Reviews for Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Guiding Light
Guest chapter 27 . 7/17
You really gotta stop making vulpix out to be a dick. At this some sense of seriousness had to have reached his mind
Guest chapter 6 . 7/17
I get acting like a dick at first but now it's just real annoying
You gotta tone it down but otherwise great fic
Shadow of Antioch chapter 78 . 7/8
WOW, what a ride this has been. And it's not even the end of the story!

The more this story goes on, the more apparent it becomes that you've grown from your early story inexperience. The characters have long, intricate arcs now; the plot has been thickening and throwing curveball after curveball; the pacing has been breakneck at times, and yet, you've managed to bring every element together to form a fantastic story, one full of emotion. Truly, bravo. Even experienced writers would find it difficult to work with this level of complexity, yet you (at the time) managed it anyway.

Perhaps the part that surprised me most was the constant influx of emotion. First there's Tessa's struggles with self-worth, Gallian and everything related to him, Silvally post-evolution, Espy going from mourning and self-commiserating to helping others, Shane and his quest for forgiveness...

It's a LOT, so much so that sometimes these plot threads happen simultaneously or one after the other—and yet, where I would normally worry about feeling jaded and overloaded, it... works! It works!

The evolutions in particular have been handled beautifully. I like how they signalled a turning point in every character's arc, rather than just being a gimmick or power-up. Even side characters who I didn't care about initially eventually grew on me.

It's been a long, tumoltuous ride, but the end is finally in sight. Or... well, at the pace this story has had me reading, it certainly is.
Clandestine 0-8 chapter 126 . 7/4
Came back to read this mastahpiece, no regrets. I don’t think I really appreciated how good this fic was when I first read it, but rereading it really gave me that love I had for it again. While its not perfect, I guess nothing is anyways. Thanks Amby. I wish I could put into words how I waited in baited breath for every chapter to come out back in 2018-2019, and how much I still enjoy it to this day. You’re not the perfect author, but godamn are you my favorite. Thank you for everything, forever and always
Shadow of Antioch chapter 60 . 6/26
Latias x Lugia might be the cutest thing in this story so far. Her emotional struggles with feeling like a coward, and Lugia's way of showing how he cared, instantly raised these two characters from a "meh" to "kawaiiiii" on my opinion scale.

Anyway, as for the main plot: woah, a lot's been happening lately. Some plot points which I thought would happen later (Zero's identity being revealed to Tessa, for one) happened sooner than I expected, which leads me to believe you have more planned for those plot lines. Not that I'm complaining! The story's pacing has been spot-on, and I adore how Team Radiance has been gradually growing closer as a team.

The Zero/Necrozma separation was something I really didn't expect. I'm not sure what do expect from it, other than the situation getting a whoooole lot more complicated. And Metagross lived?! This is why you confirm your kills, guys! Or at least hire stronger police.

I must admit I'm not a big fun of the "collect these plot-important items" premise, but knowing you, it's all for a good cause. I really think we're getting close to Shane and/or Tessa evolving! I hope it's Shane first. Then he can endlessly make fun of Tessa about it, hehehe. Also, shoutout for making me like Nairy's storyline even though she appears so infrequently. It's been a long journey, but the fact that I want to read on to the next chapter speaks for itself. Ben fatto!
VcSaJen chapter 35 . 5/31
Okay. Okay. This is one of those cases where things get worse, and worse, and worse, and worse, and worse, and worse, and worse, and worse, until all that's left is indifference. Any "heartwarming moments", "fluff" and "thing looking up" feel hollow at this point. There no victory, satisfaction, nothing. Any character development from any of three protagonists is pointless at this point. There's no point of continuing.
Don't get me wrong, I think story is objectively good, for other people. Me? I felt only negative feeling when reading this story, and this point I don't, because I don't care anymore.
VcSaJen chapter 29 . 5/31
Wait, did Braviary just blatantly force Shane to skip medical check-up? Yes, I read it again, he indeed supposed to be checked-up right now. Isn't it a serious crime?
rsoliloquy chapter 123 . 5/26
Guiding Light, huh?

Overall, I enjoyed the story. I kind of had to, to have read 120 chapters. :P

I definitely have thoughts to share. In the name of positivity, and to not lead you off thinking I hated this, let's start with the strengths!

By far the best thing about this story were the main characters, their relationships, and development. Pretty much all of our main characters start out really messed up, duct-tape eachother together mentally for the duration of the story, and end up healthier than they started. Character growth was gradual, generally felt earned, and most importantly: wasn't cyclical or drawn out. Too often long stories don't leave enough depth to their characters for them to overcome flaws throughout the story, and as a result they draw out overcoming one flaw for a frustratingly long time or keep having the character relapse so they can "overcome" the same flaw again and again. But Shane, Tessa, Silvally, and Espy all had enough issues and issues with enough complexity that they were gradually addressed over the course of the story at a pace that was neither frustrating or ran the well of character drama dry. Big props on this front.
Wordbuilding was generally solid, nothing award-winning here but the world felt engaging. Writing itself had some roughness early on, but was generally good. Ending was very satisfying. It's hard for me to describe why, but in spite of how absurdly extra it was it felt like it managed to avoid feeling bullshit or unearned much better than a lot of stories that escalate to this point. I think a big part of it was the internal consistency in its rules. The only thing that could beat the Void was the Void. That had been the rule from the start with Z-Power being the only way to break the Prism Virus, and it was that way up to the end with Shane needing to gain control of Necrozma to destroy the Ley Lines. Again, big props for keeping that consistent element since I think that consistency in the rules of your "magic" system is what made the ending enjoyable to me.

Moving on to what I'm more critical of... Don't be shaken that this is longer, I'm just much better at verbalizing explicit criticisms than I am praise. I think my biggest criticisms can be lumped into three major topics: the climactic twists, the villain ensemble, and the handling of certain sensitive topics.

I'll start with the climactic twists because I think they're ultimately the smallest and least significant criticism. Simply put, some of the plot twists that arose around the climax of the story felt... pointless, for lack of a better word. Like they were there for the sake of being a twist but ultimately did not meaningfully change the course of the story. The biggest example is the revelation that Shane is Dark Matter. For something that should be tremendously significant, the more you think about it the more it is actually entirely irrelevant. It does not change the course of the story in any way, and ultimately it amounts to "You're not really Shane, but something which is indistinguishable from Shane in every way." Another big example of this was the reveal that Shane knew Prisma as a human. This fact is used once exclusively for Shane to throw off her focus, and then never really acknowledged. In the end it just feels a bit... underwhelming that twists like this had been built up to for quite a while and ultimately didn't provide much more than "huh, didn't expect that I guess". Like I said though, this is not the biggest deal as while they're somewhat underwhelming twists they don't actively detract from the story in any way.

Moving on to a more serious criticism, the villain ensemble in Guiding Light is... interesting. There's the major villains (Zero, Nicky, Void) who for the most part all come very close to feeling good, and then there's a downright massive laundry list of lackeys, mooks, and side villains who end up being problematic due to their sheer quantities. Void is by far the least interesting villain, preeeetty much just being Darker Matter. Not a lot to say there, it is what it tries to be: a generic cosmic force of evil.
Zero has the makings of very interesting motives, with her blaming the gods for everything that happened to her and wanting to destroy them and return home. It's just kind of a shame that she's set up as such a hate sink it's impossible to really empathize with her. I think it would have worked well to put more emphasis on her struggles and how they drove her to become what she did. Watching her desperately try to love Gallian and Tessa but finding herself unable to care for them because she couldn't forget their human namesakes would have been far more tragic and compelling than her just not giving a damn about them from the start.
Nicky on the other hand did get this focus. Nicky as a villain is hard to talk about because Nicky spends most of the story as Necrozma, fused with Void and making it quite hard to differentiate the two. He's in a weird limbo where he is simultaneous a cackling force of evil, but at the same time somewhat tragic. Unfortunately it's a bit hard to link together the "present day" Necrozma and the "flashback" Nicky though, because there's no shreds of that humanity left in the present day version. Shane is the only one holding out for him to still be redeemable, as even the reader can clearly see that he's entirely gone. I think it would have been cool of Necrozma had small flashes of lucidity where the old Nicky peeked through fully. It would have helped link the tragedy of Nicky with the monster of Necrozma while at the same time letting the reader feel some hope that maybe Nicky could be saved.
However, these two villains both suffered from one shared problems: bullshit-ass power sets, for lack of a more literary expression. :P It very much felt at several points like the two of them just... did things because the plot required it or because it seemed like it would be cool. For one, this led to some bits which were just kind of weird and confusing, like Necrozma (who's primary established power is brainwashing people) needing to spend several scenes collecting up Marshadow and fusing him with Lugia to create Shadow Lugia, instead of just... using his brainwashing powers on Lugia. I mean sure, super-Lugia is pretty cool I guess, but... well, it kind of just added to another problem I'll address shortly.
Ultimately characters develop through overcoming obstacles, and that's true for villains as well. Zero got some good scenes while trying to acquire the Time Gears (though a lot of that was offloaded on her mooks) showing this. But beyond that, a lot of times the villains responded to obstacles in one of two ways: pulling of some crazy magic voodoo, or by sending their mooks at it. The latter became problematic because Zero wanted to stop Team Radiance since very early on, but continuously just threw mooks at them to get beaten up rather than just teleporting into their house and curbstomping them in the middle of the night, something she was very clearly capable of. The biggest offender to me was right after they acquired the fourth dusk shard when she showed up with the infected rescue teams and it was like "oh shit she's really serious this time she's gonna kick their asses!". Then she teleported away and all of the rescue teams got defeated in turn with relatively little consequence... When a villain is given this much power, it starts to get weird when they don't really use it despite clearly possessing the conviction.
As for the side villains... Lycanroc was pretty there. I really liked the premise of Snow- err, Shane making his own villain through his own shitty behavior. Though I do think later going back and showing that Lycanroc was just a shitty person long before Shane took away from it a bit. I wasn't a fan of the Metagross twist to be honest. Taking a character we'd known for a while and making them traitorous purely because "they're insane" felt a bit disappointing. I think motive is everything for traitor twists to work.
But there was one final problem I had with the villains as a whole: They just never. stop. coming. after a certain point. And because of that, it starts to take away from each individual one. With only a brief respite in between, the heroes fight Metagross, three infected rescue teams at once, Lycanroc, Shadow Lugia, Definitely-Not-Morpho-Knight-Don't-Ask, Zero, each-other, Necrozma himself, and then Void. And the problem is that this starts to devalue each fight. When you set up threats as massive as Shadow Lugia, they should make the reader feel afraid. They should think "Yikes, they may be heroes but there's no way they should come out of this unscathed, right?!". But when it comes in the middle of such a massive gauntlet of what are unabashedly boss fights, that feeling is lost. Because them fighting gods and just always winning with only marginal injury becomes the norm. It's just not really possible to maintain the amount of fights this story has by the end, continue to increase the stakes, and have them all still feel like genuine threats to the heroes. Especially when the fights that shouldn't be apocalyptic like a single Metagross or a pissy side-villain like Lycanroc get escalated to such insane degrees.
Man, I've typed a lot already. Oops. Well, let's discuss that final criticism somewhat quick then. Guiding Light touches the entire rainbow of adult themes, and some of them are central to the story. Some of them are done well, others are... not done super well in my opinion. Substance abuse stood out to me as something that just... felt a bit tacked on. Espeon's drug and alcohol issues just kind of showed up, got quickly "resolved", and then she spends the rest of the story saying she's not going to do that anymore without really coming close to relapsing at any point. It's... a bit serious of a topic to be just kind of... there. LGBT issues were another one that was awkward, since there was an entire chapter dedicated to Gallian coming out only for Incineroar to basically say "No worries son, homophobia doesn't exist!". Zero rejecting him for being gay was kind of like... she is literally in the middle of subjugating an evil deity to her will and attempted to turn him into an alien shortly afterwards. Bigotry is really not the focus here and is entirely lost on the bigger picture.
Another one I think was touched on... awkwardly, and that I think is much more significant to the story as a whole and especially given your testament to personal experience, was the matter of bullying. It's not that I have any doubt in your depictions of bullying and hazing. Where I'm hesitant is in the angle you took to portraying it. The way I see it, there's two ways to look at it: victim-centric and perpetrator-centric. This story was definitely victim-centric, showing the effects bullying had on its victims. Early on, it did this really well! But the problem later on was that, similar to what I said with LGBT issues, the story itself was so alien that it was harder for the more down-to-earth message to ring through. Because Nicky didn't really die when he committed suicide, a lot of what we get shown isn't for understanding how it affected him leading up to ending his life. Instead we get it through the lens of how it drove him mad as a giant living light dragon in another dimension. It's... hard to directly correlate to reality, which is a shame for such a sensitive subject.
Sorry I ended up writing so much. I can be rather verbose at times. Like I said, don't let the quantity of critical words mean too much. I absolutely enjoyed this story, and wouldn't have been able to hone in on as many nitpicks as I found if I didn't. I hope you find something useful for your future work in this feedback! Good luck with Path of Valor.
Zubre chapter 126 . 5/3
I know I've been filling your comment section, and I thought that I was perhaps getting a bit obnoxious but this is my last review (unless another mini-chapter is shown of course.) I'm planning to read path of valor after this and thought to give my final verdict on the matter. What do I think of Guiding light? And how did it become my favorite fic ever? All shall be revealed to thee! Hoorah!

The beginning of the fic is very rough to say the least. I'm introduced to the protagonist of this story, and unbeknownst to me he was going to be the one thing that made it very difficult for me to read and like it in the first place, and it will definitely be a hurdle I must overcome if I'm to ever read this beautiful piece of work ever again...

The first 30 chapters felt like a huge drag. It's as if the fic was constantly switching between drip-feeding me redeemable qualities and punching me in the balls. It was ROUGH and that's mostly due to the characters. Here's a pretty wash list!

-Shane's a full-blown renegade dickhead.
-Tessa's alright?
-Type: null's pretty good.
-Team Fang is comically pathetic. Much to this fic's detriment...
-The Prism virus doesn't intrigue me (yet).

But after Shane organizes that hatchday, the fic finally reeled me in; and man oh man if I had more free time I'd have read this in one go because MAN it's GOOD! Sure, it's not perfect, but both Tessa and Shane's personality improve drastically and Silvally becomes a character worth caring about, the inclusion of Espeon was kinda annoying at first, but I welcomed it after a while since Espeon also improves and Gallian actually felt like he was a person and not just a collosal edgelord.

The last few parts of this fic were my FAVORITE and if I had to make a chart... I still wouldn't but REGARDLESS! The story hits it's climax and reeled me through the darn SCREEN with how good it was, and when Shane has his final convo with Nicky... Man... Shane has come a long way, huh?

The final few chapters are damn near perfect, and perfectly captures what this story tried to tell. And as much as I don't like romance, that scene with Shane and Tessa dancing brought a few tears of joy, not going to lie.

As for my final verdict, this is really good! It sounds like you had a pretty rough time making this, and if you never return to this I wouldn't blame ya'! I would've given uo loooong ago my man, you deserve all the praise you can get! Good job, and excelsior!

8.6/10
"Through the darkest night, and the brightest day, this fic's pretty neato right?" (That was so lame sorr-)
Zubre chapter 123 . 5/3
I know I'm pretty late with this, as the fic has already been finished for a while... But this is just beautiful. Seriously brought a tear to my eye, multiple tears, actually. You did a VERY good job on this, and I am surprised to say that this is probably my favorite fic, ever? I'm serious man! I've never read a fic quite as good as this one. And sure, Shane reminded me so much about myself before I took proper counseling, and I had an intensely hard time tolerating him; but he ended up as my favorite character ever! Once again, I'm just as surprised as you may be. Overall, this is just beautiful man. Good job on this! I hope you're doing well man, you've earned yourself a fan!
Zubre chapter 122 . 5/3
Surprisingly enough, this is probably my favorite moment in this fic so far. Kind off a shame that there's been an apparent decline in interest in this story ever since the final battle. I really like it! Nice job.
Zubre chapter 108 . 4/30
Aaaand the PLOT THICKENS! I really don't know where this is going but it sure is intriguing as hell! No fic ever got me as excited as this one, so congrats on that dude!
ToxinWrites chapter 126 . 4/27
Excellent work! I’m floored with the attention to detail, imagery, and perfectly executed development. I treasure this so deeply since I am autistic as well. You absolutely nailed this and have officially made me consider adopting all of this into headcanon. This is phenomenal and I look forward to your next works!
AvalonArrival chapter 105 . 4/27
In response to your question, yes. You've broken my heart and stomped on it until it is nothing but vague atoms. There will be retribution for this, in the form of my unending commentary. You got me hooked, this is YOUR fault, and so you're now stuck with me :D
AvalonArrival chapter 101 . 4/27
YOU BASTARD, YOU ABSOLUTE BASTARD YOU KILLED SERPY. Ahem, that said, have been really enjoying the last few chapters even though I haven't said anything. The psychology of the characters is really interesting to look at, and the plot twist of Shane not having Solgaleo's spirit but maybe something else (I'm thinking something has to do with Necrozma) was really cool. But alas, I must now hunt you down for killing Serpy. Start running. (This is 100% a joke btw, don't take it seriously.)
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