Reviews for Dulce Bellum Inexpertis
A Fire Rose chapter 2 . 12/22/2013
Hi again! So is Calyx a teenager, a boy, or some other age range? Not sure if "learnt" is a word. The line about how Rayne occasionally "snatched a purse off woman (women?)" or "some jewelry off a story" is rather confusing. I would think that a woman would react and cause a stir, and did she go in the store, or reach into a kiosk? Did she lose these things to the guards, or was the one too busy being creepy to take the stuff back? Nevermind, she answered!
A Fire Rose chapter 1 . 12/22/2013
Hey, there! Sorry for my hiatus on here. So the first thing I want to point out is when you mention in the beginning that the characters are fighting, it's very vague. I was picturing fists, but by the dismemberment, maybe it was swords instead? Oh, now I see the mention of the sword. Maybe mention the glint of the metal or the clashing sound of the blades? I like the imagery in the lake. And the sentence "we have known each other since children" seems to be missing a word. This is going to be a stupid question, but I assume these guys aren't literal lions? And you mentioned that Parker was the guy Arrow had been fighting, but I think it was already clear :-) What did Arrow pull herself up by after slaying the snake? Thank you for the background history! Is "leant" a word? I thought it was "leaned." Wait, how did her brother go from leaving the wagon to dead in the desert? And I think it is "your family is at peace" instead of "are." The background story was what got me really interested in the rest of the story. Nice start! I posted a new story myself, and I'll be back here to read more chapters of yours!
Sombrette chapter 1 . 10/7/2013
Sorry for returning this so late!

So I was a little lost near the beginning. When the character walks away from the scene of the dead bandits -

[arms wrapped around herself as she stared into its flames.

Men, she thought, are worth shit when it comes to fighting.

Arrow glanced behind her at the men, letting out a sigh as they joked and chatted to each other. She returned her attention to the road ahead, unable to resist the smile that appeared on her lips as they approached the city. She urged her horse forward] - It was a bit disorienting. I almost feel like there was meant to be a separation line or something to indicate a scene change, because one moment she's sitting by the fire and the next she's on a horse approaching a city with nothing leading up to it. Perhaps adding a line, or even some sort of decorative scene heading (forgot what they're called) for example oOo, would help show is there is meant to be a shift in scene. The same goes for the scene with her going back up to the castle right after fighting the snake, then the story jerks back ten years in the next paragraph. Some indication between would make it read better.

[A few of the Lions ran towards her, standing in formation around her as the snake lunged towards her.] - 'towards her' twice in the same sentence is a bit repetitive, maybe 'lunged at her' or something like that would be better.

[meet with another tribe for {these} girls to marry.] - Slipped into present tense here, 'the girls' perhaps.

I think one issue I'm having with this chapter is the lack of description on the characters and the setting. There were times when I was waiting for something to be described, and it wasn't. Like for instance, when she started fighting Parker in the water. That has to be an awkward thing, fighting around in water even though it's shallow. I kept waiting for things to be mentioned like her boots were soaked or her pants, or something like that.

I felt like this was not necessarily moving too fast, but overlooking things in order to keep the story going. There were a few times I had to re-read something because I wasn't sure what I was supposed to be seeing. Like when Rayne peeked out of the wagon and looked at her father. The way it's written made me initially think the chief was her father, but after re-reading I realized he wasn't. Appearances, like Pine, I was wondering what she looked like, and Arrow too, well all of them really lol I think you can add in a few details. Not saying to describe everything about the characters, but maybe small things that make them distinguishable. Like Parker could have a overly large chin, Calyx might have a face only a mother could love. Arrow with an ever present scowl... Just small quirks that give us something to picture and link to them.

So, yeah, I just think some more detail on the people and setting would add to this a lot. I do think it's an interesting start though. At first I was thinking it's just a typical fantasy-ish setting, but when the tribes were mentioned, that made me think otherwise. I'm curious about those. Ares and Athena, so mythology is brought in and I wonder how that ties into all this. I really love it when people add elements of Greek Myths so I'm curious to their culture as well. And since those two are the god/goddess of war it makes me think people born to those tribes are meant to be warriors maybe? Rayne... I thought she was a younger Arrow, but then I remembered the summary so I could be wrong and she might be someone else entirely haha. I also thought the names were pretty unique too, Arrow, Pine, Calyx, I liked them. Pine for some reason more then the others, never heard that as a name lol

Anyway, minus the detail thing, this is a nice start, intriguing too with the god tribes. Hope some of this was helpful!
Anihyr Moonstar chapter 1 . 12/9/2012
Ahhh, so, a lot going on here. Plenty of things to compliment but also a couple critiques. I'll start with a few positives.

I really like your character Arrow. While I would have liked it a little more if the men weren't *all* shown to be completely incompetent compared to her (to me that seems to be overdoing it a bit and tiptoeing along the line of Mary Sue), I do like the idea of a headstrong woman with a point to prove and I think you bring that out really well. She's got a lot of good moments and is very likable.

["I panicked." / "Well next time, don't."] Just an awesome line all in all. [Men, she thought, are worth shit when it comes to fighting.] An awesome example of the typical sexist remark flipped on it's end - though it still strikes me as sexist against men. ;)

I like Arrow and the Queen's relationship, it's friendly and open, and yet, I think the fact that Arrow still calls her "Your Majesty" is an important clue into Arrow's character.

Some critiques: I think you overused dialogue tags *especially* in that first paragraph - "she hissed" "she growled" "she snapped" - they're just everywhere. In general, we already know who's talking, and how she's saying it should be more or less obvious from what she's saying alone, without the tags. While I don't agree with the "only use 'said', ever - no exceptions" party, I do think that says/said should be used the majority of the time, with other types of tags used as sparingly as possible.

As I said, I feel like Arrow's competence is a little bit too exaggerated for my taste. I like a strong heroine, but I want her to feel real, too. Give her some real competition, otherwise she can't really be tested properly, can she? :)

And finally, I felt like the transition to the past with Rayne was very sudden and made me a bit off-balance. I'd do something to break it up; whatever works best for you, but as it is the jump is just sort of like walking along a path through a jungle and then suddenly BAM whoops, I'm in tundra, when did this happen?

Really, though, I think this is a good story so far with a whole pile of potential. :)

- Moonstar
Guest chapter 1 . 12/2/2012
Mistval chapter 11 . 11/8/2012
Ah I knew Flood really was looking out for him! I can't find a ton to say about this chapter but I liked it and thought it was written very smoothly. One thing I'd say is that although the pirates had some scars and stuff they didn't strike me as very gruff or piraty because they were so nice to Jackson.
Mistval chapter 10 . 10/27/2012
This chapter answers a lot of questions, and creates a lot more too! As always, I like the amount of care you put into framing the dialogue with what's going on during it, for example: "as he dipped his spoon into his bowl." and "as her eyes dropped to the fire", etc. I also liked the story of the two undeads or whatever they are I think that the way you interwove the flashback into the story was perfect. I still think sticking to one POV group per chapter was definitely a good idea, also. In my opinion the story keeps getting better and better :D
The Autumn Queen chapter 20 . 9/16/2012

ackson carried on his journey] - I take it that page-break shouldn't be there.

I don't quite like the placement here because I think most of this chapter should have been a couple of chapters ago; while it is important, having it after he's already met Rayne makes it a tad counterproductive.

I liked the scene where Jackson meets the old high priestess because once again it relates back to the concept of the Gods - and quite interestingly too, useless but not quite foresaken, it almost paints the Gods as a child. Very interesting.

Ohana from the review marathon (link in profile)
The Autumn Queen chapter 19 . 9/16/2012
[After the first hour of trekking through the desert, ] - I think you need a break before this line.

I, once again, like how you bring out the different tribes as it shows many smaller worlds contained within a larger one; little subtle differences influencing different relationships and ways of life. It really shows the effort you've put into building up this world.

I'm hopeless at names. No opinion here. But Arrow and Talon sure sound related. :)

I rather like the ending too actually; while it's a tad irritating to find family ties so screwed up, the way you've written it shows a rather interesting relationship. Not necessarily father/daughter by conventional means I suppose - it could simply be they were close for some reason or other and thus Chief Talon calls Arrow her daughter, but the relationship itself reminds me of Jasmine and Doom's in Deltora Quest.
The Autumn Queen chapter 18 . 9/16/2012
I like how Jackson wasn't the first visitor because it shows a little more of Rayne's insecurity and oddity in such a role, a little element of real life flipped on its head so to speak. On the other hand, I find her meeting with Jackson a little hasty because, while she has had a little more time to get adjusted and she knows what to expect, she seems a little /too/ adjusted to the role and her task - she claimed not to understand the previous time after all. I don't know; I think perhaps you could have flushed that out a little.
The Autumn Queen chapter 17 . 9/16/2012
I like the concept of prayer here because you show that, although the Gods play a rather minimal role, all things considered, in the regular lifestyle of people, it's something that cannot be really segregaed from them. Even if they refuse or stop believing, in times of desperation there's this over-arching (ad somewhat invisible) figure that's so integral it can't really be removed. What I don't particularly like is the battle because it seems to fade out of consequence quite rapidly, and having something that's usually so large a scale an removing one of the central minor characters in this arc fade so quickly is a tad disappointing.
The Autumn Queen chapter 16 . 9/16/2012
I like the tension you built up between Arrow's men and the escaped prisoners - you've got a fast-paced fight going but there's still enough time for emotion to simmer through, and that tension does a good job to reflect on the escaped prisoners from the previous scene. I also like how she got distracted by Calyx as it shows an additional layer to her forming relationship with him - I can't help but wonder if they'll wind up becoming emotionally involved in the future or she's simply starting to accept him into the people she mingles with in her usual lifestyle.
The Autumn Queen chapter 15 . 9/16/2012
I like the air of mystery you put about the High Priestress as it's a good indication to her line of work and also tells us a little more about inevitability and destiny and the dissatisfaction thereof in this world. I also like how Rayne reacts to the comfort of the temple because it provides a direct contrast to her life as a tribeswoman. What I don't like is a little of that end part with her magic because it starts getting into sexual references the way you've worded it, and her character somewhat contradicts that.
The Autumn Queen chapter 14 . 9/16/2012
I like the captain because, while he's a good strong character in not so many words, it contains an element of wisdom and depth and almost whimsicallness about him, so despite him being a relatively minor character, he's got a good image and frame about him.

I also like the dialogue of this chapter because it nicely brings out the concept of choice and destiny, and additionally links the main characters a little further. I also like how you've told us a little more about Cay's past and we're starting to learn a tad more about what sort of king was ruling before.
The Autumn Queen chapter 13 . 9/16/2012
Considering the context of your opening, I think you're mincing words with your first sentence. [The fear shone on his face as clear as sunlight] - I think it would be better if you just said "The fear on his face was like sunlight" . It brings a little more of that fear element into it, the sort of suspenseful quick-moving scene.

I also like how quickly you shifted the scene from awkwardness on Calyx's part to relaxation and laughter and a well-rounded easy time to tension and then worry/fear. Not too fast to make them hard to follow and not too slow in that it's effect is lost, but just fast enough to keep that suspense within, even in the happy moment in between.

I really like how you built up Calyx's hesitation because of how you had the differences between duty, cowardiance and emotion nicely balanced out. It made the scene the sort you can just dive into and really /feel/, and also believable.

Ohana from the review marathon (link in profile)
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