Reviews for Jack Simple
Upsy Daisy chapter 10 . 8/9/2021
"There remained many uncertainties, but all that mattered was the fact that they would now face them hand-in-hand."

What an unexpectedly, pleasantly charming and fitting end to Jack and Eidna's story!

So he did pull it off after all! I have to confess, I was slightly horrified at Eidna's initial appearance, and feared that Jack HAD muffed it somehow - but he did it! I'm glad to finally know the details of Jack's plan, how it is that he could hold his liquor when the Mayor couldn't, and what exactly he intended to purchase with the sale of his sawmill.

I like that Eidna does not answer his question right away, but instead has a question of her own, and doesn't make her answer until she's assured herself of the details of what happened the previous night. On a similar note, the marriage KEY is an interesting detail, one which I like a lot.

Once I realized Jack's play in the last chapter, I was rooting for him to succeed but also rather sad for whatever unfortunate maidens follow in Eidna's footsteps. I'm exceedingly pleased to hear that Jack has effectively set up the Mayor with that "hunting cottage" nonsense. He'll get what's coming to him now - and who knows? Maybe he'll be mauled by a greatbear in the meanwhile!

All in all I enjoyed reviewing this story, and I very much like Jack Simple as a character! Eidna won me over in the end, and I was cheering for them to be together. The romance was fast-paced, and as I mentioned in my first review, sometimes insta-love can really throw me off in a story. I stand by that, but this was a SHORT story, and their banter in the first few chapters set the tone nicely.

I am thankful to be at "The End of It," and glad that the end was a happy one for these two common folk.

Common, but not at all simple!
Upsy Daisy chapter 9 . 8/7/2021
"I am not dressed for the festival, but for my proposal."

My heart! This is terribly sad...

"Her golden hair was drawn up in a loose tumble, wound about with fine-gauged wire and woodruff blossoms that she had preserved from the herb bundles."

Eidna's inclusion (or yours, rather) of the woodruff that has been her undoing in her evening's attire is a small, wistful detail. She should be nowhere near this awful festival - she's too pure. By contrast, the ornamentation at this dishonorable feast remind me almost too much of the wealthy in today's society: power-drunk, flaunting their wretchedness. These people are out of their minds! How has this been allowed to continue if everyone knows about it?

The one they call "Bastard Jack" is ironically the only man among them with a semblance of humanity. And Heinrich has dug his own spiritual grave. You've sold your daughter - who is more precious than all the finery in Brecht - for an empty title, and I hope you're happy, you miserable old man.

"The wine was unusually potent this year."

Aha! I see what's afoot now, and I have to say that although it's not the retribution I had hoped for, it does seem to be the only play that won't land Jack in jail or go against Eidna's free will. It would have been simpler to sell his land in exchange for Eidna's virtue, but knowing the mayor, he would have much rather refused the land in favor of humiliating the both of them. I think he's doing the best that he can. This is a gamble. A risky gamble.

Jack, I'm fond of you...

But if you muffed this I'll kill you myself!
Upsy Daisy chapter 8 . 8/4/2021
"The Mayor smiled. It was more of a leer, actually."
That is my lingering impression of his character in two lines.

But on to the rest! This was an interesting chapter for sure! I like that Jack and Eidna are getting to know one another a bit better after the unusual circumstances of their engagement. The picture you have painted in my mind of Jack sitting nearby while she presses the wine, the two of them chatting away the hours until the day they both know is coming while the sun sets behind Brecht, is incredibly somber, especially in light of Eidna's belief that she will be considered undesirable to Jack after the festival.

I think I'm beginning to see what Jack is up to! My favorite moment by far was the small scene with Herrig and the axe. Jack is in a tight spot, and unable to muscle his way out of it, but that was a nice moment that hints at what he is capable of doing if it weren't for his consideration of Eidna's interests.

I believe I mentioned this in my first review, but I admire the naming scheme you have come up with. I don't know if there's any rhyme or reason to it, but they all seem to have the same sense of history to them: Eidna, Brecht, Jack, Dolf, Fredor (curse you), Herrig, etc. The greatbear is a tantalizing bit of worldbuilding as well... You mentioned his kind before. Are they rare? I kind of want to see one now, though I doubt if it has any bear-ing on Jack and Eidna's doings!

Didn't expect things to go that well with the mayor, but it's amazing how far a pinch of confidence can get you! What now? How far will he go with this scheme? Eidna's depending on you Jack - even if she doesn't know it yet.
Upsy Daisy chapter 7 . 8/4/2021
My reaction to the first line of this chapter was primarily relief and happiness to see Eidna again (probably quite similar to how Jack felt). The line "He was in a dark mood" sets the tone nicely after the crushing of his ego in the last chapter - but then, there is Eidna, who is soon to have her own dealings with the powerful folk in Brecht.

I'm glad you brought up the dream again or I might have forgotten to mention it, as it was something I enjoyed about the last chapter! It's a small, simple thing, but it adds so much to the whimsy of the story without making it "overly magical." It's a dream any man could have had, for no reason other than simple infatuation - but it truly is beginning to seem that the fates have brought Jack to Eidna.

At first I was worried that there would be some sort of misunderstanding with Jack following her to town, but happily I was mistaken! That Jack waited there an hour says a lot in itself, and once again, he proves himself more than a "simple woodcutter" with his cleverness in ascertaining Eidna's true feelings.

It seems Eidna has made her decision, and I can't say I'm thrilled about it - nor Jack, I imagine. Whatever his plan and his dealings with the Mayor, it's probably best that he keeps them a secret for now, lest Eidna protest. I hope this "celebration" is the Mayor's last and shortest.

One last thought is that your descriptions have a breath of reality to them that is truly hard to capture as a writer - from the daub walls and thatched roofs to the grapes in the trough. Your world is not a set piece, it is lived in.
Upsy Daisy chapter 6 . 8/3/2021
And just like that, Eidna sweeps through Jack's life like a gale-force hurricane, and he finds himself reeling in her wake. Your comparisons in this chapter to the story Jack told in the last are somber and fitting. I doubt he would be able to return to his previous life and turn his head, knowing what he knows now... this is quite the predicament. Eidna won't listen to Jack, but Jack already cares for her so much that he isn't willing to allow her to go through with this.

The problem is...

She wants to. Not really, not deep down, but she's been entrapped by both her father and the Mayor. And Jack can't simply drag her away from this town against her will - that's not his personality, and I doubt Eidna would let him anyway.

My favorite little detail in this chapter is when he pulls out the coins, imagining he can still feel the warmth of her fingers on them. That says a lot about how he came to care for Eidna in such a short span of time.

I can only hope that Jack Simple finds a way to prove his ingenuity - both to Eidna, and the corrupt denizens of Brecht.
Upsy Daisy chapter 5 . 8/3/2021
Oh, Eidna.

At first I said, "Hah, I knew she had designs upon Jack," and rolled my eyes, thinking that perhaps they were both about to make a mistake that would come back to bite him later. But Eidna's rash actions make a lot more sense when you take into account that she is desperate, lonely, and afraid.

I wish I could leap into this story and shake some SENSE into her head - if I could, I would tell her that no father who would willingly lead his daughter into harm deserves her compliance or respect. He is not a good man. His pride will be the undoing of them both. If he had any honor left in his heart, he would have stolen her away from the village himself, instead of sending her into the wilds to search for woodruff. And yet when is it ever so easy to turn your back on the man who raised you?

Please turn around, run the other way, and never look back.

"He stared into the fire, imagining a thousand violent ends that he would like to bring to the Mayor."

You bring the blunderbuss, I'll bring the shovel.
Upsy Daisy chapter 4 . 8/2/2021
"Don't worry. You have unloaded it." Best line in the chapter. Also, the "man in love with flirting woman teaches said woman to shoot" trope is one of my favorites! The fact that this world is a fantasy world yet includes a weapon such as a blunderbuss (with a name such as Dragonhead no less) is unique. I enjoy the idea of fantasy worlds that aren't completely stuck the usual 'bow and arrow, sword and dagger' days.

I also have enjoyed with each chapter so far the way that the landscape and mythology are woven together throughout this story, and the fact that Jack goes out of his way to make his beloved wilds interesting to Eidna (not that she isn't interested to begin with). It feels like a living, breathing place, with it's own history and it's own peoples far grander than our two protagonists. Ironically that feeling of being dwarfed by the vastness of your world makes these characters that much more interesting. They are, as you say in your summary, those common, everyday people that fantasy so often ignores.

The sadness in Eidna's voice and her reluctance to hurry on their errand gives the chapter a somber tone despite the pretty sights and her budding friendship with Jack, and hints that the springwine may not be the last of her troubles.
Upsy Daisy chapter 3 . 8/1/2021
I love that Jack was hoping she'd fall behind and go back home, ha ha! Congrats Eidna, you've passed the second trial for winning Jack's heart - the first of which was winning the heart of Lightfoot. If the dog likes you, you're in!

I like the name "Elid Peak," and I also (for some reason) enjoy the fact that it shares two letters of Eidna's name. Maybe this is a reach, but it's almost like a reflection of Jack's two loves: nature and (apparently) Eidna. His contentedness with the wilds around Brecht is so appealing it makes me wish I was there!

Eidna's personality continues to shine alongside Jack's - she brings out the funny in him, even if the funny is sometimes awkward. Really, Jack? That's your pick-up line? The pipe incident at the very end is endearing simply for the fact that Jack laughed. I think at the very least, this is a friendship that will have a profoundly enriching effect on both their lives. Your writing is somehow both lean and detailed in all the right places, and it makes for a fast-paced yet engaging read.
Upsy Daisy chapter 2 . 5/21/2019
"Jack had never felt comfortable with the idea of sleeping in a bed that had been so long inhabited by his old master..."

I relate to that on a personal level. Me neither, Jack. Ugh. Plus, who doesn't love a good loft? His circular window and slanted roof nook is definitely cozy reading corner material.

"His experiences in the orphanage..."

Ooh, some backstory hinted at. Whatever happened to Jack in the orphanage, he seems quite happy with his life at the moment, so that's nice!

Love that Jack feels the need to look in the mirror in anticipation of Eidna's return. This is such a small detail, but so true to life. And little details like his rain barrel and the hearts carved into the tree bring so much life to the setting.

As the reader, I'm not sure that Jack knows what love is at this point in the story. He's certainly infatuated! I think when you've lived alone for a long time, pleasant company (especially of the handsome or beautiful sort) is a bit overwhelming. In some ways it's humorous to observe his discomfort and enchantment as an onlooker, but you've done such a good job of conveying his ineptitude and awkwardness that it almost makes ME uncomfortable.

All that said, I would tell Jack (if he could hear me) to be careful... Eidna is very charming, but you did only meet her yesterday. It strikes me to be a very, very bad idea to let her come, since it would be her word against 'simple Jack's' if she's from a prestigious family or has any sort of clout in town. At the same time, I can't say I wouldn’t have done the same myself in his predicament...
Upsy Daisy chapter 1 . 5/5/2019
I don’t always enjoy "telling" up front in stories, but it’s an old-fashioned way to begin a book (or novella) and it can be done very well… the problem is that some writers see it as an excuse to info-dump straightaway and bore their readers to death. This is not one of those stories, because you’ve presented the information in a very friendly, interesting way. The opening paragraphs are concise enough that they held my interest until the main character had a chance to take shape on the page: you have a knack for setting up a lot of backstory with very few words. His nickname is clever and instantly makes him a likable, relatable protagonist.

Names like "Fralefday" and "Brecht" lend a sense of history to the world right away, and "Fralefday" in particular has a very Scandinavian ring to it. We’re instantly immersed in the world, instead of having every detail explained to us by an omniscient narrator.

"Stupid, as far as Jack was concerned, was paying for something that Mother Nature gave away for free."

This line is gold: it emphasizes his skill as a woodsman, adds an element of casual sarcasm to his personality, and it’s funny that despite his reputation as being simple he sees himself as effectively conning the townspeople out of their money!

It’s become a trope in modern fantasy to replace your average, everyday maiden with a battle-hardened huntress. It’s fun when done well, but I like to see characters reflect the reality I know now and then. Eidna’s character, however fleeting her introduction, has a genuine spark of mystery and whimsy, and it’s believable that such a quick-tongued and inquisitive woman might have caught Jack's eye...

Why is she flirting with Jack? Is it just because she wants something? Does she have a thing for reclusive woodcutters? How will he handle this unlooked for but not unwelcome attention? I tend to dislike "insta-love" in books, because it is often badly written and therefore unearned, leaving me with no investment in the relationship. While I was surprised at how quickly they hit it off, it was enjoyable to read. Friendly banter is always welcome!

Her comment about "befuddled with three marcs worth of beer" was very canny. I like that she calls him Woodsman at the end, despite everyone apparently knowing his name.

It was my pleasure to review this!
Kanna-sama chapter 2 . 10/7/2018
The more I read, the more I fall in love with Jack. He's such a fun character, struggling against any feelings he's developing for Eidna. I love the imagery you have in your descriptions, as well. I can really tell that you've researched materials and the lifestyle of villagers - it gives it a sense of realism to it that is lacking in a lot of fantasy writing. I laughed out loud at the line, "Could she have come already, as he slothfully lingered in sleep?" It fit Jack's personality so well!
Kanna-sama chapter 1 . 10/6/2018
This is a great first chapter! It really draws you into the character of Jack - looking forward to reading more!
RainbowPearls chapter 10 . 9/10/2018
Wow! The ending was indeed was satisfactory and pleasing.

I now understood his motives and I'm glad that it worked. Edna saved herself by obeying Jack and now they are...together! :)

I hope they can pursue a better life from here on and I'm glad that Raspor on longer part of the story! XD

Great short story!
RainbowPearls chapter 9 . 9/10/2018
There seem some secret plan behind what Jack was doing. He seems way too clever here.

Interesting.

Edna's discomfort was really a pity. Her clothing was really embarrassing and I seriously feel bad for her and the way Mayor intimaded her :'(

I look ahead what Jack has in store.
RainbowPearls chapter 8 . 9/10/2018
Well, finally here they meet. Seriously, this Mayor is very subtle and clever, he clearly noted that Jack wanted something from him and Jack lied it as friendship.

Seriously, anyone would have blurted out their motives at that command and snide smile if Mayor but he refrained. ..

Cool, looking ahead for more of Edna/Jack
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