Reviews for Destroyer
Phalanx chapter 1 . 11/19/2012
Here's my review of "Destroyer" for the WA Review Game.

Firstly, I have to say you have beautiful descriptive prose and on its own poetic merit, it is enjoyable to read.

However, in the context of the first chapter, I felt it was a annoying hindrance, because we just started on the story and the first few paragraphs should be about setting the stage and hooking the reader so they can decide whether they want to keep reading or not. Instead we had some very lovingly-detailed descriptions of a stone (which was well done, but in the wrong time and place) and simply put, stuff that wasn't important yet.

Keep in mind that at this point, we, the reader don't even know what's the story about or what's going on yet, and until we do, it's very hard to get invested in your story. And until they do get invested, such detailed description of surroundings/person/etc. is an unwanted obstacle to read through.

In this case, your descriptive prose actually hinders your story, because it makes it hard for the reader to figure out what's going on. Too much description at an inappropriate time is worse than no description at all. It only conditions your reader to start skimming your work to get to the point (Which I eventually ended up doing for the first chapter).

Your later chapters are much better reading, although if I have one criticism to give, it's your use of paragraph breaks. They're inconsistent, and sometimes you have several topic changes/people talking all mashed up in a single paragraph, like this one:

"Have to ask the temple some pretty searching questions, Khalid," Flores ordered, pulling him along. "No time!" The boy watched, wide-eyed; it was a hard thing for a child, and worse there had been other young ones amidst the undead attacks. I lost my birth family, Khalid; but at that age it is easier to forget, easier than were I older; the druids took me in and nature became my true home. It still is...

Note that just because Jaheira's dialogue is presented in the form of a memory, it doesn't stop it from being a dialogue. And since it's a different person speaking, accordingly give it a new paragraph, otherwise it gets confusing.

The same goes for the boy. The paragraph started being about what Flores said. Then it switched to being about the boy. As such, it would've made more sense to have a new paragraph there too.

The fight scenes are interesting, but a bit off-paced and confusing to follow. I had to reread them a few times before I figured out the what was going on. For example, on the first one, I completely missed that the vampire died and why it died and had to pause reading and go "Eh? The fight's over?"

I would like to praise the pains you clearly took to keep the speech and behaviour of the characters so consistent with canon though. You did a very good job at that and it must have taken quite the effort to learn the speech patterns and portray them accurately.

Overall, you have what seems like a pretty interesting story here, but I found it really hard to get into the meat of it because it seems to be drowned in too much unnecessary meandering and descriptive prose. It reminds me of one of those really fancy cupcakes that are all the rage nowadays, you know? I can tell there's probably a delicious cake somewhere in there and it looks really pretty on the surface. When it comes down to the eating though, it's a pain to sink your teeth into because of all those decorations. And the rainbow-coloured candy flower sprinkles get in the way of the cake, get stuck in my teeth, and overwhelm the original flavours of simple cakey goodness.

It's the same problem here, just with words.

It may be a matter of preference, but if it were me, I'd streamline the story (especially that first chapter), cut back on some of the descriptions, and make it easier to follow and figure out what's going on. As I like to say, it doesn't matter how good your later chapters are. If your first chapter scares people off, no one will be reading the rest.

Hope that helps. Erm, just be informed that I am the 'blunt honesty' type of reviewer, and I can come across as harsh, but I just usually focus more on criticism when it comes to requested reviews. That's because I figure that's what people want from me. Just know that if I bothered to write a long review on something, it usually means I probably did like it.
Empress Nightshade chapter 2 . 10/10/2012
-This is different. So there are vampires and elves in this game. Are the elves and Harpers hunting the vampires? Or at least that's what seems to be going on in this chapter. Once again, the italic floating dialogue is confusing. It would help if you attach an action Khalid made to it. Although, some times it feels like he isn't the one speaking. Is someone speaking to him in his head? It might just be the way you've worded the sentences.

-Also, I'd be careful with some of your sentences.

Example: "They guarded a garden, thick with almond and crown and sycamore trees growing plane leaves above the barred walls, terraced and mazed with the sound of a flowing fountain."

-While your description is good, it feels like you're cramming too much information into one sentence. It makes the description feels rushed, and it doesn't paint a very clear picture of what the reader is supposed to see.

-Hope this helps. Keep up the good work.
Empress Nightshade chapter 1 . 10/10/2012
“He polished the stone on a corner of his billowing sleeves.”
-Should it be, he polished “with”? I’m not sure, but “on” reads kind of awkward.

“By a fountain, by the waters of a garden in the city's wealthy quarters, by ripe plant growth;”
-There are too many repetitive phrases here, and it makes no sense.

“the stone was smooth, and streaked with mossy green in complicated natural patterns, a hundred different shades of brown twining across the shape of a small egg.”
-Um, do you mean the stone was the shape of a small egg? This sentence reads awkward.

“Of such she saw the most beauty.”
-I think you mean “he”

“and he will tell you to our headquarters...”
-Um… do you mean “take you to our headquarters” or “tell you about our headquarters”?

“Such a baby and a crybaby, more eunuch than son—!”
-This feels a bit redundant. You could leave it at crybaby.

-I will say that you do a good job at setting up the mystical setting of this story. Both with the environment as well as the dialogue. I don't know anything about this fandom, so I can't comment on characterization. However, you do follow the character, Khalid, quite well. You do a good job, describing how he reacts to his surroundings, and how he perceives things.

-I did find the random italic quotes to be distracting. I know they're supposed to be Khalid's thoughts, but where they're place sometimes and how they're worded, makes it difficult to know what he's referring to. Or, at the very least, why he has that thought.

-Also, I pointed out some grammar mistakes. You have some more, but I'm going to let you fix those one your own. I think your very first paragraph was the only hard things to understand. If you re-wrote it and phrased everything different, it would be just fine.
laudanum86 chapter 6 . 8/13/2012
Loved the strange garden and the dream-like imagery of the previous chapter. And of course, congratulations on finishing your story :). Very enjoyable read! :)
laudanum86 chapter 4 . 8/11/2012
I liked the intrigue in the royal family - this is something I always enjoy reading about . And - not sure if I said so before - I love the exotic settings of your story!
Guest chapter 4 . 7/31/2012
See, this is the Khalid I always believed in.

Apologies for not logging in, my dear, appears not to like me today for some odd reason. "Don't step in a crack, or her mists will take us back"... I may hve to us that one the next time I'm at a cracked paving slab. Although I have thf eeling they are...somewhat screwed at this point. At least the nature of prequels ensures peoples survival.

Zireael07 chapter 4 . 7/30/2012
Love the chapter. Brilliant!
laudanum86 chapter 3 . 7/25/2012
Great, another chapter's up! :)
'Walking-The-Walls, Face-In-The-Glass-Bookshelf...' - I especially loved those - and Khalid telling the story about caliph's daughter - and the way kid comments on it. And the creature with glass arms and 'I didn't tell the truth...' was... I don't want to think too much about it - creepy again! (but in a real good way xD) Hope to see more, soon!
Zireael07 chapter 3 . 7/24/2012
Love the chapter. And the mention of Shyressa. What would the Twisted Rune want with Xzar?
laudanum86 chapter 2 . 6/28/2012
Seeing colours... I think I'm going to repeat myself, but I absolutely love your descriptions :)! The little glimpses in Khalid and Jaheira's relationship - sad... It is nice though to see it from different perspective, as something deeper, the real connection between them (and as opposed to Khalid spending most of the time under his wife's thumb ;)). Um, and that star-nosed mole... *shudders*. Great read!
Lalaithe chapter 2 . 6/16/2012
I like this continuing adventure with our young star, whose identity is now clear. :P Nice touch how he can 'see' magic and how it all seems so exciting to him. Even though he's scared at times the whole drama is like a game to him. There's a (very) wide-eyed innocence about him. Khalid is still good at playing the straight man, caught in between the manic child and the world-weary Harpers. The hint of sadness in Khalid and Jaheira's past was very poignant, too. Hope to see more of this soon!
Avenel chapter 2 . 6/8/2012
I am really enjoying this piece. You are really bringing out Khalid quite well, and the little snippets of Jaheira weaved throughout are just right to tie things together. I was very moved by the reference to their having no living children - very sad and poignant. I had a feeling from the first chapter that I knew who the mage-child might be, and it seems I am not wrong :)
Late to the Party chapter 2 . 6/7/2012
"bee-stung lips," - that's a very interesting image!

"I see emerald, rubyfruit, tangilim, orange, blacktaste, chiorescent—" This I liked too ). Seeing colours; now who could that be, I wonder? ;p. And the backstory, as always, is fun ). Always lovely to read more K&J. Such wonderful description. I love the way you've woven things through it - like "a rakshasa's nightmare"; "Can I be a 'venturer when I grow up, Khalid?" - that was fun too! "And I could make new friends like Flores, little people to travel with me and be my best friend," - especially this ;). It is a most disturbing piece; well done! (Disturbing? "I know pictures of things with tentacles and I can see it in my head, like I can see the old black colours." - that, amongst other imagery.)

And best of all? "Monty".
Zireael07 chapter 2 . 6/7/2012
Hey! Is that Xzar and Montaron I am seeing?
Lalaithe chapter 1 . 5/28/2012
I really love Khalid. He always seems so genuinely *good* without being twee or self-righteous. I also loved your description of Durpar and the vivid markets. It's not a part of the Realms I'm familiar with but it has a great exotic feel. The Harpers seemed suitably like bastards too, lol. Interesting to see their plots in action. Great description of the masked woman especially. The boy is quite precocious and more than a little creepy! Hope to see more of this. There aren't enough Khalid stories out there, especially not ones where he isn't directly in Jaheira's shadow, ha ha!
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