|Reviews for To Walk in the Wind|
| lookingwest chapter 12 . 5/27
Wow, what a heavy chapter, Tooth O_O I wasn't surprised to see that we switched into a different perspective in the opening regarding the rape scene. That was very hard to read as it was for Asseo to even suffer through at the start of it. This really really characterizes the company that Bala keeps and it is not good. I liked that we at least get the switch back into him here after a few chapters of Daja because it reaffirms that he does have somewhat good intentions - or at least, he's not like the rest of his men, and neither are those closest to him, like Ismene. So yes, very intense opening scene. Difficult to read, but written very well. I could really feel Asseo's emotion in it and how much he struggled.
Like I said, I liked switching into Bala's POV to learn more about his character in the context of this situation. He didn't make as much fuss as I thought he might walking in on the scene, but I like how he carried Daja out to get the "full story" on what had happened. It was very wince-worthy to hear the confirmation that the men were mostly right (though crass, of course), but I especially liked Bala's reaction to the bit about Asseo, and how his rule had been bent and not clear. It also showed Daja's personality well when he asked if Bala would take him next - it was a bold thing to say but also a defiant one, I think. He's figuring out how Bala works - shown further when he asks what he wants or looks for in a partner. So yeah, really liked the characterization with Bala and his conflicted feelings - closing with the bit about the storm gods and the wind dying (very ominous).
The scene with Asseo and Daja was a refreshing one - it was nice to finally see the two of them together. I really liked how you opened the scene with Daja bending down to pray next to Asseo, and him not realizing it was Daja - it was a nice almost cinematic moment. I also liked how you went ahead and gave us more backstory on Asseo. I think I remember the reference when he says "you already know this about me" as something he'd revealed before, but I liked the hint there. I was wondering where Asseo might be going with his story when we get to the part about him being Daja's last teacher, and why - that really came together nicely. If anything there is in some sense a romance between Asseo and Daja but it's so complex - I really like that about it. It's clear that Asseo really cares about him. So, again, really great technique to weave in the backstory leading up to a lesson or thematic impact on Daja and what it means for him to be this sacrificial priest.
I'm very happy that you didn't have the physical bits with Asseo and Daja go anywhere beyond just kissing - and I like that you do allude to the pain and suffering Daja is feeling. As far as being raped - he doesn't act as traumatized as one might expect but I think it honestly makes sense, and a lot of that might hit him later in some form as well. This calmness he has fits his character and his purpose, as he states to Bala, and I think it was illustrated that this calmness was close to shattering perhaps even in the tub at the end when he's being washed and says he'll finish. It's a harrowing experience. I'm wondering if it will have any effects on his profession in the future.
Really great chapter, Tooth. Looking forward to another update. Oh, and before I leave - your language and writing in this was wonderful. So many great images, and some great moments, like the very first paragraph and the hesitance / description of that silence and Asseo's "bated breath" - then later all those little bits with the "wind" again. Lovely imagery and use of motif. Thanks for the evening read! (3/3)
| Painted Desert chapter 11 . 5/27
What a pleasant surprise it was to see you've updated this! Poor Daja has a lot to learn about the real world and himself. I hope that he doesn't get thrown to the wolves.
| pumadelic chapter 4 . 5/27
The slow pace of this chapter really works - we have a tentative breaking of the no-attachment rule between master and servant. Asseo's very basic room either shows he is still of low status as a priest or all the rooms are that modest. Daja's naivety in not understanding that Asseo actually has feelings for him is a testament to how he has been raised - as a 'vessel'. It is appropriate to have some actual physical description of Daja here: his ethnicity seems distinct from that of his masters. Not sure whether this is a comment on how the 'gift' is chosen, whether it isn't completely random.
Daja has only had actual pleasure in his experience with Ramal. That seems more of a lust situation than anything romantic, unsurprisingluy. His conditioning makes this attempt at more spontaneous sex halting and hesitant - as is Asseo because he is breaking the rules. It is difficult to avoid cliches in writing sex scenes..flinty whine of pleasure is a new one. Daja's response to Asseo's expression when he penetrates him is telling and a major foreshadowing plot point presumably -'Daja knew he would never look like Asseo in that moment' There are some strong attempts at metaphor here - 'like a beached fish trying to teach himself to walk without example'..except perhaps the fish would be dying.
Asseo confessing that he will miss Daja is touching. Daja cannot properly respond to it. The smooth ritual of the prayer after the 'non-lesson lesson' sex is effective. The routine takes over and Asseo gives up making the event more personal.
The whole thing is handled well I thought.
I presume the dream prefigures Balasar. Is Daja gifted with second sight? In any case, it is an effective ending to the chapter.
| pumadelic chapter 3 . 5/27
This is a beautifully written and highly entertaining chapter. I enjoyed the description of the Minister's over luxurious household and Balasar's disgust with it. There is a great contrast between the shimmering fountains with their crisp water and the dirt and smells of the camel market. The bleating goat brings us down to earth nicely.
The relationship between Balasar and Oz is terrific. The critical but loyal second in command is a familiar figure but their dialogue crackles with life and also fills the reader in on Balasar's anti deist rebellious nature. I loved the humour - 'It's a rock' as a description of the carved goddess. Their conversation also adds more detail to the region's myths and legends/beliefs. We also get Balasar's views on love; unsurprisingly, he is in some kind of relationship but anti romantic. This sets him up nicely for a turn around in subsequent chapters.
Jeleah is feisty and fun. 'Count sand?' The use of dialect helps to add more credence to this very vivid world. The dialogue is wonderful - what is the difference between ordinarily and mysteriously castrated men, indeed.
I really can't find much to criticise here.
| lookingwest chapter 11 . 5/27
The ending of this chapter is the thing that stuck with me after reading - it's quite terrifying and such an excellent cliffhanger. After I read I really wanted to see more! I'm afraid for Daja, but yet again he proves his loyalties and almost a sense of honor in this that I really liked to see, just to spare Asseo. I'm interested to see what might happen after Daja makes this statement here at the end, especially in regards to what will happen IF this terrible thing goes down, and WHEN Balasar hears about it.
So your story is without a doubt my favorite slash story on FP. I always thought it was well done in the sense that, overall, you've got the smutty parts but you've also got a plot. I've felt recently that only having a plot - and not having any smutty parts at all...is not really slash in my opinion? Though you would probably know more. But if there's no sex at all, I mean, aren't the sex parts really what the marker is for because it turns people on, haha, so if not there, it just becomes a love story with two men, which, ya know, shouldn't really be something "labeled" imo - but I could probably go on a tangent here and won't. The thing is, I like how you balance the marker for it with a plot, and I especially like how you use Ismene (see, I had a point). It's probably no surprise that there are very little, if no, women in slash fiction. At least, I've noticed that over the years. Those that do add women add them sometimes in a way that feels minor and tacked on. They never feel like they have dimension or are even realistic, in some cases OR they can even feel forced - but Ismene is different. I really enjoy how "full" she feels as a character. You give her a bit of backstory in this chapter that really brings her to life in a unique way, but what I like is that she's relating back to Daja as far as sexual "use" or well, whoring - to use the words of the title and theme of this chapter. Character-wise I like that she has qualities that are vastly different from Balasar, and I like how she actually feels like a bit of a "main" because she knows Balasar so well. She doesn't feel like she's just there for the sake of being the token woman in the slash story or anything, and I liked that a lot.
Let's see. Oh! The languages. You're doing a really good job with the language aspect on the barriers and those who can speak it well, speak it, and can hardly speak it at all, haha. I thought the adjustment for the men that can hardly speak it, and how they speak sloppily to Daja, was a nice feature. That's something I'm bad at doing in my own fiction, I remember I went to describe that someone had an accent then went, huh, I wonder what that accent would even sound like, and kinda chickened out on making any indicators or markers in the dialogue. Here, I like this route of just breaking the language up. And the barrier or observations that Balasar and Daja are dealing with is also a nice touch. Balasar not being able to speak Daja's language with the same ease a Ismene almost gives Daja a minor power over him that added to the dimension of their relationship.
Enjoyment-wise. Yes! I am relly enjoying that this story is back, haha. I appreciated, I should say, (this is last chapter) the little paragraph you gave that sort of recaps what you've done so far with the story, if anything - I forgot to add this before, I would almost suggest finding more ways to work in little hints about earlier plotting devices just for your readers returning - whether it be on Ch. 10 or even throughout the next few updates. But overall I enjoyed that it was easy for me to jump back into this and find that the characters are right where I left them :) Again, I think because we haven't been in Balasar's POV yet he's coming off a bit more antagonistic than he was in the past, BUT I'm looking forward to seeing whether or not we might switch into him up next or soon - and I enjoy so far the convincing slow build of their relationship throughout these updates as well! (2/3)
| lookingwest chapter 10 . 5/27
I enjoyed your opening here with the dream and the wind description - it was poetic without being overdone, and I find that it becomes a very reoccurring motif within this chapter and the next one. Which makes sense, given the nature of the title, haha. So I could see the connections there. I don't remember if Daja was as in tune with the wind before this point - but it was a very good way to start. Not to mention his connection with the gods and the overarching plot of them not getting him as a sacrifice. After this chapter, I'm actually plot-wise very eager to find out if indeed, the gods do have power in this work and are angered, or if the gods well, don't actually exist.
Speaking of plot though, I think Asseo mentioning that perhaps the gods didn't actually want him as a sacrifice goes a long way in the mystery of what Daja's purpose now is. I liked Asseo's hesitance during that conversation to actually make such a statement, because I think it speaks to how terrifying this entire situation has become for both of them - not only does it shake up their regular lives, but it's also shaking up their entire belief systems. Again, it also does a tremendous job foreshadowing plot and adding the mystery of "what next?" for Daja, now that everything's changed.
The setting here with the village of Qali was super spooky. I've read Ch. 11 having written this review right now, but I remember when I was reading this feeling uneasy about the observations Daja makes in regards to the threshold of the doors. It felt very Biblical, in some sense - but the setting in that regard also did a great job creating foreshadow with what they discover. The descriptions were also clear and well written. I liked the use of "globbled smears" to describe the red over the doorways. Daja's assessment that no one will come to answer the door or to stop them was also quite spooky, haha. But the brute force at the ending here is also a good reflection of how these men (and woman heh) take what they want when they want it.
I remember not thinking Balasar was such a bad guy when we were in his perspective (now years ago, ha) but in this chapter and even in the next, I can't help but feel you're doing a marvelous job keeping him mysterious and kind of "the bad guy" even though the reader knows he isn't super evil or anything. More like he's just doing his job. I liked his interactions with Daja this chapter in regards to the food and asking if he was hungry - then you add him putting Daja to work on top of that and I think it shows I mean, he isn't being incredibly nice or anything, but he's perhaps taking an interest in Daja which I think is essential to go ahead and do at this stage if / when they do end up together. (1/3)
| pumadelic chapter 2 . 5/27
The Tower of Songs is a suitably mythic title for this chapter.
So here is Daja, in his far from ivory tower, both special and, to a modern mind anyway, abused. I love the description of the wind's noise in the opening paragraphs -'scattered breezes cut up like nervous laughter' is especially good - but perhaps there are a few too many metaphors.
Daja's conflict between the idealism of willing sacrifice and the natural desire to live, learn and maybe love is well portrayed. It is a fascinating insight into the notion of pleasing the gods..they want both sexual pleasure and knowledge and culture. You haven't demonised his masters but portrayed them as individuals who show Daja various degrees of kindness or cruelty. Daja feels desire for Ramal but isn't allowed to express it properly. All here is governed by a belief system that is very alien.
The setting of the tower is very poetic - shell, beads, flutes - the whole place is an instrument and you convey this is some beautiful skills Daja learns - gardening, martial arts - add more depth to the setting and culture of the story as well as showing us different aspects to his character.
The final conversation with smitten Asseo (surely he is breaking the rules here?) is poignant as the young man is sensitive enough to want something like consent. Daja has been trained too well to refuse and he likes the boy well enough. The line about 'absolutes imposed on him by outside forces' beautifully sums up his situation.
You have set up his potential to be rescued from his fate and linked this to the metaphor of the wind. Compelling
| LinlinMono chapter 11 . 5/25
Great chapter. I enjoyed it a lot. Thank you so very much :)
| pumadelic chapter 1 . 5/25
You have an elegant but natural writing style. I particularly liked the wind 'cantered in' from the opening paragraph and there are many examples of lively sensory writing. Nothing is overdone; just enough to set the desert scene.
The dialogue between Balasar and the Minister has tension, humour and gives backstory without being too obvious. The geographical and cultural world you've built here is coherent so the story of the child sacrifice and the people's belief in it is credible.
The conversation is perfectly paced. I like the fact that Balasar's negotiation point is that he doesn't fear the deities and by the end of the interchange, the reader is sufficiently repelled by the Minister to enjoy his defeat.
Perhaps 'said the hello to the villain' is a bit obvious. I'm also unsure why a sacrifice would have to learn all those skills including sexual skills..to be useful to humans or to the gods?
A really accomplished opener
| Itsa Mia chapter 11 . 5/24
You are so good.
Sometimes I think there's too much detail but whatever the Brontes were more so.
I love this update blast you're doing. How many chapters do you have planned out? I'll keep in touch lol
| Luckycool9 chapter 2 . 5/24
I really liked Daja's questioning nature because it shows how human this character is and how he doesn't believe what society tells him which is a rare trait. I also liked how you described the scenery because it gives the reader a vivid example of where he is and how trapped he is. I also liked how you describe what he is to the others without telling us because it bulids how tragic of a character he is. I however disliked how little we know about Daja's history because it makes it harder to connect to him.
| Hedonistic Opportunist chapter 1 . 5/24
Impressive start: you have what I would call a very flowing, very picturesque writing style. Even from your first paragraphs, it’s obvious that you pour a lot of attention and care into your words, because I find your descriptions articulate, unusual and interesting. They also create an atmosphere that is attention-grabbing but not overall detracting from the dialogue. I found myself being drawn into this world you’ve created at once.
I also really like your world-building, and how you’ve set out to tell us about this world: it’s not through a lameass introduction that reads like a history book, but instead you tell the story through dialogue, which is both very natural and infinitely more interesting as a storytelling approach. As a result, I found this to be a very smooth and clever way to flesh out this world/verse, but also a very good way to get the plot rolling.
What can I say about the plot? :D It’s definitely enjoyable and unique so far: I’m definitely intrigued by this ‘Sacrifice’ and how our ‘hero’ will deal with him. I’m intrigued, because I kind of can guess or at least hope that this is going where I think it’s going, and I’m already keen on Balasar. He’s very smart, very cunning, and definitely knows how to play his cards right. He’s also quite cynical, and I’m eager to know how his character unfold further throughout the story.
So – in a nutshell – very enjoyable start, good storytelling, interesting plot. Yes, this review is a lot more formal than my usual endeavours, but I need to start studying for my final on Tuesday.
| Kid Darkness chapter 10 . 5/23
Great work on the new chapter! D
| cat on moon chapter 10 . 5/22
I thought this was another favorite story that wont get updated ever again. So yay! I hope you plan on finishing :)
| Guest chapter 10 . 5/22
Thank you for not giving up on this story!