Reviews for This Damn Relic
islandsun chapter 3 . 8/22/2012
I really liked this, must say I found it a little stereotypical, not necisarily a bad thing, but I have never been on a bus that is that segrigated as this one. However I still look forward to what is instore for ethan.
DutchAver chapter 1 . 8/21/2012
I'm not sure what to think about this first chapter. On the one hand, I do like your writing style and the way you seem to set everything up, and I love the attention to detail in Rocca's name and how you describe the characters. Which leads me to the other hand, because I think you've overdone a bit in descriptions. That might be just me, but I think you could cut down on the descriptions a bit. One description I particularly didn't like was the one of Ethan all the way in the beginning - I felt it interrupted the flow of the story.
Other than that, I loved how you characterized your characters. Rocca's childishness, Ethan's peacekeeping abilities and how stupid Talisha and Tyler are. How can they follow a history class? (And how can Ethan hate history? I don't get some people... I'm more Kevin-like, I guess)
Still, keep it up :)
lookingwest chapter 3 . 8/18/2012
[Return 3 of 5]

" the same social circle any more," I explained. ["anymore"...*but* I know that spelling is used primarily in American English and I know you're from Aus. So if you've learned they mean the same thing than by all means keep using it - I just wasn't positive if it was a typo or deliberate as that's one word that in contemporary usage can go either way these days in UK and American]

With the beginning conversation, it felt a lot to me kind of like the movie Clerks (the first one). Where the two best friends are just having a conversation that kind of goes on and on but for comedic reasons, of course. Some people really hate that and think it's boring. I'm kind of in between. You know my feelings about the earlier chapters here, and I found myself still searching during their ongoing conversation about Zoe for something to really care about, and finding nothing. I feel like two friends talking about a girl has been done a million times before and nothing particularly grabbed me as original during their conversation either. That being said, I also recognize/appreciate that like Clerks, this kind of seeks to capture a part of life that a lot of people can relate to as far as conversation. Conversations are not always exciting and interesting, but they happen and they should be captured as such. So I appreciate it, but I didn't find it funny for unique, if that makes any sense. I'm sort of caught in between liking it and disliking it.

Setting comment - the idea that they would pass by more than one McDonalds is a little odd. It just came across time-wise that not a lot of time was passing in that paragraph and then we get "several McDonald's" which invoked this image to me of like three or four McDonalds packed together on one street, haha. I think it has more to do with time than the description though, maybe emphasize that more.

"...mid-week workdays…or perhaps it ..." [I found this ellipses was unneeded]

You do a really good job establishing the setting of the Museum, especially the outside and the bit about Alex the Great. Good job illustrating that for the reader and making it clear before the chapters that are sure to come involving the inside of the Museum and what happens. I liked that you took the time to set that up.

I think Kevin's "Wooo!" was the funniest bit of humor I've seen in the past two chapters, haha. Well placed. Kind of reminded me of Invader Zim humor, xD, also I liked the follow-up dialogue with Veronica. I'm sure that moment is a fan favorite!

I'm glad you've kept Tyler and Talisha in the story so far as main characters - as I stated when I first started reading, I was afraid that you might drop people you introduced, but it's great to see you proving me wrong! I'm hoping in the following chapters we can get more development out of them, including Zoe too. They feel a bit cookie-cutter still, so that depth is really something I'm waiting for!

Overall another good chapter though, and I appreciate you splitting the chapters into a good length where I can get a little more in-depth about stuffs :) Until next time!
sophiesix chapter 2 . 8/11/2012
Loved the narrative voice here, it had loads of personality and an interesting one too, in that they don’t classify themselves as a nerd but still go for that contemplative and linguistic shine. It puts them in a shade of grey rather than a set character and that makes me sit up and take notice and want to know why they aer like that, and how that works for them. Favourite lines included:
you are wrong as a person / the facts of the ground, and then conclude it with some rebuttal to their stomach / His social dominance and chiselled physique had been just the right sort of mating dance to win over the affection of Talisha. I feared that one day they would produce many terrible offspring together, though there was a good chance most of them would be devoured at birth by the mother. / "Aww, babe," (though cooed felt unnecesary)/like a dorsal fin cutting the waves. / puppet for Satan
For me, these were the cherries in a text that was already appealing.

The main way of improving this for me would be to tighten it up. That would let those cherries shine and keep the pace snappy. For e.g. while the descriptions were good, I felt they went on for a bit long and detracted from the flow and place. Also, occasionally there were some causes that felt a bit redundant, e.g. the last two in each of these sentences. “I had to hand it to him; Tyler had come up with a unique one-liner all by himself, uninspired as it was. Talisha tittered wickedly at her boyfriend's remark, leaving his side to move to a position behind him, likely so her uniform wouldn't get splattered with fresh blood, the most formidable stain of all.” A couple of them would be ok as voice, but perhaps because that sentence structure is also used to describe dialogue fairly often, it started to bug me. It flowed better without them, in my head anyways.

The characters all came through nicely, it being high school you kind of expect certain stock characters but they are drawn lively so they don’t come off as dull. Zoe’s character puzzles me though, because I’m not sure why everyone is nice to her. She reminded me a bit of Alison Ashley or maybe Bianca Stratford, but both of those were rich, beautiful and/or smart, so people had a reason to respect them apart from the nice factor. Is Zoe’s niceness really enough to make people respect her? If so, why, and if not, what is her secret weapon?

I saw another reviewer mentioned they’d have liked to have seen the relic in this chapter. That would definitely be cool. Though its probably premature/presumptuous of me to think about rearranging stuff, specially as we haven't met the relic yet, i'm gonna say this anyway: one way to achieve that might be to start the chapter with them on or/getting on the bus, and Ethan catching Talisha’s arm during the ride. The teacher takes his time noticing the rising tension, maybe he’s got his ipod in or something? And the bus arriving at the museum could save their final bacon. If the middle dialoguey bit with Talisha was trimmed up, that might give you enough room for relicism in ch 1? The dialogue with Rocca in ch 2 has some great moments, but it doesn’t need to be so early in the story: I’d save it for when you’ve tantalised the reader with the relic, and have them hooked.

Overall this really worked for me, thanks for a great read!
Whirlymerle chapter 1 . 8/10/2012
Hi from the Roadhouse!

I thought your opening was engaging until Ethan started describing himself. I like that he's breaking the fourth wall and addressing the readers, and I like how casual his narration is, because I thought it showed his laidback character. However, the part when he talks about how he'd be described to an officer, I thought, was a bit of an unnecessary info dump. It seemed like an awkward place to tack on all that information, and I don't think your readers are in such a hurry to know what Ethan looks like that you need to spell it out in the opening paragraph.

[seventeen/eighteen-ish] Also, since Ethan's the narrator, it seems kind of odd that he'd describe his own age with an "ish," even if it is from the perspective of a police officer (and a cop taking down info probably won't settle for an ish either). I suggest that you just leave it at one or the other, definitively.

[a fellow student of ours] I think the wording is a little odd and ends up sounding like Ethan is a teacher. Maybe "a fellow student" would suffice?

[think we were going on an excursion to a strip club or something] Haha! Love this line!

[seventeen-foot tall] I think this should be seventeen feet tall

[a personal Cerberus for the Queen of the Damned] Great metaphor!

["Come on! The face? This isn't face worthy!" Rocca wailed bravely.] Err… I don't really see how Rocca can say this "bravely".

Anyway, I enjoyed this first chapter a lot. It was hilarious once Tyler entered the scene. I think your dialogue is very natural and humorous as well. I do love Rocca… I think he's even better than Ethan at adding comic relief and how he ended the chapter was priceless. I look forward to reading more. Nice job!

Ed Harley chapter 2 . 8/10/2012
Terrific way to open a story; the first three paragraphs are really sharp, sarcastic and clever.

Ha! Awesome lines: “you are wrong as a person.”

"The tribe has spoken,"
‘puppet for Satan’


1) "Oh God. Tyler. I'm quaking in terror”- it sounds like he’s calling her Tyler, maybe: “Oh God, not Tyler!”

2) At times the dialog gets formal. I’ve never observed teenagers speaking in logical complete sentences. Where’s the slang, curse words, fragments, senseless repetition, curse words, fragments?


"Even when we do listen to the questions thrown at us, they're always followed by oblivious silence. You know, that silence where the teacher stares around at everyone, and you just sit there and pray to Christ that your name isn't called out."

(American teenagers would’ve replaced all that with one curse word.)

3) Sometimes there’s too much narration sandwiched in with the dialog.

Ex: ‘Gregory Roccasano' was written…’

It’s a great paragraph but it’s right in the middle of a short conversation. I had to scan back up to remember what the hero was replying to. Rearranging might it consider.

4) Some of the narration could be shortened if repetitive content was removed, implied instead of spelled out.

“I said, as Kevin began to describe the Ziggurat of Dur-Kurigalzu(?) to his spotty friend. I overheard him saying that it was his second-favourite ziggurat.”

Overhearing is implied. Also, it’s unnecesary to point out the obscurity of the ziggurat or to repeat who he’s talking to. It’s a good joke that even FP readers should understand.

Maybe you could instead play up the hero’s struggle to defend Kevin’s strange enthusiasm. Something like:

"Still…" I said as Kevin went on and on about the Ziggurat of Dur-Kurigalzu, his second-favourite ziggurat. "Um…” I tried desperately to think up a use for Kevin “You know, when Mr. Jennings asks the class a question that no one was listening to?” I proudly proclaimed: “That’s what Kevin's for!"
this wild abyss chapter 2 . 8/9/2012
I'm still impressed with your characterization at this point, as you've introduced several characters in a fairly brief chapter and only one scene. I didn't have much of a problem differentiating between them for myself, which is good, as it's only too common to just throw out a bunch of names and expect readers to remember them when that name shows up a few chapters down the line. Now, granted, I'm not positive that I'll remember them, but I didn't experience much confusion while I was actually reading the scene.

The scene itself was well-staged, and I liked that I got a clear sense of where your characters' positions were in relation to others, and also what their movements were. It was easy to visualize.

For an opening chapter, I think I would have liked you to introduce the "relic" mentioned in the summary. I mean, the first chapter is supposed to be a hook, and if I'm expecting some weird old thing, I'm probably going to want it to be at least alluded to in the first chapter if it isn't possible for it to have made an appearance.
this wild abyss chapter 1 . 8/9/2012
While I like that your opening establishes the setting, I do think your first sentence is a little unwieldy and long. Personally, I prefer things to open with a snap, but the choice is really all yours.

I think you've got a good grasp on your characters in this early stage. Yes, some of your characters fit neatly into pre-established molds, but there is time later for them to make a stronger impression on the reader. Certainly, they seem to be well-rounded and dynamic, and the interactions between them are believable and telling as to their personality.

Your narration is strong and makes sense, yet I would question whether or not it's realistic coming from a 17/18 year old boy, unless he happens to be a "nerdy type" or just a show off. The former seems implausible, given Ethan's comments toward Kevin, and the latter seems possible, depending on how you develop Ethan's character in the future. For now, though, I don't think the combination of breaking the fourth wall and pretentious vocabulary is a good one.

Going back to the interactions between your characters. I like the amount of humor you've put into that, and the lightheartedness, as I feel that's on par for the age group you're trying to portray.
Ghost Divsion chapter 1 . 8/9/2012
I like the way you introduce the main character. It's very original and humorous at the same time. I also like how Rocca and Ethan have their own,extremely fleshed out personalities and aren't afraid to stand up to the popular girl. However, to have such blatant stereotypes of jocks and popular kids at college level seems a bit strange. Another thing I found kind of weird is how you try to make Rocca a main protagonist, while at the same time making him seem kind of like an asshole. Maybe this is just me, but the whole time Tyler was in the chapter, I was hoping that he would rearrange Rocca's face. I know Talisha is supposed to be a bitch, but if you call a girl who has a boyfriend a prostitute and then start whimpering when you're about to get whacked, you're kinda asking for it to happen and no quarter should be given as a result. Aside from that, it's all good.
Persevera chapter 3 . 8/9/2012
Hate to think that the tortures of high school carry on into college. It makes Talisha and Tyler that much more pathetic.
I like the comic relief of Kevin.
Favorite line of this chapter:
"On the list of things you shouldn't do, touching Talisha Bedford is, like, nestled right between self-mutilation and making a fourth Indiana Jones film. You just don't do it."
B.R. McNair chapter 3 . 8/9/2012
The break in the middle of this one wasn't nearly as awkward as the last. I just thought I'd point that out, not that it really matters too much considering I know it's not really a full chapter. Your mastery of humor shone brightly once again; I laughed out loud several times, to many odd glances and shifty stares from those around me. You seem to have improved your dialogue and naturalness of speech considerably. It was never bad, you've just polished it to the next level.

There are only a couple lines this time that stood out to me that might need a change:

"Rocca's own eyes rolled in his head."

I don't really like this sentence. It sounds kind of awkward and has some unnecessary words. 'in his head' should be implied rather than outright stated. Sometimes simple is better. I'd go with something like "Rocca rolled his own eyes in turn." or the good old "Rocca rolled his eyes." Kind of simple, but that's the way of some sentences.

"All that talk of bacon resulted in the incident with Talisha and Tyler flashing through my mind again."

Just too clunky. You need to reword this a little in order to smooth it out some. Maybe "With all that talk of bacon, the incident with Talisha and Tyler flashed through my mind again." Saying 'resulted in' really puts a kink in that sentence.

Just fix those too things and I do believe you'll have yourself a nearly perfect half-chapter (I say nearly because I know from experience that authors never think their work is 'perfect'). But I thoroughly enjoyed this first half and I can't wait for the second half. I noticed that this chapter was a little more grounded than the first one, a bit more restrained and refined. I liked that. It's good to see how your writing adapts to the situation the characters are in. I also just have to say that Zoe is a total beast. I think I speak for everyone when I say that we all want more Zoe. Good job and keep the chapters coming.

Peace and love,
B.R. McNair
RinaJewelz chapter 3 . 8/9/2012
Really glad your sticking to a reasonable chap length. This was good even though I found some of your sentences a bit clunky and think they could have been formed a bit better.
[Yet Zoe had chosen to seat herself and Julia there, and was chatting pleasantly to all around her, completely ignorant towards the school's caste system.] This for example I think could have worked better split into two sentences. Then again maybe I just feel that way because of the comma before the second 'and' of the sentence, which shouldn't be there. It should also say 'ignorant of' instead of 'ignorant towards'.
Also Zoe (like Tyler & Talisha) is still cartoonish to me, extremely cliched in the nicest of ways, can't wait to see her character develop.
Other than that good job :)
Persevera chapter 2 . 8/8/2012
"It was matter of being a man; that is, acting bravely but idiotically, just like a man was born to do." This moved me from a smirk to a snicker.
It's cute how you write the infatuation with Zoe, particularly the anxiousness to assure her that Ethan hadn't done Talisha
Persevera chapter 1 . 8/8/2012
I smirked a lot while reading this. Smirking's good. I'm curious to see how Talisha will fit in with the events about to unfold with the Relic. I usually don't comment on grammar because of regional considerations, but in the case of someone as obviously brainy as Ethan, I'm surprised about all of the sentences that end with a preposition. But it's not detracting from the entertainment of the story
RinaJewelz chapter 2 . 8/8/2012
Glad you split it into two chaps :) I had another quick read over & its truly funny & well written. I love Ethans introduction of himself in chap1 and with Rocco's sarcasm they're set to be a humourous pair to watch in the rest of the story. The end was promising: maybe some humourous attempts at romance ensuing? Or even some actual romance... I can't tell yet. Can't wait to read more tho
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