Reviews for A Puppet in the Hand
lianoid chapter 16 . 9/29/2010
"This will be your room," Ariana said, sweeping Harry into the first. "Marcus, you'll have your usual one."

-I’m a tad confused here. I think you want “Harry” to be “Tam” here.

"Oh hello," Tam said, happy to have face found a human face.

-Edit: I believe you want to remove the first “face”.

"Yes; sporting clothes are fine for travelling I'm sure, but it's a little daring to wear them for evening wear, don't you think?" Ariana led the way to Tam's wardrobe.

-lmfao. Ariana can be a tad irritating, in regards to her closeness to Marcus, but she can have quite the amusing sharp tongue, eh?

For Marcus, her smile was more considered.

-Another excellent word choice and phrasing here.

What a fun chapter, and yet another fantastic ending. Unfortunately nothing new to report here: you’re as brilliant a writer as ever. Ha-ha.
lianoid chapter 15 . 9/29/2010
"That's Flauvel's words. That's his justification for the experiments."

-Personal: I would change the first sentence to read “Those are Flauvel’s words.”

I’m rather surprised at the father, to be honest. I was under the impression, or rather, I assumed he was supportive of whatever was going on in the institution. I’m pleasantly surprised to find out that is not the case.

Tam surreptitiously inspected his selection. With relief, she noticed he'd chosen only dresses with very high necks.

-Good man. You see, this is why I like him. ;)

A gathering of cottages reared and sank beyond the window's square, images of people flicked past, caught in time, as soulless as puppets.

-I adore the recurring theme of puppets. You work it in seamlessly, and I love you all the more for that.

It was an endless boiling mess, like trying to separate meat from vegetables by stewing them.

-Excellent simile here.

The car glided past gilded gates...

-O, I quite like that! Glided past gilded; very clever.

Fantastic final line. Once again, Sophie, you manage to astonish me with your brilliance. Another wonderful chapter; onto the next one now. :D
lianoid chapter 14 . 9/29/2010
I forgot to mention this in my previous review, but your word choices and tone have been dead on for this new setting. I don’t fully know how to describe it, but you’ve done a marvellous job at shifting the piece, ever so slightly, to reflect this more “refined” lifestyle. Parts like “stick smooth covers” and “plucked a hairpin” really fortify this change, and I, once again, commend you for being such a damn good writer. Ha-ha.

"Aren't you going to introduce me to your friend?" she asked. Tam tried not to wither beneath her cultured stare.

-The mannerisms here are exactly what I’m talking about. You manage to convey various tones, habits, and personalities expertly.

"My name's Arianna, but call me Harry, everyone does."

Ariana smiled.

-Edit: Tiny mistake here. Two n’s the first time she’s introduced, and one n the second time her name is used.

Yikes. I sensed something was up. Excellent use of suspense with the ending here. Reading on before I wet my pants in anticipation. ;)
lianoid chapter 13 . 9/29/2010
I adore the little snatches of information you give about the Guardians in this chapter. I understand that they’re very influential, control a great many things, possibly to the point of being oppressive, but I still can’t picture them. You give just enough tidbits about them to give the reader an outline of who they are, without giving too much away. I really enjoy this use of suspense here, and look forward to finding out more about them.

The recurring focus on hair is brilliant, by the way. In the beginning it seemed like such a simple thing, but as the story progressed, the meaning and ideas attached to having hair deepened. I love how you bring it back into the story at various points; I find it helps me keep things in perspective, in a way. It reminds me of where the story began and how far Tam has come. Speaking of which, you’ve been dropping some more hints in during this chapter. I’m a little afraid to find out exactly what they did to her, actually. I can guess, of course, and I have a faint idea, but I’m still a little hesitant to find out what all this is about.

Did that seriously just happen, Sophie? That did not just happen? Oh my god. I honestly was about to commend you for that tense little moment between father and son, when I read Marcus asking Tam for the necklace, and her automatically obeying. Holy, geeze. Why? Let me read on and I’ll tell you what I think of this. ;)

“You're father will think I'm…" Her words dissolved into sobs.

-Edit: Change “You’re” to “Your”.

Wiping at the streaks of black that had dripped from her eyes, she only smudged the mess across her cheek. Marcus didn't tell her.

-Another beautiful moment.

Okay, so I’m not as upset with Marcus as I thought I was going to be. Ha-ha. What’s up with the father-son relationship, though? I’m wondering how Marcus feels about what he did (taking Tam out of the institution and whatnot). They appear to have a rather complicated relationship, and I’m thoroughly interested in reading more regarding their dynamic.

Overall, another brilliant (must stop using that word) chapter. Everything’s dead on, as usual, and I think I’m falling for Marcus. I thought I was several chapters back, but there’s just something so irresistible about him lately. I think it’s how patient and gentle he is towards her. Anyway, enough mini-fangirling from me. Next chapter. :D
lianoid chapter 12 . 9/29/2010
The third paragraph is brilliant. I love how you begin with her being so frustrated (which I totally sympathized with), and then end with the image of her ice melting.

He shrank back. When she was sure he wouldn't follow, she walked straight backed down the track.

-Personal: I might put a hyphen between “straight” and “backed” to show the closer relationship between the two words.

"You can drop that arked up attitude, straight out," Mercedes said, her voice like taut washing snapping in a strong wind.

-I literally choked on my coffee when I read that. Oh, my. That was so hilarious. Perfectly timed, as well; things were starting to feel a tad serious, and you lightened it up a bit with Mercedes here. Wonderful stuff.

Mercedes looked at her, as if searching for her LittleTam inside the ice...

-You did the spacing thing again here, so I’m guessing you do it on purpose. My bad. :D

My own personal Guardians, she thought bitterly, controlling my every move.

-Another brilliant line, Sophie! You show her mental progress in such clever little ways. The old Tam, or even LittleTam, perhaps, wouldn’t have thought that; especially not so quickly. I love how you characterize her. Damn, you’re so good at this. Ha-ha.

He had been her shadow for days tied to her heels, only she had been stretching and stretching the distance between them, forcing him away.

-Beautiful line. Such a vivid image here.

She dared not even look towards the dogs, in case the weight of her gaze was felt.

-This scene is so intense, but I had to stop and tell you how friggan awesome this line is!

OhmygodOhmygodOhmygodOhmygod! Marcus? I’m so in love with Marcus. Oh, god. This is so intense. Sophie! This was another brilliant chapter! Ahh. I’m losing my mind over here. I mean, I figured it’d be someone she knew, but I was still surprised and, I don’t even know.

Whew. What a great chapter! It was so suspenseful and you did it so perfectly! Your sentences were varied in length, but short at the right moments and I just don’t know how you do it, but that scene was perfect. Man, my heart was pumping there. So intense.

Argh. My reviews are getting worse, I apologize. :(
lianoid chapter 11 . 9/29/2010
Sophie? I think this is your strongest chapter yet, and by far my favourite.

There really is nothing I can say that would properly convey how friggan solid this chapter was. I mean, it was just all of it. All of it was perfect. All of it was dead on. I’m not even gonna lie, I’m totally jealous right now. Not ugly-jealous, mind you, but inspired-jealous. This is some seriously amazing writing right here. And that line about her being as mindless as a puppet? Holy, crap. I can’t believe I didn’t pick up on that symbolism earlier, but I’m glad you pointed it out.

I’m just... wow, Sophie. Just damn.
lianoid chapter 10 . 9/29/2010
It was like an unwritten rule: their conversation changing magically to something else at his approach.

-I like how she noticed this change in them. I think it’s a really subtle and smooth way to show the progress she’s made. I also think the paragraph this line is contained in is brilliant. I love the short sentences and all the ideas; I found the short sentences mixed with some of the words created some interesting emotional responses from me. You’ve conveyed a great deal about their village culture and the wider world in a short period of time, with his one paragraph. Brilliant stuff.

"I hear you are leaving us soon," the man said, "That's a shame. I thought we were friends?" She noticed he'd closed the door, but said nothing of it. Perhaps the sunlight hurt his eyes too.

-Yikes. I suspect something foul is afoot.

Wow. I honestly felt nauseated when I read that. You managed to convey Tam’s discomfort extremely clearly. Oh, my. I had to stop and catch my breath for a moment because I had actually started holding it when she did. Ugh. I almost feel a tad dirty now; this felt as if I was Tam. Another brilliant chapter, Sophie. I apologize for my reviews getting shorter, but I really don't have any CC for you; all I have to offer is praise regarding how wonderful a writer you are, and how much I adore your descriptions.
lianoid chapter 9 . 9/29/2010
"Because the Guardians didn't come," Mercedes said eventually.

-Oh, yikes. I wasn’t expecting that answer. O :

Cool water slid into her body and expanded her shrunken brain.

-This is such a creative description, my goodness. I love it.

Uh, oh. I hope her father isn’t thinking of marrying her off soon.

Well, this was the shortest review of the bunch, so far, and I’m afraid it has been all reaction. Not too much to say about this chapter. It was as solid as the rest, and your dialogue reads as realistically as ever. Your descriptions are dead on (and super creative) and I never find myself drifting. In fact, I’m so eager to read the next chapter, I’m afraid you’ll have to forgive me for such a lacking review; I must move on now. ;)
lianoid chapter 8 . 9/29/2010
O, nice quote!

"Nor can I, sometimes, LittleTam,"

-Edit: Not sure if it was done on purpose, but I believe you want a space between “Little” and “Tam”.

Right, so, remember my comments about “til” in my last review? Yeah, ignore those. Heh. I was just asking my friend about that and she explained to me why your spelling was correct. XD I got a little mixed up, see, because I normally put an apostrophe before “til,” which is why my brain did a malfunction thing and thought it should have been spelled “till.” Not sure if that made sense to you, but there were are. Ha-ha.

Tam wasn't sure they were Mercedes exact words;

-Personal: I feel an apostrophe should go after the “s” in “Mercedes” to show possession.

Plates clashed angrily in the sink. Mercedes said much with her silence. Too much.

-Intense. I love how her actions spoke louder than words ever could in this scene. Another brilliant job here.

Okay... I’ve been trying to go easy on Tam’s father because, well, he’s her father, but I gotta tell you, I don’t like him. (This is a good “I don’t like him” by the way). I don’t like him because I like Tam, and he doesn’t seem to be placing much faith in her. He’s rather impatient, as well, which gives me all the more reason not to like him; Tam’s going to need some time to adjust and he simply doesn’t seem able to be patient enough to give her that time.

So many emotions, my goodness. I like that his character has me a little worked up here; I enjoy feeling conflicted. I can tell that he’s a good man, I’m just frustrated with him because he’s frustrated with Tam. Y_Y But, anyway, enough of my character angsting. ;)

"You can take them where you want," he replied, his eyes skittering over them and then away. "But I daresay they'll give you less trouble here."

-Gah! I hate her father right now so much! Y_Y Tam? Babysit? In her condition? Not fair!

"How would you like a puppet show?" she whispered loudly, smiling. The little faces caught her smile and shared it between themselves as quickly as lice.

-Oh, I love the dialogue tag here! Normally I’m a bit of a dialogue tag hater, but the effect here was perfect! The second sentence here was great, as well. Kinda gross, but perfect. Ha-ha.

"Ooh, that is a nasty one," he murmured. The toddler gave a martyred sniff. Tam rubbed his back professionally.

-Another brilliant moment here. Your descriptions were precise and concise in the best way; you managed to capture the mood, movements and tone all within three perfect sentences.

What a powerful ending scene here. My goodness. What a haunting moment there. I don’t know what happened to her—I can only guess—and I think you did a marvellous job at hinting towards something possibly traumatic, without giving away too much detail. Oh, my. I’m so curious now to find out what happened. Must move on to the next chapter now. :D
lianoid chapter 7 . 9/29/2010
“Though Tam stared hard til her mind...”

-Edit: Toss another “l” at the end of “til”.

"Ah, she's rubbed out, the youngun'," she heard Mercedes say distantly. She was battling to keep her eyelids up, and it was a losing war. "straight to bed, hmm?"

-Edit: Capitalize “straight”.

She glared at the hateful things, feeling her feet tight with blisters. But when her soles felt the icy floor she slipped them on with better grace.

-I adore this second sentence here; a really neat way to word that, I think.

I quite enjoyed the paragraph about her memories being lost and pieces of them coming back to her. I thought you did it in a really creative way, and one that was easy to follow while still slipping into her state of possible confusion and sadness. You manage to evoke a lot of emotions with your writing, and I’m always surprised at how much I feel for your characters; how attached I’ve become to them. You have a really solid piece here, Sophie, and you do a killer job at characterizing each of your characters.

Just a voice, though. It was more than she'd had before, but it ended there. No face, no body, no scenes of her father as she grew up. It was like he had been wiped out. Cut out. Specifically.

-Yikes. Some subtle hint here at the end, perhaps? That’s a scary thought, having specific memories erased. I wonder if there’s any truth behind this thought...

It was a little daunting til she remembered that she too had hair now, if only a little.

-Hmm, this is the second time you’ve written “til” so I’m wondering if it’s not an error after all.

I really enjoy how you ended this chapter, as well as the last one. I never find Tam’s inner thoughts dull, which says quite a bit about your writing, I think. You manage to keep things interesting, even during simple, not-so-exciting moments, such as her father showing her around the village. Hmm, perhaps I’m not explaining myself properly, but what I’m trying to say is the same thing I’ve been saying in all my reviews: You are such a wonderful writer, I adore your characterization and descriptions, and this story is thoroughly engrossing. :D
lianoid chapter 6 . 9/29/2010
I adore the opening quote for this chapter. :D

"Tam?" her father called from Outside.

-Once again, I adore how you capitalized “Outside” here. It gives it more emphasis without overplaying it. Simple technique, but used expertly.

On hand hit the door handle, the other the door frame.

-Edit: Toss an “e” at the end of “On”.

Her father let her arms go and filled a glass of water in the kitchen. She thought it was for her, but he stayed in the kitchen and drank it himself, staring fixedly away. Her smile faded.

-Beautiful little moment here. I had the exact same reaction, actually. I love how easy it is to fall into step with Tam; your wonderful characterization and descriptions much to credit.

He sat on the end of her bunk, and if she hadn't had her aching knees to tell her time had moved forward, she would've assumed it had gone in a circle.

-Another brilliant line. I don’t know how to explain it, Sophie, but sometimes (most of the time, actually) you come out with these simple, yet deeply impactful lines that just tug at me. Your writing is so... dead on; you capture moments beautifully.

"What happens when time goes away?" she asked him. He frowned, trying to follow her train of thought.

-It took me a moment to understand Marcus’ answer after she asks this, and I actually like that effect. It was almost as if *I* were lost in time, or something, for a moment. Dunno, it was just another really great reading moment.

She grinned back at Marcus, drunk with sensory inputs.

-“Sensory inputs” I love that. Your word choice is so suitable for the subject matter, and I love your careful attention to these details.

Time was a funny thing. It changed depending on who was watching it.

-What an inspiring line. Damn, Sophie, this is some great stuff here.

Another brilliant chapter; apologies for taking so long to get back to it. Your writing, as a whole, is extremely refined and well rounded. Descriptions, dialogue, characterization, tone, pace... everything is dead on. I don’t have any criticism for you; I’m loving everything that’s going on with this piece.
guppylove chapter 27 . 9/20/2010
Finished. A fitting tribute to all historical figures who have made reforms for the betterment of mankind.

I like how it reminded me of China's first female ruler Wu Zetian.
guppylove chapter 19 . 9/17/2010
OK. A little break before continuing. - Considering the familiar themes of class and society I've watched in the past, I find it very enjoyable to read. The characters are engaging by their very actions and attitudes. It really doesn't need any set up. You've painted such an elaborate picture of setting, I can readily visualize it. There the pristine in contrast to what Tam started out with. I feel like I am along for the ride. Amazing.
guppylove chapter 6 . 9/16/2010
This chapter really clicked for me.

It was a great way to get to know Tam and what she went through in the institution.
Timpani chapter 1 . 9/2/2010
Wow. This is hella intriguing, and leaves so many questions - what's going on? IS the boy real? You give us enough information without giving away too much, just enough to keep me on the edge of my seat.

I also think the way you're characterizing Tam so far is absolutely fantastic and clever.

One thing that threw me off slightly (and it's nitpicky of me, I know) was when the boy asked "Where were you yesterday?" But Tam asked herself, "Where was yesterday?" And I'm not sure if that's a typo or if you're trying to show that Tam misheard the question.

I am sufficiently intrigued. :)
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