|Reviews for Unexpected Explorations|
| UnbiasedBias chapter 26 . 4/3
Your stories are fantastic! I've actually read all three of your works, but your mystery dungeon continuations are definitely my favourite. Your plots are creative. So, so, creative and the ideas you come up with amaze me. I like how realistic your characterizations are, and the way you portray Blaze and Leo's relationship. And of course, the way you wrapped up the epilogue left me with chills. I'm an avid lover of the mystery dungeon series and you've done it justice. Awesome work!
| Talgoran chapter 26 . 9/25/2014
Up through the end:
- The battle during Temple 1 and 2 was awesome. So epic! Tides turned many times! I loved it.
- Did not see Akri's origin story coming. Probably because there was no connection between him and the General that any reader could see. (At least, I don't think.) Very cool how that worked out. I'm tempted to go back and read Akri's response to whenever any of the characters talked about the General.
- Forgot to mention, I really like how Blaze talks. Very monkey-like. Ha ha!
- I still encounter typos every now and then. 'Physic' instead of 'Psychic' for example. Nags at me.
- I wish Lonny had turned back. That's not a very helpful part of my review, I know. But eh, Pokemon are just cooler than humans! (But I know that she had a character arc, that Leo still liked her as a hybrid, etc etc...)
- Man, you really like happy endings don't you? It bothers me a bit that every good character turns out 100% okay in the end. (Or having come to terms with their circumstances at least, like in Lonny's case. Predictably but necessarily I suppose.) Some of the most emotion I felt in this story was when Blaze stopped breathing during the chaos of the fight wrapping up. And then it was undone.
I guess I should expand upon this. It's not everyone living happily ever after that bothers me, it's that there is no danger. If you were to write another sequel, and the characters made the decision to go to somewhere dangerous for the good of the world and what not, I wouldn't break a sweat, since they'd be alright. I just know that things will be okay.
Maybe it's so surprising to me because you write a fairly mature view of Pokemon, and you make the danger so real. You make the enemies so strong, you make each fight count. The heroes aren't superheroes, and they struggle all the time. It's great. But they never give up anything.
Eh. I dunno. Maybe I like main characters dying too much. I had this issue with Variations as well. Take it with a grain of salt.
- I'm very glad you didn't go to the extreme of everyone living happily ever after, by Blaze and Ruby eventually becoming compatible and becoming mates. That would have REALLY bothered me. Why, then, did you introduce a second Infernape to this story? It confuses me. You already had one, so I thought with Lonny and Leo matching up, you were just preparing for a happy ending with Blaze and Ruby. Did you originally intend for this to happen? Were you giving it a chance, and then writing to see if it would work out? I suspect that is what happened. But man I'm glad it didn't work out. Would have been way too fairy-tale for me. Also I sorta didn't like Ruby. But Blaze is great. Haha, I'm talking like a fanboy here, it's great.
- After the Arceus spiel, I felt you took too long to wrap things up and get the characters back home. Sure, there were a lot of confusing things that needed to be sorted out. Some characters didn't know about the fiasco at the portal facility on Earth. Some characters didn't know Ruby refused to attack. Whatever. But I don't think you need to devote such a huge portion of the chapter to wrapping up the minutiae. Can't you just leave the characters to discuss it all off screen? When some of the more nit-picky questions came up, like when Giratina wanted to know who Granakri was, I thought you should have just had Arceus bring down the hammer with "The Leos will explain after you're through the portal," or some such. Or better, don't have him ask it, as he knows it will be explained afterward.
I don't think readers want to spend time reading all of the confusion and questions that so many characters had after the cathartic and intense experience of the climactic battle. The Arceus story was a great place to calm down and wrap up.
You sure are thorough though.
- For some reason, I REALLY liked Giratina. The way he's kind of a loner, and just wants to go back to his world/dimension, really matches up with how I imagine him in my mind. Like a space earthworm that is forced to poke its head out of the soil into this crazy world where real and important things happen all the time, but just wants to dig back down and be happy in the dirt.
- Not sure if I liked Variations, or this one better. Probably Variations. I think the setting had something to do with it; the urban and technological elements were more exciting to me than so much nature and ancient ruins. Also, the novelty of humans and Pokemon interacting in the unique ways that you wrote during Variations, versus so much already being established for the second installment. Though, I think you had better characters in this one. And more epic battles.
- I know I forgot at least one thing that I wrote down to say. Sorry. I'm sure I've forgotten lots of things over the chapters I've read. I do apologize. But I hope the harsh and forthright feedback that I have included is helpful! :D And hey, the more I review, the more I can find the flaws in my own writing.
Thank you for writing this. You are, of course, a great writer, to say the least. I'm sure you know that. I'm so glad that there are diamonds like this in the rough that are capable of giving such immense enjoyment to that small niche of people who like to continue the adventures of Pokemon Mystery Dungeon. I'm blessed and honored to be able to read adventures like this. I read (predominantly) fantasy books every night, and I'll tell you, some of the moments in your stories thrill or intrigue me leagues more than whatever 'famous' or 'well-reviewed' author I'm reading at the time. It's fantastic that there are authors like you churning out stupendous writing that you can read for free anywhere you have internet. I'm so grateful. After finishing a story like this, I feel my responsibility to give back to the community redouble. It's inspiring, and humbling.
Thank you, again, for writing this. I know that reviews and praise are hard to come by when you're writing for a small community like this. But please know that for me, at least, you've given a wonderful experience that I won't forget.
| Talgoran chapter 20 . 9/23/2014
Up through Ch 20:
- The idyllic environment of the dimension/world that housed the Griseous orb was really cool, I liked that. The low gravity was a nice touch. It's things like that that push this story into the sci-fi category, and I'm totally okay with that.
- The resolution of the tailing Skarmory was great. I thought it was artificial tension that you were adding by saying the Skarmory was following them. I thought it wasn't going to be relevant to the story. But hey, it totally was. I like its role and I'm excited to see if it successfully escaped with the orb. If I were it, I wouldn't rendezvous with anyone. I'd hide somewhere far, far away and wait for the people chosen by the prophecy or whatever to come find me.
- "I must use Extreme Speed now. Goodbye." WHOOSH! Hilarious, loved this.
- Telepathic bubble transport is great.
- The subterfuge and strategy that Kol uses to get in with the other hybrids at the camp is great, and fun to read. It's tense, because you don't want him to slip with his emotions, or say something he shouldn't know. I really liked reading through all of those parts. I can feel swampert-Leo's frustration at being held back by both Akri and logic. I wouldn't be able to sit still like he was able to (at least for a while).
- Speaking of, I thought that Leo's reaction to being hypnotized was unreasonable. I would be FURIOUS. This little Pokemon that is not revealing what it knows, that I still 100% don't trust, that is holding me back from every single important person in my life, just hypnotized me. And I just take its advice and turn my attention to the camp, to see Kol coming out? I don't think so. I think a stern lecture would have been in order first, at the least.
- The subsequent time(s?) that hypnosis was used were amusing, and realistic.
- I REALLY liked Chapter 19, for some of the reasons I've already said. I think it might be one of your best ever, that I've read. Though I s'pose it's hard to not be a good chapter with all of the reveals, and plot coming to a head.
- Oh, and I like your chapter names. They're not too spoiler-y, they're interesting, they ring. Woo!
| Talgoran chapter 16 . 9/18/2014
Up to Ch 16:
- I thought Sally kicking the door open was uncharacteristic of her. She's courageous, on the ball, and intellectually keen. I don't think she would be so brash to kick open a door in an old and corroded metal facility, especially given that she's a scientist who has respect for labs. I may have missed something that caused her to do this, I dunno.
- Just want to say that your writing, mechanically and on a small scale, is so good. You never repeat words or phrases, you vary your sentence structure; you really mix it up! I wonder if it's second nature to you by now, or you have to consciously think about things like starting sentences in a different way, or changing your sentence length so the writing doesn't become stale.
- Then they were surrounded! The Pokemon looked at them with hatred in their eyes, their teeth and claws bared! Leo tried to find a way out, but after searching, he could see nothing...but the enemy!
Sort of funny that I'm only mentioning this now, but I'm conflicted about your use of exclamation points at tense moments. On one hand, I've never read any author who does this, save you. It's atypical, and it feels like it's artificially generating tension. Like you're trying too hard to get the audience to feel what you want them to. I don't think you should have to do that; the content before the punctuation should deliver that.
On the other hand, it does still generate that tension and excitement.
It's almost humorous to me because it makes me want to read with an internal voice in my thoughts that's getting excited. After considering, I think I wouldn't have the exclamation mark, but it's your style and I'm guessing that you prefer it that way or you would not have written consistently in that style for so long.
- When Ruby thought the room fixtures seemed familiar to her, I immediately picked up on what you were building up to, and all the pieces fell into place. Great moment. I'm surprised I hadn't already thought of why she was so human-like in a world filled with perfectly bestial Pokemon. Perhaps that means you did a very nice job in misdirecting readers to other possible explanations, like when Leo and Sally thought maybe what happened to Lonny happened to Ruby as well. I didn't buy it, of course, but I was put off thinking of my own explanation. I think if you had had no theorizing by the characters, I might have thought hard and figured that she was a result of biotechnology.
I haven't read past here yet, but I'm gonna guess that this is the same planet that evil-Palkia-Dialga-man is from, and the culmination of this settlement's research was that shard of those legendary Dragons' power being given to a new breed of humans, like him. It would make it convenient that his planet is the same one that all but swampert-Leo ended up on.
Heh, you know I'm into the story because I'm trying to deduce what happens next!
- Most of the parts in which Lonny is coming to terms with her humanity seem forced to me. I think I would have enjoyed a bit more of show, don't tell. Though I guess you do both simultaneously. It just turns me off a bit when you explicitly say things like "She always wondered how it felt to be the caring type like so many humans were. Maybe now that she was part human, she could...experience it herself?" Things like that. It's obvious the next step will be less questioning, and more acceptance and gratefulness.
A character arc is a character arc, and they're always great in stories like this. Props for making her arc so slow, but still having attention paid to it. But man, it's pretty obvious where she's going, and it comes off as forced.
- Also, sorry that my reviews usually have some pretty harsh opinions. I was criticized for that once in a creative writing class I took once. I just am not used to making things soft and socially acceptable. I've been called 'brutally honest' a few times.
- Pretty intrigued about Akri's role in all this.
- Oh, haha, almost forgot. Loved the way Chalesti got the boot out of the story. It's like, "Well, there's a whole bunch of characters, and you've fulfilled your role, so here's a heroic sacrifice and WHAM-O! you're not in the story anymore!" Sorry, I don't fully mean that. That escape scene was one of my favorite parts in the story so far. Very realistic and cool how you wrote it. I particularly enjoyed when evil-corporate-guy says "Get them, I'm expendable!", and the armed enforcers start turning their weapons back to the escapees, but then Chalesti pushes her energy-fist deeper into evil-corporate-guy, and his scream makes the enforcers hesitate again. Cool stuff! Didn't feel cliche.
I'm glad Chalesti's out of the story though now (hopefully). She was great while she lasted but I don't like reading stories about tons of characters because then either a) you don't get to see what they think of situations, how they react, etc., or b) you do, and the story explodes in length and tedium. (e.g. Game of Thrones)
- Alakazam was cool. Cool dude. Seems like suppressing all nearby telepathic abilities is a reeeaaally nifty ability. Makes sense though, if your abilities are stronger than those you oppose.
- I wish you put a bit more ambiguity into how Kol (I remembered his name!) stands on the good-evil axis. I want to be unsure of how he will act upon reaching the Poke world. Right now, it seems quite clear that he's a 'good guy' and he will cooperate, even help swampert-Leo. That was solidified by the scene with Chip. I mean, if you do pull a twist later on, that'd be incredible, but I can't see any evidence that supports a shred of mind-control/evil remaining in him. His goodness is especially credible because you gave us POV scenes in his head, and all but said that the evil is gone.
So all the suspicion that Leo and the Treasure Town'ers feel is for naught in the audience's eyes. I just think, "C'mon, he's a good guy now, let's get on with it."
| Talgoran chapter 12 . 9/9/2014
Through Ch 12:
- Just wanted to say I'm noticing and appreciating how realistic interactions are. The way Treasure Town's inhabitants and the guild react to the plane, to offering any help to Leo, and the other things they say are great. I would be cringing if they talked like they did in the games, overflowing with warmth and friendliness. Likewise, I thought the conference scene on Earth was realistic, bringing to mind the pains of corporate life. Speaking of whihc...
- The end of the scene was great. Felt really good to finally get some emotion out of the mostly-stoic swampert-Leo. I'm glad that he cares so much about his friends and is willing to break the rules to save them. I think it's important in long stories such as this to have moments where the characters are pushed way out of their comfort zone. I WANT to see Leo lose his head, to see Blaze humbled, to see Grovyle when human Leo is in lethal danger, to see Lonny feel useless, etc. It's the crazy situations where characters have to do things they don't want to do that stand out in my mind. Hope that makes sense.
- I think too much time was spent on fixing up Ruby. Seriously, that was a lot of text to just cover that a) She doesn't look 100% Infernape, and b) She is wounded and has infected cuts and what-not. I was bored a little bit with the amount of 'screen-time' her plight had. It was better once more started coming out, like that she wanted to wear clothes, and her guiding the party in food choices. Up until then I just wanted things to pick up. So maybe some pacing issues there... or personal disinterest in the nitty gritty I guess.
- Another great moment that stood out to me was the 'conversation' between silent Leo and the trainer. The picture of the annoying fan, haha. The subway scene was great too, but not as good. Both scenes really pinned down that feeling, like Leo (and the Azelf-mon) is a fugitive in his own home. Without his friends, he doesn't really fit in, despite being a celebrity.
- Again, I find the story to go a bit overboard with the references to how stinky the team is, how much they need baths... but I've already said that.
- Oh, and the foreshadowing regarding Azelf-mon's role as a Guardian and connection to Leo was just right, and leaves me excited! Man I love foreshadowing!
| Talgoran chapter 10 . 9/5/2014
Review up through Ch 10:
- Not as much to say here as my last one. First thing, I really liked the exploration vibe here. Didn't get that in any of your other stories, except a bit when on the boat to the island at the end of Variations. The digging out doorways, looking at ancient artwork, waiting for sun to strike...all very exciting, and not too cliche. I liked it a lot when Blaze mentioned how this was how their exploring days used to be. Any nostalgia directed at the games is great, since, well, the games are so great!
- Oh no, the great plan seems to have gone wrong! I get the feeling that that off-Charizard shouldn't be there, and that he or something else ruined whatever plan was laid out in thousands of years ago.
- I'm liking the new species and such that you've put in, and I'm sure I'll see more in this jungle battle that's coming up. It's nice to not really know tons of information about something for once. Like if you say it's a Chikorita, you already know so much about it, and can even make decent personality and behavioral assumptions. Not so with Rika (the Azelf thing, I think), or the weird Charizard thing. (Which I totally thought was going to be Groudon by the way).
- Poor Blaze. :'( I found the reaction of him quite quickly requesting the human Leo to be his new partner to be a bit odd. It portrays him as just fiercely dependent, instead of grieving a loss that is irreplaceable. But that interesting reaction made it a cooler and more different scene than I expected. Can't wait to see them reunited haha.
- Here's to hoping that Leo has some father-son adventuring time as he goes on a quest to find his friends! C'moooooon Chip, let's see your skills!
- The plane thing is, of course, super out of place and strange. I'm sure it will be explained, as you've had the characters questioning it. But for now, it seems really weird to me. Like it doesn't match the story.
- Cool how the hatch shut when only the destined characters were in the plane.
- I found it curious that you cut the speech quirks from some of the Explorers of Time characters. There's no "Hey hey!" or "Yup, by golly!" Likewise, Chatot seems to have lost some of his former parrot-like nature. Thinking more about this in regards to the other characters, I think that you could let certain characters' personalities shine through a bit more. Grovyle's stoic and serious guardian nature are great, I love that, and of course Lonny's character is rather obvious. But swampert-Leo, the Clefable, the Guildies...meh. Maybe I'm being overly critical. Sorry, wish I could focus more on the good haha. But, like I said for your other story, I am still a bit perplexed as to why I like your writing so much. I can't nail it down.
- Took a peek at the Sayuri-Lilly artwork, and it's cool! Atypical style. But it makes you realize certain details that you wouldn't purely through reading, maybe. Like it hit me just how dark that battle room must have been, making the enemy that much more menacing. And that treasure map image let's me picture Riki (the Azelf-guy) better.
| Talgoran chapter 5 . 9/4/2014
Up until Ch 5:
- Yeah, I know this story is old. And these reviews I'm doing are new. But they're both timeless! Haha.
- I wonder if the relationship that the Pokemon of Treasure Town have to Sally and human-Leo are actually what you think it would be if these stories were real. I know that the Pokemon in the games are very friendly, cheery, kind, innocent, etc. on the whole. Still, they have opinions, and aren't happy robots.
I just think that there would be some more negative response to the humans' presence, and especially their moving in. Xenophobia, racism, confusion and trepidation regarding the technology and knowledge they bring, fear at portals opening, etc. If I were the Bidoof, for example, I of course would be well used to the mysterious and amazing abilities of all the Pokemon around me. (Moreso at the abilities of Palkia and others.) But to see a new 'species' that no one knows much about, that has unique architectural ideas, ways of life, language that I cannot speak, and a multitude of other differences from anything I've ever known, and any Pokemon I've ever learned of, I imagine I'd be pretty upset or scared. And those emotions would not manifest as "Wow, I'm so fascinated by these humans! I'll be happy to receive more, if they come through the portal!" as you seem to suggest at one point in the early chapters.
Yes, Pokemon are so much more diverse, and also capable of such marvelous powers, compared to humans. And that helps me understand their acceptance of the wildly new. Also, Leo of course used to be a human, and everyone loves him, understandably so. But I still think you painted an overly optimistic and exciting view of what the Treasure Town inhabitants think of humans, and more importantly, many more humans coming to love with them.
- I was... not prepared for the Lonny transformation. And I certainly did not like it. Some of the thoughts going through my mind: ugh, the author's just reusing the same material, but reversed, how clever... how convenient that Darkrai was present, and used the same attacks as he did on Leo... I'm upset that this sidecharacter Lonny is now going to be the focus of the story...
But, as some other reviewer said, the occurrence has grown on me. I see now that this plot device, if that is what it is, allows you to explore some cool themes that we saw when she finds a keen interest in the spear's creation, or when she refuses to accept how weak she is now. I still can't say I'm happy that this is, at least for now, what the story is about. I would much rather it focused more immediately on Leo's role as a father, the parallels between the kid and how Leo was as a "newly-hatched" young recruit, humans in the Pokemon world, or even plain old fatherhood and its trials. Nonetheless, the story is great, as was your first, and I am eager to keep reading.
- Don't get me wrong, I am quite happy that your writing has included more mature parts. I like reading about the not-usually-mentioned aspects of humans vs. Pokemon, and how Pokemon are like animals with basic needs like everyone else. They're not just 'cartooned' away, like in the anime. Buuuuut you seem to frequently delve into topics that not included in most stories (in any medium) for a reason. I don't want to read about tampons (though there was some comedy there), or the particulars of each character relieving themselves, etc. I'm totally happy reading the bits about sexual attraction, mating, and all those related aspects of love, because that is what this story is about. It's important to talk about whether Leo is attracted to Lonny or not, for example. But a lot of the other 'mature' writing I just feel could be excluded. I don't want to think about an Infernape pooping and burying it in a tale of adventure, you know?
- I imagine human-Lonny growing hair and I find it ugly and silly, no matter the realism. Personal preference, eh?
- Like I alluded to in an earlier comment, I really liked the parts with the kid. (Chip, was it? I'll call him Chip.) I love how he's a Mudkip new to the world just like Leo was, but in VERY different circumstances. I love how a being can be a kid, but still immensely powerful, like Pokemon are. I love that he has to deal with an absentee father, and a mother he's not used to. All of this stuff is great. Probably my favorite writing so far in here. I'm not sure how much of that is my personal interest, and how much is what everyone thinks. (Or even how interesting you made it just in the effort or way you wrote it.) But I hope this story doesn't finish before you really explore those cool ideas!
- I think you're doing a better job in this story of making long travel less boring. In the mini-sequel, and the original, there was travel that was too much "The landscape changed, becoming forest. They were getting hungry. They had to stop frequently because of this injury. They were running low on water." and all those particulars that aren't thrilling to read. This one has less of that, and more back to back meaningful moments. At least, I think.
- The initial plot's set-up seems like it has more depth. Perhaps this is an illusion, but it seems for Variations you could have BSed a lot of the later events, and just had plot notes for the first while regarding the two distortions and other simple bases. But this one looks like it has a lot more effort put into crafting the initial events and their way-late repercussions. So I'm excited! I want to see why this map was made, if Lonny's transformation was truly accidental, where Dialga and Palkia are, etc.
- You know, this is a more realistic story than most Pokemon stories. You chose for it to be that way. Often, I'm grateful, and I like seeing the more 'ordinary animal' side of Pokemon, instead of 'jump 20 feet high and shoot fireballs'. Still...a big reason a lot of people like Pokemon is for the fighting. Its complexity, power. I find myself missing a lot of that here. There are more punches and dodges, less interesting combat. It's a natural result of making the story more realistic, of course, but it saddens me to know that sometimes realistic and more mature doesn't make me more interested. I find myself longing for Leo to whip out Mudshot and Earthquake, and for Blaze to really lay on the firepower, scorching the earth. Haha, maybe I play too many videogames.
| darrelodin chapter 26 . 8/31/2013
First off, I'm glad I read this story after all. You really did an outstanding job with it, and ended it perfectly. I'm kinda sad it doesn't have as many views as your initial one, though.
Anyway, I hope you one day continue to write!
| Ark Zilong chapter 26 . 3/14/2012
it ended kinda sudenly
| Ark Zilong chapter 18 . 9/11/2011
but kind of short
| Something dictionary related chapter 4 . 7/7/2011
Just to say, I enjoyed the past couple of stories, although I was wondering if there could be a second story on the chronicling of swampert Leo's rise through the ranks.
This one is good so far. I must see if Chip goes with them.
| LionsMane10 chapter 8 . 4/3/2011
This reply is long, long overdo, but thanks for the comment. Just wanted to let you know it did help, and it pushed me to lengthen some upcoming battle scenes as a result. Thanks again.
| heartofdarkness chapter 8 . 1/11/2011
Cliffhangers, always fun, I entertain the possibility of Leo having traveled backwards in time when he was knocked off that ciff.
Hmmm, maybe it's just me but I personally thought the fight scene seemed to be a little...condensed I guess would be the best word for it. Apart from that Very enjoyable chapter, keep it up.
| Arbajor chapter 7 . 12/24/2010
I expected a longer chapter...also I expected a giant crystal...or something... I wonder where you've send the characters of to only time will tell. I can only presume we'll see Chalesti again at a later date and you have officially gotten me curious as to why there is a giant space shuttle thing in the middle of a desert in the mystery dungeon world. It seems like I'm just waiting for things to happen so only so much I can really review on. Feel like I have to comment on the recently posted picture of the 'shuttle,' it is impressive. Hope the next chapter doesn't take too long.
| Placeholder chapter 6 . 11/10/2010
Greatly enjoyed the chapter but I would like to wait until chapter 7 before giving a full comprehensive review...mostly just wanted to let you know I am still reading, which I am. :)