Reviews for The Chambered Nautilus
Ckh chapter 1 . 1/10/2016
RGEF:

Woo! Mythos and pirates. How golly fun it is.

The piece carries itself through atmosphere and writing, which I think you have developed fairly well, with the "Drowned God" (Lovecraft reference?) particularly striking me as threatening and a menacing force all through the story.

The writing is generally clean and rather engaging, with plot elements and characters easy to pick up, as well as rich descriptions to buff it up. The style is reminds of what seems to be a classic horror story and I think you have replicated it well enough.

Overall, great piece of work you have there. Adios!
-Ckh
Cheddar-Graham chapter 1 . 1/10/2016
Yo ho ho and away we go! I like the wholehearted way you embraced the pirate vibe, you went all out with the stock imagery and language and behavior. There was one thing which you didn't talk about that I think could add to the cohesiveness of the story - why did the beast wish to destroy their homes (not to mention how it knew they were from Havana to begin with) - did they steal its treasure or eat its offspring or something like that? I also like that you have a female protagonist who can hold her own, in contrast to a relatively demure male sidekick. My only grouse is that she's too much like a man - I wish you'd given her some quirks that mark her gender more distinctively. I dunno, she does embroidery of different ways of killing a man?
wisedec4u chapter 1 . 9/27/2015
RG-EF
I really loved the vivid descriptions you used of the beast and the battled that ensued. It put me in the heart of the actions. Ophelia was the type of character I could really get into. She was definitely her father's daughter. She may have been a drunken whore but she was one of the courageous and brave. I liked that Adewale and her teamed up in the end to defeat the beast. I think the only problem I had with this story was that I would have preferred that Ophelia had lived. Having Ophelia die after everything she'd been through made the ending a little less satisfying. Great story overall though.
m. b. whitlock chapter 1 . 7/10/2015
RG EF #7,447

Really amazing description of the creature in the opening. I love the staggered reveals, first tentacles, then head, then finally this terrifying part, “Finally its visage emerged from the watery depths, the yellowed, bulging eyes and maw the size of a cavern filled with row upon row of razor sharp teeth the size of a full grown man.”
Iconic and wonderful and horrifying! Like it.

Good opening shot of Ophelia Barbosa (great name!):
“The freshly drowned corpses of sailors floated in the wake of the creature towards its gaping mouth and Ophelia Barbosa watched in grim silence as her fallen comrades were swept into the vast hole and ground into red mush against the mill stone like teeth.”

Little fix:
“*The* were on their own now.”
Think that ‘the’ is supposed to be a ‘They’. :)

Wow, she’s a bit like Ahab in Moby Dick:
“She simply stood at the stern of her ship, her eyes locked on the demon that had haunted her dreams for the past twelve years.”

This is a powerful scene. Love her emergence:
“The fishermen carried her as if she were nothing more than a sack of fish. She was a young girl, no older than twelve of mixed race, her deep olive skin burned to a crisp by the merciless sun and sand like hair a tangled thicket from the salt water.”

“Ophelia was the daughter of one of the most feared privateers to ever sail the Caribbean so she couldn't, she wouldn't scream.”
This says so much about her character and perfectly matches the stoic, tough, yet possibly dangerously obsessed captain we glimpsed at the beginning, determined to destroy the monster no matter what the cost.

Wonderful adventure filled moment here:
“With both her parents now dead and her fathers ship destroyed she had no one to turn to, no home to call her own, and soon she found herself living on the streets of Havana.”
This story is so cinematic. I keep sensing these long, high crane shots showing the magnificent dynamism, desperation and filth of the locale.

Edward Thatch is a grand character. I really like his dialogue:
“Thatch laughed. "Now you're gonna tell me how to run my own fucking fleet? So answer me this: how are we supposed to kill a myth with *bullets* and swords?””
I would change ‘bullets’ to cannon. I think if you switched it the whole section would work perfectly. :) Cannon is singular and plural so you don’t need the ’s’. ;) I’m just thinking it’s the Great Age of Piracy in the late 1600s through 1725 so they didn’t really have ‘bullets’ as we know them. But they had big time cannon! ;)

Whoa:
“Unfortunately if rumors are to be believed you spend your nights getting more drunk than the fishes and you sleep with every able bodied man in Havana! What do you have to say to these rumors?””
She is something… Love it. :) Wonder what she does for contraception… must have some Santera helping her out. But of course those stories are all just rumors! ;)

Love this girl!:
“"Go back to your mama you wee blowfish, you can't handle a real woman!””
Really fun sex scene. But it’s just me, I think she’d prefer facing him with his *ss against the barrel (getting the splinters haha).

Okay, I get it, he was paying:
“"Yet here you are, reduced to a life of prostitution and drinking. It's rather tragic really, you tell someone that she's a liar without honor her whole life and eventually even she'll start to believe it.””

She is sooo Ahab!:
“ She had been so content to put the past behind her and wallow in her despair, but now she felt something stir inside of her, a slow seething hatred from the depths of her own heart.”
But much more fun. ;) Cool.

Wow! I love this partnership!:
“Ophelia rose to her feet. "If I'm to be a captain then I'll need a worthy quartermaster."

Adewale smiled. "I always wanted to be a pirate."

Just a quick thing:
“Adewale traced his fingers along the carvings. Only he could decipher the gibberish.”
If it’s decipherable, meaning it’s really saying something, it’s not gibberish.

Wow. What a speech she gives:
“"I expect you to see reason Thatch. Like it or not we're in this together. Man or woman, pirate or privateer, it don't matter because that thing is coming to fuck the lot of us and you don't look like a man that could use a good buggering!””

Wonderful climactic action here:
“She drew back her arm in one perfect motion and let fly. The entire crew held their breath as the spear streaked through the blood rain and disappeared right through the membranous jelly of its eye.”

“Through a whirlpool of bile blackness and gnashing teeth Ophelia Barbosa went all the way down to Davy Jones's Locker cursing like a fucking sailor.”
A very Melville-esque ending, though sad. Lots of fun. :D

vb,

mbw
Electrumwriter chapter 1 . 7/8/2015
I like the action packed opening with the horrible Drowned God and the fact that the story will come around full circle. One can quite literally call it revolutionary. The reader will feel a lot more invested in her once they’ve learned about the past twelve years and then returned to this scene.

The Drowned God reminds me of Cthulu, I think. Either him or one of the Deep Ones from the Whitby series - specifically the Lord of the Frozen Wastes, he was always really cantankerous.

The prose is very easy to read and get into. Once Ophelia is washed ashore, there could have been the risk of it slowing down too much, but it keeps the reader’s interest. Ophelia had great good fortune to get washed up in one piece and to find a doctor who wouldn’t try blood letting or anything else horrible.
I like the cutesy of Ophelia stowing away aboard her dad’s ship before the Drowned God intruded.
Thatch’s closed mindedness about the Drowned God is relatable I think. I remember having a discussion with a superstitious fellow about ghosts and didn’t accept his point of view in the end. However, he swears a bit too much for my liking. If he wants to put the girl down with verbal sparring, there are other, better ways.

I get that Ophelia is supposed to be messed up, but it should be pointed out that Caribbean rum is fearsome – men who are heavy drinkers of Jamaican rum go senile in the end. She can’t really be drinking the stuff neat in such large quantities. She couldn’t keep her coordination enough to go on to be a pirate if she did.

The scene in the Drowned God’s temple is intriguing and more should have been done with it. I suppose there must have been advantages to worshipping the Drowned God, but what these were should have been hinted at. The brief action sequence and showdown with the cultists is second only to the Drowned God’s scenes.

I wonder if the Drowned God received a fatal blow or if it could regenerate. Regardless, one does get the significance of Ophelia dying now that we’ve seen her story. I suppose killing her off made sure the story was not conventional.
lookingwest chapter 1 . 7/5/2015
Hi Tim! I'm reposting this for you not on anon, which was my mistake. This was for an RG EF earlier this afternoon. Sorry about that! You can delete the other one if you want or just keep it, haha.

Hmm this is a weird crit (really my only one) but I do think the ending deserves Ophelia to live. Her death felt abrupt and was honestly a little disappointing considering as readers we just spent so much time invested in her story only to see her die. I like the image of the last line but I wish it had the same effect with a happier ending for her life.

Otherwise, I really enjoyed the tale overall of this story. You always amaze me with your diversity as a writer via different genres and I liked the inclusion of also diverse characters. It was fun to see a woman pirate in this, and I think you did a good job characterizing her conflicts with the "crossroads" motif throughout.

The technique of showing us an opening in the present and then going backwards in time is also kind of cool,bathe markers worked out, I think. The only scene that felt slightly rushed to me was the one with the natives when they got the spear, but I think that might just be a drawback of making this a short story instead of a novella or short story in different parts. If you wanted to lengthen you definitely could!

Lastly, I really enjoyed the imagery of the kraken and its destruction, plus even the description of Ophelia when she's a child and almost dies but gets rescued. Those moments; like the tentacles thick as pillars of the scurvy and salt washed skin really brought this story to life! Thanks for the read!
Guest chapter 1 . 7/5/2015
Hmm this is a weird crit (really my only one) but I do think the ending deserves Ophelia to live. Her death felt abrupt and was honestly a little disappointing considering as readers we just spent so much time invested in her story only to see her die. I like the image of the last line but I wish it had the same effect with a happier ending for her life.

Otherwise, I really enjoyed the tale overall of this story. You always amaze me with your diversity as a writer via different genres and I liked the inclusion of also diverse characters. It was fun to see a woman pirate in this, and I think you did a good job characterizing her conflicts with the "crossroads" motif throughout. The technique of showing us an opening in the present and then going backwards in time is also kind of cool,bathe markers worked out, I think. The only scene that felt slightly rushed to me was the one with the natives when they got the spear, but I think that might just be a drawback of making this a short story instead of a novella or short story in different parts. If you wanted to lengthen you definitely could!

Lastly, I really enjoyed the imagery of the kraken and its destruction, plus even the description of Ophelia when she's a child and almost dies but gets rescued. Those moments; like the tentacles thick as pillars of the scurvy and salt washed skin really brought this story to life! Thanks for the read!
Tangled Puppet chapter 1 . 6/20/2015
This story appealed the my love of pirates. I loved that you used people that actually existed and that you played Thatch as a privateer instead of a pirate. Most people would have instantly gone for the pirate part of his life. So that really caught my eye and stuck with me.

I was reminded a lot of Assassin's Creed: Black Flag as I read this story. I was instantly thrown into version of the world when I read Thatch's name. But quickly shifted myself into your story's settings (though I imagine they're both very similiar since they're set in the same places). Adewale was another character that reminded me of AC...since in the game Edward Kenway's quartermaster was also named Adewale (but he was a slave in the game before becoming part of Kenway's crew).

The ending made me so sad! Whyyyy couldn't she have survived? It was a very good twist ending, though. At least she went down fighting. I'm curious...though...did she manage to kill it and her ship went down with it...or did it manage to survive?

The only problems I had with it were the minor typos and other such things. Which are really easy fixes and didn't really take away from the story for me.

[...it was like watching the sea birth fourth a new island...] Did you maybe mean 'forth' instead of 'fourth'?

[...that was almost too much much to bear...] One too many muches.

[...surrender of be sent straigh to Davy Jones's Locker...] *or
Virtuella chapter 1 . 6/18/2015
“Chambered Nautilus” is a beautiful poetic title and I didn’t expect the story to be a roaring adventure yarn, but hey, I’m cool with it! I’ve just finished reading “The Kraken Wakes,” so it kind of fits a theme…

The description of the sea monster is great, very vivid, very sensory. Likewise the ocean setting is well done. Nice combination of traditional motifs, and I like how you’ve made Ophelia both a heroine and an anti-heroine. Good pacing, too.

The story would benefit from another round of proof-reading; lots of typos, split infinitives, missing words, its/it’s confusion etc. Otherwise the prose is very smooth and readable.
Anihyr Moonstar chapter 1 . 6/15/2015
Dang, raw opening - highly evokative - I can almost *smell* the thing as I see it come up in my mind's eye. I really loved that opening description - it really sets the story up strong with a gut punch of action/horror vivid description from the get go.

[The were on their own now.] *They

[...didn't cower of pray, however...] *or pray

I really liked the scene following "Four years ago..." - on the one hand, it was really gritty, bluntly in your face about itself, but I think that really fit the feel and style of the moment and added to the tone and atmosphere there. Nothing glamorous, everything exactly what it was, and it was cool to see Adewale again. 8D

[...bu the sorry sea dogs were no match for...] *but

I know you never give happy endings, but I still want one one day. -w- Why couldn't they have just wonnnnnnn... -shakes the story- -sigh- I really liked Ophelia's character, and it seems such a shame to see her die at the bottom of the sea, wasted. Dx Ahhhh, well. Nicely done, anyway - the description throughout was really especially vivid this time around I think, start to finish, and I enjoyed it a lot.

- Moonstar
Jalux chapter 1 . 6/13/2015
Damn, for a second I thought they were going to beat the beast. Anyways I liked the technique here of showing us Ophelia hunting the beast then going back in time to where she was younger, where she came from and how she trained. It creates a nice sequence of events I feel and it's a good format for a short story. There was a very AC-feel to this story with the pirates and the hidden blade (I know it was just a hidden dagger) but it felt a little like an homage in a sense. I think your main character was very likable, swears like a sailor and her story was interesting to follow although the ending was pretty depressing I guess.
alltheeagles chapter 1 . 6/13/2015
RG EF review

I liked the premise that women could work on ships, contrary to the ‘women are bad luck’ POV that I’m more accustomed to. Usually writers get around this by having them in disguise, but your take is a novel one, and kudos to Thatch for taking her in without wanting to get inside her pants (or did he?). In fact, I think having Ophelia as a girl in general made a difference to the story, because otherwise, it’d be quite a run of the mill adventure on the high seas. There is, of course, that little inconvenience of the possibility of pregnancy even if precautions are taken, but that’s a niggling little thing, really…
I also liked the use of ‘words are as fleeting as the ocean winds’ as a refrain. It ties things together and its insertion is judicious ie you use it sparingly and at the right moments. They are a direct contrast to Ophelia’s NOT-fleeting desire to destroy the beast, while capturing the fleeting nature of her lifestyle. I think if you had it as an ending line that would work too, right after the line about Ophelia cursing. It isn’t definitely stated that the sea beast was killed, but that’s ok, cause the story is about Ophelia and her revenge and THAT was definitely resolved.
Ventracere chapter 1 . 6/12/2015
I'm a big fan of nautical things, first off, so I'm intrigued from the get go. I liked the way you carry out your descriptions of the Drown God extremely well. It's a dark piece to start with, and the way you characterize the Drowned God goes hand in hand with the somber mood you have going.

Another thing that I liked was how you slowly went forwards in time. By doing so, you don't give us too big a glimpse into the future, but also give us a solid background into just who Ophelia is. For such a short piece, you give us a good insight into just who Ophelia is by doing this, so kudos!

As for the ending, I loved how you gave us a false sense of security before dropping Ophelia into Davy Jones's locker. It was kind of the rush at the the end, that makes me admire your work. You build everything into the climax at the very end; by doing so, you leave your pace at a constant high.

Thanks for the read!