Reviews for The Crystal Prince and the Heart of Life
St Elmo's Fire chapter 1 . 8/2/2020
This is very nice! The style is simple, but in a way that solidifies the mythic style. It definitely sounds like a story people would tell, and I like the narrator's ending note about the story having multiple meanings.

I'd say my only objection is that this doesn't feel very particularly Pokemon; it could be rewritten with just about any life/death pair deities.
kintsugii chapter 1 . 8/1/2020
boop doop my heart. not of life, just oof, feels.

I like this new streak of writing pseudo-rebuttal pieces (I think it started with WaHH? not sure). It's interesting to see how you'd reimagine things that are basically canon staples - I think my fascination with with Xerneas/Yveltal comes from the fact that it's really the only duo where fandom consistently casts them in certain moralities. The twist here is made stronger by that backdrop, since hoarding life as a commodity is in fact also a very bad thing to do. Death gives meaning to life! It's a duality not a good and evil thing. Good shit.

[The Crystal Prince had passed sixteen sun cycles when the new thing happened. He stepped into the garden to find a creature there he didn’t recognize.]
I find myself wishing these were somehow one sentence, since they're linked to one another? "The Crystal Prince had passed sixteen sun cycles when the new thing happened: he stepped into the garden to find a creature he didn't recognize." Or even "The Crystal Prince had passed sixteen sun cycles when he stepped into the garden to find a creature he didn't recognize." - the paragraphs that come before don't so much build up that nothing new happens in the garden, but more that nothing bad really happens to its inhabitants. TCP is described as growing up, singing, learning - these are all new experiences I think? Just artificially removed of consequences.

[When the Crystal Prince came closer to begin counting, it brought up a second handful of dirt and said, “How about here?” Strangers tossed both handfuls in the air, coating them with a dusting of rich, brown dirt.]
Lmao this line is great. Subtle humor in the wastelands. "Count" / "Okay" / "wait not like that"

[He wondered in the song if beauty came from the ground or from the sky. Or whether beauty came only when the two embraced.]
Was this in the original? I definitely missed it in my first read but it is A lol

[And whatever you do, don’t let it touch your heart, Mother warned, her face drawn tight with worry.]
I wasn't sure if you absolutely wanted to tip your hand this early - if you do, then I think this line should stay, but as a line of dialogue it feels sort of weird. "Touch your heart" feels metaphorical, as in, to affect and change someone's thoughts (which Strangers also does! and that's important and an excellent double meaning! But I don't think Mother is considering that right now). The literal version to me conveys actually touching his heart, ripping open his sternum in the process sort of thing - which feels like a pretty questionable piece of advice since it seems like a thing most people would universally avoid? Maybe "don't let it touch you"?

[“It can’t all be ugly,” said the Crystal Prince, “because it made you.”]
BABIES

[They poured their time into star-gazing, mathematics, the makings of beauty.]
Wasn't clear what "the makings of beauty" are. Nice clothes/makeup? Art? Music? I think it's leaning more the latter, but I don't fully understand it.

[Through their art, they so impressed the Great Life-Giver, that she granted them a wonderful boon. She offered them her heart.”]
oh oof oh no

[When the two beams met, there was a flash, and then a sound that has no description. But you can think of it as the sound a seedling makes, splitting open beneath the earth. In the distance, there was a loud crack, as the alabaster walls of the eternal city began to crumble. And around that once-perfect garden, the lifeless earth grew at once dotted with bursts of fledgling green.]
I'm not sure if I like the "a sound that has no description" immediately followed by a description of "you can think of it as". Maybe something like "a sound that no one had ever heard before or since"?

[Do not fear the dark-spreading wings of Yveltal. Each living thing has an end, and to extend that cycle beyond its limit is to bring ruin upon us all. Without Yveltal, we would not be gathered here today, with full bellies and wondering minds. We would still be consigned to gaze jealously upon the alabaster walls of that perfect garden.]
I like this takeaway, but I don't know if the line "Each living thing has an end, and to extend that cycle beyond its limit is to bring ruin upon us all" fits here - since that isn't necessarily true; it just happens in this one case because humans one tribe hoards it, not because immortality exists. I think it's an easy sell that resource inequality is a path to ruin, but I don't know if this story properly sells that "immortality - ruin" (to me it's primarily "immortality because of resource inequality - ruin"). I think this line could be cut, since Yveltal's importance/no-fearing is actually better encapsulated in the next line anyway.

[When I was young, this story seemed to me one of love. Later, I thought it a story of revolution. I see some of you nodding your heads. Perhaps you still see alabaster walls in the distance and wonder what wrongs must be set right to bring them down. But in my dotage now, I have come to think about beauty. There is beauty in beginnings, in children and in sprouts, but the Crystal Prince learned that there is also beauty in endings.]
I love this meta-closing thing you did here and in Last Con - and this one really dig into the ambiguity of the ending, and how stories can come to mean many things. Very on-brand, but also very impactful.