Reviews for The Song of the Highlands
Ink Flows Into Power chapter 4 . 4/28/2013
This is much better! A great chapter that got my pulse racing and my thoughts whirring. Characterisation is creeping back in (what you said about it being older explains the lack in the previous chapter). Update soon as I really want to know what happens next.

Be careful to proof read - there were a couple of mistakes!
Ink Flows Into Power chapter 3 . 4/28/2013
Strangely, I was both impressed and disappointed by this chapter. I enjoyed that the depth of the world you have created has been greatly enhanced, and I liked the touches of humour. Then ending is intriguing as well.

However, you are slipping back into the realm of unfeeling characters in this chapter, DO NOT LET THAT HAPPEN! Your work is very good, but don't let the athlete's foot come back.

Additionally, I did not see any input from Zangan at all in the decision for him to go with Hayato. I understand that the decision did not really rest with him, but I feel that he should have been given the opportunity to speak his mind about the arrangement.

Other than that, a good chapter to a good story!
The Swan chapter 4 . 2/8/2013
Nice ending to a thoughtful story! It does feel like the prequel to a bigger narrative, though, so I do hope to see a follow up sometime, if you have time to write one! The only criticism I have is that, throughout the story, you should possibly consider more variation in you nouns, verbs, adjectives, and pronouns, to avoid the wording becoming repetitive. Thanks, I enjoyed your work!
The Swan chapter 3 . 2/8/2013
Zangan's training is interesting, and Hayato is a well fleshed out mentor character. All the characters so far are very well written, and do seem like real people with real life stories, not just puppets or stick figures, which is excellent. This chapter could probably use a bit of polishing grammatically, descriptively, and where character relations are concerned, but I do like it. I also forgot to mention this in the last chapter review, but I also love Horus!
The Swan chapter 2 . 2/8/2013
Hanna and Miku are interesting characters, and I'm hoping to hear more about them. Your grammar has improved a great deal since I last posted a review, (I'm not trying to sound condescending or anything, since grammar can be really difficult to get right sometimes!)
The Swan chapter 1 . 2/8/2013
So far, this is a good story. I've noticed that Tellus is the setting in several of your stories, and you've created an interesting and original world. Perhaps you could enlarge on some of the cultural aspects of this area of Tellus, though, to clarify some things. For example, why is there a caste system in place? What historical events triggered the caste system? I like the characters so far, and the dynamics between Zangan and his parents are very effective. Also, physical descriptions of characters, places, and objects are useful, but if it's not your writing style to describe things too much, it still works well as it is. (Not all literature need be highly descriptive, but some readers do prefer descriptions to help them see the story unfolding more clearly in their minds.)
darkworld777 chapter 1 . 1/31/2013
The opening chapter is very good and the flow is well paced and contains good detail to balance the plot. One problem I saw was the lack of backstory you give the reader into why the lands are like this. I feel that it would be important for the story's mythos to feel more whole and give the story more color as a result. A part I liked the most was when the main character felt that he was a noble thief, when the famous saying is that there is no honor among thieves.
RisanF chapter 1 . 1/31/2013
So far, the story is fairly solid. I'm still trying to figure out the economic situation of the city, though; the land is dried up and food is said to be scarce, but the bazaar is still bustling with merchants who sell everything. I realize this is a caste society, where the rich and powerful look down upon the small and weak, but it looks like Low Town is better off than you're implying. The family dynamics are well realized, though, with the father fearful of the darker aspects of Kokou, and the boy taking it upon himself to make ends meet.

Two quick notes:

-All the common folk in the city lived in Low Town, but the poorest of all lived in them.-
You should probably change this to "the poorest of all lived in the slums." The sentence is a little vague otherwise.

-A thin woman in humble clothing turned away from the stove and her mouth fell open at the sight of him. "Zangan Wyrmsong!"-
In this context, would a mother really refer to her son by both his first and last name? If this is a cultural thing in your world, you might need to explain this.

-RisanF
Sombrette chapter 2 . 1/25/2013
Hey, from RH!

Alright, my favorite part to this chapter probably had to be with Hayato. Maybe it's 'cause his falcon is named Horus ;p lol I also liked how you didn't actually write Zangan cutting his coin-purse but spoke of how it was missing from the knight's belt afterword. I think that was a nice image. Zangan's personality is really believable too, with him so focused on helping his family he's loosing his time as a child which is sad.

I liked this one :)
Takeo chapter 2 . 1/15/2013
I won't restate what I said in the Chapter 1 review, for sake of redundancy. Because redundancy is only good if you're an IT guy with the intention of making a more reliable network.

Anyways, I'm going off on a tangent. I like the dialogue style you use. It's a clever and fairly diverse style used in writing the dialogue. And again, the syntax and context don't feel out of place, and isn't overly complex or overly simple. A good blend.

The characters thus far are also fleshed out and deep, not just faceless placeholders. Every character mentioned appears to have a place and leads the reader to believe that they'll reappear in the future.

What I did find somewhat out of place was the dialogue between Zangan, Hannah, and Miku. If they're kids kind of around the age I'm thinking of (early double digits), the dialogue seems a little too complex and felt somewhat out of place for a trio of kids to be talking like that. But, I think that's just me. English wasn't always my strongest subject.
Takeo chapter 1 . 1/15/2013
Wow. I'm a fan of the context and syntax you use for description of different nouns in the story. And unlike other writers I've read, you've also made it simple, but still using different adjectives to get the reader immersed in the world. Something else I though was cool was that you established a significant contrast between High Town and Low Town communities, without even really getting too detailed on just how rich High Town really is. It triggers a sense of empathy in the reader, as well as making them that much more relatable.

The father can't work, and cares for his family enough to try and convince them to not take up work with the apparently elitist nobles. It's a common sob story, but the way it's told draws the reader in. That's the thing, though. Sob stories (impoverished characters, etc.) can't really have much variation in it otherwise it alienates the reader. So, to counter that, the use of different techniques in adjectives in describing certain persons or items in the story has to be used to captivate the reader. You do a good job at doing that.

However, I feel like I've missed something. The story feels almost as though it's a part of a series, and that earlier installments already established the story's universe. As I'm reading this, the names seemed to feel foreign, without much explanation on what the foreign world really is, and I'm Asian, I have quite the knowledge of exotic foreign names. But, other than the universe seeming a bit vague in stark contrast to the main characters and their living situation, isn't such a huge detail, as I'm sure the intention wasn't to put attention on the universe, but rather a specific character.

If not, then I feel really stupid for not knowing what the heck I'm talking about. I'll post a review to Ch 2 later on. Good job.
Ink Flows Into Power chapter 2 . 1/15/2013
Hmm, very interesting character there in Hyato. I am not certain whether I like or dislike him. If that is what you are going for then congratulations! I have little to say that I did not say about the last chapter except to warn you to be careful - you forgot to mention very much by way of appearances again, and the action scene had only a cursory mention of pain. Other than that, it was well-written and everything I said in the last chapter stands...good and bad.

A good continuation and I can't wait to read the next chapter
Ink Flows Into Power chapter 1 . 1/15/2013
Very interesting start to this story. I have to compliment you - you have managed to take on board my comments on your lack of actually showing your characters' feelings, and you are getting ever better at doing so. Though there weren't many characters introduced in this chapter, each was well defined and cleverly characterised.

I would say that there was almost nothing in regards to setting I am afraid - what does Low Town look like? Smell like? What do Zangan and his parents look like? What do their new clothes look like?

Other than that, its an intriguing start and I am eager to hear more about little Zangan!
Sombrette chapter 1 . 1/11/2013
This is really, really good. I love your use of description, it's not too much, but not too little either. And the names for the regions and areas, even Zangan, they're very creative and whimsical. The background, though told in little so far, seems pretty interesting as well, with the animosity between the Low and High city. I also liked the dialogue which is very natural given the fantasy like setting.

[Bag full, the thief moved across the street and into the slums...] Here on this paragraph the word slums was a little too repetitive, might want to exchange one of them with some rewording.

Overall, I think its a great start to a story, with the mystery in the beginning and the hook your left us with at the end. I look forward to seeing where you take this :)
Syneia chapter 1 . 1/11/2013
I thought it was very beautifully written. Incredibly descriptive. It felt like i was there. I really did feel for the people in the slums - struggling to live day to day and doing what they can to survive. I felt so bad for Zan's parents - clearly they wanted better for their son but yeah, im rambling.
I cant wait to read the next part.