|Reviews for Dust and Shadows|
| Encore19 chapter 1 . 8/11/2020
Oh yeees slash! Awesome, I'm also a slash writer. On writing I will say I very much appreciate how proper this sounds, very much medieval and folksy language. I recently read an old French novel, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, and the style of speaking and narration is spot on. You also describe things well, whether it be Issavan's movements or the twigs and leaves in his hair after they were on the ground. For characters, obviously Issavan is the stand-out and I really like him. Kaleth is well understandable, naive but proper and dependable. Issavan is mischevious, sneaky and clever. The fact his true heritage is unknown and that he may be a witch makes him all the more interesting, and fits with how much power he has over Kaleth seduction-wise. On scene I liked the 'parrot' repetition joke because it was clever and funny. I liked the sexual tension there with Kaleth moving his hips cause that was well-done. I like how you described Kaleth's black hair as straight like daggers. When you mentioned the line "He'll think I bewitched you." I immediately was like 'oooooh' cause Issavan very well could have bewitched Kaleth. I say this as a slash writer myself who wrote a story where one boy does black magic on another to be loved and lusted after. I'll say that I don't consider this incest seeing as they're only brothers like, legally and socially. But the debauchery of it is necessary because of Kaleth's conflict, and that is more so refreshing than him being conflicted about homosexuality. I have no sexual or romantic attraction to any of my family members, unless we're going by Freud who may argue it's all subconscious, but a story is a story. I just read new ideas about fictional characters and enjoy. So lastly... The ending was good because we saw a definite change in that Kaleth admits to himself he's sexually attracted to Issa, and that partially he'd find it sexual to tie him up to a tree. Good job.
| Jinw chapter 5 . 4/18/2020
this was so well written, god i love it so so much. thank you for this
| Ishotthealbatross chapter 5 . 9/21/2015
Gosh, this was so intense...really amazing. Written beautifully :) I'd love to read more :D
| Ishotthealbatross chapter 3 . 9/21/2015
This chapter was incredible.
| Ishotthealbatross chapter 2 . 9/21/2015
what's going on? this is soo interesting!
| Ishotthealbatross chapter 1 . 9/21/2015
Love this :D
| Hedonistic Opportunist chapter 2 . 6/29/2015
Obviously I should learn to read the summary, because Issa was 'witch' all along but yeah. XD I don't really read summaries, and therefore, it's irrelevant XD. I'm a teensy bit tired, so I don't know how long this review will be, but w/e.
I'm beginning to really enjoy the plot of this story. I already enjoyed it in the past chapter, but you've fleshed out the world-building even more in this chapter. Firstly, you've confirmed that witchcraft exists, and secondly, you've more than implied that it's regarded as vile, evil and dirty. It's something of a sin and that intrigues. I obviously like all of this a lot, because it introduces a loooot of room for conflict and drama. Moreover, it also raises the question: is Issavan evil, or is he playing a role here to alienate Kaleth from himself? I think it's the latter, but I like that some sort of uncertainty remains here. Suspense always drives a story, and I like that you're not being entirely straightforward here. But yes: this story is really interesting in terms of plot, because it's more than just about pseudo-incest: it's about someone being punished for something that did save someone's life. I really am curious how you will take this further.
I feel that Issavan's characterisation just got more delicious. He's not only impish, but he sort of conveys a dangerous aura. I felt this most keenly when it grew apparent that his powers became apparent even to Kaleth, and he used/took advantage of Kaleth's tenderness towards him to bind him. I liked it, because it was genuinely mysterious and scary; I also thought it was beautiful, because it reminds me of LOTR and the way that elves are presented in Tolkien's verse/world. All in all, you are exploring the world of witchcraft very beautiful, painting it as both dangerous/mysterious but also seductive/beautiful. I like that, because it's sort of true to how magic is presented in TV/literature: it's something that is either beautiful or inherently dangerous. I did already say how it adds suspense to the plot, but I will say it again and expand it terms of Issavan's characterisation: I feel it makes him more interesting, and secretive. I am never sure what his motives are, and I really want to see how his mask will further creak during the course of the story.
I like Kaleth a lot :D I don't think he's as stupid as Issavan implies him to be; he's just more of a fellow who thinks more practically. Of course, as a hunter and someone who is very physical, he would dismiss anything outwordly. I also think he's still just caught in the constraints of what his society predicts to be true. In the light of this, I think you do a fantastic job of capturing his disbelief and slight fear; I like it, because natural acceptance would be unrealistic, but also a bit limiting. I feel that if he mistrusts Issa slightly it adds more conflict to the plot. Still, you do get the feeling that his love/desire for Issa hasn't changed the slightest, and the fact that he let himself be manipulated himself so much (that he drowned in the kiss) just shows how affected he is by Issa. Awww. I love that, because it just implies that he's a really sweet guy underneath it all.
Obviously, I love the romance in this story: it's very sensuous and more outright than in The God Slave. But it's also more mysterious and more of cat and mouse thing; you aren't sure what Issa is up to, and I actually fear for Kaleth. I'm afraid that Issavan will hurt him ): But I also love the excitement you present over Kaleth chasing Issa; I also like Issa plays Kaleth like a guitar and shows so much tenderness/affection while doing that. Despite what I said earlier, I don't think his intentions are malicious; I think he wouldn't let Kaleth chase after him if this was the case. If anything, I think he's doing it to protect Kaleth? Who knows XD
Whatever it is, I'm definitely enjoying this :3
| Hedonistic Opportunist chapter 1 . 6/29/2015
Hehe :D Hehehehehehehe :D (let me just stop going through the motions and write you a proper review but hehehehehehehehhe :D).
Obviously, you have a dear and very keen imagination of proper kinks and tropes, because this fic hit all the right buttons for me. No, I'm not necessarily a fan of incest, not in the fluffy sick way it's presented in some yaoi manga, where all the unhealthy as well as troubling aspects of such a relationship are blithely ignored. But yeah: I love it when the more disturbing aspects are brought up, and what makes this fic already delicious is Kaleth's absolute non-denial yet denial over the attraction he feels for Issavan; I also the guilt he feels for desiring him so much. I love it all, because it makes for fantastic angst, for wonderful conflict, and also makes no pretense regarding the darker aspects of such a relationship. Any fic that handles a kink realistically is something I already love. Beyond that, I love that it's pseudo-incest, because that's i) more interesting, and ii) still doesn't diminish the more disturbing aspects of this fic. As Kaleth pointed out, he and Issavan were still raised as siblings and still had the same woman as a mother. Despite his attraction, there's no denying the fact that, emotionally, they are still brothers. And I can fully understand why Kaleth's going through so many uncertainties and doubts.
Let me say that I already love Kaleth: he's a very physical person, but - more than that - he's also very emotional and seems to have a proper sense of justice. That is, of course, innocent as Issavan points out, but it also makes him someone that I feel would stand up for his beliefs; I love how devoted he is to Issavan and how he believes in his own innocence and lack of guilt. While it's worrying that he's denying the existence of magic so much, I do admire and love him for protecting his brother so much - not only from his enemies, but also from himself. You can really tell that he loves Issavan; it pains him a lot to see Issa badmouth himself ): Another thing I love about Kaleth is how he's using reason to defend Issavan's healing skills; that's interesting, considering the world-building you've introduced so far (with people believing in witchcraft). I think it makes him different from his father, and I wonder if he's a scholarly type (like Issavan is implied to be), or if he's just desperately denying the existence of magic in this world.
Obviously, that is something that interests me (and that I like a lot) about the plot so far: the existence of magic, and how Issavan's got a death sentence looming over his head. While your world-building so far is only implied/sparse, you're doing a fantastic job of getting me interested in the story, because of all the hints you toss at us. It not only lures me into the story in a natural way, but also allows for the plot to grow slowly and in a non-intimidating manner. I also find it refreshing of how you're sort of letting the story telling itself; I especially appreciate that it's character-focused, because that allows me to get more emotionally involved in the people involved in this story.
I am really intrigued by Issavan: he's clearly of the more manipulative sort and more of a impish person than Kaleth. Where Kaleth is honest and sort of upright, he's very much a tease and keeps running away/pushing Kaleth's buttons; I like him, because of that, but more because of how he shows vulnerability during choice moments (like the mention of his 'father', or Kaleth telling him to stop badmouthing himself). It's obvious that he's been hurt a lot and that his current persona ia way of protecting himself. I also don't think he was lying when he called himself all those bad things ): Apart from that, I'm really interested in whether he's a witch or a scholar; you keep it vague so far, and I like that, because it keeps one guessing for longer :P It just introduces an element of uncertainty that I think will keep the plot interesting for a long amount of time.
Now, let's get to the actual 'incest' :D I thought that it was all honestly delicious? The way Issavan teased Kaleth without touching him, but through the power of his words stands as a favourite for me: it's because of how flustered Kaleth got and how utterly manipulative Issavan seemed in that moment. It showed how powerless Kaleth was in the face of such temptation, and I nearly hated Issavan exploited that. But :D I also loved how Kaleth implied that he's fully capable of regaining power by possibly gagging/tying Issavan to a tree. Not only is this mental image hot, but it also shows that there's a huge cat-mouse aspect to this relationship (which is fun and really erotic). Obviously, I'm not expecting any smut any time soon, but the UST is already delicious. I just love how physically aware Kaleth is of Issavan, and how Issavan takes full advantage of that :P
| Mump chapter 5 . 6/16/2015
I loooooooooooooove the update and I looooove the story! I was really excited to see the next chapter, and I'm looking forward to your continued work on the story!
You are a FANTASTIC writer... I think I love you a little bit...(but not in the creepy stalker way, in the I think you should win a medal for your GREATNESS kinda way)...
Can't wait for the next update!
| Manicpup chapter 5 . 5/23/2015
Omg yes! Finally you have come back to this! :D I still remember this story from reading it two years ago; and admittedly connected the characters to Thor and Loki...sorry lol. The personalities are really similar, that's not a bad thing though! You know you enjoyed a fic when you can still remember the details years later am I right? :)
| Guest chapter 4 . 7/6/2013
I would like you to finish this !
| Cheeky Winchester chapter 4 . 4/11/2013
Omg, I think I love you! This is so amazing and well written and u kept them in character with the language they use, and it reminds me so much of Thor and Loki!
Issa is a bit of a jerk lol, but both of their characters and personalities are both well thought out and suit each other.
I really hope you plan on continuing this? I couldn't sleep last night because I couldn't stop reading haha, it was so good! :3
| RedactedNoLongerWriting chapter 1 . 12/27/2012
"...but I'll admit…" His hair—coal black and straight as a dagger's blade—hung loose, but kempt and tidy, just long enough to reach past his shoulders, "…of all those I presumed to suspect…" There, at last, he turned, and his eyes met Kaleth's dead on, frigidly sharp as they were acute and attentive, "…you were not very high on my list."
-I'm not sure on the technical aspects of this but the punctuation interjecting the descriptions here seems odd, particularly the first transition using a comma before 'of all' since the description doesn't provide a proper lead-in to the dialogue. Punctuation isn't my thing, though. This section actually drew me for the descriptions themselves; they seem really out of place here. While the second description sort of worked for me in that Issavan's eye/body language would be important for Kaleth to notice in this situation, the first description felt like a quieter moment that did not belong at all in the tense scene. It's passive and affectionate and gives no reason for why Kaleth would be interested in these details at this particular moment.
"Funny," Issa said, without sounding as though he thought it was,...
-Nothing technically wrong with this bit but by this point we're perhaps 3 quarters of a page into the story and Kaleth's observations/the narration have already presented Issavan's actions in this contradictory way 4 times. Kaleth observes such and such thing BUT in reality he's pretty sure that's not how it is. Okay. So just observe what's actually there; you've done it before. I point this out because normally I like this technique for throwing off the reader's perceptions but it keeps happening so it makes me feel like Kaleth is an unreliable narrator, and I don't think that's the intention since in all other aspects he seems fairly sure of his actions and assessments. Granted it's still early in the story so I could be wrong on that but it was bugging me a little.
Writing: This isn't usually something I pay much attention to, and perhaps it's just because this is one of my first times diving into your writing, but I found some of your word choices strange. I don't think anything was wrong, exactly, but certain things don't quite add up to me. As I mentioned above, the narration (I refer to Kaleth's perspective since it is fixed on him even though it's 3rd person) paints a patchwork perspective sometimes that I found kind of hard to get into. Not only does Kaleth contradict his own observations quite frequently, his comparisons in descriptions are all over the place. "Like a beached fish struggling to gain its bearings" and "like lightning scattered among dark clouds" imply a very natural perspective, "like ink spilled on snow" and "the wet bristles of a paintbrush" are more industrialized though still not anchored in any particular setting or genre, and "like a glass of water peppered with glass shavings" confused me outright. Since at this point I know almost nothing about Kaleth's upbringing, the society, the setting, etc, these details should help me figure some of those things out but they lead me a half-dozen different directions.
Other: I'm confused by the casual bandying-about of 'incest' in the description and stuff here. I agree with Issavan that they aren't actually brothers so you'd think that would be a huge relief for Kaleth, haha. In that respect, I'm confused why Issavan is so comfortable with the knowledge of their mutual (I assume; I'm still a little unsure which reactions are real or not o.O) attraction when they were effectively raised the same way and should have similar values. I also wonder how long it has been since they learned this; it seems fresh in Kaleth's memory but at the same time the sexual tension is so strong that he must have been in denial for ages before he found out and that again makes me wonder why he wasn't relieved to find out it wouldn't actually be incest to act on his attraction. I'm sorry I have so many questions. XD That leads me to...
Plot/Pace/Techniques: The cold-open was a nice way to start the chapter but at a certain point I started being led to far too many questions and not enough answers. As I touched on above, by the end of this chapter I'm still unsure on the sort of setting here. I tend toward pre-industrial revolution type tech with the weaponry, but that gives me centuries to try and fit this scene into. We have implications of a manhunt, accusations of witchcraft, foundlings and taboos but I can't gauge which of these things are most upsetting to Kaleth's upbringing and what he is personally sacrificing or presenting here in going to retrieve Issavan. I fully trust that all these things will be expanded upon in later chapters, because they seem to be presented in a way that promises future run-ins with the plotline. However, it's always good to keep in mind that for pretty much every action cold open in a tv show, the action scene will be followed by a flashback or exposition to clue the audience in on what they've missed. In this case, I don't think it ever reached that point after the opening tension of Kaleth finding Issavan.
Enjoyment: I like what you have introduced here so far. The brotherly relationship, though strained, is still apparent here and I always like that in a story. The action was balanced well with dialogue and description, and overall it's tightly edited. Certain aspects of the narration kept me from fully suspending disbelief and left me perplexed, but overall I think this was a good start to the story. You've set the scene, made some plot promises, and led into the next chapter. Overall, an effective chapter one.
| The Autumn Queen chapter 3 . 12/4/2012
[As he blinked, slowly bringing the world into focus, a sea of deep, purple-blue sky came into view above him. ] - I say you don't need the "as" there; it takes just that little bit longer to bring in the idea of your sentence and the things that go on in it. On the other hand [sea of deep, purple-blue sky] - really nice contrast there.
["I drugged you," Issavan said. "It was not poison. If it were, you would be dead, or certainly sick, and neither of those means contribute to the ends I wish to accomplish."] - that's my favourite sentence, probably because i'm a pharmacology major and that is so totally pharmacology...in a sense. Interesting debates as to the definition of a "drug". Food's a bit of a fickle thing when it comes to defining a substance as a "drug" - so pharmacologists would avoid that when it comes to edible things like mushrooms and herbs are even more fickle...but I'm getting totally overexcited and off topic. :) But that is definitely down my alley and now I'm having trouble reading the rest. *ahem - goes to read rest* BTW, what was the stuff Kaleth things "poisoned" him? I don't recall you mentioning it.
I really like the way you've played with time in this chapter; nicely spread out. Giving pause where pause is due to really highlight things.
| yjdtuylfik nk chapter 4 . 10/22/2012
omg why am i still reading thi?
daf;kvgjna;fdekb'nbj aer/lkgmj 'alkfgnm' a'alkmjfg k'ldf'gvs'd 'lkgrhb
dsfg. knfa;;;gh'aojrtga' a' 'sjfghkfn das'/gjfjk'aoeirfjg 'alkf'
gtpoki rthgshn;kjf;akihbdfreg ar;efkgn;kaerfgn;kjnfg;aerfg'r j a'lerkgjn 'aloea'o lf;s,g'alekfr g'aoe '
look you broked my brain!