|Reviews for Holy the Dark|
| The Autumn Queen chapter 9 . 5/14/2014
NARRATIVE: You have a very interesting voice in this chapter, quite unlike your other narrations. It’s interesting to read, and a little challenging since you know how much I love long sentences. :D At the same time though, it’s shorter and snappier than the list time you did Eleanor’s POV, which makes me wonder why such a dramatic change; the scene doesn’t seem to warrant that. Aside from that though, it’s quite entertaining reading little snippets and watching them connect like a jigsaw puzzle that doesn’t quite fit without reading the entire chapter.
CHARACTERS: You’ve shown Eleanor quite powerfully in this chapter, not only her power, following and beliefs and interactions, but even little things like the boredom, the turning away, the short dialogue bits (which makes me think it was the other chapter which was unusual in its narration instead of this one). Other characters don’t come out nearly as strong, but you justify that, centering Eleanor in every bit of this chapter, even when describing Cordelia, or Maxwell. Even the young boy who appears in the middle is overcome by her strong presence.
DIALOGUE: Surprisingly unrevealing. :D You do a good job keeping Eleanor’s secrets from the other characters but giving enough for them to understand. It shows the servitude very nicely as well, the imbalance/struggle of power. I also love the difference between Eleanor and the other characters: her sharp voice, even if the dialogue bits aren’t as fragmented as her narrative, compared to the more easy-flowing and hesitant girls, and the boy’s studying.
ENJOYMENT: I love how you bring around the repeat of her “queen” ideal and her brother; that last chapter draws several different aspects of this chapter together very nicely. The different desires melt together very nicely, almost to the point where they’re indistinguishable really. It leaves an interesting foreshadowing for future chapters – and quite a lot more curiosities raised and reinforced than I had at the beginning of this chapter. I also love the extra details of magic you threw in; it’s lovely for understand more of this world, and its traditions and current state.
| alltheeagles chapter 23 . 5/14/2014
For the RG EF
I like Jude’s innocence, if you could call it that, as represented by his embarrassment at being seen pantless by Charlotte. It reminds us that he is just a teenage boy under all that protector macho-ness and twisted dark magic merged with vampirism. I don’t know why, but that just makes him more relatable somehow even though I’m not a teenaged boy myself. I also like how the apparent misfortune of being turned is evolving into some kind of advantage for Jude vis-a-vis his connection to Ephraim. Both of them seem to be transforming into something more than what they were originally, and I think that’s a cool reversal.
| alltheeagles chapter 22 . 5/14/2014
For the RG EF
I like the fact that Jude still had time and inclination to show off to Charlotte even in the midst of their predicament. It shows a little of the jaunty person he used to be (I assume) and also points back to his crush over Charlotte. It’s a nice touch. On your AN, I have absolutely no knowledge of INSIWB (don’t even know what the letters stand for!) so I don’t know what you’ve done/are doing. I just take HTD as it is right now, and I like the development of the Jude/Charlotte (can I just go ahead and coin ‘Judlotte’?) relationship. I talked about his part earlier, and on her part, I think it’s kinda funny how she pretends to herself that she doesn’t need him and yet gets all worked up when it seems he’s been stabbed. Classic denial.
| alltheeagles chapter 21 . 5/13/2014
For the RG EF
I like how a plot is shaping up out of the jumble of threads you presented at the beginning of the tale. From a relatively simple ‘The King’s been turned but his sister wants him back’ it’s turned into some kind of conspiracy. It’s worth the patience that it’s taken to get to this stage past all the initial confusion. I also like how Arc’s character has developed, both as an individual and in his interaction with Charlotte. I never would have guessed he was the mastermind of the plot from the mindless mess of terror blindly following Charlotte that he was at the start of the story. Finally, I find the idea of Jude being a virgin hilarious. No particular reason. Just is.
| Dr. Self Destruct chapter 23 . 5/13/2014
Ugh, I'm really far behind on the reviews on this story. I think my last review was chapter 16. x.X I've read all the chapters since then, though. Usually a couple days after you posted them, so I won't be able to give individual comments on each chapter since it's been awhile since I've read chapters 17 - 21. But my thoughts are still pretty fresh on these last two, so I'll talk about both of them in this review. And if you have any other questions about previous chapters, don't hesitate to ask me - I can totally recall what happens enough to answer questions or give suggestions if you're unsure about how to rewrite or handle something.
Anyways! I thought this chapter was going to be a lot more confusing from the warning you give before it. :P But I honestly wasn't confused about anything. I think you did a great job retaining enough of Jude's voice to make this a "Jude Chapter" (yes, that has now become a literary device), but also composed enough to retain clarity. Or the level of clarity that is normally expected from a Jude chapter, because I don't think you write them with the intention for Jude to come off as clear as your other narrators, like Charlotte or Bardolph. And that's totally fine. It might not appeal to people who aren't as used to stream-of-consciousness, but oh well. They're not your target audience anyways. And I really like the fragmented way Jude narrates. He's very reactionary, rather than contemplative or narrative. Kind of makes me think of Ulysses, but I've only read a few pages of that. But still, I think Joyce tackles stream-of-consciousness better than Faulkner, and you have more of a Joyce edge than a Faulkner one.
Plus it's just really cool that you're able to write urban fantasy with these literary devices. I think that's awesome. It really has that "high brow" genre thing going for it where it goes into a more literary story during certain parts of the novel. So I think, so long as the pretentious literary fanatics are able to tone down their dislike of speculative genres, this story could appeal to both types of readers.
It feels like ages since I read the original INSIWB draft, so I can't really comment on the reworking of it in Charlotte's chapter. I do think you do a great job setting up this "blood-tie" idea in Charlotte's chapter so that when it happens here we already know a bit about what the blood-tie entails, plus I think you've established by now that Jude and Ephraim are connected in some type of supernatural way. So the set-up you do in previous chapters really helps with answering any questions a reader might have in this one...so long as they paid attention enough in the previous chapters to remember stuff. Which they should have. Someone in your target audience will, I'm sure. Because anyone who's into urban fantasy is going to be familiar with these supernatural abilities and ties and all sorts of things.
The events on the bridge really surprised me in a good way, too. Especially with Charlotte saying she wasn't going to ask for Jude's help. I really wasn't expecting Jude to be the one who got injured, so that was a nice surprise. I think that guilt does a good job pushing Charlotte and Jude closer together...also helps to keep her from calling him shit sack. xD I wouldn't worry too much about the romance being slow, because this isn't strictly a romance novel. There's a lot more going on and I don't think the main focus is on Jude/Charlotte's relationship. Just like how I wouldn't consider GoT a romance novel regardless of the romance budding between Rob Stark and his wife, and all the other romantic relationships - it's a component of the story, sure, but not the main focus. It also makes sense since there are multiple plots going on at once that it might take awhile. Regardless, it's still nice characterization for both of them.
I think my favorite part of chapter 23 was when Jude and Ephraim shaped. I really love how you described it, and I totally got that sensation of freedom and longing for something they can't experience anymore: the sun. It's really tragic. That hit me right in the feels. ._. It's about as sad as Kit's situation, where he's so used to the freedom of living in the body of an animal but the ring makes it so he can't feel that anymore. It's really sad. D:
The only thing I'm a little unsure of is the italics and Jude's magic talking to him. In the past I thought the italics were Jude's magic, but sometimes in this chapter his magic doesn't talk in italics, like near the end: [Magic mumbles no more of that casting, you made me promise, she thinks it's creepy.] But then a couple lines down the italics [Tell me I can use a shade] sounds like it's his magic talking. I think it's the "seventeen-self" that's confusing me. Does Jude have three voices now? Jude, his magic, and seventeen-self? Is it seventeen-self that's italic and his magic isn't? Or is "seventeen-self" an identity of his magic? I could be confused because i'm used to his magic being in italics from previous drafts/chapters. But yeah, that's the only thing I was confused about this chapter. Overall you do a great job accomplishing what you set out to accomplish from a POV that isn't known to be very coherent and reliable, and yet you pull it off wonderfully. :)
| AlysonSerenaStone chapter 23 . 5/11/2014
I really did enjoy this chapter, but, then, I also like Jude! Great work and I look forward to the next one!
| alltheeagles chapter 20 . 5/4/2014
For the RG EF (Rule 10 Review)
I liked how Bardolph thinks looking like a scholar will help him calculate better – it reminds me of how people think putting on glasses makes them smarter. He is, of all the narrators, the most observer-like, I think, in that he seldom goes beyond the direct significance to himself of the immediate events. I also like the technique you’re using, ie having Tristan report the conversation since you couldn’t very well have presented the conversation from either Margot or Carwin’s perspectives. Clever. Er... I don’t know where the dramatic irony was, sorry. I’m kinda thick about those things.
| AlysonSerenaStone chapter 22 . 5/2/2014
I thought for a minute there that you were actually going to kill Jude. My heart may have stopped! I really do like Charlotte and Jude together-they are probably my favourite characters! Great work!
| VelvetyCheerio chapter 22 . 5/1/2014
Phew, this chapter starts out intensely. It has to be terrifying being holed up under the eaves of a building. Like, they don't even have the security of a locked door, although, being inside the building would probably be even more terrifying. Sure you could have your back to a wall, but when the zombies overwhelm you? I don't know what Char is worried about, run for it sounds like the best plan all day every day. xD
Ugh, Jude killing that vamp. I think he went a little overboard, haha. Really nice descriptions on that scene, though. I like part where the vamp unwinds (which, have I already mentioned how visually inspiring that word is? I love it) and Jude coughs out ash and his "ash caked fingers" that was also cool. Ooh, and the way his hand seems to disappear into the vamp's ribcage, it's all such a bloody mess. I just had this imagine of shiny, slick blood, so dark and dripping. o.o
Poor Kit and his lack of sleep and shoes. :[ Nnngh, I just can't imagine him walking around with glass in his foot. x.x Every step has to be torture.
Aah, when they're running onto the bridge it's so scary. But it's even worse when the vamps follow them. Dx It all just falls to chaos at that point. Char really held her own, which was awesome, haha. She managed to last just long enough for the vamps to clear out, too, but man, her pride is going to get her killed one day.
At least she's talking to Jude. It's interesting the way she is conflicted about Jude. She wants to hate him, but she also seems to accept him at times, even feel sorry for being mean to him. The relationship between them, I think, is coming along nicely. She still doesn't trust/like him, but she's sort of opening herself up to the possibility that she could.
Jude can be kind of a jerk, though, haha. If I were Char I would have hit him for making me worry. xD But I like how the closing convo mirrors the one at the start of the chapter. I think both times when Char answers Jude's "doing what?" more distance is crossed in how far they are from trusting each other. At least, that's how I see it. Char basically wants Jude to be real with her, like the time in Jude's room.
| VelvetyCheerio chapter 21 . 4/30/2014
This chapter makes me really suspicious of Ephraim now. xD What if he really isn't unhinged? What if he's actually on a revenge mission to kill Kit for sending him in to die? What if he's still spying, but now he's got a different boss? This certainly threw a wrench in the gears, haha. The convo between Kit and Effie (can I just call him this? xD) was certainly strange anyway.
This characterization was a long time coming, but I like how Kit and Char are cool enough that they can talk and laugh. That's always nice. Some of the stuff they were talking about was pretty heavy, though. Would Jude be angry if he knew what Kit's men did to his sister? Does he even care about his sister, is the real question, lol.
Ugh, there's just a lot of things that could go wrong with all the information being revealed like this. I love the way it's all kind of interconnected, but I'm always terrified with stuff like this. Because you know *someone's* going to be pissed off by the end. xD And there's never any telling how angry they'll get.
I'm curious what exactly you have planned, so update soon! :D
[tension on cramps...] Omit 'on'.
| VelvetyCheerio chapter 20 . 4/30/2014
Wooo, yeah, finally I can get in on this HTD action!
I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned this before, but I find it really impressive the way you mix animal culture and human culture in this story. Like, with Bard, even when he's human, he thinks like an animal. He even interacts like an animal. And like, it's so curious how differently his chapters read from Char's or Kit's. The way you can write in and out of all these styles, it's amazing. I can just imagine if this were handwritten, each character's chapter would be in a different ink and in a different style of font, or whatever. That's just how different they are, to me, anyway, haha.
I loved the descriptions when Bard shifts, too. How everything he sees becomes associated with a scent. You know, a lot of the time, I get really mad when I read fiction of like, people that can turn into animals (read: werewolves) and like, there's nothing remotely animal about their shifters. It just, grates on me. But with your shifters, you can read it in their narrative. My favorite example is when Bard is looking at the map and he wonders about the river and the ocean and how he can't figure in their relation to his place of birth or death. It's just little things like that that make the mentality of your shifters. The pack structure you've created is also interesting, but I wonder about its stability.
Carwin isn't a very good pack leader. He's way too obsessed with finding Jude. I wonder if his pack will turn on him at some point, or if Bard will run away. There really doesn't appear to be any type of real loyalty in the pack, which I think is important. I backread something you said on skype about the packs that people know about being science experiments, which is true. I think if forced together wolf packs were placed in the wild, they'd dissolve almost instantly. I think it's interesting how the animal culture in your pack wants to fight and split, but the human culture says to stick together. It's creating a very hostile environment.
I felt really bad for Bard when he was thinking about how Esther would have made him laugh and forget about Carwin. :[ It's hard losing a friend, and I got a lump in my throat reading that part. Why, Potpot! Why are all your men so tragic!
I imagine the next few chapters are going to be very interesting. xD They're all really close to meeting up, but I'm kind of scared that people are going to die when I don't want them to, lol. Aah, but okay, maybe Kit's chapter will be okay. Just as long as there is no battle royale, yet. I am so not prepared for any fighting at this point.
[his grip tighter when...] Not sure what you were doing with that sentence.
[thawing his arms up in disgust] *throwing
| tstul006 chapter 5 . 4/30/2014
Is it bad that I enjoyed this chapter because of the sex? Yeah probably oh wells.
So Margot is a nice character. I can tell she's saddened by the loss of her mate and while I know some people would probably think she was awful for doing a man she'd just met I'm glad she did. I mean I know it's because they are all more primal and what not but... I don't know I like it when girls are shown to like sex just like men do. Because you know, we like it too.
As far as the smut scene goes. I think it was well written though possibly a bit rushed at the end. Of course I find my self doing the same thing when I write smut. It's can be difficult. I think with this one I'd change up the paragraph where they both reach completion. I think the thing that snagged the reading flow for me was the repeat of the 'then.' I find myself writing a lot of thens when I've rushing to get it all written before if leave my brain.
Okay so I must comment of something besides sex. lol. I really liked the writing style a lot more than I did with previous chapters. It wasn't choppy which was really refreshing and made for easy reading.
| IAmButAWindow chapter 8 . 4/29/2014
Slap yourself LookingWest. Slap yourself for being too awesome. :D
Everyone's favorite window-y Window here with another review.
:D So last chapter when Jude was all comprehensible and suave and whatnot, yeah, all of that makes sense now. I totally got that he had a crush on Charlotte when he was younger. It was really cool to see. Revealed through his magic mumblings, his self-mumblings, and interspersed with his own insanity/vampire/witchness. Man. It must be tough for Jude to be so many things.
So, in this chapter, we saw why Jude was following them. Other than that, moved from point A to a bridge. XD The character blocking has shifted, but not much else. I guess in a way it's worth it, because I actually got to re-enter the mind of Jude and remember just how 'not normal' he is, even when he seems like it. I kind of wonder whether it's his ultra-hybridism that makes him this way, then I remember his sister is also slightly insane, and I figure it must run in the family. XD
Charlotte and Poet didn't do much here. Just kind of interacted with Jude, but this was his chapter so I guess that's ok. I do get the sense that Charlotte is very uneasy (if not outright scared) at Jude's presence. The whole time he's just trying to play it cool like a teen meeting his idol (quite the comparison, I know XD). I wonder how these two look at Jude besides fear. Like, who's side do they think he's on? Who's side IS he on for that matter? O_O
You writing in Jude's chapters doesn't make sense, in the best way possible. Commas where there shouldn't be. No quotation marks when magic talks. Colons and abrupt sentences interspersed with long ones. It's quite wonderful. You see how everything melds and meshes together in his mind, while still being separate and coherent thoughts. It's almost like a flow of some sort.
I'm really enjoying this story. The world is amazing. The characters and fun and dark. The plot...well...it's going somewhere. XD Thanks for playing the games. Again. Slap yourself.
| Jitterbug Blues chapter 21 . 4/29/2014
Hmm, I don't think it's a non-thrilling chapter – I like what it does for the character relationships, especially in terms of Architopel and Charlotte: it’s nice to see them gradually growing closer, and establishing a sort of connection (I wouldn’t mind more, honestly; their interactions are fun). Never mind that: I liked how it focused on Architopel dwelling over his past actions, and realising what he’s done (in regards to the other shaper, who’s faking it, his insanity). I kind of like the guilt he feels, and how he’s not disclosing it. It ensures that we’ll probably have more of this later, and I look forward to it (to see him come to grips with his past, Margot and everything). Moreover, I kind of just like how this chapter serves a nice transitioney chapter, what with Jude nearly dying and Charlotte just wanting everyone to survive: we’re beginning to see a real companionship forming around here and I enjoy that :D
Architopel has probably been my favourite character from the start, because of his intelligence, and how he observes everything around him. I liked how you dipped into his past, with showing us that he’s not one to be trifled with, and how he really was the one to plan everything. What I find interesting about him is that we’re not really sure what’s going to become of him now: he clearly isn’t comfortable with being a human, but I could see it working for him, because of his temperament and writerly talents. I don’t know: I kind of just wish to see him succeed and warm up to the others more.
I’ve already said this but I like his connection with Charlotte. It’s not quite as insane-‘romantic’ as the one she shares with Jude, but I think it’s got promise, because Charlotte really is a human, and I think she could teach him to understand them better (and I kind of just like seeing them warm up to each other because I feel they both need it). Haha, I’m being silly, but I just really enjoy their interactions, especially in the last scene re: the rituals, and the banter that followed. That was a nice way of telling us about those rituals, but also just a lovely bonding moment :3
I liked the writing in this chapter: it wasn’t quite as heavy as some others (I don’t mind your heavy chapters though), but written in this breezy, thoughtful kind of language that I really associate with Architopel. He seems to be of a clearer mind that most of the characters in this story, and his chapters are always the most informative regarding the plot of this story too (which I’m enjoying a lot because I don’t know where this is going to, and I’m worried about those characters that I’ve grown to love).
Still not my best review, but I hope you can at least see I like this :3
| Domus Vocis chapter 4 . 4/29/2014
Opening: this was a very nice way to start off this chapter. It lets us immediately know our character's personality and even her mannerisms. You also do a really fine job of using powerfully descriptive words to tell the reader what's happening while also being vague at the same time. It's just an interesting way to start the chapter out. Plus, I also learned what scrying is :)
Narrative: I'm gonna be honest here: I kinda like the narrative in this chapter. I like how you make the sentences in here short as to fit Ellie's perspective. For example, instead of having a sentence go "This is my birthright, because I'm the rightful heir.", you have it go "This is my birthright. Birthright. I am the rightful heir." It's extremely unique and it really works here! (BTW, I might check out Ragtime in the future.)
Dialogue: the dialogue in this also has a strange technique. It doesn't have complex sentences, they're very short and simple. But I think it works to the story's advantage because it sort of fits the time period and setting nicely. My only complaint is that, like I said above, unless it was intentional, I'd cut up the paragraphs and separate the narrative from the dialogue. But that's just me.
Grammar: Your grammar and spelling is pretty good in this chapter, except for a few simple mistakes. For example, you forgot to put in a question mark for "What if tomorrow Gaia eats me". Besides that, there's not much to complain about.