|Reviews for The Curious and the Shiny|
| Neirdae chapter 20 . 4/15/2020
Last couple of paragraphs:
| Neirdae chapter 16 . 4/15/2020
I'm really loving your focus on relationships. You've got very well established personalities for your characters.
I like how Shine has an undercurrent of anxiety and has trouble seeing the good effects he has on people (mostly Pokemon). Very realistic.
| Neirdae chapter 11 . 4/15/2020
I've never seen a drunk lucario before.
| Neirdae chapter 6 . 4/15/2020
I ship them so hard
| Neirdae chapter 3 . 4/15/2020
I never noticed that Shine only had one eye. But I looked back and each time you mentioned his eye, it was in the singular. Well played. Also adds another reason why people look at him funny.
"pleasant stench" those words are mutually exclusive.
| Neirdae chapter 2 . 4/15/2020
The humans eating Pokemon meat is a bit weird, especially in a universe where they occasionally talk to the humans. Though, I'm sure the circle of life and predation is well understood among the humans and pokemon.
For some reason, I thought Shine just went on his own, without a human piloting Accendare.
I probably would have had Shine sniff around try to track/ find Curio by scent, but that depends on author's interpretations. Nice to see the xray vision of Luxray show up.
| Neirdae chapter 1 . 4/15/2020
Good so far.
Great writing, good characterization. You've managed the experiment babysit without it coming off edgy, typical, or cringy.
I'm not sure how important Tony will be as a character. If Curio and Shine go back and live with him, then I would have liked slightly more information on him. It seems like he's in a vet business, but I'm not sure from reading. I might have missed that. Of course, if Tony never shows up again, or only shows up once much later, it's not important.
A couple questions: was the Hypno therapy a relatively new idea for Shine and Tony? A five year waiting list seems rather long. Might be a comparable wait to real world organ transplant lists, though.
| The Vulture Queen chapter 39 . 4/12/2020
Well. Someone’s horrifically, inexcusably late. Le sigh.
I liked this arc. It was Cerberus syndrome done well. Mostly. I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about making the emotional crux of the arc a minor character who will probably never be seen again. Also required GeL to grip the idiot ball hard re:Bolt. Basically after knowingly enabling Bolt to isolate and physically abuse a scared kid it’s kind of hard to go with anything other than “GeL’s leadership was evil” or “GeL’s leadership was extremely incompetent.” Don’t get me wrong. I’m all fo narratives but some of it felt a little bit forced if GeL is supposedly benevolent.
The payoff chapters were very good, however. Massive kudos on sticking the landing.
I think I mentioned a few times that with infrequent chapter readings or breaks between chapters I struggled hard to remember what Pokemon were what species and what their gimmick/occupation was. With reflection I think it might’ve helped to have just a few more characters be relevant. Patches seemed to have helped Shine a lot emotionally in Curio’s chapters. Feels like they could’ve been more present. Really just a few more developed side characters would’ve felt like a better use of the natural ensemble potential of the setting/genre. Or otherwise downplay the amount that at least Shine cares about the others. Idk. Kept feeling like a disconnect between the apparent closeness of characters and how little I remembered about any of them. Limiting the total number of students could also help with making the remaining ones memorable.
I really liked how aura was handled. Good and awkward. Nice nice nice. And the GeL did nothing wrong for real (bar negligent enabling of child abuse/neglect) twist was genuinely good. Now I’m curious exactly what the heck happens to make the whole thing retroactively traumatizing as hell for Curio.
I did like the arc. I like the framing. Characters. Really, there’s a lot. I just sometimes struggle to go on at length about good stuff while clarifying critiques at length is easy. Promise.
Gl;hf and whatnot.
| WildBoots chapter 4 . 3/30/2020
Overall, Curio really works in this chapter. I like her. I feel for Shine. Can’t imagine he won’t win their fight so the story can progress, but it’ll be interesting to see how he pulls it off.
Not convinced boldface was the only way to offset the flashback. Not my favorite.
[Once, trees grew from blood-soaked soil. After the gods slept, man and Pokemon fought against one another, killing millions. Only then, did their blood mix into the land. From there, they tried to co-exist, but the pieces did not entirely fit together. Pokemon still could not fully understand man, and so, their worlds remained separate, or so they thought."]
Chronology muddled. I think it’s meant to be a preface sentence, then the story. But it read as blood part one, gods sleep, now time for more blood. Also felt like “from there, they tried to coexist,” was abrupt. Expand?
[To have a mate or a family member to confide in is the very essence of love, but to describe it is like trying to catch the wind with a net.]
This resonates though.
All these paragraphs with Shine reading aloud to Curio end with “s. Shouldn’t though — when a character talks over multiple paragraphs, you leave off the second question until they stop talking.
[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."]
Oh yeah, classic. Oppression because of fear of being overthrown for being oppressive.
[He would question]
I’d go with “he questioned” to match the rest.
[in front of his parents who taught them the very thing that destroyed their home.]
Confused by “them.” Typo?
[her satchel bag in tow.]
I think just satchel works.
[Oh, who am I kidding? It's great to see you again, Sunshine."]
[Even through the quiet sobs]
Abrupt transition at the start of this sentence. Lots of nice tactile details in this paragraph. Might split into 2-3 shorter paragraphs to really heighten the sense of time standing still.
[Maybe it was that aura power of hers, but he shook his head, continuing with the conversation.]
Would split in two for flow.
[Curio blew a raspberry.]
[Shine pushed that other thought to the back of his mind and focused on the cafe's environment.]
Sticking on the word “environment.” Too non-specific.
[Well, you're right about that. Eevee cafes, Meowth cafes, you name it, you could literally open up anything over there from what I've seen."]
Interesting twist on the cat cafe!
[a mischief of Pichu]
Delightful. This feels like a possible Persephone/Vulture Queen-ism. * eyes *
[she slipped on some non-static slippers by the shoe-rack.]
[You're a teacher?"
"Eh, not really. Whenever I'm in town anywhere, I just do it on and off if I can find work. Gotta fill my belly somehow. It's better than huntin' or pickin' through scraps to get by."
Shine grimaced. "I know the feeling."]
[I'm not too hung up on that stuff yet," she said. "Just let him speak as well as he can and he'll get it right over time."]
Wholesome teacher vibes.
[Being told off by Curio when he itched to correct the Pikachu's mistakes put him in a tight spot.]
This line didn’t add much for me.
["U-um, er, neither Bewear or Bi-Bi-Bi… sorry. I c-can't do it."]
Aww honey. Love the tongue-twister you made up!
[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. Comfort for what, her mother?]
I sort of want this to be scattered in those memories instead. It’s pretty clear those closer passages were flashbacks.
[So it's not gonna be like I remembered it, huh."
Perhaps she thought the same of Shine.]
This was nice.
[Yet, there was one film he watched for the first time recently about a family of Hippopotas trying to stop Deoxys' meteorite]
[“Then, why'd you leave me behind?"]
[Curio, say something!]
This might want to be italicized, since it’s a verbatim thought.
[It balled into a fist,]
*She balled it into a fist,
[She was gone. Wait, he couldn't let her run away. Without hesitation,]
Well he did hesitate though. I’d let each other’s lines be standalone paragraphs, and I’d change the “wait” to a “no.”
| WildBoots chapter 3 . 3/6/2020
Overall, I was happy to have Curio’s energy in the mix, especially in contrast to Shine and the other super shy lucario. (Did I miss his name?) I liked her sass and her ability to laugh after all that – brings good stuff to the table.
The obvious thing to talk about here – and the most meaty – are the Claws. On the one hand, I liked that Shine could be completely overwhelmed by numbers alone. He’s still vulnerable. On the other hand, I have some unresolved questions about the Claws. Some of the answers might come up later, I realize. First, I’m struggling a little with how very dirty they are. It’s a powerful, painful image but… The line especially about them being too dirty to want to lick themselves… Wouldn’t they have to have gone a while without cleaning themselves at all to even get to that place? Or did each of them join the Claws after a separate traumatic incident of having garbage juice dumped on them? I also wondered why, if the route was so easy for them to flee to, why not just go there and get clean in a river? I’m hoping they’re not just gone, gone and we’ll see them again in a new context, because the conversation about haves and have-nots is VERY INTERESTING. I also definitely appreciate that their biggest motive seems to be that they’re have-nots, just trying to survive and being criminalized by the society that put them in that position. I’m eager to explore that more.
As much as I liked seeing Curio, I was also a little underwhelmed by the way she saved the day. Maybe I’ll feel differently about it next chapter when she has chance to talk things through with Shine more, but as of now… I’m confused about what her role is with the Claws. I think that’s mostly just because of the newspaper Shine read in Ch1, and I expect that to be clarified later. That’s not as big of a deal. Bigger structural concerns for me are the way we learn at the end she was bluffing all along, in spite of all previous hints suggesting she and the Claws have at least encountered each other a few times. Shouldn’t they be pretty aware of what she’s capable of? Seemed like she could’ve also threatened them by destroying part of the goodies in the bag instead of/in addition to threatening them physically: “Either meet my demands and get all of this or watch me throw it piece by piece into the fire.” Etc. I was also surprised that one bag of goodies was enough to make them give up the wallets, their turf, and their hostage. Didn’t feel like enough – unless the trainer from earlier was right that they don’t actually have the knowledge/social currency to make use of the money and buy their own goodies. (In which case, it would be helpful to hear so more clearly. And then why even steal them?) It also felt like a missed opportunity to let the Claws break themselves up with in-fighting over the contents of the bag!
Nitpick about style: every time you referred to the lucario’s aura it confused me because I kept thinking it meant *his* energy signature rather than his ability to read the auras of others. It might be canonical – I’ve skipped out on all the parts of the anime etc that deal with auras – in which case I still dislike it but that doesn’t matter. If it’s not canonical, I’d consider adjusting it slightly.
Looking forward to seeing Shine and Curio finally getting to talk for real. (I bet I’m approaching that scene I just mathed up in the Thousand Roads madlibs thread…!)
| WildBoots chapter 2 . 2/24/2020
[The only figure that stood out to Shine was an old trader who sat under a tent surrounded by makeshift bookshelves. He was the first person Shine could think of to ask about Curio's whereabouts. Perhaps by intuition, as someone he expected was well read probably had the most information about local affairs.]
I like this. On brand for Shine, for sure, and I’m interested too.
[Shine bit back the urge to correct him on his pluralization of Luxray and continued.]
! Then what is it?
[There was still a lot he didn't remember about Curio.]
I thought he couldn’t remember anything! Did the dragonite ride jog his memory? This also brings up: yeah, how *did* Shine end up in Kalos?
Lucky that Shine’s X-ray vision isn’t affected by him having one eye.
[the white god’s design]
[Fine," she said. "You need a mate anyway."
Shine sputtered at that. "M-me and h-her? But-"]
[Shine remembered the lack of a jingle by his neck and internally cursed Bauble, however helpful she was. She had to take his collar, of all things.]
Yes! Love that we’re seeing a consequence.
I liked the moment of Shine missing Tony and regretting leaving.
I like Barley’s dialogue.
Cute pokémon bar is cute. And OMG Barley is literal Edward Scissorhands offering haircuts and hedge trimming all in one, my heart!
[The kibble bites turned to rocks in his stomach, rattling in his inner passages.]
I like this. Also whoosh, some PTSD and depression happening in this passage!
[tools everywhere, like wireframes, pliers, trash and glue... Curio smiled at this, and then, when she noticed the Luxray's presence, she turned and waved at him.]
Woof. The chess puns. Can’t decide if I love or hate them.
I like the ending line — but I do agree with Barley that it feels like Shine is moving real fast. Homeboy ought to rest. I guess he’s fine in the dark with night vision, but wowee.
[Don't mention it. First timers usually get sick,]
I think first-timers should be hyphenated.
Is your system that pokémon speaking “common” is italicized and pokémon speaking to each other is not? Is that’s not the case, you dropped fine italics between Shine & Accendare.
[Experiencing this first hand calmed his nerves]
[Many older trainers drifted in and out of the town's hub, dressed in plain-clothes or overalls]
I think this should either be plainclothes or plain clothes. (Though It’s occurring to me that some of these nitpicks miiiiight be differences between American and British English. I’d double-check just in case.)
[hit by an invisible wall.]
Considering invisible walls are a thing in Pokémon, I took this literally at first.
[Perhaps that would've given him a clue on her whereabouts.]
Would give, since he hasn’t gone yet.
[And so, he started the long trek]
I’d cut this comma
[Hey boy!" a coarse voice called from far away. "Get over here!"]
[L-look, I just need to know! I can't explain it, but I just have a gut feeling! I know we were close!"]
I’d cut “I know we were close.” I think the rest is fine, and seems like the place someone would butt in.
[got enough trouble with you outsider Pokemon, 'specially the human speaking ones. ]
Human-speaking (since they two words together form the adjective modifying “ones” but “human” doesn’t individually.”)
[A clock on a town spire told him it was a quarter past 5, 4]
Written out unless you add “p.m.” after. Four should definitely be written out.
[And on queue, his stomach rumbled, and he groaned.]
Cue is the right one in this instance.
[He took Barley's claw in return and shook it.]
Maybe instead of “took his claw” it should be “lay a paw on his claw and they shook” because my first reaction was, “With what?”
[Maybe I just have a habit of talking to myself, hehe."]
I’d swap the hehe for “he chuckled nervously.” Hehe sounds to me like a girlish anime giggle and breaks tone for me.
Either one word or hyphenated
[Barley clicked his large tongue.]
“Large” makes it weird.
| WildBoots chapter 1 . 2/24/2020
Just cross-posting from TR for whatever tiny bump it may give you. I suspect you’ve already fixed some of these. Regardless. You’ve definitely replied to it.
This is a pretty stream-of-conscious review, except I pushed all the grammar/language nitpicks to the end.
The cover art is cute AF. Your art?
The opening scene reads as very raw and real to me tonight — came home to find my roommate with his arm in a sling because he got hit by a car! (He’s okay.) My only critique there is that breaking your paragraphs up even more would heighten the sense of urgency and breathlessness in the chase.
Interesting that Tony still bears the designation of trainer yet also has a job job. Also interesting that Pokémon seem to have so much independent mobility — going to a bakery or the library. I like the obvious displays of love and respect between Pokémon and trainer here, but I’m finding myself wanting the Pokémon to feel more alien and other. So far, Shine’s perspective feels much like a human’s would. This is probably just a difference in our style preferences, but worth mentioning all the same.
Strong vibes of Xmen’s Beast.
Bauble is a very cute name for a murkrow.
[“A Car-Free Lumiose - Gogoat leads to less congestion, study finds.”]
Nice bit of world-building.
I also liked the considerations about travel in this world. The urgency felt real — she could already be gone.
I wish I had more backstory about Shine and Tony’s relationship. It would add weight to Shine’s decision to go off alone and use Tony’s money.
The weakest part of the chapter for me was Shine reflecting on Curio after failing to get in touch with Tony. I got lost in the sauce with all that internal monologue and too little to anchor to. I feel like that section could be thinned, and some of it might want to move to the moment where he first sees her photo in the paper.
The strongest part of the chapter was watching Shine bargain to get what he needed. I wish it felt like more of a chore/sacrifice for Shine to teach the goodra human tongue, but the sacrifice of the collar felt pretty real.
[“C’mon, Shine,” his trainer Tony said. “We should get ready soon.”]
Missing comma after trainer and Tony. (Unless Shine has multiple co-trainers.)
Should be “th-thanks,” otherwise reads weirdly.
[retrieving a fantasy book for him to sink his teeth into]
Probably the wrong figure of speech, since he has serious teeth and I keep expecting him to behave like an animal.
[Shine ignored Bauble’s cries of protest as he stuffed the newspaper in his mouth and made a beeline for the library’s exit, dashing off further into town where the coast was to Tony's workplace.]
Clunky sentence flow here, especially that last clause. Might want to be two sentences, definitely fewer prepositions.
[Shine saw the most dragons he had ever caught in one area. ]
“Caught” feels off.
[getting a crowd of laughter]
“Crowd” also feels odd.
[slapping Shine across the face with a burst of wind.]
Well, Accendare isn’t the one doing the slapping, right? Would revise to, “Accendare burst forward, and the burst of wind slapped Shine across the face.”
It’ll probably take me a while to get to it, but I plan to keep reading on to the next chapter.
| Namohysip chapter 30 . 9/21/2019
This was a bit of a tricky chapter to think about, because most of the things revealed... I felt had already been alluded to somewhat in prior chapters, in a way. At least, I think I remember it being mentioned, so I'm wondering if it was necessary to dedicate an entire chapter to this. The last chapter ended off at a pretty big cliffhanger, and then we go into this chapter where we don't really pick up on that, and instead we sort of flash back to Shine's perspective.
It sort of works because this is all a big recollection, but I'm still not sure about the choice to go down that route. Still, it was cute to see Shine's first drabbles and ideas for his stories basically being a self-insert or some kind of wish-fulfillment fantasy. I imagine a lot of writers start off with their dreamlands. I thought it was a bit funny that Shine, who had been so soft-spoken and gentle, idolized being a warrior or a participant in war. I guess back then he wasn't really that familiar with what it really meant, in a way.
I don't have a whole lot else to comment on with this chapter beyond that. Like I said, I'm not sure how necessary the chapter as a whole was, or if what was revealed here could have been interspersed in future chapters. But it's here now, and it was at least nice, though I hope we can get back to the old cliffhanger soon.
| The Vulture Queen chapter 30 . 9/17/2019
Everything changed when the fight tests attacked.
Curio flashback POV is a little overdue and I think it was pulled off well. One little narrative formatting question tho: if this is an interview, why does shine never stutter? Has he gotten over that? Maybe he has and I've forgotten. Doesn't matter. Just thought of it when the quoted dialogue contrasted with the narration-type dialogue.
Curio's enSad!dening at not being a part of groups that do let you sort of watch them struck a chord. Feels bad, man.
I also liked the rapid dasher. Good fellow. Not quite as good as bauble tho.
Cringy self inserts are cringe. Good stuff.
One quarrel: I don't think it should be the writing pokedex. Pokedex itself is a portmanteau of Pokemon and Index. So Writdex or something would be more accurate. Unless this is specifically a guide for the writings of pokemon or something.
| Namohysip chapter 29 . 9/13/2019
Alright! This was a bit of a calm chapter compared to the milestone of the last one, but I like that you still made some progress on Curio’s little story arc here. In particular, I thought that it was interesting to see her getting a bit more in depth with her species/identity crisis. There are some subtle flavors that I’m wondering if you’re putting there intentionally or not.
[“I can choose to wear this thing, even though it ain’t the best for me kind, but I just wanna. It’s great to ‘ave something that says you’re you, right?”]
And right here is the quote that I think summarizes this chapter. This one stood out to me more than any of the others because it seems like a one-line symbol for Cruio’s struggle. “Being human” is out of her element and generally disadvantageous, but despite that, she sees it as her desired identity. I thought you captured this pretty well with this conversation, and I’m pretty sure you intended this conversation to be here for that purpose. Anyway, that’s my main takeaway from this chapter in particular. The rest was a bit less notable / redundant, I think. Curio reading minds went on for a while.
[“So, I always thought Lucario had like a big jaw as well, but now, I see it’s just the nose that’s big. How odd!”]
Oh no, you confirmed it.
[What brought me back to reality was Bolt, the Manectric tutor, entering the room. It was just him, at first, looking stern as ever. Then Shine joined him, bloody, bruised and in tears.]
Oh, oh my. That’s an interesting cliffhanger to leave off on, especially after how it doesn’t fit with anything else that had happened prior! Though, I think that worked in your favor in this case. This chapter was a bit more on the calm side, all things considered, so having this as a quick hook into the next one is probably to your benefit.