|Reviews for The Curious and the Shiny|
| Windskull chapter 11 . 9/23/2020
Hey Neb, just dropping a quick review on chapters 9 through 11!
As a general note, before I break my thoughts on the individual chapters down, I think you did a great job with this framing device. In most cases, I’d be hesitant to call a transition from first to third person good, but it transitions and works surprisingly well for the type of story you’re telling.
This chapter does a great job of setting up the family dynamic. You have a caring mom, the kind but somewhat aloof older brother, cute (if sometimes annoying) younger siblings. And the distant dad. From the bits and pieces, I’ve gathered from seeing you talk about your fic in the discord, I have a feeling I’ll have stuff to say about him in due time, though I don’t have much right now. But what I will say is that this line, in particular, is really telling about Curio’s relationship with her dad, in my opinion:
[Dad threw me without warning, dropping me onto the hard ground. You know, because dropping me down onto a jagged surface was apparently a good idea.]
I don’t have a lot to say about this chapter in general, but I like it, as I’m sure it sets up a lot of Curio’s coming journey.
Another thing I really like is that the chapters actually feel like interview segments. The opening section of this chapter really drives that feeling home. It feels like the response to a single interview question. And the next one feels like it was a followup, of sorts.
In this section (and the next) it makes it even more clear that Trunks is like. Really being a better authority figure and taking up raising his younger siblings more than his dad. He seems like he’s got a lot on his shoulders, tbh.
Again, the encounter with the human and the way her dad reacts feels like it’s really setting up for how she is in the present day, and makes you curious as to what happened between then and the present day to lead to the way she feels about things now.
I… don’t really have a lot to say about 11. It builds more upon the family dynamics I mentioned before, with Trunks getting his feelings out with the help of a bit of alcohol. It was a fun chapter I just… don’t really have much to say for it than I already did.
These chapters felt a bit shorter than the others, but it also feels like that was by design, playing into the interview segments. At the same time, it feels like you’re taking things at a leisurely pace, here, and I can’t help but wonder how long it will take for Curio to finally get off that island, and what might happen with her family before she gets out of there. Will hopefully check back in a reasonable amount of time to review the next segment of chapters.
| Adamfics chapter 8 . 9/23/2020
CHAPTER 8 REVIEW
Man, Curio really doesn't like trainers lol. Though the chapter began with a heartwarming reunion between Tony and Shine, I was still glad Tony was pretty chill about the whole thing. I was worried he'd at least be bothered Shine took some money, or he'd wonder what happened to Shine's collar. Tony is a pretty honest to good guy. I wanna be like Tony. Let's all be Tony.
The chapter felt a bit tense when Curio wasn't even hiding her disdain for Tony lmao, but that's just Curio being Curio, and it makes sense she's acted like that because of her past. Man, I know you've already told me a lot about her, but I wonder just how much baggage she's constantly holding back and living with for that matter. At least she came to accept that Tony isn't a bad person, and the interview seems to be going pretty well. So far anyway.
| cynsh chapter 2 . 8/17/2020
(crossposted from TR)
Review time! I’ll start with talking generally about the first two chapters, then go into more minor details.
So, on a macro level I really don’t have a lot to criticise. The writing is very solid – the right balance between ‘purple’ and ‘beige’, if you will. As someone who is pretty picky about prose, that is very much appreciated!
I thought the first chapter was an excellent opener. It was quite long, but did well to establish what Shine’s life is like, as well as this world in general – I don’t read many non-PMD stories so I’m never sure what worldbuilding decisions are unusual or canon. I really liked your use of newspaper stories to give insight here, the headlines were very nice. The scene at the dragon farm would be my favourite though. Just a really cool setting, and the details regarding Adele wearing flight gear, and the preparations in getting Accendare ready for flight, were just a couple of things that really help paint a picture of the setting. And of course, leaving the town at the end of the chapter gives a good hook for what’s to come.
Chapter two was a little slower, given it was primarily Shine trying, mostly unsuccessfully, to find clues on Curio’s whereabouts. I didn’t mind the slow pace too much, as it helped establish Dendemille as a place. The characters involved were all well-written and entertaining enough. Still, I wonder if it needed to take quite so long for Shine to meet Barley, since the latter part of the chapter is the most pivotal.
I feel a bit confused as to how the food situation works here. Humans eat pokémon, if tepig rashers are anything to go by. There are also ‘feral’ pokémon (who I assume are also the ones eaten), such as the leafeon in chapter two, but I’m not sure exactly how they’re different from pokémon like Shine, other than being a bit rougher and not so well-spoken. Maybe I’m just jumping the gun on that and it’ll be explained in time.
Other smaller things I noticed:
-I thought Shine’s x-ray vision was something non-canon, until I looked it up just to check. Huh. What a badass pokémon.
-A couple of typos in chapter 2: on ‘queue’ and ‘agianst’ (I’m sorry)
-Not sure why the leafeon felt the need to conjure an arrow with grass rather than just pointing that way with a paw, lol
-What is a ‘Sirknight’? Referred to at the end of chapter 2.
-A pokepad… not sure how I feel about that name. If it’s a special machine for dealing with one’s pokémon, sure, but it sounded just like a regular laptop, in which case the name doesn’t really make sense. There were also a couple of pokémon-ised turns of phrase I noticed, like blowing a Razz berry. I dunno, these things stick out like a sore thumb to me – if it were my choice I’d find a different phrase that didn’t require a pokémon world substitution.
Given the length of this story, I can’t promise that I’ll catch up. And if I do, reviews will probably be very infrequent. But we’ll see. It’s certainly a solid opening. Ciao!
| St Elmo's Fire chapter 6 . 6/27/2020
["But we don't-" He cut himself off. This wasn't the time for useless feline trivia.]
Shine’s pedantry continues to be adorable (and relatable).
Did something go missing here? There’s no speaker for this quote.
[Curio crossed her arms. "And we can't do jack about it cuz' we're not allowed there."]
Oh, is this a Dexit joke?
[No one's gonna use it over night]
“Overnight” should be one word, I think.
[All those people and Pokemon are just going about their business]
Does it make sense for a pokemon to exclude pokemon from the “people” category?
This was so cute! Shine and Curio continue to balance each other really well, and I like the new worldbuilding detail of Galar expanding language lessons for pokemon. It makes the pokemon/trainer setup feel less hopeless to see progress advancing like that.
| St Elmo's Fire chapter 5 . 6/11/2020
I’m confused why Barley seems concerned about getting hit by electricity – aren’t gligar ground-type?
["And what about this Luxray?"
"Um, I left him at home."]
[The town had a new ambience without the claws.]
Shouldn’t “Claws” be capitalized here?
["Trainer this, trainer that, it doesn't matter! If it wasn't for him, I still would've been on the streets!"
She gasped. "Wait, you were-"]
I’m not clear on Curio’s reasoning here. Is there some other possibility besides stray and owned? I’d think it would be obvious he’d be a stray after escaping GeL since he’d be on his own, so I don’t understand why Curio’s surprised. Is there more connotation to this I’m not getting?
| St Elmo's Fire chapter 4 . 6/10/2020
When spoken dialogue continues across multiple paragraphs (such as Shine recounting the story in the opening flashback), there’s no endquote until the speaker is done talking. (There is still a start quote for every paragraph, though.)
[Only then, did their blood mix into the land.]
Should that comma be there?
[Although this surprised the two, they welcomed Bonsly with open arms]
Careful – this is saying his personal name is Bonsly. I presume that’s not what you meant, given he’s referred to with a “the” throughout the rest of the passage. This is why you have to be careful if you capitalize species names!
[Beyond that, it was said that if Pokemon were allowed to speak, they would show themselves as the dominant species and break the great chain of being, bringing chaos unto the world.]
This kinda makes it sound like pokemon *are* the rightful dominant species, if all that’s holding them back is communication. :p In general, “Our superiority depends on this class of people staying silent” has some very bad connotations in the context of history.
[""You came with your swords]
When you quote inside a quote, you use single quotes instead of double quotes; otherwise, the reader will be confused about where the dialogue ends. (If you quote inside a quote inside a quote, you go back to double quotes.)
In this case, since Shine is quoting a text, it might be better to use a different marker, such as italics. I’ve seen books do that sometimes.
[And besides, how can Rock types be burnt to ashes anyway?]
Ahaha! I was about to bring that up myself. Interesting.
The story sounds more like a textbook than scripture or story. Most scripture uses simple sentences with few commas and clauses, and speaks very definitively, with few suppositions. (“But God had hardened the Pharoh’s heart…” “But we could not defeat them, for they had chariots of iron...”) They often frequently use archaic language and odd similes, giving the stories a dreamlike quality. (Try reading the Hindu Vedas sometime, they put the Old Testament to shame!) This is obviously very hard to emulate, but you could try looking at the fanfic “Theogony” for what I feel is a good example.
Aside – do you have worldbuilding headcanon for how the pokemon centres work? It struck me that Shine notes his mangled leg is good as new after just a short stay, even though he wasn’t in a pokeball. If pokemon aren’t energy creatures in this (as some fic use to justify it), is medicine in the Pokeworld just that good?
Aw, I think this reunion scene is new! They’re really sweet.
["I-I don't know," he said, on the verge of tears. "I-I just wanted to see you again."]
Like so many other things, though, this makes it seem like having a good recollection of Curio makes more sense.
[Curio stood and patted the dust off her blue pants.]
Oh no, you’re interpreting them as literal pants? XD Pokemon with physical objects always seem so weird to me – like, how does every machop get a speedo and belt when they evolve? Lucarios’ jorts seem like they’re just fur modeled to look like pants, which just confuses things even more.
Aw, pokemon versions of cat cafes! I never thought of that before, but that makes perfect sense.
Aw, the pichu are so cute. I love the language lesson and Shine being a pedant.
[Then again, why did he care anyway? His friend was there beside him. His friend that, well, he didn't know much about.]
This is more of the pacing issue I brought up in the previous chapters – similar lines get brought up a few times, but they’re mostly reiterating stuff we already know. It makes sense if Shine is a generally waffling and uncertain person, but it doesn’t feel like it’s adding much at the moment.
[He remembered another time in GeL, comfortably sitting on those beanbag chairs in a classroom, stumbling through a set of tongue twisters with Curio beside him. She was a Riolu back then. And of course, there was that earlier memory of him reading to her out of comfort.]
This is also awkward when we’ve just seen those memories in full – we don’t really need the details reiterated.
Curio plays off Shine really well! I like how quickly you’ve shown how different they are but also why they’d get along.
| St Elmo's Fire chapter 3 . 6/9/2020
[He didn't know why, but somehow, he knew he had to step in to help.
Shine could've run away and avoided this trouble, since the two were basically strangers. Either because of the Lucario connection, or because of seeing those in need of help before him, Shine's resolve was clear.]
This is pretty awkward narration – “he didn’t, but also he did” and “he could’ve, but he didn’t” is confusing waffling unless indecisiveness is an important part of the moment. It’s pretty obvious by this point that Shine is a good person, so I don’t think an explanation or rumination on why he jumps to help is necessary.
[The Claws sprang from side to side]
I don’t think you’ve formally identified these cats as Thousand Claws members yet, so this sounds a bit out of place.
I think it’d be nice to give a bit more description on how the lucario is using the first aid kit – it’s not impossible, but their hands can’t hold objects unless the spikes are retractable.
["Yeah," the trainer said, trying to suppress the pain.]
Since this is Shine’s POV, he’d have to know she was trying to suppress the pain somehow, so connecting this to some observable physical sign would be clearer.
["W-w-what are we gonna do?" The Lucario said, tugging at his aura sensors.]
Errant capital here. And ooh, the aura sensors are a physical organ? I didn’t see the anime, so I must have missed that.
[The Lucario looked at her with pleading eyes. He tried to say something, but thought against it, and glanced back at Shine. For a moment, he thought the Lucario would've requested him to relay something in human tongue, but that was cut short when she nodded and entered the Pokemon centre.]
The pronouns here are ambiguous. In the second sentence, “he” refers to the lucario, but in the next sentence, “he” appears to refer to Shine, which is confusing. There is also again the issue of how Shine knows “he tried to say something, but thought against it” – typically in third-person limited, that’s phrased like “he looked like he wanted to say something, but apparently thought against it”, since without mind-reading the protagonist can’t be certain.
[He tugged at his aura sensors again]
Missing punctuation here.
I think I said this last time, but I like the characterization of the lucario. It’s rare to see a “cool” pokemon characterized as so meek and socially awkward, but that’s good for showing diversity.
I hate to say it, but I feel like the previous version of the scene might have worked better. Delaying the appearance of the Claws until the second half of the chapter worked better for building tension, I think, and I kinda liked the flawed nature of Shine lying to get things over with faster and the reaction that got from the lucario. Currently, the flow of the scene feels a bit scattered – he goes out, fights the Claws, gets his answer without much difficulty, then goes back and fights the Claws again.
But ah, Curio’s here again! Looking forward to reading her.
(Looks like I commented a bit more on the structure than I intended, hah. Don't feel obligated to change it again, it's just as important to keep writing and learn from the past.)
| St Elmo's Fire chapter 2 . 6/9/2020
["Hold on, I might be able to help you."
Shine ingested some sort of tangy liquid.]
The phrasing here is a little unclear – the liquid just appears for Shine to drink, without making it explicit that Adele has given it to him. It can be assumed from context, but clear actions are helpful for visualizing a scene.
[Experiencing this first hand]
I believe that should be "firsthand", one word.
Some of your paragraph breaks during conversations are a bit odd. Generally, the topic is the speaker, not the dialogue, so non-speaking actions and dialogue should be grouped together. What you have currently isn't too confusing or ambiguous, but you might have more paragraph breaks than you need.
I forget if I said this on the first version already, but the prose strikes me as a little too slow. There's a lot of contemplation, second-guessing, and asides that slow down the pace of the action. While it does make sense on some levels for a real person in this situation to be as contemplative as Shine is here, that style isn't always the best for stories. For instance,
[A sense of dread lingered over him like a thundercloud. When he eventually met her, if he eventually met her, would she even want to see him after all this time? His own memories of her were vague at best, so would she even recognise him?]
Maybe it's just because I know she's going to show up next chapter and his worries will be for naught, but this feels like unnecessary waffling. He's already committed to this course of action and it's pretty clear he's going to follow through; if his doubts were going to stop him, they would have done so before he staked a fortune on this trip. It's reasonable for him to have these worries, but they don't really add anything to the story at this juncture. There's the law of conservation of detail – only mention details that are relevant to the story. While it's possible for someone to ruminate on every possibility, it makes for a tighter narrative to only focus on the ones that will matter, and to do so when it will influence the character's decision, either because it makes them plan for a contingency or they realize too late they overlooked something.
[Shine hummed and thought back to what she said. So, Curio seemed to be quite rough around the edges, but also meant well, if the 'saving the town' business told him anything. He was still in the dark on her whereabouts, which didn't help much.]
And there are some passages like this, where Shine goes over information and conclusions that are fairly self-evident. We the readers can figure this out ourselves and can probably understand that Shine does too.
[Shine's eye flashed gold and the surroundings turned transparent]
Contrariwise, I feel this is a detail that could have used more explanation. I believe this is the first time we've been introduced to this ability, so it's a bit surprising. Is he using a move, or is this a unique ability? Why is he able to do this? The reader can make reasonable inferences, but it's strange that there's no explanation from the narration when it's previously provided a lot of important details. Something like – "But Shine wasn't an ordinary luxray; the experiments at GeL had given him an ability that would be useful here…" and maybe his thoughts on using it, does it hurt (physically or psychologically), is he uncomfortable with potentially violating peoples' privacy with it? – would help ground the reader here.
The leafeon's appearance feels sudden, like a connection is missing. She appears with no introduction, but Shine just moves into a conversation instantly. Shine doesn't even confirm that she's responsible for the trap; though that is pretty obvious from context, having him explicitly make that connection could help make his thoughts on the situation clearer. (Could even give us information on if leafeon are commonly employed as guards for this exact reason and what Shine thinks about that.)
["Who are you?" Leafeon called]
There's no article before "Leafeon" here.
[He would've blushed if he could.]
This is cute, and a good attention to detail. I see so many references to pokemon blushing in fanfic, even ones without blood or exposed skin. The anime has universal blushing, but that's because it's a visual medium; in text, you can get more creative. I really like it when authors commit to how pokemon are different from humans like this.
[While some trainers didn't know what he was talking about and respectively went on their way]
I think you might have meant "respectfully" here?
[A clock on a town spire told him it was a quarter past 5, 4 hours after he had left Ambrette.]
The rules for writing out units are complicated, but I believe hours are typically written out with numbers, even when referring only to the hour itself such as in "a quarter past five".
I believe the conversation about Shine feeling guilty is new! That's a nice thing for him to consider, though it feels a bit inconsistent with how blasé he was about it when he left.
| St Elmo's Fire chapter 1 . 6/9/2020
Finally getting back to this!
[his trainer, who had worked so hard on their project in between shifts]
Narration refers to Tony with "he" pronouns elsewhere, but uses "their" here.
["Sorry to bring this up again," Shine said in his immaculate human tongue, "But are you planning on going back to the documentary at some point?"]
You've fixed some of the dialogue-continuity errors, but you still have a few errors like this. In this case, the second bit of dialogue wouldn't be capitalized, since it continues the preceding sentence of dialogue.
[the GeL project's]
If that's a formal project name, then "project" should be capitalized as well. This generic structure would work to mean "an unspecific or unknown project of GeL's".
[Shine strolled through the sunlit streets, which was stacked upon a series of wide cliffs]
Should that be "were"?
[But why? When Shine tried to put all the information together from his past, nothing came up. He didn't know how he formed a bond with her, or why, and how they developed throughout the years, but he just knew, like there was some sort of invisible bridge. Yet that wasn't enough. The warmth wouldn't have been any sort of comfort to him if he didn't know where it came from. In fact, it started burning. No, not there, not while his emotions were still this fresh. His whole body felt dizzy, and his paws gave way as he wobbled to the hot floor. He couldn't focus on his surroundings or his physical self at all: just his vague memories and his gut feeling.]
So while I wouldn't want to make you revise this yet again, this seems a little melodramatic. On a metatextual level, it's obvious from the title and cover page alone that Curio will be very important to the plot, so there's no real need to build tension by having Shine wonder what his connection with her was – it's pretty clear that we'll get to it when we get to it. Sometimes less is more. I also don't think it's necessary for Shine to be motivated by a personal connection, at least not this early – the fact that she's related to his goal is enough motivation to chase after her, I think.
[In fact, it started burning. No, not there, not while his emotions were still this fresh.]
I'm also not clear what "there" refers to – did you mean "here"? Like, he doesn't want to have a breakdown in the middle of the street?
["Adele!" he shouted.]
It seems like Shine is saying this, but the dialogue isn't italicized.
| unrepentantAuthor chapter 1 . 6/4/2020
Hey Nebby! I'm glad to finally be leaving a comment on TCATS, it's about time.
This is a pretty strong opening chapter — I have a sense of Shine's character and an investment in seeing him get the answers (and peace) he needs, the setting feels fuller for having the kind of details I really appreciate (I want to hear about the Kalosian national debt!), and there's an intriguing mystery to uncover to which there are multiple levels of uncertainty. The xenofiction angle, of course, is always a great way to hook me in. I'd intended to read this in any case, but if I'd happened upon it on my own I'd definitely be taking an interest.
Other, specific things I liked include the entirety of Bauble's presence in the chapter. For all her fluency, she's absolutely still a total bird, and I love it. She was a mischievous delight to have around and the interactions between her and Shine made me happy. I also really enjoyed the oddly melancholic sense of place at times; the mantine cries bringing Shine back to the presence stood out as a nice moment. The prose and dialogue are both very solid, and props to you for maintaining distinct voices for each character. I do wonder why speech from pokémon characters has to be italicised if it's in English, though. Don't really get that. Also, I found that the depressive mode in which we meet Shine is well executed. It was familiar to me and sympathetic without being overblown, nice job. Overall, a pleasure to read.
I have only one particular criticism (save for the confusion about the italicisation), which is to say that Shine's internal narration habitually explains the givens of his life to me, particularly his relationships with human characters. It's perfectly valid and legitimate, as he's considering his relationship to them and these are plausibly his thought processes, but it does feel very like opening chapter exposition to me. There's no easy fix for that, and it didn't spoil the reading experience, I just really wanted to find something to pick you up on! You should be very proud of this, I think.
Seeya next chapter~
| Neirdae chapter 39 . 4/16/2020
| Neirdae chapter 37 . 4/16/2020
| Neirdae chapter 32 . 4/16/2020
I'm sure there's a horribly traumatizing reason for why M loves that doll.
| Neirdae chapter 31 . 4/16/2020
Oh dear. That's not good.
Now I'm sad.
| Neirdae chapter 21 . 4/15/2020
"Never mind the others," Curio said, patting his head, "You can read, that's great! I don't really get it, but Mama used to read to me and I loved it!"
Curio hasn't been named yet in this scene, and should be speaking in first person anyway.