Reviews for Holy the Dark
Highway Unicorn chapter 1 . 9/29/2013
Holy shit Potter. This was amazing!

Okay, first of all, you're imagery and tone kicked ass. The opening was brutal and badass. Talk about getting one's ass kicked. You described it in a way where the scene instantly appeared to me, where I didn't need to fill in any blanks, or try to think of how it would look like. It just came to me. And it was a beautiful bloody mess. And at the same time, you add in little snippets of information about this narrator in a way that just added more to the character as a whole.

And I liked the little bit where you had him walk around naked, and had him express his embarrassment of such a thing by covering himself.

And I also liked how you had the witches taunt him and his people/religion.

Even though this is a supernatural fic, you've added in some real human qualities. Human nature can get nasty, like how the witches beat up the shaper and mock him, which could perhaps relate to racism (?).

I also like the originality of the plot so far. The narrator is fresh, since he more on the coward side, and just wishes for death. And the plot as well is something I haven't been introduced to yet, and that being Witches taking Vamps and Shapers (Shape-shifters?) as captive, and might I add, in a brutal way.

The ending was just as great. I was left with an eerie feeling after reading this, and I couldn't help from imagining the crunching sounds of somebody ripping into the flesh of an arm. x.x

Also, based on what I got from the narrator, I bet he'll make a beautiful prison bitch. {3

I'm really digging this story, Potter. :D Really, it's your writing style that hooks me every time. You just have this simple yet imagery packed style that I love so much.
Argentum Vir chapter 7 . 9/29/2013
Nox again, just droppin' reviews like the bass.

Wow, I mean I can finally see the plot shaping (pun) up. It took awhile to get here though. Lots of world and character building. Not say that's a problem, nope, no problem at all. To me though, it's slow. Too little scraps, no carrot to keep me interested. I have a touch of ADHD you see. I flit. One page, two, sometimes a third. Once I got past the base, you actually have a decent world built up.

It's minimal at best. You show very little of the world. Rather, you give us familiar locations for us to fill in. Nothing outright says the buildings are modern. Nothing outright says the shrine is traditional. We just imagine it. In that way, you drive the story on the backs of the characters. They see, we hear. Sometimes it's clear, crystal even. Other times it's laden with madness, tainted, corrupted. Only by reflection do we actually 'see' the world. I think you should work on that. Give us more of a view. Be it more through the characters, or through a narrator.

As for the characters themselves? They're interesting. Not quite three dimensional, but not even close to flat. I have to say the rich cast you have has made me a firm fan. Regardless of my feelings towards your writing, I like the people you've given us to follow. That is where you truly shine within all the madness.
Gosia89 chapter 3 . 9/29/2013
Now that was bizarre. I was complaining earlier that you use the present tense and I will probably coninue to do so, but in this chapter the present tense was perfect - it added even more chaos in this strange and twisted narration.

As for Jude, it's hard to voice my opinion about him as a character, mainly because of the narration style. One thing I know for sure - he has a serious mess in his head and should probably be on strong medications. It's hard to tell what exacly is he thinking and I would be more worried about myself than glad if I acually could follow his way of thinking.

The poetic style intrigued me and it even sucked me in, but somewhere halfway through the chapter I began losing my interest and felt that it was enough. I suppose poems are usually a short pieces of literature not without a reason. Keeping chapters with Jude long could make the reader want to just skip them, so be careful.

Strangely I got the impression that this chapter was easier, faster and more enjoyable to read than the previous ones. I think that chapters with Jude could prove and interesting accent in the midst of your story. I wonder how it will turn out.

Anyway, I liked the idea of insering some poetry.
Gosia89 chapter 2 . 9/29/2013
This chapter was all about Charlotte.

My first impression of her got dominated by cheetah leggins - a symbol of lame taste in clothes in my country. Therefore I performed a face-palm before finishing the first paragraph. Then you mentioned rockstar a couple of times and it soaked into my subconcious, making my brain play metal music theme whenever I read about Charlotte. Yes, it was strange.

Putting leggins aside, the rest of my first impressions. Charlotte seems like a confident person and her fighting skills were a plus, but I couldn't bring myself to feel sympathy for her. A woman who curses so frequently, her life motto was "weed and booze" just doesn't appeal to me, I can't find myself to relate to her, mostly because my life attitude is too different. I usually like strong female characters, but Charlotte is too vulgar for my taste, especially in the beginning of the chapter.

The plot. It takes a while to get used to how magic works in your world - it plays a huge role in almost every action sequence of the chapter. I liked how there was a lot going on - the chase, Charlotte got thrown into jail and then the massacre occurs. Nicely done.

Charlotte's behavior after the massacre happened clearly indictates shock, you did well with that scene. I suppose the description of her reaction was the best part of the chapter.

I have some doubts about the witches. It seems that males are also called "witches". I know it's supposed to be a name for an entire race, but shouldn't the males be called "warlocks" maybe? Or witchers. My point is, when someone says witch, he means a woman.
Gosia89 chapter 1 . 9/29/2013
I mentioned that in my first review on your story already - the present tense keeps me from focusing on the plot.

The first part was fine, although brutal. It was certainly eye-catching and the story started off with a kick. I liked how you smuggle some tiny fragments of info about the fictional world, like mentioning mocking the goddess.

At the beginning of the second part of the chapter I got slightly confused with all the info about the different types of people - having regular humans, vampires, witches and apparently shape-shifting animals being mentioned in one or two sentences made my head spin. Perhaps it would be a good idea to introduce the multitude of races in a gentler way? I got lost who was who. The protagonist seems to be an animal, but who are his captors? Are they humans or witches or that's the same thing? (they use magic, so witches would be logical). I eventually figured it out at the end of the chapter, but it's still somewhat confusing.

Your descriptions are nicely made. They are detailed, but not overly long so they don't slow the action down.

The protagonist (of he's the protagonist) seems like a poor, helpless and scared lad. He has my pity, but I'm more fond of fighters.

The protagonist's full name sounds a bit Jewish, so I'm wondering if hunting his race down was inspired by Jew's purges in Europe in the Middle Ages.
Epic Myth chapter 3 . 9/28/2013
...

Epic Myth from the Roadhouse says this about Jude, whoa.

Honestly, I can't really review this any further with a critical eye since everything I see from this chapter is out of my realm of expertise. It's almost like the crazy stuff I written when I felt chaotic and poetic and didn't know a Rat's ass from a bum of what I was doing. Now, if I ever feel poetic, I am always skeptical of myself of when I want to actually use it in prose.

But here, this is so blatantly poetic... it's awesome. Yes, it is a little hard to follow, but that is nothing a few more reads of Jude shouldn't fix. I am new to this story and your work after all and seeing this as a shorter version than the rest was pleasing. There's too much crazy to go into long details after all.

Anyway, I was wondering a while ago, when you reviewed my work: What do you mean by style? And now that I am seeing this, I understand what you mean. Jude is one crazy sonuvabitch and I can understand why, he's a Witch/Vampire, something unheard of (as far as I know it) in Supernatural Fantasy and Horror. Not only are the magic and witches different from what I am used to... this guy goes hard in killing. His magic seems to be sentient, or his human self still trying to fight for control... and this dead mother.

Now that has me stumped, but it honestly made me laugh when I first read it.

Crazy good stuff man.
Epic Myth chapter 2 . 9/28/2013
[The sensation of being watched couples with the magic and and it takes every part of me not to make any sudden movements. I turn my head slow and catch the eyes of a man nearest me. I can't see him completely because he has long hairy legs drawn to his chest. He's squinting over his knees with a mop of wild curly and matted hair. I think his eyes are human—not bright, not brimming with magic, just dull and unbelievably sad.]

Hah! I found one mistake! Delete the extra and at the first sentence.

Now, for everything else you did exceptionally right. First and foremost, yes, you did a great job and conveying that Charlotte has been shocked to all types of hell. Trust me, it doesn't take much for anyone to feel a little PTSD (I should know, I am in the Marine Corps after all), and that experience is more than what most have seen. That is a lot of blood and guts, especially for the second chapter, but it was terrifically written moment.

I won't lie, I have this bad habit of dreaming off into space in the middle of a read, especially when something strikes me as great, and then I can't help but reflect on my own efforts as a writer. I've talked to Dr. Destruct about this, now I understand why First Person and Present Tense is so... good. It really does catches you by the throat and leave you hanging when the suspense rolls through. It's an indicting prose style and leaves you prey to the single actions and the perspective of a character. I really like Charlotte and I liked how you started off the chapter about her being a rockstar. It already got me in the mood to read more as the character (or is it narrator's) personality is revealed further.

This also makes me wonder what type of world is this. Apparently, hexes hurt like hell when their spun and witches are the bane to society. There's so much hate in the air, but it makes for some interesting conflict. And what I love most that I can definitely relate to is it's grittiness. There's so much grit, I must be eating sand off the beach. It's all because of the First Person/Present Tense combo that seems to work so well, it makes me jealous.

I like Charlotte. She got a lot of sass and that comment she made to fuck the leader's mother was so well timed it could have been part of an Orchestra. Her plan, as hellish as it turned out to be, was unexpected.

And then there's the moments where you chopped up the sentences to two or three words, something I like to do. The action sequence was pretty damn good too, and here I thought I was good at that stuff. Man. I really like this. I can relate to you cutting 800 words too. I had to cut about 500 off my last chapter.

Good work man, good work.
Argentum Vir chapter 6 . 9/28/2013
Yo, Nox from the Roadhouse.

Vampires are fucking scary. They're nothing like what popular culture likes to portray. I did lose where they were in the fight, I guess that would be a major compliant. As for the foot note, I think people do weird things when in a life or death scenario. Two unlikely allies become allies. I think at first sign of trouble, Charlotte would have no qualms killing him, but for now, they act as each other's life lines.

That aside, I think my favorite part of the chapter is what Charlotte says about the teller. I laughed at the absurdity.
Argentum Vir chapter 5 . 9/28/2013
Nox from the Roadhouse. (Return)

Holy crap, I really liked this chapter. To me, the sex was actually the most moving thing about the plot. I guess it's just the way I view the subject. When an entire race just focuses on the physical aspect, you lose sight of the emotional and ritualistic aspects. I find the shapers rather interesting. I honestly had no idea that the things you refer to as "Shaper" were actually werewolves in that capacity. I guess that's also one of the reasons I liked it.

I can imagine these two fighting over Margot (hate that name by the way) at some point in the future.

At any rate, I will say this chapter is not for the faint of heart, nor for the prudish. I guess I was waiting for something like this. I not only fully understood it, but enjoyed it. The first chapter was not nearly as clear, as this one. That might be due to the poetic nature that you infused it with. *Reads on*
Gosia89 chapter 15 . 9/28/2013
I haven't read the previous chapters, so I'm a bit confused (review-tagging thing).

Writing style.
I think it could use improving. I've noticed that most of your sentences are short, which makes the narration seem jerky and the descriptions lack fluency because of that. If you built the sentences in more complex way, it would surely fix the problem. The next thing is tense - you use the present tense whereas usually in books and novels past tense is preferred, especialy in the ones of fantasy genre. Present tense is better for short romance novels, when the focus is on emotions, but a fantasy tale contains too much "historical" background and descriptions of nature for it to work. I wasn't trying to be overly harsh, I hope to help you develop as a writer.

There is an interesting disonance between the thoughts and the dialogues. When your characters talk to each other, they use very sophisticated words, almost high speech. But, when they think they often use vulgar expressions. It's quite dishonest, yet strangely interesting.

It looks like you think of smallest details while building your fictional world - it always deserves a praise.

As for plot, I'm in the dark. I noticed that there is some romance in Gone with the Wind style, but I'd like to see more action, more blood (Well, there IS blood in this chapter).

Overall, it was a fairly interesting chapter.
Argentum Vir chapter 4 . 9/27/2013
Nox from the Roadhouse again.

Each time I pull this story open, I keep getting something different. While I like each individual style, having a new one every chapter is pretty overwhelming. Something to think about, but personally I like the concept even if I don't particularly feel attached to it.

At any rate, I don't feel like there's a plot as of yet. Sure we have all of these characters who each tell their story. You're to tie it all together at some point, but I think you're really relying on the characterization to keep people in long enough to discern the plot. That's not only really tough, but I'd say almost impossible seeing as you have a really odd and unique concept. I think overall you appeal to a niche audience, that may or may not be interested in the story or plot, but the concept.

That's just my two cents. I honestly like the characters, but the verbiage, and the off kilter narrative are hard to take in at times. If you'd perhaps spell the plot out a bit more in the earlier chapters it would keep more people interested. Keep doing what you're doing West, I think you have a solid, if really niche concept. I really value your input on everything too, so I'll try to be at my most honest here.
Vladvonbounce chapter 15 . 9/27/2013
I tried to find and inker before we left the Big Pack- an
Aside from that no spelling or grammar issues anywhere. it all reads so smoothly I get to the end of the chapter without taking my eyes from the screen or needing to re read lines twice. :)
Once more your descriptive fight scenes are brilliant can easily imagine am in the forest itself with witches and shapeshifters trying to kill each other.

the interactions between margot and bardolph are interesting. I like the way they sort of recognise that they have loved other people deeper. Margot isn't particularly upset to see Bardolph cared for Esther which is different from most stories depictions of relationships. I also loved it when he then lost control and challenged Carwin, hopefully the two of them have a fight at some point, will be epic. it is also sort of amusing having the cliché farm boy/city girl thing in the middle of everything else.

Also appreciate getting further information on the culture of the shapers, you have done a great job of slowly filling us in. At first I was a bit worried you didn't give any background but this is a fantastic way of handling it. it would be interesting to see more on how the different families have different lifestyles/personalities and how they get on with each other. Also a bit more about how it works with regards to what animals you can turn into. you mentioned a Chiroptera family at the start as well but I doubt a group of fairly primitive shapeshifters would use the scientific name.

Really hope you post up some more chapters!
Vladvonbounce chapter 14 . 9/27/2013
Another very Eleanor like chapter. Your character for her is strikingly consistent and always creepy. I assume the woman Cordelia sees when scrying is Charlotte? but I am not sure. I also didn't quite understand her dream. Is that when Jude was turned into a vampire?

Having sex with the Queen sounds like fun :O ;).

Not sure what else I can really say, that I haven't said on previous Eleanor chapters really, your great story writing skills are still clearly evident and there aren't really any problems.
harrisonmarks chapter 15 . 9/27/2013
Read this last night, but forgot to write a review... clever me, huh?

Anyway, loved this chapter. Loved how you go deeper into shaper culture and all the complex social order. Got a real great feel for Bardolph as a character in this chapter. Your writing style is really interesting. The detail you have is brilliant and captivating. Love it.

The fun facts part was interesting. Great to see that you are writing from expierence (the hiking) and imagination. Good work
Dr. Self Destruct chapter 15 . 9/27/2013
Ah, I always love your world building. You seem to get more specific and detailed with each chapter, too, which is always nice when you're dealing with something as complicating as a society of beings who aren't human. But after seeing how the different animal families view each other, having their own prejudices and rumors, it makes them feel a lot more human than they previously did, and I think it also makes them easier to sympathize with. Like how the canines tend to be proud, or how the avians get taken away and they think some of them get killed - that's really interesting. It shows there are many intricate levels to this society, and we're only brimming the surface. It's like that whole iceberg thing that I think Hemmingway said: only the tip should be shown (just the tip, lawl), and the rest of the iceberg, the stuff under the water, should be there in subtext. Which I think you accomplish really well when you deliver information about the different societies. I also enjoy the inclusion of the other shapers, too, especially the twins. That was a really great way to transition more into the different shaper families.

I also like how you throw in that bit about Eleanor. Mentioning her makes me think of her, and I think it's cool how there's already been an interaction between these characters that we haven't yet seen, like her brothers coming to rescue her. It reinstates that feeling of the reader being plopped into the middle of things and lets us know there's a lot more to be discovered, past, present, and future. Which all goes back, once again, to that iceberg thing.

Ah, that scene with Esther is really sad. It makes me think of Kit, too...I'm guessing they killed her because of the ring, because I remember them saying something about it making shapers go mad. Which makes me worry for Kit, because even if Kit might tell them he doesn't need to be killed, they may so it anyways. Very scary. I wonder what Margot would do if she saw Kit had a ring on him...or even Bardolph. Bardolph strikes me as somewhat of a hardass after that scene in his previous chapter with the witch being raped, but after this one I can see he does have a tender side. i felt really bad for him, and for Esther. Such a vivid description of her condition, ugh. It's to the point where I really do think what Carwin did was being merciful. Even if she didn't have the ring, her condition made it seem like she wasn't going to survive getting better anyways. But still, it's such a hard choice to make, and I think it really says something about Carwin's character that he'd have the heart to do that to another shaper. Not really sure if what it says about him is good or bad.

Oooooh, that's interesting that Bardolph lost himself in his shaper form. Really interesting. I wonder why that is? Is this something all shapers deal with, or is it possibly a side effect of something else? Maybe the pain did it to him and Bardolph just isn't as disciplined as the rest of them (which I get the feeling be might be from the way the others treat him and how he reacts to certain things). You don't need to answer these, obviously. xD It's just what's running through my head now after reading this. I'm wondering if this is going to turn into something serious, because I have a feeling the entire second half of this chapter was dedicated to setting up that specific scene. I also wonder if it's going to twist the relationship between him and Carwin, like if Carwin ends up casting Bard out for insubordination, which eventually leads to Bard running into the others.

Which also makes me curious whether or not that's going to happen - if all the narrators are going to, eventually, end up running into each other and teaming up. Whether or not they do I think would be cool either way. That way you'd still have multiple eyes able to follow the plot from different angles, or you'd have some really funny interactions with all the characters together. Or maybe they run into each other and then part ways, kinda like they do in GoT. But yeah, I think this chapter opens up a lot of questions as to what's going on with Bard and what might happen to him in the near future.

I also like how the others, even Margot, didn't come to Bard's defense. It says a lot about how much they respect Carwin, I think. Which has remained very consistent throughout the story.

I want a tree that smells like strawberries. D:
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