|Reviews for Black Ribbon|
| AlysonSerenaStone chapter 17 . 1/13
This is a wonderful start! I really do hope that you come back to updating this soon!
| Siren chapter 17 . 2/18/2014
This is a brilliantly written story! Please update again soon!
| theultimateasian chapter 10 . 2/14/2014
So then one last review for this story
The opening is a bit weird and I don't really like it. You're just sort of repeating what the last chapter did and, honestly, I would have preferred if this chapter was attached to the last chapter. They have the same basic tone and keeping this one with the last chapter wouldn't turn any heads.
The whole bit with the whole group just fits better in tandum with the last chapter. In the first bits of the last chapter, we see that the song has had a personal effect on the characters, while this scene sort of shows the fear in the whole village. That being said, I like how you included this in the first place! Good worldbuilding.
Pace is starting to slow, now that you extended this out into two chapters. The best way to look at a chapter is to look at it as a medium that introduces a new idea. The division of chapters that would normally be one extends a scene and sometimes it slows it down.
Everything else seems solid here, the characters act like how they should, your writing isn't rambling off. Personally, I feel like your writing style is too down to earth here. I've only really realized it now, but whenever you write, you seem to be very straight forward with descriptions. In a fantasy, I think its best to explain more and sort of have a colorful vocabulary and having a down to earth narration makes the fantasy less . . . fantastical.
Then again, this is my opinion friend and you should choose what you want to write :D
| theultimateasian chapter 9 . 2/13/2014
MORE REVIEW MY LOVELY SWEETLING
anyways lets get started
This chapter started out very promising, but it fell just a bit short when i continued after the first two paragraphs. What I would have liked to have seen was his thoughts about the Wylliam. instead you simply move on way too quickly. The third paragraph goes straight into exposition land instead of establishing some character building.
Dialogue got a bit awkward in places as well. Who would ever say "This is not like you" and "you have always been clever and seen . . ." That whole wording of it all just rubbed me the wrong way. Other than that, solid.
The character building you did have was very showy rather than telly (other than that "you have been clever thing") Jascha presents himself as an old wise father who is ready to let go of his daughters, Merek is aggressive. I still don't know what Taja is like however . . .
Your pacing is excellent this chapter. The whole talk of the "cousin Theo" just gives very nice foreshadowing to a potential darkness ahead.
| theultimateasian chapter 8 . 2/12/2014
Ok then, let get this started
From a technical aspect, your story is suburb. From several reads, I can definitely say you do not have any sort of grammer or wording issues that takes the audience out of the loop or breaks the illusion. You have a very strong prose and you don't repeat words or phrases that could take the experience out of reading.
But that's all technical stuff, what about the actual story.
Well here's the thing; you don't have focus in your story
Now I didn't just read the 8th chapter straight from the get go. I read the other chapters before and then got to this one because you wanted me to review after chapter 8.
Frankly, I think this story is very jumpy and far too unfocused to continue after this point. Why? Well lets talk about your narrative style.
You are a third person perspective, jumping from the eyes of character to character in this story. We start off with a guy called Marek in the first chapter then move to Taja (your main character). Now, I'm not saying that jumping persepctives is terrible, frankly I think its refreshing to see on occassion. But you keep jumping perspectives. For example, the third chapter then goes to some guy called Wylliam then to a girl named Linza.
What does this do? Well, for one, It makes it so that i don't know any of the characters. "But wait," you might say, "I'm showing their perspective. Surely that allows the audience to know what they are." Actually no, it doesn't. It simply introduces another way to look at the character. There is a trope called the unreliable narrator that comes usually up in stories that deal with characters that perceive a perspective and the story takes in the perspective when in "reality" the perspective is false. What you're doing is similar. You are introducing a second perspective that comes from the character itself, the first one being the outside perspective of the character. This is confusing in that we don't know which to trust or take in because, unlike single persepective stories, the two perspectives are given to us on the spot. Thus we are forced to choose between the two BEFORE contemplating one or the other.
Another thing that this mutiple perspectives thing is doing to your story is that it prevents focus on the main character. You said that Taja was going to be the savior of her people. When I read the story, I just didn't know or get what was happening. Too many people are doing things and we don't have a single clue about the main character (or at least, that's what I perceive). I don't know how she acts, what she does, what she likes, what's her personality, ANYTHING. Why? because, apparently, we have to focus all these other chapters about Linza and this Marek and this Wylliam guy.
I'd understand this sort of look if you wanted to study their livelihood rather than go on an adventure, but you're not. You specifically state that Taja "was the savior of her people." BUT I DON'T CARE BECAUSE I DON'T HAVE A CLUE WHO SHE IS!
Anyways, I have to wrap this up as, honestly, I think this reveiw shoudl encompass your story as a whole because you're already sinking as it is.
So lets recap.
Your technical skills are superb as I could see no mistakes on your part. Your world building is superb as well and it kept me interested. Added with this, the dialogue makes sense for the setting and, again, I was intregued. The big downside, however, was your lack of focus on the main character and the confusing tale of too many perspectives.
Try to rewrite with more of a focus of Taja in mind and I think you'll have an excellent story in your hands.
| Tuesday Telegrams chapter 6 . 2/9/2014
This was probably my favorite chapter yet. I found the whole interaction at the woods very interesting, from the villagers forcing Wyll to tree line to the Nymphling being nice to him. I seriously hope the villagers apologize to Wyll a lot in the coming chapters! All this also heightens Wyll's lost memories, and makes me more intrigued as to what happened to him.
I'm still wanting to know how old Taja is. I think she's supposed to be late teens, maybe, but she just seems quite young in certain ways so it's hard to tell. Maybe if there was a bit more focus on her and her personality I would have a better idea about who she is/her experience level.
| Tuesday Telegrams chapter 5 . 2/9/2014
I think this plot point is very interesting. I like that Wyll doesn't have any idea what nymphlings are at all-definitely makes me curious to find out why that is.
I thought it would have been good to know how Wyll thought about being punched so suddenly by Jascha. Even though he hasn't seen people in a long time, surely he had some thoughts about that? He calls Jascha a brute, but I would have like to have seen some of his reaction to the punch when it happened. Surprise? Fear? Pain?
| Tuesday Telegrams chapter 4 . 2/9/2014
I liked the ending of this chapter a lot-it makes me want to read the next chapter to see what others think of Wyll. His entrance was interesting and will obviously cause some intrigue among the village.
While I found Linza's backstory interesting, I wish it had come later in the story, because I would have preferred some action in this chapter to move the story along and give me some excitement.
| Tuesday Telegrams chapter 3 . 2/9/2014
I really liked the descriptions in this chapter. They were lyrical and vivid. I think this is also a great chapter to introduce us to a new character. It gives a good amount of detail on who Wyll is and a little of his background, so going forward I have an idea of the sort of person he is.
While I like Wyll, I'm three chapters in, and I'm struggling a bit to grasp a specific character to carry me through the story. I definitely have the best connection to Wyll now though, because this chapter tells me so much about him, so I'm looking forward to more from him in the coming chapters.
| Tuesday Telegrams chapter 2 . 2/9/2014
I'm finding your concept very unique-dragons trapped in human form...very interesting. It's intriguing to think that dragons would find being in a human so distasteful, because I guess they would! Being so weak and subject to emotion (if they are now? See my question at the bottom). I haven't seen a story with this concept before, so I'm interested to see where you take it.
I'm wondering just how old Taja is, because to have her introduced when she's listening to her grandma tell a story while braiding her sister's hair, it gives me an image of a child. And then I remembered Jascah wanted to marry her...
There still isn't a clear main character, which is making it a bit difficult for me to fully connect with anyone. Since it jumps around between everyone's thoughts and emotions, I don't feel like it gets deep enough with any single person-for instance, I would have expect a lot more emotion on Taja's part when she discovered she was to be married and then within five minutes was in bed with a man she had never spoken to. Even if she felt compelled to obey her father, she wasn't exactly eager either, and I would have like to have seen more depth from her there.
I also found it strange that they were introduced and then literally went upstairs and got into bed. I could probably understand it from the point of view of a dragon-an animal that would view sex as a means to an end-but for humans it was bizarre to have Taja's dad just tell them to go upstairs.
Question: Do these dragons-in-human-form struggle with human emotions regarding sex and desire? It sounds like Jascha does...surely that would be different from when they were dragons? And what of second generation children, born of human mothers? Surely they feel some kind of disconnect to their dragon ancestors?
| Tuesday Telegrams chapter 1 . 2/9/2014
I quite liked the bit where Jascha asks for Taja's hand in marriage. It was well-written, and has me intrigued as to why her father never thought either of his daughters would ever be married. He sort of explains why he thinks this of Taja, but Linza is more of a mystery at this point, so I'm particularly intrigued by her.
I didn't really like how the POV switched between Jascha and Marek. I'm just not a fan of 3rd person omniscient because I like the mystery of not knowing every character's thoughts and feelings. Of course this is just my personal opinion, so that's not to say that you didn't pull it off well.
| Ventracere chapter 14 . 2/2/2014
I probably should have seen this coming ahha. Your descriptions are beautiful, as always. I particularly liked the your descriptions of Linza's panic. She didn't exactly know what was happening, but was powerless to do anything about it. You did a great job with showing us how and what she was feeling as she as swept away by the vision, like it was strangling her.
One thing that really caught my eye was when you wrote of Linza's "transformation" as she picked up the stone, "grey oval eyelids" my particular favorite. I pictured Linza prone on the ground when she had the vision, which I don't know if you said she was on the ground, or she was left standing. That may be my fault if you clarified that earlier before she sank into the vision "realm." Good job!
| AppleCinnamon chapter 17 . 1/26/2014
The pacing of the transformation itself felt very dragged out, and completely out of pace with the rest of the story. While it's definitely worth slowing down a bit for, I thought it could have been condensed some to help improve the impact and intrigue of the process.
On the positive side, though, what didn't lag was really easy to picture. There were moments where I could almost imagine just how it felt. I especially liked when you compared the pain in her shoulder to a leg cramp, and the need to stretch it. Little things like this really helped to enhance the sensory details throughout.
The run through the forest, and then the nymphling attack was a very thrilling scene and by far my favorite in the story so far. The first half felt so whimsical, and I found myself wondering if perhaps the nymphlings are unwilling guardians under the curse. Perhaps the spirits of long since passed dragons? About the only drawback with the scene is that I thought it would have been better for pacing and impact if the chapter had ended when Taja retrieves the pendant and collapses.
The final part of the chapter I thought could have stood strongly on its own. There is a lot of emotional build up in it, and with so much else to take in this chapter, I felt it detracted from much deserved attention. It's completely understandable that Taja would be hesitant to reveal herself at this point. Between the partial transformation, the attack, and the psychological blow that would come with the realization of being "The One", so to speak, her hesitancy was very relatable. Wyll is definitely the most logical choice given all the circumstances (the pendant, his escaping the forest unscathed, lack of familiarity making a potential negative response less of a blow).
On pov, I really love the focused perspective. It made it much easier to get into Taja's mind, appreciate everything she's going through, and eliminated a lot of confusion that shifting perspective has caused in previous chapters. Although as a character she still isn't as interesting to me as Jascha or Linza, she's definitely easier to sympathize with.
| AppleCinnamon chapter 16 . 1/26/2014
I loved the backstory on swords within their village. It has a very classical fantasy feel to it and the lore fit perfectly with the world you've built around the dragons. At first I had wondered why it took so long for them to conceive weapons, but the story with Antonius does a great job of explaining it.
I've wondered when the flames would come up for Jascha again. In a way, I feel a bit surprised that he let Callum in on it. Jascha seems to have a higher regard for Parlen and perhaps trust, and given that he hasn't shown anyone else that he is able to call upon his flames, it makes me think he's worried about what may or may not happen if it becomes public knowledge. In any case, though, I'm glad to see that along with trying to forge a path to strong leadership he's grasping to the hope that the recent events present.
This chapter felt much faster in terms of pacing, and I felt like it was over too soon, like it was just scratching the surface. It's interesting how some of the bigger plot hooks seem to come from Jascha, who for all intent and purpose seems to have the smallest role in the overall plot (as opposed to Taja being the prophesied one, Linza and her sight, Wyll's implied lineage, or even Corinne's wise grandmother moments). In any case, I love that this chapter drove both the plot with the nymphlings and the plot with the dragons forward.
| AppleCinnamon chapter 15 . 1/26/2014
Random thing toward the beginning. I thought the line "but like Taja she seemed like a wild bird unable to be caught and kept quietly in any kind of cage," would have sounded better something along the lines of: "but like Taja she was a wild bird that would not be caged." It's shorter and some like that would have a much more poetic flow that I think would help enhance Wyll's voice.
The chapter does a good job at hinting at background, but this kind of goes back to what I mentioned before about the overall pacing. One chapter makes progress, and then the next just stops dead in its tracks. Here we have yet another bout of Wyll and his one-sided flirting, and aside from explaining how Linza leaves the hall and maybe triggering the dream, the first half of the chapter felt as though very little was accomplished.
The dream sequence had a lot of beautiful imagery, and was very vivid. You definitely have a talent for bringing dream sequences to life and painting poetic pictures with it. I loved how you led into it without a break. It created just the right amount of disorientation to give the reader the sense of slipping into it.