|Reviews for The Book of Water|
| Double Feature chapter 4 . 4/25/2012
Sorry for not reviewing sooner, I've been without a computer for quite a while, and whilst I did get the internet back a little while ago, I've been swamped with college work, hence not updating my own story that much or not reading and reviewing at least 2/3rds of the stories I followed previously, including this one.
I really did enjoy the reoccuring dream, I believe it was written well and the varying descriptions of the ever-changing animals was both to the point, and in places a little extravagant too. What I didn't like was that it seemed far too forced, given the situation at hand - and that whilst it was a beautiful part of writing, I don't believe that the story needed it. It just seemed too obvious.
I wasn't too sure what I thought of the whole 'briefing' segment, it seemed a little too rehearsed and professional, especially considering the personal connection between the teacher and the students. Another thing that was tricky to work around was the Japanese names, I think most of us who are more than familiar with the original BR will remember at least 80 to 90& of the characters names without too much of a struggle, but these characters are all strangers to us, and it is getting increasingly difficult to tell them apart at this point in the story.
I am finding myself liking Ayoko though, she has a good, strong vibe of sensibility, maturity and productiveness coming from her, but not so much that it makes her overly duty or task-orientated. She still has that chatty, sociable edge that makes her a little fun and interesting, although we didn't get to witness that in her section of the chapter given her current isolation. She seems fairly strategic in making herself as durable and effective as possible, but I am not concerned at this point in time about whether or not she becomes a player or not. I just like the fact that she takes things into account that most modern people wouldn't, like her hair for instance, and how impractical it would be if it were longer.
I think Kiyoshi is okay, but I don't like him as much as I do Ayoko, although the description of the area he found himself in was rather beautiful. I especially liked your description of the fissure. I tihnk the Sakuma boy is a little bit creepy, he seems too drab and calm given the situation, and his little plan sounds far too premediated for my own comfort, as if he has been thinking these thoughts long before the game had even started. I'm still not entirely sure what his goals are, but it sounds a lot like he has it in for the city kids. I knew for a fact that one of the biggest rifts in the game, other than lovers vs fighters, would be the rural kids vs the urban kids, I just didn't think that it would be initiated by somebody as unassuming as Sakuma.
I enjoyed the dialogue between Ayoko and her brother during the flashback at the end, it was a little goofy at bits, but overall it had a depressing lining to it, but the whole thing managed to have a completely nostalgic feel. In conclusion I thought that this chapter was pretty good, although my favourite bits were the two scenes where Ayoko and Kiyoshi were traversing the mountain.
| Nullumstiamdictum chapter 3 . 3/27/2012
K, so not much to review here ;), but thank you for giving out a list of names. It's a lot easier to keep track of people when you can simply put their names in an excel document next to everything you know about them. Maybe it's cheating, but I find it really helpful in both BR, and the Hunger Games. But I'm getting sidetracked. Update soon, and good work!
| Nullumstiamdictum chapter 2 . 3/27/2012
I like the contrast between the city and the countryside. The inferiority (maybe not quite the right word, but it's the best I can come up with) that they feel in the city, thinking about how little they will matter compared to the peer who will become doctor, lawyers, etc. is really tragic, because most of them won't even get to be farmers, like their ancestors. I also really like all the historical knowledge you've brought in to this, as well as the effort you put in by looking up real places. It's awesome!
Really good story, so far. I like all the foreshadowing you're giving,it's delightful. And I feel a little creepy saying this, but I can't wait to see what happens once the killing starts :)
| Nullumstiamdictum chapter 1 . 3/27/2012
Looks like not too many people read this fandom :( , but that means I feel bad not reviewing every chapter :) Anyway, this looks like a great start to the story. Your imagery is very powerful, and I like how you don't restrict yourself to monosyllabic words. It can be a little confusing, at times, but it's still fun to read. I also really like the part where the citizens hear about what's going to happen and basically shrug and say 'not our problem.' It's a very realistic reaction, and can definitely help explain why no-one complained. Anyway, good first chapter I'll review again when I have time to read the next.
| Double Feature chapter 2 . 2/25/2012
I really do like the start of this chapter, however I'm starting to think that you are introducing people a little bit too fast, I'm starting to get lost and am finding it hard to remember who is who. I blame this on the Japanese names though, but I'm sure I'll have a good idea of who's who by the fifth or sixth chapter. One criticism so far is that I think you might be playing up the 'teachers were there to maintain some sense of order' thing a bit too frequently.
I'm not a fan of Hisoka, he doesn't seem mean or anything, but pushy, touchy-feely and inconsiderate, and I can relate people I know and dislike to him. I find one of the worst things is not having a bully, but being forced to interact with somebody on a regular basis who, whilst unpleasant and irritating, hasn't actually done anything harsh enough to deserve being told to get lost. I have a short fuse when it comes to annoying people, so I probably would have told Hisoka to leave me alone years ago.
One thing I'm really hoping to see from one of the girls is interests or aspirations, or any connection at all to Geisha. I wouldn't consider myself a Japanophile by any means, but I am attracted to the old fashioned and traditional things, as well as those things aesthetically pleasing. The setting of your story is close to but before the time when all of the Gions started closing down - so I'd love to see some girls aspiring to become a maiko or geiko, even if by this age they are far too old to start going down the path.
I love your description of colour, it reminds me of the writing of Jeffrey Eugenides, one of my favourite authors. One thing that did stick out a lot was when the train starts cutting through the city and the rural kids realize that they'll never amount to anything important as opposed to their urban counterparts, it really made me think of the Hunger Games with the segregation enforced by the Capitol citizens and the elitism they hold over the lowly district people. You made a mistake when describing the more 'pleasant' four by saying that somebody cut off a 'piece' of someones hair by accident during an arts and crafts assignment, you should replace this word for clump or lock.
One thing that I wish you'd describe more is the appearance of the people, what there facial features are or how their bodies have grown into adolescence? Are they plump, muscular, tall, short, petite, childlike, curvy, lanky etc, as well as maybe a description here and there of the clothes they wear, their general palette or the way they style their hair. Otherwise they're just names with personalities attached, and it gets hard to envision them without doing lots of guesswork.
The description of the woods in and around the mountain range was purely intoxicating, so much lush description for the various senses, including smell, which people tend to neglect. I loved the bit where they had to roll the windows up to avoid the branches because it reminded me of the long journeys to my grandparents old house on the other side of the country, driving through tight country roads. I also like Fujita, and I sense a possible romance opening up with Ayoko too, although they may just be friends - but then again the Program causes kids to confess all sorts of weird things. But yeah, this chapter was really good, and whilst I don't want you to cut down on your description of the environment, I really think it would help the readers if you focused more on the characters too.
| Double Feature chapter 3 . 2/25/2012
Hiya! I checked out this chapter first because it was the student roster one, and I was just interested to see the names you chose and everything. I'm one of those BabyNames weirdos. Anyway, the one thing I did notice is that you made a mistake in creating a Japanese authenticity. I mean the surnames coming first thing was good and all, but you've listed the surnames in western alphabetical order. I only really noticed because I saw 'O' names coming near the end of the register, in the source material, which does use the Japanese alphabet, the O's come much earlier, as do U's and I's. You can find some charts online through Google to help you with this.
| Double Feature chapter 1 . 2/19/2012
I'm usually hesitant in reading stories set in Japan, not because I dislike Japan or anything, it's just that unless you have visited or belonged to that culture at some point it is very hard to make the setting of your story realistic. It doesn't really matter how many books or articles you have read or how many documentaries or animes you have watched, there is still a large room for error. The same goes for setting the story in the 1940's.
Now, I haven't read all of your story, you haven't posted it yet, and I'm only on the first couple of paragraphs right now, but I do like it a lot. Of course, not being from Japan, or having lived there or even being a Japanophile, I am hardly going to catch most 'wrong' things, but even finding one or two can sort of ruin the illusion and imagery you conjure up. And, let me tell you, based on the first paragraphs alone, your writing seems pretty solid and has a near intoxicating quality to it.
It has that good balance of formal and informal, and I like your word choices. Whilst this part of the story is 'telling me how it is', it still has that storybook quality to it, but still sounds mature and edgy. I did notice one mistake early on, you accidentally put 'grown' instead of 'grow'. Now, whilst I am starting to like your story, I don't want you to be disappointed if it doesn't get that many reviews right off the bat. The BR fandom is fairly slow, due to the smallish number of stories compared to more popular fandoms, and whilst we are all drawn here because we were a fan to one or more of the original Japanese versions of the story, a fair few of us do have an aversion to reading stories set in Japan.
The main reason is that the names get a bit confusing to remember. But anyway, moving along, I think that it's going to be depressing considering that the urban and rural kids who didn't seem to want much to do with each other have finally started to bond and accept their differences, and I can only guess that the Battle Royale is going to tear them apart again. I know it said that they didn't want to fight, but eitherway, it is a highly stressful and dangerous situation that is bound to take its toll on even the most steadfast of opponents. One more thing, if it is the first ever Program, then how come the 'first' one is "No. 68", that implies that there were hidden trial runs taking places previously.
Also you haven't put any speechmarks or done any formatting to indicate that some parts of the text are speaking roles, regardless of whether or not they belong to individual characters or are simply being heard over the din. The same goes for what little of the speech the protagonist of this chapter has remembered. You also make another mistake later into the chapter when talking about the stone shrines, you forgot to add on an "r" to the end of the word "shrine" in the sentence where you talk about there being more deeper set into the mountains.
Anyway, I thought this chapter was pretty good, it was nice to read in a sort of relaxing way, even though most of the subject manner was generally unpleasant. I don't know why but the time period and setting, as debated on it as I am (and I am not referring to the crumbling cities) really does encompass a fantasy element mixed in with the harsh rebuilding of the nation. One thing I do hope though, is that these two characters aren't the only main characters throughout the whole story.
I also wish that there was a name list or something like that too, but still, it would be good for you to keep our interest and going deeper into the story by exploring other characters, and not JUST before they kick the bucket. Please don't make the readers wait too long between updates, this chapter seems very precise, thought out, planned and edited, so I can understand that it went through some different things before being posted, I just hope that the subsequent ones are already entering or leaving the same process.