|Reviews for Holy the Dark|
| Kicks-and-Giggles chapter 2 . 3/20/2014
Fantastic scene, again! The characters you're building are so rich without becoming caricatures, which I think is so hard to do in fiction. Usually, you just have "The Tough Girl" or "The Cool Guy" without a back-story to back up those personality traits, but your characters feel like real people with a *background* that's built them into what they are in this moment. Plus, I love how you don't really sit down and say, "So, Charlotte was born here, raised by this, did this, and that's why she's like that." You let us figure all of that out ourselves through her actions, and you stick to the business of telling her current story. I cannot sing enough praises about your ability to build a new world and unique characters, seriously!
I was doing just fine throughout this entire chapter until I got up to the part where she "looks into the dark corner." I assumed she was looking into the "dark corner" where the witch-monster-dude killed all the witches, is that right? For some odd reason, I first imagined her looking *behind* herself in the cell and was confused, thinking that she saw something *else* there. Especially because it sounded like she was *watching* the prince kill the witches, but then she's shocked to find them all dead...? Really, it was the part where she looked down at her hand that threw me off - if that hadn't been in there, I think the transition from killing to dead to "the scene was disgustingly horrific" would have flowed smoothly and felt more connected. Unless I'm understanding all of this wrong.
Also, why did she come back for the witch-monster-dude? It didn't seem like she recognized him? Will that be explained later? Also, what is *she*? I'm guessing she's not a witch because she doesn't have any magic on her, I'm guessing she's not a vampire because she didn't have any sympathy for the other vampires in the cells, I'm guessing she's not a shaper because she hates shapers... is she just a normal gal/human?
And the part where you said "the eff with political messages and witch sympathies" - I didn't really get that part. I'm wondering if you already explained how she got caught up in this mess, with witches hunting her, and I just missed it? Sorry, I might have gotten so caught up in the action that I'm not leaving any thought-power to actually understanding the back-story. :P
Man, that prince-dude is definitely my favorite character so far, just by the way you described him - how he seems half-deranged yet so capable! I want to know his story SOOOOO badly!
| alltheeagles chapter 18 . 3/19/2014
For the RG EF
Ah… last chapter remaining. And it's so short! Good thing this is the EF, so here goes...
I like that it is Jude's old house/room that they seek shelter in. The ruined/abandoned state of it is symbolic of Jude's ruined memories, I think. I also like the almost but not quite personification of Jude's magic. More and more I feel that it's taking on a life of its own, like there's this gawky teenager inside Jude who's still trying to impress Charlotte. A lot of that feel comes from the magic's repeated injunction to 'stay cool'. Or is that Jude telling the magic to stay cool? Finally, a note on Ephraim. I think I only just now realise that he is physically in the same space as them - before this i'd had this idea that he was in their heads, though for what reason I don't actually know. I suppose he will have some part to play, otherwise why is he there, but I don't think it'd be a major role cause he isn't in the summary. But anyway, I find him rather intriguing, with his kind of sort of attraction to Achi and maybe to Jude as well. Is THAT why he's hanging around?
| alltheeagles chapter 17 . 3/19/2014
For the RG EF
I generally like the descriptive language in this chapter, particularly ‘black as microphone stands’ (in any other context, I’d say it was a terribly corny simile, but it just fits in here) and ‘like climbing a ladder’ (expresses the effort involved very well). However, there were one or two rather uninspired ones as well, eg ‘like a stray dog’ and ‘like an animal watching a hunter’.
I like how you indirectly explain the motivation behind Jude’s help to them, it that it is some leftover affection from his crush. Otherwise why would a witch prince (and a crazy one to boot) bother with a human? I don’t count Achi beause at the moment his role in the trio seems to be nothing more than a case of ‘love me, love my dog’, the ‘me’ being Charlotte. I mean, that’s the impression I get especially when Charlotte talks about Achi in terms of shooting dogs.
Having said that, at least you have Achi express himself properly in the ending bit of the chapter – I very much prefer that over the animalistic fear and baseline thoughts of flight and instinct that seem to have been in his script the first few times he appeared. I like that Charlotte wonders how he could be the wonderful poet he’s made out to be when he’s so blah in person.
And finally, I love the off-kilter humour in the ‘not my type’ line.
| Domus Vocis chapter 1 . 3/19/2014
I really like this story. It sounds dark, had interesting characters, a cool protagonist, and an interesting premise. I recommend keep workin on it!
My only complaint USA that a few paragraphs need to be shortened, but that's a nitpick.
| Kicks-and-Giggles chapter 1 . 3/19/2014
Oooh, I absolutely loved all the mystery and horror and angst in this first chapter! The descriptions were off-the-wall rich with imagery! My favorite: magic is like tasting the color of a bruise, like seeing the sound of a scream. It reminds me of how the author, Jodi Picoult describes Asperger syndrome in House Rules. Very cool!
I think I got a bit lost at the point where Achitophel was taken to the prisons - I was confused in terms of who was imprisoning him (witches, vampires, or some other group? I'm guessing witches because everything was bound by witch magic...) and who was in the prisons (vampires was clear, but also shapers? Or did the witches exterminate most of them already?) And in terms of the last, dude with the witch magic in his eyes and the bloody teeth - I didn't understand if he was in the prison that Achitophel was thrown into or if he was one of the guards taking him into the prison or if he was someone else entirely? I think just a few details were lost in all the wonderful descriptions!
| alltheeagles chapter 16 . 3/19/2014
As soon as I think I have a handle on things, the plot of HTD slips out of my hands again. For instance, I thought it was Jude the person who liked Charlotte as a leftover from his teenage crush, but now it’s Jude’s magic that’s concerned for her. And I thought that the avian vampire shaper was just a mindless bestial thing, but it had enough consciousness left to ask them to run? For now, that serves to pique my interest and keep me guessing (so it’s a ‘I like’), but I do hope it doesn’t get to the point where puzzled interest turns into frustrated incomprehension that leads to giving up.
Another ‘like’: I think this chapter clarified things for me a lot. Now that I understand how Jude came to be the way he is, it balances the crazy of previous chapters. So to your ‘creepiness’ question: no he isn’t creepy to me, and he’s becoming less confusing as I grow used to his split personality and weird conversation. I see glimpses of the person he might have been once before he was turned, and from what I see I think I may be starting to understand why Eleanor is so smitten with him. I might even grow to like him. But then I’ve always like tortured, complex characters…
Nitpicky point: bats are not avians. But you already know that. Well, I supposed chiropterean vampire doesn’t roll off the tongue. Maybe airborne / flying / aerial / winged vampire?
| alltheeagles chapter 15 . 3/18/2014
For the RG EF
Yay, my favourite voice again. Frankly speaking, Bardolph’s lucidity is a breather after the linguistic convolutions of Jude and Charlotte. Not that I’m complaining about that – one of the outstanding things about HTD is the distinct and varied narrative voices that you use; it’s a matter of mental effort. Sometimes, one just wants to read for entertainment…
So anyway, I like Bardolph’s candidness about his relationship with Margot, which I would paraphrase as “It’s just sex, so why make it so complicated?” It’s perfectly consistent with his simple, unassuming nature. He reminds me of a large friendly dog (Haha, he IS a canine shaper after all). I also like how this shades into thoughts of love and lost love with the discovery of Esther. The bittersweet ache of that part shaded smoothly into the anger of the kill/challenge scene. Bardolph may be a sweet-natured mutt most of the time, but all dogs have teeth!
| alltheeagles chapter 14 . 3/18/2014
For a moment there, I forgot that Eleanor wasn’t a vampire, with all that talk of blood and the memories in blood. I love how women are in charge in the society of witches, and yet at the same time they can’t do without the men even if it’s only for physical purposes. That duality is also reflected, I think, in Eleanor’s desire to regain her brother even though he is now one of the enemy. On a related point, I’m so glad that Eleanor’s slightly whiny “I want him baaaaaaack” note is very much toned down in this chapter.
One point that isn’t so clear is the identity of the ‘him’ in the discussion between Cordelia and Eleanor. I’m assuming that it is Jude they’re talking about, but if I’m wrong, it’s very likely that I could be reading the chapter all wrong. Based on this assumption that ‘he’ is Jude, the only possible woman with him is Charlotte. Why is she being identified as a shaper through the scrying? Maybe scrying isn’t an exact thing so she’s being confused with Achi? And the wings – were that avian shaper’s?
| alltheeagles chapter 13 . 3/18/2014
For the RG EF
I like how Jude is one person and yet many persons all at once. His magic is almost like a GPS (or a FACE like in All of Him, sorry if I keep referring to my own work), and then there is the witch who’s fighting with hexes like physical weapons, the king who's imposing his will on the other vampire, and then there seems to be another Jude who actually takes the time to admire the style of the shaper. That other 'personality' is wicked cool!
My second comment, in response to your question, is that it is very clear that they bit each other, but it was not immediately clear that Jude was experiencing his memories. Why? I guess because of Jude’s generally disorienting and fragmented narrating voice. It already takes a fair amount of mental effort to keep track of that, so the detail of blood exchange memory exchange doesn’t immediately jump out at one, if you know what I mean. However, upon a second reading, it immediately becomes much clearer.
| alltheeagles chapter 12 . 3/18/2014
For the RG EF
Charlotte’s voice seems to be a little different from before. She is less brisk, more maudling, even waxing lyrical in some bits, eg ‘dusk unwinding the sun’ (nice! but not like Charlotte) and ‘the dark’s a hood’. She only regains ‘her’ voice as I remember it in the action part after she finds Achi (can’t spell his name). I like the complexity of Charlotte’s feelings about helping Achi, that she helped him out of despair, almost, or grief at losing her friends, and then she’s angry at him for acknowledging that she helped him. I can’t call it a love-hate relationship because there’s no love involved – she admits that he understands her loss and yet she hates it at the same time. In response to your question, I don’t find her annoying. I find her quite fascinating at the moment. Finally, the bit where Charlotte goes, “Oh so vampires can turn into bats now...’ is such a sly dig at the conventional vampire myth that I burst out laughing!
| Highway Unicorn chapter 2 . 3/16/2014
[...platinum permed blond hair half shaved...] If you're referring to the style that I think you're referring to then OMG I'm totes in love with Chalotte already. I'm super into the half shaved head thing going on. Idk, but for some reason, I find it adds to a characters badassery when they're sporting that.
Also: First few opening paragraphs? AMAZING. AHHH, Potter, like omg. Unique character personality traits? NAILED IT. Charlotte's narration is so addicting. I love her badass and don't-give-a-fuck attitude.
[...she could slap a bass like no one on earth will ever slap a bass again.] lol at first I was like "Why is she slapping a fish? D:" and then I was all like "No, Toot. It's an instrument." /derpy walrus moment
[Emerging from the corner, I stab the closest witch in the neck. Warm blood gushes from the wound and I yank it away as he crumples and holds his wound, screaming as his magic spills into vibrating panic.] ERRRHAHAH This reminds me of Skyrim, whenever I would lurk into a witch cave and start stabbing witches from the corners.
[...in the shin with a thinner concealed blade that switches from the boot toe.] Dude. Where can I get one of those? O.O
Honestly, I really like that you had Charlotte eventually lose. Even though she is a complete badass, I find that having her capable of losing as such to be realistic. A lot of authors like to make their characters unstoppable, especially in situations where it's a big group against one. You, however, made it believable. Charlotte was able to take down a couple of baddies, but still in the end, couldn't handle it all, which was a lot to go against in the first place.
["To fuck—your mother," I blurt through clenched teeth.] Good. Good, Charlotte, good. Also, I don't really get the insult when somebody says they wanna fuck another person's mama. I mean, if somebody said that to me about my mom, I would be like "OMG, really? My mom's been lonely since her and daddy split up. I think she deserves some loving :D"
Amazing fight scene against that creeper. It's good Charlotte got outta that situation. I was afraid he was going to do things to her...walrus things... _
[Does Charlotte's slow departure from the jail feel like it conveys a type of shell shock?] Yes. And no, it didn't bother me. I felt you conveyed the shock very well and in a believable manner.
So I LOVED this chapter, Potter. I loved Charlotte's characterization, the way she talks, fights, acts, narrates: all of it is very entertaining. And at the end, to see her polar opposite of that due to shock was very clever, in my opinion.
Great job :D
| Siroc chapter 1 . 3/16/2014
This is a nice and intense opening chapter. I was confused about some of the things that were happening in the first section. Like why he suddenly stopped fighting the people who were attacking him? And why the hex made him human but still let him almost change back into a fox? I also did not understand why he was a coward in the end of the first section since his reactions seem understandable and not cowardly for what he was going through.
But I did like Achitophel's voice. You made it very distinct and animalike without being incomprehensible. There were some setting details for your world that worked in nicely and really set up this world. I'm not sure where the story will go from here but I am interested in seeing how it ends.
| alltheeagles chapter 11 . 3/16/2014
For the RG EF
Poor Arc… basically told to scoot off like a stray dog. I like how you incorporate non-human element into the description of him and the events – the hairy knees, clothes (called ‘decoration’ – LOL, I loved that!). I also like how you continue to provide more information about this world – now I’ve learned that not only humans and witches become vampires, shapers do too. But then why should I have assumed that they didn’t? It seems that vampirism is more of a disease and is thus in a sense more egalitarian than the witches and shapers with their various classes and ranks. Doesn’t that also give the vampires a slight advantage in that their numbers can increase so much faster than the other two groups? Incidentally, do the humans form a faction of their own as well? One thing I find a little strange is how ordinary the language of Arc’s narration is, considering that he’s this famous poet. I thought maybe he would be, I don’t know, a little more lyrical? Particularly the descriptions of his pain brought on by the ring. But perhaps that would be just too obvious for you.
| AlysonSerenaStone chapter 18 . 3/6/2014
You need to update this! This is too good for you to stop! I love how well rounded your characters are. My favourites are Jude and Charlotte. I really like the short, choppy sentences; it makes for great narration. I also like how you take the time to explore your characters. I would rather have well-developed characters than an action filled story. Action is good, but with dry characters, it doesn't work. I really do hope you update soon, though! Great work!
| AlysonSerenaStone chapter 8 . 3/5/2014
I must say, you are are really good story. I normally don't read these kinds of stories, but there's just something about it that causes me to keep coming back. There is a haunting voice that makes this read story read very poetic. I am finding it a little difficult to keep all the characters straight, but I did expect that. Great work!