|Reviews for The God Slave (Prev: To Walk in the Wind)|
| Electrumwriter chapter 3 . 4h
A belated fulfilment of my requirement for the September Writing Contest. Dr Self Destruct donated his review to you. I like this chapter a lot, so picked it out to review.
Beginning: Gorgeous descriptions. When you use them, your descriptions are very elegant. The herb garden and water features do all contrast to the Medieval squalor of the surrounding city and we get to know more about Balasar this way too. He really is a fiercely practical person. I wonder what he would make of other examples of inefficiency.
Character and Dialogue: I like the way in which Oz and Balasar’s dialogue reveals a lot about them. It’s a good method, because the dialogue is easy to read and amusing as well. We get that the dynamic between them is that they have to let off a bit of steam now and then. I expect it is like a safety valve. So in contrast to Balasar’s fierce practicality and scorn of the supernatural, Oz really is superstitious. I appreciate the details of his baubles and jewellery. I would do them same as him if I could afford to.
I like how Jaleah rails against the primitive culture of this setting. It does seem like a rather foul place from what we’ve seen of it. Perhaps she has anger management issues and being the journey isn’t exactly soothing for her.
Setting: I greatly approve of how world building is worked into character interactions so that you never have to resort to conspicuous info dumps. Like the role of women in the hell-hole shown – it’s conveyed through Jaleah and Balasar’s banter which first and foremost is about the charaters. Even better, the way the topic of the pantheon is introduced when Balasar and Oz say their piece. Balasar has a point which can be related to reality – so many deities were reflections of the human condition – but the reveal about Versaai and Vhaki is enough to pique my curiosity – could they be real supernatural beings in your world?
Imagery: I would like to single out some of my favourite images. One is Jaleah’s likeness to a ticked cobra or questionably tempered bull. Despite not being a large woman, she certainly gives off a dangerous aura :p
Then there is the image of the goddess crudely carved into the black stone. I suppose I like it because it seems to inforce Balasar’s notion of the gods being warped projected images from their believers.
| Guest chapter 15 . 9/7
This story is amazing. Why the hell wasn't it continued?
| Ventracere chapter 11 . 7/7
I think I'm going to go backwards on this one...
Daja what the heck are you doing?! Actually, though, I appreciate that we're seeing more of his bold side. This gives him more depth than the mouse he has been currently presented as. Now we get to see what that he is more than willing to stand up for the people he loves. He's even going as far to confront someone who can easily snap him in half. I'm a bit sad that he's going as far as to suggest that he should be the one to do so, but it's sacrifice he is willing to make. I can't help but wonder if he's taking the gamble because he knows he has Balasar's protection? Anyway, I'm interested to see how Balasar and Iramond will react!
Okay, taking another step backwards, I'm intrigued by the scene between Ismene and Daja. Why is it that Ismene tells Daja about the scars on her back instead of Balasar. Perhaps she finds a similarity between herself and Daja? Anyways, now that we get to see a bit of her past, I find I like her a bit more. She's not as loud as Jaleah, but her words and conscience carry the same heavy weight as the other woman in Balasar's pack.
This chapter I found myself questioning Balasar a bit. When you note that he expects everyone to follow his orders because he is the leader and his orders should be followed. This has happened a couple of times before, but for me it still feels out of character for him. I think it's because I have the idea that Balasar is this considerate leader - but that's not exactly true. He still has orders to follow and he is a leader as well. For me it just felt that he was entitled and a bit arrogant, even though wasn't exactly portrayed as that previously.
Great chapter as always :)
| Ventracere chapter 10 . 7/7
Like an emaciated predator - that was a pretty statement.
I think this chapter was a little bit slower, though that served your purpose well. It allowed us to see more of the camp from an outsider's view. Daja is out of place here and without Balasar's introspection, we get to see the camp in a whole new light. This is a harrowing experience for him, but at the same time, we can see that these men aren't exactly heathens. They're rough, but they follow Balasar willingly, and what Balasar says, they do. He has not been hurt. Anyway, I liked that touch because we're not confined to one POV and we get all these different angles of the story. It broadens the view, so to speak.
I have to say my favorite scene was definitely the conversation Daja had with Asseo. It was honest, and though it wasn't that emotional, it was easy to pick out that that is a huge change between the two of them. Asseo is Daja's mentor, lover (?), and friend. And he's admitting that he is no master here in the desert, with these "heathens". And what's more, is that we find out that Daja might not have been chosen to die for the gods, considering he has been saved. And that's a huge turn considering it's coming from Asseo. What I liked most was now Daja can rest his mind on a bit of the guilt on how he was to die. We're turning a page here, and he might be a bit more willing to do as Balasar says, which furthers your plot.
Another thing I liked was your writing. It's so smooth, and there is never a jolt in the way you write. Despite all the metaphors and the rhetoric - which I sometimes find to be a drag - you make it work to your advantage. It doesn't drag the pace, and again, bolsters your work so that it's colorful and easy to imagine the scenes.
Thanks for the read!
| Ventracere chapter 9 . 7/7
Oh. The opening was completely different that I thought it would be. When it came to Asseo, I thought he would be aware of the experience he is going through, or would be feeling more than he did. I’m glad that he isn’t, and I like what you did here. It’s a nice surprise to see that Balasar didn’t necessarily go through with what he originally told Asseo he was going to do. I’m glad that Balasar listened to Jaleah (I think he did, or I might be reading this completely wrong, which by all means, correct me, hahah). Which goes to say that Balasar is kindhearted, and he does think through his actions first?
As for Asseo’s character, I’m not sure what I think of him. On one hand, I feel bad for him, on the other I’m not sure why he doesn’t run. He’s devoted to his god, for sure. He prays instead of running as soon as he can, and he doesn’t run immediately when Balasar gives him the chance. I can respect that and I think that’s what’s strong about his character. You show that he isn’t stupid, he’s moderately intelligent, and not completely blinded by his “love” for his god. Though, after this ordeal, I don’t know how much faith he will have in his god. OR, it might just grow more and more.
Scene: Ignore what I said in the opening about how he did go through the whole ordeal. While it’s depressing/alarming to see Asseo so frightened/punished for what he didn’t do, I think you characterized his actions well when he is confronted by Ira. Ira scares him, and I liked how Asseo scrambled back instead of confronting him. It’s realistic. Had he been able to stand up and face his tormentor, I would have said that was less realistic, but what you did here, describing his thoughts and his fears was great. He still has some bite in him. While Asseo does back down/is afraid of Ira, Daja takes the forefront of his mind during this time.
Ending: Again, I’m glad that Asseo stays true to himself. The last line, “Vhaki, my god, give me strength” encaptures his faith. I said at the beginning how Asseo would either lose his faith or put more in his god, and it seems like he went for the later. I like how he does. This isn’t enough to protect him, but it gives him piece of mind. And that piece of mind wraps up the chapter with his determination. The determination is something that I’m interested in seeing more of to be honest, and that’s what gives me the hook.
Thanks for the read!
| Guest chapter 7 . 7/4
Why do i prefer asseo and daja together? It just seems more... Natural. Id prefer to see daja rescuing asseo from the asshole who tried to rape him again. I kinda like reverse couples... So... I guess its just me and my army. Would be fun to see daja become the top. :)
| Guest chapter 15 . 7/4
Ohhh update please! I love this!
| Ventracere chapter 8 . 7/3
Fictionpress ate the original review that I had for this chapter T.T, so I'm sorry that this is a little shorter than the other ones I've got for you.
Your opening was a good lead in from the previous chapter. You had Daja fainting, and you open here with him waking up. It's a lot of description, which does slow down the chapter a bit, but it complements so well how he feels. You capture how waking up feels like for Daja, the dryness of the desert, and how he confuses it with Death. Death is something he was so prepared for, but what comes for him instead, is something different altogether.
Scenically, I like how Daja is so adamant with trying to protect Asseo. He attempts to bargain, so much, with his captor, even though he knows that he can't. That it won't do much. What surprises me the most is how Balasar does try to appease him and gives him a calming draught. Daja's desperation contrasts so heavily with Balasar's calm demeanor it's a bit like a clash. When the calming draught washes over Daja it's like the scene has closed that he's basically lost this battle, even though I know it's far from over, hahah.
So in a nutshell, what I had written was how I liked that Balasar two sides to him. He's obviously intrigued by Daja, enough so that he's going to save him from Asseo's fate. It's not so blatant where I'd be rolling my eyes. I liked what you did here, that Balasar is interested in Daja, his beauty, and curious. On the other hand, we see the other side of him. He's unyielding, willing to play with words and make "empty promises". I honestly didn't think that he would actually go through and let Asseo get picked apart by his men, but I guess that's where we see that he's a "heartless" leader with a bit more heart.
I also liked how he took in Oz and Jaleah's opinions. While he doesn't necessarily listen to Jaleah, it's obvious that he respects her. Again this gives us insight as to where Jaleah and Oz play. They're Balasar's "council" of sorts. He respects them, and they respect him for the most part. HEre, we get to see how Jaleah doesn't respect him for his actions, and she's not afraid to let him know what she thinks. That's respectable and that shows for both Balasar's and Jaleah's characters. Jaleah isn't afraid to speak out, she knows that Balasar respects her and trusts her to tell him what he's doing wrong. And that trust goes both ways. It gives them a depth of character that we wouldn't see otherwise.
As for the ending, it's not as much of a hook as the previous chapter, but I appreciate the significance the weather seems to play. "Overhead the sky roiled with clouds back as ink, but did not rain, and the air was impossibly still..." It promises ominous things to come, and I think that has something to say for the next chapter. It's like a little push to go on and see what's going to happen..
Thanks for the read!
| Guest chapter 15 . 7/3
I wonder if Balasar also has a mark upon his body, a mark that completes /ccompliments/ or somehow fits with Dajas mark?
| Guest chapter 14 . 7/2
Its interesting that Asseo recognizes the attraction between Balasar and Daja (dont bait him Daja... he is dangerous) even though Daja does not recognize what these feelings and reactions he experiences when he hears/sees (and im sure) smells Balasar - Daja is hyper aware of Balasar in a heart pounding, breath stealing, can't keep my eyes off you sorts way. I feel that Daja will never allow himself to be used by the men again - he has found something he is better at WEAPONRY! ! - I was totally blind sided by that -so cool - and maybe its just me but Daja flirts with Balasar in a such a settle sweet way - I can see Asseo noticing and informing him of this.
| Hedonistic Opportunist chapter 15 . 6/29
And I've caught up ): What will I play on the EF now? This has been, without a doubt, one of my favourite stories to 'enter' the games recently, and I'm a bit saddened that there's no new chapter for me to read XD. I really, really want to write you another long review, but tiredness (from the heat) makes it difficult. I'll try though. Shorter reviews don't mean that I don't love your stories any less though :P
So things I really love – in a totally general, not plot-related – way about this chapter. Your descriptions for the openings are always fantastic: you really no how to lure your reader in, and I find it fantastic that you devote so much time and effort to write well-fleshed out, beautiful introductions. It's always something simple like a landscape (preluded), but it really, really helps set the mood for the rest of the chapter. The obvious benefit of this is obviously that it makes an impression on the reader, and really highlights the strenghts of your writer. Honestly, for random readers, it's a great way to get a sample of your prose (for those who chooese to skip to the latest chapter and see what your writing has evolved like, maybe?). Therefore, I think it's a great tactic to keep your prose so high-quality and beautiful :P But yeah, it also makes for a great tactic to gently smooth the reading process: for a distracted reader, there's nothing better than the soothing imagery of a landscape to make them forget their daily lives and be brought into this world you've built.
Other things I loved about the opening was the inclusion of a prayer; I thought it opened a great opportunity to draw attention to the themes of the previous chapter, namely that of Daja losing faith, and Asseo clinging to it (out of despair and a desire to preserve what he still knows). Beyond that, I thought that the prayer allowed for a great bonding moment between the two of them. I definitely enjoyed how Asseo noticed Daja's presence – the brief amount of suspense and the natural way in which he relaxed once he noticed that it was Daja. I liked how he noticed Daja's clothes – his new style – but the old tradition of his losing his shoes. It was … unexpectedly cute, and somewhat touching, because it introduced a tender moment, and showed how those two are still boys; they are both incredibly young, and it's moments such as these that remind one of the fact that – despite everything they have gone through – they are still so innocent in a way.
But yeah, you gave us a quick and rather cruel reminder of reality – namely that of Asseo's continued rape and assault by the hands of Iramond. While I appreciate that he's only being tortured by one man now, I still feel saddened for him, and I really liked how Daja addressed his anger in that scene. Not only does it establish a great moment of growth for him (seriously, I love how your characters grow :D), but it also shows a very natural reaction to a very pressing and troubling; I think we are beginning to see Daja grow even more assertive now. He's also learning to become his own person, which was further made clearer that he did not back off his statement, despite the guilt he felt. I feel both proud and saddened for him – saddened, because he's in so much doubt of himself, but also proud because of how he's letting go of a lot of doubts and uncertanities. He's approaching his new life, and I think that this why he will survive. As for Asseo? I like how he's so tender, but I'm also worried for him; he still seems to be clinging to old traditions, and that might be his downfall.
A thing I really liked about this chapter was the brief yet very significant interaction between Daja and Ismene. See, the thing about your story and what makes it so special is that you really take time to devote the relationships between the characters. The one between Daja and Ismene, as this chapter shows, is one of change: through Ismene, Daja learns to accept new habits and understand how to survive better. Even something so small like accepting new clothing utensils is significant, because it means that he's begun to accept change (yes, I liked that you addressed the fact that he'd taken some utensils from Ismene for his own cleaning later, because it means that you've thought about the implications of this very carefully – Daja is very adaptable). Beyond the implications of this scene, I really liked the descriptions you devoted of Ismene: there was nothing erotic about it, but I did wonder – and nearly hope – that Daja would show some awareness of her beauty. I don't know there was just something beautiful about this scene: it was very calm, and I felt that you characterised Ismene's sooting presence very well. I can see why Balasar accepts her company. She is a wonderful woman.
OKAY. As I'm done with talking about this, I really want to talk about the Balasar and Daja 'bathing scene'. Let me start with the fact of how you described Balasar's hair: fkfkfjfkjfkfjfkjffjfkfjkf he has long hair? I love that: I loved the image of his unbraided hair, let loose, just because it's unbelievably sexy. I also loved how Daja could not place this (sexy) person at first until he heard his voice; that's awesome, because it means that Balasar has a characteristic voice, and that Daja is already aware of him enough to be able to recognise him by that. Sorry XD I'm being silly. I just thought that was kind of sexy. Overall, this scene was very delicious in terms of the UST: I like how you keep the sexual aspects of this scene very subtle, but still present enough for the slash fangirl to pick up on them, and go all silly-grinny XD. There were things like scar-touching, Daja getting all flustered and being all hyperaware of Balasar's presence, and there was also just the fact that Balasar was being all touchy-feely. They're definitely attracted, though not yet doing anything. XD.
I like that, though. You're not just writing smut, but you're letting us get to know the characters, like they are getting to know themselves. Let's first talk about Balasar asking Daja about love, and Daja then realising that he knows nothing about it. I like that, because it makes sense, as saddening as it is. Of course, Daja has been brought up to desire nothing but his sacrifice, and the fact that he would be so terribly unaware of how Asseo feels for him and what he could feel for Asseo makes sense. Obviously, this is a very significant conversation between him and Balasar, because I wonder how it will affect the plot further. I also wonder if it will change the way Daja will look at Balasar.
He's definitely already there, I mean in the sense of beginning to see Balasar differently. I cannot stress how much I love the reveal of Balasar being the son of a priestress. It makes sense, in hindsight, especially in terms of his hatred towards anything that his holy, and his reluctance to believe. It also explains why he's become so hardened towards anything. What I also like about it is how it sets up parallels between Daja and Balasar: they both have been sort of betrayed by holy insitutions, only that Balasar is more aware of it. BUT YES OBVIOUSLY I need to talk about how the mark is also the mark of the deity that Balasar's mother prayed too. I loved that, because it's obviously exciting in terms of the plot and also raises a lot of questions. I'm really, really eager to see how you will develop that further (or where you will take it). Obviously, it's also significant in temrs of Daja and Balasar's relationship: Daja now knows a lot about Balasar, and he's beginning to wonder about him. I think … I think that he's beginning to get interested in Balasar as a pereson too :D So far, his attraction has been more physical?
Obviously the ending was a very cruel cliffhanger. I'm worried about Asseo, given how this chapter's theme was really survival :/
| amothepirate chapter 15 . 6/27
Wow! This story is excellent! I am excited to see where you go from here. I love your descriptions and how different this is from anything I have read. Wonderful, simply wonderful.
| Ventracere chapter 7 . 6/24
Okay. Without the review game restrictions, I think this is going to be a little more rambly, so bear with me, haha. Onwards!
This was an interesting way to lead from one chapter to the next. Not going to lie, I did find myself smiling a bit when Balasar frowned at Daja. It's amusing really, especially after you end with the sentence, "I dreamt of you". But what makes it even better is that Balasar frowns at his companion. That goes to say, Balasar's character is mature, one that isn't about to poke fun even if his "prisoner" so to speak, is unconscious. On another note, I find that it's sweet of him to handle Daja with more care than say "a sack of hay", because again, Daja is his prisoner. Balasar has a good heart- as seen in the previous chapter with Ismene and now with Daja. Thanks for staying consistent with that :)
Oho. I'm a huge fan of when things are tied together, the little things from the previous chapters, and you've just brought that here. Previously you had mentioned that Balasar is an unbeliever. Daja and Balasar are opposites, a man who is ready to die for his god, whereas Balasar is one who doesn't believe in gods. We see that here that he offers little remorse for the priests ready to sacrifice one of their own for an idea that he believes isn't true.
Nice description of Daja there. I like that we get to see this through Balasar's eyes. Where as previously we only saw the descriptions of the priest, and Daja's nervousness. Now we get to see just how Daja is perceived by others, and you do him justice here.
For a second, I thought Asseo was Daja, but now I get it. Balasar paints Asseo in a much different light than Daja. It's funny, really, how different Asseo is treated from Balasar. Asseo is of no worth to him, whereas Daja intrigues him. That's the main difference. And now I get your title for the chapter, which makes Asseo a mouse. I'm a bit worried for the priest though, considering he is of little worth. Balasar doesn't seem like someone who is willing to let his men have another as a "toy" of sorts, but we'll see if that's actually true or not (I hope it's not for Asseo's sake).
Thanks for the read!
| Ventracere chapter 6 . 6/24
Okay, first things first. Something that I find interesting is that you have a rather large cast of characters. Not that I should be talking, haha. But something you do extremely well is introduce us to them. There's not too much background for Ramal. He's a character I'm not exactly sure where he stands. He's an interesting one - one that has ties to Daja, but you don't exactly explain that to us. I'm slightly confused as to why Daja someone who is no more. I'm guessing it's because he is to leave the priest and the fact that there is an ambush coming soon. I'm sure I'll find that down the line in the next couple chapters or maybe even in this chapter :D? Maybe hopeful wishing. Okay, now I understand. So they're all his protectors, and he knew the ambush was coming.
Onwards. Let's just say I warbled a bit at the end. To address your author's note - I don't think he is a crybaby. In fact, had he not shed a few tears, I probably would have said that he seems so distanced from the scene itself. Which brings me to my next point, of how much emotion there is in this chapter alone. I think that sped up the chapter, and made everything easier to read. The fact that this was an emotionally charged chapter, made me invested. I want to see what makes Daja tick - well. Instead, you answered another question and reinforced as to just how much Daja cares about the priests around him. He loves them, even if Asseo was a little weird, and acting out of character for him.
Something else - regarding the action of the scene, I loved it. It wasn't so long that it dragged and it wasn't too short where it was a blink and you missed it. Another thing that I found interesting about this scene was that you way of describing it puts us right next to him. We're watching Isoba fall and your way of writing puts us right there. A little frightening, but fantastic nonetheless.
Thanks for the read!
| Ventracere chapter 5 . 6/24
I think I'm going to go ahead and do this backwards, starting from your author's note.
I'm glad that this is the last build up scene, haha. It's mainly descriptors so far - and frankly, I'm a bit curious where this is going to go. I'm honest to god (hahahah), hoping that Balasar and Daja are going to meet up soon, which considering your chapter structure, this is going to happen soon. hehe, maybe I'm reaching a little too hard, a little too far. Anywho, onto the actual writing.
I found Balasar's words with Ismene here incredibly touching. Seriously? He takes a part of Ismene that is probably integral to herself, those scars are a part of her, something that she's gotten over being ashamed of and turns it into something more "beautiful". He respects her scars, and explains his reasons for thinking they are beautiful when Ismene is incredibly skeptical of his words. I can't fathom enough of what probably went through her head at that point.
Anywho, hopping onto the scene before this one. I'm not going to lie, I'm more of a fan of dialogue driven pieces, but you've got me interested with your descriptors. You've got a good way of writing that doesn't make the scene drag on. All these descriptions are beautiful, and I could visualize the rituals that Daja was going through in preparation for his last meeting with Isoba. Why is it that Daja is leaving all the people he loves?! And these people, Asseo and Isoba are all so kind to him. You did a fantastic job with making the emotion travel through the dialogue in the few places where you did integrate them.
"And Isoba's heart remembered what it meant to break." - no. Stop. (beautiful line to end a fantastic scene).
Thanks for the read!