|Reviews for Flocking Movement: The Seventeenth|
| Wren chapter 42 . 2/27/2014
There is a problem in this relationship if Lucy knows Des would lie to her. Des doesn’t need to worry about Alt breaking them up, because Des’ll do that himself. Nothing may be true in Des’ life, but that Lucy is too good for him may be one truth. Another truth, Xazz, is I didn’t think you could create another oc I love as much as Sarah and Hawk, but you did. Cain. He’s powerful, mysterious, and dangerous. Freaking awesome combo in one oc, Xazz. An immortal who sees immortality as a gift. Who isn’t conflicted about who and what he is; he lives the moment. I wonder if Cain encouraging Alt to use the Apple is where he went wrong. Alt saw a bad future for Cain, and Alt saw the Apple as bad so he hid it (do the Proeathans have space ships- they could get it back and use it to control Alt, he must be connected to it the way Hawk, Ezio, and Des are to theirs). Maybe Alt mixed up the bad Apple in his mind with Cain being bad. Cain saved him and got him over Maria and Malik’s deaths. I don’t understand why Alt let Ezio’s family die if the future isn’t set in stone, he could’ve saved them. I don’t think you’ve ever shown Alt afraid of someone before, Xazz, and running away rather than face his past. Cain is scarier than the Proeathans; how do they think they can control him? He’s older and wiser. He thinks he’s a freaking demi-god. Was he ever worshipped like one by some primitive society? I don’t think anyone, even Proeathans, are scarier than Cain. They’re not really characters in the story, just an unseen presence. I hope Cain doesn’t give Lucy back to the Proeathans, ‘cause they’ll either kill her or reprogram her to obey. Maybe Lucy is so dangerous because she knows so much about them. I’m interested in these Faceless priests she spoke about. That’s be an interesting conversation between the Faceless, Des, and self-proclaimed demi-god Cain. Wow, a dream conversation. Lovely fic, Xazz.
| Wren chapter 36 . 2/23/2014
Xazz, your AI characters are fantastic. They were Proeathans when they were alive, so these are the first Proeathans the flock’s really talked to, at least that Ive seen in your fic, Xazz. Morpheus was mild mannered. He lacked the killer instinct Hera and Pluto have. Hera is blood thirsty, and she’s a perfect match for Des. He wants to kill all the Proeathans, she wants revenge. The Proeathans seem to have been based on blood and sacrifice. Lucy said they shed human blood to recover their temples. I wonder if Juno had another purpose in killing the original Lucy. Her blood must’ve been strong and she was special. Lucys sacrifice started so much for Des, mostly bad. Her death was meaningless in the games. Im glad you gave her death meaning, Xazz, and gave her character back some dignity. Seeing Hera mustve upset Lucy. Bad memories of Juno killing her and then being forced to grow up in Juno’s temple. I like your creation of Hera; shes ferocious. Hera demanding blood and a number from everyone is strange; nothing good will come of it. If Des glyphs are older than the Proeathans and is their downfall, what does that make Des? One of their gods, maybe. A bad one from their pov if he can destroy them. They need to control or appease him. Is that why they made Lucy? Synth Lucy who they control and make Des happy. For one year, apparently. The clones failed, so maybe they wanted to breed Des with Lucy. A baby theyd raise and control and interbreed with them in the hope they get powerful descendants. These AIs cant want the Proeathans to get Des back; if they control the temples, theyll control the AIs. Although Des seems to control them now. He broke Hera, because she finally pushed him too far. Clone or not, Lucy will never break, no matter how much pressure the AIs put on her. Any more than Sarah did when she lost Hawk. Lovely fic, Xazz.
| Wren chapter 25 . 2/19/2014
Xazz, you’re killing me. Seriously. Sarah and Hawk always have number one spot in my heart, even above Des. You bring Lucy back?! There’s a real Lazarus Syndrome going on here!
I did not see Lucy coming, Xazz. That was a brilliant move, having the Proeathans clone her, like Des’ clone. She is not a pet, she’s a person, and she is capable of thinking for herself and fighting. Des is all stressed out, but what about Lucy? She remembers Des killing her, for crying out loud. Dying. How traumatic must that be for her? To come face to face with the guy who stuck a blade in her belly must make her feel just a little bit sick. Des isn’t the only one struggling here. She grew up in Juno’s temple, the one who directly killed her. That must have been a terrible childhood, so to speak, to remember the woman who made her killing her. She’d be living in fear of her life every second in that temple, knowing she was expendable to these people. The Proeathans sound more like her captors than her masters. They let her go to Gafsa, and now she’s switching sides. She had no choice before. Lucy rocks! She’s strong and fights back and survives impossible odds. The only time she was killed was when she let herself be vulnerable with Des in her first lifetime. Of course, the flock might be a bit iffy to convince she’s on their side, but Lucy can prove herself. She’s almost as amazing as Sarah, who knew exactly what and who she wanted out of life, and seized it with both hands. Nothing crushed Sarah, losing Hawk or raising a child alone. Nothing will crush Lucy this time, either!
The Des clone got a raw deal, too. He was cloned in Juno’s temple, then forced to live 26 years of Des’ life in 1 year. Instead of being allowed to become his own person, he was shaped into a replacement. No wonder the guy resents Des. He was tortured by the Proeathans because of the original Des. Maybe he hates Lucy because he knows she loved the original Des, not him, but he loves her because he has the originals memories and feelings? If not for him, clone Des wouldn’t even exist and would never have suffered. Poor guy. Everybody, including Des, the flock, and Lucy hates him. Nobody wants him, what a sad life. Lucy and clone Des were great additions to the fic, Xazz. Lovely fic, Xazz.
| Wren chapter 16 . 2/18/2014
What a mess. Plantations, mines, factories, and lab experiments. How do these Proeathans believe they’re advanced? They’re ghastly. They’re committing atrocities against another living creature. Proeathans evolved faster physiologically and technologically, but not morally or compassionately. The old man Des met advised his kin not to blame an innocent for the apocalypse, but Des is the guiltiest man in the world for this mess. Now Des knows the whole world blames him even if they don’t know he’s responsible. The guilt is going to crush him. The clone. Hawk and Ezio’s reactions when they found the real Des, then his to the clone were a SCREAM! Your clone chaps rock, Xazz. Des and his clone go from trying to kill each other, to bonding over their mutual musical choices, yelling at Jake to shut up. (Malik must feel resigned amusement to eternity with this sweet goof). I could almost see Alt getting more and more furious he can’t tell them apart while they bond. The ancestors are terrified they’ll lose Des again. He’s their youngest ‘child’ and he means the world to them, not just as a hope to save the world. I don’t think they’re keyed into his emotions because they refuse to accept he’s not ok like before. Hawk gets it, but he has no emotions, so he can’t help. I think the clone was wrong. His masters get Des is a threat or they wouldn’t make his core function to kill Des. The clone failed and now his life is forfeit. He’ll survive, I bet; he’s made from Des. Des ran; the clone will run and survive. I feel a bit sorry for the clone. He only got a life to be a weapon against Des, he had no childhood if he grew in 5 years, his goals and dreams were programmed into him, he has masters controlling him (which Des hates, and the clone would too if he’s like Des), and now the Proeathans will kill him for failing. He has a sad, throw away life as far as the Proeathans and flock are concerned. The clone is alive and wants to make his life count. Good luck to him. Lovely fic, Xazz.
| Wren chapter 9 . 2/15/2014
Was the map Des saw the locations of the AIs? Pluto’s temple was in N.Y. Venus was in the Middle East, where the power balance had shifted in FM. Morpheus is in Jerusalem. All places on the map. Does the flock have to visit all of these places? I can see why Des gets fed up with these fetch quests. Is there no way to teleport between them the way Pluto teleported Des when he stole him away from his family at the end of FM? Be a lot faster. Now Jake and Alt have to go to Solomon’s Temple again. The site of Alt’s first big mistake. The place where Malik watched his little brother die. Painful memories, much? Even if Malik forgave Alt, this can’t be a place he wants to see ever again. Des dreaming he was dying was devastating, Xazz. Plus, the others are going to lose him again, right? These AIs keep snatching Des away. Maybe the ancestors do know Des wants to die? Maybe that’s what they’re not saying, but they don’t know how to fix Des, which Alt promised he could do at the end of FM when they flew to New York. Alt’s arrogance must haunt him sometimes. Well, he had five years to think about that after they lost Des. On to Jerusalem. Here we go again. Maybe when all of FM is finished, whoever survives in the flock should make a pilgrimage to Masyaf, the place where AC all began. Seems fitting. Alt hasn’t ever taken his family there from what I can tell, and they seem to respect that is his sacred territory and not want to infringe. Not telling you, Xazz, just speculating. You know where you want to take your story and your characters and I respect that. Lovely fic, Xazz.
| Wren chapter 4 . 2/14/2014
Xazz, youve gone to a much darker place in the 17th than the other FMs. Even worse than Hawk saying goodbye to Sarah. At least she lived a full life before she died. I swear I had shivers when Des asked Jake in an offhand sort of way if he thought it was cold enough that Des wouldn’t wake up again if he slept outside. That just about did me in right there. I was as taken aback as Jake, who, btw, is a lot stronger than he was when last we saw him in FM. Stronger than Des now, but Jake didn't destroy the world, so that's fair. Then you made me melt when Jake and Alt held Des between them while they slept. He needs someone to hold on to him. All he wants is the darkness of the past five years back. To not know hes personally responsible for the fun new Ice Age and the fun new Dark Age the Earth is currently enjoying. At least for humans. The Proeathans must be loving all this. Des is full of self-hatred and self-pity here, and they dont want to know how broken he is. Does Des want to die because hes running from something- his colossal mistakes, or because hes running to something- Lucy, he hopes? He said he does not want to use her as a bargaining chip, but maybe he thinks hed be with her again. The ancestors would die to rejoin their first wives, why not Des? This is harsh and painful and I had trouble breathing for a second when I realized you had Des try to kill himself, Xazz. Wasnt it enough he lost Duncan and Lucy? Theres still hope. Des must know even the Dark Ages werent totally dark. The Arab Empire actually had a Golden Age when Europe was mired in the Dark Ages. Humanity may not be totally wiped out. Resistance is out there and Des can help them to fight back and rebuild. Ach! He cant give up. My heart cant take your fics, Xazz. Lovely fic, Xazz!
| Guest chapter 50 . 2/1/2014
I’ll give Cain this much, he gave Alt fair warning about ripping all of their throats out and taking Des from them anyway. The anger and betrayal runs just as deep in Cain as it does in Alt. Alt broke Cain’s heart- why do I get the feeling that has happened a lot in Cain’s life? What if he's so angry because he's got too big a heart and feels alt's betrayal too strongly, unlike the unfeeling monster Alt makes him out to be? I may be way off track here, I haven't caught up with all your series, xazz. Still, Cain is an enigma. Thank you for creating this character. :D
| Guest chapter 42 . 1/19/2014
I adore your oc, Cain, Xazz. He is the perfect enigma. He used to be good, because he saved Alt from himself & gave him a purpose. Then he went crazy & started killing the Whitechapel prostitutes. Why? Boredom? Or desperation? He had no one & Alt had replaced him with Ezio and Hawk, a whole new family of his own, abandoning his sorta big bro. I’m just speculating here, but maybe Cain feels just as deeply betrayed & angry as Alt does. Cain must’ve felt tossed aside when Alt’s immortal family began showing up. After sobering him up & a friend he’d have forever, Cain was alone again. Cain needed someone, some connection just as badly as Alt. I know I’d be embittered like Cain. He’d think why he can’t have someone, too, when Alt had 2 people.
Why didn’t Alt intervene when he saw in the future he’d have to kill Cain? He said the future isn’t set in stone. He could’ve intervened with Ezio, saved his family or not given him immortality. He let the future play out, but why? A yearning to have a connection again that he lost with Cain?
How furious must Ezio & Hawk be, knowing Alt could’ve maybe changed their fates? I wonder if they’ll confront him about that. How terrifying, too, to hear what Alt did when Cain went rogue. To wonder if they ever lose it, will Alt do the same thing to them & lock them up forever. Jake, too.
Anything with Cain is now my favorite in your story. He’s an enigma, good, bad, kind of like Alt, but more dangerous & he scares Alt, which I thought was impossible, but anything threatening Des, his youngest, scares Alt. Cain is an exciting addition to your story. Thanks for adding him in, Xazz!
| Guest chapter 49 . 12/31/2013
the quetzal title for this chapter was smart 'cause the feathers of that bird were a treasure to the mayans, which nobles used to decorate their costumes. finding the bird was hard, & the connection here is unmistakable. The proeathans are trying to find desi, their treasure, who is proving equally as elusive to them. these proeathans can't do much for themselves. they can't catch desi unless the ais help them, or cain helps them, or lucy helps them, or desi walks into a trap. they can't grow their own food unless humans do it for them. they already failed to save the world once 1000s of years ago. now they need desi to d o that for them. they don't know anything about how to treat p.o.w.s. they deserve nothing but think humans owe them everything. grumbles about bad guys. like ur story, xazz. u're a great author.
| Gray Kingbird chapter 56 . 12/29/2013
On to Rise to Ashes, chapter 2. You’ve created a fascinating story that is a blend of fantasy and power politics. Von’s mother comes across as more of a warlord than a queen (assures). I can feel Spayar’s dread as he realizes that if Von doesn’t make a move for the throne soon, one of his siblings will, and they’ll undoubtedly kill all of their siblings to remove any competition. Spayar, of course, will share Von’s fate, whatever that may be, which could spill over onto his own family. So he has every reason to be afraid. I am quite enjoying your characterization of Spayar. He’s strong and smart (did I mention the hot part in a previous review?!) yet he’s not too manly to admit to fear. That he doesn’t feel a need to be the big brave man all the time is endearing even as he takes care of his wayward prince. Has it occurred to either man that if Von can fake his sincerity over Hileda’s mother’s death, then maybe Von’s mother can fake being stupid? If people underestimate her, she can use that to her advantage to crush them. She hasn’t lasted on the throne for a quarter of century by being stupid and weak, no matter what Von thinks. The detailed religious and political situations you’ve created for this story are rich and history, bb. I find your writing to be subtle and sharp, especially through the riposting of Spayar and Von. This was an excellent chapter, bb.
| Gray Kingbird chapter 56 . 12/29/2013
What a conclusion to your amazing fic, bb! I have utter respect for your ability to weave intricate stories that keep people guessing until the end. Altair will be distraught. He lost Des again. He’ll see this as a major failure on his part. Just like he failed with Cain, Maria, Malik… no wonder he has insomnia. He knows Cain’s coming. Cain lost his ride, but that won't slow him down. Cain's a better hunter than the Proeathans. They keep failing to recapture Des, yet Cain got him on his second try. He killed all of the flock, which they never did. (Creepy for Lucy after Cain snatched Des away to be alone with 4 dead bodies.) The Proeathans plans keep failing. Now they’ll be after Cain, too, as he let them down and is immortal, so they’ll want him the same as the flock. Hmm. Potential for an alliance with the flock there, maybe? I love how you’ve created Cain, bb. You’ve made him an appealing, enigmatic villain who is scarier than Altair. Now that he failed to deliver Des, I dread to think what the Proeathans will try next. They get off on emotional blackmail. A Duncan clone, maybe? Des started this fic in darkness, and you’ve finished this fic with Des in darkness. You made the darkness his captor, and now it is his saviour. It brings him peace. But will his mind come out intact? The gang can only put him back together again so many times. The ironic thing is that Cain would actually be able to relate better to Des than any of them, even Hawk. Cain existed in isolation for 125 years. He’d understand Des better than Altair, as horrified as they’d all be to realize that. This was a tragic tale, bb, which ended with Des ripped away again. You tore me apart with this, and I love you for it!
| Heron chapter 56 . 12/28/2013
This was an enticing chapter. To read it from Clay’s perspective was exciting. He’s never had the mic before in one of your FM stories. If the sanctity of Hawk’s island is violated, the flock will have no safe base left to run to. And how will Clay defend himself there when he is alone? Not to mention he can’t let anything on the island fall into the hands of Proeathans. Maybe it was the Proeathan tech on the island that alerted them it might be worth investigating. And how has the world changed because of Desmond’s fall into darkness and oblivion? If the Proeathan instruments reset themselves on Hawk’s island, then they must have done the same all over. Which means the Proeathans know they’re in trouble. That’ll make them even more dangerous, if possible. Nowhere is safe. They have to find Desmond and the flock. If anyone can find Desmond, that is.
Or does he even want to be found? He didn't the last time he was kidnapped by the Proeathans. I am left devastated by Desmond being lost again, yet you did it so brilliantly and suddenly you knocked the wind out of all your characters and your readers. No one saw that coming, not after Desmond got through all of the other temples safely. You have created a masterpiece with FM, bb. Be happy.
| Heron chapter 55 . 12/28/2013
Your ongoing exploration of determinism versus free will is fascinating, bb. You’ve reproduced this argument throughout this story. Whether or not Lucy is free to choose Desmond (or not to choose Desmond) or whether she was always going to be fated to be with him due to the intervention of the Proeathans. Whether Desmond has the free will to fulfill his role in the “end of the world” or whether he must act at the will of the Proeathans and AIs, or at the will of the Assassins and Templars. Where do the boundaries begin and end for him? Whether humans have the right to determine their fates for themselves, or they must give way to a new world order with a species more advanced and dominant than them, thus allowing the Proeathans to enslave them. There are no clear and easy answers to this, and I respect that you’ve tackled that topic head on without trying to tell the reader the clear cut, morally correct answer. You leave us to draw our own conclusions, bb, which makes this a fascinating study in dualism.
Desmond’s character development in The Seventeenth has been phenomenal. He’s stronger and confident, more able to fight back, not by throwing a punch or using his hidden blade, but with his mind. I will end this here. I know there is a preview chapter of the new story you’re writing in the FM series, and I will give that a quick review, but this is the true end of The Seventeenth, and I must congratulate you on this multilayered, well planned out story that has riveted me and all of your readers. Thank you, bb, for putting your heart into this story. Be happy, bb.
| Heron chapter 55 . 12/28/2013
Now Desmond is swallowed whole by the darkness again. He lost himself the last time and went mad. Hallucinations, memory loss, and then suicidal thoughts when the flock rescued him. The only person Desmond could relate to was Hawk because they shared that same emotional flatness that no one else in his family could cope with. Solitary confinement is psychological torture, and I think the Proeathans in your story will regret that they ever used it on Desmond. It made him stronger ultimately, because now he doesn’t fear the dark. He was a prisoner with basic rights to life and care, and they violated these rights. You’re making it clear, bb. That the Proeathans are not as advanced a society as they like to proclaim. They engage in torture and genocide, and are a desperately selfish people. Humans are not perfect, either, by any means, but they are slowly learning. Proeathans learned nothing from their past mistakes, it seems.
Please see the next box for part 3 of this review.
| Heron chapter 55 . 12/28/2013
Hi bb, Well, the last chapter. Unbelievable. Let me thank you again for your dedication to the Flocking Movement series and the exciting adventure you have shared with your readers. I know everyone appreciates all of your hard work on this series in the midst of a busy life including work, school, family obligations, and enjoying life. I plan to look take a look at Pro Human and hopefully get some reviews for you on that one soon, too. Until then, here is my review for the final official chapter of The Seventeenth.
I swear. Does Desmond NEVER learn? When will he learn to ask questions before he offers to do what these AIs want? Twice now he has just opened himself up to their requests and paid the price for it. I love your Desmond, but he drives me crazy! (huffs irritably)
I am in awe of how you’ve brought The Seventeenth in a full circle. One simple truth you’ve demonstrated again and again is how Desmond is a light in the darkness. He provides light, literally and figuratively. His body literally provides light when the glyphs are active, and he provides enlightenment to humans, Proeathans, and AIs alike. The same glyphs have such different meanings for everyone. They provide hope for humanity while at the same time terrifying the Proeathans. Once they scare the AIs (hence Hera’s reaction when she first saw Desmond’s symbols in her temple in Spain), but they have adapted and now view them as hope for themselves.
Please see the next box for part 2.