Reviews for Dead Craft
Ventracere chapter 1 . 5/11/2015
"They catch me shaped fox..." - the opening itself is an interesting one. It's been a while since I've read your writing, but it's as lovely as always. You drop us right into the mind of the protagonist, and we can gather a little bit on who this is right from the get go. A shapeshifter, at the very least, but there's so much more hinted at, even with just the opening line.

Another thing that I also liked was how you stuck with short, short sentences in the beginning, then tended to expand towards the end. It gives us a sense of urgency in the beginning. There isn't an overload in details, it just gives us these little clips, one. two. three. after another that alludes to the pain these people are putting the speaker through.

"I am in a cage in a cage" - the first time this appears, I didn't get what you meant. Actually, if I'm being honest, the first thing I thought was cage-ception. Anywho. I liked the way you put this. The fox/human considers his human form a cage. And that's something I missed the first time, but the way you ended it, by repeating this line again, really hit it home. It makes me kind of curious what is going to happen next, if the fox is able to reconcile the fact of his first cage, and perhaps find a way, a strength to get out of the second, literal cage.

Great work ;)
Shampoo Suicide chapter 3 . 5/10/2015
I really dig the opening with the description of eating while literally famished. It was detailed and engaging enough to start off with and gave a good sense of both Kit's physical and mental state. I also liked the mention of his "namesake", and think it's an example of how you've created a natural storytelling feel this time, you know, by including bits like this that reveal things about character rather that working in the information more clumsily. If that makes sense? I like it.

Speaking of that aspect in a lot of ways, even this early on, the plot seems to be revealing itself more smoothly this time around. There is the issue of me being previously familiar (things may change though! I'm excited to see), but from the perspective of an imagined new reader it feels more accessible and less shrouded in the wordplay this time. And of course, you know me and my envy of your stylistic touches, so I'm not saying that to disparage the last draft as much as compliment how you've managed to use it to your advantage this time.

Nikolai is well developed already and a very intriguing complex development it is. I like that his motivation seems...muddled isn't the word but it comes to mind. He isn't a stock villain here. And I love the way you've described elements of his actions, his looks, his quarters, I think they've helped in that regard.

The ending I like because it ties all the stuff I've been babbling about together! The book and Kits reaction to it being seen/thrown on the ground, the fact that he has this reaction even after the previous line where he's being condemned to be EATEN, and that it further muddled Nikolai...all intriguing plot points for a new reader for sure and exciting to see again for me. They speak to both Kit and Nikolai's character as well, and I'm very excited to read on for how you handle the "human" arrival (again, knowing what's happening heh!)
alltheeagles chapter 4 . 5/10/2015
RG EF review

I like the way you've simplified the way you portray Jude's alienation from his magic. I vaguely remember that it wasn't so explicitly shown before, but now it's quite clear that Jude's magic has somehow gained independence from him and apparently has its own agenda that involves not eating Kit. Having it explained by Kit gives another dimension to the narrative - it puts Kit very much at the forefront (so he's like, the MC now?) and makes him much more than a bit player in terms of the knowledge he has - I mean, it'd not be so convincing if the conclusion on Jude's magic having separated from him is made by the human girl or the other shaper character (can't remember their names).

I like the writing in general. It's all chaotic menace and sudden shocks, but there is still a general cohesion to it. Still, I can't quite make out what happened in the end - Kit found a way out of the cell and Jude followed him? That's what I understand, so if I'm wrong, then I guess I'll have to make an adjustment when I read the next bit.
alltheeagles chapter 3 . 5/9/2015
RG Depth review
This opening does its job, and that’s all I can say about it. It isn’t particularly striking, but it serves to establish that Kit is still in prison and tell us that we are continuing this particular story thread. I’m not sure if the mention of vampires is significant, but no doubt that will be answered by and by.
I like the physical way that magic is described. It’s different from the usual way of referring to magic as a form of energy or as some kind of abstract feeling or mental exercise. It gives the descriptions a visual dimension of threat.
I have, as I said, read HTD before, and I simply can’t unknow what I already do know. Hence, I can make sense of the references to Margot and feeding somebody, and figure out who the human is. However, for a ‘new’ reader, they would be quite obscure and hence would act as hooks, I suppose, by igniting curiosity as to what awaits Kit.
I think I like this version better than the previous one so far because it meanders less. I say ‘I think’ because it’s only chapter 3 and Kit’s chapters have always been one of the easier ones of the five POVs to make sense of. I’d only be able to decide more definitely if I do like this when I’ve read a crazy Jude chapter.
Timbo Slice chapter 1 . 5/8/2015
Hey there! I vaguely remember reading some of your previous works and can see the connection between this draft and those earlier ones so it's good to see you're sticking to the same characters and premise. First of all I like how this chapter starts off strong, and not just with the intense opening scene but also your writing has a very fast paced and vivid quality to it, like the way you describe the hex with unique actions like " crashing sideways" which really compliments the overall tone of the story.

Your descriptive passages for the various supernatural creatures are also well done and incorporated nicely into the story. I especially liked the description of the witches magic curling after them like dust, that's such a cool representation of their powers and vivid and the vampires were wonderfully creepy, as the terse, almost disjointed description of them matched the scene perfectly. The last line is poignantly tragic and I too wonder just how much Kit can take of this punishment!
Jalux chapter 11 . 5/7/2015
Man this mystery on Jude's identity is interesting, the obvious answer is he is indeed the boy from her play seeing as he knows Charlotte but I feel it's not that simple or maybe it is. Either way these sorts of mysteries are always a bit of fun to ponder but I wonder if he is the same boy how did he get so powerful and change so much? I'm assuming we're going to get more backstory on him in the near future.

I find it quite amusing how resourceful Charlotte is with the plank, it's good characterization as it shows she thinks on her feet and kind of ties into the tough life she's had obviously. She seems at times a little too angry maybe but then again she's just through hell recently, the anger has to be there and it's completely understandable. I still think she's a good character. Architophel doesn't do much this chapter but it didn't bother me much since it's not his POV, still I like the connections between these three people. As for Jude, the scene where he's holding her and babbling is interesting but I don't really have a solid grasp on his character currently, I do feel he'll be a good character once we get more information.

Once again I'm going to say I think your action and the descriptions of magic are excellent as always to read. There's fluid writing and there's attention to sensory detail so it's a well-rounded package all-around. I do think you will need to change some things as the story goes on to "spice" up the fights and action scenes so to speak but I have no doubt you'll find a way to keep these fights interesting.

This is not so much a complaint as it is an observation but I find it interesting how most characters that are not our MC's (Archi, Charl, Jude) seem to die off pretty quickly. I do want to suggest you keep some of the later support characters around because Patrice and Nikolai were interesting. Anyways good read, update soon.
Jalux chapter 10 . 5/5/2015
Opening was interesting enough, it's fast paced and tense but what drew me into this chapter was why is he chasing after her so intently? Have they actually met before despite her fear of shapers or is there some hidden connection we have yet to discover? It kinda fades away we realize they are trying to kill each other but the first paragraph especially I felt there was an underlying factor. The action is certainly good enough, standard fantasy fighting but it's effective and I don't see a reason to try break the mold when it could turn readers away.

Well, the two main characters haven't got off to a good start but still there seems to be interest from Architophel especially given how much attention he pays to her appearance and his desire to prove her wrong. I suppose the latter is more of an expected defensive measure given she's slandering him. It's also interesting to see the translations mean something to her so it's nice to have that connection there and the foreshadowing that took place beforehand. I definitely smell the opposites attract thing here as well...

Dialogue was quite heavy this chapter but I think it was reasonably well balanced. It was nice to see you show her hostility through the dialogue which is nothing new but always good to see. I did chuckle a little at the difference between fuck you and fuck off. It almost seemed out of place until I realized it fits with his character.

The ending is good but I feel like omitting the final line would result in a much stronger cliff-hanger. This way the chapter simply ends on a hostile line and we're left wanting more. With the extra line I just feel it throws the pacing and tension away just a bit. Of course this is only my opinion.
pumadelic chapter 4 . 5/4/2015
The vision of the dungeon is disturbing. Once again I like the tactile magic and once again I find some of the writing too idea of the magically conjured blood is great. The encounter with the vampire is very tense dramatic and also moving but I am not quite sure what situation he is in...why he is begging for his magic. I presumed it is a result of lack of blood but then he would be begging for some blood rather than the magic. It could be that his captors have drained him of his powers. I would like to understand more of the significance of Achitophel's repeated 'illness in the ear' written in the very convincing shaper language you've created.

So I started to feel a bit frustrated that I don't understand exactly how magic functions in the witches, shapers and vampires..whether it's different in each and who has the most power. In fact I don't understand the power structure in the story yet and want to know more at this stage.

The last line is very beautiful indeed and you are ending on another cliffhanger.
pumadelic chapter 3 . 5/4/2015
Nikolai emerges as more of a character in this chapter: patient, clever, ruthless but hiding some issue of his own. Although the use of cigarettes to create tension is common, it works well here. 'ashes' his smoke is an interesting coinage. You convey the brutal atmosphere of the jail well with the inadequate meal Achitophel is given. I should have said before I really like the idea of the runes having a powerful kinetic effect on bodies.

Once again, there is some very effective writing and some phrases that don't feel English..adverbs written as adjectives 'he speaks slow and deliberate' I see that the grunted sound of the book falling and the sharp of Nikolai's words is meant to communicate synaethesia, the way Achitophel perceives things. Some times it works better than others.

There is plot development with the caches and the discovery of the human but at this stage I would probably like to know a little more about the situation in this society than I do. I wasn't quite sure of the book's significance but I may just be being dense.

It appears Achitophel might be getting his wish - to die ..but it feels like it won't really happen.
pumadelic chapter 2 . 5/4/2015
A strong chapter as the plot gets going and we have more backstory on the interaction between humans, witches and the shapers. Once more some strong sensory writing -'the noise stabs me upright - I try to shape' and it is less dense in this section.

I really enjoyed the reversal in the idea of human hunts as an equivalent to witch hunts - well, I did until the word genocide was mentioned. The irony of 'we liked to think that we were more refined'..I would put 'openly' after think. The split infinitive does mess with the sentence here.

The translation is appropriately tense and creates a sense of a cliffhanger.
pumadelic chapter 1 . 5/4/2015
The set up is intriguing - shapeshifters, witches and humans. You create a strong sense of being hunted and trapped in the opening paragraphs. The short telegraphed phrases do produce an animal urgency. If I have a problem with it, it is the writing is a bit packed and dense..sensory overload. For example, the idea of fabric spells was terrrific..but I think 'stick on my skin like humidity' would have been enough without the 'thick'. I would like more space to imagine myself into this world.

Pacing of the plot and exposition is handled definitely want to find out more and the closing line is very effective.
Jalux chapter 9 . 5/3/2015
I think I'm fine with Jude only getting one chapter if it's once in a while, this is what a lot of stories do and he's an interesting character as well. I definitely liked that there seems to be this element of madness to his character which I felt especially in the opening with his repeating or similar lines of repetition. I think continuation this rotation of Architophel/Charlotte Jude is a great way for you to immerse the reader in all your different characters.

I'm surprised Nikolai was killed this early, honestly I expected him to play a bigger role but surprises are always welcome. The final conversation he shared with Jude interests me as there lies the potential for a couple of new characters like his brother who seems to be even more crazy then Jude or violent at least? And his sister this supposed Queen, it definitely gives me the impression Jude is special.

Nice insight into his childhood as well. Curious that he once seemed to be well...pretty normal. I suppose we'll find out eventually how he become like he is today. And quite curious that they wanted a girl. I'm going to speculate here and say it's related to magic or witches?

Hm the regret towards this end, is that because he killed because of his vampire side? I'm a little confused actually but I think I just need to read more haha. The dialogue was nice here though, especially the variation of the line what have I done?
Virtuella chapter 11 . 5/3/2015
This is absolutely not the type of thing I would normally read, but you have managed to really draw me into it. Once again, I am frustrated to have come to the end of what you have posted so far.
The encounter between the three characters in this chapter is absolutely fascinating. What they discover about each other and how they respond is thrilling to read. So now we know who Jude is, but Architophel’s identity has become a bigger mystery – he’s not any old shaper, but one known to the witches.

Jude’s Gollum-esque monologues make sense to the reader but would be profoundly confusing to Charlotte. The mantra of “I am not this” is great. If this is how the MAGIC feels, then there might be hope for this world. If this magic decided to act independently and reject the ways of the witches and vampires, all things seem possible. Curious, then, to find that Charlotte hates to find that her wounds have been healed. Does she, at this point, understand what happened?

I like, as before, the very intense physical manifestations of magic. A phrase like “magic cracks like ice under my weight” brings this out really well. All the descriptions of magic cast and the fights are truly horrifying. I also like the repetition of “This Can't Be Happening” – if Charlotte thinks this, it must be really outrageous.

Fascinating and very addictive! I can’t wait for you to post more!
DarkWolfWavius chapter 11 . 5/3/2015
This is an interesting idea for a story, and the way you describe certain events is really well done D
Virtuella chapter 10 . 5/3/2015
For some reason in all this anguish and pain what gets me most is Architophel being stuck in his human form. His inability to shape, to exist in the way that is natural for him, is so painful to witness. Especially poignant is the moment when he believes he has taken on fox shape and afterwards realises that he hasn’t.

It is a thrilling moment when he and Charlotte face off. I like how he thinks that she “reminds him of no one” and this is the sign of her individuality. Also like it that he wants to prove her wrong. Tension between them (repulsion/attraction) is well set up.

The one thing I find hard to believe is how anyone can survive in this world at all.
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