|Reviews for Jack Simple|
| zanybellecloudo chapter 1 . 6/6/2018
This was certainly a delightfully written and unstated chapter if ever I did see one. It has both a sense of charm and quaintness which endears Jack and his humble existence to the reader impressively. I particularly enjoyed how he downplays his intelligence to the locals and prefers to keep to himself. I quite adored the idea of a self-selected mute, who spoke only to his dog, Lightfoot, and made himself all the more peculiar to the world and quietly enjoyed the bemusement in others.
Just a couple of notes which I hope are useful:
When he speak to Eidna so readily, I wonder whether their first interaction should instead start with gestures such as shaking his head or pointing, to keep to the character you initial outlined? It may perhaps be more authentic if he gradually warms to her and begins to speak when she simply won’t go away? Either way, they are both equally well-written and easily likeable characters.
‘Jack lived in the woods ever since he he’d…’ [remove additional ‘he’, unless stammer implied ;]
I love how all the seasons are female except Winter.
Thanks for sharing your work. Looking forward to reading more. ZB.
| alltheeagles chapter 10 . 4/17/2018
Oh, he didn't go to the rescue? Never mind, his plan worked! And part of my crazy prediction was correct! I understand now why you were so obtuse at the end of that chapter about what he did with the herbs. Ignore my nosey suggestion back then.
Despite what I said about the less than dramatic turn of events, the romantic in me is very happy about that. And then the next moment the inner feminist starts up her indignant 'what's the big deal about being pure?' spiel. You know what, I think I'll let that one sit it out this time. This is a sweet romance, and I found it less dark than you might have thought. I enjoyed it!
| alltheeagles chapter 9 . 4/17/2018
Staff and acorns? Hills and furrow? How... uh... rustic. :D So his grand plan is just to make the Mayor so drunk that he can't complete the act? I wouldn't say it's an anticlimax, just... unexpectedly ordinary. Well, it's simple and straightforward, just like his nature, so as an aspect of characterisation, it suits him to a T. As a plan, it's very risky - how well does he know how well the Mayor can hold his drink, to begin with, and how sure is he that he himself wouldn't get too drunk to come to the rescue (assuming that's what he's going to do)? Having said all that, I hope he succeeds. Go go Mr Practical!
| alltheeagles chapter 8 . 4/17/2018
So far so good, I guess. Jack seems confident that things are proceeding as planned, but all I can see is that he has arranged for himself to be there at the scene of Eidna's deflowering. Cowboys shooting through hangman's ropes come to mind. So does the plan involve abducting and flight? Wait, I have a crazy idea - he's switched the herbs for something that will send everyone to sleep! But no, that will only cause her an even bigger problem once they all wake up...
As I said earlier, he could just accept the way things are, and made the best of it. That'd make for a boring story, of course, but I think what I'm trying to say is that my impression of Jack so far as he has been described doesn't include him having that streak of stubornness or pride or whatever that might motivate him to do all this. He just feels so down to earth it's almost prosaic. I dunno, maybe all it takes is just a few words about his blood boiling at the thought of some other man touching that silky skin?
| alltheeagles chapter 7 . 4/14/2018
You know what, Eidna is completely right. If he truly loves her, he'd accept her at face value. And the way he's been presented as a 'simple' guy who just wants a peaceful life, I don't think it'd be out of character at all for him to do that. The villagers would laugh at how the simpleton took on the soiled goods, but they could indeed be very happy together, particularly if-as I assume-she's considered to 'belong' to Jack after marriage and thus not beholden to her father anymore. I'd thought in the opening chapters that women might be on a more equal footing in this world, but it seems they face the same double standards after all.
| alltheeagles chapter 6 . 4/14/2018
That Jack would do something about Eidna's plight was a foregone conclusion, only what he did exactly turned out to be not as the clues suggested. The way you ended the previous chapter had me thinking it was one thing, but then it turns out to be another. Maybe for continuity's sake you could add a bit about Jack walking off into the night and turning right round again with a better plan after considering the consequences of just disappearing with the herbs.
I wonder as well just what would happen if Eidna had slept with Jack. Given that this is a pre-industrial world, I don't think the Mayor would have any other way of knowing her un-maiden state apart from bleeding, and that can be arranged with a discreet pouch of a suitable substitute...
| alltheeagles chapter 5 . 4/11/2018
Well my suspicions on things not being that simple were confirmed, though not in the way I was expecting. So this is a tale of human frailty, and a struggle between duty and personal happiness. It's a familiar theme, but you managed to present it from a fresh perspective, so kudos on that. Is the 'magic' going to happen in the next chapter? Will something impossible happen that will save Eidna from her fate? I really can't guess at this point.
I think the only little thing I have something to say about is that it's not really necessary to explicitly mention that tension is building up, because it's pretty obvious already from the events themselves.
| alltheeagles chapter 4 . 4/11/2018
Haha, you tease, you... That opening had my eyebrows doing a little dance after what I said previously about instant vs slow-burn relationships. But it was a dream...
This Eidna is either too inquisitive for her own good (Nancy Drew, anybody?) or she definitely has an ulterior motive. Writing-wise, I like how the back story is woven into the narrative and not just there as a big chunk of exposition. It explains her motives and her determination... or does it? That last line was thought-provoking - why is she sad? Because she's about to do something nasty to Jack, or because the herb-hunt was only an excuse to spend time with him? If the latter, then why didn't she make a move earlier to REALLY get her man?
| alltheeagles chapter 3 . 4/10/2018
Right now, this reads like a fluffy rom-com with witty repartee, and don't get me wrong, I'm perfectly fine with that. If this is a romance it's the kind I like to read, with interesting leads and that delicious initial awkwardness. I'm just wondering when the 'magic by ordinary folk' bit of the blurb is going to kick in. Unless you mean the kind of magic that comes from the perfect pie, a beautiful moonlit night and that kind of thing. I could go for that kind of thing too if it's well written, as this piece is, but if it's categorised as fantasy then I'm just wondering when the 'impossible by the laws of physics' type of magic will start happening.
| alltheeagles chapter 2 . 4/10/2018
I like the opening for its subtle reference to the lack of a female presence in Jack’s life, and the looking in the mirror scene was a good way to insert a description of Jack. It made me grin at how discomfited he was getting because of Eidna. On that topic, given a choice between instant attraction and a slow-burn relationship, I tend to prefer the latter because I’m pretty sceptical of love at first sight. Still, things are not moving that fast, so I’ll wait and see how this one goes.
I rather like this plot twist of her coming along on the trip, but I agree with Jack on the rumours that it’s bound to spark. Why is this herb so important to her, indeed, or is this some trick as Jack suspects? I think things aren’t as simple as they look.
| alltheeagles chapter 1 . 4/10/2018
Eidna is rather refreshing for a fantasy story in that she isn't just window dressing, a trophy for the macho hero or a sexpot airhead tavern wench. Not that I'm implying that these are all the female characters in fantasy, but they do tend to abound, along with the sexy female warrior in impractically revealing gear, the besieged princess needing to be saved and the (often scheming) enchantress. My experience of adventure-focused fantasy has always been that it isn't the most progressive of genres when it comes to gender roles. But I see that in this world, women can take productive employment and make their own life decisions, and that is a good start. It's also something of an eyebrow-quirker that she is the one initiating the flirting. Jack's inexpert response says a lot about his character and general stand on women without this being explicitly stated. I'm guessing she's been watching him if she knows where he lives, and so she probably knows he isn't as simple as his monicker.
The language is simple but richly descriptive, and places me right there in the scene. There are many fresh phrases that I like, in particular: the sigh that could start a breeze in a well. It made me smile.
| LorrahBear chapter 5 . 2/11/2018
I see what you're doing with "Jack said to Jack" but I still found it awkward. "Jack said to himself" would be much better in my opinion.
One small typo of passion: "eachothers" is missing a space. ;)
WELL! Eidna's father needs a solid beating, as does the mayor, who I now hate even more. And Eidna herself needs some sense talked into her; agreeing to be essentially raped is not acceptable just 'cuz your father wants to serve his master in new and more delightful ways. What a terrible man! I hate the mayor, of course, but I hate the father more for agreeing to this!
Well, you've got my fire going, so clearly, you've done well.
| LorrahBear chapter 4 . 2/11/2018
This was a lovely chapter. Your opening dream sequence was wonderfully done, with just enough of a hint of fogginess around the edges to make it clear that he was sleeping long before Eidna fired his gun. Great job.
I did find his immediate offering to show her how to use it to come on a hair too quickly; he just woke up heart pounding certain she and/or his beloved doggo were dead that I was surprised they went right into training. Not that I didn't like the training; I *loved* the training. I just felt like maybe there should've been a slow down. Perhaps they eat breakfast before he teaches her, giving him time to get his thoughts together.
I really enjoyed their bonding over the mayor and the unfairness of her lot in life.
| LorrahBear chapter 3 . 2/11/2018
Noticed one sentence with issues: "I baked them this morning, its why I was late to your cot." The comma should probably be a period, or perhaps a semi-colon if you're brave enough and totally understand the rules (which I only pretend to at best!). Also, it should be "it's" instead of "its" because if you broke it down, she would say "it is why I was late".
I loved his joke with her about the foot smell! I also thought his doggo-love comment was adorable and completely appropriate for him - he has so little practice with full conversations and friendship (not to mention attraction). Perfect. Just perfect!
I still felt a little bit of the choppiness I described in the last chapter, especially early on in this chapter, but it dissipated quickly this time around. Very nice.
You might look into ensuring that you only have on actor/focus per paragraph. For example, in the second to last paragraph, we start with Jack as the actor, then Eidna, then Jack again. Keeping one actor per paragraph may result in some *very* short paragraphs, but it helps in overall clarity and flow.
Once again, another chapter that I really really enjoyed!
| LorrahBear chapter 2 . 2/11/2018
What a lovely chapter. I love how you kept returning Jack's thoughts to Eidna in the first section; what a fantastic way to keep her perpetually on the edge of the reader's mind (as well as Jack's!).
I noticed only one small punctuation error ("Men are the less dependable sex, I've found[,]" Eidna declared).
This is nitpicky (so please know I'm only trying to find anything to say that might be helpful and I'm having to DIG), but I felt like the flow was a bit choppy in the beginning section, by which I mean that the pattern was...choppy. Many short sentances in a row. Using a lot of shorter sentances in a row can be really wonderful when used in an action scene (to incorporate the hurry, the franticness), but when used to describe Jack's thoughts and preperations for his journey to gather the root, it gave it a rushed quality I wasn't sure matched the tone you were going for.
Anyway, I really loved this. I have some friends who use "doggo" as a greating for all dogs too, so that made me smile (I use the much less cute "pups" or "puppitos"). Love Lightfoot already. He has a great name!