Reviews for Just a Tool
Mia52 chapter 1 . 9/4/2014
The chapter was really good. For being first person, the pacing was exceptionally well. It didn't sound too out there but wasn't like a monologue.

Xi sounds to be quite the stubborn character. She is headstrong and more than capable of taking care of herself if need be. I'm getting the feeling that her stubbornness may end up being her downfall at some point in the story. Hopefully not.

Ayn is very interesting in his desire to protect Xi. It's a little saddening on how much he is blaming himself that Xi got hurt, but it's makes him more relate-able (?).
Jitterbug Blues chapter 42 . 9/2/2014
So you start off with implied masturbation and then end things with very much explicit torture porn :D I cannot say it is sexy, but I cannot deny that there is a touch of the erotic: the way you wrote this, Piqa's pained reactions and Fletcher's sadism-autism all very much parallel a smut scene. It is unexpected and clever, and while this is not a kink of mine, I like and respect you writing something so dark this unapologetically. Sure, it is not uber explicit, but this also maintains that it never gets over the top or too crass. It remains tasteful, and I like that.

I like how the torture scene is distilled in terms of emotion too; like this, it realistically captures Piqa's numbness. It adds a layer of creepy to the scene that I find deliciously unhinging :D. I also like how scientific Fletcher is about this: I fully suspect he does not understand basic human emotion, and think that kind of depiction of him is interesting/refreshing. He might not be an autistic at all, but I still think your writing of him as possibly such is realistic.

I am not fond of three way relationships, so I will not talk about Piqa's angst XD I think your emotive writing was spot on though, and I liked how Pisa sought out pain as a response XD. It is believable though, boy, does this come to back to haunt him at the end of this chapter lol.
Ventracere chapter 41 . 8/4/2014
Ohey! I'm back and alive! onwards!
I liked the interaction between Ayn and Xi in the first section. It does blow away most of the awkwardness between the two of them in the previous chapter. I'm actually really glad that it's Xi that breaks the tension instead of Ayn, considering I feel like it's always Ayn that does the breaking, not Xi. To add on, it also makes the tension between the story and reader a lot less noticeable.

oh ahahhahaha. To think I thought Xi and Ayn were going to have something to throw down over, but Piqa is always something the two of them can agree over - something I'm a huge fan of. For one, no love triangle to bang my head over. Anyways, this also brings up a question, of whether or not Piqa is aware of this. Another thing that I definitely enjoyed was the high point that you ended the chapter on. It gives the chapter a brighter point, and it fits well with the rest of the chapter. I'd be disappointed if you ended this chapter on a dark note, to be honest. But you didn't. :D

GG!
Hedonistic Opportunist chapter 41 . 8/2/2014
To be honest, on a purely subjective (fangirl, reader) perspective, I'm very tentative about three-way relationships, unless it’s clearly specified that all three parties involved are fine with this lifestyle. But I knew beforehand that this is what I was getting myself into, and you’ve managed to surprise me in the past, so why not here? :3 I’m just letting you know that I’m threading carefully, because I’m still very silly about a few themes and tropes, and that’s just something that won’t change easily XD.

BUT I missed this verse, I realise, because I really like the themes of this story, even if you only vaguely hint at them, like the topic of baits in this chapter. I think it’s lovely how you manage to imply something so dark and sexual into this story without ever getting explicit about it. I know it’s weird to focus on something like this, but I like those implied themes because they say a lot about this society: about how some use the term ‘bait’ to imply partnership, while others exploit it to form relationship with a defined power imbalance. Nevertheless, what I like about this is how it flows into Xi’s motive of wanting to protect Piqa.

ANDDD what I further like about this too, about Xi’s motive, is how it forms an alliance between her and Ayn, who also wants to protect Piqa. What I like about this alliance is that it demonstrates, yet again, how well Ayn knows her, but how he also wants to be closer to her (and she wants to be closer to him, as shown in this chapter). In a pleasant set of circumstances, I really liked how she made it explicitly clear that she wanted to be partnered with him, and then reached out to make the first move and kiss him. It was a lovely kiss, very gentle and sweet, and I liked how you focused on the awkwardness of it, on its inexperience. It made Ayn and Xi very young, and I finally felt like they were embracing their feelings in a natural and cute way (and that includes Xi slapping Ayn on the buttocks :P). Given how dark this story is, and how much crap they both had to go through, it’s nice to see them happy – even if for a while :3

I also liked the earlier bits of this chapter, with Ayn hating how he couldn’t wash his back, and this leading up to Xi helping him. I liked how he was a bit scared of her brutality, but how she ended up being gentle instead. It wasn’t a tense scene, but it established, yet again, how close they are, and how much they rely on one another for support and comfort. I also liked the writing in this scene, especially because of how you explained vividly how having such a small stretch of skin being left unwashed was annoying.

I also liked the insight you gave us into Xi’s character – like her downfall being her so self-sufficiency , because it’s true. She might be a strong character, but she’s also stubborn, volatile and prone to making decisions that are unchecked by reason. I like how this chapter marks some vital character development on her part: namely her realising that relying on Ayn might not be a bad thing (because he needs her just as much, and they can only protect Piqa together).
Jalux chapter 18 . 7/22/2014
I think it's a nice touch when you have Ayn want to swear but not do it because Xi hates, just shows he'd rather be agitated and worried then do anything that would upset her, kinda fits well with his obsession over Xi. I also felt it was clever to have her injured and then show us how it happened with the Hostile, it's a simple technique but it's effective because it works by making us to continue to discover what happened. That being said I'm going to level a bit of criticism at Xi, I really feel she could show more emotion, yes they aren't meant to I believe but Ayn shows a tonne of it and even if we don't get emotion I think we need more from her mind in chapters not from her POV. And yeah poor Ayn, looks like he can't take much more. Interested to see what happens.
Jalux chapter 17 . 7/20/2014
I think having all these tension between Ayn and Xi being shown from Piqa's perspective is a clever tool that allows us to see what's going on but there's a sense of detachment since it is from Piqa's POV, I really like this as it creates more questions for the reader on how the relationship is progressing. Once again I think Ayn's obsession is touched on a little too much, I think at this point the reader knows that Ayn is constantly thinking about Xi, I think this hurts the pacing a little. Finally I like how Piqa feels bad for eavesdropping and how he wants to do something for Ayn, this ties in nicely with previous chapters I believe where we saw Piqa views them not entirely as just Tools. I definitely feel his character arc is extremely well done.
Jalux chapter 16 . 7/19/2014
Yeah I'll echo what another reviewer said about Phraq, he honestly seems a bit cliche and kinda that jackass who has nothing really likable about him. I get that he's meant to be this asshole and bully to Xi but I think there can be more depth here honestly, I don't know maybe expand more on his motivations and make him a different brand of bully? That being said I do think the dialogue here was well-done and got the emotion across for the scene. Once again we kinda touch on Ayn's feelings for Xi and his fear that she hates him and I think this was a nice bit of characterization once again but I do think perhaps he's becoming slightly one-dimensional on his nigh-creepy obsession of her, I like Ayn's character but there is more depth to be had here I feel.
GossamerSilverglow chapter 24 . 7/12/2014
I’m curious about Piqa’s familiarity with the scene. Clearly he doesn’t remember seeing it, but his surety that he had at some point seen it makes me wonder how far back it goes. To childhood maybe? When Fletcher says it’s what Aemaela used to look like it makes me distrust Piqa’s thought of it being physically real in the moment. It must be something he remembered to be real, but is, in fact a simple hologram. A reminder of the used to be’s.

Piqa’s thoughts that he’s getting in the way of Ayn and Xi seem like very realistic and making him second guess himself in that manner simply added more depth to his character I think. Don’t make Fletch do something mean to Piqa. What curious ending. Great cliff hanger really. I’m hope Fletch isn’t going to hurt Piqa!
Highway Unicorn chapter 3 . 7/10/2014
I really enjoyed how you showed us this society and their practices by explaining (or more so, weaving) the idea of beads for every kill in the hair because one: it was a really cool concept, two: it allowed us readers to get an insight into this world, three: it's a random yet important detail, imo. OMG. I bet the people with the most beads are going to be like the strongest xD

I also enjoyed the sarcastic and playful mood/conversation between Ayn and Zim because it allowed the reader to relax, take in the important information you were weaving in, and really get to know these two and how they interact with each other. To me, they seem at peace with each other, no real hatred or discomfort, and I look forward for more conversations between these two.
Guest chapter 21 . 7/5/2014
The way you show Ayn and Piqa getting lost in that hug showcases their relationship to readers on a deeper level, deeper than even Ayn and Piqa knew probably. They clearly both needed some comfort and support after Xi getting hurt. Piqa’s willingness to let Ayn continue and Ayn’s look of guilt also makes for some reader brainstorming on what exactly is going on between those two (hopefully three soon).

I don’t remember knowing until this point that the Craftsmen were actually Users and not Tools. Maybe I missed it or maybe that’s how you want it, regardless I liked the additional information about them. It explains everyone’s reluctance to go to a Craftsman. I remember wondering what the big deal was in the second to last chapter (?) when Ayn faked the information about Xi not being hurt even though she really was.

My impressions of Fletcher. I like him. He seems like a good solid character with specific and memorable physical attributes. I also think he’s the first ‘good’ User your story has seen, plus, this is the side of the story that was missing. Fletcher doesn’t solve the problem entirely, but it’s getting there. Good chapter!

Favorite character - Xi, but I feel like she's in the time of her life where she's regretting her previous actions and has become a very selfish person due to those choices i.e. her becoming a sword to save Piqa is an action she feels guilty about being guilty over the fact that if she could, she would go back and change her decision. Did that make sense?
GossamerSilverglow chapter 23 . 7/6/2014
I’m not sure what to say about this chapter. I felt like a filler up until the point of the wall disappearing. Piqa’s pretty sure that what he’s seeing is real and not a hologram, or at least that’s how it seemed with the way you ended it. I’m curious about what Fletcher will say about it, but I’m more interested in how the Tools (when Piqa, Ayn, and Xi tell them about this) react. I want them to be angry, but it seems even when Fletcher mentioned ‘finishing up’ Piqa couldn’t even say ‘it’s not like that’ without fear of getting in trouble. Hmm, I’m wondering where you’re going to take this.
GossamerSilverglow chapter 22 . 7/5/2014
I like Fletcher. Even if he’s a baddie in disguise because it seems like he’d be careful about it. He’d be the smart kind of baddie, the kind I like. Of course, I’d love it lots if he was simply a good guy who happened to be a User too. Fletcher’s emphasis on ‘together’ has me extremely curious as well. I’ll bet he’s a voyeur.

Piqa’s ‘beautiful’ deciphering speech made me realize the different level he’s on compared to Ayn and maybe even Xi. He picks apart what being beautiful means physically and only takes into consideration everything else afterwards, almost like he corrects his own thinking (which I’m very glad he did).

Piqa seems to be just noticing physical attraction to both Xi and Ayn. Ayn is already very aware of it with Xi and possibly with Piqa. Xi is the only one I’m not sure about. What I think is that she’s too bottled up in her own problems that she’d rather try getting killed than to deal with them. The room turning cold makes me think Fletcher is changing the temp on purpose and is in fact a voyeur. Or maybe my mind is just permanently in the gutter.
GossamerSilverglow chapter 21 . 7/5/2014
[The way you show Ayn and Piqa getting lost in that hug showcases their relationship to readers on a deeper level, deeper than even Ayn and Piqa knew probably. They clearly both needed some comfort and support after Xi getting hurt. Piqa’s willingness to let Ayn continue and Ayn’s look of guilt also makes for some reader brainstorming on what exactly is going on between those two (hopefully three soon). ]

That last review that started that way was mine. I just forgot to sign in!
Ventracere chapter 40 . 7/5/2014
I don't know, but I find it amusing that Ayn is so tentative when it comes to saying that he wants to be intimate with Xi. At the same time, it's a good thing so that Piqa won't be so much more skeptical. It also goes back (now that I've seen part of the beginning) that Ayn keeps true to how he has always been in the beginning. He's honest and cares about what Piqa thinks. Ayn isn't brash, and tends to think through things, but the fact that he has the attraction towards Xi and is trying to vie for her attention is a flaw. It makes him a more rounded character that way.

Personally, I liked the fact that this was in Ayn's POV over Xi's. Though, that said, it might have been also interesting to see what Piqa's train of thought was. Anyways. This way, we get to see through Ayn's eyes when Xi crossed the line. Ayn wanted to keep toeing the line, but instead, it's Xi that takes the next step. I liked the fact that it was Xi who took that step, reestablishing the fact that Xi makes the decisions (as the sword as well), whereas Ayn and Piqa are swept up in the coming wave.

Good job!
Hedonistic Opportunist chapter 40 . 7/5/2014
It's been a while since I've last read JAT, and I have to say I missed the writing style - I've forgotten how clean and slick your writing style for this, and how interesting the dynamics are in this story :3 Although I must say I’m emotionally comprised: I’m not really all too keen on threesomes that go beyond sex, because I always feel someone’s going to get hurt ): It’s just my personal belief that emotional monogamy is the only way to go, while sex is something you can get from other parties (because you separate the two). Of course, I’m aware it’s not quite as clear-cut, and those are not necessarily my RL beliefs, I just want to tell you that I’m a bit worried about those ‘babies’ of my mine. Especially Piqa – although I admit his motives are puzzling me; I still thought he was more into Ayn than Xi XD. But those are just side-by comments, and have nothing to do with my liking this chapter.

I admit I’m really into the Xi and Ayn relationship – they are cute together, and this chapter demonstrated it again, what with Ayn trying to make sure that she’s not worrying about him/doesn’t overhear what he and Piqua were talking about. I think it says a lot about him that he doesn’t want to objectify her; it shows that he cares about her, and that he wishes her to feel respected and not traded like a cow. I find it very hard to believe, actually, that he and Xi are not an item, given how protective he is towards her XD. Now, regardless of how you end this story, my current stance is that I’d rather they just end up together. Emotionally and logically, they make a lot of sense together, and I personally just feel that they are a good couple XD. But that’s just my gist on the matter :3

Piqua, Piqua …I do love this boy, I really do, and I like how this chapter really keeps us puzzling. Just like Ayn, I’m wondering what he’s thinking and what he’s planning to do – why is he suddenly being so eager on everyone being alone? I find those questions interesting, because I’m sure you’ve got something up your sleeve, and that kind of thing – those questions that I keep asking – keep me invested in this piece (apart from other things like the characters themselves and the whole plot …).

Also, plot-wise, I like how you hint at the social order/hierarchy here again, especially the cruelty of the Users and how they just can reset everything, making Ayn and al nothing more than ‘tools’. I know that you’re not going to explore this further, but I still think it’s a great element to mention in this chapter, because it keeps reminding the readers that they aren’t – and never can be—normal teenagers.

Anyhow, great chapter - I have very strong feelings about this story :3
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