|Reviews for The Epochal Chronicles III: Children of Time|
| Will9035 chapter 21 . 11/16/2017
Bravo, sir. Bravo. I was wondering how you were going to wrap this up, but I was not expecting it to be with a cameo from an old Ganger. That was a nice little surprise. If you hadn't made perfectly clear that this were the end of the Epochal Chronicles, I would think for sure that there was another story coming based on how you ended it here. I must say, it would be cool and nostalgic to see the (literally) old Gang team up with the one that Kyle started.
At this point, there's not a whole lot I can say that I haven't said many times already. I've always considered one of your shining qualities to be the way you paint each scene, whether it's a calm and serene one in nature like this one, or an intense battle where a veritable god gets impaled. Your dialogue worked well the whole way through. While I fear there will always be times when your characters will be discussing some speculative concept and I'll be saying, "English, please' to myself, there were never any moments where your characters didn't talk like human beings. Or, at the very least, I can't remember any occasions when I was pulled from the narrative due to a clunky or unnatural line of dialogue.
Out of all four of these stories (counting Raquel in Cadence included) I'm not sure which one I like the most. But I can say that the one I liked less than the others (and remember the least about) is "Rising Generation." I get that you wanted to establish a large cast of characters, especially when you're writing a multi-parter where everyone will be important at some point. But if you do write another series like this, I would try to find some way to introduce and develop the characters without dedicating an entire installment to it.
But any gripes I have are not a big deal. These four stories truly contained a story epic in scale, and you did a fantastic job with it. The fact that you were able to pound this out in just a few months is nothing short of impressive. I don't know what further adventures you have in store for the SG (or any of your other characters) but, whatever they are, I'm sure they'll be great.
| Will9035 chapter 20 . 11/12/2017
This felt like more of an expansion of the last chapter-that is, the characters are saying their goodbyes to each other and setting the stage for any possible continuing adventures. That said, I did appreciate how you delved deeper into the specifics about how each character is feeling in regards to Salem's demise, as well as what each character will be doing and the questions that are facing them.
I'll admit, I totally forgot about Kamal. He definitely sounds like a loose end. Could he be "made quick work of" like Alise said she would. Still, I can't help but feel you're deliberately leaving a lot of opportunities and character threads open with the intent of possibly (or definitely) returning to them at some point. But I guess the final chapter(s) will assess how correct I am about that.
| Will9035 chapter 19 . 11/8/2017
Everything is winding down. I could just feel it in the way you wrote this chapter. Well...okay, it was super obvious that the story was almost over anyway, but the way you presented everything here was a clear reminder of all that. And yet, based on the way you ended the three "mini-chapters" here, it almost sounds like you're already planning a third series. "But it was time to face new conflicts together," or implying that Alise would become a Ganger herself. Or, the fact that apparently the SG is going to become a household name after this conflict, no doubt inspiring billions of people all over the world to take up the mantle.
But I don't want to start speculating. There's not a whole lot to say here, other than that you hit the bittersweet notes exactly right. I don't think I'll be saying this much more often (for now) but, job well done.
| Will9035 chapter 18 . 11/5/2017
Now THIS was a great chapter. The fast-paced action was so well-written that even though you had minimal dialogue, I still got a fast-paced and frantic sensation from seeing these events play out. Very well done, sir. I'm guessing you spent a lot of rewriting this chapter, just to make sure the confrontation with Salem went down as well as possible. I would definitely say that you succeeded.
And speaking of Salem, that fight sequence with him was stellar. No melodramatic speeches, no cliched or ham-fisted dialogue tags ("It's over, Salem!" "If I go down, you're coming with me!" Etc.) Just a good ol' fashioned one-on-one climactic battle. I really liked the image of two people with Foresight predicting each other's attacks and counter-attacks. I don't think I've ever *read* it before when a battle was conducted under such circumstances, so you did a spectacular job conveying that imagery.
So, Big Bad Salem is now dead. I'm guessing it won't be much longer before the story comes to a close. And the best part is, I only have some vague ideas about what will become of a handful of the Gangers. I'm interested in seeing what they plan to do now that the threat has been wiped out.
| Will9035 chapter 17 . 10/30/2017
Ah, so the mysterious woman was Axel's little friend, huh? Judging by that ominous last line, am I now supposed to expect that Kyle's adventures will continue as he and South go after Axel/Wrath? Maybe I'm getting a bit too ahead of myself. After all, this story isn't quite over yet, either.
I remember you saying that having Alex go into labor at this moment was kind of over-doing it. And...well, I'm not saying I disagree entirely, but here that plotline seemed completely irrelevant. The crux of this chapter is about Kyle facing his not-so-imminent death and making his tearful goodbyes. The emotional heart of this chapter, and the story segments that define it, all happened outside of the ones where Alex went into labor. I don't want to knock that part too much, because it was well-written and visceral. But I feel like it just weighed down an otherwise stellar, intense chapter. Having one character give birth and having another character sacrifice himself at the key moment are both hugely emotional moments, and I think it would've been better served from a story-telling perspective if you gave them separate chapters.
Still, it's not a big deal. I get the feeling Salem will be wiped out soon, and I'm now wondering what you have in store for the Epochal Chronicles' endgame...both for Kyle, and the rest of the Gang.
| Will9035 chapter 16 . 10/26/2017
Do I dare say it? This late in the game, am I really going to say it again?
Of course I am...I don't get what's happening.
Well, okay, I get what's happening on the service. Someone from the SG-I'm thinking it was Kyle-is screwing with the fabric of time, erasing entire battalions of Salem's forces from existing. (By the way, I really liked the way you described all those forces just disappearing and being wiped from existence. There was something so ominous and final about it. Well done, sir.) I think I can wrap my mind around how the Ganger in question is eradicating entire swaths of enemy forces. What I don't understand is how Suha is able to reproduce the same volume of them on the spot. From what I gathered from the text, it doesn't sound like understanding the physics behind these battles are important, so long as I understand the implications of them.
Confusion aside, I really liked this chapter. As I said above, your style of conveying these mass casualties and shake-ups in Salem's forces are doing a superb job at reminding everyone just how high the stakes are and how dangerous this entire battle is becoming. It's been going on for a few chapters, with no end in sight. I'm really looking forward to seeing where you're taking this.
| Will9035 chapter 15 . 10/23/2017
Wow, Kyle's got a major dark streak in him. It goes without saying that in a war with the stakes this high you can't show your enemies any mercy, but shooting someone mid-speech right between the eyes after torturing them for a while? Whoo. He's certainly making up for all the time he's spent sitting out of action for almost this entire story. And now I'm wondering what feats of badassery you have planned for him next, because obviously he's got way more enemies to fight coming up as he tries to destroy those portals.
And now I'm kicking myself for not anticipating Morgan going into labor right as the big final battle was starting. Of course, what better time to have it for maximum dramatic effect? This might very well be the first time I've ever seen a final battle juxtaposed with childbirth. (Well...there IS "Revenge of the Sith," but it was a foregone conclusion the babies would be okay and the mother wouldn't. Obviously I know the baby is going to be okay because she's kinda-sorta-already grown up into Arianna. But I'm going off on a tangent.)
I'm really waiting to see where you're taking things from here. It is abundantly clear that all the pieces are in place for a big showdown, and so far it has not disappointed in even the slightest. And given how you ended both halves of this chapter, I'm only expecting the intensity to increase.
| Will9035 chapter 14 . 10/19/2017
Ah, here it is! The spark being lit on the decisive confrontation. It goes without saying that I'm looking forward to seeing where you're going with this. Your reminder about Seth's rather sudden and violent demise was a nice little reminder about how none of these Gangers are particularly safe...especially Kyle, who seems to be willingly walking up to death's door. I get the feeling at least one good guy won't make it out of here alive, but I'm not sure which one(s). I'm interested in seeing where you take this.
And Skylar. Oh, how proud we all are of you. Going from being an awkward little twerp to being "ready" to face down Salem's army. How much he's grown.
| Will9035 chapter 13 . 10/15/2017
So now we're tackling three stories at once, eh? Too much is going down to just contain it to two narratives? Yeah, you weren't lying when you said "so much" was about to go down.
And what can I say? All three mini-segments here had me wondering where those individual plot threads would be carried forward to next. Well done, sir. I definitely think you ended the chapter with the most powerful one: with the group convening at the old SG's headquarters and ready to attack the head of the snake. There's no question that you have all the pieces in place for a stunning, full-blown climax to this trilogy (quadrilogy, if you're counting "Requiem in Cadence"). I'm looking forward to seeing what happens.
One of the things that stood out to me the most about this chapter was someone it DIDN'T include: Kyle. Yeah, he was name-dropped once or twice, but nothing regarding his fate is being revealed. Amidst all this other craziness, I'm still wondering what you've got in store for him.
| Will9035 chapter 12 . 10/11/2017
I really liked the atmosphere you set up in the first half of this chapter, at least so much as it concerned Morgan. The dread of the impending battle, mixed with the thought of seeing the good guys doing something as drastic as threatening to blow a child's brains out, was captured really well. I was also a little amused by everyone else having their conversations with one another in their minds, and locking Morgan out by default. Although it does sort of beg the question why they were talking to each other telepathically rather than out loud, since I didn't gather that they were seeing anything that Morgan definitely shouldn't or didn't want to hear. I don't know, maybe because the conversation would be clearer to understand than if they were trying to talk over the shuttle's engines?
And that last line of the chapter certainly gives a nice teaser for a big final battle. Hakim is dead, our heroes have been souped-up, Kyle's destiny is sealed, and, as you said, "The Second Time War just turned hot." I'm expecting some major crap to go down in these upcoming chapters.
| Will9035 chapter 11 . 10/7/2017
"And had they really killed Hakim?" Oh, don't do this! I've been waiting since "Rising Generation" to see Hakim get his comeuppance. If a "perfect headshot" doesn't kill a guy, what will? I know Hakim and Salem are basically gods, but I don't remember anything that would enable them to survive a gunshot wound like that. But, then again, I can't keep track of a lot of the material in here-not to mention, maybe Salem could be powerful enough in some way to override it.
Either way, another solidly-written chapter. I'm definitely finding the "second halves" of these chapters to be more enticing than the first half. Is that intentional?
Also-and I could very well be reading too much into this-but something about the second half of this chapter struck me as very interesting. Going into this encounter, I'd say our heroes in the SG were way overpowered and Hakim was the clear underdog. Not only that, but they were willing to psychologically torment and scar Zahira by putting a gun to her head and then killing her father in front of her. Being the clear favorites in a battle, and psychologically scarring children...those are moves right out of the bad guys' playbook. If it weren't for the fact that Salem is so clearly our bad guy and there's nothing to be gained for the universe(s) if he wins, I would almost think you were playing with our sense of good and evil in this chapter.
| Will9035 chapter 10 . 10/3/2017
In response to the question you PM'd me with: the only time I had an issue with you breaking up the chapters into two segments was in chapter 5. Rather than building up a scene and satisfying it while leaving at a cliffhanger, the two different POVs in chapter 5 felt more like the scene was only halfway done when you cut to the next storyline. I thought it would've been better if you had chapter 5 follow the first half to its conclusion (and therefore take up a full chapter) and then take the second half of chapter 5, and finish it to make chapter 6.
But that was the only chapter so far here where I've felt that way. And this chapter here is no exception. The first one was great and all, minus the speculative elements that I've always struggled with. The second half, on the other hand, actually had me reading with bated breath. You set up this mysterious and ominous woman so well. Kyle wanted more answers from her than he got, and I, genuinely, felt the same way. I can't help but wonder what you have in store for her.
So Kyle is officially on the path to death now, says this mysterious woman? I'm wondering what you have in store. Our main character getting killed would be a big freaking deal, and I can't imagine you would flat-out tell us that nothing can stop his death now. Maybe something's happening a la the Oracle in the Matrix, where she's only telling Kyle what he needs to hear under the guise of a prophecy of certain death? Either way, my curiosity is certainly piqued about where you're taking this.
| Will9035 chapter 9 . 9/28/2017
"But it was clear Maggie was worried and more than a little peeved he couldn't keep up with her." Yeah, step it up, Skylar. If I can follow what she's saying, you should certainly be able to!
This was a much better use of breaking up the chapter into two distinct storylines, unlike one of your previous chapters where the momentum was broken. Here, it worked perfectly. Yes, both segments ended with cliffhangers, but you were able to tell both halves without either one of them hindering the flow or intrigue of the other. So on the one hand, I'm waiting to see what Skylar and the others will be like after they have those new abilities, courtesy of this...*ahem* procedure. I will say, I'm not so sure I'd be so on board with being given an ability that allowed others access to my mind, but I guess if the multiverse has to be saved I could suck it up.
Ha, attacking a stronghold of Chronometrics too immature and feisty to be trusted. That was actually a pretty clever plan on Salem's part. In fact, this whole chapter showed once again that Salem is very deserving of the "main villain" title here. There's still plenty of time for him to succumb to the classic pitfall of making a mistake a five-year old could spot (because let's be honest, I'm sure we've both seen more than a few baddies like that) but somehow I don't think you'll let that happen. So far, his attacks are striking me-no pun intended-as the sorts of plans that a competent commander would carry out.
| Will9035 chapter 8 . 9/24/2017
Ahhhhh, so Waku was actually "just" the rare Chronometric who could transfer the status of Observership (is that a word in your universe/multiverse?) from one person to another. Well, that's a rather solid solution to Kyle's problem. I'm guessing finding his wife is going to be priority #1 for him now that he can get killed and it won't doom an entire universe. In all fairness to me, there's still a chance Waku could be evil, right? I know that seems like a total long shot now, but I'm thinking how shattering it would be for Kyle if he thought he was helping to protect Cadence by transferring his Observership from himself to someone else, and in the meantime someone secretly sympathetic to Salem (Waku) actually now knew who the new Observer is and where to find her. But, then again, if that were the case, he probably would've just popped Kyle then and there if he was so bent on destroying Cadence. (Which, as far as I can tell so far, is not one of Salem's objectives)
That was quite the ominous ending you left us with at the end. Who *hasn't* had that feeling when we just know we're seeing something for the last time, and we turn out to be right? So I'm guessing Kyle really is about to say goodbye to Cadence. If I recall correctly, the first time he was seen in this entire series was in Cadence, when he and Raquel had that little skirmish. If the final goodbyes are already starting, I'll take it as a sign that the major crap is about to go down.
P.S. I'm sure this was nothing more than a coincidence, but I like how the first person you've mentioned (to the best of my memory) in this series to have a real post was the Chancellor of Germany, and that you posted this chapter on the same day that the real-life female Chancellor of Germany got re-elected to another term in office. Funny how that happened, huh?
| Will9035 chapter 7 . 9/20/2017
I can see dual-plotlined chapters are going to be a common theme in this final entry in the Epochal Chronicles. So, let's take each half individually.
The first one: wow, two SGs working together? That's a really neat concept. Should I know what chronometric abilities the members of the Sixteenth Generation have? If so, then I'm sorry to say that I've forgotten them. But either way, a veritable god like Salem (and his son) vs. a small army of chronometrics spanning hundreds of years sounds like a pretty awesome set-up. I don't suppose members of the First Generation will find some way and reason to travel forward, so it would be all three SGs versus Salem and Hakim? That would really be something. I must say, though, I was kind of taken aback by the formal way the Sixteenths spoke. Either people in the 2400s-2500s will revert back to speaking more like people did 500 years ago, or respect to your elders is something that future generations REALLY take seriously.
As for the second half-well, I certainly remember the Gray Goose laboratory! If I recall correctly, that was a key location in "Rising Generations." I love seeing key old aspects of plots coming back for key uses later on. To me, it's a sign of solid writing and planning ahead. That being said, I feel a little silly for asking this: who, again, is Annemarie Smith? Based on the way you introduced her, I got the clear sense that I should already know who she is and what her contribution to the series has been. (Ah, and I'd forgotten how much Alise hated to be called Raquel. That was a nice little throwback)
Regardless of my questions, I can tell you're sliding all the major pieces in place for a big finale. I'm genuinely looking forward to seeing what you have planned.