Reviews for A Puppet in the Hand
WutNow chapter 7 . 8/13/2010
Hey there :D

I really liked how you kept Tam's innocence and obliviousness to the world consistent throughout the chapter. I had to reread the previous chapter in order to get a better grasp on what was happening (since it has been a while since I had read this). I'm glad I didn't miss out on much though, since they are still in the process of traveling together.

I liked how you emphasized that everyone else had hair, while she in contrast lacked them. That really made her stand out, made her special in a way :). Also, I see how the puppets influenced the title of the story, and I liked how you tied those things together.

I thought the flashes of memory she got from the box could have been written a little more vividly and with more detail. Maybe I'm just asking for too much XD.

The last sentence in the chapter seemed a little iffy to me, like it wasn't complete or something. I'm not sure, maybe I missed something? Oh, I liked that the father plays a more leading role in this chapter.

Overall, I enjoyed it :). I only saw one thing you can tweak:

"Yes, Marcus is coming," he answered, impatient [impatiently] throwing the bag towards her and pulling another out from a cupboard.

Hope this helps! :D Can't wait to hear from you soon!

-Agent
lianoid chapter 5 . 8/3/2010
Ahkay, I couldn’t remember how long she had been in there, or if you had mentioned it before; so I like that you make it clear in this chapter. Five years is a damn long time to be in a place like that; having your every action controlled.

You know, I don’t know how you do it, but when Tam is confused, I feel confused too. I mean, I still understand everything that’s happening, but when Marcus says something like “What can they do?” and Tam stops and thinks about it and doesn’t know the answer, *I* have to stop and think about it, as well. I really don’t know how to describe what an awesome effect this is, and how it constantly keeps me engrossed in this story, but you really do have a brilliant skill.

I enjoyed Tam’s focus on how her father only set the table for two. I thought you repeated it at the right moments, and it really helped me feel Tam’s nervousness along with her. I was even starting to think Marcus wasn’t going to come back! (I’m really glad that he did, though).

“She has no concept of free will.”

-I’m glad her father said it. I was thinking that a bit back, but couldn’t put words to it. XD She has no concept of free will. Yes, and you do an excellent job at showing that it subtle and obvious ways.

And, once again, you end your chapter perfectly. I can’t remember the exact words of the Order of the Catchement, but it provided an interesting image that was sort of haunting. It’s really quite sad how damaged she is, but I think with Marcus’ persistence and her father’s gentleness, they might be able to bring her back to the surface.

(I’m going to read a bit ahead again and then write out some reviews. I had to do the same thing with Emily's story VATR. I just get so into it I don't want to stop and review; so I read a few chapters, stop, review, read a few more chapters; repeat. XD)
lianoid chapter 4 . 8/3/2010
I kind of got ahead of myself and started reading straight through. I caught myself at chapter six and then realized I should write reviews for the earlier chapters first. XD

Sophie, this story is so damn good. I get so frustrated with myself when I can’t think of anything to say. This story is just so refined and perfect how it is, I don’t know what to pinpoint to say that I adore; because I adore it all.

I think you do an exceptionally excellent job at conveying Tam’s shock and intrigue and nervousness. She’s experiencing new sensations in this chapter that are overwhelming you and I think you convey them beautifully. I especially feel for her when she’s searching for things in her mind. I can feel her desperation and it truly breaks my heart when she comes up empty. You write it all in such a real way, I have to once again applaud you for such an amazing story.

Marcus is an interesting character. He doesn’t seem to care that she’s so “broken;” he speaks to her candidly and at times rather aggressively. I don’t know how I feel about that, actually. I think he could use a bit more care, but at the same time I think she needs him to be so passionate. Interesting. I like not knowing how I feel about characters. XD

You know what? I really did not see that one coming. Her father? Oh my, this adds for another interesting dynamic. I thought this was a fantastic ending, and I love how you described her memory as a trail of smoke. I thought that was some brilliant imagery and really fit.
improvisationallychallenged chapter 7 . 8/2/2010
"Tam's hand paused from ruffling through her hedgehog hair."

- good subtle clue to the time elapse from the last chapter. Nice and effective.

"She glared at the hateful things, feeling her feet tight with blisters."

- Know that feeling all too well -.-"

"I would make the King answer him," she said quietly, "Argue back."

- I'm really liking the way the meaning of this story is beginning to take shape. It felt like this statement cemented it in a certain direction. I'm still not sure entirely what it is, but it's interesting...

"Don't bother trying to remember her."

...hm...now I'm curious...

I think it would be nice to see a direct example of an encounter with another villager. The meaning (that Tam's poor crowded head is just not ready to take on new names and faces yet) can still be gotten across, but it would feel like less of a detached generalisation.

I'm loving the subtle suggestions that Tam's character has developed, or is still developing into something of her own. There's a suggestion in the first half that the 'old' Tam, the brave, bold Tam, was just as influenced and moulded by her father's beliefs while growing up as the brain-washing into passivity she suffered under the hands of her captors. There's something quiet and intense about this character, and I can't wait to see what she'll be like when she kicks into gear _
improvisationallychallenged chapter 6 . 8/2/2010
"You are a good person a voice said firmly, and she wondered if it was her father's. You could be a better person. You'll never be better. How can you get better without the treatments? She squashed the thoughts."

- A beautifully creepy insight into the state of Tam's mind. Wonderful.

I really, really liked this chapter. Again, you excel on the sensory descriptions, and you really managed to capture the magnitude of being so completely overwhelmed. It was brilliant to see Tam able to cope with it. It would have been nice to see Marcus' reaction though.

But talk about an emotional rollercoaster! Tam's high after first successfully braving outside, and then her plummet when she realises her father isn't proud of her, but devastated was really heart wrenching. As much as I'd love to shake her dad and tell him to get some empathy, I could completely understand the reasons behind his behaviour. All three of them seem to be complex and believable characters.

The ending is so sad though...

*clicks onto next chapter*
improvisationallychallenged chapter 5 . 8/2/2010
"she was tired of worrying it at"

- at it?

"Her mind felt stretched"

- Lovely :) ... sounds like me after my cognitivism seminar x_x

"Five years is a long time to be stuck in the one place"

- 'the one' doesn't ring quite right with me. If you meant to write that, brush it off as a colloquial difference, but my first thought on reading it should either be 'one place' or 'the place', not both at the same time...

"he silenced her with more soup."

- That made me smile. It's a lovely way to describe the action, but it also highlights just how dependent Tam is on Marcus right now.

"But she didn't move."

- I don't think you need the 'But' there. It sounds smoother and more sophisticated without it.

Tam is such an engaging character. You really feel for her, and she manages to be repressed and incapable of asserting herself without seeming pathetic. The balance of her actions and her motivations/reasonings behind it is really lovely. Nothing seems over done or out of place.

The only criticism I can offer is that there isn't quite enough meat to the prose. This is a problem I have with my own writing, and while the dialogue is very smooth and strong, the plot seems to be whipping along ever so fast. I'm sure it's because this is a first draft, but it feels like it's lacking a layer of something that will give it proper fictional gravitas.

I don't know...this is just my two cents.

The moments when Tam focuses in on, and is over-whelmed by the small sensory details, such as the changing of the light, the smell of unfamiliar food and the texture of the table, are really strong, so it would be nice to get something similar with the bigger aspects of the scene.

The ending to this was really strong. I could hear the resounding slam, and feel the skin-crawling discomfort of the moment. Really tragic and chilling.
lianoid chapter 3 . 7/31/2010
The first few lines in the third paragraph are brilliant. I love your careful descriptive choice here. Instead of describing it in a simple way (e.g. He wheeled her in the opposite direction...), you decided to let the reader feel the confusion along with Tam. These parts in particular, “wrong direction, unfamiliar bumps” are really quite creative, I feel. I’m really digging these lines and if I wasn’t so review-fried right now, I might be able to explain why better. I apologize, but all I can muster is that I really like them.

The paragraph beginning with “I forgot” is another brilliant part. Your descriptions are so creative and provide such awesome imagery for me. I love how you describe the bed shaking and the curtains shaking and then say that her world is shivering. I just thought was so neat. Ha-ha.

O, I like how “Outside” is capitalized. It really gives it more weight, I find, and makes it seem all the more foreign. Because you capitalized it, at that moment I felt I could really sympathize with Tam. You managed that in such a simple way; I am impressed.

Her feet felt trapped and crowded and weighed down after so long of being free. The thick fabric around her body held her close, and she tried not to pull at it.

-Nice attention to detail here. I would have never thought what sort of effect wearing a hospital gown and no shoes for an extended period of time would have on someone.

After the line “A New place” you do an amazing job at conveying her wonder and excitement. The mentioning of a different wall colour was cute and yet sad at the same time. You then follow it up with a long sentence about the many things that are new to her, and it worked perfectly. It had a really great rhythm that pulled me into her wonder.

Ah! Excellent ending. My goodness, I was so entranced there I hadn’t realized I was close to the end. Oh, Sophie. This is such a great piece. Your descriptions are solid all around and the way you word things is just beautiful. I feel kind of useless, though, since I don’t have any criticisms. I’m wracking my brain here but I can’t think of anything I didn’t like! Really great work with this one; I look forward to reading more soon.
xenolith chapter 27 . 7/29/2010
Oh, that was such a nice ending. Even the last line, finishin with Mercedes and not Tam, that was really different and I quite enjoued it! So satisfying. The lead up helped as well, the action really stopped once Tam escaped from the Guardians and then it was a sort of tie everything together and end on a good note - which I applaud you for! But speaking of Guardians, I had this feeble hope that the 'nice' Guardian would turn up in one of the pubs and find her. But, alas, it was not to be. And she was supposed to be dead as well, wasn't she? Still. This was a brilliant read of the highest quality, and I truly think you could wrap it up and send it off to a publisher, because I'd buy it for sure :)
xenolith chapter 26 . 7/29/2010
YAY!

I'm so happy! I can't possibly write a coherent review, and besides this is so great it doesn't need anything else!

:D :D :D
xenolith chapter 25 . 7/29/2010
Hm, Tam is going to do something. I'm so proud of her!

You should publish this. Just sayin ;)
xenolith chapter 24 . 7/29/2010
'You could always trust Ariana to find personal appearance more important than the ins and outs of being arrested' - haha!

The moment with the doctor was so sad I almost cried. The poor thing! Having her problems said out like that was so awful, even though we've been with her for so long and in her head so much it's easy to forget her situation, and what's been done to her. Well, that's what I find anyway.

'Harry returned later with a tea, Edgar, and a selection of gothic romances, and read by her side' - that sounds so awesome :p

*Gasp* MARCUS! I confess, I'd been wating for him to show up sooner.
xenolith chapter 23 . 7/29/2010
I liked the action at the start of this chapter, with Tam running away. I got a real vivid sense of what they were doing as they fell, and that was awesome.

Noticed a typo at the end 'Sinking to the floor, she curling around a large wet dog' but otherwise all was fine in the concrit department. This was so thrilling, the escape, her fear, and then her actual escape, I was too scared to hope myself!

On, on I say XD
xenolith chapter 22 . 7/29/2010
One of the things I like the most about this story is how you move between Tam's intense, chaotic thoughts to the present action, to past scenes and images, then back again. It makes for a really fun reading experience. The other thing I like is the descriptions. Example, this:

'Images spliced in her mind' - Spliced! How cool is that!

Tam's father reminds me of Harry Potter now. The only one who's ever escaped, aka the only one who'd ever survived the killing curse! I'm curious as to where he is, and if he's going to come after her. I bloody well hope he does! What the Guardians did, pointing their guns at a bunch of mums, that was a good call. I'd never think of that, but it was a good idea (well not good, but clever on their part!).

'It is always so much worse to be cold and hungry at the same time' - Yep.

This was a weary, depressing chapter, and I hope something good happens for Tam soon. I mean, she's been through enough! I liked the 'nice' Guardian, he reminded me of Nikolai :)
xenolith chapter 21 . 7/29/2010
Oh no!

I'm glad Tam is back in the village, and I enjoyed her argument with her father (I'm fully on her side, btw), but what an ending! That's cruel! If I didn't have a next chapter button to click I'd be devastated! Haha, so what I mean is that was a whammy of a cliffhanger. Excited.
xenolith chapter 20 . 7/29/2010
It’s been some time, I’m sorry, but I’m back! I think I review better in bursts of enthusiasm anyway, but that’s neither here nor there so onwards we go :)

‘The building sat heavy and brooding before her. Rough with rust, windows sharp with broken glass. Its insides were buried in darkness’ – the first time I read this I thought it said ‘rough with lust’ heheh but as this description is, I love it. It’s so evocative, with the words ‘heavy’, ‘brooding’, ‘rough’ and ‘broken’, like it represents Tam’s feelings for her even though she thinks she feels nothing for it. Also, the contrast with her thoughts on the building and these lines is sobering, and adds to the tone of the chapter.

‘It was looking into a pool of liquid mercury, opaque and unfathomable; the only insight gleaned being the steady reflection of the viewer. As if there was nothing else there’ – Holy cow. That’s good. And it just keeps getting better. The way you describe this place is genius, not only can I see it so well but I can feel it too, if that makes sense. And then when she flashes back it’s so scary! Like a freaking psychological thriller movie or something D:

‘Her eyes snagged on a wooden crate, lying on its side’ – ‘snagged’, love that.

The part where she hides in the crate was so, so sad. The short sentences and emphasis on sight and sound really worked well. Oh, I felt so sorry for the poor thing!

‘The indistinct lines of his face condensed in anger and frustration’ – like this.

‘Because time was straight for Marcus: he thought it strange that time could be any other way’ – ah, there are so many gems in this chapter! Time as not being straight, it’s an awesome concept.

That ending was so intense, and handled really well. But why does she have to run away again! Why can’t she just stay with Marcus! I like Marcus now. It was so sweet that he turned up and looked after her… aw man, Sophie your freakin male characters are too nice! You need some more bad guys otherwise I’m going to turn into a fangirl. You have been warned.
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