Reviews for Hell's Radiance
Moberemk chapter 40 . 7/23/2011
So I found this story a week ago. Seven days and well over four hundred thousand, here I am at the very end.

It's...depressingly unsatisfying.

But I'll get to that. Since I do so love giving out concrit, time to throw some at you while it's all fresh in my head. My standard format here is bullet points broken up into Good, Bad, and Ugly-things I liked, things I disliked, and miscellany (grammar, format, etc.)

Without further ado:

The Good:

-Solid, solid storytelling. Sure there are some pacing issues and omissions (to be discussed later) but on the whole this tale is a crazy-sized epic with a solid overall structure. I really like the way that this ends also-having it all end in a conflict with the village is a great way of tying things back with the beginning on a dramatic level.

-Delicious, delicious action scenes. Fast, appropriately (and arguably more realistically than in canon) gory, and filled with combatants who seem to actually put thought into their fighting as opposed to "My Jutsu is stronger than yours!1!" is awesome. A highlight here is the Sasuke/Itachi fight, one place where you arguably improved massively on canon. Because really, a fight where someone wins by outsmarting their opponent as opposed to just calling down lightning using some new jutsu never seen before or again is more interesting to read. Or maybe that's just to me.

-This is dark and gritty as hell. No halfheartedness here; this story goes allll the way to the dark side. And I love it for that. Granted that might be a bit of backlash from the sudden syrupy-sweetness that's been seeping into the manga lately, but either way? I'm really digging the darkness.

-Sasuke getting actual, believable character development from crazed avenger into someone who's actually managed to move on from that tragedy? Say it ain't so! I'll say upfront that I hate Canon!Sasuke and want to smack the kid around until he figures out just how little sense he's making at this point, and this made for a nice break from that.

-Some AUs kid around, making small changes but always afraid of stepping out of the well-charted waters of canon. I respect a fic that doesn't. To say that this one doesn't is an understatement of gargantuan proportions.

-Mmm. Realistic sociopath characters.

The Bad:

-Sarutobi, Pain, Kakashi... many characters, including these three, are massively important to the world of Naruto for various reasons. Many times I can completely understand why they wouldn't be important in the new world (Iruka, for instance; he does nothing except reappear later to be completely innefectual at everything). But in quite a few cases, most noticeably in the case of Sarutobi and Kakashi, they just...go away. Hell even the Kyuubi disappears from the narrative completely on occasion, which was a little weird what with the part where he's a main character and all.

-Alternate characterisation, I can roll with. It's an AU, different circumstances produce different people. Continuing the note on Kakashi, he is an incredibly important character in canon, and yet here he exists almost as an afterthought, a way to get Sasuke out of the way while Naruto and Sakura are off travelling and training. And then boom, he's demonized by nearly everyone who doesn't explicitly hate Sakura as the most incompetent teacher ever. Sure, he wasn't a perfect teacher, but in this story he's negligent bordering on villainous towards his students. That's a little jarring, if only because I can't really pinpoint a particular reason why he would be that much harsher in this universe beyond the general dark-and-gritty feel of it all. Dark-and-gritty with reason is good; dark-and-gritty without is just being pointlessly edgy.

(Just a note: I'm really only using him here because he's the most blatant example. There are others however)

-So, all the stuff with hell... that didn't really lead much of anywhere besides to explain where all the summons disappeared to midway through. Everything relating to hells and demons could be cut almost entirely from the story with barely any rewriting or modifications needed. That kind of fluff is bad, bad, bad, because it slows the story down, requires massive amounts of exposition, and is just generally not much use to anyone.

-There's a word for a protagonist who is massively more powerful than anyone else in the setting: boring. Sakura is boring. After a while it got to the point where bad things just stopped happening to Sakura, and by extension everyone else around her because she was just that powerful. Towards the end of the first third I started thinking "Eh. She's probably got some plan or jutsu to fix everything anyway." By the second part that had evolved to "Oh, she's going after the Akatsuki? And she's got three months to live? Meh, she'll pull some new trick out of her sleeve." Actually having your character in some degree of actual danger every now and then makes for actual dramatic tension, as opposed to here where every bad thing that might happen to Sakura just ends up countered, part of the plan all along, or stopped by some fluke chance. Someone who barely ever makes mistakes is really, really boring to read about.

-So let's talk about awesome moments and what happens when you don't show them. When you build up for a while to a climactic confrontation, it helps to actually SHOW that. The most egregious example of this happens in the chapter where the entire Akatsuki gets taken down in about a chapter. At the end, the only thing in my head was "Wait... so... that was it?" Seriously, half of the members got taken down off-screen in some clever manner that we never get much detail on. This is disappointing to read.

-Tying in with the previous two points: Sakura is very much the villain of the piece. I get that, and it's a core part of the story. She is also the protagonist, which means in the end this is her story. I get that too. But my problem here is that, in the end, she walks away scot-free. She does a laundry list of awful things to a wide variety of people and then walks away completely unharmed. Realistic? Sure, I suppose. Dramatically satisfying? Not even a little bit. I expect characters to have to own up to their actions and face a reckoning for it, but here the character who has the most to answer for walks away unscathed. Sure she's a little bit changed, but by the end of the day? No, sorry, that's not nearly enough after everything she's done. I wasn't expecting a happy ending by any means, but this is barely an ending at all because in the end? Nothing really changed for her. She only lost one person (Anko, whose relationship with her was really mostly illustrated in the chapter where she died) and otherwise walks away with everything she ever wanted. The point I've been building toward here is that, in the end, this is the story of how someone got everything she ever wanted and barely being challenged while doing it. Sorry, but that's not a compelling tale.

The Ugly

-Occasional grammar issues, along with a few common issues (it's and its confusion for example) and typos that could probably have been caught with a slightly closer proofreading, but nothing major.

-The edit notes are nice and all, but it wouldn't hurt to tag them as potential spoilers; several times while reading them there was enough of a hint towards future events that could spoil the new reader. Not a big deal, just a format thing.

So yeah. There's about twelve hundred words of criticism. Hopefully the ramblings it contains make sense to someone who isn't me writing ten minutes from sleep. If any of this doesn't make sense, feel free to ask for clarification; hopefully I can make more sense after a good night's rest. I just really wanted to get this all written down while still fresh off the reading high. And do keep in mind that I really did enjoy this story (or else I wouldn't have invested so many hours into reading it...); all of this is just me trying to point out some places where I felt it was lacking or in need of improvement.

Either way, this was one hell (pun unintentional) of a ride, and I'm looking forward to anything more you write-fanfiction or not.

(On an aside, I'm a thousand characters from the limit for reviews. New personal record!)
Kira The Dead Ninja chapter 6 . 7/23/2011
Hello almighty epic author whom I worship. Please update, or I shall be forced to fetch the smores. Thank you.
Xardoth chapter 40 . 7/18/2011
Great story, liked the overall plot, and most of the character interaction. I really did hate how the relationship between Kyuubi and Sakura developed, and how it seems that it will continue on in the future. However, it was still written extremely well, so I can't complain too much I guess. I suppose its because I tend to empathize with the male protagonist, and I cannot see Kyuubi as that figure.

Anyway, I'd like to congratulate you on a well done work, and I hope you have more to share in the future (with slightly less depressing overall story perhaps.)
Acaykath chapter 40 . 7/18/2011
I am glad to see that my theory that length of a story and writing ability of the author are directly related. Definitely in the top three Naruto fanfics I have read. Great plot and characterization. And, I agree with your decision to end the story there. Really, anything after that is a formality considering Sakura's power.
Chaotic lil Azn gurl chapter 25 . 7/17/2011
Hahahaha, I found a song that goes with this song.

watch?vxcnq1RavEBE

It's a bit screamo. Hope you like it~!

I love this new Sakura and Sasuke~

3
Melchor chapter 40 . 7/14/2011
This was really quite a ride. Thank you for all the work put into making this 4 year opus, and I enjoyed it thoroughly.
Namikaze Soul chapter 40 . 7/14/2011
Loved it it so so sooo much! It doesnt need an epilouge! it ended just right with room for your imagination to go wild! U did an awsome job on this story i really loved it!
happy everyday life chapter 40 . 7/13/2011
I read all your story and may i just point out how nicely written this story is.

The ending was very realistic and the best ending to fit the story. There can be NO fairy tale ending after all the violent, deceitful, ugly things the characters has done in this story. Even though I love Narusaku with passion, Naruto never truly trusting Sakura is understandable. After all, they are ugly humans in the inside. But the ending when they are talking about getting a new home and being happy was very beautiful. It wasn't perfect beautiful, but a beauty within ugliness that surrounds them.

Sakura's character was very well done too. It is the type of character I expect a pure human to become when they are grown up surrounded by all the ugliness.

Are you going to write a new story? I would love to read whatever new story you're going to write! Please continue writing, as your writing is very inspiring and makes my day entertained.
MyKyo chapter 40 . 7/13/2011
Maybe not a whole story but like a one-shot with Sakura and Kyuubi after this lifetime has passed..? Pwease :3 ...pwetty pwease...
Loiosh311 chapter 40 . 7/13/2011
A great end to an amazing story! Thanks for all your work and for sharing this!
ShadowLurkerFromJan14-2007 chapter 40 . 7/13/2011
been with the story since the beginning.

Loved it.

Mostly.

Epilogue please.
Adeladaine chapter 40 . 7/13/2011
EPILOGUE EPILOGUE EPILOGUE

You are a god. I sincerely thank you for the gift you have bestowed to the Naruto-verse with Hell's Radiance. An excellent and REAL ending. No regression to hat she was before, no extremely happy-go-lucky ending... It's a real story with a real ending. Angel, I love you and your writing. Honestly never stop.
Yellow Flash chapter 40 . 7/13/2011
Sakura started a civil war, but didn't get excecuted? Nice to see you have a brain...
NaruDeeds chapter 40 . 7/13/2011
I'm going to be honest- being a diehard NaruSaku fan I'm not overly thrilled with Sakura and Kyubi's entanglement, but I can't knock you for it as your Sakura character has been twisted in each and every way by him. This was an EXTREMELY well written story and you did a great job developing the main characters. Take a bow, because you did a fantastic job )
Starfire201 act. acct. name chapter 40 . 7/13/2011
I was one of those who stayed with this from the moment I stumbled across it. Disturbing, violent, and vicious as it was, it was one of the most compelling stories, I have ever read. When it disappeared for so long, I actually did consider taking it off my favorites, but just couldn't bring myself to. The story left too strong an impression for me to do that. When you started updating again, it was more than clear to me you hadn't lost your touch. For 4 1/2 years, you've had one faithful reader. And what really impresses me is how you stuck to your guns and didn't let the troll reviewers dictate to you how your story should go. You gave them the attention they deserved. That gets you even more points from me. I probably wouldn't have been so nice.

That said, I found the ending to be a fairly realistic one. Wars always do have loose ends and harder feelings left behind once they are over, especially with a civil war. Families divided, traditions destroyed or damaged in ways that mean they will never recover. And life is not so neatly wrapped up in a nice little bow. Too many stories here tend to gloss over such ideas. You met them head on. I think that's where part of the anger came from from some reviewers. They wanted a happy ever after story, and real life does not work that way. That was quite well demonstrated in your ending. No epilogue is necessary, in my opinion, as life's loose ends cannot be so nicely wrapped up.

And you also justified a belief of mine I've long held and have shaken my head about with quite a few authors and their stories about Naruto being abused by the villagers. I've held that the physical abuse that many authors write about may have been minimal or never happened at all. While I agree it is a possibility that it did happen, many write about such things and have Naruto still willing and able to help his village, loving it unconditionally and wanting to do anything for it. I have more agreement with those authors who show Naruto becoming a cold killer from such treatment. Whether or not such abuse happened, an outcome like the one you've written about with Sakura is more realistic.

Again, I applaud you and wish you all the best in future endeavors.
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