Reviews for Speculum
DjinniFires chapter 4 . 2/14/2014
The characterization is good- -Nai's preference for evaluating people by body language (and whether Pokemon like them), but his easygoing attitude that other people like Kat having other favored methods is fine too. Nai's sweetness really comes out in this statement to Piku: ["Like… a place where Nai learns how to be strong and grow up, where there are lots of people to smile at and a bunch of sadness to make better! That kind of away is where he wants to go Piku!"] Piku is apparently (and surprisingly) the more wary one. Odd that Nai refers to himself in third person!

I'm a little jarred by the sudden switch to Simon's point-of-view (perhaps a transition or break is needed?), but I love his thoughts about Nai, especially: [...who was getting astonishingly heavy now that he had gotten past that stage of small and throwable]

In the next scene, in N's point-of-view, we see that Nai's good thoughts about N aren't misplaced. N has a good relationship with his fox Pokemon and is trying his best. His insecurity here is so d'awwww: [moving to make the bed as he had since he was a child. At least, he could do this much right.] In paragraph 5, since Zoroark is the one who looks at the clock, I was confused whether the POV had changed. Is it Zoroark who is communicating here: ["Sometimes, you must break what you love. You will be a king someday, and a king that will break the spirits of his people."] Suddenly sinister! I'm presuming Nai can't understand. When we're definitely in N's POV, it's interesting that he thinks of nice big brother Simon as "dangerous" (that's the delight of switching POV's). The bit when N is eavesdropping on Kat and Simon is more interesting because it's in (for the most part) N's POV. It's i ntriguing that N thinks of Simon as harsh when part of what he was saying implied he trusted N. (N *does* have low self-esteem.) The hatching gives you a good opportunity to mention N's bad relationship with his father and to raise issues about the beeding facility ("Isn't that degrading?" is an interesting observation about the pellet food).

I completely agree with N's discomfort at keeping his dragon in a little ball! That's one of the things that bugged me about the cartoons I saw way back in the 90's.

I suspect Nai understands (or will show himself capable of understanding) more than N thinks.

Scene 2, paragraph 13: Slightly awkward wording: [He had always wondered what entailed how breeding facilities worked. ]
Paragraph 21: adding "helplessly" to "Katrina fell silent" takes it out of N's POV (since only she knows how she feels) without really adding anything.
Scene 3, paragraph 3: [Katrina's expression was mul{{remove the second "l"}} lish but resigned.]
persevera chapter 5 . 11/9/2013
So Nai isn't as pure as N thought he was. It's like when a child discovers that an idol isn't perfect, but this time, it's the adult being disillusioned in the child, who has a more pragmatic view of the world than previously shown.
I wondered at first about Nai's ow! because it suggested he was whiling on the journey and that was something I wouldn't have expected from him. Maybe you could begin with his ebullience, commenting on everything around him, pointing things out to N and then...ow! It would seem to be more in character and I love this character.
[no longer nearby, but sitting near them]- This seems contradictory. Maybe you'd like to distinguish near with something closer, like right next to.
I love the paragraph that began [Nai wanted to sigh...". He's developing his philosophy for dealing with the world, an innocent stoicism. That challenges N's philosophy, which seems to be a combative idealism.
I'm glad this has been updated. Can't wait to read more of how they reconcile their pokemon styles.
Hurlstien chapter 5 . 10/30/2013
I've got X! It's what's keeping me from writing too XD

Anyway, review time!

Silky thread? I wonder what that's all about. Must be strong to get through Nai's shoe. I thought the accent of the zigzagoon fit rather well.

Ah so it was a Wurmple, the silky thread makes sense now. I'm enjoying the thought your putting into this, I never usually think about things like a Pikachu smoking out a tree with its electricity when I'm playing. And then there was Nai's change as he was concentrating on the fight. It shows his potential to become a great pokemon trainer. Also, Wurmple's disgust at the other pokemon serving humans was quite refreshing. That's something else I never think about, how the pokemon are each individuals with opinions. It completely passed me by that some may not want to belong to and fight with a trainer.

I really liked N's reaction to Nai catching the Wurmple, it was realistic for his character, and I like that he's second guessing travelling with Nai. He's finding it hard to adjust to someone who has no qualms with using pokemon for battling.

SPaG
[Yet Nai was nothing to worry about] I can't tell if this reads right to me, I felt the 'was' kinda clashed with the tense of the rest of your writing. Possibly try 'had' instead?

Another good chapter. I think the length is pretty much perfect, but of course it's up to you as the author :)
Princess Unikitty chapter 5 . 10/29/2013
looks good so far. like the idea.
DjinniFires chapter 3 . 10/28/2013
Quite a few months since I last reviewed this, so I hope I'm remembering it correctly.

N is a very intriguing character with his conscious attempts to appear like he understands what people are saying when he really doesn't. It's cute that he tries to assess the humans he's dealing with in terms of which Pokemon they're like.

I gather only N can understand what the Pokemon are saying, or at least translate their gestures and expressions into thoughts? (Otherwise Nai or his siblings would object to their rudeness!)

Interesting that sweet, innocent, thoughtful N would be considered a criminal in this world (for doing what?) He's guilty of being a human!

This is an interesting (albeit confusing at times, partially due to fandom blindness) introduction of a mentor to his pupil, perhaps a grown up "chosen one" recruited to pass on what he learned to a new "chosen one." Sweet that N is ready to forego his past grand schemes for Nai's simple dream of "Nai wants friends."

Nits:
Paragraph 9: [knew very little [[about]] the justice system of the world {{where}} they lived ]
Paragraph 11: [ People are easily able to given into fear ] Either "People are easily able to give into fear" or "People are easily given to fear."
Paragraph 20: [feeling utterly discomforted.] Probably "discomfited."
Y-ko chapter 1 . 10/20/2013
This title has been driving me crazy every time I see it, because I know there's a word that sounds just like "speculum" and means something gross, but for the life of me, I couldn't remember what it was. Turns out it's "sputum." Ick.
ReadingBlueWolf chapter 3 . 9/1/2013
Okay, I’ve been dying to get back to this but I had to finish the other one first. I was crazy about that fic.

I forgot that this reminds me of Charlotte’s Web. Fern was the only one who could hear them talking and she spoke back. That’s how N and Nai are, or so I had gathered. I really like how in touch they are with the pokemon. I do like how protective Katherine and Simon are. They may have ulterior motives to it, but I like that they protect Nai as best they can.

I like how Simon brings up the point that people easily give into fear. It’s so true. I also like the comment about what he did in the past always staying with him.

I like how Simon’s words are contrasted by the idea that no one point of view is right. I think that gives hope to this situation and maybe N can turn out to be more than he is destined for.

I really like how you make pokemon animal like instead of pokemon. It really brings a certain amount of realism to the piece.

It’s cute how innocent Nai is. I like that he invites N to drop of Poochy is.

I’m glad that N decided to go with Nai. I feel safer for Nai. I’m interested to see what happens there.
Hurlstien chapter 4 . 7/27/2013
I like how you've let us see N from Nai's point of view in this chapter, and how you've given Nai something he could specialise in; knowing body language and being able to read anyone's intentions be they pokemon or human.

[a king that will break the spirits of his people."] I liked this sentence, and it suits Genghis (sp?) and what he would say to N.

The bonding between N and Nai in the chapter was good; it is setting up for when they leave, at which point I'm sure different experiences will happen to them where different parts of their personality will come out and they can bond even better.

["Oh for Arceus' sake, stop calling him that! He's Keenan; he's just a child!"

"And you're just an outsider." There was a rustling snap of paper being straightened. Katrina fell helplessly silent and as quietly as he could, N retreated.] I'm enjoying the conflict about letting Nai go with N, and I'm wondering if Katrina will end up going with them, either knowingly or secretly? Hmm...

SPAG
[how much he was listening that Ne didn't jump] who's Ne? Or did you mean N or he?

Another good chapter with good flow and interaction between characters. Well done!
Hurlstien chapter 3 . 6/13/2013
["We've just met. Wouldn't it be… too much to ask such a request of me?"] - I like this, N's reaction is realistic and something similar to what I'd say. I'm glad you're not following the typical Pokemon happy-ass attitude and having him immediately say "Hey, yeah! That'd be a great idea! I'll pay for all his expenses too!" :D

["Please allow me to be frank with you." N stared dumbly for a moment, not understanding the figure of speech.] haha! I enjoyed this bit, quite clever!

[We can have you arrested as a wanted criminal Mr. N.] Wow, I wasn't expecting blackmail! But I like how you used N's past to your advantage here. Shows very good skills of character manipulation.

I've noticed you use [tea-green] to describe N's hair and eyes quite a lot. Perhaps you could use a synonym like emerald or olive?

I'm liking N's reactions [N felt his temper bubble underneath his Adam's apple.] it keeps him believable and in character. And I also liked his introspection on his past, [Perhaps this is how I made them feel].

I feel sorry for poor N, now; confused as to what exactly these people want with him and having to ask his Pokemon for ideas. It was really cute! And then bringing it to a head with the two sides of him [Could I really leave him to journey alone? Like Father let me journey alone?] and ["You were meant to be perfect. That one is flawed. Let him fall."] I get the sense part of N doesn't like the fact that there is another like him. Because he's always been the only one with such an unusual gift and praised and respected because of it, and now there's another to share the lime light.

Then that leads on to this, [No. He would not be like that man. He would help this child, this person who was like him.] I like how you've used his dislike of Ghetsis and want to not be like him in order to get him to help Nai. I think I'm going to like their relationship in the later chapters :)

I liked seeing N from Zekrom's point of view, it was refreshing and almost odd to know that the dragon thinks like that about his partner, even though it's not exactly a bad way of thinking about N. And I also like Zekrom's non-nonsense kinda attitude: [The second Nai's hand had rested on his neck; he had been easy to read.

Otherwise Zekrom would have simply thrown him off.]

The last paragraph was probably my favourite though, having Nai's dream be so innocent and small, but also something that no one can object to, and so won't (or shouldn't) lead to something bad, especially not as bad as how N's dream turned out.

SPAG stuff
[Simon sighed."Please allow me to be frank] just need a space after the period.
[People are easily able to given into fear Mr. N.] should be [give].
[Nai is a child Mr. N.] you could do with a comma after [child].
[Now he could see what Simon meant, Unshakable optimism] should be a lower caps [u].

Great chapter again! :)
Hurlstien chapter 2 . 6/12/2013
[His eyes, which were really, really grey] I'm guessing you're writing like this to bring across Nai's personality? As though you're writing from his point of view. I don't see that a lot, but I think it works here.

I like how almost 'alien-like' you've made N. I've never really thought about how he grew up predominantly around Pokemon and so probably wouldn't have any understanding of 'the social norm'. You've really shown it in sentences like these and the way he speaks: [N however, was terrified], [N was likely unaware of the concept of hypocrisy as a whole.] and [I suppose it is perfectly allowable].

I really love how cheerful and innocent Nai is, and that he speaks in third person, it adds to the oddity of him; he can talk to and understand Pokemon like N, and he refers to himself in third person which is something very few people do. You've made him even more unique. You're doing a good job with including all the different Pokemon natures, too.

[His voice sped with his heartbeat, something he feared would break his chest] - I really liked this bit, referring to the chest as a thing that can break, instead of all the individual ribs, muscles and tissue that make it up.

SPaG
[The boy himself was normally nothing unusual] I don't think you need the [normally] here.
[Regardless he took in the boy's vigor] there should be a comma after [Regardless].
["How…" In dismay] you don't need a capitol for [In].
[Yet there was something wasn't there?] not too sure what you were trying to say here.
["Yes but why?"] there should be a comma after [Yes].
["steroids thing] you're missing the second speech mark.
[Hence why he continued apparently. "Pokemon Breeding...] I don't think you need [apparently] and the period should be a comma.
[He wasn't that blind yeesh.] I think it would sound better with a comma after [blind].
[Also they need to be cleaned like this shell needs to be shiny.] would sound better with commas after [Also] and [cleaned].

I'm glad I got to review this story again, I've always been curious about N can I'm looking forward to seeing where you're going to go with this :)
DjinniFires chapter 2 . 6/6/2013
Overall, the interaction between the suspicious young people (N, Katt) and the smart but innocent young Nai was interesting and presented well. Many descriptions caught my attention. I particularly liked the three openiong paragraphs; the POV change between Nai (with his sensitive observations such as "To Nai, there was a tall, scruffy adult there, with hair as green as the tea he drank before bed" and "Whoever he was, he was probably really cool") and N (scared of the mysterious boy) worked.

The subtle conflict in N's mind is intriguing: he clearly admires Nai's knowledge, is jealous of it, and even finds it unsettling. I like the end of the first scene: "Even Carracosta and Vanilluxe in his Pokeball, his most antisocial friends, were taking well to this unnatural child. N wasn't sure he found that fair."

Several times I experienced momentary confusion that made me stop or even backtrack a few words; nearly all of these instances had to do with unexpected substitutions for character's names. One point is that a point-of-view character will probably not think of him/herself in terms of a substitution such as "the male" or "the young man" or especially a reference to what he/her looks like, e.g., "tea-haired male." Another point is that the substitutions still didn't always clearly refer to the character. Sometimes I thought for an instant that another character had entered the scene before realizing "the male," "the older man," etc. referred to N. I know that differentiating two males in a scene can be pesky; but perhaps pick one substitution and stick to it so that you can choose the character's name, a pronoun if the other character hasn't butted in, or the one clearly identifiable substitution.

The plot development at the end is wonderful: Simon's request that N show Nai around his region. The complex reactions N already has toward Nai plus Kat's suspicion of him make the reader want to see what will happen next.
persevera chapter 4 . 6/3/2013
I like it that even as innocent as Nai is, he's still perceptive enough to see N as [kind of skittish and definitely a rather weird person.] But being pokemon-approved went a long way. There's also his insight that the things that reassured Kat could be faked, but since he knew body language, he couldn't be so easily fooled.
["Sometimes, you must break what you love. You will be a king someday, and a king that will break the spirits of his people."]-This line from the king is curious. He said sometimes, not just 'You must break...' So he found it necessary to break his son's spirit to prepare him to be king?
[He's twelve years old, yes, long past the typical age of most trainers,]- Apparently this kind of trip, which just seems so unbelievable, is typical for trainers, even for those younger than Nai.
This will be an interesting experience for N, who seems to carry some residual feeling that pokemon are safer away from humans. Now he'll be learning about a system that raises the creatures specifically to be with humans. It might be likened to an abolitionist traveling with a sweet slave trader. They'll learn from each other, but maybe not really change their views.
persevera chapter 3 . 6/1/2013
I love the end of this, with Nai's simple goal that he does seem to be able to accomplish, compared to N's dream that ended so badly. Simon is obviously no fool. He wants to use N and his bad past history to give his brother a chance he can't give him and hopefully prevent him from being hurt by his naiveté, the way N was.
It does sound like a sweet, idealistic plan—to separate humans and Pokemon so that the humans couldn't hurt them anymore.
It's funny that Nai, who seems so innocent and whose sister worries about him when he's in the yard by himself, is able to make a three-day trip without supervision, with only a yellow rat to protect him.
[We can have you arrested as a wanted criminal Mr. N] There were several instances where someone makes a statement, then uses the name of the person to whom they're speaking, but there's no comma before the name.
[knew very little on the justice system of the world they lived]- If you wanted to rephrase that, you might say he knew very little about the justice system on the world in which they lived. Simple fixes are the best.
I'm looking forward to the boys' journey.
Edhla chapter 4 . 5/28/2013
Finally reviewing what you actually asked for, Aiko! :o *Cringes*

In chronological order:

"Hi Mr. Moon!" That's so frigging adorable that I think I just had an aneurism of cute. Thanks a lot :p (Incidentally, I think there should be a comma after Hi).

"He should be asleep." I've been frowning at that sentence for five minutes trying to work out if it's a tense shift or not, and I still don't actually know :o If it were mine I'd have written, "He should have been asleep", but for all I know I'm the wrong one. :o

"A rather weird person." This has such an adorably child-like tone to it. Like... almost like CS Lewis or something. I did notice stylistically that there was a lot of modifiers in this paragraph: "pretty" "that bad" "kind of" "definitely" "however" "simply" "clearly though"... you get the idea. If that sort of not-quite-certain semi-meandering tone is what you were going for, then rock on :)

"Sometimes Nai could be..." I'd rearrange this sentence to: "for a simple-minded boy, Nai could be complex sometimes." But again, I am not you :)

"Simon chuckled..." I'd put this on a new line.

"Small and throwable..." HE'S A KITTEN. KITTENS ARE THROWABLE. ;)

"sometimes you must break..." excellent. This is why I love you. That, and you understand that panda outfits are love ;)

"Waving an arm like a windmill" I can't do this, and it's not fair. I love those little throwaways :D

I know nothing about Pokemon, Digimon or any of this young kid's stuff ;) so the following part was genuinely an eye-opener for me and very well described.

Loved the last scene, and the final line is the high calibre of line I now expect naturally from you ;) Great work! x
persevera chapter 2 . 5/27/2013
Nai seems quite adorable. He reminds me of an autistic savant, with the contrast of his area of expertise (the care and understanding of all Pokemon) and his overall innocence and childish exuberance.
It's cute how N is completely overwhelmed by the young force of nature and just watches him in amazement.
From the other reviews not having mentioned it, I'm almost embarrassed to say that I'm a little confused by Keenan and Kat.
In the first chapter Kat yells for Keenan and then there's no appearance of the girl. In this chapter Keenan shows up and talks very maturely for six year-old and then Nai asks for something from Kat. When did she show up?
Oh well, that confusion I assume can be put behind me as Nai will at the request of his family go into the Hoenn region with a virtual stranger.
He does have an interesting dynamic with N and all of N's Pokemon.
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