Reviews for Broken
Celestra chapter 38 . 8/14
Your analogy about this being the drop point of a roller coaster is entirely accurate, that's exactly the sense I was getting from reading this chapter! And an action-spurring chapter it is. I particularly liked the scenes with Smoketail; such an enigmatic beast. I also liked the dragons kick-starting the conclave and watching Hiccup translate for Toothless; because we typically see their connection as fluid, it's important to see how other visitors would objectively be seeing their interactions as more halting, and the translations and minor corrections as they go are spot on. Looking forward to the next update, as always! :)
anhedral chapter 34 . 8/7
I have to say, your chapters seem to go from strength to strength. The way you juggle all the parallel threads is so impressive; keeping all the time-lines matched while dealing with nearly simultaneous events is no mean feat.

How wonderful for the courageous and patient Freygerd to finally bond with a dragon in her elder years. I really like all her thoughts on this bright morning as she greets her new friend and moves through the village; her Gronckle seems very sweet-natured, and a good match for her. And then you develop the theme with some nicely-described observations of the other new riders learning about their draconic companions with help from the younger generation. I can imagine Astrid being very matter-of-fact about it all, and Snotlout's smugness...

A purple Nadder? That, I would love to see. 'Gorgeous' is the word you use...that Mord is a lucky guy indeed.

Your personification of the ironwood bow – the notion of Ivarr having a 'heart' – was another touching moment. I was struck by how nearly Freygerd took the bow's secrets to the grave with her; would Mord ever have figured out how to use Ivarr, without that knowledge? And in naming the bow you have, if I'm not mistaken, been spending time in the company of the Viking Answer Lady. What a marvelous resource she is!

Not for the first time I'm struck by Kettlecrack's lack of perception about dragons. His misunderstanding of them seems almost willful – until the reader sees that it's driven by his selfishness and perception of supposed destiny. You convey this powerfully, without ever stating it outright. K's negative qualities rather swamp other traits that might otherwise be admirable, like his persistence and determination. That Crush Claw continues to take care of his cold and distant human partner speaks volumes for this dragon's character. Quite the homebuilder, our Crush Claw – bringing food and firewood, indeed!

Poor Crush Claw. We really feel for the trembling dragon here; he deserves so much better than what he's experienced in the story so far. In the peril that draws ever closer I can't help but fear for the Nightmare, even as I earnestly want him to emerge alive and kicking and finding a human who truly appreciates him. Great descriptions of the wounded dragon trying to enter the cave, then lying awkwardly. The self-applied cauterization was a really imaginative touch.

The boatful of conspirators, Einarr sneaking arrows on board – as Harrison Ford might say: "I've got a *really* bad feeling about this." That said, what a sensitive, sympathetic character you've created in Hogknee here: his tender words to his wife on parting, imagining how Stoick might behave if it were Hiccup's life on the line, even the character dissection of his fellow shipmates. I'm afraid for Hogknee, too, in this moment. Will Svala lose that other third?

I greatly enjoyed your depiction of Stoick getting used to "everyday life with a dragon". Your deliberate choice of a somewhat flippant phrase made me smile: there's nothing remotely 'everyday' about what Stoick's going through right now. But what lovely touches you bring to the developing union between the chief and Swimmer! The notion of constantly-growing teeth, finding and removing the loose ones to strengthen the bond – this is a brilliant touch! Cleaning the scales with sand, even wondering what the dragons might be saying about him; it seems that Stoick can't help himself as he makes the rapid transition from 'it' to 'she' to 'friend'. One might almost think he was predisposed, hard-wired as it were, to partner with a dragon in this way. There are some tantalising ideas around that thought.

And then we transition rather nicely into the scene with Tuffnut. There is very nice scene-painting here – the image of the joyous bathing Nadder, the sun behind Tuffnut masking his identity. Tuff's interaction with the Nadder, their wordless communication, the dragon stilling on eye contact, Stoick's pangs of jealousy – those moments were simply delicious. But what we remember most from this scene is Tuff's unexpected sensitivity, as if dragons have an ability to bring out different personality traits – the *best* traits? – in every human they come close to. Interesting how Tuff has essentially the same feelings of unease as Hiccup here.

And what a section to end with. Hiccup's dream is unnerving, truly disturbing, and so very vivid. The reader is left dazed and somewhat confused, just like Hiccup in the dream; however, it seems the young man can't dispel his sense of missed opportunity, of anger blinding the chance of communication. The imagery you conjure is just stunning; I loved the notion of Hiccup seeing himself as a flighted creature – a dragon, presumably – in his own right. But of all the lovely phrases I could pull out of this section, there's one that really stayed with me:

"He slid down the cool wet flanks of mud-colored clouds..."

It's the rhythm of the line as much as the perfect word choice that got me here. You really nailed it with that one.

Kind sir, this was an exceptional chapter, even by your high standards.
anhedral chapter 33 . 8/4
I am very much behind with reviews, but this has as least brought the benefit of re-reading your chapters and appreciating them afresh.

I'm consistently struck by the complexity of your world-building, and this is shown best of all in all of your diverse dragon and human players. Right at the start we get an insight into Smoketail's character through his inner monologue. He sees himself as superior, but still involved in a trade of sorts with lesser kin: they feed him, he protects them. In his mind this is no more than the accepted and proper way of things; he honestly believes that he acts for the greater good. Though my work I've studied different sorts of animal parasites over the years, but here we see into the mind of a *sentient* parasite, and it's a revelation. Smoketail is an excellent creation.

I like, for example, how Smoketail detects the scent of metal on both Hiccup and Toothless. We have to admit a grudging admiration for the Gatherer's perception that the human and the fury might be turning into "something else, some new and unknown threat" – just as we're appalled in the next section as Smoketail becomes intoxicated by Crush Claws' fear, and feels nothing but satisfaction at achieving his will. All of the dialogue between the two of them was wonderful.

And then you remind us that your human characters are just as well developed. The different motivations of the "sewing circle" made up of Kelda, Knutr and Stonetoss was really well set out, and you invoke great sympathy in your portray of Hogknee. With Einarr, mixed emotions dominate the reader. We understand that he's suffered loss; he's after revenge, but is not simply anti-dragon, for he cares about the welfare of his friend too. Still, his duplicity – even towards his fellow conspirators – is what stands out at the end. I really liked the dynamics you achieve between these five adults, and how you let the dominance structure play out.

Ah, selective memory, such a very human trait. They recall that they were courageous back on Red Death island, not that they were mostly running away...

Hiccup's uncomfortable awakening gave a nice touch of humour and snarkiness, very much in-character and providing a necessary lightening of the tone. And you carry that feeling through into his conversation with Gobber. The story needs moments like this to balance some of the other content. As ever, your forge details are well worked through; I especially liked Hiccup's perception of different sounds of metals being worked in the forge, how he knows it's not a bladed weapon being worked, and then Gobber and Hiccup working out the details of the spear. Hiccup's behaviour at the close feels very like him, his mind working too fast to form proper sentences.

I do so like your shifts to dragon vocabulary – the "season of green", the sensation in one's "liver", the notion of ideas not having any "lift". Interesting that Yellowbreath has the same realisation that Einarr had not so long before – that Gatherers may simply keep on coming. It shows that dragons can be just as logical and analytic as humans. But Toothless has the deeper insight, perceiving that the past need not dictate the future in all things.

Such depth and polish on display here. What a joy to read!
TheShadoWWorrior chapter 38 . 7/30
You're making it hard to write a good review using constructive criticism, when I can't find anything I don't like about your story. I'm most impressed by how well you describe the setting. Don't change it please.
toothlessgolfer chapter 38 . 7/26
Thanks for sticking with the story, especially considering that this is four years in the making. It is definitely good news for everyone that you have the remainder planned out and it is just a matter of getting around to writing it. I will be eagerly awaiting the bottom of this roller coaster.
Guest chapter 38 . 7/22
Nice, thanks for the update and for sticking with this story. I have followed it since you started, and it just keeps getting better. I can't wait to see how this works out for both dragons and Vikings. Keep up the good work, and, thanks again.
HawkTooth chapter 38 . 7/20
I can see a handful of directions this could take, none of them particularly good for the participants. Unfortunately, the waiting for the next installment will be painful...
Guest chapter 37 . 6/4
Thank you for another chapter to this great story. Thank you for staying with it, you are going a fantastic job. Take all the time you need to figure it out, the wait will be worth it. Take care and thanks again.
Celestra chapter 37 . 6/2
Sorry to hear about your health issues; hope they resolve soon and that you feel better! Of this chapter, my favourite passages were Stoick's first experience with flight; wonderful evocative descriptions that put this reader right into the scene. In any case, it looks as though you're poised to finish the last leg of this sooner rather than later - the final pieces are in place, though I know very well that it's difficult to END things and to do it satisfactorily. I have no doubt that you will be able to do so admirably, however :)
guestdragonnut chapter 37 . 5/31
The bow is a mighty and temperamental weapon. I made my own wooden compund bow, and while it did not kill me, it did make me stronger. As occurs with Astrid.
I ask no speed, only a story that stops when all is well in that world.
Pterodactyl chapter 37 . 5/31
The main difference in dealing with a compound bow to a traditional bow is the fact that a compound bow gets easier to pull after the point where you draw to it's fullest. A traditional bow always gets harder to pull the farther out you pull it until it snaps.

Different lengths of bows have different postures that you need to hold for firing. A standard bow, a stick with a handle, you will be adopting the 'Robin Hood' posture, same with English Recurves, which have some contouring at the ends to allow for a longer draw length.

The riding bows are almost always held horizontally to the torso, and the designs for these eventually turned into crossbows, these either are VERY long or rather short. The two styles are pulled back over the shoulder (japanese) or diagonally to your chest as it is assumed that you are aiming down at a footman from horseback.

A quick search for me got that norse were using primarily straight long bows for both hunting and warfare. Which means that Astrid would likely be taught a standing or crouched stance with an upright bow.

When riding I can imagine that for rotation's sake she will want to adopt a diagonal hold on the ironwood bow so that she can get it over her saddle in a cinch for aiming. The arrow needs to be on the top side of the bow, so if she's pulling with her right arm and she has the top arm off to the right as well the arrow will be notching above her pointer finger on her left hand.

Just so you know, compound bows, (with the gears and pulleys) are the only bows that have a 'notch point' where they get easier to pull after you hit it. This allows the people who shoot with them to aim more before they get tired of holding the arrow back. (why all of the world record best shots are done on compound bows)

However humans naturally have a point where their shoulders straighten to allow them to hold a bowstring taught for aiming. The muscle between your shoulder blades is actually the most important muscle for shooting, not your stomach core, which would be used for riding and most other activities.

As for what Astrid went through with the Ironwood bow, that sounds about right. It could have been worse, I got a scrape that was bleeding for almost an hour running the whole length of my arm from a sinew twine on a bow on a 30lbs draw. Hunting draw is at minimum 75, and the worlds hardest draw is right around 190lbs. Average for hunting used is 90. Modernly. These bows are almost ALL longbows. So you're in good company here.

Good luck, and even through your accidental inaccuracies I still enjoyed reading this, and I am looking forward to reading the conclusion.

RFYS!

Pterodactyl
Guest chapter 4 . 5/31
This is a great story! Just one thing in this chapter: never rub ANYTHING, especially your fingers, over charcoal, and some certain pencils. The lines will smudge. I'm assuming the drawing was done in charcoal, since there were no pencils back then. Rubbing charcoalruined.
Celestra chapter 36 . 5/4
I totally know what you mean, when you are more or less in sync with someone and then realize "well maybe not after all!" - those little epiphanies can be important, whether they re-invigorate relationships or give one an awkward pause. Of course, we are just as interested as Hiccup is in understanding why Toothless (and Yellowbreath) don't regard Red Deaths as dragons in the same way as Kin, since we know they definitely have the same kind of sophisticated thought processes.. Good luck with the new job and hope to see more soon! :)
Guest chapter 36 . 4/13
Move at your own pace, this is a great story. You put a lot of work into it, and it shows. Keep going, and thank you for a great story and for the new chapter. I am really looking forward to the rest of the story.
TheShadoWWorrior chapter 36 . 4/12
Don't get too stressed out. You are doing a great job with this story. I get Hiccup is under a lot of stress in this, but I feel like he'd be lighter hearted under it I guess, or have more of some kind of determination. I feel this way because in the movies no matter how bad the situation got, at some point he always fell back on a solid core of determination to carry him through. Kind of like his lowest point brings him up to his highest. Eg, in the first movie seeing the fleet sail away with toothless, to coming up with and carrying out the rescue plan, and in the second movie (Spoiler) Stoic's funeral, to his speech and getting toothless back. Just a thought.
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