Reviews for Tales from Avalon: Avalon Sidhe
Maria Gracia chapter 9 . 1/5/2011
Hello! This are the notes I made while reading through your story. Normally, I would rewrite them into a coherent piece, but I'm not feeling too well and would most likely forget or not submit the comments in the future. So here it comes!

This story fits the fantasy genre without a doubt; magi and humans exist in a world that has been tainted by war and exile and there’s an oppressed and an oppressive part.

The first four chapters represent a pamphlet in which descriptions for each of the magi are given, hero/enemies explained as well as some of the hierarchy of Avalon. It’s an interesting concept (pamphlet) and something I haven’t seen before (or not often) and even if the information could have been put into the narrative, and worked better.

The language of this brochure is, in my opinion, not academic enough for a professor and not informal/explanatory enough for an audience.

There are a lot of grammar and spelling mistakes, some repetitiveness of words and a few awkward parts. The writing could be more descriptive as to show the characters (or more like their ‘race’) in more depth.

The abrupt change of POV’s, as well as the constant change of characters, had me pausing at times to digest the information and really see who/what it’s about. The story doesn’t seem to be tied to a continuous plot, but more like a series of events that happen separately in the same world.
lookingwest chapter 6 . 8/28/2010
The first time I killed a Magi I was 11.

-Edit: would spell out "eleven"

The woman before her smiled, soft and sweet.

-Style Edit: would put in its own paragraph

...down at her with a no emotion at all.

-Style Edit: omit "at all" and perhaps if you want the same effect: "...down at her with [absolutely] no emotion."

...into the whores limp body.

-Edit: "whore" needs an apostrophe s

When her work was through the killer leaned...

-Edit: place comma after "through"

And so the night went on...

-Style Edit: replace "went on" with "continued"

...her sleeves were soaked with blood and dark circles under her eyes showed...

-Edit: insert comma after "blood"

She shuddered as the Cathedral bells tolled, signalling that soon the Avalon Guard would be sweeping through the streets killing all the Magi they found and burning their bodies on the steps of the palace as proof of their allegiance to the Emperor and humanity's superiority.

-Edit: "signalling" should be "signaling"

-This whole sentence makes me a bit more skeptical of your "opening notes" just because it seems you've repeated yourself again about the humans. You don't need to tell us about the Avalon guard in the opening notes, because I pretty much get the picture here, I think, just by this sentence. I think it's better to incorporate it into the story and narrative like you do here, than blatantly just tell us as sort of an info-dump if you're just planning to explain it again later within the context of the narrative.

Alright, eek, I have no idea who your narrator is. Is the "I" first person narration supposed to be the sorceress? If so, then why are you referring to the sorceress in third person? I'm not really following your first person/third person perspective switch here, and if it was meant to be experimental, I'm not sure that it worked. It made me sort of forget that we were in first person, until the last few paragraphs. I would suggest maybe just picking one, and then sticking to it. I like the first person a lot, as I said, it makes it more original.

I really liked the description of the sorceress though, with the beads in her hair and everything, that was cool. I didn't feel that you described much pain that the "whore" was feeling when her innards were being carved out. I feel like there would have been more of a struggle attempt, even with her throat cut, or at least more of a description of pain on her end, since you do seem to also not only slip into a third person, but also made it omniscient, the moment where she's being tortured seemed a bit lacking, but perhaps that's because the sorceress is supposed to have no emotion at all.

As usual, looking forward to more!
lookingwest chapter 5 . 8/28/2010
Ahh, so here is a sort of frame story, for the other myths I read. I love this beginning. I honestly didn't expect your story to be in first person, but I'm glad it is, I don't see it used much in fantasy stories!

Wicked entrance there, I liked the parallel with the story that reminded me a bit of Moses leading his people to the holy lands. This had quite the mythical quality to it, and I love that it's framed in the mother and child narrative. So silver eyes-was that supposed to mean that she was an oracle herself? I'm still not sure whether "born without eyes" means just "born without sight" or not, so that sort of jumped out to me.

Otherwise though, I liked the story and the details-butthen, it almost doesn't make much sense to have the note with the "The Forgotten Magi" because you basically explain the whole myth again here. You could just add in the narrator saying, "and so is the story of the Forgotten Magi" or some sort of thing like that, and you've basically imparted the same information. It felt a little repetitive and made the 2nd opening note a bit unnecessary.

Great dialogue too, pacing was excellent, all the elements are really starting to come together!
lookingwest chapter 4 . 8/28/2010
I just really feel like the humans are going to prove to be quick dickish...let's fine out. XD

They first arrived at the shores of Avalon in search of new lands shores of Avalon in search of new lands.

-Edit: I'm sure you can see the typo here. Should be "They first arrived at the shores of Avalon in search of new lands."

I'd spell out "fifty" in the last section too.

Ah, that wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, probably because this is written by a Prof. who doesn't like the Magi and holds the same discriminatory ideas towards them. I can't forget whose narrating this-which reminds me that Avalon has a University and everything, a structure of education, all those basic sorts of societal norms. I'm interested to see what the education system is like and also in the Sidhe, if there even is one, which I doubt.

I like that this information is giving us a basic idea of their government and military. I'm trying to get a grip on a place in time though, I'm thinking like medieval right, what would be our England 1400s? If there's a class of merchants still? But there's also a University, so maybe I'm close but not quite, XD. Anyway, I suppose I will find out more in the story itself! I'm excited :D
lookingwest chapter 3 . 8/28/2010
The Sharwahl, wow, very cool concept there. I like that you're also describing the landscape of Avalon too, the sea, the wastelands, the mountains-they're all very small hints, but they're nonetheless there. The phoenix has a cool story behind it too, though you didn't exactly describe it in the way you did the other opening notes, as far as when it is exactly, the bursting into flames, that sort of thing, so I'm just going to assume it's the phoenix that we all know so well. And then, The Serpent Priestess-sounds ominous, I liked the image of her bursting into sea foam. I'm very curious to see what Avalon is post war, it's turning out to me nothing like I expected! Can't wait!
lookingwest chapter 2 . 8/28/2010
I think it would be wise to maybe find a different way to format the headings of each group, maybe even use a page break for each, or bold the name and set the paragraph about them apart. That's just for visual atheistic though, the way it's formatted now didn't detract from my understanding or anything!

The swan-maidens were once incredibly beautiful however the harsh conditions of Avalon...

-Edit: insert commas before and after "however"

I love how you truly have seemed to incorporate almost every fantasy/supernatural creature I know, haha. It's like reading J.K. Rowling's Magical Creatures book! With the fae, I liked the bit about the grass crown with the elves and brownies, that was unique, I'd never heard of that before. I'm also glad that you've decided to go with the Lycans not just changing on the full moon, and how you were able to incorporate a true reason behind it leading back to the Purification. I love how you are dropping hints about it too.

These squabbles rarely lead to serious injuries, however in some extreme cases...

-Edit: add comma after "however"

The strange thing is that although they sink ships...

-Style Edit: might sound cleaner if it was: "Strangely, although they sink ships..."

In fact other then marks of the struggle, ...

-Edit: comma after "in fact"

Centaurs

-Wo Sagittarius represent! :D

This Purification thing sounds like it majorly sucked for all magi...

I'm glad that I read some of the Avalon myths before I started in on this, because when you explain about the Vampyres, I can remember the story of the mad magician, and I recall the teeth-root and the vampyre at the beginning as well, the idea of the teeth-root is really cool, that stuck out as quite unique!

They are then tattooed and their eyes bound before being carried to their exile.

-I'm a little confused by this, since you say they didn't have any eyes. Are they literally born without eyes including the eye sockets? Or are they just born without physical eyeballs in the sockets? Or are they just blind?

Aw! Jack the Hunter! Man, seriously, this Purification stuff just sounds *so* ominous, it looks like it really fucked up the fairness and equality of the world of Avalon :/ But this undercity is also proving to be quite interesting as well-man, you're giving yourself so much to work with, it's amazing!

Wow, is what I can say overall, haha. This is just so cool, haha. I like it a lot, and now I *really* want to get to the story, but no, I must be patient. I can't wait to see where you'll take a story with all of these creatures in it though! And each has its own creative spin too. I dread to hear more about the humans though, there seems to be an undertone of "holier-than-thou" attitude going on :/
lookingwest chapter 1 . 8/28/2010
I like this beginning, I have to say, it's very unique for Fictionpress, and it has a professional quality to it. It's written so wonderfully well, and that convinces me that you know what you're talking about, really. The discourse the way the "Dear" reader first part is written is consistent with that of a Professor, and I found no problems or inconsistency to think otherwise.

Hmm, I like the way that you're framing the setting descriptions in the pamphlet, it runs the risk of me thinking: well why doesn't she just show us through her writing all of these details in the story? but the way that you incorporate into the idea of a "pamphlet" is just too unique to pass up, haha.

The last paragraph though, was a little out of place for what my idea of a pamphlet would be, it was a bit direct, I would have expected that to instead be in the above explanation written by the Professor, perhaps in a last paragraph there, instead of a the last paragraph of the pamphlet.

I'm looking forward to these opening notes again. Usually if not done right, things like this can risk coming off like giant information dumps, but the way that you set it up so professionally opens it up for being totally justified, XD. I'm curious to see what things should be established before getting into the actual story!
C. Tattiana H-H chapter 9 . 8/26/2010
You’ve already heard my thoughts on this chapter, but I’ll just let you know once more that I love your writing and think you’re brilliant.

You have such a beautiful way of writing that really draws me into your pieces. I find this chapter to be something unsettling because the character seems a tad disjointed and haunted, but that’s what I really like about it.

She’s treated horrifically during parts of her life, so it seems only fitting that the abuse affects her mentally, as well. She seems like a strong character throughout, regardless of the abuse, so I like that it ended with her set on living. I found her “crime” to be justified. (That sounds a little controversial, but it’s how I feel in this case). I was surprised, actually, that I thought that, so I quite like that you have me wondering at my own opinions.

Excellent chapter all around. I look forward to reading more of this story.
improvisationallychallenged chapter 3 . 8/4/2010
I already wrote a review for this, but glitchy internet ate it -.-

Let's see if I came remember what I said...it was all positive stuff, I remember that much :P

You said in one of your review replies that you're not sure what format you were going to go for for this information. I think an Encyclopedia is a wonderful idea, and now I've got the Victorianesque setting in mind, the language is much easier to digest. I found this part in particular was reminiscent of old, political-biased propaganda, and these entries leave just enough to the imagination to let me fall for this concept hook line and sinker. The idea of a postwar city, teeming with fantastical, downtrodden creatures is absolutely brimming with potential. I can't wait to see what you're planning to do with this world you're building...
improvisationallychallenged chapter 2 . 8/4/2010
I know FP is lame with formatting options, but it would be nice to get better distinction for the subheadings.

I'm a little torn. I'm not quite sure what this is meant to be. It's far to early for me to have any kind of grasp on Jarmusch(sp?)'s character, and what you are trying to communicate about him through his writings. I want to make this concise and academicy, so I'm finding the poetic, story-telling vibe, such as "are not sweet dreams that dance under your eyelids whilst you sleep" a bit out of place (although beautiful, as far as descriptions go).

However, perhaps this professor character is the whimsical, egotistical type, who likes to go off on flowery tangeants. I think both approaches are appealing, but as someone of a cynical, straight-forward mould, I would be better cajoled into suspending my disbelief when presented with a more clinical prose as an introduction into this fantasy world, which by the way, sounds amazing...

I'd like to see a bit more in the species descriptions. The gnomes one was particularly lovely, because it gave a very rounded overview, listing the social attitudes towards them, and typical behaviours, as well as their physical appearance, and the section on Elves and Brownies was where it got really interesting. So Magi are second-class citizens? There's some good conflict brewing here...I can feel it...

This is a really good thing to include as a prologue. It makes this feel like a part of the story, rather than an expositional blurb you have to slog through so you can understand the story on the other side. You really seem to making this mythology your own, rather than riding on the coat-tails of other fantasies, and I would really like to see these creatures in action.

One niggle - you refer to the werewolves as Lycanthrope, yet all others are down as 'thropy'. I'd suggest making it 'Lycanthropy', or making the other two 'thrope's as well...

I'm curious as to why the Vampires, Kubus, Sorcerers, that lot, do not get a sub-classification of their own...they are obviously the most human in appearance, which is why there was a repeat warning to be wary, but it feels like there should be another label to attach to them... :\

I think by the end of this chapter, I have a better grasp on the character of the Professor...I'm guessing he's meant to be rather odious? Either out of elitist ignorance, or fascistic malice...

Again - on to the next chapter...
improvisationallychallenged chapter 1 . 8/4/2010
Hm... I usually find this sort of introduction an instant turn-off, but this has quite an engaging quality. You've got the leaflet language down to a tea, and Prof Vandermersch's little note at the start is a nice, genuine touch.

However, I'm confused as to exactly what the pamphlet's purpose is. The initial part of it has that glossy, selling-itself veneer, like a tourist leaflet, yet the note at the bottom makes it sound more like speculative, anthropological research... The section "Many years ago I began the arduous task of cataloguing all the important information one would ever need know about the Undercity" feels like it should be a part of the first note, or instead of a pamphlet, it should be introducting a social research paper.

That's just my two cents - but consider me intrigued. Onward!
C. Tattiana H-H chapter 8 . 8/3/2010
The tone in this was dead on. It was perfect. It had a formal, well-polished feel to it that worked beautifully with the subject matter. It really felt like I was reading an official letter from an emperor.

Those who have betrayed us will be forgotten, it is a kindness that they do not deserve.

-I love that line. It was just a really sophisticated way of saying something mean. Ha-ha

Your writing is refined, as always, and I really dig this style that you’ve adopted. It’s very creative and the only story I’ve seen formatted in this way.

Excellent work, Mama Smurf.

Edits

...their tyrannical rule over the city and it's good people.

-Edit: Change “it’s” to “its”.

No longer will We bend to the will's of the animals which have fed...

-Edit: I think “will’s” should be “wills”.

...but it We are taking measures to make sure...

-Edit: Remove “it”.

After that time all Magi found in the streets of Avalon will be taken to the cathedral steps and executed.

-Edit: Comma after “time”.

Humans have tolerated their unnatural existence for far to long...

-Edit: Change “to long” to “too long”.
C. Tattiana H-H chapter 7 . 8/1/2010
High above the city of Avalon is the Sharwahl Gardens, they are nestled safely above the cathedral.

-Edit: Either the comma after “Gardens” should be a semi-colon, or you should change the second half to be its own sentence.

These are chicks are treated with extreme care as they are often smaller and exhibit signs of slight deformity.

-Edit: Remove the first “are” and place a comma after “care”.

He growled low in his throat, and the two little chick...

-Edit: Throw an “s” at the end of “chick”.

"Chirrup Mamma?" Said one of the little nuisances.

-Edit: Change “Said” to “said”.

Peep and Pip had wondered off the moment their mother's eyes had closed and his breathing evened out.

-Edit: Change the “o” in “wondered” to an “a”.

It was not that they had been planning to cause trouble, but trouble seemed to find them soon enough (this is a pattern that would no doubt be repeated throughout their lives).

-Edit: I believe “(this is...)” should be “(this was...)” since the beginning of the sentence starts with “It was”.

Well, I’m a terrible beta. XD

Anyway, I adore this chapter, as always. You have such a great style that I adore. Your descriptions were clear and clever, and this read beautifully.

Even though this is my third time reading it, I still find Peep and Pip to be adorable! Oh dear, I really hope Mamma Bear is all right. I’m really quite worried about him.

I apologize for such a short review, but since I’ve read this so many times I just don’t know what to say. You’re a fantastic writer and all that. ;)
naito-kun chapter 5 . 7/14/2010
woah read through the entire 'pamphlet' and brain overload! but it gives good descriptions to the different types of characters that will appear in your story, so i'm not complaining lol. anyway i like your prologue and i like the story told by your protagonist's mother
C. Tattiana H-H chapter 3 . 7/7/2010
I love your opening quote, and then you follow it up with such a spectacular description of the mist. The wording was perfect and it really made me feel like I was there. Such a fantastic way to begin!

The description of how long it took the narrator to get used to killing Magi was so... just so... realistic. Original. Creative. Wonderful. I like how it took him so long to get used to it, and I especially like how she (she, yes?) couldn’t set a time for when he finally had gotten over the brutality of it. Even the description about him not being able to mourn his mother’s death was beautiful. The entire paragraph is perfectly worded.

By now his flesh would have been torn from his body, he would be nothing more then a smear on the ground.

-Perfect. Another perfectly worded description. You really painted a brutal picture in my mind. (Tiny edit: Change “then” to “than” – I think, maybe?)

Both were attempts to forget that she meant nothing, and when she died no one would remember her name.

-Brutal. Ha-ha. Man, you’re so good at this.

I’m a little bit confused with the ending. Sorry, perhaps not confused, more surprised, actually. I didn’t realize the narrator was the sorceress. It was a pleasant surprise, I suppose. I guess I just wasn’t really expecting it. Anyway, I loved this chapter. Your descriptions were amazing as always, and the tone was so seductive. I love the description about collecting the life energy, and I was actually rather surprised when the prostitute died. I suspected something was up, but I just didn’t realize it would happen so abruptly. This was a good surprise, though. I liked the sudden turn of events.

Edit

...she slid it into her hair and gasped in lungful of air as it settled in her own aura.

-Edit?: Throw “a” before “lungful”.
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