2/3/2010
I'm glad everything ended well.

Suggestion(s):

- Gyle tried to stay strong despite the monster that stood mere feet from him. (...stood a mere foot...)

- “Oh yeah?” Gyle said. (...Gyle asked.)

- “Hawkeye?” Marco said. (...Marco asked.)

- “Gyle?” she said. ("Gyle!" she said.)

- “Out of bullets are we?” she said mockingly. (...she asked...)

- “Rowan, don’t we have more important things to worry about?” Marco said. (...Marco asked.)

- “Yeah, what about Dad?” Hawkeye said, shooting Rowan a dirty look. (...Hawkeye asked...)

- “Seth, don’t you have anything to say to him?” Carmen said stomping her foot. (...Carmen asked...)

The end of the sky knight was a bit of a let-down, but the choreography of the fight wasn't bad. I was surprised to see the two cooks join them. They should make the crew even more interesting.
Sea Turtles chapter 7 . 2/3/2010
Seth has a good head on his shoulders. I wonder how Carmen feels now that she knows that Karen was the one behind all of this.

Speaking of which, Karen is very delusional. I wonder what her backstory is. It sounds like she went through some experiments.

Suggesetion(s):

- “Where’s your hero now?” Dregg said. (...Dregg asked.)

- “Maybe he wants to turn himself in?” the passenger said without thinking. (...the passenger asked... - OR - ...wondered outloud.)

- “Dregg’s attacked this ship four times?” she said to herself. (...she asked herself. - OR - "Dregg's attacked this ship four times..." she said...)

- “Why do we continue to let Dregg attack this ship?” she said. (...she asked.)

- “She’s right. There’re too many for me to take care of now. What do I do?” Dregg said. (...Dregg asked.)

- “Rowan, can’t you make this thing go any faster?” Ingrid said. (...Ingrid asked.)

- “Really? Rowan said, trying to distinguish the difference between the two. ("Really," Rowan said...)

Go Guppy, Go!
Sea Turtles chapter 6 . 2/2/2010
Good depiction of Dregg. He's very ruthless.

I see that despite trauma, there is prejudice heavily ingrained in people as the lady with the dead husband portrayed.

Carmen is not very believable. The fact that she jumps to conclusions this much is too much. She's like a child with the build of an adult. No way would a person like that become a chef. Maybe a different position would suit her character better.

I'm glad that Hawkeye is able to voice his inner confusion. Good thing Seth is a listener.

Hannah is so calm that it's unnerving. I wonder if she has anything to do with all of this. The woman who gave the distress signal is very likely Hannah; although, it's hard to tell since you're not very specific. This leads me to consider the possibility that the woman may be the one pulling the strings behind Dregg.

Suggestion(s):

- “Don’t you know that you show know your enemy before charging into battle?” (...you should know...)

I'm suspicious of Karen as well. She isn't very professional. She's strong, but she let's her prejudices get the better of her. Petty jealousies and grudges aren't very noble qualities. It kind of takes away from the valor of being a sky knight with a high rank. I'm wondering if whether or not she's in with Dregg and friends.

Interesting chapter. You like cliffhangers, don't you ;-) ?
Sea Turtles chapter 5 . 2/2/2010
I liked the name "The Guppy" :-D ! It's so fitting, somehow. Ah, gotta love comic relief. I also liked how your world uses flightstones to keep the airships airborne.

I was surprised to find that Dregg wasn't the fearsome pirate everything thought he was. To think, he was just a puppet.

Suggestion(s):

- What he saw put his mind at rest. (or ...mind at ease.)

- His mind was going a million miles a second trying to decode the meaning of his dream, if it even had one. (it might be more readable if you used "a mile a minute." It gets the same idea across and it's a phrase that most people are familiar with. "A million miles a second" seems like something that would fit better in a dialogue between characters)

- It really felt like Gareck was there; that he killed you and ready to do the same to me. (...and was ready...)

- “How have you been able to use a ship like this for eight years?” Gyle said after he stopped laughing. (...Gyle asked...)

- He’s right, how about he set sail? (...how about we set sail?)

- “Take me up there, maybe I can find it.” (Perhaps he should say, "maybe we can find it." If I were Hawkeye, I think I'd feel used and unappreciated. As a Garuda, I'm sure his eyes are perfectly fine and can spot an airship better than a human. Also, it might seem a bit rude to just hop on a Garuda's back without warning. Just a thought)

- And, as to confirm Gyle’s suspicions, the words “Celestial Cruise Lines” labeled this ship as a potential target for his bounty. (...as if to confirm...)

Hawkeye seems to have retained his primal instincts. I could totally see him turning on the crew one day. Maybe misinterpret conflict for intent to kill? Anyway, on to the next chapter.
Kenna-Kat11 chapter 2 . 1/30/2010
It's me again.

Your plot is still moving in a good direction, but in the beginning of the chapter it felt rushed. I'm not saying that you have to explain every little detail, but make sure you step back and read it from the readers point of view. As the author, you obviously know what going on and whats going to happen, but if you move too fast, you'll lose the reader.

Character development is still moving along, but I would suggest flushing them out a bit more in this particular chapter so that the reader gets a better sense of them. It's not to say that your not doing well with them...just a thought.

Other than that, your doing a good job overall. And I have to say that you do really well with action scenes. Keep it up!

E
Kenna-Kat11 chapter 1 . 1/28/2010
So you asked me to review and here I am. Sorry it took me so long to respond, so I'll get right to the point.

I'll start off by saying that you seem to know where you're going with your story...which is a great start since there are so many stories out there that are all over the place. You also seem to have a good sense of the characters you created...another bonus since if you continue that, they'll be strong and relatable later on.

That being said, you tend to tell the reader a lot more than you show, which doesn't allow the reader to interact with the story. Instead of telling us what a character looks like or acts like, show us through description and their interaction with other characters. It'll make the story more enjoyable.

I'm not a big grammar person, so I won't be much help in that department. But I hoped this helped. Happy writing!

E
Sea Turtles chapter 4 . 1/27/2010
I was surprised that Marco didn't reprimand Ingrid for flying around with the Garuda present. How were they able to fly off the island without attracting unwanted attention?

Hawkeye has grown big enough to carry Gyle only one week after he was hatched out of his egg. I guess that gives us an idea of how big and strong Garudas can get. I'm glad to see some character development in Hawkeye. He's currently my favorite character.

I liked the fact that Gyle called his mom to let her know he's safe. Yay character development!

Now I know a little more about C.A.P.S. I find their backstory to be interesting. It's good that they were able to form a crew without too much difficulty. With all of the grief they had been giving Rowan, I was surprised that things went smoothly.

I'll be willing to bet that we run into Avery and Aether more often. This chapter was just full of new characters :-) .

Suggestion(s):

- I don’t need you or admittedly sexy body. (...you or your admittedly...)

So, in conclusion, Gryphons are cool, Garudas are interesting, and Gareck is super creepy.
Sea Turtles chapter 3 . 1/27/2010
I'm glad that Marco explained what was happening. After reading this chapter and going back and rereading Chapter 2, the story made more sense to me.

I like your use of vocabulary. It amuses me to see uncommon phrases like "vibrated violently." I'm more used to seeing "shook violently" or "rattled violently." When I read that, I thought of a vibrating chair going out of control. Maybe even like that one character from the movie Wall-E, ha, ha. Anyway, it was amusing.

The dialogue between the characters show their age. I think it's accurately portrayed. When I was young, I really had to work on my habit of jumping to conclusions. I imagine that being raised by pirates, the two rookies probably picked up that habit and do it all the time now. We typically imagine pirates being rash and headstrong. We also typically think that the protagonist shouldn't have such character flaws. In all honesty, I don't really like your characters all that much. Partly because I feel like I don't know them all that well, partly because they do so many things that I feel are very...well...pirate-like. This is actually good news. I don't know if it's intentional or not, but I think that you've done an excellent job in capturing the characters through their dialogue. I still say that we need more character development. Dialogue alone still leaves something to be desired.

Gareck is creepy. I want to know what kind of creature he is. Him and Phior. I'm glad that they aren't out of the picture just yet. Also, that mysterious cargo is ruined. Was Gareck delivering it somewhere or was it his to use however he desires? I wonder if it will be explained in the following chapters.

I had an issue with the whole egg-snatching scene. First off, the Garuda are known to be fierce hunters. Well, they didn't seem to pursue Gyle and Ingrid. Second, they had a fire. Surely the smoke would have attracted these fierce hunters. They live on a mountain top, right? I don't know. It didn't say that Ingrid shot all of their pursuers down (as in, killed them). In fact, Gyle attracted more Garuda with his scream. When I think of fierce hunters, I think of animals that don't give up even if there are bullets in the air. Especially not if their young have been taken from them.

Speaking of which, is anyone going to tell Hawkeye about them eating his sibling? I mean, wouldn't that totally freak you out? I don't see Gyle or Ingrid feeling bad for this baby Garuda. Perhaps because its parents tried to kill them, but still. If there is any kind of attachment, shouldn't there also be remorse if only a little? Also, Hawkeye called Gyle "Daddy." What a way to represent tragic irony (or is it situational irony? Maybe both).

Anyway, as usual, I'm at the end of the chapter and I'm full of questions and I feel like I need to catch my breath. You sure do know how to move a story along. I'll try to keep up with the fast-paced action ;-) .
Moonraker One chapter 2 . 1/22/2010
Nice second chapter. I like how this story is progressing.

The action scenes were done rather well, although some of the more exciting moments were the more detailed ones, whereas you had a few minor scenes where they could've been more exciting had there been more detail. No worry, just a minor thing.

I think you're a great writer.
Moonraker One chapter 1 . 1/21/2010
I like this story already. There were a few, very minor problems with grammar, such as at the beginning.

"Zack was the captain of the Stealth Breeze, an airship that is so aerodynamic and streamlined that it experiences no drag as it cruises the skies."

You start the sentence in past tense (was), and then switch to present (is). It would sound better as, "Zack captained the Stealth Breeze, an airship so aerodynamic and streamlined as not to have drag while cruising the skies." Switching tenses mid-sentence has a tendency to throw the reader off.

Other than little mistakes like that, you are good at description and detail, which are both plus. This is a nice little story here. I like it!
Sea Turtles chapter 2 . 1/21/2010
What I want to know is what happened to their follower? Did he just give up? There was no mention of him later in the chapter. Who were they running from?

Gareck didn't really have a chance to shine. It seemed sad somehow. He certainly seemed evil enough, but to be taken down so easily was a bit painful to read. I had hoped for more.

Gyle and Ingrid bickering in the air duct...something wasn't right with that scene. They were above the captain in the meeting room and Ingrid slapped Gyle. Shouldn't they use more discretion? Why didn't anyone hear them? No one looked up or anything.

What was it that Ingrid saw? Was it Gareck closing in on them?

Did Marco fire the first round to get everyone's attention? It seemed like it was unecessary. That action could have startled Phior.

You have very descriptive conditions of the characters, which isn't bad; although, I would like to read more about the choreography of the fight.

It is a bummer that Zack shot his own son down. I wonder what this plan was? Hopefully, Marco will elaborate :-) .
Sea Turtles chapter 1 . 1/21/2010
I don't know what more I can say since it seemed like taerkitty already gave a very thorough review of this chapter. I think I agree with most of their points.

The introduction reads like the beginning of an essay. The overall flow of the chapter feels a bit rushed. I felt like you were constantly pushing the reader ahead. There wasn't much time to digest what was happening. I guess I didn't like the fact that I was unable to ponder on the current situation. While it's important to keep the story going, it's also good to leave some things to the reader's imagination. I find that you are often very specific, which isn't bad, but it leaves no room for wonder.

I found it hard to picture the characters. To me, the setting and the characters have not yet come alive. I know this is just the first chapter, but I generally like to be able to either relate with the characters early on or be able to see things from their point of view. Without this, it makes it difficult for me to care what happens next. Part of the reason for this was because of Captain Zack Galewind. First off, his airship, the Stealth Breeze, is too good to be true. It's unbelievable. I don't see how there can be no drag even when there are people on the deck. If everyone were inside the ship, that would be more believable. Second, the captain seemed to be two different people. At the beginning, he gave the impression that was fitting for someone with a 100% success rate for all the bounty he's ever tackled. I think it was when he started blaming Marco for losing the two rookies that the believability started to go down. He fumed, he yelled...he even screamed and charged! This conflicted with the image of him that you had painted earlier in the story. Surely, as a captain with a 100% track record, he was aware of the dangers of letting his son and Ingrid board the vessel. I think the overraction was too extreme and unfitting for Zack.

I felt that the ending was too convenient. I doubt that pirates, no matter how gullible they are, would reach into a cell with prisoners. It was not a very creative way for the prisoners to get out. I found myself thinking, "wow, I can't believe that worked..." In addition, if Gyle and Ingrid were childhood friends, the fact that Ingrid was stunned at Gyle's assertiveness implies that she witnessed a side of him that she hadn't seen before. This tells me that either Gyle is putting up a front or there was no character development. If he was pretending, it would be good to cue the reader in by conveying Gyle's thoughts to them. Your story won't become very popular if there isn't character development. Sometimes, it's better to put the plot on hold and get to know the characters a little better before continuing. Picking the best time to do so is a challenge, but it pays off when it's done correctly.

Those are all of my comments for this chapter. Good job on capturing Ingrid's emotions. It made her seem more human despite the fact that she's a demi-harpy. Keep writing.
Chesterfield chapter 6 . 1/18/2010
You're doing a great job developing your characters. And I think I've already said this, but I love the simplicity of their names...it's just relaxing. Hard to explain.

Your cliffhangers are a little cruel to your readers, though. You're going to update soon, aren't you?
taerkitty chapter 1 . 1/14/2010
"The surrounding skies shook." Mixing ... well, not metaphors, but it doesn't work. Skies don't shake. Also, I'm not a fan of alliteration. It gets in the way, is too prominent. It feels like the author is trying to be clever, instead of trying to lull me into the story.

Opening paragraph is weak. It's very flat. There's no emotion, no investment. We know where, we know what, and we know how. What I want to know is /why/?

Watch the tense shifts. "that it experiences no drag" is present tense, and everything up til now is past tense. "it is a large ship" - same thing.

"Crawled through the skies like a slug." Please don't use cliches. Again, keep me in the story, don't make me notice the language.

"Mysterious cargo" doesn't work for me. Why raid a ship if you don't know what the cargo is? Even if you know it's a secret, then wouldn't it be mentioned as 'secret cargo'? One word confesses the speaker's ignorance, the other shows the limits of his knowledge.

There's a lot of 'tell' in the story. Please let the reader see it and discover it. If it must be told, then do so in a way that shows investment, both in the scene and the characters.

Let's take the scene where the two peel off from Marco and enter the Bastion's bridge: "They both entered the bridge and descended the spiraling staircase to the depths of the Grand Bastion. The bridge was a massive room full of different navigational instruments and other things. Gyle and Ingrid treaded lightly as they looked for Gareck."

"Gyle stormed the bridge, but stopped at the door. Ingrid plowed into him as he gaped at the gauges, the knobs and dials, all polished to a mirror's shine. 'The Breeze doesn't this many controls,' he whispered.

Ingrid elbowed him in the ribs. 'This is a floating city, not a cutter. Of course it's going to have a lot of whatzits. Now, come on, let's get going!'

He nodded and they descended the ornate spiral staircase, their steps light and quiet as they looked for Gareck."

I'm not trying to show off here. The point is, we see the bridge from Gyle's eyes. We get his reaction. If there's something to be told, let the characters tell it. If that's not feasible, then again, show investment in the scene - let the reader have something besides 'just the facts.'

"One of the rookies was Zack’s son, Gyle. Gyle had brown hair that reached down to his shoulders. An aviator’s cap complete with goggles covered his head. He wasn’t particularly built, but he was very agile given his small size. He wore gloves over his fairly small hands. Gyle’s weapon of choice was a cutlass which he wore on his back."

"Zack look at his son with pride. How handsome Gyle grew, and so quickly. Zack pushed back the memory of the little boy crying at the funeral, with Ingrid holding his hand.

What an odd pair, he thought. A half harpy, and my son. He thought them well-matched for each other, Gyle with with his cutlass, and Ingrid with her twin pistols. Of the two, Ingrid was the more fearsome fighter, with sharp, strong claws for fingernails and a small combat knife at her thigh.

The avian traits extended beyond just her hands. Her body was covered in a thin layer of feathers that covered her muscular build. They tended to shed during combat, allowing Zack an easy way to see where she went to wreak mayhem. Her broad, golden-brown wings were near silent in flight, and her green eyes were like eagles'."

Yes, it takes more effort. It takes time. It takes space, but that's a tradeoff you'll need to learn - how much space before it becomes a case of the reader say, "Yeah, yeah, yeah. Get on with it." But here, I hope there comes across the feeling that this scene was invested in, that someone took the time to make it more than just a by-the-numbers description.

Okay, the ending is good. We have the two of them, almost unarmed, wandering the depths of the Bastion, a place where even her crew would rather not see. As a suggestion, describe her combat knife as somehow blending with the feathers on her thigh, else it'd be hard to believe their captors missed it when securing the prisoners.
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