|Reviews for The Curious and the Shiny|
| Namohysip chapter 20 . 2/20/2019
I don’t… have anything major to criticize about this chapter. The three segments of it are just… really good. So this is going to be a chapter of me explaining why so I can see more of that in the future. This is less “here’s what you can fix” and a lot more of “hey so can I see more of this.”
First thing – Part 1, with you basically elaborating on the “Pokémon anime” and how it applies to this story. While meta, and while I thought it was a joke at first, the way you interpreted it and then used that meta concept for your own narrative was brilliant. I was smiling the whole way, really liked how you handled this and what it really meant.
Part 2 with the fight in Cubone and Munchlax was interesting, but a bit overshadowed by everything else that happened in this chapter. Not to say it was bad. I just have more to say here. I thought you handled Shine and Curio’s first prolonged interaction very well, too—a real empty, lonely Shinx. To be honest, I wish we could see a bit of Shine’s perspective during this, because I feel like he’d be having a reaction at around this point, maybe even some self-reflection about it. Doubt he remembers that.
Part 3 was basically what made this chapter one of your strongest chapters yet, or perhaps just the strongest so far. Emotionally charged and yet sorta pent up at the same time. Honestly it would have been stronger if Curio didn’t quite have her outburst, maybe she was more subdued, but I don’t really mind.
And then you did the thing that I told you about a number of chapters back. Your issue with having weak chapter endings because you drone on and stuff? Not here, not this time! That was probably your most packed, yet concise ending line to a chapter yet. Solid. Very, very solid chapter. Basically this response is just my short essay on why I’m adding it to my favorites list on FFN.
| Namohysip chapter 19 . 2/16/2019
[It's like having your first encounter with some random Pokemon terrorising the professor in the tall grass, and having to teach your own Pokemon how to fight for the first time.]
This is so meta it hurts.
Ah! So we’re finally entering totally new territory, are we? That’s great! I guess that means soon the upload pace is going to slow down a little, but that’s just fine. The pace was pretty quick to begin with, after all. At some points it was even faster than my catchup schedule!
Okay, enough rambling about that. This chapter was nice! It definitely has a bit of that “school of superpower” vibe going on, complete with some of the students having a dark past! Cubone in particular stands out to me as someone of interest, if only because of the meta lore surrounding his species, and the personality he is slowly starting to show. A bit ironic that I suspect one route that this arc could go is that Cubone starts coming out of his shell at around the same time he’ll be putting on some sort of makeshift mask that Curio makes—maybe as one of her first little budding-artist tendencies for craft.
That’s all just crackpot theory crafting at this point. As for the contents of the chapter itself, I’m a little perplexed on why Curio was so surprised at her own strength and the outcome of the battle she had. For some reason I had the impression she had at least some kind of basic fighting skill that was taught by Trunks, at the very least, or maybe she just heard about it or something from him. But that’s mostly just a minor nitpick. Bit of a repeat of “as you know, Pokémon fight” from the first arc as well, even if it makes sense narratively.
The phone call was an interesting touch. I didn’t expect her to be able to contact them so soon, but it really sets the tone that she can still sorta phone home even when she’s so far away. I suspect there is going to be a lot of strain and perhaps a “will they or won’t they” reconciliation between Curio and her father, too. I think it might be a great idea to capitalize on that going down the road, especially since, as we know from present-day, Curio at least slightly agrees with her father now.
| Namohysip chapter 18 . 2/10/2019
Interesting opening chapter for the Growth Arc. Picking up quite literally right where we left off in the Island Arc, too, since we're waking up with Curio by the time it begins. I thought that going over the whole sterilization and vaccination process, and all this orientation stuff, went on for a bit longer than it was perhaps necessary, but at the same time, it didn't go on for too long. You sprinkled in some character interactions-there were quite a few, so it was a bit hard to keep track at first, though hopefully I'll catch on by the next chapter or two. Those interactions helped tie it all together, I think.
Just an aside, maybe a mini-rant, but interesting to see Cubone here! Despite all the reading I've done here, this is the first time I can recall seeing one featured prominently of the bodies of work I've looked through. I'm curious if you're going to play the 'dex entries straight. I've ranted about this a lot with others, but despite the appeal of having such an edgy species might have, it's one of the few entries that makes perhaps the least amount of sense when you actually think about it. One mother passing on its skull to the child and then dying... means the species would die off pretty much instantly. Doesn't help that some canon depictions show the mother still alive around the child, including Origins. Not sure where the helmet comes from. Maybe the same place Machoke get their tights. I can understand it if that's just a rumor about them or something, but for it to apply to the whole species for real is... logistically impossible.
Okay, obligatory Namo Cubone rant over. Related, though, as Curio mentioned, it looks like everyone has a story to tell here, and most of them are probably bad ones in terms of the wild ones that showed up. I'm hoping that during this arc and any arcs related to these characters, what you'll eventually answer (aside from how Curio became how she is today) is what happened with Curio's roommates, basically. And maybe hints toward the others? I dunno, sounds like a lot to cover before getting bloated, considering how long your previous arcs have been.
| Namohysip chapter 17 . 2/6/2019
Alright, if that ending is anything to go by, it looks like we’ll be heading right into that next arc! That makes the third, right? Wow, it feels like it’s going by pretty quickly, despite the overall steady pace of this work as a whole. Anyway, I’m going to double this as a brief overall opinion of the interlude following my thoughts on this chapter first.
It was nice. It was more or less wrapping up a bit of Curio’s prejudice against Tony, but quite resolving it, but it was enough to show that they have some respect toward each other, now. The Primarina feels… like you’re preparing something. At first I thought it was something inconsequential, but now that I’m actually writing about it and reflecting some, it seems like this might actually be important after this arc is over. I’m a little confused on why it’s getting referred to as “they” all the time. Were they unable to determine its identity? Beyond that, I think you accidentally slipped into referring to Primarina as “it” now and then. And, related, an offhand remark was made about Shine being weak to water attacks, but I think you meant Ground. Hm, now that I think about it, Curio and Shine would be in some real trouble if they had to deal with a Ground specialist, wouldn’t they? Better stock up on those Air Balloons…
So, overall? A short interlude that didn’t dilly-dally too much, but still had time to get into the relation between the main three. Solid breather. And it looks like we’re leading into what I’m getting the feeling is some sort of school arc, which sounds like it could go anywhere from X Men to My Hero Academia. Regardless, if that’s the direction you’re going with “supernatural academy,” I’m hyped.
| Namohysip chapter 16 . 2/2/2019
Ah yes, another interlude, though it looks like this one is going to be a bit shorter unless something unexpected happens. I’d almost argue these are mini-arcs in and of themselves! But regardless, I’d consider the main point of this chapter is to reiterate (and perhaps remind) for the reader Curio and Shine’s differing views of humans and, more specifically, trainers. This is especially near the end, where Curio unapologetically states that’s just how she is (which, by the way—awful excuse! I hope Shine calls her out on that at some point) toward them.
One scene that struck me as slightly odd was Shine’s reaction to Curio getting hurt. Shine has already broken his ribs in a mere sparring match and that was treated as something with more or less nonchalance. And I feel like Shine of all Pokémon would be more aware of the extent that Pokémon could be healed up from these sorts of injuries. So why was he so startled when Curio was so dismissive? Was curio actually genuinely badly hurt, or was Shine getting some sort of flashback to seeing Curio hurt in some other way? Maybe making that clearer, or something else to explain or balance out this reaction, might be warranted, because I was a little confused when that scene happened.
I’m more or less awaiting more of the interview at this point. Last time the interludes were definitely working as setup, but they dragged on a bit long. I’m hoping this interlude provides some extra plot, or otherwise we get to the interview soon, so things can move along; a lot of the interactions here were recapping old ground in a new angle. I enjoyed it, but like before, doing it again may be pushing the backtracking buttons too often.
| Namohysip chapter 15 . 1/31/2019
Now this was an interesting (albeit short) two chapters. I think it was an appropriate spot to take a break. I don’t have a whole lot to say about these two chapters aside from the fact that I thought it was a somewhat calm denouement to this arc. It looks like we’re going to be going back for interviews in a chapter or two, and I think this is an unorthodox narrative style. I’m wondering more and more how such a big chunk of this story is going to pan out for the rest of the series. Will all of it be these flashbacks? Or will it be interspersed for the whole time? Or will it be lopsided, mostly flashbacks for the first part, but present day for the second? I’m not sure which approach would be best in this case.
But in any case! I figure this is a good time to give an overall impression of this arc. Compared to the first, this was very different. I mean, obviously it was different because it was largely in first person, but also in terms of the subject matter, tone, and overall goal of the arc, it’s our first real look at Curio, her past, and her upbringing. Almost everything about Curio is unlike Shine except for the fact that they met each other in GeL. I imagine we’ll be looking at that next.
I think this is part 2 of world building; Shine’s segment showed what it’s like to live in an urban environment as a trainer’s Pokémon, and Curio’s arc here shows what it means to live as a wild Pokémon, to an extent. It’s a lot of world building wrapped up in a coming-of-age story. I thought, repetitive chapters aside, you did that well. As for what’s next…? I’m hoping to finally get to know a bit more about GeL, why it seems to be good, and why that all went wrong.
| Namohysip chapter 13 . 1/25/2019
Alright, you weren’t kidding about this being the climax chapter, though it still hasn’t gotten to its resolution. But I’m definitely not disappointed! I don’t have a whole lot to say in the line of criticisms so much just commentary on what I thought this chapter did well. My point still stands that the past few chapters were a bit repetitive, but the payoff here was good. This entire arc is exposition, yet you managed to make it feel like the height of the story, and for that I’m definitely impressed!
I thought you handled Trunks’ psychology pretty well, and the mother, too. There’s a conflict about being stuck in their old ways, perhaps even trapped without any means of knowing how to break free, while Curio is still young and able to break the trend of monotony. It’s a classic tale of a child wanting to go out and be something bigger, at the risk of casting aside everyone they once knew. Basically, moving away, but even more dramatic than the typical standard.
One thing that stood out to me as a question during all this, though, was how Liam didn’t realize this. You’ve established long ago that Lucario here can read minds very easily, so I’m trying to wrap my head around how Curio’s father isn’t wise to all of this happening—especially since Trunks seems to be privy to it. I’m not quite sure how that works out with the mechanics. I guess that’s the problem with trying to keep secrets in a family of mind readers…
But that aside, I can’t wait to see how this concludes! At least, I think so. I can only see this going for one or two more chapters before we enter the next arc / off the island. And as a side note, I thought Shine’s interruption was very funny. My only criticism would be to perhaps have a shorter line at first to better imply that Shine’s saying this. Since it’s such a huge block, I legitimately thought it was an author’s note at first. For example…
(Sorry to interrupt so out of the blue like this, but that’s a myth.)
(the chocolate is only made . . . ) and so on.
| Namohysip chapter 12 . 1/21/2019
This is another chapter where I don’t have a whole lot to say, but my general opinion on it is positive. This is more or less an episode that I’d divide into two parts. Part one is her drawing arc and how, in the end, her father took that away from her in an effort to protect her from the humans, misguided as his approach was. Such a draconian approach toward someone as rebellious as Curio isn’t exactly going to turn out well. Usually kids like that run away from—oh.
And the second part is the swim followed by the near-drown and yet another encounter with friendly humans! Obviously Curio is starting to get a better impression of them at this point and, more importantly, it seems like she’s warming up to the idea of going. I’m curious on what will happen when the humans arrive on the island tomorrow, since that could very well be the turning point. They mentioned looking for Pokémon “like her,” after all. Curious…
I think the only real concern is, despite the fact that this was a good chapter, it was also somewhat of a repeat. Just an escalation of the last few chapters. We already know that her father doesn’t like humans and doesn’t want Curio involved, and we already had Curio encounter humans and kinda like them. This is just that same thing, but higher. I feel like you won’t really be able to get away with this again, so hopefully chapters with these specific themes will come to a resolution soon!
| Namohysip chapter 11 . 1/16/2019
Another big encounter in this chapter with the humans, this time with alcohol! That’s mostly what stands out here, along with Curio’s growing restlessness. But there are three things that stand out to me in this chapter that I want to actually go over, and two of them are things I hope get a bit more elaboration on. Oh, who am I kidding, I’m sure you have this planned, based on what you’ve told me before.
First thing! It was literally just one line, but it stood out to me more than any other. Curio is looking at a Wingull and comments that she could ask it for information and possibly a means of exploring the world with humans. Then, without even a pause or a beat or anything, she also comments that she could take it home as dinner. Like, wow! That line just stood out to me as that weird mental dissonance that I’m wondering Shine will eventually comment on, since he seems to be a lot less, well, inclined to that sort of thing, is that brief scene in the interludes is anything to go by.
The second thing is that there are a few instances—and this is really hard to spot, but it stood out enough that I actually found a sentence that did it—where you have sentences that have a ton of “gravel,” so to speak. That is, a long string of one-syllable words that, if you read it with a voice in your head like I do, can kinda be bumpy and hard to process because of how quickly the words go by. Here’s the example:
[I picked it out of the box out of all the items there and shook it around a little as sheets of paper waved in the air]
Mostly ones and twos. Actually, all ones and twos, without a comma in sight. I think it could be rewritten to either simplify, break up, or otherwise smooth out to be more like this:
“Out of all the items there, I picked that one out and shook it around a little, sheets of paper waving in the air.”
I also got rid of that “as” clause, which is part of the problem. “As” has a tendency to connect two thoughts while weakening both of them because the mind tries to process them both at the same time. I’m not sure if my comma solution has the same problem, but it at least gives me a mental pause when reading.
The last thing that stood out to me was the way the chapter ended, sort of as a culmination of what I was suspicious of regarding Curio’s father. I’m not completely sure this is what you were going for, but my interpretation of him is that even though he hates humanity and the life he lived, he still has ties to it, and perhaps even can’t resist the temptation of getting little tastes of them regardless? And the alcohol in his breath was the indicator of that. Just a small thing that I thought was really clever, if that’s what the next few chapters are going to either bear fruit or lean on.
| Namohysip chapter 10 . 1/14/2019
Not much for me to say about this chapter in the way of critical issues I had with it. While it was a bit of a classic tale of “beware the outsiders” and so on, with a kid having a close encounter that appeared to be benign, but had somewhat foreboding connotations, it worked well. And I actually thought it was a nice touch that the human wasn’t going to go immediately to capturing Curio, either, and you’re actually showing that, yeah, humans generally are on the cautious or friendly side when working with wild Pokémon. It was... balanced! I liked that.
The only real issue I think I had is that the chapter largely told me what I already knew from the last chapter, only manifesting it as something else. I think part of it has to do with the fact that the chapter is on the shorter side, so it just covered less ground. I’m still left wondering exactly what Curio’s Dad’s deal is, and I was hoping to get more of that later. Good ending line this time, though. Chronicling Curio’s encounters with humanity, and perhaps how that ended up leading to where she is now…
| Namohysip chapter 9 . 1/9/2019
Huh. I have some Msyery Dungeon vibes from this first chapter, at least some pieces I’ve read on the matter, where humans are known and disliked. If you’ve ever read Blazing Aura or Fractured Elements, kinda like that. But that aside, we finally have a look at her past! Starting from the beginning. To be honest, this reads like an entirely new story, so I see why you wanted to have those interludes at first.
The actual content seemed pretty standard expository writing for the most part, though it still kept me interested. She lived on a remote island devoid of much life. They ate fish and berries for the most part, didn’t seem to have very hard of a life, and the father used to be a trainer’s Pokémon—though his experience on the matter was colored in a dark light. That definitely foreshadows (…retroshadows?) Curio’s opinions, in a way, though I’m curious why she eventually got involved with them anyway. For the next chapters, I suppose.
Beyond that, there isn’t a lot for me to comment on with the chapter content itself. I didn’t see anything that particularly stood out to me that I wasn’t really expecting beyond what I said above. Instead, I want to focus on something that happened again this chapter—the ending. It could’ve ended a sentence earlier again. I think I’m able to actually narrow it down this time, too. Your final sentences are always defusing the prior one, which ultimately weaken the impact of the whole scene. Here’s how it was originally:
[After a few repeats, a pang of anger welled inside me. Was that really what life was like outside that island? What would happen if one of those humans came down to our island? Or worse, what would happen if they met me? Over time, I got more tired as the questions faded into the background, and I went to sleep not long after.]
Okay, so, that was a good sense of doubt to leave it out on, especially sine, as a foregone conclusion, she eventually does wind up in human hands one way or the other. But the final sentence. “Over time,” “not long after,” – for some reason, these filler words and filter phrases soften the blow of these worries too much. If you flipped them, I think you could have made the impact a bit stronger. For example:
“After a few repeats, a pang of anger welled inside me. Over time, I got more tired, the questions in my mind fading into the background, ever-present as I drifted to sleep. Was that really what life was like outside that island? What would happen if those humans came here?
What would happen if they met me?”
This is just with a bit of phrase-changing and changing sentence order, and it can definite improve further, but that semifinal sentence had much more of an impact on me than the last one. I even wanted to emphasize it as its own paragraph. But anyway, the ordering aside, the question is absolutely a lead-in to the next chapter. I see what you’re going for~ Can’t wait.
| Namohysip chapter 8 . 1/7/2019
You know, it’s labeled as an interlude, but I don’t think it is at all! It’s a bit puzzling, because it felt like I was already reaching what I believe is going to be the “interview” arc, which in itself seems to be the moment we look into the past for what led Curio and Shine to the point where they are now. Overall, we get a better look at Curio’s less friendly side, particularly her attitude toward trainers. I can really feel for Shine in this chapter in particular, because Curio is being quite cold toward Tony despite the fact that, well, Shine holds him in great regard.
I like the general feel of them just taking a moment to relax on the couch while Tony gets set up, and I have to admire Tony’s professional patience here considering Curio’s abrasive attitude. And then we actually get to the interview portion, which feels like a prelude to the real interview arc. And if there’s anything that I’d like to critique about this chapter, it would have to be the strange, awkward spot that it ended, and the way the interview went. I felt like there weren’t a lot of pauses during Curio’s monologuing. Or, well, any, when she’s answering a question more thoroughly. Something to give more of a feel to the way she’s speaking might help.
But the way the chapter ended is my biggest gripe. Perhaps due in part to the lack of pauses or it just being a ramble, it ended off on a very weak, trailing-off note. I think ending off as a direct lead-in to the next chapter in this way may have worked better, if you just rephrased a few sentences and then ended earlier.
“You could say it’s my own fault I ended up this way. And you’d be right. But, that’s life, I guess. And if this is going to be the story about my life… I should probably tell you about Mom, first.” Boom, end. Or something like that. Sometimes, less is more, especially for ending a scene.
Anyway, that being said, I’m curious what this peek into the past is gonna be.
| Namohysip chapter 7 . 1/4/2019
Oh! Another interlude? Huh. For some reason I was under the impression there would only be one before entering the next arc. Oh well.
So! This chapter, I’d say, wasn’t quite as strong as the previous one, but it still kept my interest and I definitely liked the focus on some of the characters here. Definitely not because of my bias toward Dragon Pokémon.
I can tell that you’re adding in small tidbits of theme foreshadowing in this chapter. Language barriers, human-Pokémon tensions despite efforts for being polite, carnivore guilt, and perhaps even a character arc with our lovely Dragonite. And while that’s all well and good, I feel like some parts of this chapter—particularly the first bits—could have been trimmed down some. Well, no. Most of it felt fine, but one very standout “why is this here, exactly?” moment was the ultra-detailed analysis on language, the difference between the way Pokémon speak and the way humans speak, and so on. I feel like it was too specific for the purposes of this work, and while it was good for world building, I think the same amount of useful information could have been conveyed in a few summary sentences.
That aside, though, this was another nice breather chapter. I think what separates this interlude from the previous interlude chapter is the difference between “Wrapping things up” scenes and “here comes the next arc” scenes. Hopefully that means we’ll actually be getting into the next arc next time, hah!
| Namohysip chapter 6 . 12/31/2018
This interlude was a joy to read. Yes, it was a bit inconsequential, more or less tying up loose ends that were largely things that could have been summarized as a paragraph or two, but you know what? I don’t even care! We get some payoff of Shine and Curio having some fun together, and this interlude in particular made me finally realize what it was about this work that made it feel so different from my usual Mystery Dungeon tastes.
It feels urban. Riding down a hill in a shopping cart? How in the world can it get any more urban than that sort of simple joy? I don’t even like cities and I thought that seemed like fun to read.
I don’t really have much else to say on this one. It was a largely inconsequential chapter—an interlude, yep. While it probably wasn’t necessary from a plot perspective—any plot-relevant details could’ve just been sprinkled in past or future chapters—getting a “breather episode” between Curio and Shine more than made up for it.
| Namohysip chapter 5 . 12/27/2018
I wasn’t really sure who would win in a fight between Curio and Shine, but I was particularly surprised that the result was not only one-sided, but quick and decisive right from the start. Not a good look on you, Shine! I also was a bit surprised that it was also just a big bluff from Curio, since she seemed so adamant about the wager. Maybe she just wanted to get Shine to attack at his strongest? Clearly it wasn’t enough.
Additionally, I feel like that brief little banter about Curio’s toothpick of a Bone Rush is some sort of foreshadowing. It seems silly but the detail is too specific for me to leave alone. I’m going to keep it on the backburner while the next arcs play out.
Another thought I had was that indeed, you addressed Curio having so many friends and ties to this city. And the answer is… she didn’t! It seemed she was just fascinating enough to make fast friends, though having only been there for a few weeks does make it a little hard to believe. She had a full-on reputation, “sayings” about her like “You don’t find Curio, she finds you,” and so on. I find it hard to believe that she’d build up something like that in a matter of weeks. But regardless, it is a convenient explanation, and it gives way to some things that I’d argue you could read between the lines.
Curio says she likes to explore and see everything the world has to offer, but what does that mean once she grows bored of where Shine will take her? Will she leave on her way again, even if it means leaving Shine behind? Why does she travel so much? Is it really just to see the world? Is it to make up for lost time after being holed up in GeL? Or is it because she’s afraid of making bonds only to be abandoned like what happened with Shine, so she abandons them first? There are so many angles that you can go into this, and while some may not be true, it’s certainly what I’m considering for Curio’s psyche.
And so marks the end of the first arc. Overall, I’d say this was three quarters interesting, one quarter rocky. I already went over how things are interesting and I’m definitely going to be looking for more details about their past, but I want to briefly outline some of the rockier elements. Most of these stem from two source points. The first issue is that I can still see some remnants of the old draft here. Shine’s behavior feels inconsistent at times to his memory—and due to the stuff I write, memories and behavior are something I’m very tuned to.
I’d expect Shine to be more confused or lost, following gut feelings, if his memories are still fragmented, rather than acting with such certainty at times with Curio. Actually, I’d’ve been more invested if it wasn’t Shine urging Curio to come with her only, but also Curio trying to get Shine to remember before she’d come with him. You know, like a glimmer of hope that he wasn’t lost, or that she wasn’t going to lose him again. This doesn’t go for just this chapter, but the arc as a whole. Still, you have ample time to take a look at this angle in the next arc, I imagine.
The second issue is that I’m starting to get the odd feeling that I’m reading an epilogue. Everything that they’re talking about—all the action and the fighting and the struggle—took place in the past. There’s an interview coming up, talking about something that had happened in the past. But why are we not just doing that story there? Why start after the action, when all the interesting stuff was back then?
I have faith in you as an author that you’ll be able to answer those questions in the next arc. Perhaps we’re in the middle, and there’s still more of GeL to take care of. It feels like things are still unresolved for them, and they need to figure out how to fix whatever that… unresolved something is. That’s the absolute biggest uncertainty I have with this, now that I’m finishing the first arc. Where is this going? Why are we reading this story after their escape? What’s there to see after that we couldn’t have seen before?
So I hope this is where things are going, one way or the other. But until then, I await the next chapter~