Reviews for The Long Road
RandomificationChaotic chapter 15 . 1/19
I've been meaning to finish reading and review this particular fic for a while now, and I'm sad that it took me this long to get to it. But better late than never I suppose. I feel the best parts of this fic are how consistent things are, despite the anachronistic approach to the journey and subsequently the arcs of several characters we get to see at various points of their development. This is most clear with the Pokemon, who do get jumped around quite a bit, but never seem out of character with themselves and seem to progress, both in power and personality, in a believable, well-thought-out way that I think really serves to highlight how much effort was put into making sure the fic stayed straight on its own timeline, as well as how clearly you thought out the specific trajectories of each character. This is seen to a lesser extent with Wallace, with whom I greatly appreciated your take as a bit of a haughty brat, rather than the dramatic bent I usually see in his portrayal. Speaking of Wallace, another part of this fic that was highly enjoyable was seeing how things were during Steven's time, with different gym leaders and members of the Elite Four, and the seeds being planted for the future that would come when May/Brendan go through Hoenn. A lot of people and places are in the intermittent stages of growth, and it all serves to reinforce the general theme of progression and learning that dots this entire story. While at first I thought your battles were rather quick and uninspired, the later chapters showed you exercising much more creative freedom and license, highlighting Steven's creativity and prowess in battle without simply resorting to telling the audience and not showing. Iona's battle is a great example of how far you've come in this department. Unfortunately, this only makes it all the more jarring during the times you gloss over battles after it seemed you really got into the groove of writing them, a trend that I started noticing during the Wallace/Juan match and really came to a head with Glacia. I understand playing with expectations, but I don't think it's too much to ask for Steven's final five battles to all be climactic in some sense. Steven doesn't even have to lose any Pokemon; you can still make the battle interesting regardless. A few of your choices I found rather odd, like the gang in Victory Road, which seems terribly out of place in a story that is otherwise mostly grounded in the personal struggles that Steven gets himself into due to his own inexperience. While it is a cool way to introduce Sidney, show Steven's own wits and draw a contrast between him and the others who could not make it as far as he did, it falls a bit flat because of the lack of clear parallels that could have served to make that comparison meaningful. The thing it reminds me most of is the first Kalos League episode in XYZ, where Ash gets held up by a random trainer who couldn't make it to the League for some vague parallel reason that's never really fleshed out enough to work. This also gets me to the main problem with The Long Road which, quite unfortunately, falls on Steven himself. It's not so much that he's badly portrayed or there's anything specifically wrong about him, but it's that he doesn't really stand out from a sea of other journey protagonists. He's impulsive but good-hearted, reckless, gets himself into bad situations, but also thinks quickly enough that he can get away with it. To me, that doesn't really stick out to me as a character at all, especially someone like Steven who is rife with good opportunities for parallels and obstacles from his backstory alone. While things like his relationship with his father and eagerness to move out of his upbringing are hinted at, they're never fully realized and given significant milestones. I realize the fic isn't done yet, and thus you have opportunities to expand on this point, but I can't help but feel they should've been given heavier emphasis. The Long Road, ultimately, is about Steven maturing to become the champion, but the path that is shown is not so much distinct to Steven. If his obstacles to maturation were things that were more specific to him, perhaps something to do with his father and expectations or expanding a bit more on his rivalry with Wallace in some sense by giving him something to chase, things like that could have made this story much richer with character moments, themes and parallels. As it stands at the moment, it's mostly just that Steven has to keep his teenage impulses and enthusiasm for rocks in check, which isn't the most meaningful thing you could do with the scenarios. I'm sorry if I've come across as a bit harsh, but I genuinely did very much enjoy reading this fic, and I'm excited to see how it'll end. I just wish there had been a bit more to it.
FenrirUnchained chapter 8 . 1/19
Conversely with the previous chapter, this entry highlighted the environment Steven was traversing. You painted an acutely vivd picture of what our intrepid Champ-to-be was encountering around him and did so with aplomb. The introduction of Team Magma here was thoughtfully placed, as one could safely surmise that the environmental terrorist group would have spent a considerably longer time hunting for the meteors they saught to further their nefarious goals. The return guest appearance of Ruin Maniac Dusty and the colony of Baltoy was a great touch as well and, as I long have suspected, I was happy to see Steven officially united with Claydol. I must restate something from one of my prior reviews in that while I love the content of each entry I am looking forward to re-reading them in chronological order once you post that version; as much as I am enjoying the story thus far (and I am in fact thoroughly enjoying it) I feel that I would demonstrably more so if I were to read it from Point A to Z.
FenrirUnchained chapter 7 . 1/18
I have a new favorite chapter for this story. This one. Why? Because from start to finish it was some of your best work. From the interactions and inward conversations going through Steven's mind while taking the Victory Road test, to the unique addition of the colony of disheveled trainers terrorizing challengers within the cavern's treacherous subterranean walls. I most especially enjoyed the appearance of Sidney! The use of his punk styled character here was a lot of fun and makes me look forward, with great anticipation I might add, to seeing how you handle that presence from here on out. You again show a strong aptitude for battles despite the brevity with which you pen them and I always enjoy new and unique usage of pokemon moves. I applaud thee as I read on!
SomecallmeMichelle chapter 7 . 1/11
Well that went from zero a hundred rather quickly, didn't it?

But I musn't hold my breath.


Because this chapter is probably my favorite amongst all the chapters. The very idea that there's no map, no clue, nothing about what the Victory Road holds is ingenious. Surely it had to have gained a reputation, but to never reveal it? A secret to everyone? Take this! This is brilliant, in so many ways. And I like how, throughout his hobbies, and his entire life, Steven couldn't be better prepared. It has water, as Dewford had, it has craters like Meteor Falls had. It has rocks - like 30 percent of Hoenn. The look of Steven as he comes to realise it. I can imagine it in my mind you describe it so accurately. No need to be overconfident, but he has grown. He has become stronger than ever.

And yet - even he feels intimated by the size of it. Ever Grand may not be a city - it's the Elite, their quarters, and perhaps a Pokemon Center. But the catacombs, the underground, those could hold entire civilizations. It's as big as Moria, and perhaps even more so. A day goes by and I think to myself "Ok, this has already extended far, far more than I would hope", three days go by and he's not even halfway, Steven may have climbed Mount Chimmney but not even rising to the very top of Mount Silver in Johto would be as challenging.

And then the rag tag team of wanderers comes around. I can imagine them, dirty, worn out, disheveled. Survivors essentially, like Robinson crusoe. Deep in the darks of the earth, like the mutants from Futurama. Whatever example I can think of, it doesn't dimish the originality of the characters. To see Steven, who's held at what is essentially knife point, still have compassion, and promise them a better future is the cherry on the cake. It's perfect.

Not anything they do ticks him off, they take his belongings, and he remains cordial, they insinuate him an incapable trainer, and he shakes his head at the idiocracy. Even when he is assumed to have everything handed out to him, he sets out to prove them wrong.

Steven is smart, I didn't have to imagine the misfit gang as you described them so well, but another thing I would never, ever have to imagine, is Steven Stone outsmarting a perp. And even so reluctancly, even so trying to help them. He may have been born on a silver spoon, but he's not blind to the poor, the naive, the starving. He's willing to share.

Steven has had many a moment in this fic where he was foolish, or didn't think things through. It is only here, when he risks everything he conquered and gained, and even his life to help someone else - in the present and in the future that he truly matures. I could go on and on. The little things, Steven taking little chips of stone for safekeeping, memories. Steven's relationship with his Pokemon. It's all great.

Yet the one thing that truly stands out in this chapter is that Steven Stone gained my respect. He does good on his promise. And whichever the situations that brought him to this point, he has persevered.

Steven did well. And so did you, delivering what is possibly one of my favorite pieces of writing in years of fanfic writing. Were it a oneshot I'd favorite thrice over. As it's not, I can only stand excited at what's to come.

Nice work.
SelasVictoria chapter 15 . 1/11
Steven, are you feeling alright? You never striked me as someone, who would get sick of their favorite activity. Than again, some stuff happend back there, didn't it.
His strategy seemed familiar to me, in-game I'd also simply battled with my most trusted companions and didn't always bother to check the league's trainers. Having a well balanced team at your command is pretty handy, even if they more or less are all of the same type.
Guess Steven has to get used to the Elite Four's different personalities, seeing as he will be their Champion soon (hopefully). I loved his interaction with Iona, made me laugh out loud. Not everybody loves punny guys. Thinking about it, Wattson would be great friends with Sans from Undertale.
Glacia's persona does justice to her favorite type, not much to say about her icy demanor. Phoebe on the other hand, well guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens next. Alas her persona makes sense, considering ghosts love to play and trick their foes.
Can't wait to see the next 3 battles and how Steven (and his team, of course) will handle them. This won't be easy and the full-restore might has to come to good use. Maybe in the last battle, who knows?
stormpix chapter 15 . 1/9
Nicely done! During the battle with Iona, I found myself nodding along and thinking, "Hmm, that's a good strategy. Oh, huh, never thought of something like that" and other thoughts along those lines. I think you did a nice job of making the battle detailed while not letting it get bogged down in the "Trainer said this, Pokemon did that" sort of narration.

I really love this story, and I like how you've developed Steven's character. Even through one battle, you've shown that he learns from his mistakes, and isn't too proud to admit he's made a mistake. Looking forward to the next chapter... hope it comes soon :)
SilverRockets chapter 15 . 1/9
Who would've thought Steven would ever get tired of caves? Truly Victory Road is a deadly gauntlet if it caused him to think that.

I like that the emergency beacon also turned out to be a timer, and that Steven took his time with getting through. It makes sense, speed was never his forte and I'm sure he wanted to get as much otu of the experience as he could.

Ten days seems like a fair amount of time, though I can't say I wouldn't go half mad just waiting for my opportunity to fight. Also... what Steven thought is true; this is the final challenge, there really isn't anything League related after this. Win or lose, Steven has reached the end of the road, and that must feel so strange to him.

Hold on... can Sceptile even learn Earthquake? *goes to check* Oh wow, it really can! That's... interesting, and certainly a good coverage move for all those pesky fire and poison types, especially when you can't mega evolve. I love the way you present TMs, making them really hard to learn, that's certainly an interesting way to incorporate them into the story.

ALSO STEVEN ARE YOU MAD! Oh boy... well, you can't say he's not excited for his fight :P

I'm getting excited already over the first battle! You've gotten really good at describing them and coming up with interesting and varied strategies; I love what you did with Cradily's Ancient Power, and also the fact that Iona is clearly smart as well and knows how to deal with talented challengers. ALSO... METAGROSS SO BADASS!

Oh man... the EncoreBestow combo was amazing, and if Metagross wasn't so powerful it might have just put Steven in a big disadvantage. Luckily they got through that fight together and with a Revive to spare. I'm sure he'll have to use them a lot in the upcoming matches.

Ha! The disconnect between Glacia's chilly demeanor and the quick defeat of her first Pokemon was pretty funny. The more these battles progress the more I realize just how much of a beast Metagross is; and the worst part is I'm sure he'll meet his match soon, and it won't be pretty.

I'm glad Glacia took her defeat well, I can tell from the way you write her that she's an incredibly proud person, and that loss must've hurt pretty badly.

PHOEBE! I love Phoebe :D oh man I can't wait for the next chapter, I know she'll give Steven a hard time considering what type she specializes on.

Seriously, I loved this chapter to bits because I love Pokemon battles and the E4 and the way you write all this. ONLY TWO CHAPTERS TO GO! SO HYPED!
King Sledge chapter 1 . 1/9
I like this! It's so touching, and I really do love the bond between the trainer and his Pokémon. It's pretty amazing, honestly. You are a great writer!
ThatSwankySax chapter 7 . 12/18/2017
Hello, it’s NebulaDreams from the Discord chat. You offered to do a review trade with my story, so I thought I’d do the same with yours, and I chose this chapter since the word count was closest to mine.

I’ll preface this by saying Trainer Fics aren’t really my thing. I don’t find usually find that aspect of the Pokemon world interesting, but that’s just me. A lot of the times when I read other fanfics based around a retelling of events of one of those characters or of an OC, a lot of them blur together and are cliched and lifeless. However, there are good fanfics in that subcategory in this fandom, and I’m glad to say that just from reading this chapter, this is one of them.

The writing style is excellent. It strikes the right balance between description and introspection, which works great when you’re trying to paint a scene, like Steven’s reaction to the ‘countless pathways snaking in and out of the bedrock’, and the attention to detail with the ‘Golbat population he saw flitting among the stalactites’. Some of the worldbuilding elements like the fact that the inside of Victory Road is banned from being recorded is a nice touch too. Aside from the occasional blip in grammar with an omitted word that made me do a double take, it flowed rather nicely and felt quick despite being over 5k words.

I’ll admit that I don’t know much about Steven’s character (it’s been a while since I’ve played Gen 3 and I haven’t watched the anime version of him), but what you do with him is very interesting here. I’ve gleaned from the summary that the whole story is a Legend Arc that revolves around his journey from zero to hero. I definitely got that impression from his actions in the story, as he does more than brute force his way through Pokemon battles, you get to see his strategy not only inside of battle, but outside of battle as well. It makes for quite a cool protagonist, but not a very balanced one, as we don’t get to see a lot of his flaws. However, it could just be because it’s very late in his character arc as he’s on his way to become a champion.

Going back to other trainer fics, the one thing I absolutely despise in most of them is how the Pokemon are portrayed. They’re treated as objects rather than characters, and are just there to perform the actions the trainers send them out to do. But here, they actually felt developed and you can see the bond they have with Steven. Their personalities are clear and their motivations behind their actions are understandable despite the language barrier. I especially liked the back and forth Skarmory has with Steven before they enter Victory Road. Same could be said for the villains, as they’re more than just faceless goons, they’re just people that’ve gone through a very similar path as the protagonist, but with a different set of circumstances that made them the thugs they are.

As for the mini plot within this chapter, you know what it takes to create a story with a satisfying structure as the acts are easily identifiable. You have a 1st act with Steven about to enter the caves, the 2nd act where the treks through Victory Road and he meets the villains of the story, and the 3rd act where the climax actually occurs and the problem is resolved. Action is used very economically in this story, which makes it all the more exciting when it finally happens. The strategies the characters use are believable, so even if the reader isn’t very familiar with the metagame of Pokemon, their moves can be easily visualised. The fact that you don’t hold back when showing the peril of the situation, such as when Cacturne pressed its blade ‘against the side of (Steven’s) neck’ adds to the tension.

However, there were some minor issues that held the flow of the story back. I didn’t feel as if Sheila’s spiel to Steven about her past was necessary, or at least, it didn’t need to be as long as it was. You infer bits about her past from the next bits of dialogue when she’s scrutinising Steven’s dreams anyway, so I think her monologue could’ve been stripped down or taken out entirely with just the parts about her getting lost in the caves subtly sprinkled into the next speech.

At the beginning of the fight scene, there were some lines of dialogue that slowed down the fight as well, particularly with Steven’s line about ‘taking your opponent for granted’. That being said, it’s a very minor issue, but I feel less is more during a fight.

All in all, this was actually a pleasant read. You have all of the ingredients of a great story and then some. Good pacing, interesting characters and well choreographed fight scenes. I don’t have much else to say except good luck with your further writing escapades, and godspeed.
TheTwistedLight chapter 8 . 12/7/2017
Oh Steve. Too pure, too naive and trusting for this world.
This was a hard one. By the end it's like I was covered in sweat and sand myself!
In a good way.
I hope Steven will continiue to be as forgiving to the truths of the world as he was to Dusty.
TheTwistedLight chapter 7 . 12/5/2017
That was some gorgeous imagery right there. Dem caves !
The story of those who gave up was impressively depressing.
Random encounter or roadside muggers for some.
Yet they are still people.
SilverRockets chapter 14 . 11/29/2017
YOOOOO NEW CHAPTER! I can't believe I didn't see it before D: I really need to have the FFN notifications on my phone.

Alright, so I gotta say I loved the premise for this one. I imagine what Steven felt is something most trainers go through once they're so close to finishing their travels. The end goal is so close already, why not take a few days to rest before crossing that line?

There was so much emotion in Steven's visit to his house. I also love Mrs Evans, who seems like a total sweetheart and knows how to handle a Skarmory. The moment with all of them close to the chimney was beautiful and one of my favorite moments of your fic.

And then we go lightning fast through many of the places in Hoenn we haven't seen much of! Hell yes, I love this. The nice girl, Wattson and his strange sense of humor, it all put a smile on my face. Because I feel like I've been with Steven all throughout his travels and this is a trip down memory lane, with a few new things.

One of those new things is the barry patch! I gotta say, love the idea of berries and Pokemon liking specific ones, and I enjoyed a lot that discovery. The Berry master sure seems like an amazing guy, wish i could meet someone like that.

AND THAT EVOLUTION! Oh man, that was incredible, evolution to get berries :D It's so fitting, isn't it? For a fic like this, for an adventure like the one Steven went through, it's absolutely perfect.

Oh man, probably one of my favorite chapters, I love all these Pokemon and Steven a lot.
SelasVictoria chapter 14 . 11/27/2017
That was a nice change of events. Revisiting places and putting new knowlegde to good use, catching up with people and some quality time for relaxing. It kind of makes you feel nostalgic.
Who is able to resist a motherly old lady? Skarmory certainly is not.
I am curious as to how Steven and his father get along now after they last saw each other, this might prove to be quite the interesting family reunion.
TheTwistedLight chapter 6 . 11/22/2017
I have to be honest, I had to read this chapter 3 times to get what was going on, the ... flashback separation did not help. Maybe something more visual ?
I in general feel like this is where my unfamiliarity with Pokemon starts to truly pileup as I google how do places and pokemon look and what they do. Even if they appeared before, I often forget as there's so much.
Regardless of that quality writing cannot be ignored and I will try and finish this.
TheTwistedLight chapter 5 . 11/22/2017
And here we have a rival established it seems ! And appropriately arrogant enough not to root for him . Go Steven and friends!
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