Reviews for The Path of Skulls
Ahrar Nighthammer chapter 3 . 7/2/2009
Mmkay, random thoughts. As always, take only what you want from this, it's late and I might be totally blowing smoke, here.

The writing in this is a bit rough in places, but I get the impression that it was written quickly, and that you'll iron it out as you revise. And when I say that it's rough, I mean that it's rough on a scale of 1 to Oz, which meant that it's still well-written. The names get a little confusing in some places. In just a few paragraphs, the names you introduce or mention in passing: Paellon, Sloth, Pride, Vince, Shellon, the Big Man, Jewel Richards, and Phaidon Harpe. Sometimes it's hard to keep them separate because they come so fast. I was confused for a moment about who Shellon was until I remembered that Shellon was a god.

I love how you don't beat the reader over the head with the introductions, but instead drop the names and concepts in there naturally, and let the reader figure it out. It's a technique that makes your worldbuilding seem more natural and organic. However, if it's used too liberally, it makes me have to slow way down, and I'm afraid I'm going to miss something. This isn't too major of a problem, but just a thought for you to chew on. Remember that you don't want to talk down to readers, but you also have to make sure they're able to keep up.

Also, as a nit-picky thing, in the first paragraph about Sloth, it's a little unclear whether the description went with Paellon or Sloth, at the "He was thin and grizzled". That might also be because that's the first paragraph in which Paellon's name is mentioned. Maybe start paragraph 2 with "Paellon" instead of "He".

Concept-wise, this is killer. I love the concept of the seven deadly sins as weird evil guys, and as the name of the bar where they hang out. I'm always a sucker for fantasy-setting card/dice/whatever games, so that angle intrigues me.

But in any case, I've already gone long-winded on this review, so I'm going to press on with reading, let you know how I feel about it hopefully in smaller chunks.
Eilyd chapter 1 . 7/2/2009
My friend sent me the link to this story, and I've become immediately enamored with it. I like how it is so descriptive, but not only factually-it's poetic, and there's an entire mood that's being woven by the words, in addition to a picture.
Furball chapter 1 . 11/12/2008
I must admit, I happen to have kind of a prejudice against these sort of prologues. They're kind of like having someone hold you out at arms length and then tell you that in about three seconds they're going to hug you. There's just something off about that. Maybe because it feels like a narrator's introduction to a movie, almost? Perhaps it would work better if it was to be told by one character to another or as an entry in a history book or somewhat. I'm not sure. I'm sorry...

Anyway, forgetting all that, it's a nice introduction. Gives an outline of the setting. I personally don't mind the details stuck in. They work fine in an introduction setting, since you can't *always* have characters elaborate on where ghostwood comes from.

Also, Kneef is right about the specific lines being awesome. Just saying.

One thing that seemed sort of weird was where at the beginning it says 'here is where our story begins' but then goes on to elaborate on the setting. Then at the end it's all 'this is where our story begins' but then goes to elaborate on the story. It doesn't look quite right. Maybe if the 'here' was 'this' too, it would work better. Or maybe it's the repetition itself? I'm not sure. Anyways, being quiet now.
AethraZip chapter 3 . 11/10/2008
'Head always in the clouds and never at the ground with the rest of reality.'

Something isn't quite right about that line, though I can't put my finger on what it is. I think maybe it's the word 'reality'. Dunno. I also noticed some seemingly random words being capitalized. Do you have a reason for that?

Otherwise, excellent stuff. It's a clear view into Paellen's life.
AethraZip chapter 1 . 11/10/2008
Good stuff as always. There were one or two things that didn't read quite as smoothly as the rest, but I'll pester you about them next time I talk to you.
Dune Crescent's Ideas chapter 2 . 11/7/2008
"Lucas asked, trying to avoid flinching too much whenever Oz’s lock pick slipped and ended up gouging either wood or his neck that was so close to it." should be "Lucas asked, trying to avoid flinching too much whenever Oz’s lockpick slipped, chipping away at the wood and Lucas' neck in the process." I think.

"When you first came up with the idea. And look how much good that did us?” - No need for a full stop halfway there and the question mark isn't needed as it's more of a general statement than inquiry.

Only two more dick opinions other than that. Chapter one started similiar to your introduction but then suddenly because a whole passage of conversation, I would arrange to have some detailed paragraphs thrown inbetween conversation for a little variety. Other than that may I inquire into the ages of Oz and Lucas, as their actions and conversation seem to fall on the line of pre-teen eg 'tongue sticking out'. That may just be my perception however so feel to ignore that last critique.

All that aside I liked the contrast of the depressing environment opposed by the vibrant nature of your youthful protagonists and once again I'm eager to see more of this story.
Dune Crescent's Ideas chapter 1 . 11/7/2008
This was a great way to unwind from the pedantics of my employment. Very good intro, it's only problem is that it comes across as a touch longwinded. I've only just picked up into the story but already I know the city's entire infrastructure and social aspects. It may just be my opinion but I think you should cut down on some details and save them for later, you should have the city evolve infront of the reader's eyes so there's a nice touch of discovery rather than some of these details being repeated later by your characters that may cause the audience to roll their eyes at times over having to hear it more than once *cough*Wheel of Time*cough*. Other than that I enjoyed the choking sense of industry weighing heavy as a conventional factor in the story and the very nice touch at the end makes me incredibly eager to proceed into chapter one. MOAR I say old bean. MOAR.
Ahrar Nighthammer chapter 2 . 11/3/2008
I have a lot less to say about chapter two, because I like it the way it is much more than I did the prologue. I like the way that this shows how Oz and Lucas interact, how it subtly shows the reader how they live and interact with the guards and the other kids, and how that evolves into Oz's "idea" that will drive the whole story. I wish I had something more profound to drop on you, but this is generally a solid first chapter. Gimme another.

_Ahrar
Ahrar Nighthammer chapter 1 . 11/3/2008
Okay, so, reviewing, like I said I would. As you said, this is really rough, and could probably use reworking, but there are definitely things that I like about it. It's a lot of exposition that seems to be coming straight from the author (you), which, while the worldbuilding is cool, you have to shy away from that a little more, and make it feel more natural. Some of the description is awesome (I especially like the legend about how it took the architects years on end to even draw up the plans), but especially things like the finer points of description of the physical city itself could possibly be fit in later, when our intrepid heroes actually *encounter* these places for themselves. That way we're shown the city of Loste Mor at the same time that Lucas, Oz, and Paellen are. Show, Don't Tell. You start the next chapter with the really cool bit about the snowflakes that basically tells the reader the same basic crucial information about how Loste Mor is set up, but in a more concise way. If it was me, I would write it in first person and have Oz speaking, older and wiser, as if he's going to tell the story and this is his introduction. Also, I thought starting with a cold opening of the line "Where you are born, there shall you die" on one line by itself would be good. (That line rocks.) I think that it should be written over the archway of the door to the third level. (Also, do the gates from one level to another have names? They should.) My idea is that the archway to each level of Loste Mor has something inspiring written above it, but they didn't bother for the bottom layer, so somebody from the slums wrote that line above their door in scratchy graffiti. Then you could open up this prologue with Oz musing about the quote and whether he believes it, and how it's been true/untrue in his life, literally and metaphorically. Also, do more with that theme of foolishness, because how you develop the hopelessness of the city and then suddenly there's a turn with the line "Fools are born every day" is really cool. Basically, I feel like there's a really sweet prologue lurking in there if you do some hacking at it. And, as with all your work, I'm really looking forward to this story.

Keep truckin', amigo.

_Ahrar
Leivyra chapter 2 . 11/3/2008
Nice! I like the idea of the city, and I hope for an update! :D
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