Reviews for The Cruel Heart
ftninja chapter 1 . 5/31/2013
This is a fascinating read, as it expands on the more complicated ends of Melia's character. It is also one of the few Melia-centric fics (even fewer that are well written). Why do people hate this poor girl and avoid fics involving her? I think she could be a great source of material. But I digress..

I hope you write more. I like your style and I think you could take apart the source material rather nicely.

Also this story was published on my birthday last year...and I just now found it. :P
The Exile chapter 1 . 1/3/2013
A well written piece and some very realistic characterisation. I liked the fact that Melia is jealous of Fiora and even goes so far as to want her to turn out to be hostile, but she manages to control her impulses. I like it whenever Riki comes out with the most intelligent dialogue despite his outward appearance of being the party mascot. I found Melia's hidden feelings for Kallian interesting, how she is torn by the fact that it would appear too much like incest but really he is biologically unrelated to her and one of the men in her life that she is closest to. Melia having feelings for Riki is interesting but it I don't get why she dismisses Dunban for his comparative age but not Riki when Riki is both older and more mature than Dunban. I can't remember if she finds this out about Riki yet though.
Martin III chapter 1 . 7/8/2012
I'm not sure anyone will read this, but this is the only way to reply to anonymous reviews, and to report changes I've made to the story so that other readers don't wonder what my first two reviewers are talking about.

First, thanks so much for the review, Guest! I have to say I'm surprised, as I figured Melia's thinking about Fiora dying would be the most controversial part of the story! I think you misunderstood Riki, though; he wasn't encouraging Melia to control her impulses, just observing that that's what she does.

About Melia's romantic feelings: First of all, her feelings for Shulk came right out of nowhere in the game - and not even from Melia's own mouth, to boot! - so it seems fitting to me that her other attractions would be the same. More specifically, her feelings towards Kallian should certainly be "out of nowhere", since incest isn't something you can avow openly. Reyn was added at the last minute when I realized it would be horrendously inconsistent if Melia didn't feel a tug towards him, since his relationship with Sharla was pretty obvious. Perhaps I should throw in more detail, but I don't think that would be appropriate, since her attraction to him isn't really significant. As to when her feelings for Shulk started, I reviewed all the relevant cutscenes before writing this story, just to see if I'd missed something, and... Well, I was right that there's not even a hint of Melia having romantic feelings for Shulk before Sharla's odd speech, but I did notice that the first time she shows any attention to him as an individual is - you guessed it - right after hearing about Fiora. Up until then, she only speaks to the party as a whole.

About Dunban: You're right, I forgot that Melia has the appearance, behavior, and back story of a 16-year-old but is officially 88 years old (don't get me started on how much I detest that particular JRPG cliche). I've fixed that bit so that her focus is on Dunban's aging rather than his numerical age.

Also, per LuckyBlackCat's notes, I've removed the reference to Lorithea as Melia's mother. I have to admit I'm quite thrown off by this news, as the game gave me the impression that Lorithea and Yumea are the same person. Indeed, I can't understand why Monolith Soft chose to make them two separate characters, since they fit the same slot in the storyline. It's a striking redundancy for a story that is otherwise so wonderfully constructed.
LuckyBlackCat chapter 1 . 7/8/2012
This was mostly an entertaining and well thought out read. The interaction between Melia and Riki was spot on and I liked how Melia's upbringing was brought into the fic and the way Riki pointed out how Melia could never do what she felt like but only what was expected of her. The incest thing made me uncomfortable though...
One mistake: you refer to Lorithia as Melia's mother- this is incorrect, you've confused her with Yumea!
I look forward to more of your fanfic!
Guest chapter 1 . 7/8/2012
Well done. After reading bits and pieces of your other works (of which I knew literally nothing about the source material for, but that's hardly relevant here), I was eager to see what you would cook up for Xenoblade Chronicles. I am glad to see that it didn't disappoint.

The prose in this piece is masterful, there's really no question about that. I would also like to commend you for writing convincing dialogue, for Riki in particular; writing for Riki is something that I personally fear, so the fact that you're able to pull it off so well is quite impressive. His fate, by the way, was also quite amusing, though him giving a pep talk on controlling one's impulses was a little hard to swallow (even given his admission before actually trying to steal the fruit). Finally, Melia wishing ill will towards Fiora, and perhaps even hoping for her demise as their enemy, is highly believable at this point in the story, and I'm pleased to see you handled it so well and explored it so thoroughly because it makes for compelling character development. It was easy enough to tell how upset she truly felt when they first met in the game, despite outward appearances, and that scene certainly lends credence to the premise of your story.

Speaking of which, though, I do have to question the basis for some specific items in the story. Granted, some of this could just be my personal interpretation of the canon, but, for example, Melia's attraction to Kallian seemed to come out of nowhere. More importantly, her feelings for Reyn seemed to be thrown in there simply for the sake of proving the theory that Melia is always stricken with the curse of forbidden love, and were not explored enough to convince me that they ever even existed, no matter how briefly. Also, I would think Melia's feelings for Shulk started before she knew just how important Fiora was to him, but that might just be splitting hairs. It's also mentioned on at least one Xenoblade wiki (though I haven't yet confirmed this for myself in-game) that Dunban is 30 and Melia is 88. True, the rest of the party may not know Melia's age, but surely she would realize that Dunban is actually not her senior; knowing this, would age really be the primary factor preventing her attraction to him? Really, these are minor gripes in the grand scheme of things and I'm not the best authority on shipping in any capacity. I just found myself, at points, trying to rectify things like these in the fic with what I know from the game, and this detracted slightly from the experience.

In summary, this was a highly enjoyable, well-written story, which featured one of my favorite duos in this canon (Melia and Riki), expertly handled. This left me eager for what you will be publishing next for the Xenoblade fandom. Even most of the "negative" points can be attributed to differing interpretations of the game's story, rather than technical issues, which speaks volumes to your talent as a writer, if you ask me. Once again, well done!