Reviews for From The Ashes: A Tale From MAD City
Charactarantula chapter 1 . 8/18/2010
A/N. Ah, I love present tense. So refreshing. We'll see how well you execute it though, eh? [dun, dun, dun]

Great hook. Good joke. Kudos.

""How are you feeling?" She says..." Just so you know, the "she" should be lower case. I am going to assume that you do this regularly. I did too. Didn't know it was incorrect. I will only point it out once though, lest I review this chapter for an extended period of time [no thanks.]

"Like butterflies who never really learned how to fly got drunk and decided to take a tour of my insides." What a FUCKING AWESOME twist on the butterflies in the pit of your stomach metaphor. Holy shit.

"...corruption sticks to that place like cancer to a smoker." Good shit.

I will eventually keep reading your story, not tonight, but eventually... but let me make the call now that Cammy and Acid fuck. Too much (un)intentional sexual tension for it not to happen. Huh, I read another paragraph and your narrator actually says EXACTLY what I just thought to myself. Thank you.

This chapter was fun. Your character has a good attitude, and the story sort of has a tongue in cheek vibe. "Yeah, I know this is fucking ridiculous, just roll with it and have fun." Like a B-Action Movie.

I dig it.

Sercus Kaynine chapter 3 . 7/17/2010

'Okay so it's official, someone is trying to kill me.'

Comma after 'okay'. Also, I think it would read better if the second comma was a colon. Something like:

Okay, so it's official: someone is trying to kill me.

Seems clearer to me, but that's just my opinion.

'Now I can't help but wonder if I was being set-up by my old 'friend' and he got played; or were both of us targets and I got lucky?'

It seems Scott is on the same page as I am. XD That's only natural, since he's the detective.

'When I think about the sheer amount of people I've either pissed off, wronged, or generally not been cool to in either my fighting or post-fighting career; the simple act of trying to make a list of persons who'd want me dead seems downright impossible.'

The semi-colon here should be a comma.

'A part of me doesn't think the perp is dumb enough to leave prints for me to find, yet theres another side of me that's hoping he's a fucking idiot.'

Forgot the apostrophe in 'there's'.

'He has no desire to have his nuts in a vice, so don't worry he tells me.'

'Don't worry' should be in quotes if it's a quote. I think rewording it would suite you better, though. I'd replace 'so don't worry he tells me' with 'so he told me not to worry'.

'He looks at me through lost and empty eyes forcing me to turn away and put my shades on. I know what happens when someone looks through those dead eyes; in fact it's what I'm counting on.'

Comma after the first 'eyes' and after 'in fact'.

'Come back to me bud.'

You're using 'bud' as a name, so comma after 'me'.

'"I know Charlie."'

Comma after 'know'.

'"Charlie, you do this ting for me and I'll get you all the booze you need."'

Forgot the 'h' in 'thing'.

'That seemed to brighten his spirits, and he immediately made his way to the officers forcing me to jog to catch up.'

Comma after 'officers'.

'Both cops were too busy looking at me which meant my plan is going to hell fast.'

Comma after 'me'.

'They don't answer looking slack-jawed and dead eyed, a look I've become all too familiar with from using Charlie in the past.'

Comma after 'answer'.

'Good job bud.'

Comma after 'job'.

'Almost everything: the fire place in the main room appears intact, which could be ironic I suppose. '

Comma after 'ironic'.

'Like i've said, Cam is good but, sometimes, a cop like her can be at the mercy of her own forensics squad.'

Forgot to capitalize the 'I' in 'I've'.

'Was that it Venny?'

Comma after 'it'.

'Camilla, great. She catches me in here and I'm in lock-up for the night because I wont answer her questions; I can't afford anymore delays, I need out and I need it now.'

Forgot the apostrophe in 'won't'. Also, the part after the semi-colon should be two separate sentences.

'I'm out of sight so fast my karma does a sonic boom as it drops and sends my stomach butterflies into a tailspin.'

Fun image!

Poor Charlie! Didn't even get his booze.

Characters - I love that we got to see some of MAD City's, uh, unique inhabitants. Or one of them, at least. Usually, when mutants/superpeople/whatever are involved, they're the main focus of the story, so it's kind of cool to find a protagonist who doesn't have any powers, but still have the idea hanging in the background, making everything a little less certain. The thought of washouts and nobodies being the ones with powers is great. Also, it may make me a bad person but I liked how you showed Scott's first instinct is to save himself. Even if it does mean ditching a sort-of-friend. It made clear to me what type of character he was (well, I pretty much already knew, but you showed it to me here, instead of telling me).

Plot - Scott is making progress, I see. When in doubt, return to the scene of the crime. It will usually yield clues when all else fails. I like how you had him reasoning throughout the entire thing, putting pieces together and asking himself questions (and also making him think about what Camille and co. were up to and how much they might've reasoned out). That's always the fun part of detective stories. If you improve anything, make sure you keep that up or do even more of it. Hell, it's even fun to go on tangents. Comment on more things that have nothing to do with what you know is the real answer but have Scott follow them until he gets to a dead end anyway. Makes for fun twists, yes? But I digress.

Like Scott, I have to say there's too little information still. I'm curious as to where he'll go next, though.

Pace - Scott seems like a less-talk-more-action type of guy so this is moving along quite nicely. Of course, he kind of has to be because otherwise he'd get into more scuffles with Camille and be otherwise held up by inconvenient situations, such as choosing between searching for more clues and getting locked up or moving on. I'm curious as to how far his screw-it-let's-just-get-this-done attitude will take him and what he'll end up finding out. I suppose there is something sad about faster stories: you always leave wanting more!

Anyways, liking this story you've got here. There's a lot you can do with it and not a lot holding you back. Update soon!
Sercus Kaynine chapter 2 . 7/13/2010
Grammar and Such:

'First thing I'm going to need to do is talk to Vennys (my pet name for him) wife, Missy.'

Forgot the apostrophe in 'Venny's'.

'She'll have to talk to me though; obviously her husband forgave me enough to seek me out and hopefully it's water under the bridge at this point.'

Comma on the other side of 'though'.

'Explosions rock the foundation to my building with bright flashes echoing across the sky like gods camera flash.'

Forgot the apostrophe in 'God's'. You might want to capitalize that, btw. But serious, 'God's camera flash'... that's awesome.

'What makes it worse is the people. Not normal people like you and me, no no no, this is something else. Something strange is happening to the people here. I've met stoolies who can walk through walls; hookers who can read your mind; and bums who can look at things and set them on fire.'

This is a great way of introducing the nature of the city's inhabitants. I already sorta knew about MAD City's character from browsing your art page, but this clears up a few things. You don't throw a bunch of information at once but let us know that everything may not be as it appears.

'A quick check of my mail box reveals that nobody loves me; except bill collectors trying to make sure I remain poor. '


'Apparently I got a delivery while I was in traction; even though I have no doorman to sign for it.'

I think the semi-colon after 'traction' would work better as a comma.

'My heart is ready to beat out of it's chest as i carry it inside.'

Change 'it's' to 'its' and capitalize that 'i'.

'The only thing that keeps me from full-on freaking out is that old saying 'nothing is a bad as you think it is'; which is probably the same thing those stockbrokers told themselves before the whole market collapsed.'

Again, I think the semi-colon should be a comma.

'It's labeled to myself but theres no postage.'

Forgot the apostrophe in 'there's'.

'Odds that this'll have something to do with my case: Even money. Odds it's a bomb: 2-1 against.'

The 'e' in 'even' should be lowercase. Also, I suggest writing out 'two to one'.

'I start by cutting the tape that seals the damn thing and quickly shut my eyes tighter than a new borns asshole as I open it up proper.'

Forgot the apostrophe in 'born's'.

Techniques - I think you mentioned this at the beginning of chapter one, but I didn't comment on it in my last review. I can see now how Scott's not just talking to himself, but to me. It's a really cool effect. Like, I can totally picture me and him at a bus stop or something and I have no idea about what MAD City is and whatnot, and he's telling this story like, "Yeah, so that's my life." It has that kind of tone to it and I like it.

Writing - Several points to mention. First, you do a really good job with first person POV. With first person, you usually have to have a pretty interesting character and a pretty neat voice to hook a reader, and you have both. The writing style is conversational, almost, as I mentioned earlier. In other words, you write like you would speak. There are sometimes short or rhetorical sentences, but it's cool because it gives the piece a personality of its own. Also, your word choice and quirky metaphors (have I gushed over those enough?) fit the story idea so well. The way you describe things (and what you tell us) makes the world you've creative seem... well, not dark, exactly, but gritty and dangerous. Not to mention clever.

Plot - Another chapter ending that got me thinking. But what else should I expect from a detective story? You've taken a lot of time so far on character history and world building, but you always leave something for me to mull over at the end. Let's see if I learned a few things from reading Sherlock Holmes and can puzzle it out.

In the first chapter it's said that the target of the explosion (oh, was it caused by a bomb or supernatural human, I wonder?) could've been Scott or Venny. It was at Venny's house, but it seems an awful coincidence that Scott happened to be there. Perhaps they were both targets?

In the second chapter we learn that someone is stalking Scott and this person probably knows him. The first person that popped into my head was Venny, but why would he bomb his own house? I don't even know if he died (if you said in chapter one, I must've missed it). Of course, there's always the possibility of it being a character that hasn't been mentioned yet. I'm sure Scott's made a few enemies in his lifetime.

Gah, I need more information!

I'm having way too much fun with this. XD

Not quite as long of a review this time, but it was a shorter chapter. Nice story here, btw. :)
Sercus Kaynine chapter 1 . 7/13/2010
'I wake up in a hospital hooked to what seems like a million different machines; their incessant beeping throbbing through my brain like some deranged jackhammer.'

I heart this opening sentence. It really fits the character of the story. I think the semi-colon should be a comma, though. (Commas are my specialty. Prepare to learn a lot about them.)

'My ex-wife.'

Oh snap. XD

I liked the second full paragraph. From experience, I know that getting background info into a story can be hard to do well. I think the tone and the way you described their relationship was smoothly done and even though it's early I already know a thing or two about the characters.

Just an FYI: this whole corrections section is my Grammar portion:

'She stood up then, casting her gaze down at me.'

This is more of a personal thing, but I think this sentence would read better without 'up then' and 'down'.

'I should know, I told any one who would listen.'

Haha, love this narrator's voice. :D The comma there should be a period, though.

'" Ivy with you?"'

Just a point of note: you use ellipses a lot around this section of the story. A lot in the story in general. While they're great if used sparingly, it gets distracting if you use them too much. A lot of the ones I see would read better with commas. (Not this example, but some I see) Also, I think it reads better if you put a space after the ellipse before typing another word. I'm not sure if either way is correct (different countries, or, hell, even the same countries, have different rules and I can never keep track of them), but that's how I see it most of the time.

'Even with a family-my family-I never felt so alone, so low, in my entire life. The fame was gone. That rush from a crowd, gone. My so-called friends-my peers-all gone. Everything was gone.'

Should be dashes instead of hyphens here. I actually only learned how to type dashes a while ago. In Word, type two hyphens after one word and without spaces keep typing what you want to put in dashes. It should automatically turn from two hyphens into a dash. Also, if you don't want to deal with all that fancy trickery, you could put commas around the two sections in dashes and it would work fine instead.


Making this its own sentences had a great effect. It drew attention to your point.

'I remember I was going to see a client but..."'

Comma after 'client'.

'"A client huh?"'

Comma after 'client' again.

'"Good...glad to hear it."'

I think this would work better if it were two sentences.

'Like butterflies who never really learned how to fly got drunk and decided to take a tour of my insides.'

I adore this sentence! XD

'In the end it took her leaving and taking my daughter away for me to realize how shit my life turned out.'

Should be 'shitty' instead of 'shit' in that context. Also, I think it'd read a bit smoother if the last part was 'how shitty my life was'.

'I cleaned up but I knew that if I just went back out into the real world without a goal I'd just end up right back where I started.'

More of a personal thing here, but you use 'just' twice in this sentence and it sounds a bit repetative.

'I couldn't go back to fighting, I was too damn broken down. Plus I'd burned too many bridges while I was there as it was-I was a bit of an asshole in my prime; at least that's what they say.'

First, the comma in the first sentence should be a semi-colon or a period. Should be a comma after 'plus'. For some reason the two hyphens here didn't turn into a dash. I'm at a loss as to why, but I almost think it would read better if you made those two different sentences.

'Sorry-Anyway, I couldn't go get a so-called "real job", no way I'd be able to stand the tedium.'

I think 'sorry' should be its own sentence here. Also, the comma after 'real job' should be a period or semi-colon.

'I didn't want to be a cop because corruption sticks to that place like cancer to a smoker. '

You write awesome similes, man.

'" I said, I'm glad you're alright."'

I think the ellipse after 'well' would read better as a comma.

'"Of course Scott, don't...don't be that way. I didn't leave you because I stopped caring about you."

"I know. I know. It's just...I mean, I haven't seen you in a year and it took me being in the hospital for it to know?"'

I think you suffer from a unique disease that makes you put ellipses where I think there should be commas. XD I'll stop pointing them out because there's nothing grammatically incorrect about it, it's just that I prefer commas. They express pause but you hardly notice them. Take it or leave it, it's your choice. You just know my opinion.

'My hand hovers over it like a lost UFO looking for a place to land when I hear the door open again.'

zomg, these are great!

'I miss her already, I wont lie.'

Should be two sentences.

'"It's Camilla shit bird. Not even a minute and you're already pissing me off."'

Should be a comma after 'Camilla'. This is one of those ways punctuation changes the meaning of a sentence. The way it is now, Camilla is calling herself a shit bird. I don't think you meant that. XD

'"It's a gift." or a curse. '

The 'o' in 'or' should be capitalized since it's a new sentence.

'She claims I get in the way of official investigations which is totally a lie.'

Comma after 'investigations'.

'"What are you doing here anyway?"'

Comma after 'here'.

'"Gee, I don't know. Could it be that someone is dead, and I'm a Homicide detective? Could that be it?" See? She loves me.'

Either capitalize both 'homicide' and 'detective' like a title or don't capitalize either. I love Scott's inner comments. The egotistical characters amuse me.

'"I don't remember much." She gives me a look that says then tell me what you do remember asshole, which shrinks me down to about the size of a pea. Evil eyes this one. "Okay...okay..." I pull out the I.V. with grimace and swing my legs over the edge of the bed. "All I remember is walking up to the door and...not much else. Unless you wanna count looking up at flames kissing the sky."'

Should be commas on both sides of 'asshole'. (Love the pea description, btw) Comma after 'evil eyes'. I think the first ellipses after 'okay' should be replaced by a comma but the second is fine as it is. You forgot the 'a' before 'grimace'. There's an extra period in the ellipse after 'and'.

'With a little help from the nearby wall of course.'

Commas around 'of course'.

'"Burned. I heard your wife-"'

Should be a dash instead of hyphen.

'"You're client's name is listed as 'Venome', what's that about?"'

I think 'what's that about' should be a separate sentence.

'"Dunno. Said he'd tell me once I got there but obviously..."'

Comma after 'there'.

'I'll be lucky to put on this pair of pants let alone walk out of here.'

Comma after 'pants'.

'"Oh no, don't you even think about it. Stay out of this Acid, I don't want you lousing up my case alright?"'

Should be a comma on both sides of 'Acid'. Comma before 'alright'.

'"Oh please! That's the second time you've had to correct yourself so don't try to hand me some sentimental bullshit and act like you have friends"'

Forgot the period at the end of this sentence.

'"Ouch. Yeah, alright so me and him ended on a sour note a long time ago; doesn't change the fact that he was murdered and, technically, I'm still on retainer until his wife says so."'

Should be commas on both sides of 'alright'.

'Most days I don't let her have it; sometimes just to be a dick, other times, wel...ah, who am I kidding, it's always to be a dick. But not today.'

You put an extra 'l' in 'well'. Also, I think the sentence is a bit long so it'd work better if the semi-colon was a period.

'"What makes you so sure they weren't trying to kill you instead?"'

Oh snap! Great last line.

I totally lucked out in this trade because I'm a sucker for detective stories. Smart stories in general, really.

Characters - Love 'em all so far. Scott's definitely the favorite. You portrayed his character so well through his voice! I'm usually not partial to present tense, but it worked so well for the character, placing me right into his head. I loved the way he describes things (my favorites listed above), and the way he narrates his own ego with absolute certainty. It's so much fun to read about the egotistical ones! They make things so much more interesting. It was especially amusing to read about his certainty that Cammy loved him. XD Even though this is the first chapter, all the characters already have a clear backstory. It's easy for me to immerse myself and care about them and they seem more real because there's a before-the-story idea.

Relationships - For a first chapter, I've already seen a lot of character interaction. The first half contained the more serious relationship info about Scott and his ex-wife. It's clear Scott isn't over her yet, and you did a good job with the whole they-still-care-but-they-have-to-put-themselves-first-now idea. it leaves me with the 'will they get together?' card because it doesn't seem impossible. The second half contained the slightly more professional and entertaining relationship between Cammy and Scott. Witty banter always makes me love characters! This one was fun to read about and I have a feeling Cammy will be around a lot. That's cool because conflict makes for a fun story!

Dialog - Your dialog always sounds modern and natural. Besides the punctuation things I mention earlier, it flows really well and it's one of the things that I noticed you did well. I like that you don't use dialog tags a lot, instead describing action. It really gives the story more life. My one suggestion would be to give more details like this in the last convo between Cammy and Scott. There's a lot you
lovewithoutyourheartbeat chapter 3 . 7/13/2010
Ehh...I wouldn't like him as a nice guy. I like his snarky/jackass attitude-it facsinates me.

Again with Scully/Mulder thing (Sorry for bring it up again I'm just a huge Sci-Fi Nerd) Scully goes for the typical approach whereas Mulder does the exact opposite. Boom! Cam and Acid. I think they'd be a super couple if he'd stop being such a dick and she'd get that stick out of her ass.

Orr...maybe they'd be better that way?

And again with the Gwen thing, I like her-I do-but I like Cam better.

Charlie reminded me about the supernatural aspect of the story is it going to be one of those freak accident things where the city is behond corrupted due to its exposure to such-and-such chemical? That'd be cool. This story is like sin city/the x files/UFC and so much more combined. Nice job, man.
lovewithoutyourheartbeat chapter 2 . 7/13/2010
Hm...again intresting ending.

Really makes me want to knwo who the hell is behind all of this. I think it was a set-up for sure...maybe Missy has something to do with it? Can't wait to find out how they hell they hospitized her...

Her hubby was a pro wrestly, correct? His client, again correct? So obviously he was making bank and if she's the "pretty type" as Acid mention odds are she's a gold digger-thats a sterotype, I know but it makes sense. So I doubt she'd have a problem with her hubby dying and getting her his money and prehaps shes sleeping with her co-conspirator?

*I know I said I was only goign to review the first chapter but the cliff hanger made me change my mind.
lovewithoutyourheartbeat chapter 1 . 7/13/2010
I really like this entire chapter! It seems as if it could be made into a movie, and I kind of got a slight Mulder/Scully (The X Files) vibe from Acid and Boothe. That whole professional relationship with the I-hate-you/I-wanna-band you undertone.

I'm not too good with advanced grammar but I thought it all read smoothly and I found Acid's back story pretty intresting and realistic; seems as if the down-fall nowadays for famous people is the drugs.

Really liked the fact that Gwen wasn't your typical bitch-ex wife even though she totally has every reason to be, kind of makes me like her more.

Acid is a pretty funny guy if I must say so, and he also seems to have made a pretty good comeback all considering.

As for the actual cases and what-not I digged that he was working for a guy that thought he was a schmuck.

And great cliff hanger by the way.
Typing Typhoon chapter 2 . 7/12/2010
Chapter 2 is still a win.

Once again Scott's narrative is they key element in the fic. There's a lot of quotable material, namely the line about mindreading hookers and and heliomancing bums.

Characterization is strong in the first two chapters. Scott's personality and views are reflected well and his vague, yet skewed ties with other characters is well done.

Lastly, the overall story was well paced. The dialogue was well done and believable, nothing awkward or cheesy, and the plot scores as it remains uninterrupted by info dumps.

Lookin' good, will read on.
Typing Typhoon chapter 1 . 7/12/2010
Nice, really nice. This is a winner all around!

The 1st person perspective was brilliant, sarcastic and dry. The literary elements were great as well.

As for the story itself, as I only read the prologue, seems great. Never a dull moment, even in a hospital. I'll have to drop back in on this later, great fic.
InkedSoul chapter 1 . 7/11/2010
Hello and Welcome to the Roadhouse (:

I'm reviewing as I go along so bare with me here.

Your first sentence causes some problems with tense change:

[I woke up in a hospital hooked to what seems like a million different machines;]

You have 'woke' which is a past tense verb and 'seems' which indicates present tense. As I continued reading I noticed that you continually change between past and present.

Some Advice: Stick to ONE verb tense. Some reviewers/ readers find it annoying that you change between two tenses and then it also becomes confusing. I'm not one of those people luckily 'cause I do it myself so I'm telling you this from experience. I think that you should stick to past tense because most writers use that tense and it's easier to write with.

[I try to get my bearings, see if maybe I can remember just how I ended up here when I noticed her sitting there. My angel. My muse.]

change 'try' to 'tried' and 'can' to 'could'

["How are you feeling?" She says and she looks just as beautiful as she ever has.]

change 'say's to 'said', 'looks' to 'looked' and change it to "...just as beautiful as ever"

[..I try grinning but right now even my teeth hurt.]

Change 'try' to 'tried' and omit "right now" because that indicates present tense.

[Beautiful brown eyes that used to always fill me with such hope and purpose. ]

omit "used to" and change 'fill' to 'filled'

[Now all they do is shame me and kick me down a notch or two.]

change 'do' to 'did' and 'is' to 'was' and change 'kick' to 'kicked'

[I know she doesn't mean it.]

change 'know' to 'knew and 'doesn't' to 'didn't'

[Hell, she can't help it and who could blame her?]

change 'can't' to 'couldn't'

[. I should know, I told any one who would listen.]

'anyone' is one word

[Eventually, my ego would be my downfall because nothing ever really lasts forever. ]

change 'lasts' to 'lasted'

[Thinking of her still brings me back to a time in my life where nothing was good enough for me...]

change 'brings' to 'brought'

[I don't blame her.]

change 'don't to 'didn't'

I think you get my point already so I'm not going to go through the entire story changing things from present to past 'cause I want to be able to understand what I'm reading so I can make suggestions on other parts of the story. Despite that, I would suggest going back through this chapter and change everything to past so that it flows better or it could get confusing. This might be a bit difficult because at some places you have some sentences where he's talking to himself or the reader directly instead of just information so some parts you might want to rethink and rewrite.

Anyway besides those mistakes I think the story is getting a bit interesting to far. The ending sort confused me a little at some point. The dialogue was a bit overwhelming too, so try to keep it at a minimum. I guess with the amount on information you used it the beginning it kind of balances out.

One thing I'd like to say is that the way introduced your characters seemed kind of forced. Instead of letting it naturally flow with the rest of the chapter you pointedly introduced each one. Like "Her name is this" "My name is..." and "She does that". You might prefer to introduce your characters like that but personally I think you should make it a bit more natural in a way where the reader gradually figures out each characters name through the dialogue.

Also, Scott seems a bit odd to me. He had a wife and is a former wrestler so I'm guessing he's in his early 40s or something like that, but then toward the end he sort of acts a bit like a teenager. The way he thinks that Cammy likes him and the way he teases her seems a bit childish and something a teen would do. That might just be me though so this is all just my personal opinion.

Overall I liked this story, the concept is pretty interesting and you didn't waste your time getting to the point of the plot. I wonder where this story is going and how he will figure out who murdered his friend and why. Or as Cammy said, might've wanted to kill him too. That's a really strong ending and leaves the reader thinking and wondering what could happen next.

Great job with this so far (: