Reviews for Twilight of the Empress
TinfoilKnight chapter 1 . 5/8/2012
Badass battle sequence.

It was a long one, though, and I had a little trouble getting through it. I don't usually read hardcore sci-fi, so most of these terms flew right over my head (EMS? Plasma rockets? Help!) I guess the 'science' half of science fiction never was my thing. Anyway, the jargon and fancy terms was a little distracting, and made it hard to focus on the action.

J would've prefered just a sentence or two more at the and - how did the crew react?

Hey, nice job. Maybe I should read more hardcore sci-fi...
Lara Bykirk chapter 1 . 1/4/2012
First of all, I'm a huge fan of good old-fashioned sci-fi, and so I'm really glad to see you writing this-there isn't that much of it on fictionpress! I think that this story (I'm assuming it's a one-shot) definitely has promise. You've clearly put a lot of thought into the plotting of the battle-it's hard to convincingly describe an engagement this long (I know, because I've tried and failed). And you've got the military tone down pat, complete with the complicated terminology and the military jargon. That goes a long way towards engulfing your reader into your world. I felt like a fly on the wall of the bridge, soaking the chaos of battle in even when I didn't understand every word that was said.

So, I was impressed by your plotting and your terminology. However, I think that at this stage in your revision process these strengths are also weaknesses of a sort. To be frank, I thought that this battle was too long. Even though different moves were being made by each of the players, halfway through I was getting exhausted by the constant action, without breaks for introspection, flashbacks, or even calmer moments. Similarly, by the end of your story the military terminology was a bit overwhelming. There was just too much technical language that wasn't imaginatively suggestive.

I think a really good route for you to go would be to focus in your revisions on making your characters stronger. That would help with the pacing of your story, but it would also go a long way in giving your story more of an emotional punch. Right now, the glorious sacrifice of the crew of the Hunter doesn't really do anything for me, because I don't care about any of the characters. Jace is the most fleshed-out, and even for him all I know is that he's tremendously bright. If you could give me a better sense of who your characters are-what they're fighting for, what they hope for, what they fear, whether they regret their choices-then I'll be more moved at the end. I mean, you have a tremendously emotionally compelling scenario here; all you need to do is make the most of it.

As part of this, you might also flesh out the cultures of the Xanthians and the Aldarians. As I said before, you've got all the conventions of the sci-fi genre down pat, and that's a great thing; there's a greatness about being comfortable with the genre you're in. But I would like to see a bit more of what sets your world apart from the worlds that every other writer has dreamed up. It can be something small-some cultural quirk, or a particular kind of technology that your universe has-but there should be some details that let us know that we really are somewhere unique. I was intrigued by the names of your ships-they seemed unusual. Maybe thinking about why your culture have those particular ship-naming conventions would be a place to start?

In any case, I enjoyed reading this. Great start to your story!