|Reviews for Aĉaĵego|
| Whirlymerle chapter 3 . 8/2
Have you seen The Emperor’s New Groove? The first scene of Karesema and Floreca with their mother at bedtime gave me those vibes. Especially with the “nu-uh” and “uh-huh’s.”
Anyway, I really enjoyed this chapter! The lore felt wholy integrated into the world. It carried the same tone of a number of myths from various ancient cultures but at the same time felt very original.
Additionally, I think it was really clever to weave in a discussion about the “morals” of the story, and have the mother casually mention that the lesson here is to listen to your husband. The fact that we know from the previous chapters that the myth likely wasn’t how the Acajego came to be added to highlight how myths serve the authors who create them more than anything else. The social commentary was a nice wink to the readers and made it more than just a world building chapter. And I love, love that you flip it around at the end by having Karesema say that her dad must have obeyed her mom, because he’s ugly. It was funny and showcased the sisters’ characterization well.
Thanks for the read!
| Alyce Reide chapter 16 . 7/24
...that was an incredibly disappointing ending. Realistic, but disappointing
| Alyce Reide chapter 13 . 7/24
Ugh, those priests are awful! I wanna punch Sagulo's stupid snotty greedy lying selfish face in.
| Alyce Reide chapter 7 . 7/24
OK! I was tense there for a little while. I mean, it should be obvious that Floreca's not going to get eaten, right? Well, no. I was really worried that you were going to drag it out and then kill her in the fifteenth or sixteenth chapter! So...predictable, yes, but also good enough that it doesn't *feel* predictable. I know that doesn't make sense, but whatever.
| Alyce Reide chapter 2 . 7/24
This is a very interesting and well-developed world! Are the language and customs like the child-name/true-name based on any real culture, or did you completely make them up?
Well-done Elizabethan English. That's surprisingly difficult to find outside of Shakespeare.
| Whirlymerle chapter 2 . 4/5
Some line edits:
[Her head ached and she could hear a swish-swish waterfall sound in her head] You use this twice
[soul-drain sickness made her week] should be “weak.”
[as though she was a rag doll someone had dropped from a high distance, and all her limbs and innards were flying up above her as she fell] This is nitpicky, but for me, the part after the comma didn’t quite work. My understanding is that she wasn’t really falling, this is all from her heart beating fast, so I thought it was strange that she could feel her limbs going in a particular direction when the physics aren’t there. So I don’t think it adds much to the sentence. I think it could be left at “dropped from a high distance,” which evokes the feeling metaphorically.
There’s one point where you write Foreca instead of Floreca.
[Floreca didn't try to resist Karesema started dragging her towards the cave exit] I think either there should be a period or semicolon after “resist,” or you should get rid of “started”
So I didn’t get a great sense of how big the Acajego is. At first, when you described the boulders shaking, I thought it’s huge. Like the size of a ridable dragon. But then Karesema comes out and Floreca runs towards her and it’s like the Acajego has all but disappeared? They have a pretty long conversation that’s made to feel longer with a ton of background info. That’s not the best place to drop that information, because it takes the tension out of the scene. For instance, the paragraph that begins with “An oldest sister was always responsible for the younger ones” might work better if placed in the opening of this chapter when Floreca is going through the jungle. Also, I would have liked to see a few lines depicting what the Acajego is doing—even if he isn’t speaking— while the sisters are having their conversation.
I really enjoyed where this chapter is going. I love that readers are aware, even though the characters may not yet be, that humans made up these spiritual reasons for why they must be sacrificing to the Acajego, and not only is it not true, there might not be a higher end to this at all. It’s an interesting exploration of the adage that “everything happens for a reason.”
I also thought you do a great job evoking the setting. For instance, I love the imagery of the weeds clinging to Floreca’s bloomers as she’s traveling through the jungle. I also found the description of what the Acajego looks like terrifying in a good way.
Lastly, I’m intrigued by Floreca’s character. When we first see her, she’s sacrificing herself to save her sister in an effort that appears wholly altruistic. But midway through the chapter, when she offers herself to the Acajego regardless, it seems that her desire to not succumb to the same fate as her father is a stronger driving factor than the wishes of her sisters. It’s not quite selfishness, but it seems like she’s definitely motivated for herself as well as for others, and I hope it’s an idea that gets explored more in future chapters.
Thanks for the read!
| Whirlymerle chapter 1 . 4/1
Hi there from the review game, depth!
I like the opening. I thought your first sentence was especially punchy and powerful. However, with the more fairy-tale like narration style from the perspective of the Aĉaĵego in the opening, we’re experiencing everything from 30,000 feet, and so I found myself a tad impatient. I wished the section were slightly shorter than it is. This may very well be a personal preference, though, so take it with a grain of salt!
Character: I like Obeemulo’s character a lot. He seems to have a good conscience, such as having pity for the victims who happen to have been caught near sacrifice day, and recognizes some of the flaws of the legal system. But also, I get the impression that he at this point *believes* in the system enough that he doesn’t really question it. And I think that gives him a lot of room for growth, which I’m excited to see.
Writing: [But the more it ate, the more it continued to hunger…] I only copied the beginning of this sentence, but I wanted to note that you use the word “hunger” four times here. And while it seems like hunger is a motif in this section, the sentence reads a little awkwardly right now.
I do love the paragraph where you introduce Brava Obeemulo! I like that we learned a lot about him in one sentence in a fluid and concise way.
My one bit of suggestion is that in the second section from Obeemulo’s perspective, there were moments where I feel like we’re hearing the author more than the character. For instance, you allude to the unfairness of the sacrifice system multiple times, and then have Obeemulo justify why it must be. But if Obeemulo can truly shrug it off as part of the unfair nature of life, we’d probably see it mentioned once, casually. So I think you could either tone the frequency of these arguments down OR play up Obeemulo as more sympathetic from the outset.
Overall, I think this is a strong first chapter. I like how you have set up the introduction of the Aĉaĵego, as well as how the sacrifice system works. I appreciated that even though the Aĉaĵego seems like a storybook monster, the part from its perspective doesn’t portray it as an all-out evil being, so I’m curious to learn more about it. I also quite like the detail of the storyteller getting away with molesting the beggar. It’s a very cynical take and brings to mind real-world parallels given recent news stories in the media, so I appreciated that bit of realism.
Thanks for the read!
| BookDilo92 chapter 1 . 1/18
Hi, there! Thank you very much for reviewing my story a while back, and here we go. :)
- The intro here is interesting, very quiet and subdued in contrast to what I was expecting from the story summary. To be honest, it doesn't particularly grab my attention because of that contrast, but it's definitely not a bad way to start. The sentences are, for the most part, well-written as to SP&G, and I am looking forward to see this creature develop from these humble beginnings.
- "...few years - or was it decades, or centuries, or was it merely days? - before...": If you're going to have a punctuation within that dashed section, I'd capitalize that first "or"; otherwise, it looks and sounds a bit awkward in relation to the rest of the sentence.
- "...full of fish, and finally discovered...": I'd get rid of the comma here; the misplaced pause breaks up the flow of the sentence by making the last few words seem fragmentary and tacked-on. Or, alternatively, I'd turn the sequence of events starting with the monster dipping its head into the sea into a proper list, which would make more sense and sound stronger.
- "...stomach, as new forms...": I think there needs to be an "and" before the as, or the sentence becomes a run-on.
- "...existence the being discovered...": There should be a comma after "existence".
- I like how you transition from the beast simply having physical hunger to a sort of hunger within the mind. This gives the creature a greater complexity that could make for some interesting development later on.
- I'm also enjoying how, even though the creature simply eats whatever it wishes, that it comprehends and even seems to appreciate the more complex facets of life. Again, the gradual deepening of complexity is making me excited to see just how it develops as a character.
- I'd turn the list of beings this creature observes into one that starts with a colon (i.e. "...this head-hunger: Ants, which...") and separate the different sections with semicolons instead of making them their own sentences. Otherwise, they're very fragmentary and break up the flow of my reading.
- "...because before that...": There needs to be a comma after "that".
- I'd restructure the sentence that begins with "But" in the next paragraph; that sentence should really be merged with the previous one with a comma before the "But", since they're both so closely interrelated. Also, I'd make the part that starts with "instead" it's own complete sentence, since that whole part is its own complete idea separate from what comes before and after it.
- Immediately, reading the part where the humans learned our protagonist could understand them, I immediately went "ooh" in anticipation. This is getting more and more exciting!
- Now, I feel like a I have to ask, is our creature a dragon of some sort? I'm really getting that vibe, and since I absolutely love dragons, I'm looking even more forward to how it will develop and what other kinds of abilities it has.
- "As it filled its stomach with human meat and its head with human knowledge, the emptier it became.": I love this sentence, especially since this seems to convey that our monster is indeed learning that life isn't just about eating and that, perhaps, killing other living beings holds so real sustenance.
- We really start into the human POV in the next paragraph too quickly. I, honestly, think that a section break would do wonders for the pacing while also getting rid of any initial confusion readers have about the shift.
- The phrase "temple goers" should either be connected with a hyphen or spelled as one word; it really is just one term that has two interconnected words within it.
- Ouch, these two human characters we're introduced to sound rather selfish and without compassion. If your goal is for us to dislike them, then you've written these two very well.
- "...the news - that...": There should be a semicolon here instead of a dash; the second part of the sentence isn't extra information but, instead, carries on the idea presented in the words before it.
- The justice system of this town is very interesting, and I think you described it well. It's clear, concise, and well-written, so good job!
- "...guards - every...": I'd definitely trade the dash for a semicolon here.
- I like how you describe the struggles of our sacrifice (i.e. "thrashing about", "dragging her feet", & "vocalize incomprehensibly"). It invokes desperation and really justifies that fact that she doesn't think she deserves to be fed to our beast. Again, good work!
- "He sometimes...": This entire sentence goes on for WAY too long; it actualy runs on. I'd split it up into smaller, more digestible sentences for your readers just so others aren't also risking getting tired out from all this information hitting them at once.
- All the dashes save the one that separates the info about discouraging travelers should be replaced with semicolons. Every one of these sections are related enough that they aren't just extra information and need to be better connected with the parts that come before them.
- Again, I think one of your strengths is describing what goes on within this town. I have sympathy for them, and I'm glad to see not all of them are content with their broken system or that there are sacrifices at all, but at the same time, they can be so callous that I can't completely sympathize with them individually. Very well-done!
- Honestly, this chapter ending seems to come very abruptly for me; I was legitimately expecting more, and a more, in all love and humility, satisfactory conclusion with both the town's system and the current sacrifice's struggle as well as what we know of our monster. It reads like part of this ending was just cut short, like there was something else but it was removed.
Overall, I'm really liking this first chapter to this story, and I am legitimately interested enough to keep on reading. Your writing style is, for the most part, very good, and you have a talent for both characterization an setting. Great job, and have a blessed evening!
| Electrumwriter chapter 11 . 10/18/2019
Hello again! Back to Aĉaĵego after a long hiatus.
I really hope I can be helpful when it comes to answering the question of whether the timeline is straightforward to follow. Floreca’s timeline of events definitely is. I’d say that a casual, run-of-the-mill type of reader would start to have difficulties with grasping what Karasema had been going through, though. I would have mentioned her troubles more often throughout earlier chapters. I do however appreciate the callback to when the girls lost their mother and that we get Karasema’s perspective on it. Floreca living as if her mother’s voice were still with her is a well known phenomenon for bereaved people. It’s a cute way Karasema has of describing it; “the ghost of her mother’s voice.”
The regret Karasema has to live with must really gnaw at her. I think the small voice she didn’t listen to was that of common sense, but who knows? Maybe it was the goddess. Jiminy Cricket also described a conscience that way. It’s been Floreca’s story up until now, but Karasema shows that she is capable of being a pragmatist. Floreca is one to let her heart rule her head. It’s good to get some contrast. In her position, Floreca could probably have still convinced herself that their Heaven exists. Karasema actually has what some might call a meta moment later, with her insight about Rakontisto, the storyteller. Don’t we all wish we could be storytellers like him?
The guards mockery of Karasema brings an unpleasant, seedy tone that this story hadn’t had before. It’s really up to you though, how they show their meanness. I would have just let them mock her for being plain or poor.
So, Jadinda has to live in an orphanage now. Sad. I’ll wait to see out things work out for the sisters, but I do hope the three of them can get a better life. It’s a very natural seeming moment for them both to break down in tears at this point. I fully agree that Karasema would not be in the right place, emotionally, to deliver a long exposition in the style of a classical messenger. This story's greatest strength is that you can feel emotionally close to the characters.
| Ckh chapter 16 . 8/3/2019
It took a while to realize that this chapter was set from the acajego's point of view. What a heel turn. I knew that Floreca was going to die, but I didn't think she'll die like this. How ironic. I fully expected her to say her dying words; I just didn't expect that she won't have any dying words. A strong finale. Its only poetic that the acajego starts and ends the story feeling hungry, only that this time, its suffering from a different kind of hunger.
Despite its willingness to change, it can't change its primal desire to kill. Tragic. This chapter was great from start to finish. You can emphasise with the acajego, while knowing that its still a monster. Some things never change, even if we like them to. The priests will continue to hold on to their power. The villagers will still be duped by the priests. Its a tragedy in more ways than one. Maybe the acajego will kill itself one day, but I doubt it; Its innate tenacity to live is just too great. It'll live on for a long while, eating villagers and forcing priests to amend their false stories. Eventually, it'll meet its end by human technology (because if the acajego really existed in 2019, it'll be bombed to death), but will it be satisfied then? Will death please the acajego? Probably not.
All in all, I liked the whole story, but I just wish that were more chapters dedicated to the Acajego and Floreca. I'm sure that all their possible interactions have been exhausted, but I can't shake the feeling that you could squeeze more substance into the already great narrative. No complains for characterization or the flashback chapters. I found everything to be well utilised.
To answer your queries:
- I didn't get what eggflowers stood for, though I got the feeling that they were supposed to symbolise something. I just didn't know what. Innocence perhaps?
- You should keep the mother's backstory. Its a good example of how indoctrinated the villagers are, going so far as to die for the sake for their religion.
- I found that Rakontisto was a nice addition to the plot. It drove home how selfish the villagers were; they had no qualms about sacrificing a little girl just to save their favourite storyteller, in disbelief of how shitty he was. Judging them based on their own religion, they are hypocrities for using a (relatively) innocent girl as a means to save another. In doing so, they have sinned, but they do not recognise it. His inclusion in the plot is a great portrayal of how flawed the villager's system and culture are.
- Karesema's flashback helped contextualise the general mistreatment of sacrifices by the general public. You should definitely keep it.
A near perfect ending to a great story. I'm favouriting this, if only for the fact that its one of the multi chapter FP stories I actually finished and greatly enjoyed. Good luck with your edits and future writing. Thanks for writing.
| Ckh chapter 15 . 8/3/2019
I'll make this quick, since I'm dying to read the ending. Its sad that Jadinda has been fed so many lies about her sister, when in reality she's just manipulated by the plotting priests. You did a good job portraying the extent of her lies. Karesema is trying to right the wrong dealt to Jadinda, but can she convince her otherwise? Its odd that the priests would allow Jadinda to go with Karesema in the first place, but I guess that they are so confident about their power, they think that nothing will change if Jadinda knew the truth anyways.
A great chapter. If you excuse me, I'll be reading the finale. Everything has been building up to the final act. What will happen? I'm eager to find out.
| Ckh chapter 14 . 8/3/2019
I want to read the next chapter now, but I have to leave a review. I like how Floreca stood up against the acajego, even if her efforts was ultimately in vain. The Acajego is just too possessive of her, though it did allow her the freedom of conversing with her family members at least. With two chapters left, I wonder if its selfish personality can really change.
Oof, I didn't expect the last line. I expected the acajego to hit her, but I didn't expect it to throw her forcefully. It really is throwing a childish tantrum, with no regard for consequences. The last line could be worded better though. As it stands, it feels abrupt - but I get that that's also the feeling you're trying to go for. Maybe an extra line about Floreca being oblivious of the Acajego's actions/her reaction to it will do. Welp, I'm eagerly off to read the next chapter now.
| Ckh chapter 13 . 8/3/2019
It hurt me to listen to Sagulo's bullshit. He's great at it, sure, but it doesn't make it hurt any less. The whole village is enraptured by the falsehoods he spews out; No one is on Karesema's side, not even her own family. While Karesema suffers, Sagulo benefits from his profitable scheme. Only Karesema loses here.
The ending is poignant, depressing and plain sad. I await Floreca's reaction to this. No doubt will she start seriously questioning her religion. "They'll never hear. They'll never care." sounds better than "They'd never hear. They'd never care." Alternatively, you can just change your verbs into past tense. Again, a good chapter. I didn't feel the chronology was off one bit.
| Ckh chapter 12 . 8/3/2019
"What are you going to do, sacrifice me to the Acajego?" - Careful Karesema, your sass is showing. Considering the terrible things the priests have done to her, I think she's allowed this one moment of sass. She trusted the priests, and they betrayed her. They deserve to panic for a while.
I don't think Karesema will emerge from this incident unscathed, but I guess her punishment won't be so severe; The priests have more troublesome things to worry about. A great chapter.
"...looked at his underlings at the table, (and) gestured..."
| Ckh chapter 11 . 8/3/2019
I really like the opening. Karesema's internal struggles is laid bare to the readers, and I love the writing. The last sentence in the first paragraph drags on for a little too long I feel. It could easily be split into two sentences, though. Add a full stop after sore legs, and begin with "It had always been defiant...". 'every instinct' reads like a weird phrase. 'Her very instincts' could work better, though both are grammatically correct. Its just preference. To reiterate, I think your opening is gold. Some minor edits will make it flow better.
This chapter gives us a lot of insight into Karesema's character. Its not if she completely dismisses her religion, its just that she can't find within her to believe it. We finally get to see Karesema's sacrificial scene, and ouch, does it feel brutal. What a tearful reunion at the end; Karesema finally gets reunited with her family again, but at what cost? An excellent chapter. I concur with tealover's edits, though I feel that "... but the voice had never sounded like the personification of life..." would read better. See you next chapter.