Reviews for Roads
VelvetyCheerio chapter 9 . 7/29/2012
Whoa, this was an intense chapter. I was hanging on every word!

I'm pretty sure that boy Sef drew pictures with was the boy-priest. XD I like how the boy drew this masterpiece and Sef drew a sloppy man-shape picture, ahaha. It makes sense, though, when Sef heard those two men talking about how great the Acharya was in just about everything.

Or maybe they aren't the same person. Hmm. But if they are, what was the boy doing just sitting in the dirt drawing pictures for? Maybe he got tired of living in a temple or something and ran off. I think it'll be very interesting seeing the way Sef reacts when he learns the true identity of the Acharya.

Yeah, now I really want Sef and his group to get out of this city. It's way too dangerous right now. Also, what are these things that Al-Ahrs keeps giving to Malak? I want to think it's that fire powder or whatever, but I wonder if it's something else. I'd love to see him use one of these things at some point.

I really enjoyed this chapter. Good work! I can't wait to read more. :)

Velvet.
VelvetyCheerio chapter 8 . 7/29/2012
Oh, poor Sef, so confused. XD It's just so funny watching him try to figure out why Malak is judging him. I think that's what makes the content of the chapters so exciting. It's that despite Sef being in a very adult situation, he still thinks and acts like a child at times. He still likes to run around and he's not always sure of himself, but I think if the story was told from the point of view of Ibn-Altajr, or Al-Ahrs, it wouldn't be quite as special. There's just something fun about seeing adventure through the eyes of a young child.

[but understood the guesture.] *gesture

That line of, whatever it was, was pretty whoa! o: It definitely gives credit to the historical aspect of the setting, but it threw me off for a moment.

The world-building here is well thought out and I like the idea of this Raja being very suspicious. Especially with all these ifrits and ghuls lurking around in the sands.

[said that great rulers know how what power] "know not"

[His eyes would slowly become heavy with sleep but he refused to rest,] This sentence read a little awkward to me, simply because it felt like it was talking about something that was *going* to happen, rather than something that *was* happening. I think if you took out the word "would" or changed it to "were", the sentence would sound better.

I'm glad their group was able to get inside the city. Hopefully they'll be able to get okay. Hopefully those stones aren't taken from them! There's a scary thought.

Velvet.
VelvetyCheerio chapter 7 . 7/29/2012
Ahah, I loved how this chapter opened with Sef's father teaching Malak multiplication. XD The fact that they are both out of their element is what lends these scenes such hilariousness, I think. Also the exasperation from Sef's dad, haha.

I'm glad the ifrit were explained, but that arrowhead thing was strange. I wonder if it was a rocket, or maybe it really was some sort of weapon sent from the heavens.

[he could see the whit streak] *white

I had a feeling Msyr was appearing to Malak as well. At least Sef isn't totally alone in his visions/dreams! Now maybe they can get back to being friends, haha!

I'm intrigued with the mention of this boy-priest. I was feeling pretty confident about the adults in the past few chapters, but now I'm getting worried again. D: I hope they don't get injured. Or worse! Aah, what if they get separated from their fathers? Oh man, I need to stop freaking myself out. xD

I hope that doesn't happen. ._. The plot is getting very exciting. I was very impressed with the ending scene, too. The description was great, and I could almost feel what they were feeling in those last few moments.

Velvet.
VelvetyCheerio chapter 6 . 7/29/2012
Oh, no, Sef! XD I feel bad for him, but it was kinda funny that the arrow went backwards, haha. Aww, poor guy.

This chapter was very interesting. These laswrd stones... I wonder what Sef's father will do with them. What I think is even more interesting is whether or not Sef's father usually ends up getting these types of things on his travels. This just raises so many questions, and it makes me worry that they'll encounter more bad spirits as they continue their travels.

The stones seem pretty mysterious, though. I wonder if they have any special properties.

At the same time that I feel bad for Sef and his archery skills, I like how he was given the opportunity. I also really liked the way Malak took the news.

["Father! I do not want to train with him!"] XD I didn't think he was still mad, but I guess he really is.

I think it's unfortunate that they aren't on speaking terms, but it's also realistic at their ages. It takes a couple of days to come back after a pretty big slip-up like Sef had. It's nice that Malak has this side to him, though. I think it's important to see characters act differently, especially when they're angry or holding a grudge.

Good chapter. I really want to see Sef succeed at this, so I hope he keeps trying.

Velvet.
VelvetyCheerio chapter 5 . 7/24/2012
Poor Sef. He's got some Fate to live up to.

I will admit that I was not as impressed with this chapter as I was with the others. I think things were good up until the appearance of the giant, or whatever it was. After the Ghuls attacking them in the last chapter, it felt a little strange for them to be attacked again by something different. Like, are they carrying something on them that is drawing these creatures out?

It just felt like the introduction of this new monster was too early and probably could have waited.

[So must have run into these creatures] *he

[but Allah only gave the people and the ǧinn have their own freedom and power.] I don't know exactly what was going to be said here.

I like that Msyr has returned to the field. She definitely seems to be on Sef's side and I wonder if he is actually someone very important, or if she is just able to be in a lot of places at once. It makes me wonder if she appears to Malak as well. Either way, I like her presence in the story. She's a good guide and a wiser teacher.

I think I'll stop here for tonight, but I'll be back to see how the rest of their travels go. I really hope Sef is wrong about how Malak feels, because they were pretty cool friends, but eh, I'll find out soon enough.

Velvet.
VelvetyCheerio chapter 4 . 7/24/2012
O_O" Whoa, that was, unexpected. I suppose I should have, one of the sub-genres is supernatural. Hah, but whoa! These Ghul things are, well, they sound terrifying. At first I thought the hyena was going to turn into a man, but no, it just became something even worse. XD

I'm really hoping more will be explained in the next chapter about these Ghuls. I hope Malak doesn't stay mad at Sef for long, though.

[But the creature leapt out of the way just as a scorpion's tail springs to attack.] Pointing out this sentence because I'm curious about the tense. Most of the time the story is in past tense, but sometimes I'll notice a sentence or two slip into present tense, or the structure will just look awkward.

There was one in the last chapter, but it was too ambiguous to mention so I just left it, but this one makes me wonder.

[it's head was pierced by] It's should be its.

I feel bad for Sef, though. Poor kid. :[ Hopefully he'll find time to learn how to use a bow and arrow.
VelvetyCheerio chapter 3 . 7/24/2012
Aww, this chapter ended on a rather mellow note. While the story is interesting, I think that is one thing that strikes me as a little disappointing: that the chapters don't always end with a hook, or something that would make me excited about the next chapter. Not to say that the story is boring; the story is fun and I enjoy Sef's experiences, but I have to rely on the bulk of the chapter to make me want to read to the next chapter rather than something at the end luring me onwards.

Other than that, I think you've really created a sense of wonder using real cities and native language and traditions. You've done excellent research, and I suppose I'll always be a bit astounded by how immersive this story is.

The game of tag between Sef and Malak was actually pretty funny, XD. I liked how Sef kept using Malak's forehead as a tagging spot. I think the sense of being a child but wanting to desperately be an adult is conveyed very well. I'm glad Sef can still enjoy his childhood even as he learns how to grow.

[The stars began to spin around the moon, creating circles of jade in the black sky. He and his caravan immediately fell asleep and woke up outside the Alexandria city gates.] Also, aliens? XD I just thought that was hilarious. Perhaps people believed in alien abductions back then too, haha.

[and Sayiid al-Ahrs and they said] The "Sayyid" part also wasn't italicized.

Well, I hope everything turns out all right for this group. Hopefully there won't be any nighttime bandits. D: I'm just so worried at this point that something bad is going to happen to the adults. ._.

Fun chapter, I enjoyed it. :)

Velvet.
VelvetyCheerio chapter 2 . 7/24/2012
Oh my gosh, when you used the city of Merv, I was like, what? Merv is a real city! XD Because you see, in my own story, I have created a city called Merv, but I just thought I was making it up by combining a bunch of random letters. :\ Well, this is awkward. I might end up changing it, ahah.

I really like Sef's creativity, haha! This really has a "One Thousand and One Nights" feel to it, for me. It's almost surreal the way it reads. I haven't caught a story like this on FP in a while, but I absolutely love the voice. It's easy to get immersed in this type of storytelling.

But again on Sef. The scene with the sword was just clever. I was feeling pretty amped up for him. I thought he might get his finger cut off for pointing. D: At the very least, his Fate is happening as it should.

Also, hah, this is probably just because I came back to the story after a while, but when Sef tries to remember why Msyr told him and couldn't, I also felt completely lost. Which, I'll give you props for that. Now I feel about as clueless as Sef. XD

With al-Ahrs at their command, I don't think anything will happen to Sef's father, now. I could be completely wrong, but to have a mercenary at hand must be some form of good luck.

Aah, something I must ask before I forget, when you say that al-Ahrs wife's skin is the "color of almonds" do you mean the outside of the almond, or the inside? I've seen this type of description before, but it's never been clear to me exactly what color is being used. Just wondering.

Well, this chapter definitely makes me wonder what Sef and Malak will eventually get up to. The pacing is just right and keeps me interested.

Velvet.
VelvetyCheerio chapter 1 . 7/16/2012
Wow, this was a really exciting start. Actually, I really liked the first part of this story. It read sort of like a fable and I was drawn into it because of that. It did eventually transition into a more personal, third person style and I thought it was done seamlessly. Intentional or not, you did a wonderful job of it.

I will point out a few mistakes before I forget where they are:

[by the shear number of houses but] shear should be sheer

["What happens I don't come here?] Missing the word "if", I believe. Or at least, that's what my brain thought would go there.

[It was the reassure trove of trade,] I think it should be "treasure trove", but you can correct me if you had a different intention there.

["But that is a man's name," his nose wrinkled in confusion.] This one I wouldn't really say is a mistake, simply because of the way you use dialogue tags, but I wonder if "his nose wrinkled in confusion" would work better as the start of the sentence. I don't know. It just looks awkward, but eh, it doesn't take away from the story, so it's more a personal thing.

I am curious about the language. I actually read your profile and I think it's really cool your doing all this research. It definitely gives the story a more authentic feel to it and I like the titles. "Sayyid"-does that mean Shepherd? I'm definitely a fan of this story already, though, simply because there aren't enough of stories that deal with culture.

The vision Sef had was very interesting. I'm actually really worried for his dad. Something tells me that underselling the number of arrows or just, something, haha! I feel like his dad is going to get in trouble with the wrong type of people soon and it's going to come back to bite him viciously. I also think this because Sef's vision didn't involve his dad, so, some foreshadowing there.

Also, the story Fate told him was very cool, in my opinion. I think it's the types of tales that don't have a definite ending that are the best. It makes me wonder what Sef's fate will be in the end.

Again, very exciting start. I hope to continue reading in the future. ;)

Velvet.
Skyward Ending chapter 1 . 6/7/2012
Hm. I liked the setting very much-I have yet to have seen another story set anywhere but a fantasy or Western world. However, there were a couple tense issues throughout, particularly in the beginning, and word confusion here and there. Doesn't the Qur'ran more or less forbid alcohol?

I think you could've shown more than told. I felt there wasn't as much description as there could've been, especially with the setting. There was a sense of redundancy in the beginning about his sleepiness. Also, shouldn't he have questioned what female voice had woken him up?

But yeah. Interesting.
The Autumn Queen chapter 1 . 6/4/2012
I love the quote you started with. Nice beginning, especially seeing as how it relates to the summary. I also like the detail of description you've put up. Not sharp and plain like I'm accustomed to seeing on this site but not overly heavy either. Enough to witness the action but also to enjoy the description. That's a hard balance to achieve and I think you've done it well.

Sounds like an arab village. Old style Saudi Arabia or Egypt or something. That would explain the pronounciations, although admittedly I didn't pick it up until the Sayyid and the Ibn. Perhaps you should specify that a little; it's not the first place people's minds jump to when you say 'desert' setting.

""Are you being polite?" His mother asked eagerly." - should be a lower-case "His" I think there. Although this is rather long, so little things do get buried in there.

And the jade reminds me of china (The Dragonkeeper trilogy). Okay, now I'm getting a little confused.

And fate is Qismat in Arabic (the fus-ha anyway), so I'm assuming it's not Saudi Arabia. I think I wouldn't be having this problem if it wasn't for arabic. I suppose it could still be Egypt. Slang. I would like for you to specify that. The scenery seems rather exact and focused somewhere specific, and the section seems to reinforce that. I might get a little more understanding if I could apply background knowledge to the general scene rather than trying to guess.

I'm definitely reading the rest of this. Perhaps after exams...or now if I can manage it.
Devil's Playground chapter 7 . 12/26/2011
Nice opening scene here. I like the glimpse into Malak's studies, and how he seems to be struggling just as much as Sef is. I love how both boys are growing and learning, but they're sort of taking opposite paths; each one is learning something that comes so easily to the other. They're great complementary characters. Now if only they could get along and be friends again... :P

I like the conversation about ifrits as well, but it seemed to me that it cut short a little quickly. I think you could bulk up that scene a bit more, especially because it seems to be an important point.

Nice scene with the ifrit, and the mysterious arrowhead... thing. Very interesting that it's the first thing they've encountered thus far that they have no information about. If it's something so strange that neither of their fathers have heard about it, then... hmm, I don't even know. xD But it's daunting, since the two of them have seen and heard so much on their travels...

Whoo, Sef strung the bow - with some help, of course! And, wow, did not expect Malak to be behind that curtain. O_O Wow! It seems there really is a tie between the two of them, stronger than they think. I love the descriptions of the "fire within their hearts" and the rest of that, it's verrrry vivid and beautifully written.

Wow, wow. So the purpose of these dreams is finally coming together... I'm excited to see what the boys make of this prophecy/omen!

Edits:

His father never told him about what they did to prisoners but that did not mean his friends knew from their fathers. - This sentence doesn't really make sense.

One boy said that the guards force prisoners to drink urine until your skin turns yellow. - should be 'until their skins turn yellow'

Horses were reserved for military or messengers, but horses were still an uncommon sight. - I don't understand why 'but' is used here.

the whit streak matching up exactly - whit should be white

"And was this fire red like the morning sun or white like the pale moon." - should end in a question mark.
Devil's Playground chapter 6 . 12/21/2011
After chapters of intense action, it was nice to have a calm one as they continue on their journey. And despite the rather slow pacing and lack of real "action," it was definitely still interesting. Great descriptions of the city, and I love Sef's father's warning not to be so friendly! xD

The interactions with various traders were also interesting... even with Sef on the verge of falling asleep! :P Poor little Sef. As hard as he tries to be a man, his weaknesses and childish side keep holding him back in moments like these. I like that he woke up for the laswrd stones though... great imagery there, as well.

And the conversation Sef overheard is very interesting as well. I like the idea that the times are changing and this is sort of a dying age... as well as the idea that while Sef may value being a warrior, the skills learned by the son of a merchant are equally important.

It's sad to see how drastically the relationship between Sef and Malak has changed, so that Malak doesn't even want to train with him. D: Just when poor Sef had someone his own age to be around... siiigh. I hope they can become friends again.

I love the exchange of proverbs between Sef and his father - and the way you use them throughout the entire story, too. It's a clever way to show more of the culture, and fits in the dialogue naturally.

Oh man, I literally tensed up as Malak came to watch him shoot the arrow... and then cringed as he failed. Poor Sef. Dx I love the line "He could hear Malak's laughter even though he was completely silent," brutal as it is, heh.

Edits:

He even had the chance to hold the reins of the caravan, which was something only the men could do on the caravan - you repeat "caravan" here, I would change one

"are we almost finished? I want to go to the inn."

tied it to a post nearby, and took post nearby. - you repeat "post"

"Did you get flafl[?]" Sef asked energetically.

"Thank you Baba[,] but I want to learn."
Devil's Playground chapter 5 . 12/18/2011
Great opening paragraphs. I love the repetition of "shame on..." at the end of each one, and how you describe all the various levels of his shame. It really shows how deep that shame goes, and that he feels that it even reflects badly on his father. You capture the intensity of the emotion really well.

This thing shouted something that he could understand roughly sans a few words. - It feels strange for you to say this but yet not translate what it says; I would have liked to find out!

I like the encounter with the ginn. Great description there, and I love that the further they go on the road the more the fantastical elements of this story come out. I also really like how unique these creatures are to the culture you're writing about.

The dream sequence is well done, too. You effectively capture that strange, dreamlike state where everything is not-quite-right but it's hard to put your finger on exactly what it is. And his conversation with Msyr was very intriguing, some interesting foreshadowing there. You're great at building up tension like that, I can't wait to see what happens next!

Edits:

It has been a day since Malak and Sef spoke. - Should be "it had been a day"

He could not look at him because he was shameful. - I think "ashamed" fits better than "shameful" here.

"What was that thing father?" - Should have a comma after "thing"

It was said that the ǧinn have a world next to Earth in the same way an island is next to another island. The water that separates these two worlds is beyond measurement and no man knows how to build a boat that can traverse the distance.

But not all ǧinn are not evil or mischievous. Some people are very evil and some people are very good, the same applies to the ǧinn according to his father. - This should all be in past tense

When he passed under the third arch there was a fog that entered his vision. - A bit of excessive wordiness here; could be cut down to just "When he passed under the third arch, fog entered his vision."

"Sef, there is something for you behind this curtain but you cannot draw the curtain." - I don't think you need the repetition of "curtain"
Devil's Playground chapter 4 . 12/16/2011
I like the conversation about heroes you open with, and the comparison to being bitten by a snake as a nice callback to the last chapter.

His lie trailed him like a snake in the sand which bit him in the leg. - I love this line! I think you could cut out "in the sand" though, sounds more concise.

And oh wow, what a great fight scene! I love this - probably my favorite chapter so far. You write action really well, it has just the right balance of detail while still keeping up a fast pace. I really loved the description of the hyena changing into a demon, and how its cries sounded oddly human; great description there, and very creepy.

This seems like a very important chapter for Sef's character development... his world was just turned on its head, the poor boy. Not only does he have to deal with the realization that the stories he's heard are real, but he has to face the fact that he's not as grown-up as he'd like to be... and had to learn it in a very harsh way, too. I think you did a great job capturing the various emotions playing through his head when he couldn't use the bow - especially the shame, and how he feels out of place among the others now. I feel bad for poor Sef. He's mature for his age, but still just a kid. I can imagine this incident will drive him to change, though.

One edit: Who is he to deny his birthright? - Sounds strange having this in present tense.
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