Reviews for Phandalyn: Shape of a Paladin
attackamazon chapter 1 . 11/4/2012
This is one of your older pieces looks like, but I'm a sucker for paladins so I couldn't resist. :) It's been 10 years or so since I've interacted with the Balder's Gate fanverse, so some of my criticisms I'm going to chalk up to just not being familiar with the fandom any more.

1) Your subject matter for this piece is very interesting, and I like how you handled the crisis of conscience. I don't think I've seen a paladin vs. paladin before, so kudos on choosing relatively unique subject matter. It's a nice change from the classic good vs. evil.

2) I think you've done a good job portraying your characters realistically. I particularly enjoyed the party banter that was going on in the background to the fight with Eldoth, Shar-Teel, Xan and Branwen. It's easy to get a feel for what it would be like to talk to them from they way you've portrayed them and they're consistent across the story and to the characteristics you've assigned them.

3) Probably the thing that that really had me going "YES, EXACTLY" was that you mention realistic consequences of battle and life in this type of society, such as Shar-Teel having to get her breastplate repaired and Branwen having to hold Prudence's guts in while she's healing her. A lot of authors completely forget about that kind of thing, and it's like their characters walk through the world with perpetually shiny armor that never needs to be repaired and they don't eat or sleep or heal unevenly. So it's exciting to me when someone actually mentions it!

4)In fact, I only have three real criticisms of your story.
(a) I feel like your sentence structure detracts from the story in certain places. I had to read the first few paragraphs a few times just to understand what was happening. You might want to try simplifying a little bit so it's easier to read. Sometimes your prose comes off sounding archaic, which I think works really well in dialogue to distinguish the way characters speak, but not as well outside of dialogue. These are things that I'm prone to myself, so don't feel bad and I'm sure you've probably improved since you wrote this.
(b) Some of your stylistic choices about flash-backs and such make it hard to keep up with what's going on at times. I wasn't sure in some cases whether I was reading internal monologue or a vision/flashback or something until I reread it a few times. When you've got a lot of both in the story, it can be hard to differentiate, so it becomes especially important to have clear sentence structure.
(c) I really would have liked some better descriptions of the fight scene, but that may just be me because I'm a middle ages combat nerd. I had a hard time visualizing what was actually happening during all of the talking and visions and such, so some more descriptive language to even out the dialogue and internals would have made it perfect.

All in all, loved the story. Your version of Phandalyn is actually one of the most interesting characters I've read about on this site. A few stylistic changes, and I think you'd be golden. :)
Vild Runescarred chapter 1 . 3/19/2011

Ah, such a great read again. Loved Eldoth's taunts, and the way you portrayed Shar-Teel - I could almost hear her saying all the lines you wrote. An interesting duel, as well: no unnecessary onomatopoeias, no pretentiousness, no sensationalism: not an easy thing to achieve with such a high action scene. The oniric visions were a treat for the mind, as well.

Vive valeque,

Vigdis Runescarred