Reviews for Holy the Dark
IAmButAWindow chapter 3 . 3/24/2014
So...yeah...this was a thing. :D Everyone's favorite Window here for a review of this wonderful chapter.

Needless to say, the unconventionality of the writing style immediately gripped me. It was poetic. It was disconcerting. It was like a ballet of death. It was wonderful. :) You really delve into the depths of this guy's mind, without completely losing the reader.

I did have some grammar issues though...jk. :P I know it's supposed to be like this. You write masterfully, and I would love to see where this goes. There's not much more I can say about this chapter. It was art. It was horror. Both meshed into a beautiful mosaic. A standing ovation is given to you. :)
Kicks-and-Giggles chapter 8 . 3/24/2014
As usual, you did a great job remaining consistent with your characters' narrative voices. Jude still sounds crazy, but I'm also impressed with how you had him *telling* himself not to sound crazy, which - in turn - made him sound strangely un-crazy. What an interesting, complex, convoluted character!

What I didn't like about this chapter has less to do with writing and more to do with my personal feelings for these characters (so, this is actually something I *like* about your writing - how well you wrote the characters and how very quickly we're drawn into them... I mean, this is only the second chapter in Jude's voice, after all!) and that's when even the Shaper was mean to him. Why are they so mean to Jude?! Especially Charlotte who basically used him to get out of the prison? Okay, I don't really blame any of them, of course, because they're all in a pretty miserable situation and I can't judge them for how they're acting. But - ugh - Jude! Don't be mean to Jude! So... yeah, point of that random blurb is to say - your characterization. Flawless! I also like the relationships you're developing between these folks - this *very* tentative companionship based on their common goal to just survive (for Charlotte and Achitophel) and... well... it seems to me that Jude is just lonely underneath all his schemes and crushes. :(

To answer the questions from your author's note: Yup, I understood that Jude had a teenage crush on Charlotte after seeing her in a show, and I also understood that Charlotte and Achitophel were leaving Jude behind. I didn't quite understand that Jude was stuck because he was afraid of the running water (or that vampires in general are afraid of water) but I realized that he was disturbed by *something*.

Oh, and one last note: Jude's voice totally reminds me of Gollum from LOTR! Especially the part where he says, "Snake pit toes the line, shade-magic starts to unwind." Just like when Smeagol says, "They do not see what lies ahead and Sun has faded and Moon is dead."
Jitterbug Blues chapter 19 . 3/23/2014
Hmm, I'm gonna try to do you justice, but I worry I might fail, because I'm always tired lately (and I've still not replied to your PM, because I suck ._.). I’ll start with really generic things I liked, like your prose. It wasn’t heavy here at all, but the fragments and the short, but poignant sentences with just the right details were wonderful to read. I really liked how Ellie always repeated the words that she would fix Jude and kill the shaper in one breath, and how she would talk about love and affection in another.

Admittedly, she terrifies me, because she is so eerily possessive and hell-bent on destruction (especially in the case of the shaper). But I like your portrayal of her, because it's rare to have such females (unhinged, creepy, very possessive). I also like how you depict her as being so very powerful - whenever she says that she will break someone, I actually *believe* she will. So yeah, your writing and your depiction of her in this chapter are very effective.

I like Jude in this chapter but I always do :D I do like, though, how Ellie views him; those little hints re: his appearance and how he’s lying (and in danger of losing himself entirely) were interesting, because she’s the only one of the characters who really knew him before he became a vampire (Charlotte? I’m not sure if she really counts XD). Anyhow, I just think it's interesting to see how she sees him, because you really see how *demonic* he's become.

And yes, thanks for the update :3 I've been missing this :3

Before I forget, it is clear that you are setting up stuff here - there's so much tension in this chapter, so much *determination* from Ellie. I'm expecting a lot of ...I'm not sure what I'm expecting, but it's nothing good if Eleanor is involved.
Kicks-and-Giggles chapter 7 . 3/23/2014
I really like how you portray the different characters in this chapter, especially Charlotte. Usually, when you have a "strong" character like Charlotte, who's accustomed to fighting almost all of her life, people don't tend to show any weakness in them. It seems unrealistic. However, you showed Charlotte freezing up because (let's face it) she was in a pretty darn terrifying situation. It made her very real and I could sympathize with her more because of it.

Okay, I think I understand the vampires a bit better from this chapter: they *are* kind of out of it, aren't they? They're just thirsty and all they care about is thirst and sometimes they don't seem to make rational decisions because of it? Could that explain why they were so close to the prison where the witches were keeping them captive? I like how you portrayed the vampires in this chapter, too (the "pretty baby" and the description of them dancing and twirling and kind of just in a hypnosis). You're so good at painting the scenes in our head! It reminds me of some dark, horror/adventure video game! Nice job!
IAmButAWindow chapter 2 . 3/23/2014
The first one was a make up, this one is to review it for the game. :D

Wow, so I can see why your story was nominated for the awards. This is very very good. I love how you portray magic in this story. It's like an electromagnetic aura. It can be titilating, or painfully stinging. It's wonderful. Gets me all giddy inside. But I digress.

Love your character of Charlotte. I'm partial to the name, and have a character in one of my stories by the same name. I like her backstory. She's not your conventional hero. She's a real person, with a real past, and real grudges. The way you portray the prince makes me want to get all giddy again. The mixing of the vampire and the witch is so evident, and puts anyone ill at ease. Well done! Well done! Applause! More to read, and I look forward to it.
IAmButAWindow chapter 1 . 3/23/2014
Well then! :D I loved this. The words 'shaped me human' are chilling. Either way, onto the review aspect of it (this is to make up for the Rule 10 something something).

This was super creative, because it always had me guessing what kind of world this guy lived in. You use the word 'parchment' (typically used in historical or fantasy pieces, and not in the modern day), but a guy has a cigarette and Kit's face is in the 'concrete' at one point. That's pretty cool. From what I gather so far, it's a world with some technology, some magic, and war (what we are best at, sadly).

There were times when everything was confusing, but it's the first chapter, and I like things that way. I like to be thrown head-first into a world, forcing me to swim in its rules, and escape my own preconceived notion of what world rules should be like. It makes me think. It makes me try. It makes me an active read instead of a passive one. So if there's one thing I really wish to congratulate for this chapter, it made me active. It made me think. You did it so well.
ButAWindow
AlysonSerenaStone chapter 19 . 3/23/2014
Wow! Once again you did an amazing job! I just love the emotion in this chapter! Your characters all have such a great voice. I really do also like the exchanges between Jude and Eleanor. I also really do like Jude; he's just one of those characters that I can't help, but to be drawn to. I also did like Eleanor's point of view and how much emotion you put into her. Great work and I look forward to the next update!
alltheeagles chapter 19 . 3/22/2014
For the Review Game (Rule 10 review)

Yay, you updated! And just in time for a Rule 10... So here goes.

Ah, Ephraim’s introduction into the story is starting to make sense. I like how you slowly built up the connection between Jude and Ephraim and Eleanor over the past few chapters. You even introduced Ephraim in a logical way, so it doesn’t feel like an overly contrived series of coincidence but an organic growth of events.

On Eleanor, I can’t say that I like her, but she is certainly not boring. My impression of her relationship with Jude was that it was rather one-sided (hers) and obsessive, now I’ve revised that to it’s not one sided but it’s still obsessive. I get the idea that they’re both trying to outmanouver each other, both hiding things from each other while maintaining a ‘I love you, miss you, let’s be reunited’ facade.

Plot? Of course there’s a plot, I catch glimpses of it everywhere, but I’m not going to guess how it all goes together. I’ll leave it to you to accomplish that!
cybersheep chapter 4 . 3/22/2014
Hi hi! It’s been so long since I read this…because I am disgustingly disorganised, but this was actually surprisingly easy to get back into (given how complex it is so far). As always, I’m so so impressed by your ability to write so many characters with such distinctive POVs. Eleanor…she seems very preoccupied (understandably) with death and what can be forgotten after you go (all the secrets that will be lost forever). Such a cool concept :). I like how you gave us a sort of outside perspective on Jude too, so we can sort of frame his character in our minds (and I think the royal family / matriarchy stuff was all really clear here, despite the fact that Eleanor’s point of view is sort of jittery and distracted). All the religious stuff you have running throughout this is really cool too – and you seem to have developed such complex, considered societies and cultures. I’m super impressed with all the world-building you’ve got going on (and your chapters are so short! And I’ve only read four of them! Oh *jealousy*).

POV-wise, it is a little difficult to figure Eleanor out, but I sort of like that? There’s a lot of yummy conflict in her, and I got a strong sense that half of her lives very strongly in the present – her stream of consciousness narrative, the way she keeps putting on all these ‘I mean’s that she has to add, as if she’s more concerned with getting all her thoughts out on time, as opposed to getting them out comprehensively. But then of course, she *is* very preoccupied with the past too (e.g. her parents dying, what happened to Jude) in that she’s clearly a little traumatised by it, and she sees how it affects her life, and the lives of the people she’s surrounded by. Also, I loved the contrast between what she does and how she thinks – her whole thought process is manic and a little disjointed, but for a lot of this, she’s lying in the grass, getting crawled over by bugs. I’d like to see her through someone else’s eyes just to see how that *looks*.

I’m not quite sure what happens at the end (the secret ‘I’d crown you queen and let you rule’), and what Maxwell’s intentions are, but obviously it’s supposed to be a little chaotic, and I know it will all become clear :D
Kicks-and-Giggles chapter 6 . 3/21/2014
First, to answer your AN questions: I think Charlotte and Achitophel ending up together does seem realistic, but I was confused by where exactly they found each other. In my mind, I was seeing Achitophel till pretty close to the prison where they were being held; if the witches were hunting and caging vampires, what are these groups of vampires doing out in the open instead of hiding somewhere? Do they not have that kind of mental capacity - are they more just out for blood and can't think about anything else? And Achitophel's motives do seem pretty ambiguous at this point (basically, it sounds like he's trying to survive) - that came across very well, and it's totally plausible that he's sticking with Charlotte because she's the first *real* person he came across (not a vampire, not the prince, and not a witch trying to torture him) who hasn't tried to kill him on the spot. Well, it doesn't really need an explanation, does it - I feel like he's too out of his mind at the moment to think straight.

I do think an explanation from Charlotte would help, in terms of why she's lingering around in a place where Achitophel's also wandering, just to make it even more realistic? I guess I can't really give an opinion on the matter until I figure out where exactly they met (how far from the prison they were). :P

Other comments:
I thought the transition of Achitophel's character from being a once-scholar who is now broken and peeing on himself and crying to fighting vampires for the sake of the human girl was very abrupt. I really was expecting him to just keep clutching his keys, keep breathing, and walk away from the scene. I think the reason for it is because a. he wants to die (he keeps wishing the monster had killed him), b. he's twitchy (he almost shapes when he hears distant screaming), and c. Bardolph (and Achitophel himself) describe him as being a bad shaper and generally more of a soft, scholar/poet kind of guy. All of those put together just made me imagine a guy with a more bleak outlook on life and a heightened sense of self-preservation. Except, the way I saw him, he would override that sense of self-preservation and go after the vampires just to end his miserable life and help someone out while he's at it. Just a thought…

I really like how you show the matriarchal-ness of this society (with Bardolph being afraid of Margot, with everyone saying "Godess" instead of "God") - small, clever touches!

Quick fix: "…noise dips close in the alley, and we both turn [our] heads quick."
Kicks-and-Giggles chapter 5 . 3/21/2014
"… her choices and preferences have been equally as strange as the way she looks, but that's what makes her a good scout - a good strategist. When Margot visits camp, it feels like things are back the way they used to be, back when we were noble and we propositioned."

I didn't get the connection between her strange choices and preference and her being a good strategist. Also, does her appearance (like a witch woman) coincide with how the shapers used to look before the war, when they were nobility? Is that why they feel like "things are back the way they used to be" when she visits? Sorry, I was a bit confused by that bit.

I like how all of your chapters are somehow connected! Charlotte saw Achitophel from ch 1 briefly, Jude thinks about Eleanor from ch 4, Bardolph thinks about Achitophel from ch 1, etc. It gives great continuity to the story! I'm also enjoying how you're getting into the finer details of this war instead of describing overarching strategies in a more clinical manner. That's to say, I like that you're focusing on the people and what they're going through rather than the war itself. Gives it a personal touch and makes it more interesting!
Kicks-and-Giggles chapter 4 . 3/21/2014
This is totally a personal preference thing, but I didn't like Eleanor's "voice" as much. It was too clipped, too disorienting and, as "off" as I feel Eleanor is, it just somehow didn't suit her. Based on the voice, I kept imagining someone who's more stuck in a straight-jacket and rocking back and forth instead of someone who's distant and just "out of it." Maybe you meant for her to be more straight-jackety?

I don't know if you actually *did* go back and fix the "royal family" thing as you mentioned in your author's note, but I understood just fine that Maxwell, Jude, and Eleanor are the witch's royal family as the story stands now. You gave the brief mention in Charlotte's chapter that the shapers had succeeded in executing most of the royal family and there's only three left, and then you mentioned in Jude's chapter that he was the "prince witch" so once we got to Eleanor thinking about her's and Maxwell's brother, it became fairly clear at that point that these three were the royal family. Don't know if that clears up your worry regarding that point? Or at least points out places where you can elaborate? Any help I can give you, my favorite author (yes, you're my top 1 now). :)

I like how you showed that Eleanor is able to "sense" the unique types of magic around her, how she always identifies people by their magic "type" (ex: snake-like for Cordelia, handsome for Diana, etc.). It makes me think she's pretty darn powerful on her own and she's just restricting herself for some reason? Maybe so that the magic doesn't "split" her like it did Jude?

And the world you're building is fantastic. I like how you describe being able to "feel" magic and this thing about talking to magic. (Ex: "Things go bump in the night. He bumped back." - So great! Love it!)
Kicks-and-Giggles chapter 3 . 3/20/2014
I stand by what I said: Jude is my FAVORITE! Wow, you wrote his near-insanity so well! I loved that sentences were sometimes left incomplete, grammar rules were ignored - honestly, I felt like I was going insane trying to make sense of what he's thinking! I could imagine him moving about the prison SO vividly! Man, if this could be made into a movie... phew! Sorry, I think in video more than I think in words and I get super excited when I find stories like this that would make KILLER movies!

There is nothing I would change in this chapter - absolutely nothing! Your writing style, as I said already, was flawless! Your characterization was even more fabulous! I am impressed you were able to give us back-story about Jude even through all the craziness in his head! That story with his sister was so touching and I was THIS CLOSE to shedding a tear that such a warm, loving, normal guy had turned into this crazy monster-dude we're reading about. THIS! CLOSE!

Oh, and the voices of each narrator are very distinct and very unique! Well, OBVIOUSLY Jude's is unique, but looking back, even Charlotte and Achitophel had such distinct voices. Nice job with that!
tstul006 chapter 1 . 3/20/2014
Okay one suggestion. You repeated more than once that you can't see magic. I don't know if it was because you wanted to make sure we understood that or if it was an accident. You also used the 'I inhale and then inhale...' twice. It's a good line but using it more than once kinda cheapened it for me.

I like how it started out with action. As disturbing as the action was. I'm really intrigued to find out where this is going though. It seems really exciting. And it's not your typical supernatural story. You've obviously created a new world and I love stories that do that.

This is for the RG Easy Fix.
Thanks for the read.
The Autumn Queen chapter 8 . 3/20/2014
The narration here is quite broken, particularly how you've used your commas to force little bumps in the flow. "one stormy night in the maines..." didn't quite seem to fit into that fragmented voice though; it sounds a little unusually fairytalish in the current context.

I also find it strange that Charlotte thinks Jude knows who she is, and is then surprised when he says it. It took me a bit to realise what meant; very clever the way you bring that out, particularly since it's in Jude's perspective and not Charlotte's.

The way you wrote this chapter. Not a simple read, with each skim over revealling something new and interesting. It seems like something that would me more effective in a oneshot than a multichap since, when reading a novel, readers are less likely to reread a chapter before going on to the next. Your descriptions were really interesting here, particularly the way you described the scene without describing the actions - it works very nicely with the choice to use first person present tense. Really makes it feel like a glimpse into a character's mind, and shows nicely you can't grasp the whole picture with just one perspective.
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