Reviews for Hellfire Catharsis Book 1: Magnum Opus
Animel chapter 1 . 6/18/2012
Hello! I'm going to edit/review as I go along, so everything should be in order as I read it.

Right away I have to say I don't think this works as on opening line because "orange-haired youth" is a phrase that does not flow. If you're trying to go for a quick, short line to intro, it doesn't make sense to have it be one that is so staccato. Why not just "The redhead runs?" Brief, to the point, makes you want to read more instead of getting stuck from the get-go.

I would say [boiled down to its barest] to get rid of excessive words.

[Where he is, he *has no idea.]

[as fast as he *conceivably can, otherwise] You have an extra can in there.

Love the paragraph starting with [He curses].

I'd recommend spelling out six, to be more formal.

[He reaches the end of the street he *is on.]

[Enselm specialized] no need for himself.

[Had he delayed his jump...] this sentence is redundant and unnecessary. We already have all that information.

You have a tendency to over-explain the world you've created. For example, it seems unnatural for Marx to describe his rock magic. Try to show the reader instead of telling them. For example, when the sword goes through the ground, we can infer that he is subverting the natural laws of ground and rock without it being said explicitly.

Enselm is an interesting character. I think that plot is your strongest point and the writing style is the weakest link, but that's a good thing because that will improve with practice! So keep writing!
Dr. Self Destruct chapter 1 . 6/17/2012
Hello from the RH! :)

Let me first mention that I really enjoy the title of this book. Both the words hellfire and catharsis are very cool - they really caught my interest and it was the main reason why I decided to give it a try.

I like how you decided to tell this story in present tense. In my opinion it's not used enough, and I think it's a great choice when you have a story in the 'action' category so it makes things feel all the more "in the moment" and stuff like that.

I notice that sometimes your sentences can be a bit wordy with information that is already implied by the rest of the sentence. Sometimes these can be called 'word-dumps', mostly meaning a writer may try to toss onto the end of the sentence anything they think might be missing "just in case" the reader doesn't understand what's going on. It's best to drop those word-dumps so it doesn't effect the pace of the narration itself. Let me see if I can find you some examples to better explain what I'm saying:

[the unevenness of the cobblestone all meld together to paint the twisted scene [he runs through.]]

- the bracketed "He runs through" is unneeded since it's already implied he's running through it.

[He does not stop to catch his breath, even though he has been running for well over 6 hours without [the tiniest hint of a] break.]

- I don't think 'the tiniest hint of a' is needed since it's already implied that he hasn't slowed or taken a break. Also, any numbers under 100 are best spelled out unless it's going to serve a stylistic purpose; it looks more professional that way.

[He reaches the end of the street [he in on].]

- Although the bracketed 'in' should be 'is,' I think you can take out 'he is on' altogether since it's already implied from the rest of the text.

One more example...

[But only a few—ones like Enselm himself, can use it at a power level high to attack and alter the physical world [with it to a meaningful degree.]]

- The bracketed text isn't needed since it's already implied from the rest of the sentence. Also, you may want to turn the dash into a comma since it reads a little strangely with how you're going into an aside with a dash and coming out of it with a comma. You also need an 'enough' after 'high.'

I really like how you go into such detail about the sword, especially how it looks and what it's capable of. Normally I don't like an overload of description, but I think you're doing a great job only utilizing it in certain places where it matters most. Doing this makes it much more memorable for the reader and it sticks into their heads.

I think another thing that really stuck out to me was how you described the battle between Enselm and Marx. I really like how you compare it to a concert, bringing up the metaphor of violins and cellos, as well as them being like conductors. I thought that created a really nice image, and it also appealed to my sense of sound as well, helping with the immersion.
Kharmaoftherainbow chapter 1 . 6/17/2012
Your opening definitely drew me in. The simple statement - and then the explanation of why that simple statement was really the only way to say it - was absolutely marvelous.

Overall you seem to be very strong with timing for the most part. Your story goes up and down where it should, and it's paced very naturally. The only thing I'd suggest maybe doing is re-wording or relocating some of your explanations of the things your characters are using. The Latin derivation of the Acies, for example, was a tad unnecessary.

I do enjoy that you've thrust the reader directly into the conflict and there's really no going back. It makes the reader empathize to a large extent with Enselm.

Again, my only iffyness with dialogue was your inclusion of explanation. On the one hand you do have to let the reader know what the fuck is going on, but on the other hand, you don't need to do it in such a way that it makes your dialogue hella awkward, you know? I'd take a look at other ways to incorporate your explanations.