Reviews for Under a blue-grey sky
The Warrior Poet chapter 25 . 5/28/2018
Now we have the panic starting to set in.

The constant bickering, the tug of war between sticking together and splitting up, is more likely to get them captured at this point than the keen scent of the dogs. They should realize by now that sticking together is the only way they will be able to get out of this alive.

I thought that Rayne’s dream sequence was very well done, and effectively showed the turmoil that is hatching inside of him. It also goes to show that the Lady did something to him that won’t wear off with the drug. I get the feeling that it is Rayne’s shame, more so than his distrust of stinky, that is driving his desire to split up.
The Warrior Poet chapter 24 . 5/28/2018
I definitely share Rayne’s misgivings about stinky/spooky, but I can see Cray’s point as well. Trapped in enemy territory as they are, what other choice do they have but to trust him?

One thing that does surprise me is that Cray doesn’t doubt spooky/stinky as much as Rayne does, and in fact even begins to question whether she can trust Rayne after he brings up his concerns. I wouldn’t think that she would be very surprised by Rayne’s doubts after Haylden tried his damndest to leave Rayne behind.

Whatever the case may be, I hope that Haylden comes through. He is a flawed character with somewhat questionable morals, but I find myself wanting to trust him despite the evidence that he may be colluding with the Lady.
The Warrior Poet chapter 23 . 5/24/2018
Another close call, but it seems to be another successful escape.

I like that even though Rayne is the only one who is able to wield magic, he still must rely on Cray’s know-how and “hardiness” to aid their escape. This reliance on one another’s skills is a great foundation for their friendship/relationship going forward, especially considering how reluctant Rayne once was to rely on others. There is definite character growth going on, and I do like to see that in any character-driven story.
The Warrior Poet chapter 22 . 5/18/2018
"They gave each other toothy grins that didn't quite reach their eyes."

I like this because it tells so much by showing. The fact that their 'smiles didn't quite reach their eyes' demonstrates that their humor is affected for the purpose of lightening the mood. Well done, and most effective.

This chapter was great. I especially like everything after "I remember...calling your name" -such a well-executed sequence of prose. The flow, spoken dialogue, inner monologue...everything just blends together perfectly in that section. You are showing some real mastery here and -for me- those 175 words represent the peak of your writing that I have read so far. So damn good.
The Warrior Poet chapter 21 . 5/18/2018
How humiliating for Rayne.

One thing I like that you are doing is showing that a close encounter with the Lady is not so easily shrugged off, and their escape isn't even complete yet. You have shown that helping someone else is not always an easy road, and all of the indignity that Rayne is suffering is due to his desire to help Cray, on account of her love for her (even though it hasn't been called that yet.)

I like that aspect of your storytelling. Every character's decision has consequences, and you are unafraid of exploring all of the painful, sometimes horrible truths of those consequences.
The Warrior Poet chapter 20 . 5/15/2018
The slow-motion escape is wonderfully done.

I really like the tension that permeates this chapter. You did a good job of communicating Cray’s anxiety and concern for Rayne, and the desperation of their flight. The part where they come face-to-face with the Lady was especially terrifying.

I knew that Haylden was jealous of Rayne, but to go so far as to suggest that he be left behind does not reflect well on the character. I share Cray’s fears that Haylden could be colluding with the Lady, and could see him turning against them completely if Cray carries on with her rejection of him.

Even if they escape successfully, I can’t help but wonder...where will they hide?
The Warrior Poet chapter 19 . 5/12/2018
Theory confirmed!

It can be difficult to write a chapter containing content like this, but I thought you did a good job here. At no point does the Lady's violation seem like anything but that, though I am not exactly sure why what she does to Rayne affects him like it does. It all comes back to this qhyt that you mention, most likely -I suppose that the source of the power is sexual energy, and the Lady is able to draw it away from people like a succubus. That would explain why she needs such a steady supply of kidnapped youths, I suppose.

The parallels between this and what has been happening with Haylden are too delicious to ignore. Now we have the opposite happening, though...instead of Haylden confusing Cray with Cresta, we have Rayne confusing 'Cresta' with Cray. Cray inflicting a scar on 'Cresta' that is similar to the one she used to have is another interesting irony.

Very curious to see how things play out.
The Warrior Poet chapter 18 . 5/12/2018
This chapter would seem to indicate that my theory could be correct.

The exposition provided by the bathers is not only helpful, it serves to show that as much as they may jest and joke the servants of the Lady are uncomfortable about what they help her do. There is something encouraging about that.

It is disturbing to witness one indignity after another being visited upon Cray and Rayne, especially in light of the innocence that has colored their relationship up until now. Rayne's magic would be very useful right now, but I suppose all of the drugs he keeps getting dosed with are preventing him from harnessing it.

If they are to make their escape, it seems that it must be done by conventional means. Where is Halyden and his pine boxes when you need them?
The Warrior Poet chapter 17 . 5/9/2018
“Cray, on the other hand, felt like an apple that'd fallen into a pigpen”

I love this analogy!

I suppose if there is one good thing that has come out of this horrible situation it is the fact that it has allowed Crayvina and Rayne to express their true feelings for one another. Perhaps they don’t comprehend everything they are feeling, but one thing that is certain is that there is mutual caring between them, and perhaps that bond will be strong enough to allow them to overcome the Lady and whatever she has planned for them.

The gasps and awe at Cray’s nakedness is more than curious. ‘She fits...’ could mean a number of things, but the theory I am warming up to is that the Lady is some kind of entity that needs human vessels, and something about Cray makes her a perfect fit. I still like the idea that the Lady is somehow in possession of Cresta’s body, but I could be wandering down a false path.
The Warrior Poet chapter 16 . 5/9/2018
“I spewed some nonsense about love and strength, and a steaming spade-load of crap that turned out to be.”

Cray certainly doesn’t mince words, and ‘steaming spade-load of crap’ is a gem :)

Well, I suppose that is one way of clearing up the gender confusion in the story, but I feel for our two young characters at the molestation and public embarrassment that they suffer. The sequence with the Lady was suitably creepy and disturbing. The veiled face and the familiar voice have me asking all sorts of questions to myself. Could this actually be Cresta, under the influence of some kind of dark power? What other person, taken to the castle, would have a voice that Cray recognizes? Very curious...

Cray is a lot older than I had assumed -I had her pegged at maybe fifteen years old. I think back to her reaction to Haylden kissing her and that definitely doesn’t seem like a reaction that an eighteen-year-old would have. I am now left to wonder how much older Haylden is, and I am also curious to know Rayne’s age. I had him pegged at fourteen or fifteen, but perhaps he is older?

Whatever the case may be, I can definitely feel a tipping point happening in the story. With the introduction of the Lady, things have certainly taken a darker turn.
The Warrior Poet chapter 15 . 5/6/2018
The fact that Rayne still thinks that Cray is a boy is beginning to strain credibility a bit. I can see the misunderstanding enduring for maybe the first couple of meetings, but someone who is as smart and observant as Rayne should definitely have realized this by now.

The snatchers show up at the most inopportune times, don’t they? I mourn the fact that our two main characters have been captured, but at the same time I am interested to learn more about our mysterious Lady and what happens to the snatched ones after they are taken. It sounds like some insidious things might be happening, but something tells me that this is more than a Lady Bathory-type situation.
The Warrior Poet chapter 14 . 5/6/2018
It seems like Rayne is being forced to face a lot of things that he has been avoiding in this chapter. Clearly, he has a lot of unresolved feelings about the loss of his parents, and the incident with the dog only serves to scratch at old wounds.

Unfortunately, Cray has been caught up in Rayne’s emotional turmoil and that is why we have him avoiding her for a lot of this chapter.

I do admire Cray’s tenacity. Despite Rayne’s rejection of her she still shows up. She seems to sense that she is needed, even if Rayne is refusing to accept that truth himself.
The Warrior Poet chapter 13 . 5/6/2018
Now we see that the relationship between the two is a little more codependent than Rayne would have us believe. Not only is he no longer indifferent toward Cray’s visits to the pond, he takes note of her absence after only a few days.

The rabid dog represents an interesting action sequence. I am assuming we will pick things up from Cray’s point of view in the next chapter. Rayne’s time manipulation takes center stage here -I am curious to see how Cray reacts to it.
The Warrior Poet chapter 12 . 5/5/2018
This was a cute little interaction.

The jibes they trade here indicate that they are becoming pretty comfortable around one another. You aren’t likely to tell someone you don’t feel comfortable around that they smell like ripe cheese, after all. Well, now that I think of it, I don’t think Rayne would have any problem whatsoever in telling even a complete stranger that they smell like ripe cheese, but he is just that type of character.

Since the pond is such a common setting in this story, I would recommend taking a few sentences to describe it (or different aspects of it) each time the main characters end up there. As readers we should be able to see a picture-perfect image of this place in our mind by now. I don’t expect Robert Jordan level over description here, but a few sentences of extraneous detail here and there is never a waste of word count.
The Warrior Poet chapter 11 . 5/5/2018
This chapter is great because it shows a picture of domestic bliss...overshadowed.

The siblings that live cannot replace those who have been lost. No one is more aware of this than Cray, because not only has she lost her older sister, she has also found herself pressured in to become a replacement for Cresta. She is the only sibling remaining from the first generation of children, and I feel like the pressure of trying to keep that time of her parents’ life alive for them is causing a serious amount of emotional turmoil ib Cray. I think that is why we keep getting references about “living in the past.” Cray feels like she is required to do just that for her parents’ sake.

Maybe that’s why Cray feels favorable toward Rayne and outright hostile toward Haylden. Haylden represents the past and the anchors that are keeping Cray there. Rayne represents something new and mysterious, and -perhaps more importantly- Cresta never knew him.

Such an interesting conflict here!
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