Reviews for Price of Defeat
Elleth of Mossflower chapter 45 . 7/23
Okay, I read this story ages and ages ago on the Redwall forum, and I liked it pretty well (except for the two slightly suggestive parts, which most people probably wouldn't care about but I do, 'cause I like reading extremely clean stories), but I was rather shocked by the violence. :P I mean, the poor baby woodchuck! Not that I'm mad about you putting that in, but just saying.

Because of that, and all the other violence (like cannibalism), it's my opinion that the rating on this should be upped to T (aka PG-13) instead of K-plus/PG. :) I'm pretty sure this site's rating guidelines agree with me, too.

From what I remember of this, I enjoyed reading it pretty well. But I am wondering why you use the term Mother Abbot rather than Mother Abbess, which is the usual term. :P

Jade TeaLeaf chapter 45 . 9/6/2013
[Foremole and his mate, Loamripper, walk alongside the two otter youths they adopted years earlier. Though Hassellick and his sister could not hear their conversation, the four moles laughed and smiled as they followed the path to the Abbey.]
Species confusion.

Besides that, I'm happy to see some hints/teasers for the next installment (maybe?). First of all, twins! :) Second of all, it seems that Father Hughnaught (sp?) has passed on, as we now have a Mother Abbess. Wonder who it is? Well, I can't really think of anyone, since all significant characters have been explained away. By the way, it was quite clever of you to tie the loose ends in the dialogue. Endings are always hard (not that I've ever had the resolve to finish my writing, but I can only imagine).

It seems pretty finished as I see it and I can't wait to see what else lies in store for the next of the Vermin Badger series. Would we have a different cast? Different timeline? I guess I'll just have to find out for myself. But first I think that I should give an overall review of this story. Let's start out with the strengths.

Strength 1: Your grammar doesn't suck! Enough said, really. But I want to elaborate more. Not only is your grammar flawless, but your imagery is pretty spot-on. You don't fall for the rookie mistake of describing every painful little detail, but you keep the focus where it should be.

Strength 2: Flashentie. You did an excellent job with him as a villain. He was cold and cruel (he really seemed to enjoy culling the slave groups) but he was also very keen on profits. Redwall villains always irked me because of their incompetence and their bloodlust as a leader. Seriously, they would kill their own hordebeasts for no reason, so why would anyone in their right mind follow this kind of guy? Flashentie's motives were always crystal clear, as was his reasoning. Clever as he was, he fell for a well thought-out trap. Perhaps one of the most chilling moments in the story was the pillaging of Quagland. Not only did he kill a baby right in front of the parents, but his show of power over his captives by nearly drowning an otter was quite chilling. Very well done with that chapter.

Strength 3: Military strategy. You actually put a lot of thought into the feasibility of the Long Patrol's forces in this story. Good job on you, because it creates a sense of realism in your world. That, and though battle strategies played a smaller part in your stories, you did them well. In addition, the characters' ploys were believable and clever (i.e. the Redwall trap and Flashentie duping a boat full of otters).

Strength 4: The Island. You did an excellent job describing how the island functioned and gave a different spin on the standards of slavery within the Redwall-verse. Also, it showed a lot of characterization for my favorite character, Firecrown. His death was a hard toll on me, but I think it was for the best because it gave me a sense that there was really something to lose in this whole situation. Of course, the only character I really liked was the one to die, which brings me to Weakness 1.

Weakness 1: Characters are just sort of... meh. This is speaking of them in general. There are a handful of characters that stood out to me: Firecrown, Dusty, Bushface (cuteness factor), Darlow, and Markus. Bruno is in that list to an extent, as I did latch on to him in the beginning, since he was our main focus then. After that, though, the focus shifted from character to character, with some plotlines naturally dominating others. I understand that it's hard to juggle these different plots, but when I look at it, Bruno was sort of the overall main character but he lost a ton of focus in the middle, easily losing out to Firecrown and Kurella. There were also a lot of characters that had their own focus but seemed to disappear without any closure at all. I'm talking about the otter captain that had the spirit of Martin speak through her. Her moment in the spotlight was fleeting. What about the badger lord's son that spearheaded the slave-saving operations? For some reason, even he seemed to do more to impact the story than Bruno did (the badger that freed Splinters's ship wasn't Bruno, correct?). When I think about it, all Bruno really accomplished was bringing Kurella back (which anyone could have done) and marrying Tassel. Oh, and then Jazzin, the Redwall champion, doesn't get much action either (aside from freeing one slave ship). I'm sure he did more, but it seemed off-screen.

Tassel is one character that I think got pulled off decently, though I just didn't really feel that much for her character except for the Redwall Trap part. I feel that's more of a personal opinion, though, since I do think that she had a definite impact in the story and she did have a distinct personality to her. As for what I said about Bruno, if I'm wrong about his relevance, please correct me because there is a possibility that I forgot some details in my time away from this story.

Weakness 2: Dialogue. I recognize your short chapters as a double-edged sword. It was quick and to the point (and therefore easier to review) but it cut down on dialogue and other things. Perhaps the greatest example of this is with Firecrown's escape off the island (or at least, his best attempt). It just blazed right through it, making his escape such a breeze and without any real suspense. No sweaty palms, no hammering heartbeat, no stealth moves... I understand why you had to cut it down, but it was just a little bit of a disappointment there. As for the dialogue, I feel that it was impacted as well. Yes, less is more, but I think that it detracts from characters if we don't see them interact as much as they could have. For instance, the romance between Bruno and Tassel is a bit forced and I know that romance is difficult to write realistically, but I felt like there just wasn't enough dialogue shown to cement any real connection between the two. If only love could be that easy. :P

As I've said, it's a double-edged sword, so there are still good things to be said about it. For one, it was a faster read and it definitely got more to the point. As an ADD sort of reader, I was always pretty grateful for that, so don't think it's at all a horrible thing. Also, the dialogue was very good in the beginning few chapters.

Hm... I think that's really all I have to say about this story. For further improvements, I think that you should always remember who the main characters are. Bruno was pretty forgettable by the middle portion. The dialogue can seem pretty choppy at times, so I think you should relax a bit with your word count. Just give yourself a bit more leeway when it feels that more dialogue would build more character development or when a certain scene deserves more attention.

Anyways, good story with some great adventure themes. I will put this into my Favorites (if I haven't already?).

-Jade TeaLeaf
Jade TeaLeaf chapter 44 . 9/6/2013
[Elders they passed grinned at the youngster's as he struggled with the heavy weapon.]
Youngster's what?

[The elder leaned on his cane as he eyed the badger. "Redwall's tailor said his current work load doesn't allow him time for special projects that have to be rushed. Fortunately, I was the local tailor for Quagland. Let's get started, shall we?"]
He was from Quagland? As in the Quagland that was pillaged? Well, wouldn't have Flashentie killed off the old guy, since he had culled the captives? *reads on* Oh. Now it makes sense.

[Inside the Abbey, the groom and his best beast proceeded straight to the Tapestry Room. ]
Wait wait wait. Who is the best man? Is it really Tabeston? Kind of adorable, really. :3

[Most here have called Tassel mother at one time.]
Shouldn't the word "mother" have apostrophes around them in this sentence?

This chapter was a much-anticipated one and I noticed that you put extra care into the actions and descriptions of all the characters. Well done, as this is something that requires some very good detail. It was a bit of a tainted ceremony, as you displayed the fact that not everyone had forgive Tassel for... whatever it was she did. It was a nice touch, not over-the-top, and the characters didn't dwell on it too much. It was just a reminder that even though this is Tassel's day, she still has a lifetime of regret to live through. The only real problem I have is the fact that there seems to be a time-skip between the newlyweds going to their honeymoon suite and Markus's punishment. I must be confused...

Anyways, it's a good chapter that got a bit of smirk at the very end. Strange how Darlow was in the same room but was completely ignored by the other two badgers. Oh well. Final chapter, here we go!

-Jade TeaLeaf
Jade TeaLeaf chapter 43 . 9/3/2013
["She speaks the truth children.]
Comma after 'truth' since she's referring to the children here.

["Oppose you," Tassel said with a startled voice. "Adoption by a loving couple of their species is something I desire for every child under my care.]
Interesting that the matching species was mentioned here. In the Redwall-verse, it seemed that there was little discrimination/segregation around (among woodlanders, anyways). For example, everyone is alright with Gonff having been adopted by hedgehogs or the fact that Basil adopted Cheek the otter as his son. Nobody questioned it and nobody mentioned anything of a preference. However, a preference is more realistic, as we see similar scenarios in our world.

["You haven't used my given name since I became Foremole."]
So she just called him "Foremole" after his promotion? That's like a wife calling her policeman husband "officer" instead of his actual name. That would get some weird looks. Also, the Foremole's line seems forced here. He's speaking to her, so why should he just state something that she was already aware of?

["It wasn't just your skills at building that earned you that title. Back then, you had a heart that listened. Look at those two youngsters. They need us, now, more than ever."]
Cheesy line about hearts that open or listen. The conversation is forced here and doesn't read like a natural conversation between husband and wife. I think it's that they have unnecessary exposition in them. For example, Loamripper (what an unattractive name for a snooty mole lady) not calling him by his real name, that he had a heart that listened, etc.

[If this abbey were under our good king's jurisdiction, I would personally mount her severed head on the longest pike I could find and dump it in the nearest dung pile."]
That sounds pretty gruesome and I'm actually surprised that Bruno didn't have a reaction to that at all.

Overall, this chapter seemed to glaze over a few things but it at least focused on the main point of interest - the proposal. Though the start of it was pretty awkward, with Bruno forcing her mask off and everything, it at least had a good tender moment of silence. I do think that Major Eytomin and Darlow's confrontation took our focus away from that, though. I mean, his reaction was a little over-the-top when he could have simply huffed and walked away. Instead, their yelling seemed to be too explicit of an accept-other-people lesson.

I am going to guess that the narrator is Bushface instead? I don't know. That's my other guess. It's all just a shot in the dark, really.

Almost done!

-Jade TeaLeaf
Jade TeaLeaf chapter 42 . 8/29/2013
[ Bruno knew better than to fight a determined female, regardless of their species. ]
Her species.

[With your kind permission, Father Abbot, I would like the woodworker's shop to be renamed in her honor. From this day forward, we shall know it as Splinters Haven.]
A woodshop with the name Splinters? Sounds more like a hell than heaven to me. :P Also, I might sound horrible for this, but I really don't think that she played a huge role in the story and it's odd that they'd rename a building after her... They could've named it after Terranoir or Jazzin's dad (both of which were Redwall citizens). Well, maybe the abbot okay'd the suggestion for the name change, but only because the combination sounded like a clever joke.

Well at least I finally found out how Firecrown died. He was bar far the character I liked best and of course he was the one who had to die. :( Out of all the good main characters, it was my favorite that went out. At least he did so in a heroic (albeit horrible) way. I don't know what drew me to like Firecrown's perspective more. I think that he was like our eyes and ears to the slave island and its strange workings. Kurella served the same purpose, but Firecrown was so much more determined and resistant. Kurella didn't do anything wrong (by all accounts, she only did what was logical), but Firecrown just had a kind of charismatic conviction to him.

And as it turns out, Bushface isn't actually mute. To be honest, that one part just seemed more odd than touching to me. It seems like a popular trope that when someone loses their ability to speak, they have a "magic word/phrase" that gives them their powers back. It's not like jogging your memory. I don't know... I think it just takes away the consequence of her trauma by making it look like she's fixed. But of course, you're aiming for a hopeful theme, so I guess this shows that she can heal herself.

Now I want them to give Firecrown a building.

Soon I will be done and give the story an overall review. :)

Jade TeaLeaf
Jade TeaLeaf chapter 41 . 8/27/2013
["The distraught female is Blossombranch, her mate is Flashtop.]
Flashtop... An unfortunate (and somewhat suggestive) name. It would be particularly cruel if he was a girl, so at least there's that. :P

Not much else to say besides the fact that this was pretty good build-up to what I assume will be a heart-felt chapter. I am a bit disappointed that Jazzin and Kurella aren't going to hook up like I thought they would, but I think that shows a little more of an impact. If everyone (well, except for Firecrown and his parents) got a happy ending, it wouldn't really feel like there were any consequences or tragedy. I had a discussion with a friend of mine over whether or not a sad ending was necessarily a good ending. I must be a sadist, since I have an appreciation for tragic or mixed endings, but I feel that the story is always more mature when you show that people have something to lose. It makes the audience think to a higher level and maybe connect more to the characters.

I haven't quite figured out who the narrator is. I'm very hit-or-miss with my perceptibility, but I think I'll attribute this to the fact that I did not read this story continuously. I have a feeling that it's Dusty, though.

Anyways, reaching the end. :)

Jade TeaLeaf
Jade TeaLeaf chapter 40 . 8/26/2013
[Its course feel appealed to him as did the color.]

["She's adorable, even if she isn't a hare," the doe cooed.]
Odd, since this seems like a racist statement disguised as a compliment. It sort of insinuates that only hares can be adorable while everything else is just 'meh.' I don't think you meant it that way, but I felt that the conversation with the does seemed unnatural and a bit forced. They just started asking themselves whether or not Dusty and Bushface were related even though... I don't know... Dusty is right there. It just seemed like a weird and unnecessary exposition when the hares could've just been talking about something else - like wondering how many other children were enslaved on the island, what will happen to Bushface, whether or not her parents were still around, etc. Just so many more important things to consider. However, the entire exchange and their doting was quite comical in that Dusty's third-person perspective made their actions so over-the-top. I can't tell if that's simply his perspective or if hares are always so enthusiastic, but I think it's very possible it's the latter. :P

Though, I must say that I found it odd that even though the does meant well, they kept persisting on scaring Bushface. It's like when you take a dog to the vet. They don't just wrangle him onto the table and then shoot him up with a vaccine. We try to calm him down first and comfort him because otherwise it seems pretty darn cruel. The hares probably should've considered that.

Anyways, the strongest point of the chapter was the part where Dusty was getting over his fear. The step-by-step view and the descriptions of his anxiety were very well done. From here, we can understand his fears of being on a rowboat and we finally truly see the psychological damage of slavery. He might've been pretty used to following orders, but he saw a lot of horrible things happen. His fears and suffering just seem to make this character even more real. Sure, we saw him worry about being put into a soup kettle when Bushface went beserk that one time, but this one reflects something psychological a bit more.

I'm almost at the end! :)

Jade TeaLeaf
Jade TeaLeaf chapter 39 . 8/19/2013
Guess who's finally returned. :)

[The first hare kick in the door to the building housing the off duty vermin guards.]

[Despite the soldier's plead for their surrender, they did not stop running when they reached the cliff's edge.]
How do these guys even function? They don't have the excuse to say that they didn't see the cliff. Heck, they don't even have the excuse to say that it's unfamiliar territory. It just seems extremely stupid even for vermin standards.

["My duty to the dead is done; I must now attend to those living who need my services." Kurella left the badger's side.]
Not even a tear? Kind of cold, don't you think? Maybe she was desensitized to death and all that stuff, but Snarllyn was like her mentor - the first and only real friend she had during this horrible and life-altering chapter in her life. Had she had anyone else be her mentor, things could have taken for a different turn. She just seems too sterile right here. Even Dusty showed more emotion for Firecrown's death, in my opinion. I suppose I might be being too critical, as it is possible that this is a facet of her personality, but it's just my personal preference to have at least a tear for this character.

Also, I vaguely remember you telling me that there was going to be a good vermin character in this story. I know that I've whined a bit before about the lack of good vermin, but I think I should clarify my definition of vermin. In my opinion, the wildcats aren't exactly vermin. Thanks to characters like Gingivere from Redwall and Gingivere from Mossflower, I can say that they are neutral species in my book. Heck, Mossflower Gingivere even found a girlfriend, Sandingomm (what kind of name is that?) just weeks after he ran away from home. What a lovely coincidence. I guess at first the Redwall books wanted to make them the wildcat wildcards of the series but then Brian Jacques turned it around and made them all bad after Mossflower. *sigh* But I grew up primarily on the first half of the series and I will stand by that ruling.

Where was I going with this? Oh right. So as much as Snarllyn is a good character, I wouldn't call her a bad vermin, per say.

Also, it was kind of strange that she was the first slave that Bruno encountered and he got Kurella. Sign that guy up for the lottery!

Overall, this was a good transition from slave to freedom. I don't know if this is what you were going for, but Kurella didn't seem panicky or anything during the fights. She just seemed numb to it, and I suppose that it fit the culture because the new slaves didn't react to the change in management. I guess the slaves' reasoning was that they'd be slaves either way so it makes no difference. Also, I remembered why I liked your chapters so much. Short, sweet, and to the point. :)

Jade TeaLeaf
ifeelmad chapter 22 . 5/11/2013
I don't kuow. Is Firecrown really selfish? He didn't seem selfish and then it seemed like you tried to describe him as selfish at the last minute. I wouod have liked to see more development.
ifeelmad chapter 13 . 5/11/2013
Not much detail on the battles.
ifeelmad chapter 12 . 5/11/2013
"Hah! We'll go free our friends! " *dashes off heroically, returns later, groaning and rubbing injuries*
ifeelmad chapter 8 . 5/11/2013
So, badgers are vermin here. :( An exciting idea, but it really, really didn't make the old "woodlanders are prejudiced and abusive" theme any better or more original.
ifeelmad chapter 7 . 5/11/2013
A hare named Markus? Didn't Sara Lunaa have a hare with that name?
Anyway, still enjoying this :)
ifeelmad chapter 6 . 5/11/2013
Oh dear :(
Maybe ypu could said not pleased intead of not happy.
Poor Tassel. :(
ifeelmad chapter 5 . 5/11/2013
Oh, this is an exciting, original, almost magical story. I feel confident I've never read anything like it before.
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