|Reviews for Forbidden Fruits|
| Yurii chapter 1 . 2/16/2016
I like the title, it maybe common to use but however when I read the summary. It was more clearler to me and thus made me like the title more. Only a little. I love the reaction of Julius when Romeo whispered into his ear. And the interactions as well. I wonder what Hein's problem is? But overall this is good in my opinion.
| Hedonistic Opportunist chapter 2 . 2/16/2016
First thing off, I always wonder how you come up with those stories of yours – not only because they are so different, but because they seem to be part of a bigger whole. I mean, a corpus or collection of related stories that all tie up together to a grander scheme/belong to the same universe. As someone who's always considered Tolkien a genius for his extensive world-building abilities, I do have to say that I find this stuff fascinating :D What I mean to say here is that I like how this chapter (story so far, more like) ties in with the previous ones, and how it fun it is if you know what happened before, but how it doesn't really matter either if you don't, because there are no blanks or parts that are poorly explained. This works perfectly well as a standalone. I think XD. It is has been a while since I read the first chapter, sorry :_:
I like the writing a lot in this chapter; it is very detailed and vivid in the way that it pulls the reader into the narrative, and makes them feel a lot of what the characters are going through. I especially felt the sadness that Julius was going through while watching his previous Christmas Eve celebration. There was a lot of nostalgia there, a lot of wistfulness and a longing for things to go back to what they were once like (in the sense of the father being alive again, Anya being there again and the elder brother not being the one in charge. Ugh, sorry for the thrice-wise repetition of 'being' here). I liked how you used this chapter particularly to demonstrate what a kind man Julius father was; you could tell that he cared about his sons, and tried to teach them how to treat people with respect and a sense of justice (he seemed to care about liberty and equality). In a way, it is nice to see how Hein is the exact opposite of father – he already behaved grouchily and rude when he was not addicted to that ruby stuff. I am sad that he has become the master, since he not only seems incompetent and rude, but also way too fond of violence. I am sure that I am not the only reader who was bothered by his fondness for the weaponry mentioned.
The only thing that I felt could be improved a little, narrative-wise, is how you handle transition – some parts were a little rushed, I think, and sometimes I think that some descriptions could have been better fleshed out/been better connected. To be honest, I only really noticed, because you writing is that good XD. Sorry that I cannot really copy where exactly into this review – I am tired, and the c/p function does not work for this website anyway, which is vastly annoying.
What I want to say otherwise is that I love the innocence in this story. By that I mean that Romeo seems very excited and happy to be around Julius, and Julius himself seems very boyish too; I find his fear of werewolves to be endearing in fact. Indeed, I like the youthfulness of the boys' behaviour and how their friendship is pretty much evolving naturally, because they just want to hang out/have a good time together :3 I am curious to see how this will further involve!
I keep thinking that the werewolves are an endearing thing, but the more you mention them, the more I think there is more to this than meets the eye. I wonder how you will be developing this further, as well. Another thing: I loved how you described that plant with the butterflies :D That was a really love image :)
| lookingwest chapter 2 . 1/27/2016
I very much liked the scene with Julius's father and Hein at a past Christmas. I thought it was a great way to show a flashback scene without actually going into a flashback - though I do wonder about the entry point of that scene and I also have a similar critique akin to Whirlymerle's, in terms of the vantage point and visuals. If the scene plays out 3D over the room, I think that would take care of a lot of those perspective shifts (maybe that's already how it's supposed to be functioning, in which case, while the tech might be used in the first chapter, it might be worth reminding the reader in ch. 2).
Anyway - but what I mean about the "entry point" is why we even get the scene. Julius' choosing of it is very obviously transparent in terms of how it helps the novel/author - but I don't see why he as a character chose that scene. I didn't truly get it until the end when he had that interest in the GEB manager - maybe forward that more before he plays the scene out as the reason why he chooses it - "still seeking reassurance" doesn't do that for me, in the opening. In other words, I'd be more convinced it happens "naturally" (and not for the actual author's sake) if he had more of a clear goal.
But despite those two factors, the scene itself does wonders for your characterization and world building, which is why I think it was so easy to see through the above guise from an authorial standpoint. Using that as the first scene in the chapter also did a good job propelling the rest of the action and even looping back to the beginning once Julius and Romeo/Tracy connect at the ending.
The status of the green hybrid people continues to intrigue me. Per usual there's a lot of allegory going on here, I think - with the hybrids standing in for say, minority groups in general, or the disenfranchised. Plus you've got the gender stuff happening. I agree with another reviewer (can't remember who) that the relationship between Tracy and Romeo feels a little odd if they are mother and son. The emphasis placed on Tracy as young and the fact that Romeo does not call her mother says to me that they aren't that close. Yet I feel this tension like they're supposed to be close as son/mother?
I can't remember if there was a lot of werewolf explanation put into the first chapter, because it's been so long - but that conflict seems to have risen a little suddenly. I'm interested to see where it goes, though, and how this story functions with male characters instead of female. So far, after that ending line - I'm totally getting slash vibes from Romeo and Julius (heyy it's in your summary, so of course). BUT, that's sort of confusing to me in terms of the hybrids because like...don't they have rigidly defined gender roles or something? Not saying that you can't be gay and still want to have babies, but it's interesting to me if he's totally chill with his gay identity when he knows that logically that might not get him the babies that he wants - at least not in a traditional manner (unless two males can have babies in this world). Basically, I'd almost expect more of a hesitance/conflict from Romeo about his sexual identity, but he almost seems more like the initiator than Julius actually is... I mean, so, they're adhering to the usual Slash Tropes/Roles just fine, but because of your exploration with the world you've created (having also read other pieces), I question who is fitting into what role right now. Perhaps this will surprise me though, haha.
The idea of adding in werewolves with genetic/science themes is super interesting, though, and sets this story apart further. Looking forward to where it goes. Oh! and I thought you did a great job characterizing Hein this chapter as a villainous figure. You've definitely got me convinced he's a piece of trash, haha.
| Ventracere chapter 1 . 1/3/2016
You have a really big universe, so kudos to you for being able to keep anything straight. Something that I liked is how you brought in the idea of genetically engineered fruit as your way to open the piece. You've obviously done a lot of research for your works, and it shows. Don't ask me why, but it made me smile to read about the fruit. One of those small things I guess.
Another thing that I liked is that you've set the stage for how hybrids are perceived. They're not taken lightly, from what Hein says. So it's a good thing that you've established that right from the get go - in a subtle way. Good for you that you didn't hit us over the head with it later.
Stylistically, watch out for the second half of your chapter. You open up with a string of short, static sentences. Meld a couple of them together so you don't lose your flow. Julius and Romeo? Perhaps Romeo and Juliet except with genetically engineered humans and slash?
| smilewolfy chapter 1 . 1/2/2016
The writing style was extremely well done, it had just the right amount of descriptions, actions and dialogue.
The scene where we first meet the hybrid boy had to be one of my favorites, the way the scene flowed from hearing a noise in the bushes, to calling out and leading the reader into a false sense of security, to have the boy surprise us along with Julius, it sent chills down my spine. I could really feel myself in Julius' position when I read that.
Another one of the aspects I quite enjoyed in this story was Hein, from how he was introduced, to his way of speech, and even how Julius would describe him to the Hybrid boy. It really developed the character, he felt like a real person. I must say I didn't really like his character, but the fact that I'm able to feel so strongly about him shows how good the writing style is.
Speaking of characters, the Hybrid boy did develop nicely, and while endearing with him longing for a baby, he was still quite creepy with how he got so close to Julius, with how his breath tickled Julius' ear. It was a nice scene, but still made me feel Romeo was kind of weird too.
Overall a stunning chapter with excellent writing and characters.
| Whirlymerle chapter 2 . 1/2/2016
Scene: I think it was cool to show the flashback through a videoclip, but I’m picturing that the camera is limited to one angle. In the scene, we’re told that Hein can “glare with focused eyes,” but later, we see Anja give Hein a “cold look over [Julius’] shoulder.” Later, we see Hein roll his eyes. If Anja is facing Hein, then we shouldn’t be able to see Hein at all unless they’re all at a distance, in which case we can’t see those details very well. Perhaps the higher technology of your world allows the camera to move or something, but I do feel that the scene, while good in and of itself, doesn’t seem very plausibly set If presented in the frame of a video clip.
I think you well in making Hein a despicable character, such as making the servants work during the holidays. I’m curious about how he became the master of the house. Is it passed on through the eldest child? Since his father doesn’t even seem to like him as much as Julius, I think the process of becoming master could be a detail that we should know early on in the story, if not in the first two chapters, certainly in the next two.
I like how well thought out your world is. Details like the butterfly plant (so cool!) really make the setting feel lived. I also think it’s cool that they ended up on the moorland. I like how you cover different terrains and make them all very vivid in your story.
I thought Tracy and Romeo’s relationship is interesting. I recall from the previous chapter that she doesn’t like to be called mum because it makes her feel old, and she is presented as a young woman (I’m picturing late twenties/early thirties young). She seems to exhibit maternal feelings towards Romeo that illustrates her true age and maturity, so I’m curious about whether their relationship is just quirky or if it’s more complicated.
Thanks for the read!
| Whirlymerle chapter 1 . 1/1/2016
Hi from the RG EF!
I like that in the opening you make it clear that this is a different world without making it feel like an info dump. I like the little differences, like how people exclaim about the Underworld (I have to wonder, though, why?) and Martian lamps and ruby fruit. I think the combination of the familiar (like London) and the foreign allows the parral universe concept to be successfully evoked upon the page.
I think the relationship progressed a little too quickly for my liking. By the first chapter Romeo’s arm’s are already around Julius’ as they watching a scary thing on TV. Of course, one could attribute this behavior to Romeo being a hybrid and having different customs, among many reasons. But if so, I would like to see an emotion other than romance played out on the page.
| Victoria Best chapter 2 . 1/1/2016
Another strong chapter. I love this magical world you have created and developed, and the mention of things like genetically engineered fruits and the werewolves. This is shaping up to be something really unique and fascinating and I am interested in seeing where the story goes and how Julius and Romeo will fare on their journey.
The part about his dad was well-written. I could really feel the character's grief of losing him, even though it is not specifically stated. That is strong writing, to be able to convey emotion without telling us explicitly. The dialogue in this section was also powerful, such as the line, "People find comfort in believing in the supernatural." That was just beautiful writing, and it also allowed us to see the impression that his father made on him, especially in shaping his life, his mindset and his ambitions.
Speaking of powerful pieces of dialogue, I also enjoyed this line, "It was their fight, not yours." Wow! There is just something really empowering about this sentence and it also hints at Romeo's strong personality, especially the way you describe his voice as 'unperturbed.' Altogether, it is lines like this that make me think that although he comes across as quite bright, such as in the last chapter, I get the feeling this is actually a character who has possibly seen nasty things in their lifetime and has become hardened because of it.
The two boys continue to be great characters and I enjoy the natural chemistry they seem to have between them, the way their conversation seems to bounce off each other. Meanwhile, Hein continues to be a pretty evil character. This line said so much about the way he sees the world, "They're useless things." The whole first section made me hate him. That's powerful writing, though, the fact that in only two chapters you have create the perfect villain. Well done! :D
I love the way you embed your description so subtly into the story, for example, "Tracy brushed her long hair away from her face." Lovely sentence and added to the description of Tracy.
No constructive stuff for this chapter, although I would love to know what exactly they are planning to do, but I am sure this is all to come in the future and I can't wait to read about it. This is going on my follows list!
| Joe Takezo chapter 1 . 12/31/2015
The writing flowed extremely well. You hooked me early on, giving the reader good amount of detail that was woven together nicely with the main plot of the story. The introduction to these 'hybrids' grabbed my attention. I quickly realized that I wasn't in an ordinary scenario which pleased me. You've got me wanting more of that sweet exposition in later chapters.
All three of the presented characters stood out significantly in their own way. I can sympathize with Julius and what he is going through and at the same time understand why Hein is so strict with him. I thought that was done well. The best type of relationships between characters are dynamic ones. The dynamic interaction between Julius and Romeo was good. Romeo's quirky, uppity personality contrasted well with Julius's downcast self. I find myself smiling when it comes to Romeo. The dialogue is also done well, I didn't come across a line where I was confused of who was talking. It was also straight forward to the point.
I've seen this plot before, but I wouldn't even call it cliche because of the way this story is executed. Not much information is told within the first chapter, but that keeps the urge to read at a maximum or at least still existent. I also like that you're self aware with your story. You realize this is another love story like many others, so to have fun with it, the love interest's name is Romeo.
Overall, the chapter was well done. No complaints here.
| Sjoorm chapter 2 . 12/30/2015
And I hit post on that review too soon.
The other thing I noticed was that Hein begins one of his sentences "Now I know there have been some changes" but that is something that would characteristically be kind or reassuring. Definitely not something that Hein is accustomed of or inclined to be.
Besides minor grammar or spelling errors, the only other thing I noticed is that Julius clearly seems to live in fear of his brother, but is also very interested in making sure he's happy. Yet still he brings the "hybrid" into their house, something I would think him to be too afraid to do. Maybe change some of his dialogue to make this seem like more of a believable decision to make rather then just being 'polite"?
| Sjoorm chapter 1 . 12/30/2015
Alright, well to start with I enjoyed the imagery with Hein's "whip hand". He's clearly both cruel and arbitrary, judging by the fact that Julius would meet harsh treatment at the mere beginning of a disagreement. Good job.
You use the phrase "what in the underworld" (and underworld is used more than once in the story) and though I can understand you're trying to be inventive with the language for this piece, I feel like you just end up sounding cliche with this one. That could just be me though.
| Victoria Best chapter 1 . 12/29/2015
I enjoyed this! Very fascinating world you have created and I would love to find out more about the hybrids and especially where they came from. You have clearly worked hard to develop this world, which seems to be very complex and unique and I don't recall seeing a world like this, with strange hybrid creatures, in other stories and films, so it's really refreshing to see something so original. I have a feeling this story will be upsetting, though, because of the Romeo and Juliet storyline, and I hope it's not going to be too heavy. I love their names, by the way, going back to the Romeo and Juliet thing! Very clever.
The description in this was excellent. Particular lines I enjoyed were, "Dim red glimmer over the marble floor," "Night air was cool and clear," and "Hair shot through with grey." I also liked the way you described the "silvery trail" of the comet.
The characters were interesting and certainly captured my attention. Hein seems to be completely unfeeling, in the way he speaks so coldly to Julius and seems to think the hybrids are pretty much nothing more than animals. Also, the fact he mocks Julius for being afraid of everything hinted at this very cruel personality and it will be interesting to see if he is going to be the main antagonist in the story. I was smiling when he gave his warning about Julius not involving himself with the hybrids; I love a good forbidden fruit story and this part sealed the deal.
Romeo is a great character and shined the brightest, I think. He has clearly got a witty sense of humour.
I like the subtle mention of Julius' father, "Could his father still help him from wherever he was."
No constructive stuff for this chapter; it all felt crisp. Oh, apart from a very minor point that I did not get a picture of how old the characters were, as from the mention of the doll I guessed they were kids but I was not sure how old. Forgive me if it is mentioned somewhere and I just misread.
So yeah, awesome start and I am intrigued to know how the hybrids came about, what the future holds for the Julius and Romeo and whether they will find a happy ending, which I think will be very difficult for them considering the hybrid-hating world they live in.
Thanks for the read and keep writing!
| alltheeagles chapter 2 . 8/7/2015
I guess I kind of like Romeo's clueless innocence and energy, only I hope he doesn't become too genki later. I can't recall how old he is supposed to be (sorry if you've mentioned that - I must have missed it) but he seems rather childish so I suppose that brings out the maternal instincts!
I like the little references to literature from bygone eras - getting Hound of the Baskervilles / House of Usher vibes. The contrast to the supposedly modern setting (they keep talking about the twentieth century like it's ancient history but then they don't exactly say what year it is actually) intrigues me.
| alltheeagles chapter 1 . 8/6/2015
I like the way Romeo is portrayed - he is shown as being definitely strange yet he isn't completely non-identifiable with. He has his quirks like the fondness for sweet stuff and the baby doll, but he is also quite 'human' in the way he talks and acts.
I don't know if you want to inject an element of slash in this piece or if your focus is on Romeo's intrinsic nature ie he likes to cuddle and all that. I think I'd prefer if this were NOT slash - I'd be constantly questioning if the emotions involved are real.
| Cheddar-Graham chapter 2 . 8/4/2015
I think the pacing’s good, you’re balancing world-building with plot development. Information is given at a modest rate, nothing to overwhelm us. I suppose some peopl would say there isn’t really a lot happening, but I’m not too bothered by that – I think character interactions are important too.
Here I go again about the dialogue, but don’t worry, I have good things to say. I like the consistency of the dialogue this time round (very old-world) and I also find it intriguing to have this mixture of formal, old-fashioned speech with the modernity of lasers and quantum computers.
Gadgets galore, green-skinned people – lots of sci-fi there, but at the same time there’s the genteel upper class Downton-Abbey-ish feel with the estate and the butler and adventures on the moor. It’s not quite steampunk, but giving off those vibes. Maybe you could elaborate more on the house, their clothes, etc to paint an even sharper picture for us.
Again, you have the requisite ‘hook’ or lead in in the form of a promise of more revelations to appeal to the reader’s curiosity. And for those who read your other works, the mention of Genutec would be an added attraction. It’s impressive, really, how you interconnect your pieces.