Reviews for The Raikou Queen
lstwill56 chapter 1 . 4/25
meh... 3/10 I wouldn't read it again
Negrek chapter 1 . 2/4
This is a really cool take on wild pokémon and the power structures they build for themselves! You do a great job of blending sort of PMD-style "pokémon in houses with furniture and writing and stuff" with more wild elements and your own headcanon about energy exchange etc. You have what feels like a very lived-in world here, one that's a lot more vibrant than the usual depiction of pokémon as living in mono-species family groups in hunter-gatherer-style situations (although I guess you suggest that's how *most* wild pokémon operate, shhhh), and I enjoyed the indicators of human influence on the various pokémon societies, that being the most obvious among the kadabra, of course. :P

I also really like the idea of a pokémon "becoming a trainer" to other pokémon. It's something you'd kind of expect to be a more common thing, perhaps: in settings where the pokémon have intelligence similar to humans, it's maybe even a little *weird* that pokémon can't become trainers, but it's so rarely done. Even Zulia kind of trying to apply the *concept* to governance, rather than literally setting out to become a trainer, feels like a cool and rarely-explored way of looking at how pokémon operate.

I was a little weirded out by the timeline here; you do mention that forty years is multiple generations to some pokémon, but even so, the degree of forgetting going on seems a little excessive. A pokémon that been styled protector of the land for at least centuries(?) seems like someone significant enough to be remembered quite a ways after their death, even if only in a negative way, which is what we see a lot of here. A lot would definitely change in forty years (thirty years since Raikou's actual death), but the degree to which people have outright *fogotten* raikou in general seems like a bit much to me.

I also thought the story was a bit crowded. You have five major factions here (Denno, the clefairy, the rock-types, Mama Bear, and the kadabra), plus Zulia's siblings putting in an appearance, and as a result I felt like we kind of jumped around a lot but didn't really get to know anybody very well. I think maybe cutting one or two of the factions (one of either the clefairy or rock-types could go, I think, they get the least attention as it is) would give you more space to handle the rest with more depth. And while I of course love to see Atlitzin back, and Tambora is great and I hope we get to see more of her at some point, I don't know that you really want to add them in on top of all the other characters going on here. I just feel like in this story Zulia doesn't really have anyone to play off of, aside from Chumley, who's comic relief, and as a result I don't feel a lot of investment in her relationships with the other characters or whether things work out for them. Which seems like a problem, because the point of the story is Zulia realizing her responsibility to these people and trying to figure out a new way to live with them, yes? I would definitely like to see *more* about the various players here, but I think you'd have to go full-on chapterfic to really give them the space they deserve, so paring things back a bit might be a better option.

Your sense of humor is as great as ever, though, and I love all the little funny moments strewn throughout the story. The kadabra library, the scene with Kenta, and everything Atlitzin ("I have stuff to do!") and Tambora-it makes this a real *fun* story to read through, and I definitely enjoyed it.

All in all this is a story full of cool ideas, fun characters, and lots of great humor. The only major criticism I have, again, is I think it might have *too many* of those cool ideas. There are worse problems to have! If you ever get the desire to expand more on this setting or characters, I'd definitely be down with reading it.
St Elmo's Fire chapter 1 . 2/2
["It's what I was owed," I said helplessly. "And anyway, I don't need it anymore, I went with the humans and became stronger than you can imagine. I don't—just have your eggs or whatever. I just want some respect!"]

Hrmmm. This felt like a spanner thrown in the gears to me. The narrator projects a very sophisticated and mythic tone throughout this section, and the jynx mirrors it back during this conversation. While I can understand others breaking the illusion, having Zulia herself switch into slang and vernacular is really jarring and shatters the atmosphere you've built up. It's hard to explain exactly - it feels sort of like these lines of dialogue are from a completely different story. It seems like you're going for the idea that she's spent so long in the human world that it's changed her behavior, but then it's strange that she'd still be thinking and talking like she is in the beginning. And, personally, I generally find whiny, petulant gods annoying to read regardless.

Like -

[I had run out of Goldenrod, the storm following me.

I was a god. I wasn't supposed to weep over mortals. But I did.

I ran through the forest, ran into the mountains, ran into the wild places where humans feared to tread, and I found again my kingdom.

The air was hot and dry, scratching in my lungs, but in the afternoon the cold air would whirl over the mountains into storms. I had been strong when I left, and now I was stronger still, honed with the whetstone of competition against a thousand mighty battlers.

I crossed the ridge, lightning cracking over the queen of peaks, and I was home. Power hummed in the air, and I felt it stir at my call.

Far to the north of Johto was the wild country called the Stormlands, the place of Raikou, the Beast of Thunder.

Proudly, boldly, I announced myself to a murkrow flock, the bird pokémon arrayed in a spruce like dark scraps of cloth, winged harbingers of my arrival and my ascension.]

but then

[Now that you have returned I expect you will require a full accounting—"

Ugh. Too much math.]

The tone generally seems to be oscillating between a primal god and a childish princeling, and those things just don't overlap in my mind. Zulia feels too human and modern in her behavior. I'm guessing the idea is supposed to be that pokemon are very similar to humans and their gods are very similar to our own royalty, but I find it hard to square those things in my mind.

[I wondered what secret knowledge, what wisdom that only pokémon knew was stored here—although the effect was somewhat spoiled when I got close to the spines and realized one row was the entire run of Mega Pokémorphs.

"They're exciting, okay," Neili said defensively.]

This is cute, though.

In general... hmm. I'm not entirely sure what to make of this. It seems like you're going for situational comedy by contrasting high fantasy and realistic tropes, but I'm not sure how well it works. I think the contrast is too sharp - a scene will start with grandioise high fantasy dialogue, then abruptly shift into teen drama comedy without warning. Too much whiplash; it ends up feeling a little too farcical for me. I think it might have worked better if I had a clearer idea of Zulia's general competence and background, and the general situation here.

The story comes together more clearly in the later parts, and I like the idea of traditionalism being forced to evolve, but I still don't feel it meshes quite right.

["It was boring. You think I want to stand around on the lake looking mysterious all day? I have stuff to do."

"Humans made us feel like that, like we have to be doing something all the time," I mumbled. "Maybe it would be good to go back. It was simpler."]

Like, this - what started the tradition of them acting like untouchable gods in the first place? Do other legendaries enjoy doing that? How much power and responsibility do they actually have? Do they truly have some kind of primal connection, the way we think of nature spirits, or are they just normal pokemon with extra oomph? It makes the whole situation confusing - the reason kings are unnecessary in real life is because they really are just normal people and there is absolutely nothing special about them. If the legendaries really are a different class of being with some kind of divine mandate, that changes the nature of the situation.

I do like the backstory this gives us for Atlitzin, though. She was one element that confused me in Gods and Demons, but her behavior makes more sense now.

["The graveler, this one…" he added, indicating a bolt deep among the dark V's of mountains, "and, ah…]

My intuition tells me a trail-off ellipses should be paired with another ellipses when the dialogue resumes, but I could be wrong on that.

[The clefairy gasped, its limbs jerking]

It seems odd she'd refer to a pokemon as "it".

[Humans say, 'fish don't have a word for water', which is horseshit]

Oh but I do appreciate this. That saying is just so self-evidently wrong.

[A pokéball slipped out of the kid's nerveless fingers, which opened to reveal a bayleef. It took one look at me and turned, saying, "Kenta! What the hell!"]

And this is hilarious.

["Thanks," I told the bayleef. "Listen, your Razor Leaf—you want to sort of spit the energy, like this—" I conjured blobs of electricity one by one, exaggerated, and then let go. They whizzed into the ground. "You try it."]

Ooh, and this is really great. A pokemon would be so much better at acting as a true mentor and battle coach.
Farla chapter 1 . 1/31
[A pokéball slipped out of the kid's nerveless fingers, which opened to reveal a bayleef. It took one look at me and turned, saying, "Kenta! What the hell!"]

While there is a lot funny about this, this is the most hilarious part for me.

I would have actually liked a bit more on the different governances. A queen and a theocratic dictatorship are pretty simple to develop, but the clefable camp identifying as a (socialist?) republic with votes makes me curious about whether their social development has been paralleling human or if trained pokemon more recently imported new ideas (and is there something about clefairy and their massed sing that makes them more prone to cooperation/less concerned about individual blasting power), and it's a little disappointing in comparison that the rest seem to be a straightforward single leader with no further bureaucratic twists. But there's more than enough going on here without extra complications, I admit.

Anyway, this was thoroughly enjoyable all over – interesting worldbuilding, dynamic battles, nice characters, satisfying plot.