Reviews for Shadowspawn
WitchWolf chapter 11 . 12/1/2008
Well, I wondered what edits you made here, so I'm now reading the original version and this one at the same time. I'm amazed once again at the amount of detailed attention you pay to your words - Yes, I can see where some added/changed lines improve the story muchly, yet I don't think I'd ever spot those things myself prior to these edits. More to the point:

"More pressure was needed to constrict the stuff of soft, empty, existence into something hard and impenetrable." - I'm loving this adition. Not only does it describe the physical state, but also the mental one (if I'm reading it right, and I think I am). connecting the two in such a way adds another dimension to the text and, if at all possible, makes it even more immersive. I already told you how brilliant I found the opening paragraphs os this story as it were - adding one sensation on top of another until it all comes together and... well, bursts in a way.

A tiny bit of critique (why yes, I can do that, too! *laugh*) - perhaps the "and for a time he knew nothing, nothing at all" could've done nicely without the added "nothing at all". Just a thought...

And while I'm critiquing, "a *sharp* odor stabbed *sharply*" I think I prefer the original version of that sentence.

Next, "The weight was warm and, though there was a violent edge to it, he found it comforting." - This is perhaps one of the strongest moments in the story, at least for me. SPeaks so damn much...

I not only like the tea glasses and the bottles sentence, I also like how you inserted it only after the paragraph about shrieking and, consequently, silencing the same. That way, you're still keeping the narative sort of first-person-ish, focusing on Shadash's own sensations first and only afterwards showing the outer effect of his feelings and actions. It's the same tone that opened up the story and I always love how you're keeping those "physical/mental themes" present throughout the stories without actually shoving it down the readers' throats. ;) That is one trick I am desperately hoping to learn from you some day...

The first time I was reading this, I remember thinking the next few paragraphs, describing what's actually happening around Shadash were perhaps a bit too... much. But then, reading it for the second (and third and so on) time, I actually found the pacing quite fitting. The outside world really does make a sudden, violent intrusion into the relatively secluded and secure space behind closed eyelids. Having so many people, so many things, so many sensations force their way into the narrative all at once is actually effective, for the real world is now forcing itself into Shadash's line of vision in exactly the same fashion. Very nice.

The next few thoughts are also quite powerful in their own way. I'm guessing that it is only in such moments, between being fully awake and being unconscious that Shadash actually has such thoughts, thaat he *allows* himself such thoughts or better yet, that he has no strenght to chase them away. The compulsive little liar that he is, it's easy to see why he isn't much into introspection normally. ;)

In a way, I could still theorize he got off lightly, even this time around. Defiant enough to survive even such an illusion-shattering experiance as he just did. Nonetheless, the actual moment of emptiness is still as powerful as all hells and only emphasized further by the pragmatic "care" or "concern" those around him are showing (or rather, not showing at all). I think it was a good idea to throw out the original last sentence(s), because this way, the scene has much more impact and leaves a more lasting impression.
crushingsky chapter 14 . 3/20/2007
I read all of your Shadash stories on your blog more than a year ago. I liked all of them, almost without exception. I would check your page weekly to see if you had written anything new. I didn't mind the lack of chronological order, every piece was intruigin and pulled me into Shadash's existential dilema.

The experience of rereading them on though was a mixed bag. A couple chapters seemed like chaff to me. (Ch.1, Ch.3). That is they were colorful vignettes that didn't go anywhere or start anything. I'm rooting for you and your work, but Ch.1 was a poor choice to start off Shadash's story.

You decision to place 'no friends' before 'left behind' deprives Ch.5 of alot of it's emotional impact. My advice: switch the chapters and let Shadash suffer in-between.

My favorite chapters are 'dog eat dog', 'to be left', 'become what you fear', and 'good side bad side'. Great stuff!

Good work with 'cherry lips' too. I finally got to read the resolution of that piece. A story with Entreri I can stomache.

I really like your prose. I've told you that before, right? In a couple chapters you use way too many non-active descriptors. The average human can only retains five to seven elements in short term memory. That means if you are going to paint a static picture in your stories you can only go so far before it becomes too tedious for the reader to visualize and take it all in at once. The reading gets better in the later chapters where you keep the action moving.

Sorry to hear that you lost so much of your work when your computer was reformatted. I'm waiting for more chapters from you.
Thieving Jedi chapter 14 . 2/26/2007
Did I really finish reading it? Damn that. Will there be more? I mean... soon?

I really need to get myself involved some more into the background, since I think I am missing out on alot of fine details of your story there.

Yet that doesnt stop me from enjoying Shandash's characters fully.. or how you revealed that all his wishful dreams about his father were just that, dreams.
Thieving Jedi chapter 12 . 2/26/2007
There's no doubt Entreri is much to my liking, even though I know nothing about him. And there's no doubt I had to stiffle a laugh on...

/ Mismatched eyes roll in fear and disgust, his ringed fingers point at his chest ferociously. “How have you missed the fact that I have no tits? I have no tits!”

“Neither does Cahm,” Feshi snorts, and receives Jadiqa’s hand across his face for the effort. /

...and the accident with the roll filling. Masterful as ever.
Thieving Jedi chapter 9 . 2/26/2007
m.. most striking sentance of them all: "If his body had not experienced the worst of it, he had stood a numb witness to the rest."

That's a masterful way of summing up such a dark and dreadful life.
Thieving Jedi chapter 8 . 2/26/2007
The horse was already a shockingly touching... touch. But even though I'm brain dead right now, Chapter 8 somehow managed to get these wheels in my head turning again.

You have a most interesting writing style.. and on we read.
Ashen Triskel chapter 14 . 1/29/2007
Maybe I'm just in denial on Shadash's behalf (that, and I didn't picture this cleric of Loviatar looking anything like half-drow, which he would have to be to be Shadash's father) but that little tale just didn't quite ring true. Not that truth was the man's concern; he just knew exactly where to hit to make Shadash hurt, and had to do it. After, of course, he ripped away all of those nice little illusions he had of his patrons caring about him.

The parallel you drew between the uncontrolled, nameless thing that sparks Shadash's music and what this time simply made him bark his turkey was interesting; two wildly different results to what seems to be the same thing. Fear or pain... or both.
TobyKikami chapter 14 . 1/26/2007
Yikes. I can definitely see why you called this your favorite.
Ariel D chapter 12 . 1/25/2007
I absolutely loved your portrayal of Entreri here, and the chapter was funny. I doubt either fact surprises you though. :)
Iceheart Firesoul chapter 13 . 1/23/2007
Lol, I suck at cards. It makes me like him a little more, that even though he's graceful, he can't play cards. :P Shadash's desire to gain freedom is making him much more dire, and making me wonder how much longer he's going to keep the crazy little kid portion of him that drove everyone else crazier than he is. :'(

...And also it is making me wonder how this past-shadow that is to appear next chapter is going to affect Shadash's remaining bits of sanity.

Then again, sanity is vastly overrated. )
Thieving Jedi chapter 6 . 1/14/2007
Here I am again. Slowly reading as to make it last longer. "Delaying Gratification" or whatever it's called. Anyways.. I found another gem in your writing:

Nasoos shoved the boy’s face down into the pillows once more, perhaps thinking to smother him to death and use the corpse to cover his embarrassment. “Death cures everything, boy.”

;)
Thieving Jedi chapter 4 . 1/6/2007
I hope I don't forget to thank WitchWolf for making me read this... but ehm, anyway.

What kept me in place at first was your way of capturing a performance of music and song with words. Once that sunk in I couldn't lift my eyes from the paper any longer (ya, printed it) and was forced to make myself stop reading at chapter 4, animal instinct.

Speaking of which: "...with twenty-six years behind him and none ahead of him..." Never heard that one before-it's 'Perfect' with a capital P.
Iceheart Firesoul chapter 12 . 12/14/2006
I typically review after every chapter I read so that I can comment on specific aspects of each chapter, but I found myself quite unable to stop reading to do such a thing. Though I typically can't stand the Shadash characters either, he's written in a way that can't help but make the brilliant little bastard endearing. I love how you (and Witchwolf) have given him such an ear for each person's "language"; it is the first time I have come across that particular idea.

To a quick update! Cheers! *clink*
TobyKikami chapter 12 . 11/25/2006
Quite a bit of hilarity (especially just about everything to do with bread) and a nifty, somewhat ironic follow-up to the events of the last piece. The cameo by Entreri was wonderfully appropriate.

One possible nitpick - it was my understanding that the term "faerie" was mainly used by drow. Otherwise...
WitchWolf chapter 10 . 9/15/2006
And while I'm at it, I might as well review this one right away, too.

Reading this one right after "To Be Left" has a certain appeal I must say. We get to see a younger Shadash and an older Shadash, but all along, it's that same annoying Shadash... who's worth more than his weight in gold. (laugh)

I love it how he acts in this one. I love it how annoying he's making himself, to any and all and *still* manages to please the current customer. SPeaking of which, for a moment there I had a a very, very sick idea about the identity of that widow but... that *would* be a bit *too* sick, eh? Or not...

Digressions aside, one sentence about her that I liked in particular (and that gave me that idea in the first place): "More interesting to the widow was the dancer’s illusion of pain. It excited her desires as surely as the feel of power."

The second part, the return to the house now. I can see that the entire Tea House Zoo finally made it's apperance. ;) And as far as Shadash's own endevors go, I really loved this one: "All the things he needed could not be found, so replacement pieces had to be contrived; in their absence Shadash’s mental designs became more complex." He's almost lovable there. Although, not to the House managers... ;)
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