Reviews for Song of the Broken Birds
Anihyr Moonstar chapter 15 . 10/16/2012
I've probably commented on this before, but in the opening of this chapter I'm struck again by the fascinating twists and turns of what it 'means' to have the rank of royal assassin.

On the one hand, they're slaves. The lowest of the low - they do not own so much as their own bodies, and their entire life is dedicated to someone else. On the other hand, they're respected, feared, admired, and valuable - and treated as such. Shrike is addressed as "sir", permitted in without a word, and bowed to with respect by a palace servant, etc.. Despite their lack of status as free men, they still have a reasonably significant degree of say so in areas where most slaves would have none. So, very interesting to say the least.

I also enjoyed Shrike and Via's encounter. In some ways it reminds me of Egret and Via's conversations - all the 'this is not what they're really saying', words between the lines and speculating. And yet, it's entirely different at the same time.

With Egret, he -knows- Via and both of them are on the same page; both of them feel cool and practiced and civil even as, in the unspoken in between, they communicate about treachery and death. With Shrike, Via is absolutely the enemy and Shrike's viewpoint is - as to be expected - much coarser (and funnier, to me, intended or not ;]). It's almost as though they're mocking and testing each other as they put on their show.

I look forward to seeing Shrike prove himself in the intelligence department; it will be interesting to see what plans he comes up with. Also, now that all the brothers are in the same place, I look forward to more encounters between them.

- Moonstar
Anihyr Moonstar chapter 14 . 10/15/2012
When I first read the previous chapter, I wasn't absolutely positive if Cardinal was putting on a front about how uninjured he was, or if he had genuinely healed miraculously that fast due to either his or Daz's magic (suspecting the latter, but leaving room for doubt). I like that the opening of this chapter clears up that question instantly.

[OUtside, rain streaked...] Lower case the "u". :P

I love the explanation of how Daz's magic works. It's very inventive - I don't think I've come across anything quite like it. Healing? Sure. All over the place. Even time travel back a bit, to give someone a warning. But not litterally rearanging fate "constellations" within a person's body in order to bring about a different outcome.

It really makes me wonder how far the power extends. When he worked his 'spell' as far as I can tell he only changed Cardinal's body - but can he sometimes change the fate of many at once? Anything other than life and death? All very curious.

[Why had I tried to keep it secret from him? I'd had no reason.] Huh. Damn. I'd been looking forward to a reasoning there. It seemed like a major character development - a twist off of what one would expect, since he had always trusted Egret before. It seemed like everything in Cardinal's personality to date would say that he would share the information with his most trusted brother, and I was kind of hoping there was *something* that made Cardinal hesitate and take a different road, even if it was vague in his own mind. Mm...I will keep an eye out for explanations later.

[I hoped they understand what I meant] Understood

Pah. Okay, well, *NOW* Cardinal has reason to keep the secret safe (to protect Daz's life), but he didn't before. That feels like one of those moments where the character does things because the author needs them to for the plot, not because the character is inclined that way. To me, anyway. Something to keep an eye on. :)

Ohhh, I wonder what's up at the end! What's going on with Leli? And what's this sixth sense of Cardinal's? You do a good job with your cliffhangers.

- Moonstar
Anihyr Moonstar chapter 13 . 10/15/2012
Interesting to finally see a very different side of Cardinal here - at least from Egret's perspective. It must feel very out of place to have such a developed role of protective older brother only to have Cardinal not trust him after his first real encounter with strife in his new position. It feels like a little line of connection between them that was frayed when Cardinal first sought Egret out and then decided at the last moment not to talk about his/Daz's magic is snapped and a definite line has been crossed.

[The color drained from her face. She gasped.] I know this is a silly thing to nitpick, but I really don't think you need the "She gasped" here. We get a great sense of exactly how panicked/surprised she feels just from the first bit, and it feels stronger (to me at least) without the latter.

All in all, though, I really enjoyed Egret and Leli's reaction, and it was fascinating to get that much more information about her revealed. It really makes me wonder more about her character, how she must feel to be in the position she's in. As Egret says, whether it bothers her to be made her brother's servant. They seem to get along well, though (Daz and Leli), so it's nice she at least seems to be above bitterness/jealousy/vindictive emotions.

And, I have many chapters stocked up to go now, so I should be able to find out a lot more about it all soon - yay! :D

Ah, Egret. I like how your closing line manages to get the readers to feel another spike of sympathy for him (and disgust for the Emperor). No matter how cool and collected of a front Egret puts on, you remind us he's going through plenty of his own strife and he's not invincible.

- Moonstar
S.H. Marr chapter 18 . 10/14/2012
But if Cardinal cadn't been talking about treason with his brothers, then Shrike or Egret would be dead. And there would be much sadness.

There's a typo. In the last line, it says, "The Emperor is dead! Long /give/ the Emperor!" (Also, I think saying something like, "Long live Emperor Via" or something)

And there's my helpfulness for the chapter. Yay!
S.H. Marr chapter 17 . 10/9/2012
At least you had a bunch of chapters ahead when you started school. I'm sure that helps.

It's good to see all the brothers together, tough I'd like to see more...changes. Interactions. I'm not sure what the word is, but people act differently around different people...especially their families. The brothers all acted the same as always, which is good, but...well, I don't know, I'd like to see some more family resemblance or something. Does that even make sense?
LittleMissBlackbird chapter 16 . 10/6/2012
And thus the plot thickens... I just wanted to say I think your story is amazing. It's written very well and I like how there are so many conspiracies yet they all tie neatly together. Egret is my favourite character so far, but I look forward to reading the next chapter from Shrike's point of view as well.
S.H. Marr chapter 16 . 10/6/2012
You know, you don't have to warn us who's going to show up next chapter. I think it would be nice to have a surprise.

As to their father's words of advice on being an assassin: they don't quite make sense. I'm not sure what it has to do with being an assassin, and it seems very different from what Shrike was told. Intentional? Or just something you don't think was important/relevant?

Yes, the brother's meet up. I can't wait to see what happens. And I think Shrike might be the most emotionless of these brothers in this situation, so I think he's a good choice for it. But we'll see, won't we? Having it from Egret would probably work well, too, as he reads people so well, and Cardinal would probably give us a lot of back story on the brothers.
S.H. Marr chapter 15 . 10/2/2012
Hmmm. Think, think, think. So much thinking.

I find it interesting that we get our first real description of Via...via (I'm sorry, it was too easy) Shrike instead of Egret. It says something about Egret and his and Via's relationship, I think.

I agree that Shrike's a little mentally disturbed, but there are different kinds of insane and stupidly reckless doesn't really seem to be one of them. Violent, yes, but reckless. Eh. It's good to see that he does have some fear. It makes him seem more sane and human.

Can't wait to see what Rother does. I'm sure we'll find out what his reaction is.
S.H. Marr chapter 14 . 9/29/2012
Gah! I'm all frustrated now. Why would you drop something like that on us and run away?

(Ignore me. I like the end. It had a lot of weight to it.)

So Daz knows about his ability. In that case, as soon as they are alone, Cardinal should tell him te real reason he pushed his kiss away. *nods*

Leli...I wonder what else Daz may have changed. She used to be so pro Daz/Cardinal, and know she's...not. She's not at all.
S.H. Marr chapter 13 . 9/26/2012
Hmmm. I wonder what there father has been up to that he pissed so many people off. And if the assasins' family is hiding something, as well...
Anihyr Moonstar chapter 12 . 9/25/2012
Ack!

Fine time for me to pick to come back and start reading/reviewing. Here I saved up all these chapters so I could read in a stream and now I get left with a *cliffhanger*. /pouts

Loved this chapter though. Fight scenes can be tough, but I love to see them done well, and to me, this one was very exciting. Especially the moment when the second assassin appeared - I didn't see it coming either, so it was the perfect surprise. I feel bad that Cardinal got so wounded, but at the same time, I'm proud of him for doing as well as he did. Seems like this is his first major skirmish in his new role, and he survived and kept both Daz and Leli safe.

Hopefully he can be seen to and make a quick recovery. Or maybe his/Daz's magic will play into it somehow... Regardless, I'm looking forward to seeing that unfold. If nothing else, it should be a good opportunity to get Daz and Cardinal talking again. No way Daz will avoid him while he's severely injured.

- Moonstar
Anihyr Moonstar chapter 11 . 9/25/2012
[In this palace, you never knew who was listening.] This line reminded me of something I meant to bring up last chapter: I was very surprised their father spoke so openly to Shrike (in such confined and close quarters as a ship) about still being "loyal" to the Empire.

It's one of the things that make me wonder what the real situation is. It seems to me, if he were actually 'tricking' any of the Felkanirs (sorry if I spell that wrong), that he wouldn't dare speak about it in such a place. Even if they had the room to themselves, the ship is full of people and sound travels easily through walls/doors there.

[...but I knew this wasn't what we were worried about.] Mm. I wonder if the Emperor has *other* uses for Egret.

Ewwwwww. I knew it. Poor Egret.

Nicely handled. You managed to make it revolting and believable and handle the portrayal of that "veneer" of going along with it well. Yuck.

- Moonstar
Anihyr Moonstar chapter 10 . 9/25/2012
I like how even a violent, rough and tumble, get your hands dirty type character like Shrike still wrinkles his nose at the Felkanir. [Didn't these barbarians ever clean up after themselves?] It really reinforces the differences - or percieved differences - in culture between the two sides.

I also enjoyed Shrike's interaction with his father - his observations and internal comments as much as anything else. This line stood out to me: [But Father would never die unless he absolutely wanted to.] It powerfully demonstrates the extent to which Shrike views his father on another level. Almost super-human - above even death, until death is all part of the plan.

["Don't be a fucking moron, Shrike," Father breathed...] I don't like the wording here. "Moron" and/or "fucking moron" feels too modern/awkward. It's like something school kids call each other in today's world, and doesn't feel right in the fantasy context. It also doesn't feel like "high"/mature enough language for a brilliant, deadly assassin? XD Sorry, just trying to figure out how to word myself - obviously, it's just an opinion.

Definitely dislike their dad. Not as a character, but as person, to clarify. You do a great job of making my hackles raise at him, and I hope Shrike takes the time to think things through on his own and make his own decisions in the end. *I* definitely don't trust his dad, and no matter what his true goals are, he strikes me as a cruel person in general.

- Moonstar
S.H. Marr chapter 12 . 9/22/2012
Well, *I* got it on Saturday. Half an hour to midnight, but Saturday nontheless.

Oops. I guess that gives you a hint as to where I live. Don't stalk me, please?

Annnnyway. Interesting that the assassin strikes when Cardinal is already kind of on edge about the possiblity. Not sure I like it, but I'm also not sure how to fix that idea. It just seems a little...convenient. I guess he's always on edge, but Daz being alone, freaking out over Leli...I don't know. Maybe do more of this earlier?

In this sentence: "Why does he have to be sad about it, then?", I think "though" might be a better word choice. At the very least, use, "than" for "in that case", not "now", which is what you have.
S.H. Marr chapter 11 . 9/18/2012
So, I suppose Egret has a personal reason to want the emperor dead. That's good. I like getting into his head more. He usually makes a lot of commentary on other people's actions.

I was a little worried you were going to forget to update today. So, yay! New chapter.

I wonder if the Emperor goes through so many tasters because Erget and Via have to get rid of them ere long. Or perhaps they simply die. Hmmm.

Also, ew.
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