Reviews for Lying for Kings
Ventracere chapter 4 . 8/8/2014
Oho. I like this chapter. In advance, I'm sorry that my reviews are getting shorter.

Character: This chapter goes to highlight that Hendrik is not a "bad" character. Despite the light that was painted of him in Lula's eyes. I like that he's sort of a protector, one that wants the best for the people under his - I don't want to say division, but it's like that? I don't know. But. Although Esther is accusing him of what he has done, it doesn't paint too dark of a picture of Hendrik. Instead, it shows that he's trying, he's doing what he can do accomplish what he needs to get done. And if it's going to hurt a few people in the process (Lula) for what he thinks is right, so be it. I have a feeling that might change later on, but we'll see.

Relationship: Now I have got to wonder how close Esther and Hendrik are. In terms of friendship of course. The fact that Esther has the gall to say the things she has towards Hendrik is rather impressive. If she wasn't close, or fairly close, would she have said the same things to him? Probably not, considering that there are a few things that she accused him of wouldn't have been said as truthfully. But when Hendrik ordered her to "shoddit" Esther ultimately listened. Though that may have been out of self-preservation. Or maybe that was because she was willing to give him space even through her anger.

Pacing: This was probably the quickest chapter of them all. It's not too fast, and definitely not too slow. You got to the chase quickly here, and didn't take too long to get to the problem. Esther's explosion towards Hendrik's actions isn't unwarranted and it doesn't escalate too quickly. If it had escalated too quickly, it would have made the scene feel fake and flaky. If it had taken too long to get there, that may also have been a problem and made her displeasure not strong enough. Good choices there.

Style: One thing that I noticed about the way that you write is kind of the structure that you seem to build in your chapters. There's always a few paragraphs of descriptions to set up your scenes before you jump into dialogue/buildup of action. It's not bad; it's peculiar, in a good way. The way you write kind of sticks from chapter to chapter, and you always end with a little more description. Nothing is abrupt. There's really no hard punch in the beginning (ei: dialogue to drop your readers straight into the story) and no drop at the end. It keeps the story fluid and doesn't give you a chance to confuse your readers. Nice job!

Overall, :D!
Ventracere chapter 3 . 8/8/2014
Character: For some reason, I feel as if Lula is a little flat. From the previous chapter, I know that she's not in the best place, she doesn't have the best cards dealt to her hand. However, I think it's the resentment and the anguish that's bothering me a little bit. Lula is currently a little one dimensional. She's angry, upset, depressed, and the society around her isn't forgiving. If anything it's more or less even more antagonistic towards her than she is to herself.

Dialogue: I definitely liked how this time, your chapter was carried - like your previous chapter - by your dialogue in the middle. It's not exactly haunting, but it does continue to carry on the mood that you set with Lula's thoughts. It's dark and heavy, not exactly oppressive just yet, but it's easy to tell what Lula is thinking and how she is feeling. Your writing doesn't tell us that she's mad, but instead, it shows us that she's mad through her dialogue. Nice.

Writing: And that brings us back writing. Your descriptions are less of an importance here, and there's certainly less of it. You don't waste time with describing too much of her surroundings after the beginning. This way, it keeps your readers more engaged with the story at hand. Another thing that I noticed was that your sentence structure is a lot lighter here in this chapter than the previous one. That might just be me reading at a really late time though :/

Pacing: Since your writing was a lot lighter here compared to the previous, I got though this chapter a lot faster. Aside from that, it made the chapter easier to read and took a lot less effort to understand Lula's pain and anger towards her life. It goes to say that you didn't take too much time to get to the interactions with your other characters even if Lula did spend a decent amount of time moping about her situation. Any longer, it might have begun to drag on a little bit.

good job!
Ventracere chapter 2 . 8/8/2014
Writing: Something that I noticed is how you're extremely consistent with your accents when it comes to Hendrik. It's something that many writers usually get spotty on, especially since Hendrik's accent usually drops a few letters here and there. Another thing that I liked was the amount of detail that you put into the world around your characters. "scant-clothed" "empty, rust-stained" for examples. The little details help to include all the things that you want your readers to notice. It's not too heavy, the diction isn't too advanced to make your readers have to think too hard to get what you're trying to paint.

Pacing: I thought the beginning was a little bit slow, when you were introducing your characters/world. It's a little different from the beginning chapter, which I'll admit, it's been a while since I stopped by your story. Anyhow, I think the time it took you to tell us what was happening in the beginning, the night, and the inhabitant life was a little too long. However, I can see how it may go to state it's importance later on. The details about the peddlers and why Hendrik was disappointed about his night may go on to give us more background about this universe that you've created, so I can see why the pacing was a little bit slower. On another note, it does speed up as you go into the interaction between Hendrik and Waylon.

Scene: I actually really enjoyed the confrontational scene between Waylon and Hendrik. Usually it's not my favorite part to read about, but here, that's where the climax and action of the chapter is. For one, there's a slight buildup until you let your readers find out what is really bothering Hendrik about Waylon. There's also the slight, but not completely out-there antagonistic tone towards Waylon, and I appreciate that. You're not forcing a feel towards Waylon, instead, you're letting your readers get a feel of him first before they decide how much they dislike him.

Ending: All in all, this is a pretty good way to end. I feel as if the chapter has come full circle, with the chapter ending up where you began. Night to day, and it goes to contrast how Hendrik opened up the chapter. However, I have to say Hendrik's last action definitely stood out. It's well placed, at the end where it's food for thought to the reader. How poignant the scene is going to be, we don't know just yet. Does it say a lot about Hendrik's character? Definitely. Placing it at the end allows the reader to want to find out a little bit more about who Hendrik really is.
faerie-gumdrops chapter 2 . 7/31/2014
Mmmm, your writing style is so yummy. I like how you manage to describe your city in a way that’s interesting and quirky (I can’t do setting to save my life, so jealous there). From the dark, gritty (but also sorta fun?) tone you’ve got going on here, this is sort of reminding me of Locke Lamora, which I absolutely love. It’s fun that Hendrik’s meanness is sort of comedic (e.g. how Waylon completely overreacts to being punched in the gut – or hmm, maybe Hendrik just punches harder than he thinks he does), which sort of somehow makes it worse when you get to talking about dead babies. Particularly when you contrast this chapter to the raw emotion you have going on in the last one, it’s so so dark, and I really like it. Thinking of that poor woman as ‘the whore you ruined’, and the baby dying as being a good thing is obviously so awful. But I like the way that you portray these guys – Waylon as being sort of skinny and pathetic, complete with a new wife who came with a bonus-prize house, and Hendrik with his brutish sort of disdain for everything, combines with his own blind confidence in himself. It’s really punchy writing, and I think the quality is great. I’m looking forward to seeing where the plot is going with this one (hard to tell at the moment, but given how you write, it’s gonna be good!).
waldwig chapter 1 . 7/29/2014
Your writing here is very good, so I'm in agreeance with quite a few other reviewers by saying so. You have a great balance of what's seen and what's done, if that makes sense. In the opening two paragraphs I felt things were almost a little *too* flowery, but I've sense recanted that thought after reading the rest. I enjoyed your prose and admire it, it made for a very easy read!

The minor plot of the mother who has just lost her child was sad. I thought you drew it out quite well, though I didn't realize anything was wrong with the baby until it was taken away and we started getting little hints about what happened. The whole baby-being-taken bit also felt like it confused the setting a little bit for me. I was picturing a more fantasy-esque space, perhaps with medieval-like undertones. But then I had the brisk image of a doctor in a white coat taking the baby away - it might just be the lack of description given to who took the baby. Later we get who I assume is the midwife, so maybe you want to clarify if she's the one that took the baby. You could even use the word "midwife" to bring it back to whatever setting flavor you'd like. The ambiguity there was the only thing that crit wise I can think of, though.

I think my favorite moment is when the mother is standing in front of the mirror and looking at her body. The first part of this chapter before she gets up from the bed - actually, I can pinpoint it, basically everything before your word "shit", felt very clean and sterile and pretty. Then after that, with the description of the afterbirth stuff and the room itself, plus the sensory smells - the world started to really decay. I think that works well to portray the actual setting shift once the mother knows her child isn't coming back. Since everything's turning up roses until that point, and it also changes her mentality.

But like I said, the image of her in the mirror and the stretch marks was great. I thought that was quite unique, and it also characterizes the mother through her determination to never forget what's just happened to her. One figurative language moment (this is super minor) that could use a bit more of a creative push, I think - "tears like rivers" - feels overdone to me. Otherwise, this was a joy to read - thanks for it!
Infected Beliefs chapter 5 . 7/25/2014
Have you ever heard of Chekhov's gun? Basically it means that everything in the story should be relevant and recycled later on, be that later in the chapter, later in the story, or in extreme cases, later in the series. I was waiting for Lula to smash someone with that fucking vase the whole chapter, and I was really hoping it would be Hendrik. I don't understand the whole indentured servant thing (I mean, I understand the concept, I just don't understand why it is applied to Lula. I thought Waylon was the proprietor and Hendrik was the Mayor?). I also am getting really curious about who Lula's father was/is because he has been brought up several times though we still haven't been given any substantial information about him. Hopefully we learn something in the next couple of chapters. When it says "And then she thought of her father. Of the people who roamed in the dark." it makes me think that he is involved somehow in the criminal underworld, which is exciting. I really love watching adult-parent relationships pan out in any sort of narrative setting.

Lula got some good character development this chapter. She seems like she is trying to lash out at the world, but just doesn't quite have the confidence to do so. She is furious with Hendrik, but instead of venting her anger on him she takes it out on some random patron. During the scenes when she and Hendrik are together she resorts to little verbal barbs, though eventually acquiesces to his demands. She seems almost like an adolescent (which she might be, I can't remember how old she is supposed to be) in the way that she has the immature moments of attachment with her chair and the petty verbal snippets she shoots in Hendrik's direction.

I loved how you incorporated the frame story about the boy (Tef, I think?) who tried to run away and used that to justify Lula's fear. I thought it was just beautiful writing how you describe the image reflecting back at her in the tub, only to be shattered by ripples. It's like it symbolized that possibility being dashed away by the reality of her life, or the lives of those around her. It also answered my unasked question of why she didn't just leave, which was on the tip of my tongue until this mini story.

Your pacing here felt much better and the plot moved along nicely. I am excited to see where Hendrik is sending Lula and to have a new environment to explore. After all, so far we have really been kept within the confines of the brothel, minus Waylon's jaunt through the streets. It will be cool to explore some new settings, characters, and enviroments. More than that though, it will be interesting to observe Lula's reaction to all of these new things. I believe it was this chapter that she mentioned that she had never been out of Wenfel, and struggle makes for good character development.

I don't want to wait though! Update soon so I can find out what is going to happen to Lula! And bring back Waylon too! But don't let me dictate what you write lol. I have enjoyed reading this thus far and will definitely continue to do so.

Until next chapter,

As always, happy writing

-Infected
Infected Beliefs chapter 4 . 7/23/2014
I love your writing style. I know I praised it in your opening chapter but I will gladly say it again. I think it is just how you word mundane actions. Like falling, how you describe it as "The wine on his brain had hidden his feet; he tripped over them." is so much more interesting than saying that he fell. other perks for me being "the less-drenched half of his brain" "Arms as crossed as she was" and "looking at the world through a wine bottle." I could find more if I kept looking.

And the way that you bring us into Hendrik's booze induced stupor is just excellently done. We never are any more aware than he is, which I suppose is just flawlessly done third person limited point of view. I loved how he is so absorbed in his own hangover swollen head that we are not introduced to the scene around us, or around him, until almost nine paragraphs in. And even then it is still vague and disorienting. The sad thing is that I have definitely woken up that drunk before and can totally sympathize. Drunk to the point where you wake up and fall over trying to walk to your car. Where the keys to your house don't seem to fit right. Where you know you have to go to work but just want to throw up. Yeah. Morning hammered. Time for a mimosa.

Your dialogue flowed effortlessly and depicted a good back and forth between characters, with Esther manhandling control throughout. It never felt forced or choppy, as interruptions sometime seen when put into writing. I suppose it helped that most of Hendrik's snippets were fragmented anyway, which made the transitions into Esther's interjections smooth and flawless. Speaking of Esther, she has now jumped up to my second favorite character in the story so far (my first being Waylon). Maybe I just have a soft spot for people who give tongue lashings to assholes (wow...don't take that the wrong way). Regardless, it is awesome to see all these employees (whores basically) giving this noble (mayor?) a piece of their mind. I am so used to seeing the upper class trample all over those of lesser birth and this has just been very refreshing.

I am wondering what Esther and Hendrik were talking about when they Hendrik referenced "his people" and Esther commented that it was only Lula's father, not her mother. Does that mean that Lula is the product of a situation very much like the one she is in now? If that is the case than props on bringing things full circle, stories are always so much stronger when they have an air of completeness.

I have to say though that at this point in the story the pacing feels a little slow. We're four chapters in and I still don't have any clue where this is headed. The writing in each chapter is gorgeous, the diction divine, but I don't know what the story is about. It's about a girl whose child was taken away from her and killed at birth, yeah, which is a great premise to build off and use as a foundation but it is not enough to carry the plot. In this chapter we found out that Hendrik is an ass, a drunk, and avoiding Lula, all of which we knew from the past two chapters. I guess it could be considered an intro for Esther, but she got introduced last chapter as well so...despite how much I enjoyed reading it, the chapter felt somewhat unnecessary. I guess that's what I'm trying to say.

Oh and the pronunciation guide at the end was incredibly helpful. I have been debating putting one of those in my own stories. It seems almost a necessity these days for fantasy settings.

Anyhoo, thanks for doing this review trade! I will get to the second one in the morning.
alltheeagles chapter 5 . 7/23/2014
For the RG EF

You have this knack for writing inanimate objects as if they are human – firstly with the description of the city in an earlier chapter and here with the chair. I like that. I like as well that Lula’s true character is coming across clearly now, after the initial confusion over her maternal role and maturity. Yet at the same time it is also apparent that she is on the verge of breaking with her outburst and her thoughts of dead Tef. It can be said that nothing happens overtly in this chapter – it’s just Lula moping around, but I don’t see that as a weakness because I value character development as much as plot progression.
Hedonistic Opportunist chapter 5 . 7/21/2014
I will need a re-read of this - I want to re-read this, because this is full of *dark* implications, but let me lavish you with praise anyhow. I love, love your writing: it's beautiful, with imaginative and *carefully* crafted lines that lend me so much atmosphere to your writing that everything seems rich and alive, despite the shortness of this chapters. I especially liked how you described Hendrick's office, filled with plants apart from the desk and letting the sunlight in - it seems very characteristic of the man, very telling I think (he longs for his home, he appreciates simple beauty). I loved, loved too the tension in this chapter: it's quiet, it's unnerving. It's there when you describe the meeting between Hendrick and Lula, and it's there - in its quiet intensity - before she attacks the man. It's all very tastefully handled.

I love the scene where she attacks the man. It's crazy. It's unpredictable and it's frightening, because you don't know why she did it (insanity? grudge? despair?), but it's intense and very well-described. The details in this scene especially frighten me! So, plot-wise, I have questions, but I'll re-read before I ask anything :P
deadaccount2019 chapter 5 . 7/20/2014
I love Lula's attachment to her chair. It's a strange but completely understandable thing to find comfort in, and to be honest I got a sense of safety from it even before she muses on that aspect. I kind of wanted to hit Hendrik for using it toward the end after he had the balls to just sell her off like dairy cattle.

The confrontation between Lula and Hendrik felt a little drawn out given her emotional upheaval. When the writing slips to Hend's perspective, it's not so noticeable, but in Lula's I kind of feel like it's a bit too introspective at times. Later on with the patron there's some improvement, but again it felt like there was a little too much thought going into it.

So, it looks like Lula's getting shipped off one way or another. With her thoughts of running away, I'm left wondering if she'll actually reach her destination. She knows where she is isn't safe at night, but perhaps she'll feel bolder outside the city's boundaries? Then again, perhaps the journey will serve as a means for some scheming. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next, either way. :)
deadaccount2019 chapter 4 . 7/20/2014
In some ways, I feel as though it would have been better to introduce the brothel setting much sooner in the story. Up to this point I had been imagining Lula was some middle or upper-middle class girl who was simply a sucker for a smooth talker, so when it's finally clarified what line of work she's in (not to mention it appears she was raised for it), I was left wondering why this wasn't made clear earlier on. That being said, it does work to fill out this chapter, which in terms of content sort of boils down to an expositional conversation. Not necessarily bad, because you do a good job of weaving two different plot points (perhaps three, considering Lula's mixed heritage), but at the same time I felt this chapter and the last didn't make quite as much headway as I would have expected.

I love the tension between Hendrik and Esther. I have to be honest, I was afraid Hendrik was going to haul out on Esther, which on the one hand makes me really dislike him from coming so close to that line (excellent little notes like the itching palm, by the way), but at the same time I really like him as a character because he's honestly not a nice person on some levels. Some writers are too afraid to go into that territory, so it's always a delight to see those who are willing to write a character who is unlikeable for the *right* reasons.
deadaccount2019 chapter 3 . 7/20/2014
Lula is surprisingly young in voice this chapter. I expected something much more mature after the first chapter, but here she feels much more like mid-adolescence. On the one hand, it certainly works better given some of her reactions later on in the story, but here I didn't really feel like I connected as well to her because of the seemingly young voice. I do have to say, however, that her musings on the women carved from the wardrobe were an excellent reflection of poor self image and something I think many readers will identify with.

I had wondered how Lula would come into a position to be able to play entire peoples against each other, and this chapter does a good job at suggesting how it will come about. Sending a bereaved mother off to feed someone else's kid before she's even had a chance to grieve? I have no doubt this is part of Hendrik trying to clean things up for Waylon, but it goes to show how something big can start out on such a small stage. I'm looking forward to seeing how far she actually gets to M'onome.
deadaccount2019 chapter 2 . 7/20/2014
The setting felt much more solid this chapter, which really helped after the lack of visuals in the previous chapter. The 'musky sort of orange' is a bit of an odd way to describe things, but I really like the imagery that it conjured (it almost feels like describing a hot, humid sunset, imo). It would have been nice to have a little more detail later on in the discussion between Hendrick and Waylon, however I still had a good feel of things by the end of the chapter.

Waylon... Okay, normally it's the main characters that draw in the reader, however in this case it's a secondary (possibly a one-timer judging by the rest of the chapters) character that really hit the nail on the head in terms of emotional investment. Waylon's reaction, and how quickly it took him to react in such a way, made me sick (even had to stop reading for a couple minutes). That is by no means a bad thing, though. I actually was feeling kind of sympathetic for this guy, being bullied by Hendrik and all, and then he turns around and has THAT reaction (which sadly and historically is a true reaction amongst men and women alike). It has both surprise and emotional trigger. There are of course other things to continue reading on for (Hendrik's a big question mark in terms of motive, making him quite intriguing), but what really drives me to continue reading is just how effectively you pulled off the suckerpunch that is Waylon.
faerie-gumdrops chapter 1 . 7/17/2014
I think your writing in this is really gripping and compelling, and I love the way you describe things such as her stretch marks, her stomach - it was all so vivid. Particularly I think I liked the contrast between the first and second half the most. When you're describing the baby, it sounds so warm and soft, and entirely different world to the blood and shit and mess of the birth that you describe after the baby is taken away and we realise it died.

Also amidst the beautiful descriptions you somehow make the mother sound damn exhausted. It's really cool! I guess it's her obvious grief, combined I guess with her somewhat muted reactions.

Anyhoo, yup really like this so far!
Infected Beliefs chapter 3 . 7/15/2014
RG EF

Well, not much happened in this chapter other than a whole lot of internal self reflection. Not to say that the self reflection wasn't beautifully written, of course. I especially liked the bit referencing Esther to the mother hen overseeing her trampled fledgling and the tough-love pecks rather than coos and so on. It's not a particularly unique or original analogy but the way it was worded just flows off the tongue like sweet water, if you pardon my own unoriginal analogy.

Hendrik is a dick, I think we can safely establish that. But what I don't fully understand is why Lula couldn't be present at her own child's funeral. I mean, the child was dead, wasn't it? If Hendrik didn't want himself associated with the new born I would assume he wouldn't appear at its funeral, meaning that there shouldn't have been any conflict between he and Lula being present together. A bit confused there.

I am interested to see how Hendrik reacts when confronted by Lula. I hope Waylan is present cause it was quite entertaining last chapter to see him chew Hendrik out.

Stoked to see where this goes!

Till next time, happy writing!
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