Reviews for Bitch
Dragon made me do it chapter 1 . 6/5/2011
First, when I first started on this I thought 'oh dear, Sophie and her dogs' and I thought this had the potential to be a bit cliched.

About a quarter of the way in however, you completely won me over and it all went up from there into a well-constructive piece that had a heart to it.

The plus side of writing about something you know about is that you can add a level of complexity of details that brings the piece to life. The liver-flavoured ices etc, the chocolate being toxic to dogs etc

I liked the use of the Spanish perro, in the name, very clever.

I like the idea of performance anxiety over patting the dog.

I liked your wording here 'She shambled to the end of the pier, but couldn't outrun her weeping. In the misty shadow of a ship, she dropped into a coil of rope and let her misery flood.'

A couple of things yet again reminded me of my own writing - the line about 'made love to her nose' as well as some of the introductory stuff about how different species can see itself as superior based on its unique abilities. Look out for this in my novel ;-)

Was there some parallel to slavery with the comparison of the English and Spanish treatment of humans?
Ioga chapter 1 . 4/24/2011
(Sorry once again about the accidental unsigned review.)

I remembered I forgot (
Guest chapter 1 . 4/24/2011
Hee, another sweet piece. I have a soft spot for talking animals societies, but haven't really run into that many implementations in here yet. And I'm now even more envious for your ability to turn writing challenges into favourites! :)

The chocolate poisoning was wicked. It made me think of xylitol (which as I understand is utterly not good for pets too, and due to being popular here it's the Standard Poisonous Thing To Not Give To Animals in my head) and how xylitol chewing gum would utterly not have worked as a replacement. Even though it would have been just great for her teeth!

As a non-native speaker, I had a bit of difficulty catching what an "Elizabethan collar" was from just the name. Went through elaborate muzzle setups in my head before learning from Wikipedia that the English language urgently needs separate words for kauluri (scarf, and the accursed plastic don't-lick-your-wounds device), kaulus ("regular" shirt collar) and kaulapanta (doggy collar). ;)

Thanks for this!
RavenclawMoose chapter 1 . 2/22/2011
Congrats on winning the February WCC! Your piece was my favorite this month. ) Now to the review:

I found it difficult to get into this piece. While you had a few interesting things that differentiated this from our reality (humans keep dogs as pets), I did not feel like much thought went into really making the world believably populated by sentient dogs. Everything the dogs did seemed a bit too human.

The emotions and actions in the piece also seemed a bit rushed and scattered. I never got a very clear sense of the status of humans. Mostly, it just seemed like no one really cared much about humans, even other humans. It was entirely unclear if there even were any other humans around till the end, where you mentioned that no one noticed b*tch leaving because there were a bunch of "b*tches". Still, reactions to humans were all over the place. They don't get names, but sometimes they're allowed to pet dogs. They're not allowed to sleep on a dog's bed, but there weren't really any consequences to the main human character sleeping on a bed. It made it really difficult to feel sympathy for the main character when I could not really get any sort of feel for her life.

This brings me to my next point, when the main character bursts into tears and runs down to the water. The fact that she killed a person just to get into the royal guard indicates that she's hard and ambitious, not weepy and easily hurt. I get that she's proud of her position, but the tears seemed to come out of nowhere. It came out forced and awkward.

The ending honestly made me laugh, which I felt was not your intention. It was far too rushed to be dramatic, however, and the only thing I had gotten out of the character of Rex was "pompous," so the idea of him having a fit on the floor came across as more of awkwardly crude humor than a dramatic ending to the beloved king/evil dictator/unfortunate ruler/whatever you were intending Rex to be.

Overall, I was disappointed with this. I have not read much of your work, but from what else I have read, you have the ability to create great characters and an interesting and well-paced plot. This did not have those qualities. There were a few cute phrases and some interesting imagery, but overall it fell pretty flat.

The Saturday Storytellers chapter 1 . 12/28/2010
The title initially made me think the story would be incredibly vitriolic, but the synopsis makes it seem less likely. But still, the word bitch has such connotations that it still looks likely this human girl will come in for some serious derision.

Ooh, interesting first paragraph. You hint briefly at how much you've thought into the culture of this canine culture. Because it's clearly got the potential to be so different from human culture it did occur to me that this story would either be very well thought-out, or not very well at all, so I'm glad to see at least the suggestion of thought.

That said, I do feel that it would be nice to have a little bit of visual going on in this paragraph - just to say how many dogs there are eating the stag, or to have some idea of how anthropomorphisized Rex Regis and his pack are, or what fur colour they have.

When you shift perspective on to the girl, I begin to feel confused over whose POV this is. Paragraph one seemed almost definitely Rex's. the next two or three could be his also, but they feel very empathic considering the girl's low rank.

"On her knees in the mud..." This story is starting to feel as if it needs more visuals all over, and this paragraph certainly does! It's a really good idea and I'm enjoying this oneshot.

Then we go back to the room and the bitch-girl feels her collar. It is shocking, although somehow it shouldn't be considering the motivation behind this story, that she's pleased with her achievement of getting into the royal house.

M, liver ice! And the sound of 'pork-belly jellies' is priceless!

"She thanked the Gods she had been born in such an enlightened time." Hmm. Which gods, I wonder?

And then Edith speaks. It didn't actually occur to me when the girl fought the guard, but this confirms that she can understand the dogs, and perhaps vice versa.

"She sank into sleep as soon as her head dropped into the pillows." Whoops.

"Her hands fell to her sides. She'd disappointed him. Her stomach curdled into a fist of nausea. She'd failed." Her disappointment really has got the better of her, hasn't it?

"...the comfort of his darks curl." 'Dark curls'?

Oh! But hang on - chocolate is not good for dogs, is it?

The moment the girl mixes up the hot chocolate needs to be longer, I think. You come out with some good descriptions, but there isn't really time for the reader to get into the mood of what's being said before it's over. But like I say, what you are describing is good, very good!

What! She's giving it straight to him? Since we're not seeing much in the way of her thoughts, is she doing this out of blind loyalty (which wouldn't be too surprising, considering the depth of her disappointment at herself over the ear-tickling incident earlier), or does she know how dangerous chocolate can be to a dog?

Okay, then! The just desserts quality of the ending here is both literal (titter, titter) and has something quite cheap about it (perhaps because of the quick build-up). But this is such a fun idea, and one that could work on deeper, more cultural and ethical, levels. Great fun - thanks for the story!

I know I've got a few reviews to return, but I'm not sure what you're particularly wanting me to review lately. Can you give me a pointer?

- From We Return Reviews.
this wild abyss chapter 1 . 12/14/2010
Whoa, this was extremely interesting. I loved the reversal of roles in this piece, though it took me a little while to understand. But I am glad that you showed readers the situation rather than telling it up front. That made it seem more believable I think. The actual subject matter of this was great, too. I loved the irony with the chocolate. It was totally unexpected, but so perfect for the characters and plot. Thank you for this.
Canaletto chapter 1 . 12/13/2010
Bizarre, in a very good way. This was an excellent read, with the reversed positions of humans and dogs used very well. The use of dog terms by human was also well done, and only further increased the “realism” of the world you created. The ending is suitably twisted for the entire scenario, and it’s hard to tell whether to interpret as a happy ending or a bad one. Brilliant work.

Nesasio chapter 1 . 11/14/2010
What a bizarre world! In a good way, of course. :) Really interesting interpretation of the prompt here. It was so cool to see how you changed things around with dogs and humans and kept it consistent through the whole story. It made me feel bad for my dogs, haha, even though they're totally spoiled. The ending was a nice twist. I obviously saw it coming when the chocolate came into the mix but it was still cool that she basically poisoned the king without intending to.

Nice job and good luck in the WCC!
Narq chapter 1 . 11/10/2010
At reading this the nth time, I realised what this reminded me of: Animal Farm! I can so see you being the author of something wonderful like that! WOw.

I honestly have nothing to say. :(

Sercus Kaynine chapter 1 . 11/10/2010
omg I adored this! Such an simple, yet totally original idea! The way you laid the plot and the concept down so smoothly and quickly... I fell into the story at once and fell in love. Not much more to say, really, this was just a unique plan. How you changed the world around to make it fit this one was even cooler.

Good job and good luck in WCC!
lookingwest chapter 1 . 11/10/2010
First, agreed, angry man is dumb, XD.

Wow, excellent little piece here, Sophie. You always shock me with your original ideas and the way you can write in basically any setting with any cast of characters-I think you're definitley showing off your best skills here. So creative! I like how...honest, this was? Like, you didn't use the "human dog" idea as the gimmick of the work or anything, but it was just there, a natural element in the story, but not something that was extremely jumping up and down stealing the plot. It just complimented so nicely!

I loved the dialogue, that was handled well and I thought the discourse with the different dogs and everything really allowed me to get a sense of their accents too. Especially Bitch's in contrast and the mark of nobility and then Agua too. I knew things were going to turn sour once he was offering a gift, XD. I love how at the end there was confusion and Bitch was able to get away, it was actually almost humorous, XD.

The tie in to the prompt was wonderfully done with the correlation of the love potion and then transforming that into a poison. I also sort of correlate love with chocolate too, so I saw a connection there as well!

Enjoyed the descriptions and how you brought the Elizabeathen ideas and clothing and setting to life. I could never do that in a million years and you always do it so flawlessly. The reader is really immersed! This would be a fun story to expand on, sort of like Watership Down in the sense of an adult content story with animals as central talking characters. You were always consciously aware of their anatomy and make up, and that was also wonderful.

Best of luck in WCC!
lianoid chapter 1 . 11/9/2010
Her legs vined round his belly.

-I love that description! Very creative and an awesome image.

"The Siamese are blocking the East Indian sardine trade again," an adviser noted. The King huffed and licked his bowl clean.

-Ha-ha. That’s so awesome.

I loved this piece, Sophie. The entire idea of a society dominated by canines and supported by humans is brilliant. I love how you turned the roles of humans and dogs around. I thought that was really clever and done brilliantly.

A lot of your descriptions were worded wonderfully and really fortified this piece in my eyes. I loved the role of the girl, definitely; in fact, I might have liked reading a bit more about her. You did a good job at giving us the basic sort of surface story and I can imagine a great deal of depth regarding not only the culture, but the girl as well.

I also enjoyed the bit of focus on the collar. I think it’s a simple accessory but you managed to have it carry a great deal of importance and conveyed it nicely.

And the chocolate! Oh, my. Ha-ha. I had to stop reading once you described her deciding not to eat the chocolate on the ship; I had a feeling she was going to give the King some, and oh boy, was I right. Ha-ha. Loved that ending. Excellent work with this month’s WCC, Sophie! Best of luck! :)
Michael Howard chapter 1 . 11/8/2010
I'm operating under a slight handicap here because I don't know much about dogs, and so am unsure if the drink really was poisoned or if that substance is always toxic for dogs.

But that isn't really a complaint. In fact I found this dark humored tale (tail?) to be twisted, bizarre, and utterly terrific.
berley chapter 1 . 11/7/2010
Dear angry man, you are a douche. Go pick up a dictionary. The End.

Now to your review:

I loved how creative and original this was. I would never in a million years think of something like this related to the prompt, but it totally works. Your descriptions are wonderful, and they painted a vivid and well…fucked up world that was filled with a wonderful story that I loved reading. I’m usually not that into animal stories, especially ones where the animals talk, but I really enjoyed how you switched the roles here. It was great.

Nice job, and best of luck in the WCC!
xenolith chapter 1 . 11/7/2010
arrgh I just typed out a long review and then accidentally deleted it! D:

Basically, I really liked the world of this piece, I thought it was ironic and weird. Would have liked more backstory about the girl, and less about the king and stuff at the beginning. But I can really see how it ties into the prompt, and I love how creative and different this is to everything else. There were a few lines that really threw me off, the part about ears bleeding and the scent making love to her nose, just too much, imho. But the ending really was good, the short sentences and vivid description, and just the suddeness of it. I thought she was going to turn into a dog, I honestly did. Or the King was going to turn into a human. So either way, wasn't expecting what happened!

Congrats on getting a piece out! Best of luck for the wcc :)
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