Reviews for In Dust and Blood
Nesasio chapter 1 . 3/6/2011
He was exhausted, to the point where his tongue was thick and fuzzy from dehydration...

-The comma doesn't seem necessary.

They were dressed slightly differently to account for the encroaching desert...

-This description seems strange and I'm not really sure why. I assume the 'different' is meant to be different compared to Cam? I'm not sure on 'encroaching' either because to this point it hasn't really been made clear that they're that close to the desert, plus encroaching implies a foothold/invasion rather than the bordering position I thought this was going for. This could just be my incorrect interpretation, though. :) I will say that 'account for' probably isn't the best word choice, though. Something like 'accommodate' or 'something better suited for the desert'.

...or, if they were...

-I think you meant 'there' here, but I'm not sure

...but then he also had no friends here, either.

-With the 'also', the 'either' feels unnecessary.

The innkeeper slid small key onto the desk...

-'slid a'

Even half-Vaariki were sure to be locals...

-I'm not sure what this means.

...he would have collapsed on the stairs, unable to pull himself any further up the staircase.

-Personal preference: 'up the staircase' doesn't really need to be here since it's obvious he's climbing the stairs already.

...decided to change course...

-Technically speaking, 'course' refers to direction rather than rate.

...the headache receded, leaving only a throbbing but manageable headache in its wake.

-Should change one of the 'headache's

One last thing. When the innkeeper hands him the key, he says its to room 6 over the kitchen and Cam, of course, goes upstairs looking for room 6 but goes into room 5. That's all well and good, but he stays in room 5 like it's his own and it's suddenly over the kitchen. It makes sense that he would stay in that room given the ward he just cast, but then it also makes sense that he'd rush into the first available room, but they apparently aren't the same room. That should probably be clarified.

I like this! You've got great description of setting and a lot of mystery woven into this first chapter. You left many things unsaid/unexplained but for the most part it wasn't confusing. Subtlety like that is hard to come by and quite refreshing as a result. The ending was also really good. I'll definitely have to check out the rest of this sometime.
guppylove chapter 1 . 2/1/2011
This is a very good read.

I like the single character point of view.

It's what I am looking for in understanding character and pacing.
Tawny Owl chapter 2 . 1/13/2011
"You're tired. I'm not unreasonable. Please, sit down." Ahh, a gentleman demon hunter. Even from the first few lines I think you have the two of them contrasted nicely.

His eyes didn't leave the other man. – This I bugging me and I’m not sure if it’s because it doesn’t add anything to the scene (because Cam would hardly be daydreaming out the window would he?) Or that it’s almost a clichéd way of saying it.

And, just in case, but a moment too late to really mean it: "My lord." He sort of did the same thing at the end of the last chapter, so we know what game he’s playing. Maybe show rather than tell, make him shift in his seat, or show off his gun a bit more. Something so the insolent pause can be felt.

"Your assistance." Excellent! Have them teaming up sounds close to perfect.

Even as Valben looked that way, Cam was full of unwelcome awareness of the brand that the capital had put on him. A broken branch, for treason, the skin still vaguely raised but at least no longer puckering from the injury. It had been only a few weeks since the revolution had failed. He had almost begun to forget about the mark he bore, but now it all came rushing back, in a wash of fresh discomfort. - This is good too. You didn’t feel the need to jump all that in straight off, and the timing of introducing it now feels accurate. Thank you for that.

, Ser Kallas. – curious about this name too, but have no objection to waiting.

Valben raised a blond brow – nice trickling of information again. I can’t remember if you’ve told us this already, but it’s been long enough that I’ve forgotten, so it’s good you aren’t reminding us every five minutes.

Hawk at rest – nice. If his clothes are common though surely he wouldn’t care that they are getting dirty. The fact that you have to point out they’re common implies he has a swanky set stashed somewhere else. Lovely way for the proposition to be delivered though. I enjoyed that.

I was surprised there was a painting at the inn. It seemed like a bare bones kind of place before. I know you say it looks sloppy, but I didn’t even be thinking they’d bother with that.

The talking to the portrait was amusing though.

He'd agreed to the plan, however warily and largely unknowingly, and a man's word was his bond. – this feels a bit like repetition too, but I suspect it’s needed because the implication is that Cam has agreed to more than he’d bargained for.

So Ser is a title, like mister? Again, I love that you’ve used it without bothering to explain it. Wondering if that’s some of the Gene Wolfe influence too?

the other figure cast no shadow, but he had become used to it by now – This is a good thing to tell us about the character. I feel like I want to know more about how you can get used to it though. Does he know longer look at the places where the shadow should be? Plus the fact that he had to get used to it implies that Valben was kind of scared of him to begin with?

Enjoyed the tactile description of the Duchess too. And the hints about Cam’s brother.

Here I am, relying on a half-breed felon with abilities I could never duplicate in all my studies, - this needs to be in italics, I think.

one keeping watch and the others beginning to doze. (as)

Liked the first exchange of dialogue. I think it tells us all we need to know about Sepp. I was disappointed not to find out more about the war though.

Eddard shrugged, holding up his hands in a gesture of defeat. – he’ snot lying down then? I presumed he was in a bedroll or something, trying to sleep.
Tawny Owl chapter 1 . 1/12/2011
Cracking, opening line. Seriously. Cracking. I think the second sentence needs work though. It reads a bit odd.

Love the name of the Lady’s Hand though. At first I thought it was a bar, but then I woke up and it clicked. Lovely mix of elegance and terror in that image in that context.

I got lost in the geography, but I normally do. (I’m a girl and blame that for the fact I can’t read a map). I’m not sure I know exactly where everything is and what it means, but you made sure we knew why he was going there though, and keeping it in a context really helps.

Cam got in to the bar just in time as well. After the start I was expecting it to happen much quicker. That’s just an opinion though as I have a really short attention span too.

Nice details to make it feel real too – the cloth over his face was a nice touch. Conjures up that gritty western landscape.

They were dressed slightly differently to account for the encroaching desert, in lighter colors and looser clothing. – With this I’d concentrate more on the showing than telling. I think you’ve given us enough clues that he’s in the desert so look at what they are wearing and how it works. Is there a piece of clothing that would be strange to him, or to the reader that you can sneak in to build on the good work of the scarf across his face?

Nothing seemed to be out of place, and no threat seemed to be lurking. – Nice touch. You’re building up a guy who is used to hiding and living on the edges.

Focusing on the pistol for a moment. We’re in an interesting fantasy place because it’s not typically elves and goblins. Is there anything about the pistol we need to know that can reflect on the wider culture/technology, or is it a standard colt, western film pistol? (And by pointing that out I’ve just realised what a hypocrite I am, thank you.)

And taking a wild leap into the dark here because I don’t know much about it…are a pistol and a revolver technically the same thing? Or are there differences you need to be aware of?

Love the idea of him rasping his order over the bar too.

You wanted pointers on consistency of voice, so, I think you’ve lost it a bit here. It started of really strong and I got an instant image of a guy who was in trouble, but used to it and had quite a dry sense of humour. It’s been gradually fading into the background since then, and then pings back with his reaction to the gin, which was great. Maybe try having him comment on things more? Give him more opinions on his world and situation, um, that’s all I got. Sorry.

least of all a girl whose name he didn't know. – A dubious drifter with morals. Intriguing.

The barmaid didn't suspect a thing – I don’t think you need this. We know Cam’s motivation and her enthusiasm to take the hook is enough.

Intrigued they dared crossing the boarder, presumably for Cam too. Nice timing. Maybe use the barmaid to tell us more about the Lady’s Hand too. Is she scared of them? Or are they just gossip to her?

Enjoying Cam’s dialogue too. It fits with the image I have in my head.

Blood too, interesting. Has there also been a pain he was aware of? Or have I missed all that because I was reading too quick?

Nice description of the snake uncoiling. The idea of willworking is good too. Looking forward to seeing that explored.

I think Lord Margrave’s entrance could be a bit more dramatic though. Maybe it was the introduction of the sentence with ‘And’. I’m not sure. It felt like it should have been more sudden? I’m also not sure you needed to describe the room in that much detail, it slowed things down a bit.

Again though, cracking last line. Mostly because of what it implies about Cam. I’m sure you never told us what his other half was.
thewhimsicalbard chapter 1 . 1/9/2011
"... a surprisingly well stocked baron" doesn't really make sense (although it did make me smile for a minute and think of barons and deserts in the introductory chapters of one of the great sci-fi novels of all time); I'm pretty sure you meant "well stocked bar on".

I would have liked it if you pointed out how the locals reacted to him, or if they did at all. However, you didn't even mention it.

Your magic is well-named and interesting in description. I found myself enjoying it rather particularly.

However, I didn't find myself immediately attracted to your character. He's too stereotypical; no details truly set him apart from anyone else who fits the Typical Male Fantasy Hero archetype. When you go back to revise this chapter, tell me more about him. The mystery about his immediate past is well conceived and condonable, but you have to show your readers more intimate details about his character early on to make him jump off the page, especially his imperfections.

I would suggest a small interaction, one that doesn't depend on a non-permanent aspect of his character (I say this because there are only two things that guide your character's decisions in this chapter - the fact that he is being pursued and the fact that he is extraordinarily tired). Let us know something about him. Does he have a small quirk that makes him different? Maybe he hates the color green. Maybe he has a nose twitch that indicates the presence of another willworker. You know what I'm talking about?

The only construction note I would like to make is that you have a habit of repeating words, i.e. the last paragraph: you say that Margrave (cliche name for an enemy, by the way; it meet both qualifications - it starts with the letter "m" and it has a reference to death in it) is a noble twice. We got it the first time, I promise. If the reader can't see that, he probably shouldn't be reading your story.

I'm going to be much more interested in this story as your main character continues to develop. I hope to see more from you soon!

-Patrick
foreign-enemies22 chapter 1 . 1/9/2011
Firstly, I love the title. It grabbed me instantly because I had to know what the two had to do with one another.

Secondly, I like your style. There's suspense along with the feeling that there is more than meets the eye. In other words, that something is being left out. It makes me want to know what that "something" is.

I thought it was witty and suspenseful and I would love to read more!