|Reviews for Loreley Island|
| Electrumwriter chapter 14 . 7/26
I like the opening description of the sunset. Your descriptive style is often a lot like a painting.
I did wonder on first reading whether the supernatural beings had anything to do with the storm, although on each reading of this paragraph, Anthony’s watch got my attention much better. A luminous coin size disc in elaborately woven silver? You know how to push all my buttons.
Good touch with the Gwen slant – she manages to be negative about everything, so Anthony’s eyes become ‘ridiculously’ vivid. She wouldn’t be envious of a handsome man would she?
The aura of static electricity he creates is just like Stella’s. However, it had already come across as more than just coincidence that he and Stella have this same effect.
I would have called Gwen a minx as well. I don’t know if that shows I’ve got old and fat! Gwen should enjoy being smug about other people aging while she still can. If Hildy’s estimation of her tanning is correct, then she will look like death by the time she’s forty.
I should add that when I see a ring referred to, I immediately want to know its metal and whether there are any precious stones set into it. But for most readers, just referring to a ring will be fine.
I’m intrigued by what task Gwen really has in store. Anthony can’t really expect to enjoy her company unless he is just really really lusty and has no interest in personality. This is a plot line I haven’t been able to guess the ending of.
Now for Clay’s episode:
Beautiful descriptions of the weird sensations Clay feels and then of the sea as well. Stella has a nicer way about her than Aurora ever did, but everything she says must be scrutinised for ambivalence. “I won’t let you go” is ambivalent.
I like the touches about Stella’s eyes flaring and the notion of the radio sounds being distorted into unearthly shrieks. In fact, the whole scene evokes chaos and sensory confusion. The scene is my favourite in this chapter.
As you do, I will pick a choice quote: “Right below the surface the energy undulated, a ghostly residual glow.”
It’s ominous that Hildy has found a story of a Loreley Islander who died at sea exactly fifty years previously. Loreley Island is set a year in the future, isn’t it?
I know very little of the US Coast Guard, but I like the Coast Guard character. It sounds like a fantastic concept as well. He seems very down to Earth.
Hildy must come across as a bit impractical, but I suppose he would come across a lot worse if he tried to explain how he had discovered supernatural entities.
| pumadelic chapter 3 . 7/23
I find Hildy engaging: he is sort of dandyish and down to earth at the same time. I liked the spiky internal monologue about the cigarette and how it will help him concentrate on saving Clay.
The style in this chapter is quite taut and colloquial. My favourite section here is the conversation between Hildy and Marcia. Her accent is conveyed with subtlety and it feel quite natural that she would be the conveyer of information about the Wyldevilles, although you do bother do explain how she is in the know. There is just enough detail the straw trilby, the mojitos - to put across the leisure lifestyle of this milieu.
Clay is something of a stereotyped dream boy, with his greek statue proportions and gilded hair. It occurs to me that the name is a great touch because Clay is malleable.
You once again suggest that Stella has special powers by hinting that she almost hypnotised Hildy into inviting her to the party. That thin rim of gold around the 'inhumanly' bright irises, Then you have her wildly flowing hair and Clay confused as to whether she is on tiptoe - the girl floats! She can also project her voice.
I would still like there to be still more of a strangeness about Stella and perhaps more fear mingled with Clay's desire. It is nice that his eyes change colour from red to silver when she arrives.
You are consistant with the metaphors of electricity and fire for Stella's effect on Clay. These are familiar metaphors for sexual attraction so I would have liked again something a bit more off the wall.
One issue I have is whether Clay is used to getting what he wants sexually and a bit blase about it all? Is this intensity of desire out of character for him and therefore revealing of Stella's supernatural powers. Hildy hints at this. I also have to confess something very British and eccentric - the word 'ass' completely ruins sex scenes for me because I always think of a donkey and want to laugh. Which is not your fault, obviously.
The backstory about the Wyldeville's is revealing a history of seductive, cold women. Hildy is genuinely worried about Clay. It isn't entirely clear in this chapter whether Hildy just feels competitive with Clay at times or whether he himself has a slight attraction to him. Stella seems to be under a compulsion herself - she can't be gone for long - and showing genuine concern for Clay by showing up at his door.
As I've suggested, you are very consistent with Clay and Stella but I don't feel very gripped by them. Hildy has come alive for me more for some reason and I want to find out more about him.
We have a rendezvous at a specific time and place. There's a smitten man, a siren and a mysterious and evil family. Plus a friend looking out for the smitten man. Anything could happen.
| pumadelic chapter 2 . 7/11
I like the conversational opener. Hildy is a grounding and commonsensical and sympathetic voice in this situation. Gwen is still petulant but her anger is understandable. Stella has just abandoned Clay in the water - or so it seems - but he still wants her number. A fatal attraction for sure.
This chapter is nicely paced. We have the aftermath of the fevered swim, the conversation which is expositional but very natural, and Clay alone at home, in a turblulent state of irresistable desire. I found all the ellipses in the section where Clay is fantasising a bit distracting. I wonder again if you could make his arousal seems even more supernaturally induced. For me, what worked towards that was this terrific description of his eyes:
'The light grey burst in the centre of his brown rimmed irises was barely visible: his pupils were seriously dilated. The white parts of his eyeballs were filled with tiny red threads.'
Clay's fantasy of sailing with Stella is detailed enough but not terribly imaginative - he is actually a pretty straightforward guy which is why he may be utterly and quite literally out of his depth in this situation. Unfortunately I don't find him that involving as a character so far but maybe that will change.
I liked the terseness of the exchanges between Clay and Hildy and Gwen's infuriated profanities on the answerphone are poignant and amusing at the same time.
We get enough information to move the story along but not too much. There is some backstory about Clay's parents and details about the somewhat retro lifestyle of Stella's clan. The details of the castle and the yacht back this up nicely. It certainly seems less than coincidental that Stella materialises on Clay's doorstep, especially as she doesn't even bother with the bell or knocking.
An effective cliffhanger and atmospherically written.
| Electrumwriter chapter 13 . 7/6
Opening: Clay is in character as your likeable jerk, stating really baldly that Stella’s dad died. As her dad died before she was born we don’t of course know yet whether she is the same being as her antecedents or if she was actually his biological daughter. Just taking her words as they are, she sounds sweet and open; “I love being here, with you.” As always with your writing, the prose and especially your descriptive style is a towering strength.
Take this description : “scalloped clouds covering the dome of the sky deepened from pink to magenta.” Also the wine being compared to liquid gold excites me – you know how I am inclined.
Character: It is striking just how shallow Clay is. The rational basis for his fascination with Stella seems to be about her being beautiful strange. That he loves her is about her physical attractiveness and her supernatural effect. If one compares him to other jerks, then he is a jerk who would not have spared Kristin a thought, although he would have fawned over Emily. In that same passage, Stella does still sound as if she is a normal girl whom Clay and Hildy have built up to be something fantastical. The way she admits that she’s a virgin and says that she dreamed that Clay said that he loved her could make us think she is simply a naïve young girl.
Honestly, that Hildy. Really getting himself worked up, actually supposing the lady with Alzheimer’s was Gwen. He was beginning to seem like the lady in Turning of the Screw, specifically as it hadn’t yet been clear at this point whether Stella really was supernatural. I wonder what Gwen would have made of his blunder? Probably met it with a shower of expletives. She comes across as a lot more shallow, even than Clay is, thinking of nothing but getting back at him. Some handbag… I wonder if she is right though and that Hildy actually fancies Clay for himself.
I was amused by Wendy’s exasperation. Being a carer must certainly be stressful.
Techniques: My favourite techniques would be the precious stone and metal imagery around Stella, how her irises gleam and how her skin is pearlescent and how the wine is like liquid gold. Hildy’s POV forms an unfortunate contrast as he makes the sky bruised and the clouds into tumours. Either the stress really has unbalanced him or he has been afflicted with a spell of sorts.
Enjoyment: As I mentioned above, I’ve always admired the Stella episodes. Their prose is something I’s gaze at, like a painting. All in all, I do like that Stella is a supernatural creature who could come across quite convincingly as a nice girl. I appreciated the twist with Hildy’s imagination running rampant and imagining a drained Gwen. I’m quite interested now in seeing what will happen with Gwen and Anthony. Will it be exactly the same kind of story as Stella and Clay or are Stella and Anthony analogous to black widow spiders and only the female specimens are dangerous?
| Shampoo Suicide chapter 15 . 7/5
Hey, re: questions concerning Gwen, I got that she wasn't going to do anything like that with him! I meant more so her declaration at the end of chapter 13, sorry if that was unclear.
Opening strong with some great descriptions and imagery, which I like. I love that it's so plainly stated this time too, whereas in previous sections when supernatural things happened it felt a bit more like reading it as it was happening to confused/possibly hallucinating Clay. The dialogue as he's realizing this is for real is great too. I was a bit baffled, in an intrigued way, at Clay's reaction during this scene, why he's not more taken aback/turned off. It has to be some sort of magic happening to him, right? The weird bonding ceremony thing almost aids that theory, like she needs him for something.
Ahhhh, the entire bit with Gwen and Anthony is great. I love her questioning nature throughout the scene, it differs so from Clay's attitude throughout, really, the whole thing haha. It's quite the place to end, wondering what's happening/going to happen to her. I'm very excited to find out. I like too that it leaves questions about what she's experiencing rather than just an abrupt cliffhanger for the sake of it. Like, I need to know if she's ill from sea or if he's doped her up with magic or something else. Gah!
I loved the writing in this bit a lot, because it highlights how well you can do both the more complex stylistic touches and the simple sort of clean and minimal writing like in the part with Gwen/Hildy's scene. It's really great stuff!
| Ventracere chapter 5 . 7/5
Characters: oh, oh, we're back to Clay's POV. I'm not too excited about that, but I understand why it's necessary. Something I liked about this was how now we see that Clay is still pretty aware of his surroundings despite being enchanted by Stella. I think this is a bit of a change from the previous chapters, but it's a welcome one.
Opening: I liked the way you described the smells and the environment on the boat. It's interesting that the boat smells like citrus, haha. I would have thought it would smell like salt-water/fish, but it's a nice difference. It's also a very specific smell, and coupled with the descriptions makes it easy to imagine being on the boat with Clay and Stella.
Scene: I'm glad that Stella wasn't around and in her place was Hildy. I'm a little wary for Hildy that Clay feels so afraid/suspicious around him. But in a way, Hildy is getting through to him. It's also interesting that Clay is picking up on the weirdness of how Hildy is acting around him. I feel like had Stella been around, he might not have picked up on it, since she would have had his complete attention. Even though he isn't as star-struck as when Stella is around, I like the way you presented how Clay gets incredibly testy when Stella is insulted. He's not listening to reason and that's apparent when he tells Hildy goodbye.
Ending: I'm surprised that Clay suddenly turns to Gwen for information. It's a nice change from what he's been like. But I'm glad that he decided to at least ask Hildy or Gwen for information. It's also good to see that Hildy's attempt to show him that there is something wrong. That said I'm slightly disappointed that his mind swivelled straight back to the girl - but that's another hook. I want to see him un-enchanted within the next chapter. But the last line promises or suggests rather that he will get a new perspective on Stella, even though it's likely going to be a more extreme view from Gwen.
Thanks for the read!
| Ventracere chapter 4 . 7/5
I think this chapter was the most real for Gwen. I liked her here, since while she was still dramatic, it wasn't overly so that we get hit in the head repeatedly with her anger. While we're on Gwen, she's more subdued in this chapter, whether that's due to her hangover, or if it's due to the idea that it isn't from Clay's point of view. Clay casts a more negative view on Gwen and I'm willing to admit it's probably because of Stella. Hildy's POV is actually a lot easier to swallow since we aren't seeing it through Clay's rose tinted glasses that's dare I say, corrupted? by Stella's presence.
"Miranda's voice warbled with alarm" - loved the use of warbled, It's not a word we see all that often, haha.
okay, so this chapter's pacing was a little bit slower than the rest, but I think I like it by far, the most. It pushes the plot further even without Clay's presence. Again, without Chase's rose tinted view, it's a lot easier to swallow. The chapter was also more enjoyable because now we're getting closer and closer as to just what makes Stella who she is. And not going to lie, I'm interested as to why Thierry Marchand passed away before Stella was born. Miranda's definitely got something right when it comes to that it has something to do with the women on the island.
thanks for the read!
| Ventracere chapter 3 . 7/4
The flow of the opening of the chapter was a little rough in the beginning. Perhaps intersperse a couple more longer sentences amid the shorter ones. I like that we get to see Hildy's perspective for a little bit here. It gives us a bit of background on 1) who Clay's friends are 2) What motives Stella has. Though, I feel like even Hildy has wool pulled over his eyes.
"he was certain she was hot for Clay and probably had been since the first moment she saw him in the halls of St. Andrews" - Okay, so maybe there isn't a supernatural pull after all? But then you go ahead and mention Clay does the same thing to girls at the prep school as well. I'm so confused, hahah.
oh, I like Maria because she's pulls everything back into perspective and focuses the story a bit. So far we've got a love struck Clay and a questioning Hildy, but no one who can really see through Stella. Maria can. She's an interesting maid, and definitely serves as the guiding figure. What she says is true, warning Hildy off of Stella. There's something off with Stella, and I'm so grateful that she thinks it's important to warn Hildy off.
What. the heck? I'm not Clay's biggest fan, but I can understand why he's so enamored with Stella. Though, I like how you have Stella losing her cool as well. She's not unflappable as opposed to what the previous chapters have suggested, and I'm glad, because that ensures she isn't undescructable. I want to see her as a good character, really. But there's just something off about her that I don't like. It might have something to do with how Clay doesn't question anything Stella's doing, haha.
Thanks for the read!
| Ventracere chapter 2 . 7/2
This story reminds me of your other piece, Queen of the Dawn, a bit actually. Anyyway, onto the review!
As much as I don't like Gwen's character (which I'll get to in a minute), I feel like the way Clay treats her is despicable. Which, is something that you get across easily, and I enjoyed that. You make it clear right from the get go that this isn't how Clay should be acting through the supporting characters like Hildy. It doesn't take much reaching in order to understand that there is something incredibly wrong here.
Another thing that I guess I liked was how your characters can make a surge of emotion come through. Gwen, is the prime example. She's annoying - and if she was someone I knew in real life, I'd probably start running. She's controlling? But the way she "flips out" at Clay is understandable. He's not treating her right. At the same time, I think you're toeing the line between realistic and unrealistic for Gwen. She seems a bit like a drawn up easy-to-hate character, someone who is supposed to be hated. I think it's just me and how her lines and dialogue grate at my nerves. She has reason to be angry, but at the same time, I feel she was a bit overdramatic - though that is probably your point.
Last thing, again, I liked how you made Stella Clay's one and only preoccupation. He can't get her out of his mind. She's at the forefront and he's even more entranced than he was previously. It's clear he's not in his right mind. I like how that itself raises questions and pushes the reader to think, what /is/ Stella? Is she part something? From the previous chapter and the opening of this chapter (Clay nearly drowning), I want to say she's taking the part of a Siren, but only time will tell, yeah? haha
Thanks for the read.
| Draven-uk chapter 15 . 7/1
Brilliant! The raw passion and fiery power of Clay and Stella's union was gorgeously written. So much striking imagery. Your descriptions flash, crackle and burst off of the screen as they are being read, just like the energy that surrounds and penetrates Clay and Stella in their intimacy. Powerful and beautiful stuff! More clues as to Stella's (and Anthony's) true nature are revealed. I wonder what they really are.
Wonderful stuff. As always.
| Shampoo Suicide chapter 14 . 7/1
Okay, first off I love how easily I can get into this. I didn't even need a refresher to recall what had happened in the previous chapter, up to the ending even, which means you've got something really strong here I think in terms of characters and situations. Memorability should not be discounted at all, I think!
I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but I've decided I love Gwen, haha. From the last chapter, when she instantly falls for hunky Anthony and decided to revenge screw him to soothe her hurt feelings over Clay and hatred/bitterness toward Stella: fantastic stuff. I really like that you make what seemed like a kind of irredeemable bitch stereotype character into someone we can still be interested in and maybe even concerned about. Like, it's troubling to me that her immediate thought was to sleep with the guy for all the previously mentioned reasons (though description wise, which was fantastic, he does sound like a babe), and it's curious that I'm worried for her when at the beginning, before you deftly semi-turned her character around through the use of her humor and her obvious care for her friends, she just seemed like a throwaway catty girl. Throwaway isn't the best word there, but hopefully that makes sense.
Anthony's character presents some new interesting questions. It kind of makes it clearer they're some weird time spanning bunch of people. Is it vampires? I don't know much about supernatural creatures, but I know vampires are immortal and all. If it's not I'm even more intrigued because I'd love to know what made them immortal in this way. There's been a lot bandied about about her true essence, most especially by Hildy, and I'm excited to find out once and for all what's really up with Stella and her kin!
I love the paragraph after the Gwen/Anthony scene so much, the bit that begins Light, energy, pulsated. It was a really fantastic way to describe the sensation of what was going on without getting too plainly expository (or whatever a more appropriate word may be). The whole scene was full of fantastic description, I noticed, which is kind of a hallmark of the Stella and Clay scenes because something huge always happens but also, I think, because everything feels extra vivid when he's with her so your gorgeous descriptions really add to that feeling and enhance the mood of the scenes for the reader-kind of put us in the technicolor haze Clay must be feeling.
I almost wish there were more for Hildy to do in this story than worry about Clay, because it's clear he's a pretty good guy and excellent friend. Clay kind of doesn't deserve him at this point but it's also obvious Clay is swept up in all this so maybe there's some other anchoring to their friendship typically besides Hildy worrying about him nonstop. It'd be cool to see that, but I'm unsure how you'd work that in naturally. But again, I like how he can provide touchstones to the backstory through his suspicion and worry, so that's always good to see.
Will review 15 very soon! Loved this!
| lookingwest chapter 15 . 6/29
This is interesting, haha. I read through the chapter, thought about it, then went and read your other reviews so far - and I'm actually in the opposite camp of Jalux right now. This whole story I've been super super suspicious of Stella in the market for ruining Clay's life, and their relationship / love interests being very destructive and not healthy. I mean - Clay's obsession really wasn't healthy. But for some reason in this chapter you've completely stumped me on whether or not his feelings are genuine or not. I almost feel, after this, that I lean that they *are* genuine. Which isn't how I've felt until this point. It's amusing me. I think it's because Stella feels so genuine this time? Like she really did love him? I almost took it that her "past names" were actually other people and she just sort of carries those identities with her in this life - not exactly that she has been *literally* all those people. But maybe so, given all the evidence with the school transfer and identical looks to past women.
Some answers - still a lot of questions, which is good! I thought the ending with Gwen and Anthony did a great job teasing the supernatural facets of this world again with the electricity nod. I especially liked the whole atmosphere of that scene. I thought you did a great job including the device of the music, plus I absolutely loooooved Anthony's last line and the one before it, with the toes touching air. It gave such this cool last image to this chapter!
The whole Stella/Clay love-making scene was very tense due to the fact of where and when it was happening, haha. I liked the urgency and tension in the relations that are marked by the storm happening all around them. The opening descriptions of Stella's sort of "whirlwind" shield thingy with Clay was really cool. Excellent descriptions, once again. The narrative broke apart in interesting ways sentence-wise in the first part with these two, I think because again, of that urgency, and the nature of the actions and setting. I liked the use of the shorter sentences and the frantic dialogue, especially Clay urging her to stay. I felt like...I don't know - they were both being ernest there. Like they really do love each other. But I can't help but wonder what happened to all those other men that loved either her (or her past lives)? Did they suddenly decide they couldn't be with her forever, so they killed themselves because it was the only way out? Did Anthony have something to do with it?
Like I said - more mysteries, but we do get some answers on the exact nature of Stella's supernatural qualities, as well as Anthony's! It was great to see progress in the relationships between both of them. Oh, and then of course we've got Hildy, who is being the best friend ever to both of them and both Gwen and Clay have been really crappy friends lately, lol. Nice addition to the current US climate in regards to race and violence as well - I did wonder with this story what differences he faced in this economic standing, if any, when the story started because everyone in this story is incredibly privileged. There didn't seem to be a huge acknowledgement that "looking different" changed much for him - and I mean, it shouldn't, but then - as we've learned / know - it does. And it's shit that it does, of course. So it was nice to see a very steady nodding to that here. Action-wise, the scene where he gets caught was amusing. Scary, because I'm picturing this butler like someone out of the Addams family, haha, but it makes me wonder what Hildy will do now.
So much suspense! Can't wait for the update! ;D
| Electrumwriter chapter 15 . 6/28
Tonight I return to Loreley Island and I elect to review this chapter, because it seems that it is reaching the climax we’ve been waiting for.
I admire the hard work you put into constructing the prose. It is very easy to read and at the same time, really elegant. Especially the imagery around Stella that is always jewel bright. The blue-green flickers of her eyes and the impression of diamonds in her hair.
Interesting to get some backstory about Stella and Anthony. I suppose Anthony is a supernatural being too, but it sounds like he is not malicious and doesn’t want Stella to drain anyone. But Stella’s motivation is still open for interpretation. If she is like the goddess in your other story, then she views men as being playthings and doesn’t truly care if they are hurt.
I appreciate the foreshadowing we got about the osprey. The electric imagery that surrounds the couple really has intensified. Up until now it was just warming up. The continuing electricity theme has been seamlessly woven together. Of course, given the turn the story has taken, it would have intensified.
I get the impression that the shout out from Hildy’s mum is based on an observation made in real life. It is interesting and a change in form from the fantastical direction the story had been taking. I see that the chauffeur appears drained. I wonder if it’s an effect of the Wydevilles.
As for the final scene with Gwen – I am getting the impression that the nature of the magic in this story has been carefully thought out. There is indeed electricity everywhere. The Wydevilles can channel it somehow. And the rules have all been laid out as well as the cost it exacts. You interest in 20th century vinyl music continues to intrigue me as well. I suppose vinyl does sound more soulful. Now I want to know what the song for this night was.
| Chiscribe chapter 14 . 6/28
The descriptive writing about the storm is just beautiful and so unique as to place the reader right there in the heart of it. Really lush and vivid phrases like "rats of sun pierced the purple clouds" and "bullets made of ice" contrasted perfectly from the calm before the storm to the storm of the century and the fact that it's described as a "freak storm" makes me wonder if it isn't all natural.
The scene with Gwen and Anyhony was fun and intriguing because it brings up more questions surrounding Stella and her family. Despite his appearance I get the feeling that Anthony is old...like really old and with that age comes a sort of intuition that isn't easily penetrable by mere sexual gratification, as I'm sure that's what Gwen intended. She's so manipulative and cunning that it was interested to see the tables turned, her charm not working and now she's the one who is asked to fulfill a favor. A lot of great subtlety in that scene, like a power play between two master manipulators.
Hildy is once again proving his worth as a friend by trying to contact the coast guard for Clay and Stella, no matter how hopeless that might be (it is a big ocean after all...) but o find it kind of funny who the majority of the story is him running around like a chicken with his head cut off trying to warn Clay about something or other. lol
Real great chapter, look forward to reading the other one!
| Ventracere chapter 1 . 6/28
This is a strong chapter over all. I definitely liked all the descriptions you gave us which gave us a greater worldview of what was going on around Clay. Something I was a little irked by - this is personal preference, not your writing - was how quickly he fell for Stella, though I can understand, it as something to do with her unnatural beauty.
There's something off about Stella that no one can place just yet. It's like she has this pull on Clay that he can resist, an I like how in the back of his mind, Clay can't help but think, "part of his brain that warned him against really stupid actions to shut up". That shows us that he's not mindless, he is intelligent, he knows that he shouldn't be doing this. That alone gives him some more dimension than the rest of the other boys vying for her attention. He knows that there's something off, but he can't reconcile that with the fact that Stella is before him and chose /him/ to hang out as opposed to the other guys.
Which brings us to another thing: why did Stella choose him? Is there something that she wants from him that no other boy can give to her except him? I kind of got the idea that Stella and Clay weren't exactly close, considering how he was a little bit of an outsider earlier. He viewed her as a bit weird, and considered her "barely capable of speech", yet he was still slightly offended when he found out that she was in contact with Hildy? That's an interesting driving point, though it might have to do with Stella's "charm" of sorts again.
Last thing, Gwen grew a little on my nerves. I feel like she was characteristic of the "annoying" girlfriend, someone that the boyfriend can't really stand. It's nice to see that Clay tries to be the "good" boyfriend, and understand that she loves him. /SPOILER/ However, he then goes and kisses Stella at the end of the chapter. What does this have to say about their relationship? Does it invalidate it?
I have a lot of questions, but that's only going to get answered by reading on - so good hook at the end/chapter as a whole :)
Thanks for the read!