|Reviews for The Queen of the Dawn|
| AppleCinnamon chapter 8 . 2/13
[Opening] The transition to this chapter definitely felt smoother without the small backtrack to the last chapter. Using loss of time was a great way to keep the reader in Hal's shoes and avoid exposition on his return to the palace. What really hooked me into the chapter though was not knowing the circumstances of his return, which helps keep the anticipation and uncertainty of Hal's future at the forefront.
[Scene] The opening scene is a little more dialogue-heavy than I recall previous chapters being. I think this really worked to the scene's advantage, since we're met with urgency from both Hal and Aurora, which really helped keep the tension up. The one criticism I have with the scene is that Aurora seems a little too eager to dive into the Grey Lord information. It comes across as a bit exposition-y, and given Aurora's care in the past for revealing information her sudden addressal felt out of character.
[Other - Lore] I really liked the mythology you built for dragons this chapter. With what's gone on since Hal became immortal, I hadn't even thought of the dragon for some time and assumed it was gone. Now knowing it is (seemingly) immortal, I wonder what happens if a dragon fails against an adversary after losing its heart but is unwilling to give up its chase, and if it can regain its will after it becomes shadow. It makes me want to know more about other lore and mythologies within the story's universe, and I have to admit it makes me excited to explore more outside of what Hal has experienced so far (the Grey Lord, for example. ) The mythology of dragons in the story was also a great way to lead into the revelation that the dragon had moved on to Hal's home.
[Relationship] So the dynamics definite feel like they've shifted between Hal and Aurora. Since the confrontation at the beginning of the chapter, she seems more forthcoming with information. It definitely brings to mind my earlier concern for Hal's wellbeing, because Aurora's sudden willingness to share knowledge and the world with him feels like an attempt to redirect his suspicions. It really makes me wonder what will happen if someone Aurora disproves of makes an even stronger case for Hal to reject Aurora's "gift", or if she becomes bored with him.
| AppleCinnamon chapter 7 . 2/3
(Sorry for the belated WCC review!)
So, first thing I've got to say is bad me for being away from this for so long, because it's a great read.
[Opening] The opening definitely illustrates the need for the reader to continue with few and short breaks. Because it's been so long, I had forgotten what the setting was for the opening scene and had to backtrack to get a handle on what was going on in the first scene. This isn't necessarily a bad thing though. There's usually an unconscious pause when switching chapters, and bleeding the scene from one chapter to the next prevents that pause from hampering the story's momentum.
[Scene] The second half of the chapter is definitely my favorite. I loved getting to know this realm that Hal has become a part of. One thing I thought could have improved it, however, would be to add more interaction with between Hal and the realm prior to the crickets' dining. A lot of the scene before that moment is summarized with a lot of visual details, which were lovely and made me curious about the world, but without other sensories it didn't feel quite as immersive as I thought it could have been.
[Plot] You time things really well in this chapter. Right about the time of the cricket moment, I started wondering how the story was going to progress (afterall, Hal has gone as far as he can to acheive immortality and "claim" Aurora). Following up with Hal meeting his son keeps the reader from wondering too long, but without sacrificing the loss of time with Hal. The conversation of his son really makes me want to know what will happen to Hal, and how the Green Isles will ultimately turn out.
[Character] It's probably not the intent, but this chapter Hal reminds me a bit of an addict experiencing a moment of lucidity. Throughout the dream of King Harold and Hal's wife, there's a constant sense of overcast even when the dream is in its 'happier' moments. When the tapestries come into focus, I sort of got the sense of Hal unconsciously acknowledging his actions and their consequences, and then slipping back into the little bubble Aurora's created for him (whether because it's easier, more comforting, or he's simply unable to escape, we've yet to see). His talk with his son really gave me the impression that Hal is (or is about to) having an epiphany (sort of an "I gotta get my act together" moment) and has me as invested in him now as I am the story.
| SenatorBlitz chapter 3 . 1/31
easy fix review for the RG
eee, so excited to be back here, playing about with dragon scales and the queen of dawn!
gotta hand it to you, that beginning was hot. i love the continued theme of flames in this work and the way you describe it so i can actually sense the heat. it is a wonderous thing to have a visceral reaction to 2d concepts. might be as close as i'll ever get to being synesthetic.
love the technique you used here, building us up with all that heat and fire and then switching to a calmer fire (i.e. that in his loiiinnns when he thought about ze sibyl). i feel like there is a metaphorical thing going on here, and it makes me wonder if there is some parallel? like the fire of the dragon is external, the fire he feels for the sibyl is internal, but both of these fires he has survived for the most part. but now he tries to wrangle with the queen of dawn who is the arbiter of both! OR maybe if he conquers both these separate fires he'll be able to handle the queen of dawn? LIKE TRAINING!
anyway, also really enjoying the way you put massive stories into this but it is done in such a intricate way that it doesnt feel like info dumping at all. perhaps it is the way you've written this where the fairy tale air lends it that ability to spin multiple stories at once? either way i really enjoy it, particularly this story about the young boy who rode the dragon. i also had my heart break when i realised there was no way he could have won with his little knife, but the bravery he showed, and the ingeniousness where so many else had failed -
i think i really like this story because it makes me feel the way i did when i was young and my dad would read stories to me - not quite in the arena you're reading and heady with a world where everything was possible and people were still people but they were.../more/. i dont know how to explain it. anyway, i love that feeling, so for that, i love this story.
cant wait to read the next bit and see IF HE CAN DEFEAT THE DRAGON.
also sibyl and her poisoned arrows. badass. that is all i have to say. effing badASS.
i continue to be fascinated by this world and it s
okay. so. okay. i have
| SenatorBlitz chapter 2 . 1/23
for the review game depth
opening: because i initially forgot the name of the prince (i had to go back to chapter one to reacquaint) i thought that the beginning was a flashback to what had happened to the red prince years and years and years ago. then i figured out prince hal was actually the prince and i tried to figure out if this was happening, if it were a dream. your opening had that beautiful ambiguous quality to it that made understanding what was happening in it surprisingly easy, but knowing what that meant, impossible. which is great because now it means i have to keep reading. i really liked how the descriptions alternated between ones of searing like the sun and violent ripping ones like being held by some kind of animal - it really brought to life the otherworld magnificence of this queen of the dawn, even if this may just be a dream of her that he is having. also, interestingly, even in destruction, there was desire - which was so weird for me, because ive always been of the camp that things that do not feel nice cannot be lust-inducing...but weirdly enough this was. not in me, but i can see why hal didn't seem all that happy about waking up. again, assuming that was just a dream...(haha you dont have to tell me! im sure ill bumble into the answer eventually)
plot: im not sure where to put this, but i really liked the way the old lady told the story of her people and how they'd disobeyed the sibyl and how the dragon had destroyed them, not once, but twice. mostly because it wasnt told in a way that made it feel like an obvious ploy to get the prince to slay the dragon for the sake of the story. it genuinely sounded like a story she would tell a stranger of her peoples' woes. especially if he was a stupid prince chasing something that he should not. i am also loving the way you are developing the queen of dawn's curse on the prince, in the way he says things like 'one embrace would be enough' and only contemplates the concept of living forever because it means that he will be able to search for her for that long a time as well. any sane, normal person could see that is complete folly, but he can't because he's been cursed. its marvelous really and so very psychological. now i wonder if this is love or lust or neither. what is desire anyway...*mutters to self*
characters: hands down, sibyl is my favorite character this chapter. i love the easy way she accepted her position among her people, and how she chose to remain because if she left she lost her other sight. in this story, it seems to be that for most people their beliefs are more important than their lives. the only person this doesnt appear to occur to is the king - but maybe it is because he lost someone dearer than life to him. maybe he would also give up his life to have her back? ANYWAY, i also liked sibyl because the girl is clever enough to notice that dragons don't burn themselves and to colllect pieces of the scales! also that part when she teased him about his nakedness made me laugh
Ending: is that a chill i feel or is that your ending. i know, worst writer pick up line ever. but really, i do like the deadpan nature of that ending. just a 'the dragon comes'. you didnt even have to add too much description to what that could mean because you cleverly imprinted that idea in our heads with the old woman's story. i love when different elements of a story work in concert to manipulate the reader's mind so they feel certain ways about things with just the right prodding! lovely ending indeed!
| SenatorBlitz chapter 1 . 1/17
for the review game depth
opening - i’ve a personal crutch for description. i’ve never been able to write it and i tend to skim it when i see it so i was, of course, intrigued when you chose to have bountiful setting claim your opening. i think it was an enlightened decision especially given how important the peace and beauty of the green isles is to the history of the place. it’s almost like needing to see a girl after her seven plastic surgeries to understand the wreck her face was in after a car crash, for example. i’m not sure if i am explaining it properly, but your setting here in the beginning was as much a weilder of the plot as any of the characters and i appreciated its placement both here at the beginning and throughout the story. i think, in a story that promises to be so vast as this one, it is always important to know both where and when you are, and these two things your opening does marvelously.
Scene - the scene that stood out for me would have to be the one when the prince was in the woods and he got shot (in the heart?) by the queen of dawn. i know its a bit cliche to like the most pivotal scene of the piece, but it was done so well! and i can’t get over the symbolism — that he will ache for that thing he wants forever more. it is like she put a hole in his heart and now he’s always going to feel like something is lacking. not only was the imagery in this scene powerful, but it was a rich counterpart to the scene before where the prince was talking to his father and had convinced himself that he would be fine with his safe life. it’s just, i love it. so kudos here.
Relationships - the relationship between the prince and his father was extremely credible. you’ve managed to show not only the love a father has for a son and the respect a son has for a father, but you also gave a nod to the fact that one is king and one is crown prince. i personally believe half of the deference the prince shows is because his father is king and he is ever loyal to that. separate from that, i also thought that the way you showed the father’s reluctance to lose his son was a very real echo of the loss he still felt at his wife’s death. almost as if to lose his son would destroy his last tie to her. it was very believable and very heartfelt.
Plot - really digging this parallel story of the red prince and how it seemed to serve as a red hearing for the prince’s own adventures. i would love to know more of who the red prince was and how he came to be lost in the end. this intrigue, coupled with the tales of the queen of the dawn make me want to click the next button quickly and find out what happens next. for example, why does this powerful being delight in finding young men and sending them off the edge of the earth? is she a siren? a goddess? is the title queen of dawn self created or one given to her by others. basically your mythos is engaging enough that i can see a very intricate plot ahead.
Pace - i am glad that you didn’t tarry long on the prince growing up and instead gave more time to his development as a young prince and his desire to leave the kingdom. despite the massive time jump, i didn’t feel as if i were rushed, and all the foreign concepts were given time to unfurl properly so that i could examine them before the next scene presented itself. I’m also interested in this way you’ve managed to have several scenes without having to resort to scene separators or markers!
all in all, this was quite enjoyable! thanks for sharing!
| Ventracere chapter 10 . 12/30/2014
That was a solid opening, carried with dialogue, which I liked because it dropped us right into the middle of the action-ish. It's a bit of a jolt, but I think that worked out in your favor because Hal is waking up, he isn't exactly sure what is going about around him. Another thing I liked was the short bursts of description and how you did it. It's follows the mood of the piece, of the tenseness that Hal is feeling. It definitely shocked me that he killed the child, but I like how he is surprised about himself afterwards. He's not killing without a conscience, he feels something, and he's a bit of a change of how he was before. Nice development.
Another thing that I liked was how it was the old man that revealed to Hal what has happened since he has been gone. It also allows for Hal to show how he has become more honorable, how he is willing to help this survivor and his granddaughter. The grandfather's story is also something I liked, it's easy to tell without too much sensory details around him of the anguish and feels. The terror Richard has reigned carries through his words, and it's easy to see how that affects Hal. Definitely his development is the most important, but here, in the second half of the the chapter, the thing I found was most likable and interesting was the contrast between how Hal treats the children. The first one, he kills, the next one he scares, and the third he helps. I liked this again, because it shows he has a heart, and isn't necessarily all for himself anymore. Although his time with the queen kept him away, it also really helped him out.
Nice job :)
| mycastleheart chapter 2 . 12/30/2014
Ooooooh, the hero slays the dragon trope. I actually haven't seen that in awhile. Hal up is still striving to become immortal, huh? It was pretty funny that after the old woman told him her story, he was lIke "Eh, I'm going anyways."
I still love your writing style. It fits with this type of story and I personally just love how great the dialogue here is. I would suck at writing old time dialogue like this, but you do it so well. There are some parts that confuse me because I don't know what's going on, but it's an easy to follow fic. No grammar mistakes as far as I can tell either.
The story flows well, has an interesting plot and characters, and has a nice pace set to it. Nice job!
| mycastleheart chapter 1 . 12/30/2014
This is an exciting story you have going on here, and the premise is captivating. Your detailed descriptions pulled me right in when I first started reading. I'm a sucker for details, obviously, so I was just having a wonderful time reading how in depth you get when it comes to landscapes, people, objects, etc.
The characters are well fleshed out. The price is what you would expect a prince to be; hungry for battle and adventure, aggressive, spoiled, rude to those beneath him, but again, it's what's expected of a prince. The king is an interesting character as well, not as douchey as most kings are portrayed. He gave me the feeling that he truly did care about his son and his wellfare, as well as his kingdom.
The dialogue flow was excellant. It felt natural and unstrained, and it didn't sound awkward with using the type of words and language they used back then.
Your grammar flows well, and I can't see any errors. Your writing style is gorgeous, and fitting with this type of fic. This is a enjoyable story which I look forward to reading more of.
| Ventracere chapter 9 . 12/26/2014
I like how Hal fights against the Queen's control, something that he had already begun to do in the previous chapters (I think? It's been a while since I've read this, I'm sorry). I originally said he's a humble guy, then found out no, I was wrong, but here. It's seems to be that he's regained his senses, like he is beginning to realize he's in the wrong place, it's not his purpose. Perhaps it's because he realizes he serves the people i n the Valley, which displays the growth of his character, which is what I like best.
Another thing I like is his determination that shows through. It's driving the queen insane (hahahha), but again, his determination is so different from his more passive control he had been giving off previously. This determination, besides showing his growth, demonstrates the waning control the Queen has and shows more depth to both characters, which is why I like it. The queen is no longer the all powerful creature that has a hold on Hal, and Hal is once again exerting his influence.
| tragedyspectre chapter 1 . 11/23/2014
Opening: I really enjoyed the way you set your setting. It was broad, fantastical, stereotypical of a fantasy story yet unique in its own way. The descriptions of the setting were vibrant and brought about a sense of life to your writing, which kept me alert throughout. I liked, too, the seemingly invisible transitions between the paragraphs which maintained a smooth and beautiful flow, that made me feel as if I were dreaming.
Characterization: Your contrast between Hal and his father in terms of character is really tremendous and powerful. The nonchalance of Hal towards life in general, as well as the omen's curse, is seen in sharp contrast with the weariness and inflexibility of the father, one who is eager to keep to the rules so as to meet his lifelong goal of a succeeding heir.
Plot: This seems like the start to something epic. Already from the end of this chapter do I glimpse the beginning of a great and dangerous saga. The task of finding the Queen of the Dawn is so immense, so great, that I believe you'll be able to resolve it nice, in tragedy or in comedy (but NOT a Deus ex Machina); for only accomplished writers would dare to attempt something so great. I enjoy your mixture of narrative prose and dialogue so as to add variety to this piece; again, the sentences are just right in length, enough to entice the reader into continuing, but not enough to bore him.
Enjoyment: I would give this 4 and a half stars; as a general rule I don't read fantasy, but for this case I'll make an exception. Your prose is beautifully written, and as I've just embarked on the gigantic task of reading this, I definitely will look forward to reading further. This story gets enticing by the chapter (I've skimmed through the later ones), and I hope its climax will be something unexpected, perhaps even tragic, for tragedy has to precede comedy. :)
| Electrumwriter chapter 5 . 11/22/2014
I like the opening with the full sensory experience - odors, noises scraping and sensation of whatever the ointment is.
Hal did beat the odds surviving the fall. I suspect that although the queen is a puppet mistress, she was not entirely in control of that outcome.
So the queen tells him that the village can be rebuild without further interference from the dragon. I wonder if that is a free gift to Hal for his efforts. From what we learn later, the dragon wasn't finished.
I do have the impression that the queen enjoys the drama that Hal provides, first with the dragon and then his affection for her in her sibyl guise.
Again, I am intrigued by how much prescience the queen has. Could she have known for certain in advance, what Hal would decide?
I like that the dragon's heart becomes a pulsing, ruby object. As it is a supernatural beast, it makes sense that its organs should live on, despite being detached.
I see now that the queen has played out games like this before. I suppose that she has a need to use mortals as playthings in order to help define herself as greater than mortal. Perhaps she needed to be amused by the irony of Hal choosing Tesana over the Queen of the Dawn to add some variety this time round.
Although she protests that no realm is more magnificent than her own, my own thought was that eternity is too long a time... and I was certainly proven right.
Good sensory details again, both with the tastes and texture of the heart and the image of the hapless prince catching fire.
| Guest chapter 4 . 11/16/2014
This chapter was surprisingly more upbeat than the others, in that the doomed prince seems to actually shake off his cursed obsession in the instances when he is in combat with the dragon. I know how it turns out of course and that this was simply a part of is journey away from the world. A particularly strong point in this chapter is the variety used when associating the dragon with fire by means of the imagery.
So commenting on the text:
A good touch for Hal to try to disguise his scent with the smoke.
The question of how Tesana's wisdom did not match her age was one I think that was only easy if you know the answer. As is the question of why she seems to be weighing on his mind in the manner of the goddess.
At this point it is revealed that Hal has been promiscuous. Couldn't this mean that he had sired an illegitimate heir? I know he didn't, but I think it should be clearly answered that his brief affairs came to nothing when he later sees the worst case scenario in chapter one actually comes true.
I wonder what Hal's father would have made of Tesana :) Although Tesana's own reservations about being a queen in the Green Isles are appropriate.
I like the imagery used with describing the dragon. Very forceful use of fiery images.
Hal is an incredible marksman. I like how elegantly the dragon's diamond shaped weak spot is described. Good work on making the image of the stars contrasting with the dragon. I also feel the stars represent the way the divine is portrayed in this story. Cold, remote and not really living.
To think I was relieved at Hal being able to think so clearly at this point as to realise the wrongness of riding to glory on a murderous dragon. On first reading it actually seemed that he was cured of his mania :(
| Chiscribe chapter 2 . 11/9/2014
So the opening of his chapter was a pretty stark contrast to the first one, what a harrowing yet sensual dream to have! The writing perfectly captured the intensity of the experience as well. Now that the dragon has come into play it seems that things are starting to...heat up! Interesting backstory on the desert people and their encounter with the dragon that really helps to flesh out the world you created.
One thing I like about your writing is that you have smooth transitions that naturally progress the story alone, rather than jut endless text of "he did this, he went there", Hal's journey to slay the dragon and ultimately find the Queen of the Dawn is an epic journey that is spanning across continents and seas but you do a great job at keeping his quest personable and keeping the writing flowing at a good pace.
| Chiscribe chapter 1 . 11/8/2014
This is a great start to what looks to be a promising story but if I were to compare it to your other work I feel that this story is missing the slickness and vividness of Loreley Island, which is kind of ironic considering how you managed to convey more of a creative flair for a setting taking place on the Northeast seaboard of the United States then a medieval fantasy setting! Speaking of the setting I did love the locale and world you weaved as it feels very much like a Game of Thrones setting; a realistic fantasy setting with subtle amounts of magic to spice up the narrative. One thing I noticed is you had a location called Iberia, is that supposed to imply thy the story takes place in our world, as in the Iberian Peninsula in Western Europe?
I like Hal as a character also, he comes across as a headstrong young man who wants to control his own destiny, a nice contrast to his fathers more traditional demeanor. There was a good balance to the backstory in the beginning as well which laid the framework for the rest of the story. I will continue this!
| Electrumwriter chapter 3 . 10/23/2014
Nicely written opening imagery evoking their hideout actually becoming like an oven. Frankly, the protection afforded by the dragon scales seemed only barely adequate, by the standards of those who are masochists.
It is fitting that we have this calm after the storm, but Hal should wonder why memories her should "blaze..." hmm no verb is chosen by accident in this story.
I admired Hal at this point for wanting to forget his doomed quest after the Queen of the Dawn and instead focus on a doomed mission that has a good end. Stopping the dragon seems like something someone should be getting on top of, if it's lust for destruction fuels it as much as we are told later.
In retrospect, it is ominous that he considers killing the beast as being part of his cursed destiny.
I like the idea of this anonymous boy trying and failing at the sort of things Hal is going to do later :) Certainly a good weapon and a good blow are both minimum requirements to take a dragon out.
I like the idea of Tesana's poisons with terrible potency. I would like to know more about them. I appreciate such details as the essence of tithon root as part of world building as I like it. I want to read about what poison she has that can kill elephants or have even more impressive results.
Tesana's line: "I fear whether you kill the dragon or no you will pay a terrible price," is now chilling in a way that it could not be on reading this chapter for the first time :(