|Reviews for To Walk in the Wind|
| TawneyEverett chapter 2 . 3/7/2013
First, just want to make it clear I know nothing of this genre.
I really appreciate this chapter because it gives the reader a true sense of Daja's hardships past, present, and future. I think this is a great way to give the reader a rapport with the main character. I really felt for him the way you described how his "trainers" (not sure if that is the correct term) would beat him and he just had to take it.
"It teased through his hair, scooping it up around his chin and face like the chasing fingers of a playful lover." I love this description!
Honestly, I think you are doing a phenomenal job with the story. Keep up the good work!
| Michodell chapter 1 . 3/7/2013
I really like your writing style. The descriptions are great and your dialogue is natural.
I would say that though this has the start of a great plot, it did not grab me until the end. That could simply be my impatience. However, the quality of your writing kept me interested. It was easy to get pulled into the story though the plot did not interest me in the beginning.
| Dr. Self Destruct chapter 5 . 3/7/2013
[The earth rooted him. Plants, and caring for them as they cared for all other creatures of the earth,]
omg I love this line. It's one of those triumphant "I see what you did there!" moments because of how you use the word "rooted" and then go into descriptions of the plants and stuff. Very well thought-out, and it's a great phrase that really carried through with the rest of the metaphor.
The following paragraphs focused on Isoba are a great example of how telling isn't always bad, and a good writer knows how to use a nice balance of showing and telling. My creative writing professor calls it "narrative telling," where you impart information in an obvious, stepped-back manner (telling) in a way that makes it both interesting and enjoyable. Which I think is what you pull off very nicely here where Isoba is thinking about his guilt in picking Daja out for the next sacrifice. It's some great character development through narrative telling, and the way you impart the information from their past never makes it feel like an info-dump or too much - it comes across very naturally and organically to the situation.
[And now, as he stooped in his garden, letting the dying soil sift through his aged fingers, he saw glimpses of memories.]
Such a pretty line. You do such a great job writing really immersive and interesting reflective scenes. I especially enjoy how you pull the setting into his musings as well. It gives me the impression that he's rather close to nature and the earth itself.
[His also pants showed more than they hid.]
Typo - his pants also
I really like this extensive description of Daja standing there in his ceremonial outfit. I think the detail you go into is incredible, and I can easily picture him. It's a huge contrast to how I normally imagine him.
I think telling this scene from Isoba's POV is an interesting decision, and I think a wise one. It's always interesting to see how someone reacts to knowing they're going to die from the eyes of another person. I can already tell what Daja is thinking and feeling, but it's nice to get a more outside perspective of it. It also keeps the prose from being too melodramatic or sentimental, I think.
[the defining colors of we end up being.]
I think you're missing a "who" in there after "of."
I really like this conversation about scars between Balasar and Ismene. It's a unique subject, and the way Balasar addresses it is so fresh and really cool. The ending line is also great - not really a cliff-hanger in the immediate sense of what's happening to him this very second, but still a cliff-hanger by promising what's coming in the next chapter. Really gives the drive to want to continue right away.
| Unweighted Book Author chapter 3 . 3/7/2013
Very nice and strong opening. Different readers naturally have different interests, and it's pretty difficult to capture everyone's attention at the same time. The opening to this chapter is one of those rare passages that have the ability to do just that. For those who judge a work based on the strength of the writing, the prose is solid and description is very powerful, attacking the senses of hearing and smell in addition to sight. For those more interested in characterization, they get treated to a more in-depth view of Balasar's character, and we also get a couple of dropped hints regarding his past and why his current personality turns out the way it is.
You probably already know this, but it's not very effective to introduce several characters at once. The number of characters who actually make an appearance in this chapter is okay, but at the same time you make mention of quite a few other characters in Balasar's gang. If your aim is only to provide more verisimilitude and establish them as characters for later, then there's no problem, but don't expect your readers to remember that so-and-so was mentioned in Chapter 3. That's something that's very unlikely to happen, and I just wanted to make sure you're aware of it.
Jaleah is an interestingly crafted character. This is a slash story, meaning that the females in this story can't even rely on their age-old standby of being the love interest to maintain their role in the story. Keeping that in mind, Jaleah, as the first female character to appear, gives your readers a good idea of what to expect from the female characters in this story. Are they going to be relegated to the side, or will they have their place? Frankly speaking, Jaleah's strong and realistic personality gives me quite some hope, but I don't think I'm wrong to say that the main focus of this story will still stay on the male characters. Not, I must emphasize, that there is much wrong with that, but you'll probably want to remind yourself to not let your female characters fade into the background.
| lovesyoumore chapter 8 . 3/6/2013
Liked it. Cant wait for more!
| lookingwest chapter 3 . 3/6/2013
Character - Ahhh yeauh. I like Jaleah and Oz. But mostly Jaleah. Like one of my beefs with some slash stories is that women are completely cut out as characters and it's very man-centric. Which is just fine and all but also not really realistic sometimes (imo), and it was cool to see an inclusion of a woman character in this story right off the bat, especially a spunky strong one. The differences between the cultures of women in these two societies is interesting to me too - it makes me wonder what the opinion on homosexuality is in this culture because I think it could actually go either way, very anti-homosexual or very Greek as far as "we don't really care b/c men are great!". So I'm looking forward to seeing how those issues unfold in the worlds you've created. It's a very Western culture means Eastern culture vibe too, which I like. And Jaleah's uselessness feeling was accurate and realistic for her, I think. Also Oz feels like a good foil for Balasar and I look forward to seeing their relationship develop too. Oz feels a little more light-hearted and I think Balasar needs that to balance him out. It's cool that he leads a group of people who work underneath him (I didn't quite pick that up in the first chapter - that's not a bad thing) and it's cool to see the interworkings of his daily life and job presented here in a really smooth and easy to understand manner. I don't remember who the other two characters that were mentioned are quite yet, and I'm very thankful you didn't introduce them in this chapter because it might've been too many new characters for me to handle. I think you strike a good balance with what you have here.
Enjoyment - I enjoyed this chapter for some of the reasons of character that I mentioned above. Another thing I enjoyed about this chapter was the inclusion of Oz's story about the storm god and his sister. That was a creative way to give some backstory to what might foil the larger plot here, or the relationship between Balasar and Daja. I'm interested to see things play out and also verrryyy interested to find out if the gods are actually real in this story or if they're just mythical and legends. That's still up in the air here, which I like. But I did notice a fleeting comment made by Asseo in the previous chapter about the wind "doing strange things" in the presence of Daja. I've got my eye on that comment and wonder if it might tie in further with the storm god and what powers Daja might find that he has - although maybe I did read into it a little too much, heh. Oh well, definitely enjoying figuring out what might happen!
Setting - Good sense of setting in this chapter with the market and the opening descriptions of the gardens with the white stones. The inclusion of sensory imagery like smell is also appreciated and I think it really adds to the atmosphere of everything. I liked Oz's different props he uses, like the stone goddess he shows Balasar to prompt the story of the sister and brother storm god. The technique worked really well. I also liked the inclusion description of Jaleah's stallion and the different snippets of the market culture we get too. Per the first and second chapter, this story has a really good sense of world building that still stretches into this third chapter. Still really impressed with it - I could never write something like this in a million years and I love the mythologies you've created to blend with these cultures as well. Looking forward to seeing what's going to unfold next in Daja's perspective.
Plot - So far I think this chapter moves the plot along really well. We get the introduction of Balasar's team, which moves us along and gets us prepping for a dangerous journey. I like that you do have Oz setting up that the trip is going to be dangerous and doubting the decision to move ahead with it. That then prompts the conversation about the gods and repeats that Balasar doesn't believe in them. I can't wait to find out if he's right or not. I get the sense that Daja leans towards not completely believing either - so it'll be interesting to see if heathen Balasar will change his mind. Plot-wise as far as the romance I'm still a little iffy about the age difference between Balasar and Daja (Balasar is a lot older right, or was that maybe changed?). But I think I can see where the romance is heading and I look forward to what cogs you'll throw into the plot machine in that sense. So far so good with the setup though! Interested to see where this story goes!
| lookingwest chapter 2 . 3/6/2013
I'm once again impressed by the world building in this story and how it carries over into Daja's daily life as well as Balasar in the previous chapter. They are certainly characters that have their differences, so it's cool to see them contrasted in the first two chapters of the story - I think that was a good perspective and technique to execute. I like Daja so far, which is good - he comes across as being sympathetic, though his doubts about his place and his duties comes across very expected. I would've assumed he has doubts - is what I mean, so it didn't surprise me about his character that he did. I almost wonder if it would've been a funner dynamic between Balasar and Daja if Daja really wanted to be sacrificed and was backing the idea 100%. It would definitely create a more headstrong character - but I like his passiveness in a way too. I'm interested to see what will bloom relationship-wise between him and Balasar.
One of the unique details of Daja's life in this chapter was certainly the sex ed, and I thought the concept matched up pretty accurately with older cultures I've learned about in the past, or even akin to some of the Magna Matar teachings (basically the same idea but for women). The reasons for his sex ed made sense to me too, so I liked that the devices set in place that foster the homoeroticism of the story are well justified and backed with plausible foundations. It also helped a lot with the world building too.
One thing - how long exactly is Daja's hair? I had a difficult time exactly picturing it in the paragraph about his hair being shaved every so often and how it hadn't been for his entire year thus far. I noted he was playing with his hair now, but I think I would've liked a little more detail sine we were on the subject. We of course could get that later though and I should probably shut my mouth - I'm sure Balasar's perspective when they meet will yield a more complete picture, which will be a good opportunity I think.
I liked Daja's run through all of his teachers and I think that shows his relationships with those he lives with and his experiences with them on an intimiate level. Asseo was interesting since he was so much younger. I liked that it was clear Asseo is somewhat in love or lust with him and Daja isn't picking that up and if he is, doesn't really care or feel the same way about Asseo. I think that puts Daja in a dynamic position and I liked how the chapter ended that way for those reasons.
The tension with the sandals was built up well. It again makes me question exactly why Daja isn't completely brainwashed by this point into believing what he's doing is right and just. He's grown up in this lifestyle - it is a little odd that he doesn't subscribe to it completely and already shows doubts this far in, even if the system was in some cases abusive towards him. These people are also the only family/father/mother figures he's ever seen and I get the sense that he wouldn't follow them to the grave necessarily. From our perspective - yes this is extremely radical and crazy and he should doubt having to die as a sacrifice at the age of 16 - but at the same time, this is a radical lifestyle that he's grown up into and he knows no different (or does he?). We don't get the sense of his cultural learned scope here, so perhaps that's where he seems a bit odd to me in this chapter too.
At any rate though, I still like these developments and like I mentioned, your world-building is phenomenal so far. Really well done, especially for a NaNo novel in my opinion. I might keep reading and hit this up in the depth thread too...
| Unweighted Book Author chapter 2 . 3/5/2013
As an author who writes in the fantasy genre, I often run into a problem of not knowing how my characters will react in certain fantastical situations. Daja is an example of a character in such a situation. He's doomed to die, but he's also spent his entire life preparing for it and has been taught to accept and embrace it. Having said that, I'm very much impressed by the way you've handled his characterization. It is all very believable and reasonable. He doesn't want to die, but he has a small amount of peace of mind due to his training. In addition, his various emotions and human sides are portrayed very well. His natural curiosity that he finds difficult to curb as someone who has been trapped his whole life, his personal preference for martial pursuits, his gratitude to Asseo for being kind...Brilliant job done on that account.
I'd say that this chapter dragged on slightly, however. I feel as though you wanted to get the main aspects of Daja's experiences in the temple out of the way first, and also impress his character on the readers, but it's all compressed into this chapter and it can be a little dry for the readers. Contrast this with chapter 1 where the information given for world building is very cleverly interwoven with the conversation between Balasar and the Minister.
From a technical aspect, the writing is good as usual. I'll probably refrain from mentioning it any more in future reviews unless I spot a particularly good or bad passage.
| TawneyEverett chapter 7 . 3/5/2013
The writing flows extremely well and was almost poetic as I was reading. I also was able to really sympathize with the character, Balasar. I think this book keeps the attention of the reader since I was able to be engaged even from picking up in the middle of the story.
"His body's extremely dehydrated. At least twenty-four hours, but likely forty-eight or more without water. Explains his feinting. feinting- fainting
| professional griefer chapter 8 . 3/5/2013
I loved the beginning. You described the near-death state Daja was in beautifully. I actually felt like I was in that purgatory with him, so you did awesomely with that.
I also LOVED the interaction between Daja and Balasar. Bala was just so harsh with him, but I dunno, he seemed kinda tender too, like maybe he kind of cares about Daja, and I'm just having a nice fangirl rant...anyway, I thought their scene together was really well done. You have their interactions down perfectly, and I can see how some romance could get to happening.
My only complaint was that after you kind of switched to Bala's POV, it got boring. You set an awesome tone with Daja's part, but after that I kind of felt myself getting lost. But the first part was so good that it all evened out.
I also loved the last line. It was a great description, and I kinda was mentally cursing the fact that there isn't another chapter yet. You set the mood really well with that-I'm kinda expecting a god to come out, here, and if that happens I will freak. But it probably won't.
I definitely ship Bala/Daja, and I'm super-psyched for the next chapter.
| Guest chapter 8 . 3/4/2013
Please sweet merciful baby Jesus, let Asseo be put out of his misery. I don't know why, but I was automatically fond of him and I could bear to read about him being "entertainment" (testament to your great writing to make me feel such emotions!). I literally skimmed that whole section. Poor poor Asseo. I don't like Balasar or his men right now at all.
| Unweighted Book Author chapter 1 . 3/4/2013
A very nice and pleasant read! As you probably know, I'm not a fan of slash, but this chapter hadn't introduced any such elements yet so that's fine. From a technical point of view, the writing is quite outstanding. The description you use is vivid and yet not overbearing, remaining quite succinct. Sentence structure, flow, and pace are all on point.
The world-building is quite impressively done as well. You manage to set up a strong, coherent world by borrowing from Arabic culture. Normally, this technique creates a problem of breeding unfamiliarity and turning off those who aren't familiar with the original source, but you've avoided that very well here by not going too deep in Arabic elements and simply using the most commonly known aspects, polishing the rest with your ideas. The placement of your world-building details is also very natural and never feels like an infodump or excessive disposition.
I don't have many complaints to make, but the final sentences felt somewhat forced to me. It's hard to pin-point the exact reason, but the idea of a 'villain' and a 'hero' aren't really existent right until then, it seems as though you had to shoehorn them in to make for a good way to close out the first chapter. One possible solution would be to include those motifs earlier on in the chapter so that the final conversation between Balasar and the Minister feels like there is more of a context to it.
| midnight41 chapter 8 . 3/4/2013
Thank you for the update! Can't wait to see what happens!
| Faithless Juliet chapter 3 . 3/4/2013
I really liked the introduction of Oz as a character – when I read the part were Bala said: “Oz” I immediately thought “We’re not in Kansas anymore” but I like the name, that was just my first reaction to reading that. I like how you gave him a lot of personality without specifying a lot. You let the reader meet him through the dialogue, so it was a natural progression and didn’t feel forced at all.
I though the chapter itself was a bit so-so. More character development than plot/action oriented (not really a bad thing at this point.) I do wish it had been a bit more lively being that last chapter (with Daja OMG) was so exciting and interesting. I worry that for a reader it might be difficult to continue on with the story at this point without more of a hook in this chapter. Having said that though, I do realize that Bala is making his way to Daja, which will create the action of the story. Keep up the good work.
| flawedxuni chapter 8 . 3/4/2013
I really like this and have been excitedly awaiting an update for about a month since discovering it but this last chapter has left me very conflicted. Are we supposed to loathe Balasar? I'm really loathing him right now. When Balasar said "I" I immediately assumed what he was meaning but hoped I'd be wrong, that he'd allow Asseo to be unharmed. I'm hoping that by next chapter the events will change. Honestly, I love his character. I like him WAY more than any of the others, equaling Daja's character, but I'd rather see him dead then to be subjected to the horrors of multiple, and likely extremely violent rapes. Daja had to go through similar ordeals with the other priests. I don't see this ending well if he finds out what's happened to Asseo, and that Balasar is mostly to blame. If Balasar doesn't put a stop to this soon and Daja does find out I hope he gives him all kinds of hells.
What Oz said, "But now that you've permitted it I don't see any graceful way to back out without making things worse than they already are." I hope is not the case. I'm sure there's *some* way especially since this is an unusual thing for Balasar to do.
A nitpick I have is that I don't understand why they resorted to killing all of them. I get it if they're fighting back but someone like Asseo for example, who Balasar had planned on killing before becoming "curious" (I'm thinking Daja was right on asking if he was a demon), as far as I know, Asseo did not have a weapon. He was running away, not trying to fight. It feels like they were going to war not merely acquiring a payment and high tailing it out of there.
I really do like this. I know I'm sounding like I don't; it's merely venting because I do really like Asseo's character. It'll probably be awhile before I forgive Balasar's character and hopefully I will, considering (I'm assuming) he'll be Daja's eventual love interest. I'm anxiously awaiting the next chapter.