Reviews for Ruby Sea
LittleAlchemist chapter 4 . 6/8
An action-packed and interesting chapter. Mateo has not explained the antagonist or plot to the characters, which I think they would've asked earlier on. Even as flabbergasted teenagers. It occurs to me that Mateo has no quick way to contact them, other than a mobile phone call I guess. So if a monster attacks at night and they're both in separate locations it could be trouble. I liked how you described the abilities, especially Edwin's water powers. The tea experiment was interesting. I liked the swirling tennis ball of Edwin's water. The fight scene was good. Both Ashley and Edwin have adjusted to fighting giant horrifying monsters quite well. They jump into fights with much bravado and careless abandon. Even if you could throw fire balls and wield a sword, a giant frog-ape-human thing would probably scare most people who didn't have a sociopathic anti-fear mindset. You've introduced another character Sarah, and Tabitha grows a bit more because of her adversarial relationship with her. I like how they don't have to keep their superhero selves a secret, it adds a refreshing and relieving element to the story which otherwise would be more cliche if we had secrecy as another thing to worry about in this world. Good job!
LittleAlchemist chapter 3 . 6/8
I liked the feel of the first half of the chapter. I'm glad that Tabitha is going to be useful and included. That was something I was worried about, introducing the friend who no longer becomes relevant (especially in the span of one chapter). Think Serena's friend Molly off Sailor Moon (since Tabitha referenced Magical Girls). But Tabitha can help Ashley by explaining her absences from school if she has to run off, "She was feeling sick" or "Family emergency" as needed, so that is useful. Maybe more people will join their duo group. Tabitha and that boy Owen could be the elements Earth and Wind. Owen is interesting and has a personality. When Edwin said he had other friends it made me think maybe he doesn't have other friends, then that could be his personality. Shy guy who has difficulty relating to other teens. The line breaks you use do help break up the chapters, but they're not always from changes of scene or perspective as this seems to be third person and alternating between everyone. The second half of this chapter was more playful. When Ashley mentally referred to the fox as her 'furry friend' that helps display the lack of realism and cartoony vibe, cause this animal has literally plucked them from their life, forced a duty upon them that will endanger their lives. Supposedly they're incarnates but still. Some parts didn't feel right as comical relief, Ashley's fire heating an accidental blob of water that became a cloud of steam over everyone is a little awkward to imagine for me. But this is descriptive and charming at times.
LittleAlchemist chapter 2 . 6/8
Okay you have good descriptions, that's a strong point, this chapter is well-written. The feel is very comical, manga. High School setting with kids who have super powers, sort of like Power Rangers or Sailor Moon. I like the gender swap magic, it's very interesting and you could explore so much there. Especially if romance ever becomes a factor in this and if both characters were to question their sexuality, or get pursued in their alter forms, it could be very humorous and entertaining. I know this isn't supposed to be realistic, but the monster appearing and the fox mentor cliche... all that convenience didn't cut it for me. Didn't feel authentic, but then again that might have been the intention. Ashley is a well-defined character from the beginning, I have a good feel of her. An impulsive, tardy but ultimately good-natured 'slacker' type. The best friend Tabitha is also well established as the worried, anxious un-confident type. Edwin on the other hand doesn't seem very defined to me, he just seems 'nice' but as we get to know him he may develop more uniquely. I personally value unique and complex characters. This is only the first proper chapter and so much has happened and changed. I feel like it could've been broken up and explored gradually cause like... why did Edwin approach Ashley to begin with? Cause he was just being 'nice'? That's very convenient. And what happened with the bridge? I'm under the assumption it was the fox, Mateo, cause it clearly wasn't the snail-monster-thing. Did you need the bridge scene at all? The fox could have just appeared as they crossed the bridge, or the monster could have. Cause in hindsight it seems a little superfluous. Anyway I'm interested in seeing how this progresses.
LittleAlchemist chapter 1 . 6/8
Good job with the setting, foreshadow and atmosphere here. For a prologue it sets up the expectations fairly well. It looks like a typical adventure movie cliche, a group of villains (I would assume) plan to revive a powerful entity. I would assume this entity is either the future antagonist, or it is some ultimate evil non-human force that the antagonist who referred to it as 'father' will try to release. I could be wrong and you could surprise me by revealing these characters to be the good guys, but based on the ominous feel of this prologue I'd guess not. The way you described things in your first paragraph was good, and I mean more than just the literal descriptions. How the characters moved and acted allowed me to envision that they did indeed have a purpose being there and weren't just archaeological investigators. The answering deep rumble was especially ominous, so good job with that description. In the first paragraph, instead of saying 'the other two were of average height' maybe you should say 'the other two stood tall' or 'stood straight' because saying they have 'average' height just felt awkward to me, even in comparison to the hunch-backed man.
riribelle chapter 7 . 5/31
I've been meaning to send in a review for a while, sorry I didn't get around to it sooner!

Your writing is concise and easy to hook people in - from the prologue, I was immediately hooked and read everything in one go. You have a knack for setting the scene in a way that doesn't feel obtrusive and it's really easy to picture exactly what's happening. Your sense for dialogue is excellent - it really sounds like conversations people actually have, as opposed to being clunky and front-loaded with exposition. I love the contrasting personalities everyone has, and Ashley as a lead is really cool! I'm a sucker for duos that have to work together, and I think the way Ashley and Edwin have progressed in their not-quite-yet friendship is really sweet so far. The subject of gender identity is something I'm eager to read about too.

Also? Props for eschewing the secret identity thing, and extra props for not turning it into a drama bomb. I'm really intrigued at the mention of other Soul Warriors, especially since I know you've posted art on your tumblr about them!

If I had to critique anything, it's that I almost think that the character names should change when the Soul Warriors transform, if only because it's easier to follow? It threw me out of the story a little when they transform for the first time but the narration still calls them Ashley and Edwin, it's a little jarring. But that's just my take on that!
RisanF chapter 7 . 5/31
"I don't understand," Ashley said, pushing on the railing. It doesn't look like they had to repair any of this, and the railing is still sturdy. Shouldn't there be some obvious lines where they attached the missing piece to the rest of the railing?" (I think there's a missing quotation mark here)

We see more of the gender-bender aspects of this story, to the point where it's actually affecting the psyche of the main characters. I confess I feel as ambivalent towards Mateo as the main characters do; he's throwing his weight around and hasn't been very useful (which is kind of a change from how this kind of character is usually portrayed).

I see you have a picture of the characters up now. It's always good to add character art to a story if you can do it.

RisanF chapter 6 . 5/31
It may just be me, but I feel your writing has really tightened up over the course of the story. It feels longer and more robust. The fight at the end of the chapter reminds me of one of those Zelda bosses, where you have to exploit some weak point (Giant Enemy Crab! Shoot its weak point for massive damage!) Your characters each have very different views on Sarah, and I wonder how she'll figure into the main story.

Ashley never did have time to confront Mateo about his deception. And I wonder what he wants with Sarah?

Timbo Slice chapter 2 . 5/25
I like the style of this piece. It's definitely a far out concept in the vain of an anime inspired urban fantasy. The gender bending is a little strange in my opinion because it's not explicitly stated why it has to happen, but it's entirely up to you as the writer how their powers manifest.

The writing itself is well done, an improvement in the prose and diction from the prologue. One thing I would suggest is trimming some of the superfluous scenes in the beginning that kind of bogs down the story before the burning bridge. Some very vivid descriptions of their battle attire and powers really helps to paint the scene of their transformation as well.
RisanF chapter 5 . 5/23
It seems like Ashley and Edwin's friendship-of-convenience is causing some problems, as they still don't know some basic things about each other. On the other hand, that makes it easy to hide information from the readers you don't want them to know yet.

One note: "To make things simpler, I want this conversation to place with Ashley's parents as well." This sentence reads a bit awkward.

Be sure to keep a look out for other typos, too. Also, I'm not sure about your liberal use of F-bombs. I used to have a story like yours with strong language in it, but I learned later on it didn't suit thew tone of the piece. I'm no choir boy, but personally, I think the expletives clash with the Sailor Moon/Magic Knight Rayearth aesthetics of your story.

RisanF chapter 4 . 5/23
For a wise mentor fox, Mateo doesn't seem to be have much idea of what he's doing; Ashley and Edwin have to figure out most everything on their own. We have a good cast of characters at this point. There's another fight, where the heroes do much better than before and get to show off their new skills. I would like to see the characters interpersonal relationships deepen, though; I know this is basically light, action-manga fare, but it never hurts to add a little more depth.

RisanF chapter 3 . 5/23
The characters are beginning to solidify, and I have a better feel for their personalities here. I'm guessing their elements relate to their temperaments; Ashley with her fiery persona, Edwin with his mellow, water-like disposition. Tabitha is a good addition to their little group, since she has a bubbly attitude the other two lack. Anyways, this chapter is mostly just training, but it gives the characters a chance to start working together, and learn how they bounce off one another.

RisanF chapter 2 . 5/23
Battle forms: I like the sound of that! This chapter reads a lot smoother than the prologue, and the simplicity does it favors here, since there's now more content to hang it off of. The chant of " A scalding pain from beneath the earth! Ruby Fire!" reminds me of the kind of chants used in "Final Fantasy Tactics" The characters sets of powers are interesting; always nice to have one sword user and one gun user. The gender-bending certainly causes complications, though I wonder about its significance; why DO they swap genders?

RisanF chapter 1 . 5/23
Hey, I'm RisanF, reviewing for the Review Game! Let's see what you got!

I think the prologue is a bit too short to get a feel for your writing style at that point. There are a few errors, like where you say a hunched back protruded from THEIR silhouette (should be he/she/it). The prose is a bit simple, bit it also makes it straightforward and easy to understand. You might want to try for more vibrant sentences like this one: "the stagnant air shuddered as the phrase bounced through the cave." You might want to attach this prologue to your first chapter, as I'm not sure it stands on its own, and the following chapters are much better.
Francoist chapter 2 . 5/21
Just warning you I wrote this as I read it and it’s quite long.
Firstly, one can’t help but reiterate your attentiveness in description! The first paragraph just reels you in. Well done! I hate pointing out ‘words left out’, but since you want an in-depth review I’ll make an exception. (3rd paragraph, 1st section) “She ran to vacant bathroom.” Should be “She ran to THE (or her) vacant bathroom.” (again, it’s nit-picky to say and I’m guilty of doing it myself, but for the sake of an in-depth review). Veronica certainly comes across as a perfectionist, I wonder if that will have any bearing on the book itself?
I love the start of the second paragraph “Tabitha waited nervously for Ashley to arrive in homeroom” etc, because I so relate to it. I used to have a friend in high school who lived really close by and would always arrive to school late. As someone who didn’t have any other friends, I can totally get into Tabitha’s headspace of nerves and can honestly say you’ve described going through this so accurately on point! In fact, this whole ‘scene’ is so on point, taking me right back to high school friends being late, seat changes (seating plan as we called it back then and oh how we dreaded it) and the quick whispered discussions between paranoid early comer vs late arrive nonshalant ness (if that makes sense) well done!
Now I am your no1 description fan as you may well know by now, however, “shifted her chair to give her legs more room under the desk” might be a bit too much (sorry to say). Try skipping that and ending the sentence at ‘sandwich’ especially since the whole ‘room for her legs thing’ doesn’t really seem to be a big deal. It shifts the focus away if you know what I mean. Whereas the ‘playfully bopped her on the nose’ thing is a total gem! (Thanks also for the easy reading on the dialogue, spaced and on a new line. I do it the same way, but some people don’t and it becomes a nightmare to read, so go you!) So, by the end of this section I am becoming a HUGE fan of Tabitha! I love her wit, can relate to her and just find her to be an awesome character! Well done!
Ok third section (para 1, sentence 1) ‘The whole town seemed lonelier THAT ever.”, should be thaN ever. (I know, I know, it’s minor and I do it too. Again, this is in-depth so yeah lol). Snapdragon Junior High? What a PERFECT name for a school! Oh well done on Ashely’s explanation of her name! Not only is she telling Edwin this, but she’s also telling us (the reader). What makes it better is that I actually was incorrectly pronouncing it ‘R-ee-ding’ now I know its ‘R-eh-ding’. Good job! Good come back (“Nothing gets me back to sleep faster than finding slopes”), wish I’d thought of that in high school lol. ‘Did she really cross through her everyday?” ‘here’ not her. Ok this is so personal preference so feel free to ignore, but instead of “WAH” try “Waaaaaaahh!” so it goes from “c-WAH!” to “c-Waaaaaaaaah!” the multiple A’s describe a longer sounding vowel and it’s a little less confusing. But again, that’s my own preference so go with what you prefer on that one. Very dramatic end to the scene, but I have to say I enjoyed it (as I have everything so far. Your writing is so clear and easy to read – which in and of itself is something. Believe me, I’ve read books that were so complicated and wordy that I found myself zoning out. With your book, I find myself being sucked in! Well done!)
Ok so onto the 4th section and let start with the whole body-switcharoo thing! Loooooving it! What a great idea! Also, loved the fox thing (I love books, shows, films etc where animals talk so big plus to you) and the whole body-armour thing (and I’m not a fan of manga but) pretty damn cool! But let’s discuss the use of the ‘F’ word. Now, I don’t mind that you’re using it and you probably have the booked rated appropriately also. But (for people like me who don’t look at a rating) I feel like you need to be aware that anyone can come across this book including children. When it comes to swearing therefore, you have 2 options (and I’ve used both in differing stories). You can do what’s called a warning. At the top of the chapter, in Italics write: Author’s Note (or simply A/N): Profanity used in this chapter. This gives the reader a heads-up before they’ve even begun that swearing will occur, so, brace yourselves! The other option is to bleep it! The way I am doing this (as the books I’m writing at the moment have no warning but adopt a bleeping option) is to write something like F*ck or F**k. That way you’re still using the word, but it’s not as harsh as using it on it’s own. A great way to hear an audio version of this is to watch any episode of The Magicians. In that show they swear quite a bit, but they pull out the offence part of the word making it sound like they’re saying “F-k off!” I don’t quite understand the ‘well then’ (“Its not like we have anything better to try” well then. Edwin led). If it’s Ashley’s thought, don’t be afraid to express that (Italics) Well then (Italics) Ashley thought. No need for a “?” (in “If you hadn’t lead that thing away while I was down (?) I’d be dead right now). A simple comma would suffice or even nothing at all. I’m so glad the fox told them ‘that was fast’ because I was thinking the same thing. This is a great example of ‘rescuing’ a situation. Had you not had the fox say that, the reader might question it themselves. Having the fox say it allows it to be explained away (as you do with “I had high expectations, guess I was right”) so well done.
You really did the whole ‘uncomfortably different genders around one’s sister’ thing really well. I was sad however to see Ashley just shove Edwin off the moment they changed back and couldn’t help but feel for him.
Great way to end the chapter will be interesting to see how things transpire in the morning.
So to recap:
-The attentiveness in your description is second to none, well done! Keep it up!
-Try (although I feel like a hypocrite saying it, so I guess this one is for both of us lol) re-reading over your work to fix ‘little mistakes’ like that instead of the, or adding in words where needed ‘she ran to THE bathroom’.
-Loved Veronica (hope she comes back).
-Great way to relate to people who know what it’s like to go through waiting for someone at school.
-Description is good, but avoid too much description (“Shifting chair to create leg space”). A good rule of thumb here (just my two cents) is to write ‘only what is needed’. This is something an editor once taught me ‘if it’s not relevant it doesn’t go in’.
-However sometimes adding specific description where it is not required livens up a book ‘bopping on the nose’.
-Snapdragon Junior High is an amazing name for the school (I know it may not work, but is there any chance of finding out more about how the school got the name?)
-Explanations work when they are necessary – “My name is spelled reading like the book but pronounced like the color’ too awesome! And “That was quick,” fox.
-Magic elements (Body switch, Armor, fox) all awesome keep it up!
-Swearing advice: Warn or bleep.
All in all this was such an awesome read! And as I said earlier I am not a fan of manga, but you may have started to create a fan in me. At least you have with your writing! So well done! This is by far and away the longest review I have done, but when I promise depth I’ll give depth. If you feel charitable, I’d so love it if you could take a look at Darkened Soul (Chaps 5 and 6) feel free to read the rest if you want, but I’d love to know what you think of those two chapters particularly. Well done once again. I’m adding you to my fave authors!
Francoist chapter 1 . 5/21
Hey, answering your request from indepth.
So the opening paragraph is really enticing. You've made it quite descriptive so it's easy to get a sense of where we are which is always good. Ending the paragraph with 'announcing the cobwebs at last someone had returned' is even more enticing as you can't help but wonder 'Oooh who returned?'

I LOVED the 2nd paragraph! OMG I love magic and fantasy and all that stuff and your 2nd paragraph leans the story more towards that direction. Words like 'Magic Circle carved into the floor' and 'runes on the edges' excite me as I'm sure would excite many others.

As for your dialogue, it's exciting! Who's the father? Is it an actual father? Or father in the ethereal sense? And "soon you shall be revived" brings about this whole "Ooooooh!" of excitement. I'm looking forward to reading chapter 1, which I now realise is the chapter you requested lol. Oh well, enjoy this one for free :)
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