|Reviews for Battles of a Total War|
| alltheeagles chapter 15 . 8/30
Nice moment of suspense there with the last survivor and wondering if he'd be able to take away the warning... but nope. The desert is an interesting environment to fight in - no cover, extreme climate... I always thought the Crusaders were pretty silly wearing all that heavy armour in the baking heat of the desert. It's a wonder they ever won anything.
| alltheeagles chapter 14 . 7/8
Haha, then the New Yorkers would be speaking with a Prussian accent rather than their current one. I think I've improved from zero knowledge of strategy to maybe zero point one, since I could identify that this was a long-range type battle - rifles reload faster but have smaller damage, whereas canons inflict greater damage but take time to load and are larger targets.
| alltheeagles chapter 13 . 5/19
I don't have any suggestions on how to write this better cause it already sounds pretty good to me! I had an image of two shapeshifting masses swirling and coming together and then separating again, only there weren't that many ships so it wasn't really a mass, right?
I liked that moment when both captains weighed the odds, and I'd embroider a bit more - maybe the Brit would think of a strategic retreat first, but in order not to seem cowardly, he'd challenge the Frenchman with 'So what of it? Do we kill each other, or continue this fight another day?' And then the Frenchman would agree with the thought and they'd separate.
| alltheeagles chapter 12 . 3/26
I liked the idea of the strong axemen protecting the deadly archers, but aren't archers more of a long-range threat? Once they got in close with the enemy they'd have to do hand-to-hand, and if I were a smart enemy I'd aim for their fingers and hands - I don't need to kill them, just maim them cause then they'd be useless in the next skirmish, and a burden to their own army to boot. A bit of psychological warfare there as well. In any case, you showed how a determined, united and well-organised force can take down an unprepared and unmotivated army despite a difference in numbers. Cool!
| alltheeagles chapter 11 . 1/29
One word. EPIC! Whether in scale or in the sheer flight of emotions that you set off, this was one serious piece of writing. Compared to your first piece in this anthology, this is very much more balanced between storytelling and the technical details of the fight, so it's much easier for someone like me who isn't into wars and tactics to get into.
I've always loved how you have strong female characters who don't necessarily have to be portrayed as unrefined brutes who happen to have a uterus. Porcia rocks, and while she did need rescuing in the end, I'm perfectly fine with that cause she put up one heck of a fight before that.
| alltheeagles chapter 10 . 12/14/2016
I like how you always include a mini history lesson into your battles. If only my History teacher taught like that maybe I'd have done better in it...
Herding the army like a beast - I liked that! And I think you got the dialogue down pat too, especially Domhall. He sounds thoroughly Scottish when he's doing the pep talking. And finally I wonder what that great idea is that they both had...?
| alltheeagles chapter 9 . 11/8/2016
I love powerful female characters, you know I do, so more of Porcia would be welcome! However, I hope you could explore more on the implications and effects of her being female, because that's the whole point for me. As a woman, would she be more troubled by ethics and compassion, or would her emotions hinder her decisions, or would she face insubordination from her troops because of her gender? In this piece, she just comes across as a competent Roman commander who happens to be female but apart from that she's no different from the Roman commander in the previous chapter.
| alltheeagles chapter 8 . 11/8/2016
The battle was vividly described, but the ending was somewhat anti-climatic, just a bald statement of facts. But then I shouldn't complain since that wasn't the focus of this piece at all. I liked the elephants' role, but there was surprisingly little of it, given that this is supposed to be the most unique thing about this battle? Actually I believe there's some argument over whether there were actually elephants involved - some historians say the animals couldn't have survived the brutal weather, but hey, elephants in the mountains just sounds cool!
| Victoria Best chapter 6 . 10/11/2016
I love this! I love that it is in the soldier's point of view - honestly, I think that this worked so much better because I could really connect with the story on an emotional level. Made it so much more immersive and personal. I think this is definitely the way to go - in fact, if you have time, I might even suggest going through and putting the others in first person also. Just seemed so realistic and vivid and I could really connect and empathise, because it felt like the writer was actually speaking to me and telling his story. The others kind of feel a little bit matter-of-fact in comparison now, so definitely consider doing that. Anyway, this was amazing stuff!
The writing in this was seriously strong also. I love the "scream to the spirit world" and "morning sky was red" and "buffalo dwindled" and also the parts about what the land used to look like before all of this - the plentiful mountain, the rich lands and the buffalo roaming, etc. You've painted beautiful images and really placed the reader into the setting - I think this is some of the strongest description I've seen from you. Oh, "moon desperate" was also pretty cool too. It's great that you've realted the description to the spirit world, reflecting the narrator's culture, and the personification (like the moon being desperate) was done well to also illustrate the culture, time and themes of the piece. Great way to bring in themes! This type of description is definitely my cup of tea - my story Halite is very similar in its immersion of spirit world and real world, so I really enjoyed reading this.
I think you got a little wordy in some places though, and it wasn't always clear what was happening. I didn't like, for example, "starvation close at the heels" which I didn't quite understand the first time I read it and I had to look through again for it to make sense. Not a fan of "smoke and the sound of gunshots echoed" - I think you have a few phrases that you use in a lot of these chapters, and "sound of gunshots" and "echoed" and mentions of things like smoke and rallying and charging and surviving... I think it might be worth using a website and just copying and pasting your story in the box to see what words you are using a lot of and then going through and weeding them out, because the writing does start to feel repetitive. The descriptions of the setting are fine, its the descriptions of the battles that i'm worried about. The website I normally use for doing this is word counter dot net, which gives you all kinds of awesome stuff like the amount of the same words used, unique words used, longest and shortest sentence, etc., so it's a great tool for tightening up writing. You'll be surprised at some of the stuff it tells you - in Two Fires I never realised how many times I'd used the word 'burn' until it told me... I think it was something like ten :p
On a minor note, the narrator's first kill comes quite late in the story - I think the first half can definitely be more to the point so this can come around sooner.
Railed? Do you mean rallied? I'd get rid of the 'like thunder' bit too, which I also think I've seen before from you. Keep the writing unique.
Thanks for this strong read!
| alltheeagles chapter 7 . 10/10/2016
You had me guessing right up to the last paragraph as to the ending of this one - good job on keeping up the suspense! I'm also impressed by your technical knowledge as always with the names of the units and how they typically operate. I often wing it on account of being too lazy to do the research, which is the biggest reason why I stick to fantasy worlds where I don't need to be factually correct.
I liked that little touch where they told each other their names - it meant that each knew the name of the man who'd brought about their downfall.
| Victoria Best chapter 5 . 9/11/2016
This was great - I like everything Spartan so this chapter definitely appealed to me and I was rooting for them throughout! And I think you did a good job with the sea battle! I'm impressed, especially as you're used to doing land battles. Maybe one day you'll do a sky battle? Fighter planes? That would be epic.
Okay, here are my notes:
You used glided / gliding twice in that first paragraph.
"Speed of ten knots with ease." Love this! Very well researched.
"Entire ship was one pointed spear." Great description! I could completely picture it.
"Watery graves." I see this a lot in books and stories. Maybe something more original? You already have a good sentence just with them sinking.
"Arrows and javelins hastening their retreat." Nice sentence :) very smooth and descriptive.
"Bodies littered the water." Again, something better than littered?
Watch out for over-abundance of verbs, like one sentence that has firing, grimacing, cursing, embedding.
"They had won the day!" I'm not sure this totally captures the immense, overwhelming happiness he would be feeling. Maybe another sentence or two to flesh this out and really capture the emotion?
"Wanton killing." Loved this! Also enjoyed the ending.
Thanks for the read and keep writing!
| Crescent Moon Dancer chapter 6 . 9/4/2016
Best. Chapter. Yet. You're writing is amazing, I love the way you told the story in this chapter, and it's just all around squeee! :D Well done my friend. You never cease to amaze me. :)
| alltheeagles chapter 6 . 9/3/2016
I did enjoy the story! The old brave's pride came across strongly, and though his account was perhaps a little skewed towards the native Americans, it was a convincing description of how they won the battle. One phrase that I liked in particular was how he described the battle scars as adornment. I also liked that he didn't glorify the killing, yet managed to convey a sense of accomplishment in what they were able to do in the face of the well-armed foe.
I think the only suggestion I can make is perhaps to leave out the bit about starvation at the end - I think the old man would have wanted not to remember this bit. Or if you did include it, then with more reflection along the lines of 'we may have won the battle, but we lost the war in the end because the enemy had a greater force on their side - starvation, and close on its heels, disease. Know this, young one, that we were brought down not by men, but by things greater than any army.'
| alltheeagles chapter 5 . 8/9/2016
I have no preference either way when it comes to land or sea, but I do have a suggestion: a fantasy battle between orc and dragon or some such less-common pairing. Of course that might not fit with the theme of this series, if so just ignore me. A lion and a gladiator then, in the colesseum of Rome. Or two gladiators for that matter - a retiarus vs a berserker!
Also for this particular battle, I have a suggestion: depicting the two ships as two beasts, with the oars as their limbs, the arrows as their stingers or spines, etc
| Victoria Best chapter 4 . 8/9/2016
I really like this chapter! Again, I like that you have researched fully - there is context around the war, like the "merchants were afraid to travel the highlands" and travellers being robbed and pride suffering. Its these extra details that really add to the piece. The piece itself was well researched, with the feudal knights and what they were wearing and armed with, descriptions of the militia and spearmen, and the setting - the "rocky hilly ground" of the Highlands and its "dense forests."
The imagery was great also, I especially liked "cradled their wounds" and "toiled to bury their dead" and, like in the previous chapter, I like that you focus on more than just what the battle looked like - you focus on the sounds and smells too. I could feel the anger and frustration from the screams and war cries.
Loved this sentence! "Letting their arrows fly true."
I cheered at the end! The suspense and thrills were handled wonderfully, as always!
Thank you for this epic read!