|Reviews for Broken|
| Guest chapter 45 . 8/21
| Guest M chapter 45 . 8/18
I'm one of those who've been hesitant to post an opinion of your work. I'm not a writer myself nor a qualified "critic" but, as they say about art, I know what I like. I had read some of your earlier stories and liked them a lot so I was curious about how you would develop a longer plot especially since I had seen the "Dragon" film and wondered where you would take it.
Since I was 10 years old, I've never been without a book - all kinds. Other stories involving intelligent animal species tend to see them as humans with fur, tails and attitudes or as pets. Your dragons are DRAGONS that happen to be intelligent, reasoning, honorable, loyal, independent, flexible and trusting (but not to a fault). All of your characters can express emotions without descending into squishy melodrama. They have dignity. Actions are neither overstated nor understated but reasonable. Timing is logical. You make it sound as though you were there watching it all happen and relaying it to us. I don't mean to sound clinical but I didn't want to just say "you did good". It was a story to be experienced, to make us forget what time it is. It was well worth the wait.
I'm looking forward to reading your view of Zootopia. The fox is a gem.
P.S. - You did good!
| anhedral chapter 45 . 8/15
Yes, you finished it! What an amazing achievement! You must be so happy right now. Or maybe the sensation is one of catharsis? Perhaps with a bit of exhaustion in the mix as well?
I have to smile when I reflect on your early estimates for the length of this story. Kudos to you for taking the time to explore the full and proper ramifications for all of your characters, instead of trying to wrap things up prematurely. I sometimes think that only the story itself knows how long it'll turn out to be – the writer only becomes party to this information when he or she finally writes the last pages. But once it's done, the writer knows it.
Yes, five years is a good long chunk of time. But thinking about it another way, I recall that the threshold for novel-length works is often considered to be 80k words. So you've actually written the equivalent of five full novels in five years. This is surely a very commendable rate of work for any writer.
It would have been rather too easy, I think, to let this epic conclude with a bit of gentle introspection, a reaffirmation of dragon-human bonds, or maybe some vignettes of village life with dragons fully integrated. Granted, those elements needed to be included, and you did cover them very well. But by keeping your main focus on the blood-oath you somehow managed to up the ante right up until the end. All of those events in the gathering-circle were just so well thought through; and here, at last, we sense a final episode of character development for Hiccup as he begins to exhibit some real 'chiefly' behaviours. I was struck, too, but the dragons' admission of their weakness, their plea not to be abandoned should another Red Death show up in the future. For such powerful creatures to articulate this so desperately was an unexpected twist; and with that shock, we are forced to add humility to the growing list of draconic virtues.
"...Hiccup pulled his dagger from his belt and held it aloft as if it were a mighty sword." – and then proceeds to cut himself. Is this first time in your story that Hiccup actually uses a 'traditional' Viking weapon, rather than his mind? The scene is very reminiscent of the young man's first meeting with Toothless in the cove – is it, we wonder, the same knife he brandished over the tied Fury on that day? Just as in chapter 44, the inclusion of a knife at this point seems powerfully symbolic. It was very deft of you to include this section, I thought.
I *really* liked the passage in which Hiccup learns Two Hearts' true name. I was secretly longing that he would, eventually. You handled that scene with a well-judged mix of gravitas and tenderness; the Fury's words and Hiccup's reactions to them are perfectly in keeping with their characters.
Astrid, meanwhile, has a bittersweet finale to her arc that feels just right for her. I'm glad that she and Hiccup finally get to admit their feelings to each other, even coming, as it does, on the eve of his departure. Astrid now has a year to reflect on lost time and lost opportunities and hopefully rise up stronger still in consequence. As a massive consolation, she still has her beloved Nadder companion, a dragon who seems perfectly content to sing his devotion whenever the young woman's mood needs lifting. Perhaps she will come to understand the words he uses in his song. I for one hope that she does; and when I say that the notion of a Nadder singing to Astrid touches me very personally, I know you will understand why.
And so 'Broken' joins that very select cohort of top-notch HTTYD fics – 'Hitchups' and 'Nightfall' come to mind – in which Hiccup leaves Berk with a promise to return. There is something almost Arthurian in this sense of the hero's perpetual departure; and yet it is both sad and fitting for this particular duo that seem fated to be forever roaming. If Voice and Two Hearts ever adopted a mantra for themselves, they could do worse than to chose that poignant Chinese proverb: 'The journey is the reward'. The same might equally apply to your grand, grand story itself, a magnificent endeavour that has been one of the most fulfilling experiences in reading that I can ever recall. Thank you so much for writing it.
| Michael Dana chapter 45 . 8/14
I have been following this story from the first day you posted the very first chapter. I have been almost obsessively following it since then. Your updates have been infrequent at best, and sporadic at worst. However, I do understand that an undertaking of this magnitude with such excruciating attention to detail takes patience, time, imagination and dedication. Every chapter is vitally exciting, and masterfully written. The characters' reactions to their constantly changing environment and situations are real and believable. I fell in love with this story again and again every time I either re-read a chapter, or simply engaged myself in a new one. I have never reviewed before, but doing so this time was an honor. I am devastated and awe inspired to see it completed. Good luck to you and Thank you.
| anhedral chapter 44 . 8/11
I recall you saying that you'd use this chapter to 'cool down', but that certainly doesn't mean there's any less going on! The detail is full without being overwhelming, and you shift effortlessly between multiple POVs without the text ever feeling choppy.
You have an absolute knack for building emotional intensity through a succession of relatively short scenes, such that the overall effect is far more than the sum of the parts. I think the reason this works so well is that we're constantly reminded of the enormous personal journeys undertaken by your dragon and human characters in all of those previous chapters. Nothing here occurs in isolation; events that seem small or even trivial when considered on their own, acquire their full and proper significance when understood in the context of previous struggles. An example of this comes in an early paragraph, when the blinded Hiccup seems to understand more of his dragon's vocalisations than he did before. Coming after all of their prior efforts at communication, this development feels quite momentous and very, very fitting; and yet you mention it quietly, in passing as it were, letting the reader reflect for himself on the maturation of this unique relationship. And then we have the almost casual way in which Gobber uses a knife to free the Fury's control line. After the events of chapter 27, the symbolism of it being *Stoick's* knife is incredibly powerful. Of course Toothless trusts both men absolutely at this point, so you don't waste words by telling us that outright. But that little passage still reminds us of the time, and not so long ago, when sharp steel was used around dragons for a quite different purpose. This is such strong writing!
I really liked all of the civilised behaviours you give your dragons in this chapter. First tending to the wounded, moving on to those sad but dignified funeral rites. How appropriate it seems for the dead to be taken to the highest possible spot – for at first and last and above all else dragons are creatures of the sky. I had a sudden stab of envy for the humans lucky enough to hear that Song of Departing, to see that 'mouthful of stars' on the mountain. And you carry the same mood of tender care through to later paragraphs, too: Toothless' loving song to Hiccup, and those beautiful, poignant words between Sharptooth and Nightsun as they reaffirm their devotion to one another. Their phrases had a real music of their own, reminiscent of a potent mantra or even a prayer.
Happy endings are never guaranteed, of course, and a few chapters back I was horribly worried that Crush Claw wouldn't live to see the end of the story. In short, I'd grown very fond of this little Nightmare! And so I was more than happy to see his own arc move towards a happier conclusion, especially in light of his rotten luck and torment during his time with Braintwist/Iceblood. Crush Claw's conversation with Toothless covers some pretty meaty themes...the Nightmare's abject contrition, the Fury's forgiveness, the 'power' that Hiccup wields over dragons when he touches them. But you go further. Crush Claw tries to unravel the blame for the deaths of Bitequick and Jaspin in his mind, not reaching any firm conclusion. Eventually he opts for the ambiguous passive voice – "The small one... it was killed." And then that half-truth, that white lie, is shared with Toothless and communicated back to the humans for their own good. Wow! What a powerful way to reinforce the intelligence of dragons in your story! We know of some animals that are capable of 'dishonest signalling', but to knowingly construct a half-lie as Crush Claws and Toothless do here...well, that's a trait normally reserved to humans alone. (This passage also reminded me of an earlier chapter in which Stoick asks Toothless if dragons can lie, and Toothless is obliged to reply in the affirmative.)
More magic moments...Snotlout's character growth; the imagery of 'A massive eagle being mobbed by kestrels'; Flicktail's reaction when Astrid suggests he might be about to bite off her leg; Stoick 'reading' dragon body language; Toothless becoming more versatile with his paws. Ruffnut as dragon-healer (I did *not* see that one coming); her comment that "It's a lot easier to slice something open than to patch it back together." And then, "It's not right to break a dragon's heart" – a call-out to Cressida Cowell's book, perhaps? Hiccup's introspection after Toothless admits his remorse – the emotional growth between the two of them, realising that mistakes were made all round. And at the last, the young man's reaction to the First Song. Music as a medium for cross-species communication? Now *that* is a powerful notion; I'm sure I would have been just as overwhelmed as Hiccup was here.
So yes, a superb chapter, rich and warming while not shying away from the challenges and difficulties that lie ahead. It had a very balanced, satisfying feel to it. And now – I can't quite believe it! – just one more instalment to go. What an amazing odyssey this has been.
| The Silent Insomniac chapter 45 . 8/10
Wonderful finish. This is arguably one of the most unforgettable fanfics of HTTYD here, and also one of the most unique. I am sad to see this stop, but also glad that it is all over.
I have nothing else to add. Bravo!
| TheShadoWWorrior chapter 45 . 8/9
Man, you're right. It's bewildering to think it's been 5 years since your first chapter graced the list of my search results. Within these chapters embody the depth of understanding you have of these characters I haven't experienced in any other fanfiction book I've read, although some have come close. Thank you. Well, that and/or the characters you've written here are far more compelling than the ones you based them off of. So, to you the highest praise I can give; you made me fell as if the small compensation I can give to you as a review pales in comparison to what you deserve for creating and sharing such a grand piece of art such as this. It was a shadow of a warrior.
| SilverBladeStar chapter 45 . 8/9
This is really a great story, and I am very sad to see it end. Thank you for writing such a tale.
| HawkTooth chapter 45 . 8/8
A good note that this was left on, though I am sad to see it end; good stories are always hard to imagine actually having a stopping point. It was a long one though (more than 400,000 words, very impressive; I think that's more than half my series combined!), so well worth the ride.
| IllyanaStones chapter 45 . 8/7
Thank you for this wonderful story, it has been an epic journey! I'm so glad you finished it. I think I'm gonna have to read the whole thing again from the beginning. Hiccup and Toothless leaving in the end is a nice touch, it's clear that they're not meant to stay in one place for long... Anyway, thanks again and I hope we will read more from you.
| Underlines chapter 45 . 8/7
As one of those reluctant little still wrapping their heads around reviews-are-the-like-button this is as good a time as any to say I liked this.
That's an understatement, it was fantastic.
I am a bit sad to see it end here. I have an odd and often unsatisfied craving for post-crisis world building that got me hooked onin this fic in the first place. Now you've set up an even bigger world, right after another crisis. This is the kind of thing I would have loved to see after the first movie.
That being said, rest well (from fic writing at least)! You've deserved it.
| johnnylee619 chapter 45 . 8/7
Wow...I think I was in the eight grade when this started, and now I just recently graduated high school. This has been one hell of a ride.
| Pardra chapter 45 . 8/7
Congrats on finishing! I think it's taken for granted how difficult it can be to finish a story. Sometimes you just lose the drive, or the story is no longer in line with your desires or headcanons.
Jaspin and Bitequick's deaths did make me sad, and his parents' refusal to ally with the dragons, given how much he loved them, made it even sadder. Years ago, I used to be one of those people who hated OCs, even side characters. But you really made them all interesting and likeable-as as believable characters, of course! Broken was an interesting take on the "dragons are people" idea. The language barrier is never quite broken, and it's still obvious how differently the Vikings and dragons think.
| Guest chapter 45 . 8/7
Wow. You have my never ending admiration for staying with and finishing your story. I followed your progress this whole time, and it has been time well spent. Thank you for a wonderful story. Good luck to you.
| Will Heins chapter 45 . 8/7
You know I always thought that every work of art has only one main role.
To change the world.
And you did.
You changed me.
Farewell and good winds!