Reviews for Holy Redemption
ProfoundlyConfused chapter 1 . 4/11/2012
A moving chapter with details that made me feel butterflies in my stomach.

I must read on! I love this angels and demons plot.
CountdownTillDawn chapter 5 . 9/3/2010
Nice story. I honestly can't find anything wrong with it. Update soon.
On Howl's Moving Castle chapter 1 . 10/11/2009
Hi, Lizbeth Alice! I'm sorry it's taken so long for me to get back to you- I decided that I should reply in the form of a review.

Firstly, I hate to say this but the thing about fictionpress is that only certain types of stories truly make it here. From what I've seen, there needs to be a substantial amount of romance and, generally, it needs to be fast-paced to be popular and earn a lot of reviews. So because you don't have a lot of reviews, it doesn't mean that *your* story isn't good. There was another story I've read on here that I thought was spectacular, and it didn't have many reviews (which was a shame). The taste here online isn't what it should be- that is, the readers aren't as widely accepting of different types of works. But don't let that effect your writing and stories.

Secondly, your story is good but it does need work. Within the first three paragraphs I could tell that you're a purple-proser, which basically means that you overwrite, use too many adjectives. Your writing is too flowery: *vibrant* colors, bobbed *softly*, Ezemiah's *silver-blue* eyes (not that eye color isn't important, but simply "blue" would be best), his *busy* fingers (you already describe them as busy two sentences before), curls *bounced*...

There are more examples, but you probably get the point. Not every noun needs an adjective. It's actually preferable that not every noun gets one. A lot of this comes from repitition. For example, you notice how I gave two examples of the curls moving, either bouncing or bobbing. We don't need to know that the curls are moving at all. In the very first sentence, you tell us that the little girl is "cherubic" (a word I like), so you don't need to go into any intense detail about that.

The thing about flowery writing and purple prose is that it makes you as the writer seem as if you're trying too hard. So watch out for that. If you still don't understand what purple prose is, look at Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. Her books are full of purple prose. Please note that that is *not* something to emulate! I found a great example of purple prose here: answers./question/index?qid20081010135844AAVR8o1

So aside from that, I'd say your writing is pretty good and that your story definitely deserves more than 8 reviews. Perhaps adding the story to my C2 will help- we'll see. I have added it :)

Darksmiter chapter 3 . 10/8/2009
In this chapter, I can see clearly what iAdventure mean about your lack of fixed perspective. While it is an interesting chapter, introducing a new character and her background in great detail, I find that you can surely improve this by changing your perspectives and the sequence of events. By dumping information about the girl's past in a whole chapter, I feel that it is too detached and omniscient for my liking as a fervent fantasy reader. It would be so much more interesting if we can see all this information reflected within her mind, which is, in essence, from her point of view. Now, let me offer a suggestion, if you don't mind.

I must admit that the most interesting parts of the chapter is when the story directly concerns Trinity rather than from her past. I liked how she imagined fairy tales amongst the woods in her childish innocence and her dreaming character. That is an example of something that would be much better conveyed through the thoughts of Trinity herself rather than the detached voice that is reciting the girl's past. Thus, I propose that you start the entire chapter in her fantasy as being the banished sorceress. Start the chapter by having her weeping from being banished in the woods since that will surely be a gripping start to the chapter. Then, let her reflect on her past where you can show the development character as well as her past. This would allow her to add opinions, pains, joys and sorrows, making her seem much more like a real character rather than a detached object of your description. Then, you can later describe how she saw the magical pendant and her glee as she found out that it was magical. You have done well in this aspect of your chapter but there's only one flaw and that's her reactions to magic. You would not normally say a plain 'Pretty!' once you realised that you could revert the lives of leaves and trees. Make her display her astonishment and disbelief (maybe let her tentatively reach out and touch one of the leaves she had created to check whether it's real), then later display her joys and happiness. That would hopefully make the pendant more significant and a worthy plot point. Now that you have elaborated Trinity's character, a plot development, her past and her feelings, you are ready to move on the next stage of the chapter which is when she was going to meet someone. With this, I think you can jog the time onward for a bit until the scene where she would come into contact of the modern world. Let your writing style continue as normal from this point onward because you have done a good job here, fixing your attention to Trinity as herself alone. Here's an example of what I mean:

'She looked up. It was still too light out to be dinner and she’d finished with her chores for the day. Nevertheless, she hurried to meet her surrogate mother.'

I highlighted that because it is a very nice line to display her thought processes, as if the reader actually saw the world from her eyes. Now that's what I mean by perspective.

That lot of suggestion will be a dramatic change to your chapter and I am well aware of that. But please do bear in mind that it is merely a SUGGESTION rather than a compulsion. It is your story after all. I have just conveyed my personal preference of how I would personally write out the chapter. Please feel no pressure for you to follow what I said. And also, if I have encroached too much into your story with my suggestions, please tell me so and I do genuinely apologise if that is the case. But if you would like to explore more on the writing style I've suggested, I'd suggest you look at an author in fictionpress called 'GaapsReincarnation'. He's a master at character development. You can find a link of him in my favourite authors list.

Now, let me tell you of Trinity herself rather than the writing style. I must say that I like her character. An innocent imaginative girl who has a mysterious past of being the 'devil's child'. That's very interesting, foreshadowing that she might be more than her face value. Also, she will clearly be the mute woman who will get entangled in the story with Ezemiah (Daniel), I will look forward to how this will turn out. I like your idea of her new found ability as well, an ability to give new life to anything she cast the spell upon. It will be interesting to see where this spell leads the plot to. Apart from that, I couldn't really say anything else since it is only an introduction to a character rather than the actual development of her emotions and so on.

Anyway, since I have more free time now, I will try to review on a more regular basis. May your imagination flows!
iAdventure chapter 1 . 10/7/2009
Hello Lizbeth,

I try to leave reviews by a chapter basis, but sometimes time gets the best of me and I end up reviewing every few. But I feel that the first chapter is vital, and that you would benefit from knowing a reader's first impressions (knowing what attracts some readers, but may repel others is a pretty handy piece of information). Thus, you must know that as of this moment, I am yet to read the following chapters to keep it a strict "at a glance" assessment. Rest assured, however, that I do intend to read the rest of your wonderful story.

Firstly, I must commend you on your opening scene. You got the reader asking a question: who is this child, and why is she in Ezemiah's care? You got us reading to find out the answer, and then you upped the stakes a bit. Her doodles are prophetic, and she is a very special child. All right, that definitely garners some further attention. Now I want to know the why's and how's of Mariella's special powers, and whether or not this is simply Ezemiah's assessment or if other characters are wont to agree with him.

But we don't get a chance to really catch our breath, and get settled in with these characters before we're suddenly faced with a crisis. The story's pacing seems a little skewed here as a result. It's like we, as readers, have stepped into a calm river, and barely got our bodies adjusted to the temperature when suddenly we're assaulted by a violent tide from nowhere. Perhaps you should spend some time establishing a few things about the characters and their personalities, dropping a few hints about Ezemiah's otherworldy heritage before you whomp us with an apocalyptic prophecy less than seven paragraphs in.

Following this rather frightening episode (especially for a poor four year old) we only then begin to realize that Ezemiah is in fact an angel. I did not see that coming at all, and I'm trying to backpedal, wondering if I did miss some vital piece of information or at least some sort of hint that would have pointed towards this. "Autism" did seem like an anachronism in a traditional fantasy. Crayons might have been out of place as well, but still, it did not occur to me that the setting was modern-world until right around Ezemiah's reveal. I am wondering now if this was my own lack of insight combined with the expectations I walked in with, or if there truly was something missing. Honestly, I did feel as if I was sort of 'left to my own devices' as a reader; your descriptions were very sparse and I had to fill in a lot of blanks. Thus, I am inclined to agree with your anonymous reviewer. He/She offered some very good suggestions about colouring in your story with descriptions. In fact, I think fleshing out your environment and its characters would help with the pacing issue I described above. Where your abilities as a wordsmith are concerned, I do not think any sort of descriptive narrative is beyond your talent.

One last thing: you should watch your point of views. You tend to head-hop a bit. If the scene is being told from Ezemiah’s point of view, then you should limit the scene to what he can observe. Or, if he has some omniscient powers as an angel, they should be addressed in someway before you have the narrative peering into the minds of other characters when its only Ezemiah’s shoulder we’re supposed to be looking over.

In the meantime, I’ll return and give the next few chapters a thorough read. Thank you for sharing your talent :-)
Guest chapter 2 . 10/6/2009
Finally getting down to this now that I have a breather from seemingly-endless homework.

Chapter 2-holy, blessed homicide :P I like that.

-I believe matricidal is an error here. Matricidal refers to someone trying to kill their mother, not their daugher...not sure what the term for a mother trying to kill their daughter is, though.

-Very nice bit of irony at the end there. Sad ending to the chapter, but good.

Chapter 3-Not a lot to say other than that it's interesting, I like how you've introduced this new character. I also like how you're portraying the nuns as not all being a bad bunch. As a christian, I often find that in modern fantasy, christians are usually, if not always, portrayed as either frauds or crazed fanatics, you seem to be finding a good balance so far and simply portraying them as people with their own strengths and flaws. Least...that's what I hope you're getting at, sorry if I misunderstood.

Chapter 4-First sentence maybe just a bit clumsy, repetition here could be avoided.

-Interesting first meeting for these characters.

Chapter 5-I like Mr Umberston so far, nice job.

-"her unwillingness to forget her words, no matter what should come in her life" this is a bit confusing, might want to edit.

-:P religious rapture indeed

Keep up the good work, it's a good story and I'm eager to read more.
boltfromtheblue101 chapter 5 . 10/4/2009
I am in love with this story. I've never seen any concept like this. It's truly original. Your writing style is simple, yet polished. The pace is perfect, with details here and there that instill a clear image in the reader's mind without distracting from the story.

You do have very short paragraphs, which doesn't really bother me, but you really should change paragraphs when focusing on a new character, especially when you're writing in third person.

I've noticed that, when referring to the relationship between Sister Constance and Trinity, you overuse the word "surrogate," which is incorrect use of the word anyhow. "Surrogate" would refer to the mother that carried Trinity so she could be raised by someone else. Use "adoptive" or something to that effect instead. And even so, it would be acceptable to use it probably only once or twice, and only during Trinity's younger years. After all that time of raising her, Sister Constance would come to see her as her own daughter, rather than just a "surrogate/adoptive" daughter.

I didn't really find any serious errors other than that. I can't wait to see where you take this story. :)
Darksmiter chapter 2 . 9/29/2009
This chapter is the true development of the plot. It is fast-paced and shocking, something I am sure you had intended and it is certainly a clear show that fate can be fickle, even for the mighty angels. This is also a rather strange and surreal chapter, another thing I am sure you had intended. Everything from Mariella's mother saying 'shut up!' to the fact that angels are turning into lions are very interesting but, as I have said, also very strange (I hope these mysteries would be explained later on, or otherwise you would certainly need to add an explanations for the reader's sake). Nevertheless, I like it. It will be a chapter that I will remember.

Now I understand what you mean by the twist on the classic good vs evil idea. Angels turned out to be monstrous entities who would do everything to keep their ranks pure, for better or for ill, no one could know. That's a good idea and the repetition of hunger in the looks of the angels certainly does underlie their sinister qualities of being almost sadistic. I don't know if that's what you try to convey but that's what I made of it. Anyway, cruel angels aside, I really like the character of the innocent culprit, Ezemiah. The only words he said in this chapter is about 'cruelty' which is a cutting description used to describe any angels. I also have found my favourite sentence in your story so far: 'Surely, surely! Surely this was a test from God. Surely God was angry with him for disobedience and was going to give him another chance if he could only pass this test.' You have shown his disbelief here very well.

Now, criticisms.

'He tried to focus—to muster all of the magical energy he possessed within his body and force it out in one swift outburst of holy, blessed homicide.' I'm not sure if 'homicide' is a good word here... I feel that it is too technical a word to be used in a dynamic scene. 'Swift outburst of holy, blessed power (or energy)' would sound better.

'“Mariella, Mariella,” she whispered softly. “Mariella, breathe, sweetie. Mommy’s so sorry. Please breathe.” She urged.' You have already established that the mother is speaking in 'whispered softly'. You don't need to add the 'she urged' bit unless you want to make a point of what she is physically urging.

'but only just in time to replace Mariella into her mother’s matricidal hands'. I find this a confusing sentence. Firstly, I don't feel that you need to use 'replace' when it would sound fine with a normal 'place'. Secondly, 'matricide' means the act of murdering one's mother. So, surely, the mother is not murdered by Mariella. If you want to convey her emotions through the hands, you can use 'trembling' instead.

'His wings were being removed by digging into the flesh of his back.' This sentence seems a wee bit to clinical for someone under so much pain. I think you should condense this sentence to create a punchy shocking sentence to make the readers grit their teeth in empathy. I suggest something along the lines of 'His wings, his beautiful white wings, were being severed from his body. He felt the sinews, the muscles, the bones all sliced through by the cruel mouth of the shears.'

'“Do you think God is cruel, Ezemiah?”' While I really like this line, I think Cassiel should refer to God as 'our Father' or something along those lines. This IS nit-picky but just something I wanted to point out.

'he could do nothing but hold his splitting sides.' I raised my eyebrows at this phrase. Since when has his sides been hurting and what from? You have only mentioned that his wings were torn but there's no implication of him being hurt on his sides as well. If I have missed out something, I'm sorry but do please point it out to me.

The last thing I found lacking in this chapter the description of the Demon and a moment's description on the dead Mariella. Apart from that, that's all I have to say for now. May your imagination flows!
Lizbeth Alice chapter 1 . 9/28/2009
Since I am incapable of responding to an anonymous review, I decided to try to contact my reviewer this way instead. Forgive me if this seems in poor tact, even given the present situation.

I'd like to say thank you, first of all, for taking the time to review. I see the word "original" as high praise, coming from avid fantasy readers.

Now, to address a few of your concerns:

I absolutely agree with you about my use of the word 'smile'. As authors, I think we all have a word or two we really ought to use less of. In this chapter, I was apparently hung up on that aspect of the mood. I have changed several of my usages in response to this realization.

Again, the repetition with the word 'fright' was unintentional and has been fixed. Good call. ]

As for 'extra', I liked the word's crispness and effectiveness of bringing just a little extra attention to this sentence, since it foreshadows the significance of this night.

'Glace' was certainly a typo. Good call. 'Now-peacefully-resting' in this case would be correct, since I'm using the first two words to modify the third and am using the whole clause as an adjective. If I left off the first, I would not need hyphens.

And I would like some help on making 'God, being greatly fond of Ezemiah...' a little clearer. I am trying to convey that, in the opinions of some of his peers, Ezemiah had done something terrible, usually rewarded by an expulsion ceremony, damning the Angel never to return to Heaven. Instead, God liked him so much that he gave him a much lesser punishment: demotion. If you can help me rephrase that so it is clear to the reader, I'd be happy as a coconut.

I also didn't want to place too much emphasis on the drawings, since they don't really come into play in drawing form again in the storyline, but I probably didn't describe them as well as I could. That has been updated (hopefully to your satisfaction ]).

Heaven, however, is purposely ambiguous. I'll leave it a mystery why, for now. You may just notice much later on in the story.

The first two chapters of my story are actually written to sound a bit translated. I wanted them to mimic the choppy, lost-in-translation feel of the New Living Translation of the Bible, while still clear enough to understand how things connect and poetic enough to be interesting and readable. I've toyed with God's voice back and forth from King James to NLT to NIV and I'm not sure which I will use in the end, but I'm glad you picked up on that.

So, I hope you actually see this, anonymous reviewer, because I would love to review your story if I had a name to search for. ]

Again, thanks a ton for your review. I found the detail of it *very* helpful in indicating things you would *rather* see, instead of just what didn't work. I hope my improved chapter sits better with you.
Guest chapter 1 . 9/28/2009
From what I have read so far, your idea is what will grab the readers. This is a very original piece of writing (for me anyway) and it is indeed a nice twist to see the world from a heavenly being's perspective. I really like how you say 'he faded from the mortal world' to show that he's an angel. You seemed to be much more gifted in writing a touching scene (where you describe the mood of the scene through gestures of the characters) than describing thoughts of the actual characters. You have also hinted at the possibility of a conflict and mystery early, a good sign that every readers will be looking for.

You have very clearly illustrated a peaceful scene of innocent harmony between Mariella and Ezemiah in the first part of the chapter. While I read how they communicated with gentle smiles and gentler words, I couldn't help smiling from my full heart. I just love that scene and it seemed to come naturally from you. (Oh yes, the only thing you lack here is the description of Mariella's eyes). However, I must say that your process of displaying Ezemiah's thoughts seemed more forced and used at a plot device. While it is clearly necessary, I think you should try to incorporate it into your natural prose (through snippets of thoughts or through the conversation). I guess you can't really do this for the first chapter but you did manage to use your prose well in the way I suggested. You should definitely do that more often.

Now, criticisms. I will need to say that I do criticise whatever came to mind simply out of the good will of improving your story to the top standards it deserves. Thus, I will lay bare what I found lacking or confusing, so I do apologise in advance if there are any nit-picky bits you would rather not have mentioned. If you do not like my method of criticism, use the comment reply to tell me so and I will not mention them or mention them less. So, here we go.

'She smiled widely and a high giggle of pleasure escaped her.' I know that a lot of smiling has been going on in the first part of the chapter but the word 'smile' itself is used far too often for my liking. There are other words where you can lessen this effect such as 'grin' or 'beam'. I even personally think that it would sound better to say 'she grinned widely and a high giggle of pleasure escaped her.'

'She physically leapt with fright and buried her pretty face, twisted up in fright, into the white folds of his shirt.' Again, repetition of words. You used 'fright' twice in the same sentence and I think you would do well to change one of them into 'fear', 'terror' or 'horror'. There's a wide array of similar words that could be used.

'wrapping them around her with extra care on this particular night.' This is a personal point. I really don't like the word 'extra' especially when used in a novel. I feel that there are just better ways of saying without contracting the story from its original flow. In this case, you can say 'wrapping them around her with more care this particular night.' It's my feeling, but I feel that the word 'extra' shouldn't be used in a formal fantasy literature.

'with a last glace at his now-peacefully-resting child.' Nothing serious here. Only a minor typo on the 'glace'. I think you mean 'glance'. Also, the 'now-peacefully-resting child' don't need the hyphens. They are not necessary.

'God, being greatly fond of Ezemiah—possibly more so than of the other Angels—decided only to demote him and give him a second chance.' I found this phrase confusing. How could God demote Ezemiah while giving him a second chance. You usually refrain from demoting somebody and thereby giving him a second chance. You might have misunderstood the expression 'second chance' but that usually means giving a chance for someone to redeem oneself.

'Ezemiah double-timed his trip back to Earth.' I don't like the word 'double-time' again since this goes against my fantasy vocabulary. The point is really the same with what I used in 'extra'.

Now, nit-picky bits apart, I want to point out some more serious points.

While you described the actions and the characters themselves very well, you seem to be rather lacking in description of the surroundings or objects you are trying to describe. This is possibly due to your short paragraphs that prevented you from elaborating in your description but I will tell you now that there is no shame in writing a long paragraph (as long as it isn't too long). To give you a few examples of what I mean, I would point out the bit when you described the two pictures Ezemiah had examined. I find them lacking and rather difficult to accurately picture while they surely are the key points of the first section of the novel. You should explain more, say, by showing how the girl's face looked innocent or how her face appeared out of the mane of black hair. This is a significant moment of this chapter because it is the first time that the colour black intruded into the idyllic scene of happiness. You should describe it almost poetically, say how the face arises out of the sea of blackness, pale and young like a phantom. Describe her facial features, was she smiling? Was she frowning? Was she impassive? These are what ran through the reader's mind, begging to be clarified. Also, similarly with the picture of the Demon, describe what the Demon looks like. This is also another dramatic moment so do pour forth your thoughts, let the readers understand what the demon looks like in your mind. Also, let the readers know what you mean by the hanging body of Mariella that is reflected within the Demon's dark eyes. Say that it is limp, pale and lifeless, severed short from the innocent vitality that it once possessed. I do realise that you want to make the sentence punchy and shocking but you can do that with a short jolting sentence before elaborating on what the scene contains.

Also, another thing you would really need to describe is the scene in heaven. This is a new world where you can't rely on the readers' common sense to picture the scene, you need to guide them with your words to what you had in mind. I won't even try giving out examples since everyone's concept of heaven is so different so I'll let you have a go at that on your own (don't hesitate to PM me if you need any help though). This would also make it more interesting to read rather than listening to Ezemiah's thoughts all the way. You can also use some descriptions as plot device like, say, the angels that Ezemiah passed might look down their noses at him which could inspire Ezemiah to think that it is because of him being demoted from his position. I think that that would be a smoother way to do it rather than through thought alone.

Also, you did say that you like suggestions from readers, I'd like to suggest something for God's manner of speech. I think it would be a nice addition to let God speak in biblical terms and much less informal in the way he says things. You might also want to make biblical references to how God speaks like, for example (when God speaks in this scene):

"Thou shalt garner no knowledge from these objects. Return to thy duties but thou shalt not return to the world of men tonight."

I don't know. You might agree but you might not. I have given my suggestion and it is now up to you to decide.

Whew, I never expected to write an essay! Anyway, do continue with the writing for I do see a lot of promise in what would seem like an epic. Please post the other six chapters on the website as well and I am eager to have a look at them. Do talk to me about how you feel about my responses, I do try to be as helpful as I can. Also, just a note, I wouldn't mind you looking at my story either (*Nudge, nudge, wink, wink*). So, see you later and may your imagination flows!
paladin01 chapter 1 . 9/27/2009
-Interesting concept, fallen one seeking redemption and helped by a mute woman. Be interesting to see how this develops.

-Personally a bit annoyed at the idea that women are more spiritually gifted than men, but it's only fiction so that's alright.

-Other than that minor personal annoyance which really has nothing to do with your writing and is really more a random comment, this is pretty much a perfect chapter. It's well-written and interesting, and I look forward to seeing more.