Reviews for The Hunters
Dragon made me do it chapter 1 . 6/11/2011
Candied-almond sky, love it!

Can something be perfect and spluttering? Does perfect refer to how good the angle the snowmobile was parked on or something?

Someone would have to be a very good writer for me to not get bugged by so many stories featuring dogs, but fortunately you get away with it. I think because you have so much expert as well as personal knowledge of dogs, you really convey their social behaviour, physique, movement etc very well.

For example: 'That grinning mouth ate up the trail like it was nothing. No wonder all the girls liked him. Qimmiq had probably fathered half the pups in town.'

and: 'You could see why Keelut thought she was human. Dogs weren't far off, really. They knew what we wanted, and what we were saying half the time too. Even if they pretended they didn't, if the occasion called for it. I guess that's what happens when you live together for so long: you understand each other.'

And 'The light of understanding sparked in Qimmiq's eyes.'

It is a difficult balance between anthropomorphism and trying to understand animals as more than just objects. I think you did a good job of finding this balance.

Particularly by then switching to: 'How long had it been since we were the hunted as well as the hunters? When wolf and man had worked against each other rather than together?'

I love these sort of stark Arctic wilderness that you've portrayed here. This story has a peaceful stillness to it. I don't think it is slow moving though, it's just matched to the pace of life in this place.

We don't get much insight into the inner world of the cousin, but I think this is a deliberate effect to understand how she is perceived from the outside. 'today, my cousin's world didn't include me' sums this idea up quite nicely. perhaps she is autistic or traumatised or just shy. This nicely gets you asking questions without answering them immediately. in the society she lives in, she would probably just be seen as independent without psychological analysis.

'I doubted Cheyenne would share her scent with the wind' - I am not sure whether I understood this or not. Cheyenne is the cousin of the narrator and they are both human, but you are describing this in a way a dog might apprehend openness as a metaphor?

'a herd of snow-suited toddlers had waddled up to bear witness' - cute :-)

'Pure joy by proxy' - I think this is what parenthood is also about.

So we see a parallel between the social roles of the dogs and the humans in this story, the popular one and the shy/independent one

'So seals are smart: but we're smarter, because we can steal their good ideas.' - I agree, we also smell better from a distance.

and then all of a sudden after lulling us into a reverie of lovely off the beaten track stillness, suddenly drama! this was a clever change of pace.

you don't reveal that Lorrie is in a wheelchair till the very end, this was cleverly made its not a story about a disabled person, but a story about a person, who happened to have a disability, but this was not the defining part of their identity.

And at the end you get the impression Cheyenne and does really care about people, in her own way.

So to sum up:

-you have very realistic characters, without resorting to interpreting them through a psychological lens that they would not themselveshave used.

- Brilliant scenery and imagery, you can easily see yourself in the scene.

- Clever pacing with a deliberately still start and then a dramatic finish.

Syntax/grammar/spelling etc:

'diesel- powered snarls' and 'duck egg- blue'- take out the space after the '-'

I set myself down in lee of a berg- should this be 'the lee'?
StoryMonster chapter 1 . 1/16/2011
Your choice of names are rather unusual.

But once again, a brilliant read.

berley chapter 1 . 9/12/2010
I liked the setting of the story. I've never read one based in the Arctic, or Antarctic before and your beautiful descriptions created the perfect imagery for me. I especially liked that you didn't say right away that the main character couldn't walk. I just assumed that they could, but really you never showed any signs in the beginning that using his legs was possible. Though if I was his mother I would smack him up the side of the head for going fishing on his own when he couldn’t walk! haha

The twist in the end was definitely different, and in ways I liked it. It was chilling and surprising. Though, being a dog person and owning dogs most of my life, I didn't like reading on a Husky, a breed of dog that isn't violent at all, suddenly turning on its owner for no apparent reason. Maybe this particular dog has a violent past that the reader doesn’t know about? That is entirely possible, and would explain a lot.

I don't know, but I think it is just a personal thing since I owned a breed of dog that are normally discriminated against as being violent animals when they are the sweetest things that walk the earth. It’s kind of a sensitive subject for me, but I am definitely not holding it against this story.

Having the dog go back to normal in the end was great as well, and made me ask a lot of questions. What will happen next time? How is the owner going to act around the dog now? Will he ever let himself be alone with it again?

Overall great story with an original plot which makes it a great read.
Sercus Kaynine chapter 1 . 8/10/2010
As soon as they went on the ice I was like, 'oh snap, it's gonna break'. Nice twist, though, with the useless legs. You never mentioned Lorrie using her legs once, but of course I assumed they worked. Way to turn that on its head.

The Qimmiq reversion was also a nice twist. Very chilling.

Lovely imagery about the weather throughout, and nice tense moment at the end.

Good job and good luck in WCC!
Michael Howard chapter 1 . 8/10/2010
Pretty sure there's no sea ice around any part of the Australian coastline but you sure did a good job of putting this reader right into the Arctic (Antarctic?) setting of this tale. Most effective descriptions here with an unexpected but entirely logical twist at the end.

Very well done!
Adrenalin chapter 1 . 8/8/2010
Well, that was quite nerve-wracking. I think the most scary thing is not the actual bloodlust of Qimmiq, but the fact that he returns to perfectly normal just after. Makes one wonder how to anticipate an eventual 'next time'. (note to self: never own a dog).

I'm not understanding how Lorrie could go ice-fishing all alone if he needs a wheelchair, though?

Good luck in the WCC :)
Elennar chapter 1 . 8/7/2010
First Gecko's piece, then this!

Do you people want to friggin' scare the living daylights out of me? Do you?

I've always wanted a cute lab for a pet. I think I'll pass now.

*shakes head*

But seriously, Sophie: this story is brilliant! Wonderful imagery, and a great plot- you did a good job with tying into the prompt.

Good luck!

karma-dollie chapter 1 . 8/7/2010
This turned out to be one of those pieces I had to read twice to make sure I caught everything. But it was an enjoyable read, so I had no problem reading it again.

Every now and then in your narrative, you throw in these fantastic bits of imagery. Only a few times did they seem unclear to me, like the candied almond sky. I'd never heard that as a description of the sky before. And occasionally, the narrative sounded almost too casual, like it could be a thought, or actual dialogue. Overall though, it was well written, and I liked the imagery, especially when describing the icy beach. Also, be careful with switching tenses.

I was a little taken back when Cheyenne finally spoke. I guess I imagined these characters closer to children, but children who were familiar with the ways of an icy tundra and snowmobiles. The swearing seems out of place. There's a playfulness about Lorie that even added to the fear towards the end with the ice, and then with Qimmiq. And Cheyenne came off as the shy tag along who finally finds some courage when it matters.

The scene with Qimmiq's blood lust felt a bit sudden, but I really liked it. I got scared for a minute because I know Lorie was alone, and I thought this poor kid's loyal dog was going to turn on him. So great job with that.

The ending left me with questions as well as clarified some things. I didn't realize Lorie needed a wheelchair, so now his joke earlier makes sense, but I still don't see any hints to that before mentioning the wheelchair in the truck. And I'm left wondering what happened to those dogs. They disobeyed their masters and ran off, so maybe that bit of blood lust still lingers in Qimmiq, and maybe Keelut isn't as human as she tries to act. I'm left a little off balance, but it's still intriguing.

Nice job, and good luck with WCC!

Punslinger chapter 1 . 8/6/2010
Excellent narration, characterization, atmosphere and background description. You get my vote, with a few quibbles.

Some of the story seems overwritten, but maybe verbosity is part of Lorrie's personality. There appears to be a gap in logic as Chyenne scolds Lorrie for not having heard the weather report. Why didn't she tell him that at her house? If it was a late news flash, why didn't Lorrie have a portable radio for that purpose?

The wheelchair in the pick-up is a neat way of explaining why Lorrie couldn't run away from the danger. So how could he start the snowmobile with a "kick of my heel"? As for "my legs lay limp as liverwort"-did you mean "liverwurst"? Somehow moss doesn't seem an apt simile for useless limbs.

Are there diesel-powered snowmobiles? I thought they used gasoline. Maybe I'm behind the times.

Good luck in the competition.
Narq chapter 1 . 8/5/2010
I still shiver.

"It wasn't the adoration of a dog for his master./ It wasn't the love of a pack mate for his brother. It was something much older than that./Blood lust./ How long had it been since we were the hunted as well as the hunters? When wolf and man had worked against each other rather than together?/Not long enough."

That still takes my breath away. This is just an awesome story, Sophie!

Promise I'll beta it after I clean my email out of unreviewed stories!

YasuRan chapter 1 . 8/5/2010
My, how chilling (pun inintended). But I've heard many a tale like this before: how animals often revert to their base instincts, eventually allowing them (momentarily, in this case) to turn on their owners.

Okay, enough rambling. I liked the originality in this and how we got to know Lorrie and Cheyenne through those little bits of information you revealed in the form of anecdotes. Even the names had a nice Inuit feel about like Qimmiq. Judging from Lorrie's knowledge about his environment, you've obviously done your research (or do you just live somewhere similar ;)).

Either way, well done and good luck in the competition.