|Reviews for Journey to the East|
| Masterdramon chapter 8 . 1/1/2017
While my general plan was to only delve through your pre-Spring work upon specific request, if all or even most of it is this fun, inventive, and deftly integrated with canon...I may have to reconsider that policy.
I'll be honest: knowing the history of this fic going in, I was half-dreading that the first seven chapters would be an amateurish slog, comparable to...well, to MY writing circa-2009. Let's just say you're fortunate you never had to muddle through the "pre-revised" edition of MDK.
But while the post-Spring conclusion is without question the strongest component of the piece, the story overall still remains some pretty damn good stuff.
To begin with, the central conceit is a fairly strong, two-tiered mystery. A good mystery is usually the hardest thing for me to write personally, and this one plays fair, revealing more and more info at a steady clip until the kidnappings depicted in both the past AND present - as well as the reason nobody has managed to track down Quong Po before now - come to a satisfying, logical conclusion.
And what a conclusion it turns out to be! Chinese mythology and literature is a rich and tragically undertapped vein, particularly in Western culture, and this presents a first glimpse at how it might be viewed through the Garg-Verse lens that leaves me clamoring for more. In particular, I think it'd be interesting to deal with characters from the lesser-known members of the Four Great Classical Novels to a Western eye ("Water Margin" and "Dream of the Red Chamber"), but that's getting off topic.
In any event, both Quong Po and your version of Sun Wukong immediately jump off the page as worthy and creative reinterpretations, and I'm eager to see the relationship the Jade Emperor and his court have with Oberon in this 'verse. Your ability to integrate various sources into a cohesive whole, blending around and within canon, is among your biggest strengths as a writer, and that's on full display here.
And as for the other characters...well, I'm afraid there're WAY too many in the main cast to go through them individually, but suffice to say that everyone came out near pitch-perfect in-character, with that aspect only improving in the final chapter. The decision to cross over the Pendragon and Bad Guys casts - two of my personal favorites, even if this is clearly fairly early into the former - was a smart one, and given Arthur's ease at accepting and commandeering new allies in "Avalon" and "Pendragon" it hardly comes across as forced.
From Fang's snarky one-liners (probably my favorite lines in the fic) to Matrix's staid technobabble to Griff's always-reliable adventurous quippism (I don't care that it's not a word!), everyone's in top form and bouncing off each other in delightful ways. In particular, Griff's and Yama's odd friendship rings strikingly true, given their mutual devotion to their respective cultures' versions of honor and duty, and their rapport was a consistent delight.
The one character I feel I should expound upon is Sakura. This is her first real debut (though of course, I'd seen her much earlier, courtesy of Kordyne's commission), and she certainly did not disappoint. Strong, intelligent, and intensely courageous, she instantly leaps out as a favorite, carving her own unique identity without seeming too derivative of either Sora or Katana. I know enough of your later work to know I'll be seeing more of her, and if her interactions with Griff are leading where I think they are...well, let's just say that's a prospect that interests me VERY much.
I've made no secret how much I enjoy your "little touches" in these fics, and this one DEFINITELY didn't disappoint. While it took me WAY too long to figure it out, once I recognized the "Order of the Black Scorpion" I couldn't help but laugh out loud. As I did to Yama's line about being "the last tengu in Paris."
Meanwhile, Griff and Sakura arguing over the history they mutually skipped over, and Arthur's sad lamentation over the way his love with Guinevere seems to have been remembered, are two examples of scenes that didn't NEED to exist in the story to guide it forward, but which intensely enrich it with characterization and pathos.
And of course, I was incredibly pleased to see the parameters of the Redemption Squad's next mission. I probably shouldn't be SO giddy that one of my Spring-invented concepts gets a mention in one of these for the first time, but...sorry, I'm a self-professed egomaniac. Can't help it. :P
In any event, that seems a good segue to dovetail right into the finale. The final chapter, in addition to being a satisfying and exciting conclusion, promises more to come on any number of additional fronts, and I'm super-excited to read about it all. The escape of the Monkey King - a powerful Trickster not necessarily bound to return to Avalon - begs for a follow-up (likely when we least expect it). And of course, there is a LOT of mileage to be wrung out of Sakura's return to her clan after so much missed time.
But most of all, I'm salivating at the implications of the FINAL "Villain Tag." Dracula's nigh-religious ambition to bring his "kind" into preeminence was one of his defining characteristics on Spring, and I'm glad to see both him, and a deftly reintroduced Elizabeth Bathory, add Quong Po to that stable. Quong was delightfully creepy and charmingly cruel here, pulling from the lore of the jiangshi for MAXIMUM horror, and is practically BRIMMING with further potential. Here's hoping we see the trio (or if I'm right in my suspicions about "Camazotz," quartet) again soon - by your pen or by Al's.
As I stated on Skype, my only complaint of any substance is that Griff casually refers to Yama as a "Jap garg" in the first chapter. Given the time period he and setting he comes from, his using the slur without thinking much of it makes perfect sense, but it felt odd to me that Yama didn't correct him. But perhaps you're saving that opportunity for future stories...especially given Sakura's obvious patriotic stripe.
Still, overall, this was one helluva strong entry in your ongoing saga(s), and I'm very glad to have given it a chance. And oh MAN, and I ready to move onto another.
"The Swords and the Sun," here I come! :D
| GregX chapter 8 . 12/3/2016
Fucking loved it. Going to read more.
| Algernon84 chapter 8 . 10/30/2016
At last, the conclusion to a saga seven years in the making. I remember reading this, along with the rest of your then published gargfics, back before I wrote my own first story here. I think even back then I wanted to make sure I wasn't retreading territory you'd already covered.
This story nicely demonstrates how much you've grown as a writer over the last half decade. "The Jiangxi" is easily the most polished of the chapters here. Not that the rest of the story is any mean shakes. The worst I can really say about the earlier chapters is they're a bit heavy on the typos. But I'm in no position to throw stones on that score.
Sakura's a fun character I hope to see more of. I dod like the irony of her and Griff being able to relate to eachother so well given they were technically at war until recently from their own perspectives.
I admire how you managed to turn this story into Chinese mythology's greatest hits without it feeling overcrowded. Everything from the Jade Emperor to the Monkey King to hopping vampires get at least a shout out.
Speaking of vampires, I got a particular irrational kick outta seeing Vlad appear in the villain tag, along with the Gargoyles fanfic debut of Elizabeth Bathory herself.
Here's hoping to see "The New Adventures of Old Pog" continued as well one day.
| Guest chapter 8 . 10/27/2016
| GF chapter 7 . 10/7/2016
Absolutely love this story! Hoping that you update it someday real soon.
| JJ Rust chapter 2 . 5/15/2011
Good chapter. You have a pretty cool mystery going here. Looking forward to reading more.
| JJ Rust chapter 1 . 5/12/2011
Pretty good story. Good job on making the characters distinct. You dive pretty quickly into the plot. The action was pretty good.
A couple critiques, you should have some noticable breaks to denote scene transitions.
A couple typos I spotted: "When said I" should be "When I said I"
"you're Majesty" should be "your Majesty"
Looking forward to continue this story. Keep up the good work.
| mage-cat chapter 7 . 3/15/2010
This is a great story. You really hit the right notes for the characters. The only thing the bothers me is that you could mark perspective shifts more clearly. I always have to reread the last few lines when you switch between groups of characters.
| Howl chapter 7 . 12/7/2009
Wonderful, though, in my own opinion, it would be good to seperate the alternating POVs more.
| Fan Boy 101 chapter 7 . 10/28/2009
Great chapter. Please update soon.
| anon chapter 7 . 10/23/2009
All things are true but few accurate that is awesome
Thanks for talking about the beasts
This is so awesome
| Storyseeker chapter 7 . 10/23/2009
Great read! Was Sun talking to Quong or Dingo and lot, at the end?
| Olreic chapter 6 . 10/8/2009
Finally, another chapter!
Really good, as usual. I'm not really good with love, but it looks like Griff and Sakura might finnish together.
"It's not much better topside." Lol, for maybe the first time in his life, Fang said something intelligent.
Great idea to introduce the Monkey King. And good work about all these clear explanations...
| Storyseeker chapter 6 . 10/7/2009
Nice chapter! Loved the bit about Yama telling Sakura more about what happened in the war!
I never read anything about the Monkey King, but I remember seeing a character based on him in the Jackie Chan cartoon. He was a real prankster, sometimes dangerous for taking his jokes/spells too far, ideal for the 3rd race!
| anon chapter 6 . 10/7/2009
That was so cool talking about magic and meeting Monkey King
Well I’m not sure surly it was some of Oberon’s Children and the New Olympians with some of that at least I thought (hoped) there would also be creatures like actual griffins
Oh yeah I forgot Desdemona and Iago changed thier names with the cyborg blah blah blah
Oh yeah isn’t Fu-Lion supposed to be part of Brooklyn’s Timedancer adventures part of his new family and his mate Katanna
That was so awesome mentioning the Pendragon stuff and so much other parts of Gargoyles mythology
Could we maybe see a little bit or just mention Macbeth
Could you also mention the Illuminati I think they were at least at the top levels long-term focused well intentioned perhaps fanatically because I’m not sure why but I always believed that episode where they brainwashed Goliath or some other episode one of them shook hands and was a gargoyle and Thailog is a lower level member like David
Although there are gargoyle villains like Demona and Iago/Coldsteel so that would be okay it’s just that with David reforming so maybe they are well-meaning but covet power for themselves first and foremost but want to control a just and merciful world second
Are we going to see mention of the other clans including the ones that were set to appear in the future New Olympus
• Xanadu (China)
• New Camelot (Antarctica)
• Loch Ness (Scotland)
• Queen Florence Island (Canada)
• Paris (France
the Labrynth mutates and clones
Oh yeah the Ultra-Pack Wolf, Jackal and Hyena, the next two Coyote 6.0 and 7.0 get out of David’s control and a new member I thought perhaps Dingo’s super villain rival the Tazmanian Tiger They’d be kind of Cool, while I’d like them to seek redemption as well it just doesn’t seem realistic and they should be villains
I got this information from the Askgreg page there is a link in gargoyles wiki page
This is AWESOME!