|Reviews for Red Skies|
| IronicEnding chapter 22 . 2/5/2012
What a brilliant story and what a wild ride that you put us through as a reader.
My god, your ability to spark both strongly positive and strongly negative emotions is the kind of thing that most people strive for years and never obtain, yet here you are doing exactly that with the kind of consistency that one RARELY sees anywhere.
Your story as a whole is one that has such a solid premise and a gut wrenching storyline. Honestly for you to be able to coordinate so many stories together in such a long sequence of events and have things fall into place like that requires the use of a vision that many more could benefit from. I don't feel like i am reading stories anymore, with your work i feel like i'm given intimate entrance to watching chapter's of people's lives unfold.
To do a complete an honest review, we must however start with the bad. The bad were things that were quite low in frequency but quite jarring in the way they came across. I hated being snapped out into total disbelief. Those moments were i was fully absorbed into a story only to be knocked back out with a moment that just didnt fit created such strong negative emotions because it ruined my fun.
Here are the main ones
1) the hurricane piece. It felt like you were trapped between a thriller (similar to the movie 'taken') and a natural disaster flick. It felt like this should have been more the former and less the latter. The hurricane should have been briefer in mention, used more as a tool and less as an intricate plot piece. I submit this as personal preference, and not as something you did wrong however. From my standpoint that is what I would have liked to have seen, not what is best in general (or more importantly for you as the author). What really got me was how it did drag on the story. I hated when i was being bogged down with subplots i did not care about while what i wanted was to see hunter squall reclaim his wife and leave a path of destruction in his unforgiving wake...and to be honest im still a little disappointed that i did not get that.
2) This is the big one. Basically anything and everything to do with Renn. It was completely unnecessary, and from looking at the end result, didn't really do much to help (the blood part felt very forced). Everything about that dimineshed what you had put in your relationship between our heroes, the meaning of that bond and how easily it could be temporarily relieved, and even Rinoa's general reactions to a man that had willing and knowingly abducted her, resulted in the death of her friend (as far as she knew) and her dog. And yet we are given this? love you but love squall more? Oh that was almost the last straw. When Renn said 'if only i met you first' because of the way you built up squall and rinoa, the only possible responce i could imagine is 'it would still be squall'. No contact, no nothing. I always had the feeling that those human weaknesses are more jarring for rinoa and squall because of the way you wrote their bond. It felt like you needed a reason for Rinoa not to go insane, and thus shoved in a character there that was in my opinion ultimately unlikeable, but the author was trying to force us to like him. In my case it fell really flat. But heres the real question. Why not have Rinoa start to lose her sanity a little bit? I try and imagine about what she is missing, and its like the trauma of having half your body ripped away. The mental anquish, the demented thoughts that could come about. Working this angle would have enhanced the bond you built up, instead of this nonsense of Renn which only damaged it. Across your stories, this was the weakest thing I have come across.
3) You killed Angelo. Never kill the dog. Its a great way to get the audience to hate the material. (I love dogs!)
Now for the good
1) your play on emotions has to be unmatched on the entirety of this community, and if we are being really honest, for a greater part of the internet. When you want me as the reader to be sad, you have the ability to command it with nothing more than a few sentences. When you want me to feel angry, you pull that off with similar ease. When you want me to feel the love and attention between two people, you do so in such a masterful way that I am able to relate to my own experiences and connect your stories to my memories. I want to stress just how much magnitude that is. I as a reader, because of your refined talent and skill, am able to connect literature that you wrote with experiences and emotions i have felt. I don't know if there is another level or skill of mastery for one to attain beyond this level. It has left in me a lasting impression and for that, i have to salute you and restate how badly i wish i could do what you are able to do.
2) The best part about your stories are how the characters interact with one another. The easiest place to point this out is in how Squall and Laguna relate to one another. It looks and feels like a true father/son dynamic. I see the two of them go at it and i can imagine in vivid detail in my mind what is happening. And my mind says 'based on what you know, this is the most accurate representation of these characters'. This goes even further when you talk about Squall and Rinoa and go so much deeper about their relationship. You have a deep understanding of how the mind works, and more relevant to the story, how their minds work. You hold nothing back in sharing that with us and allowing us the same privilege of enjoying what you have put to paper.
3) The overall quality of the work is shockingly high. Something that can be really painful in stories is things are written in a mess (run-on sentences, bad grammar, horrific spelling). You do none of this. My reading is allowed to go along completely uninterrupted and my enjoyment is focused.
4) The bloody delicious, oh so immersible details. I am so drawn into your story because of all the tidbits that you add. Its those pieces that describe the meteorological events, your knowledge of space travel, the medical profession, etc that allow me to close my eyes and essentially live the story. You have completely mastered giving me an appropriate level of detail to make the voyage full of enjoyment without filling my head with trivia that is not helpful. I love being able to get myself lost in one of your chapters
5) You reward your readers. After a gut-wrenching scene you reward your reader with exactly what they want. A story is partially for you, but also partially for us. So many authors forget that a story with no audience, is as good as a story that was never written. You respect your readers and it bloody well shows. That alone puts you heads beyond so many other writers.
To be honest reading your work makes me ashamed to have ever put anything up on this site. I honestly can see how work you have put together and drivel i have put together can belong in the same community, to the point where i want to take mine down, then run and hide.
I can say this with absolute certainty. You inspire me to want to be better. Had i read your stuff when i was actively engaged in the creative process, it would have challenged me to do more and be better in my writing ability (spelling challenges aside :) ). I too would want to be able to do to other readers what it is that you have done to me in sending me through an emotional roller coaster with characters i am vested in, care about, and want to see reach a very happy ending.
You have one me over as a fan, and there is no doubt about that.
I should also say something that i likely should have mentioned multiple times up front. I have often been harsh in the reviews that i have left in your stories. I already stated once that is because I am so immersed in your stories, adn that there is so much good that something jarring really does strike a negative pang.
I should add to that. I never critiqued your work on the same baseline as everyone else here on this site. I critiqued it in the work that few other writers are. A category of work where I would put down real dollars to read more of what you had put together. Anything i say to you, i say on the basis that you live and operate on a level far above and beyond my own, and that of this site really. Its the type of work I would have no problem going to a bookstore and putting down money to buy and to own. Please don't think unkindly of me if you see so much critique because it does come from a good place. You do so much right that with what i imagine to be just a little bit of refinement and focus, you could be one of the best writers to have ever come to this site across any pairing and story. I hold you in very high regards. I'm harshest with those whom I respect, and want the respect of, the most.
Truth be told you have inspired me to pick up a story idea i have been toying with. Honestly there are bits of your writing that i would like to steal for my own use (with your permission of course).
I wish you well on the next story that you endeavor to write, for i know already that so long as the ending is joyful, it is one that i surely will enjoy reading.
Thank you so much for sharing a piece of yourself through your words. Thank you for letting us into your mind and your imagination with what I am sure must have been tireless efforts and a constant drain upon your energy. To think you have been able to write everything like this, while handling a family, work/school responsibilities, friends, and any other challenges that we as people must contend with on a daily basis. Knowing that alone i get the feeling that you are quite the strong person.
I feel by now i must have bored you with my words, and lack of appropriate spelling/grammar. :P
Believe me once again that you have earned in me a dedicated fan eager to see your writing to continue evolved. Thank you again for such a wonderful story.
| IronicEnding chapter 21 . 2/5/2012
Oh you clever girl you. Already hinting at the next plotline, and frankly one that has me more than a little intrigued. A stronger role for the GFs would be a topic well to dive into and I would relish reading it.
I loved this chapter for the inclusion of one very specific line "You need to finish it Laguna. Finish him. Or I will"
Thats the piece we needed. You gift your audience again. I can see Squall agreeing to what Laguna said, but just for the moment. For all that he has been through, a second threat to him and his family i think would meet with a cold, calculating and decisive end. I imagine squall still has a piece of his old self bottled up, there to use in the most extreme situations. Rinoa cant take away what he was, she can surround him with the growth of who is becoming and hide those dark emotions, but that little piece of him is still in there.
God damn you are a good writer.
| IronicEnding chapter 20 . 2/5/2012
I really like this chapter.
Its a gift to your audience, and thats what an excellent writer does. They treat their audience after spiraling them through an array of emotions. I needed something like this to be there.
You write these moments with such tenderness and skill that I cant help but guess you are a parent as well.
I would look forward to reading a little bit more about the anxiety the two of them face at the prospect of raising children. Im positive it would make for a fantastic read that is sure to tickle the senses.
Honestly i wish my positive reviews were longer but its hard to write when there is so much positive to put down. They deserve to be longer and full of more glowing adoration, but your consistency towards excellence means im showering you with (justly deserved) praises over and over again.
If the critiques feel long and wordy and the praises short, its because you do so much right. I am severly jealous of your skill and wish i had the talent that you have.
Also, again, its the details you manage so well. For example the specifics when it comes to all things medical? you have shown me your knowledge in such a wide array of fields. Its the immersion that you bring in. I love it. I absolutely love the immersion that i dread moments when im thrust out of it.
Thank you so much for moments like these, when the reader is rewarded and left smiling wider and wider with each word
| IronicEnding chapter 19 . 2/5/2012
Another chapter that you knocked right out of the park. With the mention of Rinoa's aging, and the effect of the following sentence:
"It was something unique to sorceress and knight, something so complete, so all encompassing, that one literally could not live without the other"
I cant help but wonder if their bond, or the sorcery employed, will keep them both alive much longer than the average person. There would be a far greater story i think, and a far more enjoyable outcome than the sad alternatives.
One small downside to this chapter, was the hint of Squall's forgivness here. I can imagine Squall understanding Renn, but thanking him and beyond? After days of mental imbalance and aguish and having to deal with the loss of a link he had come to depend on. It didnt sit well.
However that scene between Squall and Laguna at the end was perfect. Absolutely perfect from the way you brought up Raine, to the interaction between the two. I dont think I have ever come across anyone who has written that relationship better than you have if i am completely honest. And if i am truthful, i dont think i ever will. You are just that damn good
| IronicEnding chapter 18 . 2/5/2012
Love your writing and I love what you are doing with this chapter. It was superbly written, thee is no doubt about that.
The anger seething from Squall, particularly at Odine was intense. I Was caught off guard with Ellone stopping squall claiming he might be necessary later. How or why Ellone can come up with that, given the man's assuredly evil tendencies, is way beyond anything i can comprehend.
The mind link and the childbirth pieces are everything i expected them to be. As a reader I was fully satisfied and thrilled with each word, eating them up more and more with every passing sentence. Its stuff like this that make me so vested in your stories.
| IronicEnding chapter 17 . 2/5/2012
I thank you for quickening the PASE here. the emotional involvement has been raised and you are treating your readers to a lot of excitement and a lot of anxiety in what is to happen next.
To be honest i almost expected you to have Squall kill Renn without ever really knowing who he was. To be very honest, if Renn isnt forced to pay in horrible ways, regardless of whatever protest im guessing you would have Rinoa give, as a reader i will be sorely disapointed.
On to the intrigue!
| IronicEnding chapter 16 . 2/5/2012
I hate to say this, but you really are losing me with these Renn and Rinoa moments.
I mean now even the logic you used, love you but love him more, its like the basis of half the affairs out there.
Its destryong a beautiful thing you spent so much time building up, and its really killing me out of the story.
A second kiss? really? oh well
What I really liked about the chapter was the integration of Griever into Squalls ability. Its a unique twist and something i would expect of a writer of your caliber. The part with the behemoths could not be better planned. You are so damn good at writing stories that i hate being snapped out of it when i am engrossed in a read.
| IronicEnding chapter 15 . 2/5/2012
Oh i hated that bit with Renn and Rinoa
I know its supposed to do with insanity, need for someone there, but that even the temptation of someone who is not the knight can step in even temporarily...or that she didnt push him away immediatly
VERY JARRING. In my mind it hurt the magnitude of the bond you built up so well so far through all of these stories. Plus i hate that someoen else kisssed her like that...and long enough to 'deepen it'
Its a good chapter, dont get me wrong. I think mots of the venting comes from the fact that you are so good at drawing your audience into your reading. Here...it was gaining my trust and then flipping me the bird. For this I am sad
| IronicEnding chapter 14 . 2/5/2012
I normally pay to get this quality of writing, and you are bringing it to me for free. You are adding in wonderful bits to the story with lavish amounts of detail.
Hunter squall, merciless, a killer. No remorse in his actions. Thsi was perfectly done
Two issues 1) i think we are overestimating the backlash laguna would face for using resources to rescue his publicly popular in-law. I think he would have support 2) this whole Renn thing.
Rinoa is way too friendly and sympathetic to this guy. To be honest, its so jarring that its coming across as bad writing. It starkly contradicts whole series of stories that you have written.
Im ignoring that part for now and keeping myself fully fixated on the good, of which there is many.
Keep focusing on the good and your stories are going to be forever unrivaled!
| IronicEnding chapter 13 . 2/5/2012
You are a masterful writer.
Now we are back on track tot he main plot. This is what the story needed! You are bringing in the gut-wrenching moments and really struting your stuff in writing characters.
The way you make Odine so detestable, the way you ahve other characters build up just how vengeful squall will be.
This is a chapter that gets things going again! I am eating up every word and hungrily clicking though the next one! More stuff like this, and less of the sidetrack stuff!
| IronicEnding chapter 12 . 2/5/2012
I don't understand this character brought in, Renn.
It feels weird.
OH i did want to say that i think i found the best sentence of the last several chapters
'Rinoa had learned since that Squall was far from fearless, he felt fear; he simply stared it in the face and refused to let it control him'
Boom. There is your perfect level of insight that i have been waiting for. More of this!
| IronicEnding chapter 11 . 2/5/2012
This chapter was fine except for the parts with Cid.
It was too contradictory, on one hand you have him acting like an ass about Squall's decisions (i cant think of any leader being told to stay and help like that. Even presidents have to step down in moments of family crisis).
Then a statement that what Edea liked most about Cid was compassion? Followed by talk on Cid was like a father?
It didnt make sense to read. I couldnt tell if your intention was to have me as a reader like or hate Cid.
What i was very happy to read was some of that anger was bursting out of Squall. Its about damn time. The pase slowed down too much and the main story needed to continue on.
Looking forward to the next chapter
| IronicEnding chapter 10 . 2/5/2012
hmm...a nice filler chapter i think. Again it gets things moving. The pase has slowed down considerably so im eager for the resolution to this...resolution and squalls unholy retribution on all of them.
That and...im not sure what is troubling Laguna. Everything they more or less smells like Treason, if not violating a whole series of other laws...take action man.
| IronicEnding chapter 9 . 2/5/2012
I like that you brought Griever back into the picture. I was wondering if you were going to ignore this GF for this story, which would have been unfortunate.
Its fine as a chapter goes, but heres the problem. Im reading a lot about a sub-story i dont particularly care about while the big dram (the kidnapping and all) is happening but i dont feel any momentum there. Im stuck in sub-plot where i want focus on the plot.
I think your interpretation of squall is accurate, he falls back a bit into recluse and shutting himself off from telling other ppl what is really happening, but rage would have been more interesting.
Touch balance really. Solid job once again
| IronicEnding chapter 8 . 2/5/2012
This was an ok chapter. Im a little disapointed at the muted responce from Squall. I was kind of hoping it would be a no holds bar release. Maybe some effect of what happens to knight who has been cutoff from his sorceress. I saw him becoming..uber...or just falling into blind rage.
Also Irvine wanting to wait before he searches cause it wouldnt feel right? ...wait...let a trail run cold...because it doesnt feel right?...eh
ITs an ok chapter. It helps progress us to the next chapter. We need these moments in here, because the truth is one way or another squall is stuck where he is and life continues on.