Reviews for Vanguard of Vengeance
Garnet Seren chapter 1 . 10/28/2014
The use of naming a specific gun is a very nice touch, it lets the reader envisage the scene more clearly. As is your description of using biotics. It’s not something I think I have really read before, and you do so very well.
The phrase ‘This time lightening herself’ seems a little off. I’m not completely sure why, but it seems a strange use of phrase, and broke the flow a little. Which was a shame as it had read excellently up until that part.
The description/complaint about the bombs is a nice touch, my only critique on the idea would be that Eden Prime is the first time the squad has encountered geth, how does Alenko know what the engines of one of their torpedoes would look like?
Overall, a really good idea and well written piece, with just the odd instance of needing a tweak.
theherocomplex chapter 1 . 10/23/2014
Choosing Eden Prime as a starting place, rather than on the Normandy, is a good, energetic choice, which trusts the intelligence of your readers. However, by explaining things that your readers already know - such as Kaidan being a biotic, and in the Alliance, and Ashley being the third member of the squad - you immediately lose the energy you started with. Unless you've changed canon (Nihlus is still with Shepard, or Ashley isn't a solider, etc), you don't need to go into a great amount of detail with characters we already know. Too much exposition slows down the story.

There's a great deal of telling, rather than showing - we're told that Shepard is having a bad day, but we don't know how she feels about it. How does her body react? Is she tired? How does she feel now as opposed to Torfan? Is she injured? What makes this day so horrible? If the readers are shown the answers to those questions (or even just one or two), we get a much deeper - and more sympathetic - window into her character.

I would recommend speaking your dialogue out loud, if you don't already - lines like "You're the Alliance's first Spectre candidate" don't sound like anything Kaidan would say in-game, and it's a bit clunky and awkwardly phrased. It's also more accurate to say that Shepard is humanity's first Spectre candidate, based on game canon and dialogue.
Palaven Blues chapter 1 . 10/22/2014
"was having a very bad day."
Telling.

"She'd had worse, of course, she still"
comma splice. Second one should be a semi-colon.

"She felt the familiar hot buzz build up in the back of her skull "
very nice description of biotics

"a marine with the local garrison."
Marine is a special title that should always be capitalized. Like Spectre. Except Marines say this IRL.

"fired one handed."
one-handed

"We'll leave that assessment to the white coats once we take it down," Shepard said flatly, "We've got to move, Nihlus will be waiting."
You've got this entire thing with commas, as one long sentence. Not all of it is correct like that.
"We'll leave that assessment to the white coats once we take it down," Shepard said flatly. "We've got to move; Nihlus will be waiting."

"Private Jenkin's life."
His name is Jenkins. The possessive is Jenkins's.

" It's ascent "
Its, no apostrophe.

"her radio buzzed, the flanged voice of the Council Spectre,"
This is all kinds of incomplete. "The flanged voice" is a subject, then it doesn't do anything. Need a verb.

"of the Spirits "
lowercase. If it's "the," "a," "an," or anything like that, lowercase.

"The Spaceport"
And again, lowercase.

"some… delays"
need a space before the ellipses, too.

"You heard the Spectre, double time it marines."
"You heard the Spectre. Double-time it, Marines."

" Nihlus' "
Nihlus's

""Damn it Kaidan,"
Damn it, Kaidan,
Direct address gets a comma before and after, if possible.

Check all your instances of Marines (should be capitalized). Also, double check apostrophes and such. Strunk & White gives the rule for the S even if it ends in S. Overall, very nice, solid chapter. Very effective. Could possibly use a little more description, maybe. Oh, and make sure if you have one person's dialogue, you don't have a different character's action in the same paragraph. Each character gets their own. Overall very nice chapter, though.
Lady Amiee chapter 3 . 10/19/2014
Oh my God. I need you to teach me how you have learned to write Javik so well! His voice was the clearest I've ever read, and bloody hell I loved it. They way he kinda bounces off Shep, I can just see their partnership / friendship being explosive and intense to read.

The dialogue is really strong and well put together, with a lovely natural flow that kept me happy and content as I read through. I couldn't find a single fault.

The only issue I have, and it's more of a personal thing, is the length. I hate reading long chapters, and I know this isn't massive, but it still felt a little long imo. Anyway, not really a negative, but I have to do some crit, lol.
quantum-enigma chapter 2 . 10/2/2014
CHARACTER: Shepard is determined to endure, fight, and escape the cave.

STORY: She discovers a hidden extra-terrestrial setting and culture.

TECHNICALITIES:

[...] get herself together, [t]hink!
[...] ghosts of her old [teacher] gone.
Her heart still raced from the descent. [Her] mind raced with it as she stared off into the dark. (Reword with: ‘Her heart and mind raced from the descent.’ We already know she’s been looking around and staring into the dark.)
She reached around herself, groping for a light, a weapon, anything to shed some light on the pit she had fallen into. (Why else would she be looking for a light? I doubt for a cigarette. Reword with: ‘She reached around herself, groping for an object that could give her light.’)
[T]here’d be hell to pay [...]
The walls were a deep and oily black, smooth almost in their entirety[,] except for [where] deep lines seemed to have been etched in, [forming] strange patterns. (Or: ‘etched in strange patterns.')
The surface seemed almost to absorb any light which fell on it, leaving strange and contorted shadows that danced as if cast by a candle.
(This line only makes sense if you want to establish that the wall is literally stretching in places, or the source of light is moving. I’d just delete it.)
[...] on the hard[-]packed floor.
[...] walk become a single[-]minded [...]
[...] piercing cry drove itself [through] her like an ice pick.
[...] colonist husks[,] but [...]
Some were little more than skeletons, skeletons that showed signs of many pointed teeth. (Is skeletal physique the most noteworthy find described in the sentence, much less the entire paragraph?)
[...] from a root[-]like growth [...]
Shepard hazarded a [glance] [...]
wrinkled[,] but unscarred.

(Cinematically tense scene, by the way. Good work.)

closed a two-fingered claw around her [ankle].
Her eyes followed it up the leg, her eyes eventually [...] (Delete second instance of ‘her eyes’.)

On to the topic of the particle rifle. First Shepard is armed with a knife, which she uses to take down the first Collector.

Soon after there's a time skip in the story, and you write: "Close to her chest, she clutched at the strange and angular weapon she had scooped from the ground."

Shepard finding the particle rifle was too important to skip over and reference so casually, because she's in a desperate situation. She is injured and alone with few resources to defend against multiple enemies. Finding this gun is a big deal.

Matters are confused a little later: "Shepard had held her knife before her like a long sword. . ."

There's zero mention of her putting away the knife and taking out the gun before the line: "Shepard pointed her weapon at it, pulling hard on the activation stud."
quantum-enigma chapter 1 . 9/22/2014
This chapter respected the Eden Prime mission from the first game, with enough minor divergences to keep things borderline fresh. It reads maybe a bit too much like the novelization of a video game script for me. The action, while certainly well-written in itself, threatens to drown everything else at times.

You know how to write biotic powers. Those were the most interesting parts. Shepard feeling the effects of implant activation and over-exertion were nice touches.
V-rcingetorix chapter 2 . 9/14/2014
So, Javik is discovered 3 years early? An interesting premise.

It looks like a bunch of Collector people were sealed in with Javik, or did the radiation bomb get everyone too? *mental note, do NOT detonate a radiation bomb inside the house*

Shepards' use of the Particle Beam weapon demonstrates either how easy it is (point-and-shoot) or how talented Shepard is at working weapons. The game has the gun unfold a bit, but not too much.

One question, how did Javik become separated from his gun? And why aren't there more guns around if there were nearly a million Prothean warriors stashed there?

Good chapter, keep it up!
V-rcingetorix chapter 1 . 9/10/2014
Well, certainly a interesting way to make the Virmire mission redundant. Lose Kaidan in the first 20 minutes of gameplay ... or his he now related to Jenkins?

There was only on real grammar error: *had to halves* I think you mean, "had two halves" right?

Just as a flow issue, earlier there is a statement: "... she barely flinched as she fired ..." While it is perfectly correct, repeated use of the word "she" bumps the liquidity a bit. Maybe, "firing the shotgun one-handed, barely flinching at the recoil."

Otherwise, very good. The descriptions are concise, yet descriptive (you avoid the Les Miserables trap), and the main ideas are conveyed without trouble.

The story has potential. Keep up the good work!
bluekrishna chapter 2 . 9/9/2014
Oh snap! Javik makes his debut with a dramatic flair. Everything we can expect from our favorite angsty prothean. Good chapter with few errors (mostly the same old, missing commas, etc). I like how you've isolated femshep here. Hope to see some bonding with this pair as they fight to survive huskified protheans. About the only real crit I have is the proliferation of was/were and adverbs. But so far, the story has me intrigued. Can't wait to see what happens next.
bluekrishna chapter 1 . 9/7/2014
"Taking advantage of a lull in fire as Kaidan leaned to unleash a torrent of covering fire..." muddled. there is a lull but then there isn't. needs clarification. maybe add 'enemy' before the first 'fire.'

"Advance!" again she dipped..." not a speech tag, so capitalize 'again'.

"The shockwave threw them back in every direction." seeing as 'shockwave' is the name of a biotic ability, this can seem confusing. maybe, 'the shockwave of her nova' would be better. cuz, shockwave is a directional attack, like a ray, with your character at the point of origin. 'every' direction isn't really an apt description of what it does.

"A small spaceport just peaked above the hill..." *peeked. i mean, peaked sort of works, but peeked is the better match to this idiom.

"Kaidan Alenko was a capable yet guarded officer..."
"Ashley Williams, a marine with the local garrison." while these bits of exposition get the job done, that is, tell us who these people are, they break the flow of your story, the action pauses while these sentences are read. this information could be seeded in dialogue, or to be honest, left out completely. we, the readers of mass effect fanfiction, already know these characters. unless the information is something we don't already know, something not canon, then it's not exactly something that we couldn't do without.

"Clear!" her squad mates moved..." not a speech tag, so capitalize 'her'

"You heard the Spectre, double time it marines." could be broken into two sentences for better emphasis. also, there should be a comma after 'it', as it's a direct address to the marines.

"...do these things without asking?" she added a sharp rap..." not a speech tag, so capitalize 'she'.

kaidan go boom? KAIDAN GO BOOOOM?! well, that's an interesting twist. not many kill a squaddie in the first engagement.

anyway, pretty good start to an au fic. certainly didn't see that coming. also, vanguard is an awesome class. i don't play it half as well as it deserves, but it is hella fun. all that charging and nova-ing. so fun. but that's beside the point.

got lots of passive verbage in here, as well as some very soft POV sections. like the part about the geth's intelligence losing cohesion because of their many casualties. how does shep and co. know this? pretty sure this is the first time humanity has encountered geth at all and that shep doesn't learn about how their collective works until tali shows up. so, this sentence seems like it's from the geth's perspective. i'd probably cut it completely out. it's not really necessary for the story at this time.

but still, pretty interesting beginning. i shall enjoy finding out where this is going. especially now that Sir Buttchin seems to have been killed off. i say seems, cuz you never know with core characters. lol.
MassEffectBountyHunter chapter 1 . 8/22/2014
Wow I liked this! Awesome chapter!

Your descriptions were fantastic! Your detailed action was very enticing, not to mention the awesome twist at the end of the chapter! No one saw that coming! I also like how your Shepard has a definite tone is this story! Overall, excellent writing! I can tell this is you as a experienced writer versus you as an inexperienced writer at the beginning of Interloper! Great writing, keep it up! Oh and not sure 'Geth' needs to be capitalized
xzmy chapter 2 . 8/20/2014
Another lovely lil' chapter, a different feel to the first one.

I have to say I was wondering how you'd begin the chapter and where it would be set. I was completely wrong and I was unexpectant of this. It gives off a really good atmosphere. The way you describe it first off, as dark and unknown, gives an immediate feeling to the reader. It's not something you need to dive into excessive detail with, it provokes an obvious reaction and feelings. This is helped also by how Shepard reacts. Even she is feeling a tad bit hopeless, so the situation must be very serious. It's very well put together.

The few engagements that follow are well described too. It just seems claustrophobic and that's a great thing to utilise. It can be very effective if it's done well and its safe to say you've done it well. The section in italics where you describe the environment and vivid, its easy to imagine and also, perhaps more importantly, it is suitable considering the area.

The suspense when Shepard is grabbed is key I think. I didn't imagine Shepard would die, but it made me think that she was about to be captured or 'preserved' somewhere. It's well executed, isn't over done and isn't made obvious that everything's going to be fine. The revealing of the next character is also interestingly done. It's not dramatic nor does this character appear to be the saviour (yes it kills the creatures around Shepard but it's not clear if it was done to save her).

Genuinely no complaints, can't find anything to improve here. A very nice chapter again, Liddle.
xzmy chapter 1 . 8/17/2014
That was a very good opening chapter, with the right amount of action and character interaction. I think the combat is realistic when compared to combat in the game and its good that it shows Shepard, Alenko and Williams still need to take time to ground down the Geth forces. I also really like how you describe the use of biotics, its a sensation that I can imagine and can almost feel. I think the pacing of the chapter is good too. It opens with a bang and then fades out into that dialogue with Nihlus. Its quite a short dialogue between the two, but even then I think you portray Nihlus well and give off Shepard's professional nature (as there was no retort when Nihlus cut the comms) throughout the chapter, especially when the group is to be split up. I think that also allows for character development, since there's only one moment in this chapter where you see Shepard isn't all business (the interaction with Kaiden when Ashley leaves). The combat with the husks is also very good. I especially like Shepard's subtle but telling reaction to seeing them. Also the little things, such as the overheating, its a really nice touch. Sometime the little details can make a chapter! The ending is one I love. Its quite subtle, really, as not alot is made out of what happens and doesn't happen. It evokes questions in the reader's mind. I'm already guessing why the bomb went off without heaving a shred of evidence to help me! It also leaves me questioning where the second chapter will begin and if Shepard will forcibly change due to Kaiden's death.

When the dreadnought flies back into the sky, I do really like how it was described. I like how Shepard almost ignores it first, while his squadmates seem to note it. I'm speaking out of personal preference, perhaps even in a contradictory preference, but I think Shepard could of reacted to when it moved. It wouldn't to have been a huge reaction, where Shepard immediately ponders what it was, why it was there etc. It seems like Shepard doesn't even acknowledge it, as Ashley mentions it's moving and Shepard doesn't seem to notice or look. Then again as I've said, Shepard is very professional in this chapter (and rightly so) so perhaps I shouldn't be mentioning it.

This is a very good opening chapter and I'm already asking questions and wanting to read more, triggered by a subtle but classy ending. I'm intrigued to see where this event takes Shepard and the crew's reaction to it. I want to read more haha! I also want to see what happens when the combat is pushed up a notch, because I want to see how that will be described.
TinyTurian chapter 1 . 8/12/2014
First of all, sorry that I'm reviewing something you published 2 years ago. I'd rather have checked out your most recent ME fic, but seeing as I han't read the story it was a continuation of, I decided to try this one instead. And I really like this first chapter. I personally find action scenes pretty difficult to write, but you obviously have no problem with it. Your Shep seems pretty cool so far too, and the fact that you've accomplished this without making her swear excessively (which seems to be the trick a lot of writers use to make a character seem 'badass') is impressive.

I'm usually not a big fan of fanfics that take place during the canon storyline, since i already know what's going to happen. But I like that you stray from the in-game dialogue. That freshens it up a bit. And according to your author's note the later chapters branch away from the original plot, which sounds promising!
nobodez chapter 14 . 1/11/2014
So good, can't wait for more.

Oh, and I'm so stealing Javik's line from a few chapters back about landings and combat operations. I'll give proper attribution, of course, but you just can't beat a line like "any landing under your own power is a potential combat operation. Landing under someone else's power is a failed combat operation."
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