|Reviews for The Zilos Chronicles Volume Two: Maelstrom of Rage|
| Starart152 chapter 15 . 10/10
This is a great chapter. We see how heavy the consequences of Requiem actions were and how everything literally burned to ash. Many people suffered from his decision to take the Crystal and it showed how dangerous it was for Ares to claim them.
As for Richard, he is broken from what he did and he had almost nothing anymore. He lost Kristen because of the consequence of what he did.
| Eytha chapter 25 . 9/18
Feels like you've missed the point of what an epilogue is supposed to be, a brief conclusion. And much like the last chapter, you are running around this chapter frantically trying to close everything up. Might be a sign you've got too much going on if you need like 50k words just to conclude a book. Though if we're being honest, most of it was not really needed. So this all could have been significantly shorter.
You have a scene with the Detective learning about the chief among other things, in fact that detail gets repeated a few times. And this would have been the right time to reveal the guy died off screen. Like before, the previous chapter with this death was unnecessary and just overcomplicated what you should have been trying to do, which was end the story and stop adding things. This is a good time to do and provides something more mysterious to how the chief died.
Besides Richard revealing himself to everyone, the rest of the chapter should just be cut completely. It's just overcomplicating your conclusion. If you need a tease, have an extremely short thing with Ares, but if we're being honest, you treat the whole thing more like it's a tv show rather than a book. You don't need to be jumping so many scenes around. And you don't really need the tease of Ares, because you already have the bigger deal of Richard planning to storm his home for Ares. That's tease and cliffhanger enough if you're desperate for one to be present. Everything that Ares reveals can easily be saved for another book when it's a little more important. In fact, I'm going to guess if it is brought up in the third book, you probably repeat yourself from this scene. So it's already made pointless, if I had to guess.
Everything in the royal family is just reactions and repetition, things you don't need to include at least in this book. The story is ending here, let it end. This is stuff that's part of your next rising action. Don't put your rising action in the end of your book. Save this until later.
As for the book as a whole, I think the reading quality is overall lower than the first book due to the massive amount of errors you have. This book had a severe lack of proofing that makes so much of the dialogue nearly impossible to locate or sort through in a story that is already overburdened by dialogue. Character and plot quality is similar. The same mistakes you make with characterization continue here, the same plot issues you have remain as well. You're consistent between the two, which is a good thing. Unfortunately, at a lot of the feedback people gave you from the first book did not find its way into this book, not sure if it is case of it coming before you received that feedback. So I don't know if the third book, which is much later written benefited from the feedback you got.
You have a long road ahead of you to publish this and it's no where near ready. Massive rewrites, re-ploting, editing, characterization and more are going to be required before its ready. You have a solid concept with solid character concepts, but all of those concepts are buried under a mountain of text and railroaded plot. You need to go back to the top level view of the plot and revise the outline for each book to something that will be more reasonable to publish and give yourself training exercises to work on your verbose writing style.
| Eytha chapter 24 . 9/17
A faster read for the chapter, though it feels like there is a heavy obsession clearing out all of your threads in explicit detail rather than just letting the reader answer it themselves or doing it in a more concise way. So much of the chapter felt unnecessary and could have just been dropped or heavily reduced.
The immediate thing is Richard recounting to Nathan. You have him recount events, but completely skip Dan's part and handle it in narration, which is what you should have done with Richard. Remove everything the reader already read and just focus on the reaction part.
Any of the scenes with Zandoris can be cut as well since it's not really adding anything to the ending. Even the stuff with the chief can be cut as well. There is no need for a full on scene with him getting killed, especially by someone that the reader has zero attachment towards. It would be different if a character that the story followed did it, but just removing with a side character ends up hurting the ending. You can just as easily let the reader know through the Detective learning of his death and get the same result.
A lot of the talking with the Detective over her staying or going could be cut out too and more directly gotten to the point. It's a very long scene that drags out the ending. Things need to wrap up. And now pairing up your anti-villain/anti-hero Detective with Richard. I guess she'll be around even more now in the next book.
| Eytha chapter 23 . 9/15
Another super long chapter and mostly just the fight with Troy. There is a part with the royal family and that'll need to be split into a separate chapter. The rest though is more difficult. But there are still different parts to it. There is the Dan focus part and the Richard focused part. There is the stuff in between as well. So you can still probably split the fight up into 3 or 4 chapters by itself.
Reduction in the conversation would also make it easier to fit into the set of chapters. There is a lot of repetition especially from Troy, so reducing his lines would help a lot with the size. Streamlining the action scenes also would aid you as well.
And you gave big moments to Dan and Richard, though what remains of things after this to conclude the story I'm not sure. But you did fall into the usual trap where the main character has to be the one that saves the day even if narratively it makes more sense for someone else to do it. It really should have been Dan getting the kill and ending the fight rather than Richard. It means a lot more to Dan narratively.
And as you said, most of the chapter went really hard into the Shounen tropes. It became really obvious early on that it did. With two chapters remaining, one being an epilogue, not sure what the next chapter will do. I worry if it focusing and even more fighting with all of the major encounters completed now. It's going to feel really dragged out if there is more.
| Eytha chapter 22 . 9/13
This is a curious chapter, it's physically much shorter than the others, but still reads very long. I think a lot of it has to do with the volume of conversation and density of it while in the middle of a fight. So you probably want to cut down on a lot of the talking and make things more concise. There is as a lot of repetition in what they say, so cutting out whole stretches of dialogue would not be a bad idea either. You've already established everyone really well at this point that more of it is not really needed other than brief moments.
It's as a little surprising how Richard is acting towards Troy. Almost immediately he is full in on really inhuman insults and curses towards him. And Dan is not reacting to any of it. Even committed to fighting and possibly killing Troy, I'd have figured Dan would take some amount of offense to everything Richard is leveling at a former friend. Richard seems very fast to just immediately venomously brand Troy. Not sure if you're chalking it up to him running on emotions or his mentally underdeveloped state. He's just sounding really extreme right now and much less heroic than you might have wished him to be. Especially if you're trying to be anime.
The whole bit with Greymont going in for a slash or high five, a little unclear, seemed a little weird and silly. The whole conversation felt really stilted and the scene probably could have been handled better to get the result you were looking for which was his capture. There's still a few chapters left so I'm not sure what is taking up the remaining chapters. So I guess I'll find out how you make use of them.
| Eytha chapter 21 . 9/11
I really do feel like the chapters are getting longer with each chapter. I'm only guessing at length at this point, but I would be very curious to know what the length is at this point. That being said, you've got three big chunks to this chapter, which have to be broken down even further. So you have the Richard fight, the Troy fight and the Voltaire fight. Each need to be broken down more because even in three it's still too large.
The Richard fight probably could safely be just one, it's short enough. Though I would also just recommend cutting the pre-battle and post-battle stuff into different chapters. The pre-battle can fit into a previous chapter since it's just tied to that. The post can be part of its own things. The Troy fight should be split between before Richard shows up and after Richard shows up. The Voltaire fight could probably be split between before Greymont shows up and after he does.
I noticed a few spelling errors as I going through and a lot of the quotation mistakes for dialogue. So another proofing pass needs to be done on the whole chapter. And beyond that, cut down heavily on the talking as always. This is just fights so there is not much to say at this point. It's just riding things until the end.
| Eytha chapter 20 . 9/9
Seems to be a habit now that all the chapters are super long, the new standard perhaps. It's making them more clear that they need to be split up. And for a chapter titled Operation Raven Fall very little of the actual operation seems to be happening in the chapter. It wasn't until near the end with Troy showing back up did as I'm guessing you're naming it, the operation begin. I'm guessing this is the police's name for it, since the rest probably don't have a care for naming assaults.
But much like before, the characters have a really bad habit of abusing the trope, talking is a free action at all times. Probably the most noticeable is the long backstory from the Detective to Voltaire. They're in a rush, but let's explain the tragic history of the Detective to gain trust. Voltaire already gambled on her and confessed. Caution might be due, but should have been enough from the poison save to at least buy some temporary trust.
And it's very weird that Claire just goes to Troy knowing how dangerous he is and what he's done. And she even has no intentions of listening to him. So why did she even go to see him other than the plot required her to be there and not act in character. Given how dangerous things were with him, I'd sooner have expected her to lockdown the ship and possibly leave at least to keep herself safe.
All of the things Troy did and thinks comes out. Hearing him talk, at this point he's just starting to sound like a Steiner 2.0. They don't have the same ideals, but their manners are similar and sense of superiority. And Troy being a large character doesn't help his case. I don't really know who's going to be treated at the big bad of this book. It could be Troy or someone from Ibis or even the police, but the only one with any real development to be that is Troy. No one else really works in that role.
You're continuing the efforts to try to back pedal on everything with the Detective and put her back into her previous role. Unfortunately, you've already tainted the water with the character and it can't be filtered out. Best she is going to end up is in an anti-villain role or marginally maybe an anti-hero role. But she's given up her chance for heroic status a long time ago.
| Eytha chapter 19 . 9/7
A dense chapter with a lot happening. Tackling the breaking up at the start, you've got the Claire part, the Don part, the Voltaire part, the Dan part and Richard part. These are all pretty sizeable individually due to this being a massive chapter. So the best thing to do is just break these all up into 5 chapters. They are each very focused and keep things moving with the plot. So they can all work as they are. The only thing really is that all the conversations need to be trimmed up heavily.
Like with the Troy scene from last chapter, you can either merge that part here since all you were doing with it in the previous chapter was trying to give yourself a cliffhanger. Which meant you were treating the chapter like an episode rather than chapter. Given that this is a novel and not serialized storytelling, a cliffhanger isn't going to be required and it super abrupt. It being included here with the rest of the scene makes more since.
Overall, I don't think any are immediate cut this is unnecessary. If you end up looking for cuts the first one to go will be the Dan scene because while it provides from up front clarity. There is no reason that with your verbose nature, that everything in that scene isn't already tackled in scenes to come. So there is likely places you fill in these pieces if this went missing.
It feels a little odd Claire repeatedly being used in fan service scenes. It's not the worst, but doesn't really feel like a case of being done because she's owning it, but rather because she's being written by a male author for a male demographic. May want to consider dialing it back.
I know I already spoke to you about this with Richard and the woman apparently being your Ramba Ral. But I have to ask, was it needed to another villain for this book? I'm guessing you're going to be using her in the climax of this book. You've already got two out in play along with Troy and the cops possibly. Sort of feels like you've given yourself enough enemies to play with adding another feels unnecessary at this point. They could have just been a random person that Richard met and nothing more amounted to it.
| Eytha chapter 18 . 9/5
Another very heavy chapter with a massive amount of talking. This is a cool down from the fighting, though there is a little bit much in terms of talking. There is a lot going on and a lot of different scenes. So the first thing to do is to split up the chapter in to separate ones. You have the post-battle with Orion, the Voltaire and the gang, the Voltaire and Dan talk, then Voltaire and Troy, then Richard, then Voltaire and family, then Troy and Don. That's a lot of things all happening in a single chapter.
The first thing is the entire part with Voltaire is just a chapter by itself with the Ravens. Then after that you've got the Richard stuff and the Voltaire family stuff. The Voltaire stuff is easily a chapter by itself as well. And even the Richard stuff too, though both suffer from really long drawn out conversations that take a while to get moving. So they should be trimmed down as well. The post-battle part with Orion ends up feeling more tacked on from the last chapter and completely disconnected from anything in this chapter. So it probably should be heavily pruned down and merged with something from the previous. As for the Troy scene, it's the sort of thing that it's good for a TV show or movie so show these things, but honestly it's a waste of words. It's so brief and you're already doing the betrayal at a later point anyway. So it's all going to come out then. So while this sets it up, it really ends up being pointless in the grand picture.
So you pass off all of Richard's quirks as being effects of his disability. This feels like you're removing agency of Richard's character away from him, by pointing at his problems being the result of this thing he had in his childhood. Feels like you're cheapening out on Richard and owning up to his issues. Having a main character having a mental illness I think is fine and an uncommon trait to see, especially for a main character. However, you don't have him introduced or presented that way from an early point. So this reveal feels less empowering that look at what he's been able to achieve while being handicapped and more an excuse. And could potentially have negative reactions from people that do suffer from similar issues. Hard to say, but I don't believe this was handled well.
And so you have the police chief complete this full villain path in this chapter as you try really hard to prove that the Detective is someone better than him. You've got two characters that have just gone down the villain road in this book. Knowing how you are treating them and trying to have them seen. I'm going to guess you'll remove the chief at some point either death or exposed and have the Detective step in an attempt to make her seem potentially more heroic, when the best she's going to manage is somewhere in anti-villain to anti-hero territory, at best.
And you have your pay off for all the bad decisions that Voltaire has made since the beginning. Which as I said before should never have happened with who the character was presented. He was presented as being smart enough not to do all the really bad decisions he made, but had to so that the police had something follow for the plot to happen.
I'm getting close to the end and it's becoming clear that you're setting up the end game. Hears hoping that we see a lot of character deaths in the end. Things feel far too gone to just resolve in a peaceful way after some punching each other in the face.
| Eytha chapter 17 . 9/3
This is another very long chapter and largely just fighting throughout. With how heavy the fighting is, definitely need to split it up into individual chapters. You have the Orion fight and the Chad fight, so those should be different chapters. Probably the start before things split up is a chapter as well and the conclusion. It's very heavy on the fighting and conversation, so it could do with some slimming down.
Given how long the whole fight is, it might be a good idea to even split up the fights between the phase 1 and phase 2 parts of each. Either splitting them up that way to get 4 chapters or thinning out the fights themselves. Having more conservation of the actions and focusing only on the big things rather than all of them. And it also becomes a question of since fighting/action is the main part of the story deciding what are big fights or small ones. If the story is going to always be about the fights, then probably making separate books for things will probably be good.
Even though this is only a single chapter and at 40k words or more, it's halfway to a book. You have a lot of royal family stuff in this book. I could see you splitting all of the royal family part out from this book apart from the speech, which was broadcast. And you could have a completely separate book that say focused on Orion, giving you time to dig into his character and deal with all of the family stuff with a new point of view. It would keep the rest of the story on track and give you a lot of time to really flesh out the family without distractions. Given that you largely treat Orion as a more heroic character than Raphael, him being the hero or protagonist of a book would work out for him and let you explore things.
By in large, this chapter depending on what you need to accomplish and do, probably could also just be completely cut out and left as a thing that Voltaire fills everyone in on when he returns. So if you're in need of finding things to remove this is a good candidate for you. All it really does is let you spend some time with Orion, which likely is going to happen at other points in time that are going to be a little more story heavy than this scene. But it is a call to make depending on what you end up going for with this.
| Eytha chapter 16 . 9/1
Another very long chapter though this time with not a lot happening. It is naturally a down time between big moments with only the end really doing much with the main plot. Though that is not say the rest did not touch the main plot, but more that the impact on moving the plot forward was very small and their investment in fleshing parts dragged on far too long making simple check-ins long lengthy affairs.
The chapter has a lot of bouncing around between characters. There is the royal family visit, the Voltaire sort of mixed in with it, the Dan and Troy part, the speech from the King, the bit with Richard and the battle at the end. Given how much you're jumping around, these should honestly all be just separate chapters. Have some be short and some be a little longer. The chapter is already too long and too messy to remain as it is. Clean it up by dividing it into the different scenes.
Though the part that needs trimming heavily is the speech. One it begins, the first couple of paragraph have already delivered to the audience what you need to know about the King. None of the rest of the speech is necessary and honestly just slowing the pace heavily down and probably going to bore your readers. Speeches are generally not going to be super engaging moments. So deliver what you need to get the point across and then just fade out. Keep it simple.
The Richard part feels like it is an unnecessary diversion at the point. While showing what is happening to him is useful, it's mostly just a distraction from everything else, because nothing happens. The reader already knows he's in a big pity party about his mistake. Showing it without anything else happening doesn't really bring value to the scene amongst everything happening here. Eventually, Richard will be doing something, move this to whenever he shows up again with something changing and it'll work out better. This chapter is already cluttered with so many people and scenes and points of view, ones that are not really adding or expanding things can be delayed until paired with something else that does.
As an aside, perhaps I missed it, but both of all the last times that Ares was ordering his minions off on a mission he made no hint that he would be going with them. And then he's just there. If I missed that he said he was coming along sure mistake on me. But the way he speaks to them, it's like he's sending them on their mission, not providing escort or going to the field himself with his minions. Because the dialogue presents it as the minions should be enough to handle it. So it's really confusing, I'm not sure if you're not communicating his intent correctly, he's acting really contradictory and completely untrusting of his minions to handle a job. Not really sure what it is, but something about it is very strange.
| Eytha chapter 15 . 8/30
This wraps up current arc and you seemed to have fully gone Gundam in your story now. This is closer to the Gundam 00 with Louise, though characters killing parents is a bit a running tradition in Gundam. And the chapter is the final straw for the downward spiral of future events. And once again like with the Fraction/pirate arc, this really does feel like the end of a book right here. The arc is completed, you've got your low moment for everyone, the reader doesn't know how you plan to pick the pieces up. It's a good place to cliffhang and feel like you've completed something. The fact that it's treated so casually as the end of a chapter ends up feeling like it is hurts the overall impact of what you going for emotional in the chapter. It's still there, but you took the wind out of your own sails because you didn't full capitalize on the potential.
As for the chapter itself, it's all over the place with points of view and characters. It's one of the few chapters without clean breaks, but it's so long it cannot stand as it is. Breaks are needed for the sake of the reader. So there are more or less the rest of the Raphael fight, then the general fight with the dragon and everyone, the fight with the rebels, the conclusion to the fight and the aftermath. The immediate thing to do would be move all the aftermath out into a different chapter, don't keep it in the same chapter. The next thing would break up in the stages of the fight the Raphael part, the middle of the fight and the end at it's basics. If you want to get a little more into the rebel part pulled out into a different chapter as well.
Kristen's raging monologue on Richard felt too long. It felt like you achieved what you want halfway through the whole scene, but just kept the scene going on and on. Which seemed more to serve hammering down Richard rather than revealing anything more with Kristen. And given her mindset, I think fewer words to someone that she now hates would be more appropriate than saying more. If she felt like that why would she keep wasting her words on him, she wouldn't care anymore. And having her rage on him so hard and then decide not to have him arrested because she wanted to live sort of swung both ways for me. Given everything in that moment, it felt too rationalized and I think would have been more in character for her to just turn him in and not think through the consequences because of emotions. Knowing that she values her life more than seeing him pay for his mistake is definitely a character moment, but that's more clarity for her than you should have been giving. And felt more like you needed Richard to make it out of there and the plot did not have him getting arrested so you couldn't have the character act in character. So as you lean on, you lampshade that the character isn't act like they should to get a pass from the reader.
It seemed a little strange that the two strangers that were so dead set on getting and keeping the Emerald out of the wrong hands with their stated opinions and philosophy, just be like the republic is okay enough. They've been presented as pretty hard line on their beliefs, so it seems odd that they would not do anything. Part of it I think is you trying to soften them up, but I think that is meant to be directed at Richard's group and not everyone else.
| Eytha chapter 14 . 8/28
Another very long chapter with a very long battle. There are still some stages to it, so you can still break it up. I know you said that you edited these and they ended up longer. I really wonder what you added to this if it was so thin on descriptions or what. Makes me really curious to know what the original state was and what the bloat cost was during the editing.
As for the chapter itself, you've got sort of three parts to it more or less though you jump around a bit. You've got the on foot battle with the Prince, you've got the mech battle and then you've got the Greymont into the Emerald part. More divisions could be done, but those are the basic break downs.
This chapter hurts from a lot of talking and the same very unclear speaker due to your vast amount of errors through this entire book. Which makes me wonder if the edits were you adding the dialogue since it is so full of errors that would make a lot of sense. But you are back to your usual fall back of having your characters constantly talk in battles slowing everything down. Between the really long descriptions and the really long conversations, this is a very slow battle.
A battle should flow quickly and the reader should be able to breeze through it without having to stop and get a sense of what has happened. Cleaner, shorter, and more concise sentences with less details will go a long way to that. Also limiting a lot of the detail moves will help as well because you get stuck in that a lot. Save those for big moments rather than relying on it frequently. For what happens in this chapter, it should half as long.
| Eytha chapter 13 . 8/26
This felt like another long chapter and barring the start of it, is a largely continuous scene with the battle with Ares and his minion. There are largely four parts of the chapter. There is the Kristen scene, then there is the resuming of the scene with Ares and eventual battle, then there is Greymont and then there is the post-Ares with the lava dragon spirit zombie thing. Given these parts, it would be the simplest to cut it up to four pieces with each of the parts outlined above.
The Kristen scene is largely a fluff scene, so it is an easy thing to cut for the sake the page count. It's mostly an awkward interruption of the current event from the previous chapter and ongoing moments in this chapter. Most of the information relied is already parts that can be inferred by the reader or are cliche and not surprising. So it's safe to cut if you need to look out for things.
Rest of the chapter is just really long and drags on for quite some time. There is a modest amount of conversation back and forth that can be reduced. There is a lot of simplifying your scenes to make them read cleaner and reduce general bloat on play by play which you tend to do. Given the size and relevance to everything that is happening, this entire arc is once again basically another book by itself that you could break away.
And as always you continue to add your complications to your encounters. This one ends up working a little more in your favor because it ends up being useful for lore as it is pertains to the Emeralds. Though as I've said before, you want to be mindful of how often you reliable on the complication card in your plots. As many of your plots spiral far out of control with far more complications than is necessary. Especially when you want to bring down your page count on things. Not ever plan or plot has to become worse and worse. So be mindful of when you use it and sparingly or otherwise it will become something that is so routine that it will tire out the reader.
| Eytha chapter 12 . 8/24
This seemed to be back down to roughly the length you were consistent with previously. Though it is still a very heavy chapter is usually the case. Though it is going to be harder to split up because there is a continuous follow to things. But you can still find the breaks. The best places to break things is in three spots. There is the both the twins show up, the entire twins encounter and the Ares/Ibis encounter. These make for the most logical breaking points, because they'll provide good cliffhangers and they are distinctive parts of the chapter.
Another new party are introduced to the story with a completely different agenda and motive, and supposedly in the background. Depending on where things are heading for this book, it feels like they're a little too early of an introduction. They also feel a little random and convenient for the fight later in the chapter. With the hindsight of the Ares fight, it almost feels like they were added because you needed additional strong fighters to make the Ares fight not end up be the same sort of result as last time.
I can see what you're doing with them. They're included as that outside party element that will likely be there to fill things in for Richard about the greater mysteries. And probably hint to the overall larger picture that you're trying to build towards. If all of that is the case, then it's too early for them to show up. The focus of this book is supposed by about the troubles Richard is having keeping his group together and the failings of his choices. Trying to push the world view even wider at this point is just too early. If you're seeding, then they're too visible for a seeding. Seeding the future should be handle quickly and not distract from what's going on. Removing them from the scene likely would not have a negative impact on events. If it's about Ares, you've already had him walk away before and declare him as an amusement rather than an issue. That can remain or you just don't even bother having Ares show up.
Which is sort of the third point. What's the point of having Ares show up when you had someone else already going. You had a new enemy built up for them to fight and then completely trivialize him almost immediately with Ares coming in. You have your big bad overshadowing your minions. Leave Ares out of the scene completely and let your minion have the story arc. Which likely also means you can remove the Twins safely as well and just Richard and the minion interact directly.
With Ares present, it doesn't seem like the arc is going to survive much longer. So I'll see how things turn out.