|Reviews for Gods and Demons: ad terminos terrae|
| Anla'shok chapter 18 . 7/21/2018
I have so many questions, lol.
For a situation that was so confusing, it's actually written pretty clearly.
Matt's snapping and the cat's out of the bag. Good. That means he should finally *finally* talk.
Also, mysterious woman with loads of powerful pokemon who does not use pokeballs and might be 200 years old. With obligatory cryptic talk (because why would we need 18 year old heroes if the adults were truly competent and proactive).
I'm relieved they avoided being gruesomely murdered by the ants (for some reason, the way they talk crack me up. I'm imagining them with stilted upper-class british accents, and this sort of threat-veiled perfect politeness).
| Anla'shok chapter 17 . 7/21/2018
I lose count of how many stories would lose much of their plot if people just talked to each other. *Sigh* Matt, you could have avoided a good chunk of the mess I bet is coming if you hadn't been such a mysterious ball of angst. But that would have made it all less fun *grin*.
I love the hive. Very visual, with all the different pokemon types. It's also great to see how much people still have to learn from pokemon, and it betrays the fact that human and pokemon have still a lot of figuring out to do to build a society with true cooperation. Adding demons also shows people are much less equipped to deal with this colonized world than they'd probably like.
I love the overall threatening atmosphere, on top of the actual real threats. I think theme is the biggest strength of this fic (the worldbuilding is great too, but there are a bunch of fics with great worldbuilding. It's much rarer to find such solid theme in fanfiction - and unfortunately, published fiction-. And I'm better at worldbuilding than theme, so I'm definitely impressed here, lol.)
The one thing that bugs me overall is the role of the team's pokemon. Except for Vleridin, most of them are relegated to being tools (and occasionally founts of wisdom). The wild pokemon are usually fascinating, all the team's pokemon had great scenes and promise as they were caught, and then most of them sort of peter out. I blame having too many of them and already so much to do with Moriko's and Matt's character arcs, but it's still sort of a shame that this story would be just as good if they each had half the amount of caught pokemon.
| Anla'shok chapter 16 . 7/21/2018
Thoughts I had when they realized Russ was infected (eww. No seriously EWW.) and they were stranded: does Teleport here work with a human side-along? Wouldn't it be possible to have alakazam in emergency wards then? (in exchange they get free access to labs/files/whatever works).
I've already said there's a fascinating mix of advanced technology and threatening Wild West feel to the world here.
It boggles my mind that it'd even be legal to travel where there is no easy way to send an SOS. The fact that society figures that the risk is worth it, for *badges*...
It does make for a good story, though.
I liked the clash between Vleridin and Moriko about mortality. It's a good reminder that they're two different species with two different realities.
Russ is the least developed of the 3 characters and I'm not even sure I like him that much (he's nice and supportive, but only as long as it doesn't require of him to call others out, and I fear that Moriko's love of him is due to the fact she's so lonely and he's the only person who gives her even that much), but I definitely don't want him to die.
Especially since I'd have to probably give up Moriko having upbeat moments in between the anxiety/self-doubt/internalized racism and now guilt. That poor woman needs a therapist and a quieter life.
Also, Matt, spit it out already!
Ooh, Bugs' Life, pokemon style. Being surrounded by a horde of talking giant insects must be a very odd experience.
| WyldClaw chapter 7 . 6/21/2018
that was a hell of a battle! good thing rufus evolved when he did
| SunLight chapter 30 . 6/3/2018
This was a great story! I started reading it over ten years ago, and I'm glad to see that you have finished writing it at last. I'm super impressed by how it played out, between the demon pokemon and the new concepts you introduced like ensouling, and the vivid worldbuilding. All the characters (human and pokemon) are also well-done, although i'm still not a fan of the Moriko / Angela dynamic that didn't really seem to add anything to the story other than high school drama. Interested to see where you take the sequel.
| Anla'shok chapter 15 . 5/27/2018
Vleridin is definitely the strongest voice among the pokemon. As in they're actually having discussions and growing together.
I'm enjoying how you're expanding on the animal/elemental difference and how travelling with humans gives pokemon the possibility to go where they otherwise couldn't. It seems that what keeps humans dominant is that despite their intelligence, pokemon don't have the curiosity to bypass the habitat limitations and everything (the lack of map for one could be solved by talking to bird pokemon).
The "demon" and the killer pokemon are like a shadow following them pretty much every chapter. I wonder when they'll encounter it head on. I also wonder if finding a dragoon left as sacrifice is not something they should mention to the Rangers since it seems to be part of a disturbing pattern (or if it's considered something humans aren't to interfere in...).
| Anla'shok chapter 14 . 5/27/2018
I really liked the time distortion between the first and second crossing and how the third crossing comes in guns blazing while the second has had time to evolve into a completely different culture and must have considered them invaders.
Also, it does make sense that data would be occasionnally lost when pokemon are basically intelligent miniature potential cataclysms.
| Anla'shok chapter 13 . 5/27/2018
I can feel that Vleridin's going to make things interesting. By being the less compliant of the bunch, she's probably the pokemon who stands out the most (with Maia, because she's the most violent, at least in opinions).
Pokemon possessing humans is a very interesting idea, and it feels like Matt knows more about that than he reveals too.
It's funny how Matt and Russ losing contrasts with Moriko losing. They just review their tactics and rematch, whereas she has an identity crisis (alright, it wasn't *just* the loss, but it shows the difference between everybody's self-confidence levels.).
| Anla'shok chapter 12 . 5/27/2018
When push comes to shove, Moriko's decided to strong-arm the mooskeg. Huh, it seems failure doesn't bring out the best in her. I wonder how far she'll go.
Ha, got my answer: being afraid she's the one who'll end in the hospital makes her reconsider. Well, better than nothing... (Don't mistake me, I actually like characters that aren't moral paragons.). And he might end up staying after all.
Aww, poor svarog. What a dumb kid.
| Anla'shok chapter 11 . 5/27/2018
Well wow, last chapter was really the calm before the storm.
I wholeheartedly agree with Belladonna's arguments (and almost wish Moriko had been there to hear them), for all that I find her battling methods distasteful.
So much for Angela and co's quiet summer. I don't feel we've seen enough of that group (and the little seen wasn't flattering) to strongly feel for them, but the buildup with Dave missing and then Ophelia gone feral (I can't remember if she's a newly caught pokemon/old one? What had her go savage like this? Should I assume from the fire scene that she ate a pokemon -because Dave's the worse trainer of the group and they were desperate for a boost-? Although it seems going cannibal makes you go on overload, not also go feral... unless it depends. But it's very interesting and I don't mind being slightly confused as long as the ends tie up, lol. )
We're reaching the character/pokemon critical mass that's making it difficult for me to keep track of who's who and what are the specifities of each and every one, but after so much doubt from Moriko, it was nice seeing her excited at the prospect of catching the mooskeg.
I'm not sure I'm a fan of having the fire scene right after what looks like a murder. Little can top a murder, and the fire scene was awesome in its own right so maybe it should have been given space to shine on its own. On the other hand, having the two scenes close together was cohesive thematically.
By now, I'm pretty confident Matt's backstory has to do with pokemon murder, so I'm eager for a reveal of some kind.
| Anla'shok chapter 10 . 5/24/2018
I am very annoyed at you for the fake scare with the baby (although it's funny. There's a whole lot of funny snippets, from the 'did you call your mom' to the absurdity with Samuel Oak last chapter. I don't point them out, but I do appreciate the humor). The snippet about Matt *almost* makes up for it and now I wonder if he's some kind of part-pokemon or experiment weirdo, or if all this angst is rooted in more normal issues.
Ugh everything pales a bit in the face of Moriko's internalized racism. The battles are vivid and nice, but it's her hate that sticks. It does make sense that she'd freak out after spending so much time thinking about killer pokemon, even if, retrospectively, Belladonna would never have gotten away with it. I also wonder how much the average person buys into the 'violent half-breed whose ancestors slept with pokemon' tosh, and how much it's Moriko being raw because of her bad experiences.
I also see an added benefit of older teenagers as trainers: Belladonna's "shows" wouldn't fly if it was kids she bullied. With adults, it's scandalous but they'll keep her on (and I bet it's a money spinner).
| Anla'shok chapter 9 . 5/24/2018
The change in pacing was unexpected (but still pleasant). It has a more slice of life feel than the crisp tension of the murder plot.
A lot of sightseeing, description, a lot of moving around, and small worldbuilding add-ons with the Professor and Rangers, more subtext than actual text between Angela and Moriko (but as frustrating as it is to witness it, it's pretty realistic of toxic relationships. Angela is mostly blind and Moriko doesn't know how to voice her feelings), and Matt still isn't opening up. There was the unifying theme of abuse (and how Russ, who seems friendly, mature and laid back, finally reveals an actual flaw: he's, like most people, a bit of a coward in the face of conflict. He figures he might as well be friends with everybody, so he doesn't push beyond what won't jeopardize his relationship. Unfortunately, it's that kind of attitude that mines the self-esteem of people like Moriko, who figure that it can't be really a big deal, or good people like Russ wouldn't be friendly to the Angelas out there).
It's just one sentence from Celestiule, but I have to wonder if a killer pokemon hasn't just hatched. It just sounded ominous.
I do wonder about murderer pokemon. Do they not kill each other in the wilds? If not, fair enough. But if so, then why does killing humans take a whole other dimension? I mean, I get that humans want to isolate killer pokemon, but the Ranger framed it like killing humans meant they had a twisted soul (is it because hurting a human doesn't get them much closer to evolution? Just like attacking a tree?)
I liked the part about all pokemon being prey/followers (with the paradox of most of them being happy to intimidate/show off, but also happy to submit), because it fits with training.
| Anla'shok chapter 8 . 5/19/2018
I liked the conversation between the pokemon, and getting a better feel of their voices and personalities. They do feel like a homogenous group but they're different enough to still feel like individuals. I do wonder though, since it's been established that pokecenters seem to be the heart of the matter, why pokemon (who for the most part sound intelligent, and don't seem to have trouble cooperating inter-species if the reward -such as being part of a team- is worth it) can't organize to get centers set up in the wilds/for wild pokemon.
I was a bit underwhelmed by the murdering pokemon at first (a level 40? That's Moriko's pokemon level, so beginner), but it makes more sense to have it be part of a gang (and it's nicely creepy to remind people that even a standard wild pokemon can be dangerous). It's a nice departure from having human "Teams" as antagonists to give more agency to the pokemon.
I liked the Rangers, and how every scene deepens our understanding of how things work.
Liona will make a nice addition, although I wonder if the pokemon will all keep getting along together so well.
And it seems Matt's past/knowledge is catching up to him.
| Anla'shok chapter 7 . 5/19/2018
I like Moriko's battle's best because it came with the highest stakes (for all that Bjorn's feint was a cool touch) and it highlighted well all of the power plays you encounter while journeying (on top of interesting worldbuilding on the fighting systems and why pokemon want trainers and to battle). I wonder if the leader was harder on Moriko because she's her, or because he didn't want to lose 3 out of 3.
I appreciate that Moriko is made slightly uncomfortable by how human and pokemon use each other and how the story is tackling the subject. I wonder if this "made by humans pokemon" introduction is foreshadowing for the events to come.
| Anla'shok chapter 6 . 12/3/2017
Giving pokemon true agency surely makes catching trickier. This chapter was great at solidifying the whole trainer experience (and how Rangers fit in).
I loved how Tak exploited Matt's desire for a pokemon to get access to a stone. Even though he came back, he's bound to be trouble. I wonder if Tak is especially cunning, or if he's in the norm. If it's the latter, I wouldn't be sending ten year olds on journeys, they'd be outsmarted by every exploitative pokemon out there.
Moriko is self-centered and short tempered, and what's wonderful is how she's still likeable despite it. You're really showing how deep this desire to prove herself (and her I'm-alone-against-this-world-that-hates-me mindset) runs and why it's there. Also, her affection for her pokemon and Russ do show she's trying.
I hope her family declaring theft was the last we'll see of them, although I'm afraid Moriko's sister might make a new appearance (it would interesting to learn why the family that seemed to have been reasonably good to her until she turned 12 or so suddenly became so vile). I also do hope there's a penalty for wasting everybody's time with false theft accusations. I mean, with talking pokemon, it's not like it's an ambiguous situation, and you'd think pokemon would also be used as witnesses to abuse.
Those short peeks in Matt's mind make him more of a mystery than a character I actually like (for now), but they do promise a payoff. I find him more goofy than really irritating, but I understand why Moriko finds his presence anxiety inducing. Russ, maybe because he's really the most well adjusted of the bunch, fades slightly in the background (not that it's a bad thing, I'm sure he'll get his turn).