Reviews for Incomplete Life
Igenlode Wordsmith chapter 10 . 3/7
I was specifically directed to study chapter 10 of this story as an object lesson in 'how to write action sequences', so I'm not only fandom-blind, but dropping in on the middle of the plot! I get a pretty good idea of who and what Wrath is, though...

It's definitely a brilliant action sequence, written with what comes across as inside technical knowledge (either that, or a lot of reading in the genre!) It's the sort of writing that both makes you feel that you're actually watching the events unfold and that you're learning about how this sort of operation works if you should ever need to do it yourself: I've always loved this sort of thing in historical novels - Hornblower, Sharpe - but have never seen it before in this sort of context. I find myself trusting your knowledge of jargon and assault protocols implicitly.

I found the sudden switch between Wrath's thoughts and visuals of 'the sniper' ("Just give me one clear shot...that's all it will take..." the sniper grinned) towards the start to be confusing: I assumed at this point and for some time thereafter that Wrath actually was the sniper, since the following paragraph was all about 'focus on the target', 'squeeze the trigger, don't snatch it' and so on. If I'd been more familiar with Wrath I might not have jumped to this conclusion, but it wasn't clear to me that the two were (presumably) not even in the same room at this point.

Is Wrath's fifteen-foot jump an example of superhuman powers, or just of superlative training?

As I was reading, I was absolutely positive (having experienced Wrath's perceptions) that the man on the roof was Envy, and couldn't understand why on earth the others were so convinced that it wasn't. So his remorse and shock were all the more powerful because I, too, had been willing him on to kill the target and not to let Envy fool him like the rest :-(

Am I imagining things, or has Envy escaped across the street to kill the sniper Skylark and take his place? I found this little snippet pretty chilling.
[Edit: on re-reading I see that's definite, with Skylark's final radio message ignored thanks to the tense confrontation on the roof...)

I feel that some kind of divider before "A few hours later" is needed: or was there one here in the source document which FFnet has eaten?

Mustang's 'pained' expression on turning towards the mirror takes on a whole new meaning once you know that the real Hawkeye is behind it! Of course, the first time through I took the dialogue at face value and assumed that Mustang was actually an undercover ally of Envy's, this being a nasty twist in the middle, but it soon became apparent that Envy had simply stolen the officer's face: again, I take it that this sort of thing is obvious to someone who isn't starting from scratch at chapter 10...

- She said she couldn't stomach it, so she defected and was tryin' to warn everyone,
This is a section of dialogue covering more than one paragraph, so all the paragraphs (not just the first one) need to start with a fresh quotation mark, although only the last one actually gets a closing quote.

You've quite consistently used commas to punctuate dialogue in a non-standard way (After a moment, he clicked his mic on, "Cardinal from Skylark / "We are under fire!" Wrath spat back through his radio mic, "They just started attacking / tossing it quickly through the doorway, "SMOKE OUT!") so I'm assuming you already know about that and that it's a matter of deliberate choice...

"his hands clasped demurely behind his back" - this had the effect of making Mustang's 'stroll' sound rather effeminate: I've only ever come across 'demure' being used of women.

Typos (?):

breifly returning the salute - briefly
general Hughes - General
toppling into a lead riddled heap - lead-riddled
Midorima Kazunari chapter 12 . 2/26
I think my favorite line in this whole chapter was "darting minnows in a shaded pond..." it was such a lovely way to describe the inner turmoil of his mind.
Midorima Kazunari chapter 10 . 2/26
This was an incredibly realistic chapter. Your specialized knowledge really comes through in your writing.
Midorima Kazunari chapter 8 . 2/26
Oh wow! What a fantastic chapter. Wrath and Envy's mental battle was perhaps the best struggle I've read in a fanfiction and the addition of Izumi coming to his aide was so important and emotional. The only thing I'd like to have seen, is perhaps an addition of what Winry was experiencing from the outside during this fight.
DjinniFires chapter 5 . 2/25
Welcome back to RLT! I haven't read this story in an age.

So... Winry and Wrath have moved to Rush Valley. The detailed description of the trip and of the city once they arrive is good because it includes their reaction and their reactions to each other. Their relationship remains very sweet with a lot of unresolved sexual tension- -at least on Wrath's part. I smiled that his reaction to Winry mentioning they have time for lunch before they have to get to their new place before their things are dropped off; a simple meal and he thinks, was she asking him on a date? (By the way, what *did* happen to the trucks that were bringing their stuff? Neither they nor whether the boxes are piled up in their new place is mentioned.) It's great that Winry's old friend jumps immediatel to the conclusion that Wrath is her guy. Sometimes it takes an outsider to see what two people are too close to see. Winry putting his initial on the businesses sounds linked with an ampersand truly shows her faith in him. I love it that he sees this but expresses his appreciation by joking about whether his "W" is the first one.

The backstory is developing with Wrath's dreams of the black dog. His nightmare has something to do with Izumi's death and the connection he makes to Winry's safety being at risk- -at risk from him. It's ominous that he apparently *really* saw the dog when they first set out walking in the city. The appearance in the dream is pretty scary too since the dog gives him a warning that may be just guilt and fear but may be prophetic. The green glow is a clue this time that Wrath's having a nightmare.

Winry bursting into his room with a wrench, ready to bash in the head of whatever was making Wrath scream, is so good-hearted of her; it made me smile. Wrath's quite physical reactions to her are so sweet and sad. She cares about him deeply, but her feelings still seem to be more maternal and protective.

The story also contains possibilities for future developments: the decline of the town, the neighborhood gang, and W&W building a new life in the midst of it.

Nits:
I strongly recommend two things for us weary-eyed readers: break up the paragraphs into shorter ones when you can and use FFN's long lines to break the chapter into more than one scene at hops in time and/or space. Paragraph 3: I'm just going to mention this first instance, because I remember you do this on purpose: No! No! No! A comma links dialogue to the attribution *only* if the attribution uses a word that denotes that's how the lines came out of the speaker's mouth,i.e,. "he said" or one of the thousand variations. Not in a sentence like this: [He smiled back, his sharp white teeth flashing a little in the afternoon sunbeams{{.}}, "I bet.] Okay, done scolding. Won't mention it again this chapter.
Paragraph 20: "signpost" is one word.
Paragraph 33: should be [Wrath's {{hatred-filled}} gaze.] A "hateful gaze" would be what he considers the gaze of someone he doesn't like.
Paragraph 40: [...into a {{taut}}, low bun.]
Last paragraph: extraneous capital H at the end.
Midorima Kazunari chapter 6 . 2/24
What a fantastic fight scene! It was so easy to get into - you had my pulse racing. I'm glad that there is more of this to read or that cliffhanger would have made me cry.

The developing relationship between Winry and Wrath is so beautiful and awkward, just like real life. You are so talented and I'm glad I found your fic.
Fanfiction Bard chapter 13 . 2/24
Woah, a bit eerie. I wonder when Envy's going to show his face.
Fanfiction Bard chapter 12 . 2/24
Oh, these two are just too damn cute! I love how they almost kissed, and hopefully the real thing isn't far behind! Update soon!
Midorima Kazunari chapter 1 . 2/19
I'm a huge FMA fan and I really like your characterzation. I feel like you really know these character. Wrath is such an interesting and he's dialogue and motivation seemed so authentic. I think that Winry is such an underused character, both in the original canon and in fanfiction and I'm glad that you've given her such a good treatment.
Fanfiction Bard chapter 11 . 2/17
God, this is so great. I find Wrath to be such a complex character, and you've made the relationship between him and Winry so wonderful! Please update soon!
InfiniteAndMortal chapter 11 . 5/16/2013
So I've been deliberately searching for anything including Wrath because I find him quite adorable, and placing him in Winry's care and the fact that he harbors feelings for her was nicely thought out. However Mustang's recurring presence and Edward's lack of it did tick me off slightly on Winry's behalf. And Envy- I like him the most of all the characters! *sighs in despair* but it is no use, he will remain an antagonist, no atonement for someone who thrives on causing chaos.
persevera chapter 4 . 4/15/2013
I know the dream horrified Wrath but it actually seemed more sad than menacing. It seems to be more of his not thinking he's good enough for Winry. The ultimate manifestation of that would be his killing her as one of the worst of his kind. Poor tortured guy, identifying more with someone he despises than with the people he cares about and who care about him.
[stirring the placid leaves of autumn into frenzied dance]-I just love this phrase. The leaves in a frenzied dance is great by itself, but their being placid before not only suggests their lying on the ground, but also the slower pace of that time of year—nice evocation.
[ flower strewn headstone]-I believe flower-strewn should be hyphenated.
I saw a few sentences where you had long phrases with semicolons. Both sides of the colon were independent clauses and it just might be a personal choice on my part, but I've always thought that semicolons were better with simple phrases. When they get too convoluted with commas and additional dependent clauses, it might be better to have separate sentences. I think it would keep some of your lovely prose from getting lost.
I like Wrath's insight when he tries to figure out how humans would quantify a good, long life that it's okay to come to an end. I especially like his wondering how he and other homunculi come into play.
So they're going on the road now? Cool. I hope Wrath doesn't decide that he's too dangerous to be around Winry. She doesn't need anyone else deserting her.
Gilva Lepista chapter 1 . 4/15/2013
This sounds like a very interesting concept. I always wondered what really happened to Wrath after the series ended. Having it actually be Ed's automail is a fun idea, and it's cute that he abuses it just like Ed always did. :) I'm curious to see where you go with it.

It appears from the description that this is going to be a romance between Wrath and Winry, which isn't something I would have ever considered. To be frank, I don't really feel that Wrath's characterization works as a young child. You are too eager to jump into the romance part, and Wrath's childlike curiosity and fearfulness are completely lost in the name of love; in other words, his canon characterization is strangled by the red string.

The most obvious example of this is when he starts describing Winry's appearance. This is typical for a romance novel, but does not at all resemble the way a young child thinks, particularly one who struggles with even the concept of his own mother's love. When a child has their first crush on someone, they fixate on them, but can almost never come up with a logical reason why they like this person so much. They scrutinize every word that person says and try to figure out how to make them reciprocate, obsessing over anything they say that can possibly be interpreted as "I like you too."

I'm assuming Wrath is a little older by now (16, maybe?), but you should probably say how long it's been since the series finale, because when I first started reading I was imagining him still being like 10, and that's kind of squicky. Even so, I cannot imagine anyone under the age of 24 using the terms "curvaceous legs" or "supple skin" seriously. This sounds very much like the perspective of a man who is older than Winry, not younger. Young boys, especially ones as socially inept as Wrath, have a much more wide-eyed perspective on pretty young women.

That being said, Wrath's survivor guilt and confusion toward Ed's decision to save him are very believable, albeit still a bit adult. Winry's desire to protect everyone, even enemies, reminds me of her parents' sacrifices in the Ishbal war (although I can't remember whether this appeared in the 2003 anime). His desire to reunite the brothers is very sweet, and reminiscent of his pre-Envy self. Even that crazy little bugger knows how much those two care about each other. :)

Favorite quote: "Ed would say the exact same thing!"
thats-a-moray chapter 11 . 4/8/2013
Wow! I loved how quickly this chapter got going. You didn't pull any punches. I liked the reverse set up for the code word. It also really showed how quickly Envy could attack and made him an even more intimidating villain.

Great action in this chapter, too. I felt you did a much better job getting across what was happening, which probably had to do with having fewer characters on screen at once. I'm really glad you're not afraid to let your characters suffer and fail in scenes like this, like when Paninya got cut and how Wrath almost broke down after losing Envy.

I had a bad feeling about that lady in the wheel chair. I've been wondering if other homuncuili might have survived. She has quite the convenient excuse for not showing her face. Also, it's suspicious that someone in her condition would be out by the cliff without a nurse or some other caretaker near by, not to mention how nonchalant she was about Envy's face getting blown off right in front of her.

Awww, the ending was so sweet. Excellent work as always!
thats-a-moray chapter 10 . 4/7/2013
Good chapter! The only thing that stood out as odd to me was when you kept saying that Wrath had the rifle 'in his shoulder.' Is this the correct terminology?

I liked the cinematic way you introduced this chapter. I've said before that I can see this story playing out like an episode of the show and that's especially true here, particularly the way you revealed that shadowy figure watching over Wrath from the window.

The fact that you skipped the story ahead a couple of months took me by surprise at first. No big deal, although I do feel as though I must have missed a lot in that time. I'm wondering how Wrath and Winry's relationship has progressed during this period and hoping to learn more about that in the next chapter.

The code names were a little bit confusing, but not terribly so. With a little careful reading I was able to determine who everyone was. As a matter of fact, the details used in this chapter were extremely impressive; I can tell you've done your research. I especially liked the part where you described Skylark taking aim with his sniper rifle and all the detail you went into about adjusting for the wind and such. It made the scene feel more real.

My favorite part was the scene where Wrath was about to shoot Fairlane. Although this is already a pretty long chapter, I think you should spend a little more time amping up that scene, as it didn't feel quite as intense as the other scenes where Wrath nearly snaps.

Great chapter!
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