Reviews for Holy the Dark
VelvetyCheerio chapter 17 . 10/6/2013
Oohhh man, there were a lot of things I loooved about this chapter. But then hey, it's Char, what's not to love? Amirite, or amirite?

[and I see something strange in the shadows underneath the bed in the far corner. Like a rune drawn into the creaking floorboards, singed lines.] Exhibit A. wtf was this, lol, jeez. It's really kind of scary. It makes me think of those ancient Native American witchery stuff where they put dreamcatchers over the bed, or bones under the pillow, and like, you get bad dreams or experience memories. Gah, it makes my skin tingle. So just thinking about a rune etched under the bed she was sleeping on is freaky stuff. Who left it there? What does it mean? I'd like to think it was for protection from Jude, but you know, you can never be sure.

The scene where she finds those ticket stubs had a very cinematic quality to it. Especially when she thinks on his words, I kind of read it like a voice-over, and okay, it was really touching. ;-; I mean, it's like Jude is over here, still that kid, off in the crowd, thinking she was so cool. And she was being all mean to him and now, my feels. *sobsob* I kind of am actually feeling more sympathy for Jude right now than Kit, lol. And in regards to making her more independent of Jude, yeah, I get this sense of her being more of a rockstar, like someone too celebrity for him. She never really noticed him, he was always just kind of there. That's why I think it's so sad how when he first meets her and says those words, it's like a dream come true and she pretty much just crushes him, lol.

I liked the moments where Char reminisced on her dead friends. The moment where she thinks of Lara to me felt very powerful. That she was friends with a witch and that Lara was even trying to help keep Char and the others safe for as long as she could says a lot. I'm not sure if in this re-draft you kept Charlotte's mentality of "the only good witch is a dead witch", but I think if she still did feel that way it would say a lot about her as well and how she chooses to distinguish between groups and individuals.

On Charlotte's motivations, I feel more sure about them now, but there was one line in particular that pretty much made everything for me, at this point.

[Then I feel glad I didn't shoot him.]

The fact that she feels okay with subjecting him to a fate worse than death-that is, living with this cursed ring on-shows me that she's just using the group for protection. In her mind, as soon as she sees an opportunity to run, she'll take it and never look back, because Kit doesn't mean anything to her yet. He's pretty much just a reason for her not to be out there alone, wandering aimlessly with nothing at her back. Of course, that mentality may eventually change, but I'm glad to see this side of Charlotte. She's gotta be a little ruthless to survive. She's mean because she doesn't want the others to think she's just a puny human who can be coerced into going places. Even though she admits to Kit she's not the brave face she puts on, she's still not afraid to step on his toes and look him in the eyes while she does it.

I did think it was pretty awesome though when they called each other out on their bullshit. xD Kit not standing up for her; Char not killing Jude, lol.

Aaahh, well, yeah, fantastic chapter! A lot of things cleared up here and it had the added bonus of getting Ephraim's name out there, haha. Very nice work. :D
Dr. Self Destruct chapter 16 . 10/5/2013
I'll answer your questions first and then talk about some other stuff if I still have some random comments by the end:

1.) As I was reading the part where Char and Kit are kind of fighting against Jude (with the stake especially), I do think the fact that they're still "alive" and not part vampire like Jude and Ephraim would help them be willing to aid each other. Since vampires have a pretty sinister reputation of just eating and draining anything that moves or bleeds, I can definitely see Char and Kit having a prejudice against anything part vampire. So I can see that fear and hatred sort of forcing them back to back defending each other, if anything for their own self preservation. I never really had much of a problem accepting it in the past or feeling like it was forced just because they were both always caught is a pretty dire situation with just each other to rely on.

Personally, if I were caught in a zombie apocalypse with the one person I might hate most on this planet and they were the only other person alive around me, you better believe I'd try to work with them in order to increase my chances of survival. So that's always been in the back of my head, and here now it's even more prevalent since they're surrounded by vampires and Jude/Ephraim are kind of chasing them. Also, I don't know if this makes sense or not, but considering Kit now has that ring on him and he isn't able to shape...I don't know, I almost subconsciously think of him as a human now, since he's been stuck in that human form this entire story (with exception of the beginning of the first chapter). So i think you could also play into that with Char's subconscious if you really wanted to. Kit looks human and has always looked human to Charlotte, so I imagine that might make her mind think or see him as human. Of course, the fact that shapers killed everyone she cares about might discard that subconscious veil, but you can easily change the shapers into vampires or witches to help fix that if you really want to.

2.) I've always loved your vampires. They're very 30 Days of Night. I don't know if you've seen that movie, but you should check it out if you haven't. The vampires there are very zombie-like, though they still maintain some measure of intelligence. I think your vampires are more primal than that movie, though. More 28 Days Later, like you mentioned before.

3.) Haha, Jude's fine. xD Seriously, he's awesome and he has so many layers to him. The part here where he talks about his men turning him because they didn't want him to, that hit my feelers. I can just imagine that act of desperation, and I'm wondering if they did it out of love for him or necessity. I think you could take it either way, honestly. if they did it out of love it's more one of those acts of evil done out of love, which can be really cool and multi-layered. Might also gives the witches a measure of "maybe they're not so bad after all." But I guess that wouldn't really mesh well with how they jailed him up afterward - unless the people who jailed him weren't his men, but his sister's/brother's men. And they just killed all of Jude's men because they were trying to protect him.

And then if you take it the other way, that they only brought him back out of necessity, it brings up an immense feeling of sympathy for Jude. That whole thing about them not letting him die - ugh, that was so tragic. T.T It'll also make him seem like more of a tool of war and a plaything. Which will, in turn, give him reason to want to rebel against the witches, I think. I feel like I'm sort of just babbling here, lol. Just trying to figure out where you're taking Jude next, because he's always been super interesting and well developed both history and personality wise.

4.) I think you're doing fine with plot. This chapter seems to sort of kick off the start of the major plot with these three, so I'm looking forward to seeing how it develops. I think so far most of the plot has been from Bard and Eleanor's POV, since they're both directly involved in the war and take part in the different sides/armies and stuff. I sort of pictured Kit/Jude/Charlotte's plots as acts of survival up until this point, just trying to get on their feet and safe so they can finally plan their next move. Which is totally fine - I think seeing really well-developed character reacts to their environment and immediate situations is totally entertaining and interesting. Plus we have a really great understanding of each of them by now, and I think now it a great time to start thinking about getting rid of Kit's ring and trying to end this war between...everyone. xD

I really love how you handle Jude's dialogue. You've always been really great at weaving the magic in with his normal spoken words. And I also think it's cool how you approach it from Kit's POV, sort of describe it from his eyes to give the reader a better understanding of it (conscious and subconscious - that would be an awesome English paper xD). His magic is so adorable, too, lol. Jude tries to be such a badass, and his magic is just like...calling him names and stuff. It's really funny. Poor Jude and his ego.
harrisonmarks chapter 16 . 10/5/2013
Very interesting chapter. To steal something from Ronald McDonald: I'm loving it.

Will the Avian Shaper and Achitophel become a couple? Seems possible, given what I understand of shaper culture. Not beyond enjoying a bit of slash.

And don't worry, Jude is in no way like Edward Cullen- that depressing, one-D character that made a mockery of vampires. He is in no way cliche in this chapter. One of my fav characters.

And yes, Kit and Charlotte sticking together did seem like an organic development from the previous chapter and it was not forced.
freddyburn chapter 16 . 10/5/2013
OK, to answer your questions:

How's Jude? Awesome as always. No, no Edweirdo Cullen vibes here- Jude is way cooler than him. He is funny, good creepy and an all-round interesting character. A lot clearer in this chapter, though I like to believe I had a good grasp on him before now.

Are the vampires to cliche here? Nope. Glad to see how you have taken vampire lore and molded it to your needs without making a mockery of it.

Did Kit and Charlotte's "stick together mode" feel like it was organically developed from their last chapters? Yes, yes it did. Frankly, I always suspected something like this from chapter one and your summary if I am honest.

Does it come across as too forced? Not in the least. A very natural progression from everything that has come before.

Overall, I like how the city trio has become a quartet. Everything seems cool and interesting. Especially liked the scenes between Achitophel and the Avian-Shaper-Vamp. From what I understand of shaper culture, it seems natural, all things considered. A little bit of a turn on, if I'm honest.

As for plot. things seem to be coming together rather well.

On a more personnel note, can't believe I didn't get a notification that this chapter was up. Oh well, re-ticking the fav and alert button.
VelvetyCheerio chapter 16 . 10/5/2013
[And you, shisack, you] *shitsack

[presses his bloody mouth agains my ear] *against

As I mentioned in my previous review, I really do think that Char and Kit have the most compatible personalities of the entire cast. It's not hard to believe they would want to stick it out together, but with this chapter, some things started to stand out to me.

I don't think their wanting to stick together comes across as forced. Actually, I think right now they're both so terrified and alone that sticking together is the only logical solution, haha. But concerning plot, getting somewhere safe is the biggest concern. Especially for Charlotte. A human trapped in a city of vampires? Good luck.

Kit, on the other hand, has his own little subplot of wanting to get that ring off. Which makes me think: is Char going to want to go along with that? Is she willing to stick it out with Kit through more vampires and shaper packs and more battle? Sure she's got Jude over there tossing hexes, but has she really become so loyal to Kit that she would journey with him? He's pretty much one of the catalysts to the war that killed her friends and everyone she knew. ._.

I don't know. As much as this was Kit's chapter, I feel like he relies on, and looks mostly to, Charlotte for guidance, and if she says no he'd most likely never get the ring off. I mean, even when Char was giving up to Jude, he was just like, "welp, guess I'm just going to not even try to make you change your mind". Some friend you are, Kit.

As for Jude, lol. You know how I feel about him. Honestly, he is so filthy right now. xD I found the scene where he goes on about not turning himself really emotionally gripping, actually. Poor Jude. Vampirism is less a gift and more a punishment for him.

Still curious about Charlotte's involvement on helping Kit get the cursed ring off. She has no ties to him, that's what gets me. Why help him? What is her ulterior motive? Or is she delusional and actually has no clue what she's getting into? Eventually Kit gets the ring off and then where does she go? I think at the moment there's a lot you can still do with Char, so I'll be excited to see things from her POV.

I think the fact that I have all these questions is a sign of improvement. You've effectively got the whole gang rounded up again. Hopefully they don't end up killing each other, lol.

Overall I really did enjoy the chapter and I can't wait to see what happens next. :D
Epic Myth chapter 5 . 10/4/2013
Pfffft! Okay, this is a great turn-around! Maybe it's because I am a simpleton, and it isn't the sex that I enjoy, it's the humor. The shapers are fairly simple, at least in concept and how they think, that is something I can get behind and follow. So far, from what I am gathering, the complete picture is that there is war between witches and shapers. In between are humans. The thing I am noticing is that witches seem to be a lot stronger than shapers, and I am guessing because they are advance in magic, they pretty much can stop a shaper in their tracks from a distance. I am not sure of the numbers, but it also seems like the shapers are losing a lot of bodies and witches are generally stronger with how they can creatively destroy, dismember, and freaking torture the shapers.

Sick shit.

As for the sexual customs of the shapers, lmao. I feel pretty bad for Bard (oh, hey, he's a Bard) for losing Esther, but hey, at least he picked up with a woman who liked him after all. Although, why she likes him is pretty hilarious and ironic. The way you ended this chapter gets an A

On another note, I am super super curious on what happens when all these characters start meshing. In spite of my last review, seeing Eleanor knocked down a peg and forced to share space with someone like Bard would be very interesting... at the very least, if they don't kill each other, it'll make for great characterization as different sides look at each other face to face.

Anyway, I am digging the story a lot. It's noticeable how much effort you put in making every character sound different. Some, more confusing the others, but these quirks can take to to get used to. This is advance stuff after all and as a story teller, I am still learning.
Epic Myth chapter 4 . 10/4/2013
Now, after reading the Author's note (It's Epic Myth from the Roadhouse) I now understand Eleanor a lot more and her situation. Although, I am still puzzled by the things going on in this story. It's not a bad thing at all, it's just there's a wall that first person hits, especially the way you write it. It showed in Jude's chapter and it shows here as well that there are a lot of quirks and playful uses of the English language. It's strange in a way, but I am pretty sure you know what you're doing while half the time I am not even why I write the way I write.

Anyway, let's focus on some important points:

I can understand Jude's perspective, but Eleanor is pretty damn choppy. I don't hate it, but I can't say I like it entirely. However, it did flow and being that this is a creative effort, it's a good one. It's just, the meaning of her words, especially a series of singular sentences or very short phrases can mean just about anything. Here's the part where first person can get tricky. When everything is in the character's head, how are we supposed to know as reader's if she's actually thinking it... or doing it? In other cases, like Charlotte, it is very clear that she is either thinking something or she's planning to act.

Eleanor at the other hand had me confused for a moment. Here I am thinking they are in the forest, away from the city. (Maybe they are.) Then when she started talking about being Queen, I imagined a castle... maybe it's still in the forest. I am not sure if Maxwell is still the bad guy, or if Eleanor's a prissy sister who wants to have her way since this is the first time I read of her too.

So I won't lie, there's some confusion, but I get the gist, especially since it surrounds Jude. Maxwell knows what Jude is too, that's clear. Now it comes down to if Eleanor is going to pursue Jude.

Next but not least, yikes! What the hell is with all the hate for Shapers? Achitophel, at the very least, doesn't come across as a bad person. This whole war thing is making me curious to learn more.

So-So chapter, to tell you the truth. But that's just me. I will be keen for more Eleanor chapters to see if things clear up for me later on.
Vladvonbounce chapter 16 . 10/3/2013
He flutters standing, his magic mumbling intelligible words- should that be unintelligible?
What's yourproblem, anyway- missing a space.

I think Charlotte was a lot more interested in helping out Kit this chapter than previously, while Kit remained the same. You could tone her wanting to stick with him a little I felt.

Definitely no twilight vibes here at all. That is safe to say. Jude comes off as creepy but in a good way. He seems to want to help Kit and Charlotte. I generally got what he was saying here. I was more confused about the avian shaper/vampire guy. Is he actually going to become a character, and if so he could do with a name, they can't just keep calling him avian shaper guy. I also don't really follow what his plot and motives are. He seems to spend a lot of this chapter almost (embracing?) Kit. As if about to bite him I think and Kit sort of seems to just stand there awkwardly. I am not really sure what was going on with them, aside from initially Kit had the chance to kill him but didn't.

Also I found some sentences a bit awkward to read, but I guess some of them were likely intentionally written that way as part of the story style, which is nicely pretty but not always practical in describing what is actually happening.
ArcadianCrown chapter 5 . 10/3/2013
So glad to be back to reviewing and reading this story, and it's a pleasure to have yet another narrator. I know some of your other reviews seem to have a problem with this, but I love it, since I feel it colours in your world from all different perspectives and gives the reader so much to think about and interpret. Pretty sure this is the last new narrator, however, but then I think this is probably a good time to stop creating more; you've given us a good number of view-points and the balance it just about right :)
As for Bardolph himself, he is such a sweet-heart. I don't know if you've read it, but he reminds me a great deal of Johnny from "House of Leaves"- I love his narration style, and it's really good to read even when I'm tired at night. He's clean, got a very structured style and yet is also warm, funny and a little bit sassy at times. When he's being insecure, he's very easy to sympathise for and when he's being a little more snippy about the world around him it's amazing fun. Whilst I adore the stylisation and odd, weird writing techniques used in your other chapters, I really appreciate him as a narrator and I think he is the break that I wanted from Eleanor. He's like the breath of fresh air and calm that I wanted her to be.
Margot was also a wonderful female character, she's interesting, independent and described beautifully; I also love her attitude towards Bardolph and without them being overly passionate, I already appreciate their relationship together.

A wonderful chapter that I could not criticise. A smooth, gorgeous read that was cleaner than most of what I've read from you (not in content obviously, but in ease of reading terms). Your sex and violence scenes were also well-handled, mature and realistic. Beautiful chapter :) Good luck with the rest!
T chapter 16 . 10/3/2013
Thanks for updating! I love this story and I totally get why it was nominated for most creative plot! Really great work! I loved the chapter, and I feel like I understand Jude better now, he's creepy in the good way, I really like his character. I also like the relationship between Charlotte and Kit, I don't know whether i feel like it was organically developed or forced, but I think it was a bit forced, but not in the bad way, more in the "We have to survive this, let's stick together"-way, if that makes sense? But right now I'm a bit confused about the avian-shifter, more background on who he is, would be nice :) Again thanks for updating, and please update your awesome work again, because you're so good at writing and updating :D
Gosia89 chapter 16 . 10/3/2013
I noticed that in the first two paragraphs you use word "blood" a lot. The repetitions stand out quite a bit, so you might want to fix it unless it's intentional.

The scene when Kit and Jude were fighting was very dynamic, definitely one of the best action sequences in this story. Charlotte's screams were completing it nicely. Chalotte's and Jude's dialogue after this scene was also worth a praise, especially the line: "you shot them all". ;-)

I liked the duality in Jude. It seems that it's like split personality, as though he partially is still his old self and partially a vampire. Really well done. And it was intriguing.

Now the questions.
1. I view Kit's and Charlotte's partnership as a natural bond. They went through together, so it's understandable they would develop some "herd instinct".

2. Are the vampires clichee? Maybe yes, but keep in mind that vampires are a pretty thoroughly exploited theme in literature and cinematography. It's really difficult to come up with something unique and when someone manages to do that, the results are not always the best (Twilight was pretty original with emo-sparkling thing. I don't like it, but I have to admit it was original).

3. Eddie vibes? I was worried too that Jude may become a darker Eddie when you first described him as a cool-dressed guy, but somehow you're avoiding the Ed-trap. Just don't make him overly emotional or too sad about his past.

4. Plot. You're right, you seem to have some trouble clearly conveying the main plotline (who hasn't?). At this point of the story, the issue of escaping the city claims first place in the plot department. The witches' schemes get lost along the way and the shaper's missions aren't developed enough (well, there were only like 3 chapters featuring the wolves). Maybe the other plotlines (except escape from the city) could be emphasized?

Overall, it was a nice, action-packed chapter. Keep up the good work.
lookingwest chapter 9 . 10/3/2013
Review from The Review Game Forum's Easy-Fix thread, from professional griefer:

Okay. I love the style you use for Eleanor. I've probably said that before, but it's true. The short sentences make everything seem more important and frantic, and I really liked that. It's kind of a breathless reading experience, and I think that's really cool.

I also love how her thoughts are almost constantly turning back to Jude. It really does seem like she cares about him, despite the fact that she wants to use him, and I like how you showed that not by directly saying it, but by consistently mentioning him in the narrative. I don't think I'd want to see a Halloran family dinner. Or maybe I would be interesting at any rate.

Amazing chapter, once again.
snaggled chapter 1 . 10/3/2013
Greetings from the Roadhouse!
I'm so sorry that I only have time to review the first chapter at the moment. I know this has probably been reviewed over and over again by various people, and I know how annoying it can be to ask for a review and...just constantly get the first chapter.
But thanks to a raging head cold, I can't concentrate on much for very long at the moment, so I'll try and get this review done as coherently as I can, then carry on reading a bit later.
Anyway, yes, review!

This writing is bloody excellent. Really great description, beautiful flow for the most part. Really really fun to read, and completely gripping from the first word. I especially love the cryptic repetitions and descriptions of how witch magic is never seen. They're strange to envisage, but actually really effective, especially with their brutal undertones . However, this is a crit, so I'll have to nitpick as best I can.

It all starts off very sudden and confusing, I thought. I found it hard to really get a grip on what was going on or what was happening to who, or the severity of the situation. I understand the effect of our narrator being disorientated and confused himself, and so the reader should understand his experience. But it kind of feels.../too/ much in that direction. Even with the brief mention of his shape shifting, I didn't, and only just now realised, really understand what the term "draw me human" is supposed to mean, and even if it's explained in a later chapter, it didn't get quite a suitable enough pay off- with the vague description of the hex and it's effects- and the question kind of gnawed at me throughout the rest of the chapter.

You also throw the reader right into the action which, whilst awesome and great to read in terms of immersion, leaves us with nothing to cling onto in terms of setting or character or pictures. Even at the end of the chapter, when he's dragged into the jail, there's still not enough world building to make me understand where he actually is, just "dark jail". Again I understand the narrator being unable to coherently narrate everything in his current state of torture, but it's still something that kept prodding at me.

In terms of writing. There are a few moments when you seem to have chopped down a sentence just a bit too much. Your writing is sharp and punchy to keep the flow, but, for example:
"A tooth works loose"
"My skin shades in yellows and deep purples"
"I catch my full glimpse of him"
All read rather oddly.I don't know if it's just that you've taken away a word that I expect to read, but it did jolt me out of the narrative for a bit.

Finally. at the end of the first paragraph:
"In every life we experience a single moment that strips us clean and reveals what we really are.

I've been stripped clean.

I'm a coward."

To give that sentence better pay off. would it sound better to mirror the last two sentences in the first sentence? So it would be:
"I've been stripped clean.
I've been revealed a coward"

Just food for thought. Again, some of this could probably just be down to my current illness, but I hope it helps nevertheless!
Count-By-Zeros chapter 2 . 10/1/2013
I Really, really like this. First off, to answer your question, yes. I thought the ending was good and it conveyed what you wanted it to. I really like your use of imagery and detail. It makes it really easy to picture everything that's happening. The only thing I don't like is that I'm still not sure of this world's setting. That makes it harder to connect with the plot.
Gosia89 chapter 14 . 10/1/2013
Review to Chapter 14:

Now that was creepy extremely. I almost wished Eleanor's narration style was more understandable, because I was very interested in the description of the mysterious, erotic ritual. I also found more pity for men in the witches' ranks - they are abslutely dominated by those horrible women. I think they're the group which gets raped most often in your story (so far). First the captured male witch got banged by the wolves, now Eleanor got this poor boy - geez, they can't get rest.

I feel a bit disappointed that I didn't manage to fish out all the details in this chapter and glue them into one, because I sense that the plot is getting really interesting in this chapter, I would love to read more of Eleanor's schemes and motives.

Review to Chapter 15:

I know I reviewed it before, but then I couldn't judge the plot and characters properly as I knew nothing of the previous chapters. So, I decided to give a review again, this time a more thorough one.

I really like in Baradolph's chapters you take time to explain the group's dynamics. It helps the story gain that clarity, the chapters with the witches lack.

The cat-man and the two avian twins were introduced very gently and I loved it - I could sit back and enjoy reading about each new member in Baradolph's team (I know it's actually Carwin's team).

As for the characters, I wish Margot had more "screet time". She's an intelligent woman, almost too different from the rest of the wolves who seem to be dumb brutes. Her relationship with Baradolph is interesting yet shallow. I noticed that it is mostly about sex, because her heart seems to be still with Kit. I suppose Baradolph is more in love with her than she's with him, but his "loving" isn't exacly romantic either. The two of them seem to me like a pair of unhappy people.

Carwin became an object of hate - he's cruel, brutal, kills without hesitation and I have sometimes the impression that without thinking as well. He dominates everyone in his pack completely, his presence feels suffecating. The scene when he tore Esther's throat was upsetting. But, it's always attention-grabbing to have a character like him around.

I like your concept of shapers, especially the ability of some of them to assume multiple shapes. However, I feel a bit lost how exacly it works. It's not hereditary, right? Baradolph is a wolf yet he mentioned his birth brother was a rodent... I'm a bit confused about this.
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