|Reviews for memento mori (unguibus et rostro)|
| izar ilunak chapter 2 . 4/26/2021
And straight back into your wonderfully evocative descriptions! We love to see it. The Wolf Den is such a fascinating setting for me – it has such a grimy, real and gritty feeling, and you engage all of our senses in drawing this image.
Leviticus! Love it. What a wonderful name, and I’m so happy we’re meeting the famous Lev – I’m presuming, based on mention of the brawl, that this is The Wolf From Earlier. Lev’s narrative voice is so distinct from Jonathan’s, we can note the difference in POV immediately with the metaphors he uses and the images he draws upon. And then he starts speaking and I am just utterly in love! He’s so clearly wolfy, grudgingly loyal and doggedly overprotective. I would say you do such a good job showing us these aspects of his personality that it makes Vanya’s next words seem like extraneous exposition – but it is so fascinating that the Claws weren’t Lev’s first choice, it says so much about him as a character and his background. I loved the hints about his parents and family, I wonder if there is a particular reason they broke away? I find him slightly funny in his insistence that werewolves are tough and scary WOLVES, dammit, not puppies!
I’m always fascinated by the use of Vanya as a female name, because I’m so used to seeing it as a male nickname. This Vanya is fun – spunky, teasing, and ultimately a great cousin imo. She’s so sage, and she and Lev have a great rapport. It’s good to see her protective side as well – I appreciate seeing that Lev has people looking out for him. He deserves that!
The use of “snap” twice in a row – “Vanya snapped, snapping [...]” – is a little bit awkward. Also, it might have made Vanya’s teasing more effective if you had introduced Lev only as “Lev Andreyev” and let her use of his first name be something of a surprise for the readers.
Interesting that they refer to Nath by his surname – wondering about the degree of respect here, especially as Harshaw does it as well and I definitely get the impression there is no love lost between those two in particular.
Lev as security makes so much sense. I am more and more in love with this boy day by day.
Have I mentioned that I love your world-building? Each chapter, new names and new dimensions of the world – it really builds up the fabric of the story’s universe, and draws us in as though we were truly looking through Lev’s eyes. The simple details, like his dynamic with Harshaw and Vanya, his mention of names like Laila and Aaron, or even little run-ins with characters like Kaz – I adore it all so much. It strikes me that for a character that’s so big and tough, we get to see so much of Lev’s softer side – relenting with Vanya, tolerating Kazumi, protecting Aaron and being so gentle and thoughtful with Laila. He’s a sweetheart deep down, I know it. The little thought that Laila must have had a long night – it shows a lot about how much Lev thinks about the people around him. He doesn’t make the same analyses as Jonathan, but he definitely notices how people are doing, and that makes total sense for security.
Interesting to see the social fabric of the Claws, how they engage with one another. Adorable that they have little dinners together! And then Lev runs into Harshaw and their dynamic fascinates me all over again. Again, Lev is so casual with Harshaw that it speaks so much to their long history together, while Harshaw is clearly in dire need of a confidante. As before, I am so curious about their role in the story and whether they will eventually climb the last rung to seize control of the Claws.
Once again, my curiosity about the gang structure is immense. Do they actually do what we would consider gang activity? We haven’t actually seen any sign of the same, so are they more like informal or illegitimate governing bodies for their district?
So interesting to see the chaos caused by the mayor’s pronouncement. Good to get a look into how the various gangs are reacting to this policy. I’m still wondering if it’ll just turn into a giant battle royale. I’m guessing not, but a girl can dream. Certainly, it definitely can’t compare to the violence that would erupt if they don’t achieve peace.
Lev and Harshaw are? SO tender, I swear to god. “He would not let Harshaw go without him.” Jesus Christ, and then Harshaw hits him with the news that Nath is sending him to the summit and, more importantly, the news that Harshaw doesn’t want him to. Their determination to protect each other? Unparalleled, especially given the Harshaw/family conflict that Lev is feeling within him. Why am I reading romance here? Should I be reading romance here? Because I’m this close to declaring a ship.
I know a few reviewers mentioned finding Harshaw a bit sus. I don’t see it right now, but I’m keeping my eyes out for it in the future. I am on the lookout EVERYWHERE for sus behaviour right now. Hmmmm. Lev is a good boi, I feel like I can say that much for sure – but he’s so damn loyal, that I can see his total dedication to the Claws creating some trouble for peace negotiations, as I can’t see him being too willing for making concessions. Hmm, why are they sending Lev? He’s very astute, but I don’t see the other Claws viewing him as much of a diplomat – so maybe he’s there for protection or intimidation purposes? Much to think about!
“I'll stay alive for you." Jesus Christ, I am so soft for these two. I love Lev so much. Sasha who? This chapter has converted me so quickly into an absolute fangirl. I can totally see where the fascination on the discord comes from. Oh, wowwwwww. Okay. Adorable. Lev, my hero. I am so excited to see the next chapter and see what hits next. It looks like another Jonathan chapter, so my curiosity is immense. Can’t wait to learn more about our mysterious witch, and how his coven is reacting to the news – but I really hope we reunite with Lev et al. soon, because they are such an instantly loveable crew.
| izar ilunak chapter 1 . 4/25/2021
Okay, first – can we talk about the descriptions here, please? Can we talk? These are utterly gorgeous and so evocative. You set the scene so effortlessly, and the atmosphere of this first chapter is so striking. “The moon sneered down” has to be one of my new favourite sentences. I really appreciate the numerous layers of description you incorporate: visual, tactile, aural. It really pulls us into the scene and allows us to ground ourselves in the simple realities of the world that Jonathan experiences. You manage to make the city sound gorgeous and terrifying at the same time - the ambiance is thick and honestly just so distinctive.
Jonathan is an intriguing character, and I’m glad we get to meet him first. He’s so blasé about everything! He definitely comes across as an expert in this world, and therefore makes a perfect guide for us to be introduced to it all. I especially appreciate how subtly you convey his disdain for the vampires and the werewolves – I can’t wait to uncover more of his personality. His role intrigues me;
I think I only have one piece of constructive criticism, which might just be personal preference: rather than spelling out a character’s thoughts, sometimes it’s more effective to let us in on how they think. For example, rather than “he thought about how much it hurts when glass cuts into the sensitive pads on animal paws”, you could write something like “he was grateful for his boots – nothing hurt more than glass cutting into the sensitive pads of animal paws”. Similarly, the rest of the chapter is so lavishly described that it’s startling when you restrict that detail from us, e.g. not giving us any idea of what the wolf/vampire brawl looks like. A few typos (role, not roll; led, not lead; and Thomasin is referred to as “the” Thomasin Sybiline).
Oh, my god, you had me at “siren mafia”. What a wonderful story idea, and so perfectly laid out. I’m so curious about the bureaucratic realities of this city,
Jonathan is such an insightful character, so I loved seeing the other characters filtered through the prism of his perspective, especially as we learn more about the subcultures of the various gangs from Jonathan’s musings. Thomasin and Sasha seem like absolute queens (I’m declaring myself a Sasha stan right now), while I feel like I’m suitably wary about Corvus right now. I like that we see Jonathan’s catty side when it comes to the Syracruses; I lovelovelove the way you describe Annabelle’s two forms, “painted the picture” is such a fun and unique way to put it and creates such a memorable contrast between the images. Interesting to see that the vampires can unnerve him – I wonder if that will come back later? And then he runs out to purposefully trip Annabelle. Oh, I love Jonathan so much.
There’s a real sense of history in each of these groups and dynamics: the push and pull of Taraji and Annabelle, Sasha and Corvus, Cornelius and Agatha, Noemi and Harshaw and Nath. I love the name Harshaw, btw – really fascinated to see how they will grow into their role of leader as the story goes on. We learn the least about the Blackthorns in this chapter, which means I am really curious to learn more about them.
I can’t wait to learn more about the wolf clans. I really appreciate that the various groups aren’t monoliths – that there’s various clans, and dynamics, and those not in the gang. And then the sirens arrive and (I’m sorry, Sasha), I might be in love with Sy'levia Iskionakhend. Your siren designs are so wonderfully unnerving; I can just hear how low and gravelly their voices would be.
The dynamics between all the leaders at the meeting are also impeccable. You write dialogue wonderfully; there’s a snappy bounce to the talking scenes, so that it always feels not only engaging but also like we’re deepening our knowledge about each character by “hearing” them speak. Not only do we get background, foreshadowing, and world-building, but the Nath/Allistair enemity is perfectly drawn. The mayor’s explanation of the history is surprising but enormously interesting – more on that later.
And now we have the premise – the actual premise. Interesting. My first thought was that it would just devolve into a total Battle Royale, but let’s hope they tend more towards diplomacy.
And you end on an emotional cliffhanger – what on earth is Jonathan’s delicate position? I am raring to start the next chapter.
So! At the end of this chapter I am honestly just so curious about what is to come and also about the practical realities of this world. When I read the summary, I assumed the “gangs” were criminal groups, but their close symbiotic relationship with town hall only intrigues me more if that is the case. I am also fascinated to see if there are many other supernatural creatures without links to the gangs, such as the brief mention of mermaids.
I also want to see if that werewolf from earlier pops up again – I feel like you wouldn’t have given him such focus if that wasn’t the case. Is this the Lev that people are talking about in the discord, maybe?
So, finally – Jonathan. Jonathan, how you confuse and fascinate me. Firstly, curious about how old he is: he seems to have a lot of responsibility and street-smarts, but then he trips up Annabelle, which throws me off about the teenager/adult distinction. Secondly, what is his role? He is clearly trusted by the coven, as Thomasin allows him to attend the meeting of the leaders in secret – why do they need a fourth person there, as security? It seems like Jonathan is more of a spy. And what is his delicate position? Ughhhhh I just want to download the next three chapters directly into my brain.
Okay – off to read and to write my character. I want to have an OC in this world so badlyyyyyy. This is such a wonderful prologue, I can’t wait for more.
| roseandfoxes chapter 4 . 4/17/2021
Raaaaaaaal, omg. Can I just say, once again, how amazed I am by all thought world-building you have going on? All the time, thought, and detail that goes into this whole thing is amazing! It’s one thing, to build off of someone else’s world, but it’s another entirely to create one yourself — especially as one as interesting as this one! So, I just really wanna commend you on that! :3
You used the world unsettling to describe Thomasin and I couldn’t agree more lmao I get such a weird vibe from her. Not evil or even mean, just...ruthless, maybe? Calculating? She seems like the kind of person that’ll do what she thinks needs to be done, and that’s that lol which, isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but maybe it’s not a good thing, either. I guess we’ll find out as the story goes on, but there’s just something about her that doesn’t quite sit right with me lol
Um! I still love Jonathan and how he reacts to everything, it’s super fun to read him and refreshing lol especially the snappy dialogue between him and Sasha. He’s such an interesting character — kind of flippant, and maybe someone that people underestimated, which is exactly why he’s a good main guy for this, because people will let their guards down around him, which is the perfect time for him to do whatever he needs to get done!
Anywho, I love this chapter and ily, and I cannot wait to read more!
| roseandfoxes chapter 3 . 4/5/2021
Thanks, Oz! :3
Okay, so! I like the contrasting POVs a lot, between Jonathan and Lev, not only for the difference in species, which will undoubtedly give us a different feel, but also because Jonathan seems to be a bit of a cheeky shit-stirrer. Doesn’t take too much seriously and likes to make quips in the middle of fights (honestly, it reminded me of Wesley and Inigo from Princess Bride during their fight lol), and then Lev, who’s kind of a bleeding heart, does whatever he can for his family, and is a bit more serious about this whole thing. So, I really like that contrast, it’s definitely going to shine different lights on the same situation, which I think is super cool!
Now, there are a lot of characters, even outside of the OCs we as the readers make, so please forgive me if I forget names or forget to mention someone lol Raina stuck out to me, ‘cause she had more lines than some other characters, and she has what seems to be a good rapport with Jonathan, which I liked. From what we saw here, she seems to be a bit of of Lev’s speed, serious and on-the-ball, but with a touch more humor to her, like she’s capable of lightening up and having a good laugh now and again, so I think I’m gonna like her as we move forward!
As for Skoll... :3
| Selestea chapter 3 . 4/2/2021
I really enjoy this story! The writing is really interesting. I can't wait to keep reading.
| tyozzie123 chapter 3 . 3/31/2021
Ahhhh, great chapter! Omg Skoll in there already? Yay! I'm glad you like them haha! Of course they're keeping an eye on Lev xD
Lol, idk why but I loved the idea of Jon just sitting swinging his feet looking around xD
Ah, Jon, badass fighter and absolute cocky smartass. I like him so much. He's gonna be fun to read about more. *eyes*
| LoganPerdue chapter 3 . 3/31/2021
| roseandfoxes chapter 2 . 3/27/2021
So, you’re really gonna make me have a crush on every character, huh, Ral? My face so far is Vanya, though. 10/10 would let her step on me :3
Harshaw’s cool, too, but is it weird that I don’t trust them one hundred percent yet? Like...they’re trying to keep the peace, but...there’s something not quite right...maybe they secretly like the chaos? Or maybe I’m just reading too far into things and creating unneeded drama lmao
Anywho, awesome chapter! I’m loving all this so far. I don’t know if I’ve set it yet, but the amount of world-building you’re doing and how cohesive everything is, is incredible!
| Oz chapter 2 . 3/24/2021
OH YES YES YES
Okay I'm so excited I love Lev already. Ooh that fiery temper. It's gonna be so fun.
Harshaw, I love them too, they just seem like they're trying their best to keep things together lmaoo. Respect.
Uh HELO? Can I please marry Vanya, thanks. She just mmm the vibes are immaculate
| spontaneousbunkum chapter 2 . 3/24/2021
There’s something between Harshaw and Lev that I’m living for (or nothing but there should be). I love Lev’s dynamic with Vanya and even his brother tho we haven’t meet him yet, kind soft family boy. Also when Lev interacts with Kaz, his inability to be mean [wipes tears away dramatically] shows that he’s A GOOD BOI.
LOVED THE CHAPTER!
| Wondy-SW chapter 1 . 3/18/2021
I can’t wait for all the drama :eyes: Also, your writing is sooo good! I loved it so much!
| LoganPerdue chapter 1 . 3/17/2021
Great chapter! I'm so obsessed with this already! Haha!
| spontaneousbunkum chapter 1 . 3/15/2021
Oooh this looks super interesting and the writing is superb! Jonathan gives me so many questions about his character, powers, job, idk lots of stuff. Mysterious dude. and the triumvirates oooh drama. I really want to submit and I’m excited for the next chapter!
| tyozzie123 chapter 1 . 3/15/2021
OMG OMG OMG IM SO HYPED FOR THIS I CAN NOT WAIT TO MAKE MY WEREWOLF CHARACTERRR. I need to find an FC tho rip. Gotta start the form soon lol.
But great prologue! I cant wait to see how these gangs work out in the end.