|Reviews for Dragon Marked|
| Lynn K. Hollander chapter 2 . 1/16/2013
Your grammar and punctuation make this a pleasure to read.
I see some presentation problems: I'm not sure the bold three line intro and 'end chapter' finale are really necessary. It might be more helpful to the reader if in addition to just the chapter title, a scene location was given.
Picture this centered:
The Forest of Arden (or wherever they are)
and after the prologue, a reader will probably not forget the name of either the author or the story.
Another problem may arise because you know your story too well. The reader is sometimes faced with what appears to be an omission:
This forest was the only place in Askairrea where the great trees thrived – the only place in the world, for all they knew – and they had given the wood its name. (what is its name?)
Only a year ago had he given up on the matter, after eighteen devoid of leads. ('...after eighteen -years- devoid of leads...' seems to me to read better.) The general problem is that you -always- know what you're writing about, so you may charge straight ahead and the non-omniscient reader is left scrambling to catch up.
| Complex Variable chapter 12 . 1/14/2013
This is definitely better, psychologically speaking, in the way that you treat your characters' emotions. It's much more visceral and realistic. I would try to spread this kind of stuff around places in your story, to make the "drama" more smoothly distributed.
As it regards this chapter, you definitely need to integrate it more smoothly with the chapter before it; background description, taking into account Riyin recovering from his wound, especially. (You should have his dragon and/or Miara point out the fact that, given his wounds, he's in no position to really go ANYWHERE, etc.) I can tell that this is new text—it's definitely rougher than your other chapters, and yet, it also feels more lively, emotionally realistic, and dynamic than your previous chapters. Try to include more of that "wild spirit" in other parts of your writing. It's just the added dash of spice that you need.
| Complex Variable chapter 11 . 1/14/2013
[was soaked with blood and falling off.] - - - "and was falling off." ?
[half carried Riyin] - - - "half-carried"
[Kirical attempted in vain to hold the wound closed long enough to heal the skin over it.] - - - Maybe "In vain, Kirical attempted to hold the wound closed long enough for his magic to heal the skin back together." or something. I think emphasizing the fact that Kirical is using magic here is important.
[Riyin barely felt the needle in his flesh, slowly but surely closing the long, deep gash.] - - - C'mon, more detail! XD What kind of material is he using for the stitches? How is he moving his hands/weaving the stitches? How does the color of the wound and flesh change as Kirical grasps it tightly?
[summoned the magic] - - - I would do "his", not "the".
[Liren swore and hopped back a step when Kirical's hands began to glow and Riyin's skin knit back together, hiding the raw, bloody flesh beneath.] - - - I desire a more detailed description of the magic. What does it feel like, for Riyin? What does it SOUND like? Etc.
[The mage flinched, but did not break his focus until he felt the flow of blood lessen and only a knotted scar marked where moments earlier there had been bleeding ruin. ] - - - this sentence feels a bit messy/awkward—especially from "and only a knotted" onward, through to the end.
[in case," Kirical said quietly. ] - - - "Kirical whispered", or something like that. Try to avoid using just a single adverb in a dialogue tag.
[There was poison in the wound that I had to remove,] - - - He should make a remark about this AS he's examining Riyin and treating him, not after.
[The Dragonsbreath's face remained hard, though his eyes softened a little. He couldn't hate Kirical after the Dragoneye had saved Riyin's life. ] - - - GAH! DX See me previous complaints. xD
About Liren's magic-phobia. Although you do a good job of developing it here in this chapter, it would be even more effective if, instead of telling us about the goings on in the palace in chapter 10, you would have written a *memorable* scene back in the beginning of the book that established this aspect of Liren's character. So far, there hasn't been much (if any) mention of Liren's feelings about this subject, and—if it's as important to him as you seem to imply in this chapter—I would expect that he'd have already brought it up long beforehand.
[Kirical offered tentatively.] - - - adverb. xo
[letting the sounds of the desert night lull him back to sleep; driving the anxious, buzzing thoughts from his head.] - - - I'd like to see a little more description of the setting in this chapter, and of the characters' interactions and relations to it. The sound of sand/rock/whatever crunching under their shoes, the crisp, dry smell of the air. Etc.
[ More than anything, he hoped infection wouldn't] - - - "an infection" ?
[at Kirical in confusion.] - - - I think "him" works better than "Kirical", here.
Also, in retrospect, I realize that you need to do a better job of describing Riyin's delirious/half-conscious state.
[his power had manifested,] - - - I'd do "had first manifested,"
[allies before too long] - - - "too" seems superfluous, here.
[I wish you had been able to stop it."] - - - for some reason, I want to add "just" between "I" and "wish".
| Complex Variable chapter 10 . 1/13/2013
[The result was that his shoulder now ached worse than ever, but he had won another small battle, and he was satisfied for now. The dragon seethed.] - - - Since you've now established that his dragon can talk to him, I think it would be good if you started making her a little more conversational—have her bitch at him in words, not simply through your descriptions. Also, I think that Riyin would at least try to get her to tell him her name.
[to prance and half-rear] - - - I don't know what half-rearing is. In general, I notice that you use some equestrian terminology here and there. That's okay, but, you should give a little more description for your more urbane readers, such as myself.
[There was no real road to follow back, and it was easy to lose track of direction.] - - - I think that this passage, and the ones near it, could use a little more description of the scenery. How is the light interacting with the trees' leaves? What animals/sounds/motions are going on around them? What's the temperature like? The colors of the land? The wind? etc. More generally, I think that peppering your scenes with a little more detail about the environment would be helpful, especially considering the amount of traveling the characters have been doing—exploit the scenic panoramas! ;D
[Riyin and Liren worked beside Kirical, trusting the younger boy at their backs.] - - - This is one thing that troubles me. You had Kirical lose control first thing, and then he's (well his dragon is) all chill. I think it would be more effective if you had Kirical's first "episode" a little AFTER they first met, otherwise, it seems—and, here I go again—"rushed". Maybe "off-balance" is a better description of it, though.
[as he turned away, slicing the Dragonwing's right calf ] - - - once again, this "Dragonwing" terminology for referring to Riyin feels awkward.
[hissing in his ear,
"Anything to say?"] - - - either join these two lines as one, or make the comma a period.
[But for the first time in days] - - - "And for the first time" sounds better; it makes it clear that the dragon was pacified by Riyin's killing. "But" makes it sound like the dragon's pacification was a contradictory result of the murder, which it obviously isn't.
You better have some explanations ready for this assassination attempt—and, you better have some questions for R, L, and K to ask Miara/their dragons about this event, too. And it should happen in the next chapter, otherwise, well... I'll get all pout-y. XD
| nightfuries chapter 10 . 1/13/2013
Aw, Riyin! I know the lady was trying to kill you, but don't give in to the dragon's evilness! That's bad :)
Another fantastic chapter, and I tore through it in no time. It felt like it was only 500 words long, it went by so fast :) But it was completely awesome, and I'm really excited to know more about these people hunting the guys now. Things are getting intense :)
| nightfuries chapter 9 . 1/12/2013
All right, NOW I've favourited and followed this story. Forgot to earlier :) But I'm so glad you updated! One of my biggest fears on FP is finding a great story and then realising it hasn't been updated in 2 years. But this came super quickly! Awesome :)
I really like Riyin, but I'm really starting to hate his dragon. She's pretty nasty, and so are the other ones. I adore Kirical, even though he's only been in the story for a bit, and half of that was his dragon taking over and trying to kill Liren :) He just seems awesome. I'm really excited to see them meet the other dragon marked guys, especially after I went back and reread the prologue :) It seems we get to meet all the girls next! Can't wait for that!
| Complex Variable chapter 9 . 1/12/2013
[at which point Kirical slid bonelessly to the ground] - - - Perfect description. XD
[the Dragonwing allowed him to wander until he] - - - this is confusing. Do you mean the dragon on Riyin, or Riyin, or what?
[the Dragonwing allowed him to wander until he] - - - once again, confusing/disorienting use of "the Dragonwing".
[You do not need to know that.] - - - I would have Riyin ask one more question, like "Why not?".
[He felt her anger at his defiance, and felt the mark cut viciously into his back,] - - - I think you should have the dragon "say" something angry at Riyin, right before this passage starts.
Overall, much, much better than the previous two chapters. :D
I don't know if you've altered this with my earlier comments in mind or not, but, regardless, this is the kind of character-developing balance that you need. Honestly, seeing as Kirical plays virtually no role in this chapter, I could easily see this chapter occurring slightly earlier in the story, like right after their journey begins, or something. It would help to balance out the slightly rough patch that occurs as the story shifts into quest-mode.
Riyin's reflections about his circumstance and his brother's, and the dragons, and so on was spot on! :D
My only complaint is that Riyin and Liren don't talk about this sort of stuff with one another; as twins, you think that they would. It's sort of off-putting, having nice and deep mental ruminations from the viewpoint character, only to gloss over those issues in dialogue.
Also—as I've already said—I'm surprised that Riyin didn't try to ask his dragon more questions. Especially the question "why me?"/"why are you in me?"
But, overall, much better in terms of character development. You just need to sprinkle these kinds of events a little more evenly throughout the story. :D
| nightfuries chapter 8 . 1/12/2013
This. Is. Amazing.
Seriously :) I tore through all 8 chapters in like, an hour or less, this story had me so hooked. I absolutely love all your characters and how different they are, and this whole plot with the dragon marks and everything is just... gah, I can't even describe it, it's just so fantastic. I love it, I love it, I love it, and I absolutely cannot wait for more. I saw on your profile that you wanted to get this story published, and I can definitely see that happening. I know I'd buy it :D
Please update soon and keep up the fantastic work!
| KeinLosFahMeyye chapter 1 . 1/12/2013
Though the sensory devices and their descriptions were well written, it seemed like the chapter was written solely for an introduction of each character, which would usually happen in scattered instances.
The usage of pronouns before the word "was" (he was, she was, etc.) was a bit too remedial and the whole thing didn't capture my attention as much as it should have.
Also, the introduction of a group of characters that grand automatically tells me that I have to keep up with each and every character's backstory throughout the whole story, which for some people, may be too much to handle.
I shall continue reading.
| Lynn K. Hollander chapter 1 . 1/10/2013
Name confusion? -'Kander barely reached the age of thirteen before an assassin's arrow found his heart.' Now, since we meet two brothers (Riyin was first-born of the twins ... .His brother Liren was sharp-eyed) and 'one elder sister', who is Kander? From the pronoun, he is a male, who died when he was 13. Among humans, he probably would not have become a father when he died. Who is he? Or possibly, what is he?
| Complex Variable chapter 7 . 1/9/2013
[Dahlia pinned her ears ] - - - "had pinned her ears"
[Dragonsbreath, you truly had nothing simpler?"] - - - You called him "of the Dragon's Breath" in the previous chapter. I would recommend just calling him "Liren Dragonsbreath" in chapter 5, as well. Consistency is a good thing.
[Having lived in the depths of the forest for the entirety of their lives, Riyin and Liren found the treeless farmland both fascinating and frightening. They felt remarkably vulnerable away from the guarding comfort of the ancient woods.] - - - I'd like to see a little more description about the setting.
I'm starting to really like the liveliness you give in your descriptions of the horses. It's quite realistic and easy to visualize. I wouldn't want to be touched by a creepy woman's dirty hand, either! XD
What's with all the paranoia on Miara's part? I think that this should be explained; more importantly, I think that R and L should be asking her why she's so concerned about this stuff.
[There were several religions in the outer world,] - - - that whole passage reeks of info-dumping, I'm afraid. I think breaking it up into dialogue between M & R & L would make it more engaging and feel like less of an interruption in the flow of the chapter.
[Once in a while, someone would attempt to sell them something, which they would absently decline and resume simply watching the city unfold around them. ] - - - I'd like to see this woven into an actual scene. It would be fun to read—opportunities for description, etc.
Like with the religious thing, the meeting with Lahna feels needlessly info-dumpy as well; it's like I'm reading a story written in short-hand. Expand that encounter out into a dialogue between the characters. Use the opportunity to describe the environment, and the characters interacting with it.
Honestly, nothing really happened in this chapter—no drama, no development, no advancing of the plot. You should fix that.
And when are they going to get their magic dragon powers, or... whatever-it-is-that-they'll-be-able-to-do? XD
| Complex Variable chapter 6 . 1/9/2013
[and not even an especially good one.] - - - "and not a good one, either."
[that unfolded behind her] - - - "unfolding behind her"
[Riyin moved like a spirit, more silent than a ghost on the forest floor.] - - - NIIIIICE! :D
[ than he ever had, pulsing with life.] - - - Because you haven't been emphasizing the gender of Liren's dragon, this phrase is confusing. Try "than he ever before, pulsing with life."
[and she looked at her audience of two uncertainly] - - - I think "and she looked with uncertainty at her audience of two"
[Liren's breath caught in his throat at the sound of the name, and the dragon hissed in pleased surprise.
Riyin cried out in shock as his own dragon roared in response, feeling as though she would tear from his shoulder.] - - - These two descriptions are not sufficient. Are the marks coming alive? Are they moving? Are they glowing? This same comment goes for when the marks start hurting the boys. The details are not specific enough, my imagination doesn't know what to do with this scene.
And, I should probably mention that this feels a little rushed. Like, why is Miara the dragon's servant?
| Kayla Emerson chapter 1 . 1/7/2013
It has a lot of promise but the prose is confusing to those not familiar with fantasy. Get a Beta reader to give it a once over.
| Complex Variable chapter 5 . 1/6/2013
[curiously, though the dragon made not a sound.] - - - I would do "curiously. His dragon didn't make a sound."
[Harbinger—no one else ever would.] - - - "Harbinger—no one ever would."
[ and set them loose, bucking and whinnying with joy.] - - - This makes it seem like Riyin is bucking and whinnying, the way that it's phrased.
Okay, the details that you put in with describing Riyin's relations with the horses was interesting, at first, but now it's starting to drag. It seems like you just write about the horses as plot filler—a way of making time pass without actually having anything happening. It's quite awkward. Why not instead shift perspectives to Liren while Riyin is out with the horses, and show Liren's day as it happens. I would recommend that you stop using the horses as plot filler; either make them immanently relevant to the plot, or put less attention on them.
[and the bards taken] - - - "had taken"
[Riyin's drifting mind snapped to attention, and he felt as though he'd been waiting his whole life to hear this song, this voice.] - - - I would describe the bards' appearance; I would describe them singing; I would even consider writing lyrics to the song that Miara sings. Once again, stop skipping the non-horse-related details! XD
Okay, I like the dream sequence here; I think it's your best so far. I would actually consider going into more detail about it; use your descriptive prowess to your advantage here. Paint a whole battle-scene, even! :D I especially like the sudden twist at the end of it: [Her foes scattered and broken, she returned to the green dragon, rubbed her head against his, and snapped his neck.] Although, I think you should make it clearer that Riyin is dreaming himself to be the green dragon; you suddenly shift from Riyin's dream-perspective, e.g.: "He plummeted to the earth to be set upon by... and the flame that poured from her maw forked around the green dragon". Unless it's ESSENTIAL that the "he" not be labled as "Riyin", I think you should use "he" and "Riyin", instead of "he" and "green dragon". If you can't use "Riyin", then have Riyin notice that 'his' scales are green sometime in this dream, so that it's clearer.
| Complex Variable chapter 4 . 1/6/2013
[and most of the food] - - - I would write "and that most of the food" instead.
[manners, feeling as though he should starve] - - - I would do "manners. He was starving."
[Riyin looked at his sister, swallowed his current mouthful, and nodded.] - - - I would put this sentence in the same line as the line of dialogue that immediately follows it.
"It didn't occur to me," he said.] - - - I would condense these two into a single line, as well.
[they ate in silence, minds wound up in themselves,] - - - I think this needs to say "silence; their minds wound up".
[He knew that the dragon had been more active lately. It could be her.] - - - I don't think you need the "that"; also, I think it should say "It could have been her."
[Riyin chose to ride the grey filly he was attempting to train for the hunt,] - - - I think this should say "filly he'd been attempting to train".
["They're debating the trade policies with Ordrea. We should be in attendance."] - - - Oh, please—PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE—for the love of calculus!—show the trade policy debates! *Begins jumping up and down in EXTREME excitement* That's the kind of world-building that I rarely get to see—and, since I myself do that sort of thing, I would LOVE to see how someone else does it! 8D
[It was painfully dull, as always. ] - - - NOOOOOOOOOO! WHYYYYYYYY?! XC I wanna hear the trade policy debates! I WANNA HEAR THE TRADE POLICY DEBATES WAAAAAAAAAH! X'C *Cries like an infant*
[He lit the magic-fueled lamp that hung upon his wall – enchanted to respond to speech – with a word.] - - - I would re-order this to say "With a simple word, he lit the magical lamp hanging upon his wall—it was enchanted to respond to speech."
[flashes of a past not his own] - - - I think "flashes of memories not his own" sounds better.
[above, a rocky wasteland, a world of ice, and Ordrea burning.] - - - I think the comma after "above" should be a semicolon.
Once again, I feel like your chapters are too truncated. There's a lot more going on that you could explore, but don't, and so it feels like I'm skipping over pages as I read the story. This chapter is entitled "The Court", thus, I think that I (the reader) am entitled to seeing what the Court is like, and what proceedings are in progress. Besides, political/economic stuff like this is a great opportunity for laying down information about the story world—you can give snippets of information about the historical relationship between the two peoples/kingdoms, etc.