Reviews for To Walk in the Wind
DeaD-VoRTeX chapter 1 . 3/27/2013
Yay! I finally got round to reviewing your story! :D Sorry it's been a couple of days - I hope to be more regular in the future, though you'll have to bear with me. ' I'm quite slow.
Anyway, onto the actual story.
I loved it. Your writing style is detailed in that it creates solid images, particularly with the sounds of the market at the beginning, but isn't waterlogged with description. The sentences are structured nicely, too. I just had to pick out one phrase... "Then, with the disconcerting immediacy of sliding on a mask, Abdhi's expression cooled." I absolutely love this line - forgive me for over-analysing the writing, as I usually do, but it makes Abdhi seem very two-faced and sly, as well as a person who hides behind his public image to get by, which is the image you wanted to create, isn't it?
Another thing that I particularly enjoyed was the geography you've included in your setting: I'm really not a fan of books that create areas on a large scale, but then put in nothing as to how they work. I've done the same in my own story. I just think the actual plot flows better when the setting fits together better. Like Skyrim, with all the holds and the administrative forces, as well as all the resistance groups... Sorry, I'm waffling.
Before I finish, I would just like to congratulate you on your choice of names. It sounds very Middle-Eastern, and they all fit in well with the setting you've created. Sometimes, the names of characters can be all over the place, which is acceptable for a fantasy book, but in yours, which seems to be slightly more realistic, it works better to establish a solid atmosphere through your place and character names.
You've set this up to be a fantastic read, judging from your beginning - I'll be checking out the second chapter soon.
Sombrette chapter 3 . 3/25/2013
So, lots of good world building in this chapter. Your detail is awesome, this chapter just reminded me of that fact. The little trek through the marketplace(I'm pretty sure it was a marketplace...) added a lot of rich description, with the smells— but mostly the sounds— you continued to emphasis while they made their way through was really nice to read. It's very close to seeing these images just lain out in front of us, so close ;) Something I admire.

I also really enjoyed the introduction of Oz, he has the proper 'sidekick' persona and his actions toward Balasar are reasonable and believable. How it was mentioned that he looks after Balasar's needs, since Bala couldn't be bothered by them was what gave me that impression. I like him as a character, he seems quirky with his trinkets and the description given to him was good as well.

[...waiting with a dubious look on his face and a curious glint in his eye that he did his best to mask{ }Ozzrick shuffled through his newest jumble of trinkets...] - This section seemed off. I looks like their should be a period there or something like 'as' between 'mask' and 'Ozzrick'.

This chapter also hints at a bunch of history your world contains and all of it's really intriguing. How you present it as well is nice because it's not done in a boring manner that would make me want to skim, it's blended in with the dialogue which makes it much more interesting in my opinion.

I enjoyed the talk about Balasar's thoughts regarding gods, and I'm interested to find out what happened in his past that caused him to have such a sour attitude towards them. Apparently he goes around pissing them off on purpose so...something must have happened. I also liked Jaleah's plight with being a woman and the culture differences showing through here, women not allowed to walk in the sun unless they're holy? That has me curious.

Another good chapter :)
Elaine Riggins chapter 3 . 3/24/2013
Okay, Vhaki is a male god. Now I understand the previous chapter having all male trainers.
Here you give good descriptions of both the surroundings and the characters. Loved Oz having all that jewelry on! His interactions with Balasar give a great illustration of how close these 2 men are. Excellent how you used the description of the surroundings to also give us an insight to Balasar's character.
I like how you make good use of this chapter to not only introduce the characters but also give us the history of the local gods thus the title. Here you show how brazen Balasar is to go against such a formidable god and also the parallels he has to the human that Vhaki once was for he also defined the gods of his time.
Your grammar is very well done! Again I don't see any errors.
So far all of the characters come across as interesting giving a realism to the story.
Elaine Riggins chapter 2 . 3/24/2013
The description of the temple is very well done! You give enough info so that the reader can see the surroundings. You have a way with words that is almost poetic!
It was also enjoyable to have Daja mulling over why gods would be turning to him for input on matters. Is this giving a suggestion that he is questioning his faith?
Daja's character is presented clearly. How he is of 2 minds about his role while still being obedient it. The descriptions of his pleasure training is presented without being pornographic. I was curious as to why all of his pleasure trainers were male or is Vhaki a male god?
I would like to have more descriptions of the physical appearance of Daja and perhaps some of the other characters mentioned. as well.
You give a hint about the wind and Daja. Makes me wonder if he has a certain power or if perhaps Vhaki is using it to touch his chosen one.
Elaine Riggins chapter 1 . 3/24/2013
Loved the exotic scene description! I can see myself in the room with the 2 men. Perhaps to enhance you could add descriptions of the furnishings and decor in the room. Not necessary though. Since this is taking place in a world of your creation you do well with listings the names and giving just enough of the social structure for this world! The under class/upper class struggle is well explained.
I get a good feel for the characters of both the men! Would like to read more of how they look. Color of hair, etc.
Grammar is not my strong subject but I personally didn't find any obvious mistakes.
Loved the almost poetic wording you used as you describe the city! The opening is intriguing enough I want to continue reading!
Very excellent story plot! Original and different! Enjoyed how the Minister, who appears to be accustom to being in control, has the tables turned on him by Balasar! Good work!
Adrenalin chapter 8 . 3/22/2013
Hum... I liked the scene between Daja and Balasar, it was great to finally see them interact. My only drawback is that Daja seems to recover too fast. It takes longer than that to be able to speak coherently after a bad case of dehydration, or to speak at all, for that matter. When Daja wakes up, he should be confused, irritated and sleepy, those are symptoms of dehydration. So, there's no real need for the drug. Also, his throat should hurt him and feel really gross. If you've ever woken up in the night because you have a cold and have to breathe through your mouth, thus making it dry, you should know what I mean.

I thought Daja would be less cooperative with Balasar too. Balasar did kill everyone Daja knew or cared for in his life, with the exception of Asseo, which he allowed to be used as a bed slave. Can't wait for the moment Daja discovers it, by the way. Especially when you take into account the way Balasar lied about not hurting him (yep, wilfully ignoring the true meaning of Daja's demand is lying).

So I guess Jamiss is the one taking care of the wounded, not Jaleah? Maybe it would have fit more if he had been the one to identify Daja's dehydration then.

I was glad to see what Jaleah's opinion on the matter of Asseo being raped was. As a woman, riding with men whose violence actually gets them paid, she must have been confronted with unwanted attentions before, and I think it's logical she doesn't like the idea of someone being raped inside the camp, if only because it sets a bad precedent. If Balasar allows one person to be raped here, the men might feel inclined to think that another one is ok, and oh, look, here's a woman. The way Desmond act only shows it might happen.
The way Balasar reacts to this, coupled with Jaleah's comment about "how she could love [him]", made me think they were closer than you let on in the second chapter. My theory is that Balasar used to be in a relationship/married (not sure marriage exist in your world), that the woman got killed because of something involving gods, and that she was Jaleah's sister. Or something like that.

I also liked Balasar's reasons for sparing Asseo, though I still think him extremely cruel to give him to the likes of Ira and Desmond (I also think it's out of character considering how surprised all his friends are by this). I would like to point out that Asseo admitted to being afraid of death in chapter 6, and in chapter 7 his saying he was not afraid like death sounded more like bravado than true conviction, and Balasar could have caught on that.
Adrenalin chapter 7 . 3/22/2013
I didn't like the ['battle'] bit, because you explain right after that Balasar doesn't really consider it a battle, so there's no need for the tags.

I didn't care for Balasar admiring Daja so much, it felt out of character and, while I understand that he remarked Daja's beauty (because apparently he is and the make-up would only enhance it), I don't think he should fawn over him so much. The 'melancholy beauty' especially bothered me, it gave me the impression that you were feminizing Daja, which I really wouldn't like. If you're writing a homosexual romance, then why feminize one of the characters? Just write a heterosexual relationship (I'm not taking drag queens, transgenders and such into account. They're not really likely to exist in a fantasy world). Anyway, it might not be the case, and it's the first time this story gave me this impression, so I hope it will remain an isolated incident. Besides, I took a look at your other stories and you don't seem prone to this type of exaggeration.

Another thing I didn't like: the irritated/jealous feeling Balasar experiments when Jaleah touches Daja. I'm not sure if it's related to Daja or Jaleah, but if the first, I'm not that fond of the idea that Balasar is already feeling attracted to him, and if the second, I wonder where it's coming from. There's only one instance where it would be ok with me that Balasar already feels possessive of Daja, it would be that they are 'soulmates', that the gods intended them for each other and that Balasar sort of got manipulated by the gods. Of course he would have to discover it, otherwise it's no fun. That's the only setting in which I would enjoy the soulmates theory I think.

I liked that Jaleah was able to identify Daja's dehydration, but does she have any kind of reason to know that? Is she the company's physician? I'd like to know what exactly is her role here. Also, you should put more detail into how she discovers it, because just looking at someone isn't enough to know he's dehydrated. Cracked lips isn't a sure enough sign, especially in a desert, so she could check: his eyes (dry and sunken), his mouth and tongue (dry), his heartbeat (increased), etc...

I also liked that Asseo was alive, though his fate looks rather bleak. I didn't know he was so small, it surprised me. Is the fifteen/sixteen age Balasar think he is a consequence of his size, or is it a mistake? Cause last chapter he was twenty. I liked the conversation between Balasar and Asseo, it shows a nice contrast between their culture.
Adrenalin chapter 6 . 3/22/2013
There goes my hope of seeing Isoba again... Can't believe you killed him! But how ironic that Daja would be saved now, when he finally feels so little regrets concerning his death.

But starting from the beginning: as much as I liked experimenting another character's PoV last chapter, here the first part, from Ramal's PoV, held almost no interest for me. If you only want to show that the priests are aware something might go wrong, I'd suggest you include it in Daja's narration, by having him remark that something strange is happening, and that it wasn't supposed to happen that way. He should know, he's been prepared for it since his birth. But having one of the priest telling it kinda hinders the flow, IMO. Besides, you handle the rest of the scene, with Daja's being worried, very well, so why bother with another PoV? For me, the purpose appears to be the same: make the reader aware that events are speeding up, fast, and that Something Big is about to happen.

I enjoyed Asseo's story about his mother. I thought it was pretty logical that some women would try to give birth to the Gift, whether to scurry favors from Vhaki himself or just for the honors it might get them in their village. It's sort of sad that Daja was born from a woman who really suffered from his being taken away, and Asseo from one who didn't. I also thought it was a great way to show more about Asseo.
I didn't like this line though: ["Did you ever think me capable of such selfishness?"]
Asseo here is seeking reassurance from Daja, and it only goes to show that he really is selfish.

Back to Isoba's death, and the matter of Daja's tear:
I don't mind that Daja cries/is about to cry so much in this chapter, it's only logical considering what he's going through. Isoba's dying was sad, though with so little interaction between them in the previous chapters, it's not exactly tear-inducing for me. I think that you should have insisted on their relationship, prior to writing Isoba's PoV, so that the reader feels more empathy for Daja's loss. And another thing: yes, Daja cries, but no, there shouldn't be any tears. Dehydratation would not allow for any real ones to form, because his organism would favor redirecting what little water is left to other, more important organs than his tearducts. Actually, his eyes should even be hurting from them being so dry. But that's just nitpicking about the realism of the scene, and it's not actually that important.

And finally, Balasar and Daja meet, I can't wait to see how it will go between the two of them. I have a feeling that the beginning might be a little... difficult.
Adrenalin chapter 5 . 3/22/2013
I reaaaally like your world-building. The way you casually threw information about the religion in this chapters through Isoba's PoV was great. It shows that you have really thought this through.

I also enjoyed reading Isoba. He's a great character, and his fading faith makes him three-dimensional. At first I was a little wary because Daja's opinion of Isoba (kind but not very fond of him) clashed with the way you described their relationship here, but then the interaction between the two of them showed that Isoba is so controlled that Daja's impressions are logical. I think you did a very good job at characterizing Isoba in a few pages, even though it's the first time we're getting into his head. I wonder if it's the last, though? I'd really like to see him again.

I enjoyed your descriptions of Daja's adornement. They were vivid and detailed, I could picture everything without any difficulty. It was maybe a bit too detailed at times, or rather you stopped including Isoba in it so that it didn't feel like he was the one to follow the processings so eagerly but only you wanting to detail as much as possible of your mental image. I'm not sure I'm making myself perfectly clear, but I think this scene would flow better if you added more of Isoba's impressions upon the whole.

My favorite part of this chapter is the second one, with Balasar and Ismene. First I liked the parallel between Isoba and Balasar. They're such different characters, almost opposed actually, in that Isoba has faith in the gods, but it's wavering because of Daja, and Balasar doesn't believe in them, or so he would have everyone believe ('cause, as Oz said, who would go to such lengths to piss off gods if he was absolutely convinced they don't exist?). But they share some similarities because they're damaged. And I love damaged characters.

And this remark allows me to go straight to my next point: I LOVE Ismene. I think she's your best character so far. That might be pushing it a little, but I really enjoy strong, independent female characters. Sure, Ismene needs Balasar's protection, but she doesn't just ask for it and think it's owed to her (like a lot of women characters in fantasy), she knows she has to earn it. She pays it with sexual favors: again, I like this, because she's aware she's doing this and it's her choice, she assumes and enjoys it. I must say, I'm not really that fond of slash stories, and it's mostly due to the general absence of women in them, especially strong, interesting women (that, and the fact I have a hard time identifying to the male leads, which kind of ruin the romance part for me :p), but if you keep on including Ismene that will not be a problem.
The Autumn Queen chapter 5 . 3/22/2013
[He chided himself for this.] – ‘Chided’ seems a little too casual for what you seem to intend in that context. It makes the effort of Isoba attempting to distance himself seem quite insignificant, or alternatively he doesn’t overly feel it’s something he should have accomplished. Apart from that, I like the brief tale of Isoba’s past. It seems like a small interlude to the story but at the same time something important; maybe it’ll show up later on. The description was quite interesting as well; I really like how you’ve brought the desert into the story in not only a physical but also a metaphorical way.
[…Gift's shoulder blades nearly to the middle of his back.] – I feel “nearly” sort of breaks the flow of that sentence. (Haha, my CW tutor would scold me for using the word flow) I think “…blades to nearly/almost the middle…”. Almost is a personal preference over nearly, but I think it would work better after the to.
[Ribbons of rich forest green and gold, Vhaki's colors] – this is sort of the reverse definition, but I think you could still use a colon before “Vhaki’s colours. I find it interesting though you don’t put a separate adjective before “gold”, leading me to wonder whether you meant the “rich forest” to be a descriptor to both colours or not. If it’s the former, it gives an interesting natural feel to the gold, which blends in nicely with this ritualistic preparation.
I also rather like the interaction between Ismene and Balasaar, and Ismene in general. She breaks the typical stereotype of the subservient women, which is what I expected after the buildup of Daja and his sacrifice to the Gods, so it’s very interesting to see the first memorable woman to be a direct contrast to that. Of course, it helps that the main characters are both male.
[before you give it a second glance."] - lol, I thought you said chance there.
emmadotlouise chapter 1 . 3/20/2013
Wow, you had a lot of setup to get through - I appreciate the way that you've outlined your world and given the reader more insight into the inner workings of it.

I will confess that I found myself skim reading the beginning as my attention wasn't grabbed from the forefront. Upon reading further into the story, I was more engaged with the story as you alluded to events rather than setting up your backstory as to the whys of what is going to happen. The hook was lacking for me though - your first sentence spiked my interest, but as this was followed with a description with nothing for me to connect to (though that said, I am an emotive reader (if that makes sense...)), I found my attention drifted elsewhere. Perhaps connect your characters together earlier within the story, interacting with each other, rather than focussing on your main character's observation of what is going on around him. Often what is happening to them or how they are feeling is more of a hook as it gives others a chance to relate to them.

Your writing style is superb, though I think the story would benefit from less description. You paint pictures very well as a descriptive writer and use a lot of elegant language - some of your analogies almost border on poetic - but in some places you over-describe and I think with a tighter pen in these areas you could communicate the same message in fewer words. For example:

""Do we have a deal, Minister?" Balasar asked, meeting his fuming client's gaze dead on this time. He swore he spotted angry sweat beading up on the man's red faced brow as he sputtered."

Balasar is already looking at the Abdhi, you established this in an earlier paragraph. You could say something along the lines of "directly meeting his fuming client's gaze". In the following sentence you could lose the "he swore he spotted" and rework this sentence. Balasar doesn't strike me as the kind of character who would be overly bothered by someone being pissed off, from the way you've described him.

I already feel sorry for Daja and I haven't even come to meet him yet. You develop your characters well, I already have a feel for the greed of the minister and Balasar's cunning. It will be interesting to see how Balasar's character progresses throughout the duration of the story and how he differs when he is interacting with Daja.

The ending ties your chapter up beautifully and leaves the reader wanting for more. Despite the difficulty of trying to get through the first half of the chapter with nothing to connect to, the conclusion of the chapter leaves things open for the reader to think about what is going to happen and what kind of adventure Balasar is set to get into.
Guest chapter 9 . 3/19/2013
OOOH I really like this story. It is very intriguing! I feel really bad for Asseo though, but I am not sure if he is even going to be the main love interest. Isn't the Bala? If so, his character is very interesting, albeit with some very negative qualities, but I don't really like the huge age gap between him and Daja. No matter what though, I am super hooked with this and I can't wait for an update!
Chiisutofupuru chapter 7 . 3/18/2013
Spoilers...

Definitely interesting. Asseo survived! Yey! Doesn't sound like he will be liking it though. Poor Asseo.

Now I'm wondering how Daja will be when he wakes up. I think he's curious about the man he 'dreamt' about. I don't think he will kill himself or even attempt it. Unless of course Balasar gives him more reason to.

What's this about a princess? Where did she come from? This question... is the 'princess' for-shadowing something. I bet Daja is going to meet her. That alone makes me want to read on.

Chiisutofupuru
Infected Beliefs chapter 9 . 3/18/2013
[...forcing stale air down a throat that felt raw as the skeleton of a beached fish picked clean by desert predators.] - I have been enjoying your metaphors. I meant to mention that in the last review but forgot. Your metaphors tend to be long but they are always so descriptive; I love it.

Ah, look at that. A little bit of redemption for Balasar hidden behind gruffness. I always knew I liked the dude for a reason. The dialogue between him and Asseo was very well done; I could feel Asseo's scorn and Balasar's amused indifference and confusion keenly. I still love Balasar (not in the sense that Asseo loves Daja but...well...you get my drift) but Asseo really is acting the fool. What can he expect to do?

[Ira's attention settled on him like a bear fresh from hibernation spotting a lame rabbit...] - Another of your delicious metaphors.

I thought you handled Asseo's shame and determination well. It was a good balance of his defiance mixed with his embarrassment at the situation which he has been thrust into and his reluctance to present himself before Daja. I feel that he is living under a delusion though. His circumstances are not going to improve, if anything, they will worsen. Daja would probalby have been his best bet for surviving the rest of the journey, though pride has always been a strange thing.

I am curious to see what will happen once they reach some sort of civilization. Daja has never encountered the rest of the world, after all, and I am interested to see how he handles it. You have developed the characters nicely to this point and I am really enjoying the story on all accounts. Keep up the good work.

Sorry for the shorter review but it is all I can come up with given my current circumstances.

Best of luck to you and your writing,

Update soon,

-Infected
Infected Beliefs chapter 8 . 3/18/2013
[Sleep well, little priest. You will need all the strength you can get."

Balasar rose just as someone scratched at the tent flap.] - You need a line break, or white-space or something separating these two sections since you change perspective between them. I was quite confused and had to reread these two paragraphs a few times.

I am having a hard time remembering who Jamiss. Ozzrick is the second in command, if I remember correctly. Jaleah is the angel chick. Who is Jamiss again? Wait, Never mind. I just looked back to chapter three and discovered Jamiss to be one of Balasar's soldiers, and Jaleah to be the snappy female soldier (so ignore my quip about Jaleah from the previous review). Who the bloody hell was that angel chick then (wanders off to find out)?

I said Balasar was my favorite character, but I think Ozzrick might be. Fucking awesome name. I would steal it if I didn't think you would notice :P

["How could you—this is—they're raping…" Her words butted up against one another, violent and disgusted, all too eager to have their say at once] - For a veteran member of a mercenary troupe, I am rather surprised that she is not hardened to this. Raping and pillaging is fairly common after most battles, and certainly after most sacks and sieges. She rides with bad company and she knows it, and she seems a hard woman on top of that. I don't understand her lack of understanding, or at least lack of ability to ignore it.

["Touch her," Balasar cut in, "and I'll see to it personally that your genitals are sold to witch doctors on the black market to be ground up and used as exotic potion ingredients in aphrodisiacs. Understood?"] - I think this might be vying for the best threat I have read this year. I cracked up and shivered at the same time. Good writing, good dialogue, good characterization.

Ok, if Balasar has never allowed the company to take slaves before, why would he all of a sudden allow it? And also, why would Ira even think to ask (aside from so that Asseo could remain in the story)? Seems a little strange and out of character/unrealistic to me. Well, there you answer Balasar's half of the riddle for me. I should learn to be more patient. Still curious why Ira would even think to ask though.

[Overhead, the sky roiled with clouds black as ink, but it did not rain, and the air was impossibly still. As though the earth itself were holding a giant breath before a scream.] - Absolutely loved this ending line. It does a really good job at setting the tone and the mood (same thing? maybe...too much wine)

Anyhoo...Nice Job! I thought this chapter was much better than the last.
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