Reviews for Shattered Fortress II: Adversaries
AngryFerrets chapter 8 . 5/28/2017
Probably one of the most aptly named chapters anywhere.

First, I feel bad for Ela. You do a great job, first with Azad and now Ela of portraying their tortured feelings. Most members are very 'Vulcan' like and seem to accept what is, but then there are the tortured few who long for contact and comfort. Overcoming that alone would make for a great story.

But then we have the Dryn Mar. My mind is still fuzzy on the politics from their place of origin, but I know that going back as protectors was certainly not something I'd considered. I'd need to reread some earlier stuff to refresh my memory but if I remember correctly the Dryn Mar each have a master who is Dryn that they are connected to in some way? So what Taleb has discovered is that if their master dies they convert to humans? Well damn.
AngryFerrets chapter 7 . 5/28/2017
A terrific chapter of world building. This is such a fascinating world and it's revealed in layers, a little here, and some more here, at just the right pace to help understand character motivations. I refuse to believe they are the only humans left...I may be wrong, but regardless, it'll be interesting to see how the characters deal with believing this.

Magic? Or long lost technology? For a people who lost the tech would magic seem so different? Then again, the Dryn abilities seem to border on magical.

There are so many questions and no clear answers. Which is excellent story telling as I have to continue to read to find out what I want!
alltheeagles chapter 9 . 5/27/2017
This is MUCH more like the Azad that I had a mental image of scheming and making covert alliances to further his cause. Well, looks like he's gonna find it hard keeping work and home life separate, so to speak, because I doubt he can manipulate Arita that easily into helping him with the or walls, so he may well have to bring either Deena or Zee into play. Or will he?

I don't see what's the problem with Cyrus X Moana, really, if the Dryn Mar are basically human1. When I thought they were totally different species I could understand the animosity to their relationship better but now it just seems a little petty of Taleb and Azad.

Have you explained why and how Kanin and Ada lost their Mar-ness and became Humar? I can't quite remember, sorry
alltheeagles chapter 8 . 5/23/2017
The Dryn Mar are humans? I am trying hard to wrap my head around this concept right now.

First the appearance - the colourful scales are a mark of their... nonhumanness? supernumanness? Is being human somehow a negative state for them, like being weaker or corrupted? Or is being human the base state that using Drycana elevates?
Secondly the connection between them and the humans on the Crystifice. Are the enemies back home human as in not scaly? And they're the... long lost relatives of the Crystifice humans? Now because I read Sunken Ships and your other pieces I am somewhat familiar with the rebellion, but would a 'new' reader be able to make sense of all this? I'm excited to find out how you link everything up
alltheeagles chapter 7 . 5/19/2017
I started out taking Shattered Fortress as sci-fi (thanks to that REALLY sci-fi souding first chapter on Cerebromancy) and I guess I still think of it that way to a certain extent because when the talk of magic came up I found it quite disconcerting at first, like I'd wandered into the wrong room at a cineplex and finding myself watching a movie I didn't buy tickets for.
But once I got over it, I'd say it was smoothly addressed. It's not that we've never heard of the 'return of magic' theme before, but this is a refreshing take on it, the return of magic to a technology-centred society. And the revelation about Zee was equally thought-provoking, because now he can play a totally different role, not just an 'untouched innocent' but somebody with an asset in this society.
alltheeagles chapter 6 . 5/13/2017
Azad's behaviour felt out of character for me somehow, and when I analysed why it was, I realised that it was because I'd built up this image of Azad as a somewhat cold, calculative individual not wont to unplanned actions. I suppose Zee appearing must have really rattled him. Likewise I had this impression of Cyrus as a harmless academic lost in his own world who had no idea how to wheel and deal, but hey, here he is making offers and counter offers like a boss.
No issues with continuity or clarity this chapter. Good job!
AngryFerrets chapter 6 . 5/10/2017
Woah...so much for subtlety! :) Azad's direct approach was certainly unexpected, both for me as a reader and for him as a character. I thought that scene was really well done. You could feel Azad's uncertainty at how he was going about his business and see how it was backfiring, out of control, and maybe ended up harming his long term plans rather than helping them. Well done.

And Barash...well, once again subtlety is out the window, or off the Drop Rock. If he's spilling secrets it can't be long before a lot of people are going to be asking questions and demanding answers. Maybe forcing Cyrus' hand into something. You've built a really tense atmosphere, seems like one spark might set everything off and I have no idea how it will play out! Excellent reading!
AngryFerrets chapter 5 . 5/5/2017
Very interesting. The "spider web" was the or-wall that Azad had put up to prevent anyone from heading outside to the drop rock where the ship is tied on but Zee just walked through it. And if only the person who established the or-wall can dissipate it then - wow - his world just got shaken.

I feel like there is more to Chax than meets the eye. I refuse to believe he had such a small bit part to play.

Interesting if it was Matka who was invading Taleb's thoughts. Seems unlikely but would be a very interesting twist.

You're tying each individual thread together nicely. Not to fast, and not dragging out the story unnecessarily. The pacing and timing seems to be very good.
AngryFerrets chapter 4 . 5/4/2017
Uh-oh...I can not many real positive outcomes from Zee doing this. His father has done such a marvellous job of covering everything up and now it's likely going to be tossed out. Also a great spot to end...I need more time so I can get to the next part.

The Dryn are so mysterious. I love that. They seem to be capable of such amazing feats but we still have so many more questions than answers. I feel like the "power of creation." at the end of the first section is monumentally profound for this story. I'm a bit fuzzy today and can't put my thoughts into words very well but I'm starting to sense a much deeper meaning lurking under the surface. Something profound. Terrific once again as always!
alltheeagles chapter 5 . 5/2/2017
No problem with continuity at all in this chapter.
I really liked that description of Zee entering the place - was that him penetrating the shield (if there is one) or has he been immediately sensed? It was a little surprising that he didn't set off bells and whistles as soon as he crossed that threshold, actually. They don't expect visitors, huh? Then I got to the part about or-walls, so I worked out that the spider web feeling was Azad's or-walls being triggered? Except that Arita was there and I'm not sure if it was her breaking down the wall that upset Azad? Or was it Cyrus' wall, and that was why he was at the exit as well? Whew, so many questions...
We have a saying over here - He who eats the chilli pepper tastes its heat - and that's what Azad's interaction with Chax made me think of. I'm not really expecting a multi-layer conspiracy of who's watching who, but I can see how it's a possibility with all those empaths around.
Final comment: I think Moana should challenge Mady and whoop her behind!
AngryFerrets chapter 3 . 4/28/2017
I love how this is starting up. So many questions that are just begging to be answered. I'm also a fan of this style of writing, tantalizing pieces of loose ends that you just have a feeling are all going to interconnect at some point in the future. The golden streaks must be the snippets that were distracting Taleb but to this point we haven't seen any of the Dryn be affected by the crystifice so this is an interesting development.

Lots of small things going on, between the other two changing into what appears to be human form and the crystifice interacting with Taleb, Azad's secret, Cyrus and Ela maybe having feelings... It feels similar to a disaster movie. Where all the precursors to the main event are there (earth tremors and gas vents before a volcano erupts) and you can see there is a build to the trigger point but the characters are oblivious... Very much enjoying this...
alltheeagles chapter 4 . 4/28/2017
TALEB ISN'T DEAD! Now why am I so happy about that? I remember I didn't even like him all that much when he was first introduced. The grumpy guy must've grown on me. There are some things I particularly liked in this chapter:
- How you showed that it was Chax through his lisp - NOW I realise why you gave him that characteristic, and I thought it was just a small detail then
- How Taleb's injury works as a way to introduce the healing potential of Drycana, so now I see how the fight is not a random event. Was there a time lapse between the actual fight and Cyrus finding out? Not too clear how that is.
- It's heartbreaking and sweet at the same time that Zee uses Mom and Dad as his imaginary playmates, but surely he'd have the imagination to invent other friends of his own? Yet his plan to prove his 'manhood' is also a strong and believable reason for him to venture into the Cystifice. Anyhow, I anticipate some Mowgli-esque scenes coming up.
alltheeagles chapter 3 . 4/25/2017
There is again a collage of scenes, but at least I can see the thread joining them together - or at least I think I do - unlike chapter 2 where the connection was more tenuous. Are the sections and scenes meant to be in chronological order and just displaced in location? If that is the principle then it'd help me understand the plot better, I think. Anyway, the chapter leaves me full of misgivings. Did Taleb die, and how is this going to affect the Dryn Mar? Are the golden streaks connected to the three snatches of conversation that distracted him? Was that done on purpose, ie is it an assasination plot?
AngryFerrets chapter 2 . 4/22/2017
Azad...I can remember being shocked when the revelation of his family was revealed. Such a by the book guy with such a big secret. It's nice to get a bigger glimpse into his family life and what is motivating him. I'm also unsure if the transformation of Kanin and Ada happened at the end of SFI or if we are just being introduced to this development. Either way it is incredibly intriguing and sets up a lot of questions and possibilities. Could this happen to all the Dryn? Why only them? Some great questions that only add to my anticipation for future chapters!
AngryFerrets chapter 1 . 4/22/2017
It is awesome to see this story being continued. It took a bit of time to get back into the flow of things, trying to remember who's who and all of the connections and relationships. It's a very promising opening chapter that revisits some of the intertwined stories, catching us up on what's been happening.

I'm very happy to see this continued and will be highly anticipating each new instalment!
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