Reviews for Aegis of Candlekeep
Moonstalker Sunstone chapter 1 . 9/17
By the way...I do have to remark that your story is 6 times longer than my PhD thesis... That's long!
Moonstalker Sunstone chapter 50 . 9/6
Also the bit about Monty's mum kicking him out (and with less at that)...and the sandwiches, was a touching.
Moonstalker Sunstone chapter 51 . 9/6
Sorry I see I wrote Xan instead of Xzar in my previous review...well it's easy to confuse the names heh.
Moonstalker Sunstone chapter 52 . 9/6
Now that I've made it to the end of Part I, I have to say, congratulations, you have actually made Xzar into someone who comes across as a possibly desirable significant other, while at the same time not taking away from his evilness, ickiness, and death obsessions. The tattoo was really sweet!

I am also enjoying the background development of the NPC's and the idea that Xzar was not always what he is now.

Looking forward to the next part!


A couple more "constructive criticisms" (if they are of interest)

* Words such as "rape" (and other violent crimes) are typically spoken in a hush-hush, disturbed sort of manner and not used casually by the AVERAGE person. I noticed you used it several times, and you might consider more nuanced expressions. The reader and characters can figure out what is going on if Branwen is tied up naked above a bunch of leering orcs or giants and doesn't need it to be spelled out to them ("show not tell").

However, I could completely see someone like Monty using these words in a blunt, matter-of-fact way, such as the following hypothetical conversation:

Minsc: "What happened?"
Imoen: "The giants...they stripped Branwen, and they had her tied up..."
Monty: (interupting) "They were gonna rape her."
Jaheira: (shaking head) "It's...aye, that's the truth of it."

* On the other hand, in some places, I wasn't quite sure which character was speaking or being spoken to or referred to, so it might be helpful to have someone read through it and flag anything potentially confusing.

Anyway, overall, well done!
Moonstalker Sunstone chapter 41 . 9/5
Lol I don't know if that was some kind of Freudian slip, but I meant *fanfiction* not *manfiction*
Moonstalker Sunstone chapter 40 . 9/5
Although I generally detest romance stories, I am finding the interplay between Xan and Aegis fascinating. I find their relationship to be quite realistic, and a change from the sappy love stories or building tension climaxing in the encounter (which then becomes the end of the story) found in much manfiction.

May I also add, I suspect there is a personal component to this - having a bedmate who has paranoid "don't touch me!" episodes, occasional irrational raving, and dabbles in evil - well, I was once married to someone like that. ;)

While redemption stories can be inspiring, I appreciate that Xan and Montaron are being left as is here - that is, evil.

I also admire the attention to detail in having the characters act like themselves (e.g. according to their alignment or stats), and also how those differences colour the ways that the different characters see each other.

I also wanted to say that I think the use of multiple languages adds a lot to the character and immersion in the story.

(Note: It took me about 30 chapters to figure out that 'Little Death' was a double entendre, but when I finally figured it out I had a lol.)

Since I am often wont to leave constructive criticism (appreciated or otherwise!), here are some thoughts I have had so far:

* One thing that could be explored more is the psychological motivations behind why Aegis and Imoen choose to get into these relationships, particularly since they are first relationships, and particularly because neither one of them seems to be infatuated or in love with the other party.

Of course, it is made clear to the reader that Aegis has a subconscious attraction to Xzar because of her heritage, even though she doesn't know it. However, there are other things that could be explored. For instance, did the sudden loss of a father figure make her more inclined to take a mate? (And how would her shift her understanding of her father change that?) Did she feel insecure suddenly outside of her her home and alone? At one point, one of the characters suggested that Aegis has a soft spot for men whom she thinks she can "fix" - is that the case? Does she prefer a relationship where she can safely be the dominant person? It is partially a desire for danger and excitement? Does she have some psychological reason (apart from being a Bhaalspawn) whereby she wouldn't pair up with a normal man who treated her well?

This is particularly pertinent regaring Imoen, since as a reader, I can't quite tell what she sees in Monty. Especially, it is not clear why she chooses to have a relationship with someone who isn't nice to her (even though it seems that she thinks she sees through that and sees a good man underneath, whether or not he actually exists). Does she throw herself at him because she wants to keep up with her sister and have a man too? Is she lonely? Is she being hormonal? Is she curious about physical relationships? Does she have some sort of underlying psychological reason why she prefers a man who is, for all intents and purposes, a jerk?

Regarding Imoen...I don't know what is canon for her age in the game, but I don't see the game presenting her as 19...I'd guess more around 12. However, another thing to take into consideration is that in a pre-industrialized agrarian society, it wouldn't be abnormal for girls to marry in their teens. I doubt Monty would distinguish much between 15 and 19 with respect to whether or not she was suitable for a relationship. (It's not today where one formally becomes an adult at 18 or 21, and there are statuatory age laws).

In both the case of Aegis and Imoen, one thing I felt that could be worked on more was a sense of their femininity. I don't mean that Aegis needs to act like a stereotpyical female, but what I mean is that I had a little trouble with 'suspension of disbelief' in their first relationships, since usually it takes people a while to figure out even what to do in a physical relationship, and they were just jumping in full steam as if they had it all figured out without much in the way of confusion, fears, insecurities, heistations, or awkward moments.

The other thing is...this might be a bit too sensitive for the story, but it might be very frustrating for a young woman like Aegis (who clearly has a strong "drive") to get into a physical relationship with a man (especially a first-time relationship) who doesn't actually want to engage in copulation very frequently (unless all the marching and fighting in her daily life is wearing her out). Erm, it was just something that crossed my mind.

In contrast, I felt that Xzar always came across as a male (even though he is not particularly manly), and I never had any trouble visualizing him as one.

Anyway, I am looking forward to reading the rest of the story!

PS Nerd comment: aegis in Latin actually would be pronounced "eye-gis" (ancient Latin) or "ay-gis" (later Latin), even if the Anglicized word is different. So, it would not be unreasonable for people to use those pronounciations. Although, as the author, you have the right to decide how the main character's name should sound!
kaispan chapter 1 . 8/21
So I don't remember /exactly/ how Chapter One went down the first time, but it is assuredly awesome to read about it with the writing style you've spent these last years improving; it's terribly engaging with the clever banters and unique voices we have come to expect from you!

"nearly punched his beard off" haha. Great setup for everything, from Aegis's drinking habits to Gorion's influence on her (she comes across as such a meek child when he's lecturing her! it's clear he has quite the impact on her development- "evidence a glaring disrespect for life" which through his devoted efforts has truly succeeded at remedying. ). It's also obvious like that recent dream/flashback in Part III that if he had remained with her, she wouldn't have been able to grow out of that child sort of role; he's a very powerful presence!

"She didn't have a choice, and he had somehow failed to give her one" AWWW poor Gorion D:

It's really cool that you're taking the time to revisit some of the early parts, and it's also cool for me to go back and read them; I'm sure I'm going to pick up on a lot of stuff I missed and see extra relevance/connections you wove in everywhere hehe. ;D
StalwartShadow chapter 20 . 5/3
Xzar talks so obliquely when it comes to Aegis's parents. Still, interesting look into his psyche. 'Flesh Golem' isn't exactly far different from 'Meat Shield' anyways, so I don't see anything wrong with that!
Celamity chapter 51 . 4/25
Oh, poor Imoen. She never truly listened to what Montaron kept telling her, and the shreds of decency within him were significantly smaller than she seemed to think.

Edwin's brand of evil seems cleaner, somehow.
Celamity chapter 47 . 4/24
You actually made me feel a bit sorry for Nimbul.

The conversation between Xzar and Imoen was wonderful. Also, with his emphasis on the word 'sister' - has he figured her out, too?

With all the heavy weight you've put on Aegis, what with the bloodmilk and her lopsided responses to death since childhood, I'm really curious about how you'll handle Imoen's heritage.
Celamity chapter 46 . 4/24
It feels like Aegis breaks and unbreaks bits of Xzar whenever they have a Serious Conversation, and every time it happens a little sliver of him slips back into place. Their interaction here was weird and lovely and amusing and profound. Like a jar of eyeball guards :)

(Xzar would like Abazigal's lair, I think :) )
Celamity chapter 42 . 4/24
Nothing like some hair plaiting and arm wrestling to take your mind off of heavier considerations! (That said, in the prior chapter, I liked how you channeled Aegis's realization through Xzar's observations of and reactions to her processing the new information, and I also liked how it changed how she looked at him. I wonder when she'll tell Imoen?)

The restructuring into a bandit hunting party feels quite natural for this group :)
Celamity chapter 39 . 4/24
Ow. Ow ow ow ow.
Celamity chapter 35 . 4/24
I don't know what was more amusing, the rare and fearsome peacock dragon, or Xzar taking a shine to the poor elfy :)

The Mulhorandi conversation was brilliant.
Celamity chapter 32 . 4/23
Xan has never been a favourite character of mine. He's just been the morose elf who happens to be a prisoner in the mine, is rescued, and then talks doom and gloom until I can't stand it anymore, and who I usually just send on his way with his moonblade.

Not your Xan. He has been suffering for three months, and is rightly *broken* for it. You gave him the full weight of what captivity had done to him, even before getting into Mulahey's treatment of him, and suddenly, his gloomy personality fits perfectly, and I want to read more about him.

Brilliantly done!
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