|Reviews for Apples|
| Remember chapter 1 . 6/3
I should be working on action items for a meeting I just finished, but I want to read this instead, in part because I never reviewed it, which makes me feel awful because I’ve reviewed EVERYTHING you’ve written EXCEPT this. Shame on me. Though in my defense, I think it was because when you first posted it, I was still on hiatus, though I have read it before, I promise! Yes, I know that doesn’t help my case AT ALL, so allow me to just make amends and up your review count by one more as my compensation ;)
I have always admired your writing, my friend – and probably forever will – which is why when you made that competition comment the other day (albeit in slight jest), it got me thinking. And yes, I know, I need to let it go, and I have, but I feel like there was maybe a bit of truth in your words (at least in regards to how you may genuinely feel) and I’d really like to put those concerns of yours at ease any way that I can. :( I know, I’m probably overthinking it and yes, you’re right, this isn’t the place to have that discussion. My apologies. But I hope you know that posting alongside you back in the day was always a joy for me – to be writing at the same time. I miss that.
Oh well. Back to the review.
So let’s talk this one-shot. For starters, I don’t know how you do it, but I always adore the quotes you have at the beginning of your chapters/stories. They are just so freaking spot on, it's almost unfair. ;) This one by the great Tennyson is no exception (my inner English-major is geeking out at present). It sets the tone/atmosphere very well, hinting at what is to come. I also really love how it ties in to some of my favorite lines in the way you portray Dracula.
The one-shot itself is stunningly written (of course!) – even if you and Valeska tidied it up quickly – but your attention to detail not only shows, but it pays off tremendously. I don’t say it lightly when I tell you that your ideas are brilliant and you have the talent to back those ideas up – because it’s absolutely true. The set-up, the tension, the way you mold and guide the characters – it’s all very masterfully done and I seriously envy your sense of perfectionism. I really do.
I try to agonize over every word and line in the way that you do – but you know me. Sometimes I just get so damn impatient ;) But your patience and your meticulous attention to detail reaps rewards I can only dream of time and time again and I can do nothing but admire you for it. The lines invisible reader pointed out in her review are definitely some of my favorites as well. Your skill is natural and the time and effort you put into researching and then constructing and weaving these beautiful scenes and phrases – I hope to achieve that level at some point in my existence, but I’m not sure I have it in me.
But I will say this – I am VERY grateful to have your lovely writing as an example (and as a reminder) of what my writing could be if I put in the time and effort. I can already see you rolling your eyes, but I am completely serious when I say that I hope to one day have my writing as graceful and polished as yours.
Long-story short, I love this one-shot. I love how effortlessly it flows, I love the imagery you manage to create with your expertly chosen words, and I love the tension and the twist at the end even more. And, of course (how could I forget), I love your portrayal of Dracula in this – even if he’s a total womanizing, chauvinistic sadist. The self-respecting feminist in me is like “oh hell no, sir!” but the fangirl in me is swooning… and it’s embarrassing.
Stupid hormones. ;)
But to the point: your writing holds it’s own, my friend. It is its own entity, on a level or caliber by itself, way above the rest of us peasants (I consider myself one of the peasants in this case). There are things you can do with the arranging of the 26 letters of the alphabet that I can only dream about. I love this one-shot, I love the larger scheme/picture that it is apart of, and I can't wait to watch it all unfold at some point in the future.
You are immensely talented, my dear. Don’t ever doubt that.
| the invisible reader chapter 1 . 6/2
I just read this one-shot of yours on a whim and I felt compelled to write something to you in reply.
Let’s start with your opening. If Tennyson didn’t set the tone enough for this short story, your opening paragraphs certainly did. From the beginning, you manage to paint a beautiful picture, evoking sensations of warmth and images of vibrant colors, but by the third paragraph, with the mention of this “mystery woman’s” past, we begin to see the dark shadows on the peripheral of the otherwise idyllic and provincial scene.
Maria’s interactions with Alberto were sweet, and I appreciated the remark about the age difference – the way you handled their interactions gave Maria a kind of maturity, even with her natural youthfulness and playful smile.
And then we have the strange customer that appears. I loved your line – “Something in the response struck a wrong chord within her and she turned around to take a look at the man who bought the apple when Alberto’s excited voice was already raised in exclamation.” I could feel my stomach dropping alongside Maria’s when she realized who the stranger was and what that meant for her.
I also adored your description of the Count’s eyes – “blue, cruel orbs that fastened on her form and held her rooted to where she had pivoted.” Your way with words is inspiring. You create a world of depth and feeling in just a few lines and I think it’s safe to assume that the structuring of some of your sentences was done so with great care. There are naturally some scattered throughout that lack the magic some of these lines do, but I think that makes them all the more special – even if they tend to stick out a bit more.
When Maria runs is where I think a better comb-through of the one-shot could have been beneficial, as you change tenses right in the middle of the scene and it’s a bit jarring. That mishap aside, what you have here in the way of content is fantastic and as soon as my brain is able to adjust to the tense change, diving into the tension becomes easy.
The way you handle Dracula as the cool and calm predator was simultaneously fascinating and terrifying. “She spots him again, calmly eating his apple, observing her like he would one of the silks on the market stand next to him.” I LOVED that line and the image it created in my head (although at this point I’m ignoring the fact that Dracula is donning bright-colored Italian noble garb and am instead imagining him in his usual black, which makes it feel all the more ominous).
The marking of the flashback sequence was a little disruptive for me as well. I think italicizing the scene and/or using lines to break it up would have sufficed - maybe even reconsidering the structure overall? But again, the content itself was well-written. The central portion of the flashback was the most enjoyable for me. I love how you handled Dracula’s study of Marishka – comparing his behavior to that of a man purchasing an expensive horse, a vulgar and very appropriate association which creates this amazing anxiety and apprehension as the chase continues and the flashback ends and we’re back in Maria’s “present” and at the beginning of her future.
The ending of the scene was on point – the tension still present, but now intensified with a poignant sense of dread and a bewildering lust as Dracula captures his prey and claims what is his.
And then we get that final line with the twist/surprise at the end.
All in all, I enjoyed this one-shot immensely. Your overall skill is undeniable. There were naturally some places that could use some work, a few areas where things could be trimmed, tightened-up, etc., but on the whole, what you have here is something to be truly proud of.
I hope to see more work like this from you in the future. I feel that even though this is unpolished, this work is your strongest.
| She-Devil Red chapter 1 . 11/24/2014
I really enjoy your writing style. You strike me as an immensely detail oriented person and it's really lovely. Also liked that twist at the end! I hope you write more of these!
| Anon E. Mouse chapter 1 . 11/18/2014
Hello there, I just found this little story of yours and wanted to leave you a review to let you know how much I enjoyed it. Your concept is clever with a nice surprise at the end. I'm glad to see this character (would I spoil it if I said "who" here? I won't) get some more attention!
(I hope you don't mind if I offer a few very mild critiques along with my compliments.)
I really liked the moment when the Count's identity is revealed, and that it is his mannerisms and his accent that give him away. There is something slightly more horrifying about recognizing someone from a distance - about hearing them rather than seeing them - and knowing that they are there and that you can do nothing to escape them. You are warned before the face-to-face encounter occurs, but not enough in advance to prevent it. Fantastic.
The move from past tense to present tense was also a nice touch. I remember reading once about how writing Dracula in an epistolary format and, more or less, in the present tense allowed Stoker to create more suspense because the reader has no idea if the narrator(s) survived. Past tense tells us that they are still around to tell their story, but present leaves it unknown. The transition was just a little, little bit awkward - I had to read the passage again to confirm that yes, we were moving into the present deliberately. One thing that might have smoothed it could be to add an "Now she can hear Alberto's shouts as she..." to more forcefully give the cue that we are "now" in the present? I was confused, though, when after the flashback you seemed to go back to the past tense. Was that deliberate? Or was it just something you missed on your proof-read? (If the latter, that happens to me all the time. I definitely understand!)
Likewise, I don't think you need to indicate "Flashback" in the text? You could just italicize it so that it's clear that this is a "different" narrative from the main body of the story. Italics are often used to indicate thought, so that could work. Or you could just end the last sentence before it with a clearer cue: "...only to see a different scene in her memory," or "...only to see a different scene. She remembers it as if it were yesterday," or something like that. Then, when the flashback ends, if you are planning to stick with the present tense, the transition in tense will mark out the end of the flashback for you. (I.e. "Eighteen months. For eighteen months she has been spared...")
But these are minor suggestions. The plot was compelling and I thought your characterization of the Count was terrific - he is wry, imperious, seductive, and just frightening enough. Poor "Maria..."
| Guest chapter 1 . 6/16/2014
Very good story, you are very talented!
| Zydrate Infused Lies chapter 1 . 3/16/2012
write more please!
| J chapter 1 . 1/9/2012
Ooooh, a twist at the end. Well done, m'dear. As always.
| MissVD chapter 1 . 1/5/2012
Great job! Keep writing!
| Virtuous Vampire chapter 1 . 1/5/2012
Your wallpost had me scurrying over here immediatly.P This is a wonderful one-shot...like finding a fresh, gleaming apple among a pile of rotten ones if you'll excuse the horribe pun. It cerainly enriched my evening.
I've never seen this concept fleshed out in any fanfic. The idea that anyone who left Vaseria would be found eventually and hunted down. Thank you for clearing that up for me as whenever I watch the film and witness the brides' vicious attack on the village I find myself thinking- 'Why doesn't anyone move for Chrissakes?' This one-shot was creepily accurate in that it showed that Dracula simply wouldn't tolerate it.
Sometimes nostalgia would creep up on her like a thief in the night, bringing with it a homesickness that pricked at her heart
I just love the phrasing of that.:)
"One is enough for I only have one mouth."
An innocent enough line from a potentail consumer yet it sent a shiver down my spine. A casual rebuke but it also draws attention to his fangs in a subtle manner. From the first line you've depicted Dracula perfectly as he is outwardly very gentlemanly but there is always a mild sinister undertone.
I love that his accent was what alerted her. Very realistic and it also allowed a few seconds of suspense to sink in before her eyes confirmed what she had heard.
I thoroughly enjoyed the transition from past tense to present tense as Maria begins to run for her life. Before the encounter with the Count she had been reminiscing slightly but his intervention jerked her rudely back to the present with no benefit of predictability or hindsight in her actions. The narration definitely definitely took a more urgent turn(which you no doubt intendedP). The suddenness of her change in demeanor is also very reminiscint of a nightmare- a routine of apple selling broken by the sudden entrance of a bogeyman...love love love.
Turning left into the area where cloth is sold she stops dead when she spots him again, calmly eating his apple, observing her like he would one of the silks on the market stand next to him.
That there is a wonderful image. He's partaking in a very ordinary action and viewing her like an object. His lack of an obvious "evil" disposition has the opposite effect to me. The fact that he isn't reveling in her terror only further emphasises his dettachment from her- simply a matter of predator and prey. The image of him simply eating his apple also brings to mind Geoffrey Rush's gratifying munch into his green apple at the end of the second Pirates of the Caribbean movie but maybe thats just
Seeking sanctuary in a church? This just gets better and better.
With a cheeky grin he had kissed her again and promised her he'd be back for her at the next full-moon.
Did I just blush because I saw the words 'cheeky grin'? God I'm more under his influence than I thought.P Very in-character thing for him to do. Bravo!
I enjoyed how he wasn't malicious when he finally won, he merely states the fact that he is the winner. He now feels entitles to claim his prize. Once again, sublime characterization.
"Well met again, Marishka. Well met indeed." AHHHHHHHHHHHH! I never suspected it was her! *Applauds*
Brilliant one-shot honey I hope you'll write another!
| ForeverACharmedOne chapter 1 . 1/4/2012
EEEee! Something new from you! :D
And DANG I enjoyed it. Well written, missy. ;) The little details, the flashback, giving us little things, just enough to wet our appetite and then WAMMO. I totally didn't see the ending coming with it being Marishka. I applaud you. And it was a very interesting idea for a backstory for my least hated bride. haha.
Augh. So much love for this. So much. I can't even tell you. So glad your muse has made a return for however long it sticks around. :) I cannot wait to read more from you.
| Aeon Hawk chapter 1 . 1/4/2012
Wow, this is brilliant! You've written this...beautifully!