Reviews for Speculum
persevera chapter 1 . 3/23/2013
I like N's autobiography at the beginning. I love how compassionate he is to the Pokemon and that he has their trust, despite being one of those humans who often hurt them.
I love the description of his father's voice as an icy pool. It's interesting that even though he is obviously resentful of his father, he seems to be a lot like him.
Nice foreshadowing in N saying "As far as I knew, this was fact." As someone who doesn't know this fandom, I wonder what he will learn is actually fact.
Zekrom seems to be a great character. He has wisdom of the ages. I like how he explains that immaturity is a human concept and points out the similarity of N and his father.
I'm curious about Nai. Why does he speak of himself by name? Is he abnormally immature for a twelve year-old? Does Zekrom know or sense something about him, that he would set down in front of him.
I love the last sentence. It says clearly that these two will be important to each other, in one way or another.
Zias chapter 1 . 3/23/2013
Okay I know nothing about this N. character; I’m only familiar with the first TV series of Pokémon, so I don’t know what is cannon or not.

I have to say I love you beginning. It really drew me in and got me very interested in this N. You created a conflicting image of the father that just makes me want to learn more. He’s cold and distant, but then comes across with good intentions, but something happened that made N hate him again, fascinating. You give a lot of info in those four paragraphs and with every bit I want to know more.

One minor thing, and this might be because I’m not familiar with the cannon, but who is Anthea.? She gets mentioned, she raised N, but she’s just a name. What is she? Nanny, Sister, Bodyguard, Pokémon, Super Computer? One or two words so I can place her would help give her a shape.

I like Zekrom, He comes across as quite wise and mature, which I always like in a dragon. Almost the opposite of N. This is probable why the two work well together. This first interaction between the two characters is very well done. You give us a very clear picture of the relationship between them.

Another minor issue I had was that I didn’t immediately get that they were flying. “Below him was the large black dragon known to the world as Zekrom” This, to me, doesn’t create a picture of someone sitting on top of a dragon. More like someone standing on a higher surface, like a rock or a building, looking down.

All in all I think your very good in showing a characters personality in a very short space of time. Within a few sentences I got a clear idea of N, Zekrom, Katrina and Nai. And they are the main reason I want to read more.

Also your ending was visually very good and it ended exactly at the right spot. I’m looking forward to reading more.
DjinniFires chapter 1 . 3/21/2013
I'm only familiar (slightly) with mid-90's Pokemon games and TV show (when my sons were little). I'm happy to see N (even if you're just being true to canon), a character with more maturity, layers, and concerns than the early guys who just wanted to "catch 'em all." I was reluctant to read a Pokemon fanfic but was pleasantly surprised.

N's relationship with his father is interestingly portrayed, both in the italicized narrative backstory and in how it crops into the story later: "He ignored the fact that anger made him sound like his father. Even now he did not wish to think of him." And in the sentence about his father creating him which I'll quote for a different point.

I also like the introduction to the relationship between N and his clearly older, wiser Pokemon (legendary, evidently). "It is a trait of the empathic to look past the flesh," is nice wisdom from the Pokemon.

The description in the 2nd-to-last paragraph of the characters from your two opening scenes coming together is good: N and his pokemon as seen by Nai. I don't understand the last line but don't need to as it's a good hook to the next chapter: "...almost registering the universe unhinging beneath their feet."

My only nits are two points of confusion.

The first is phrases in paragraphs 8 and 9 referring to characters that don't clearly refer to specific characters. I truly thought there were at lesat two humans and the pokemon in the scene until I read further and didn't receive reinforcement that there was a second human. From the start, I'm not sure whether the "teal-haired male" is N, though I think it is. At the least, attribute who is saying "N" right off-at least by describing the voice-and place N's reaction to the speaker in a new paragraph. At the end of paragraph 8, I still don't know whether it is N the male human or Zekrom the male Pokemon being referred to in "The young male was not certain he liked that."

The second is confusion over which concepts are being referred to by various pronouns. In "The young male was not sure he liked that," what is "that"? The fact that he was questioning everything? In paragraph 10, what is "...and you know that"? Is it the concept of "not wanting to admit the truth"? And in paragraph 11, "And he disliked that, immensely he disliked that, and he didn't know what to do about it." Is "that" the concept of not having formulas to provide a solution? But what is "it"? The fact that he dislikes not having formulas? The lack of formulas? And in paragraph 15, I don't understand what "that" is again in "How would one see that?" And in paragraph 23, the 2nd-to-last sentence the antecedent prounouns for the "its" and "that" aren't completely clear.

The strength of this opening is presenting pokemon and pokemon trainers as characters wrestling with deep, complex issues. Most of the time the writing communicates this complexity very well. Getting back to N's relationship with his father, I thought the following reference to fate was stated in a way that is both clear and intriguing: "You chose me because Father created me for the purpose of you doing so." Wow!

Minor nit: Use a comma when including an address to someone else in dialogue, i.e., paragraph 12, "We Pokemon are not always so wonderful, N." paragraph 17, "Are you saying I am immature, Zedrom?" Paragraph 20, "I chose you as my hero for a reason, N."
Datonman chapter 2 . 3/17/2013
I like the characters ‘N’ and ‘Nai’ meeting. I feel like something good will come between them. It makes me remember the line V gave to Evey as they introduced each other in the movie ‘V for Vendetta’ .

“V’, ‘Evey’, yes of course, you are…” V says.

“What does that mean?” she asks suspiciously.

“It means I like God do not play with dice and do not believe in coincidence.” he states.

In other words, maybe its fate that N and Nai meet.

The first part of the story I enjoyed for the introduction of two main characters and their behavior is explored. We have ‘N’ who is a serious pokemon trainer and also a savior who believes Pokemon should be free, as you the author pointed out. ‘Nai’ is also a character who enjoys playing with pokemon. The character starts off as naïve. Who wouldn’t be at a young age?

I always liked Pokemon and I stopped when 150 became 250 and 350 and so on and so on. So it was hard to keep up. Pikachu was always sort of like the mascot in the pokemon games, comics and cards. It was nice of him to show up in this. It felt nostalgic to me in a way.

Since N grew older, it seems that his life is a hard and somehow is careless when it comes to pokemon’s health. As strong as the character N is, Nai seems to be more of a nurturer. It makes me think about Nature vs Nurture in a sense.

As far as the style of the story goes, I feel your paragraphs and statements are put together well. So far, I don’t see any spelling errors. Although you forgot to put a question mark at the end of the line of "What about my Pokemon," N asked warily. “What about my pokemon?”

Other than that, the story sets itself up good. Keep it up and hopefully I’ll R/r more.
Lady Paprika chapter 1 . 3/13/2013
Hooray, not fandom-blind at all here, so this'll be good. (I actually did write an M-rated fic of N that I subsequently then deleted... Bahaha, so I'm *really* not fandom-blind here at all)

The setting up of this is actually pretty good. In the beginning, I was wondering where this was all heading. The introduction with N, is well, what we already know about him (well by playing the game actually), but towards the end, I kind of figured out where this was heading... A chance eye contact with Nai. Your pacing is pretty well done too. It's consistent throughout and it moves at its own gradual pace - Not too quick, but not so slow that I got bored which is an accomplishment of itself because usually I find prologues boring.

One nitpick - Is N's hair really teal? I always thought it was celery green. Teal seems too blue to me, but eh, I guess this is a tomato/tamatah comparison :P

You have a very unique voice too. It was a bit jarring for me to pick up at, at first because lately I've been paying attention to comma splices, and you have a lot. However, I can tell that you've done this stylistically. There's not a lot of SPaG errors here, so kudos to that!

I love the characterization you've given to Nai as well. He seems like such a little kid, so boisterous. It's really cute! I want to just pinch his little cheeks. :P

One word of caution - I think this would be good if you slightly altered N's dialogue. With Zekrom and N, it seems as if the voices you give them are one and the same. For Zekrom, it makes sense because he's this mythical, legendary Pokemon, so therefore it makes sense that he's this wise being. But N is usually personified as this guy who's awkward and speaks very fast (At least I think that's what he does... If I recall, that's what Cheren says.) Of course, this is set after Black as you stated so maybe he's gotten a little less socially awkward since then. But I find that he just sounds too much like Zekrom and if their conversation exchange just been their quotations, then I probably would have lost who was who. But that's all I really have to say. Thank you so much for the read. I definitely can't wait to tag you again. :)
Edhla chapter 3 . 3/8/2013
Oh, look, three for three. Really enjoying this, Aiko :) The following is a sort of running commentary as I'm reading along:

sighed."Please - The site ate one of your gaps, as it's apt to do :) I love that he doesn't understand the figure of speech, and your A/N really helps me with why he doesn't understand it.

"Carefully appearing clarity"- I love your way with words, Aiko. The rhythm alone of these words is wonderful.

Kat's finely tweezed eyebrow is not just a nice visual detail, it says a lot about Kat. I love descriptions that serve a purpose other than just making things look pretty :D

"Sighing like an old man"- again, beautiful work x

In this particular chapter, the dialogue that stood out to me most is Nai's. I was particularly taken with the "I'm gonna smack Simon on the head" phrase. It's so wildly *different* to anything N says- or Kat says- or anyone else says- and I love that you 're so confident in your dialogue that you can show us character through what people say and it doesn't sound forced or stereotypical.

"I hope I can run on water!"- d'aww.

Yes, I agree. Simon is creepy. Anyone who smirks automatically gets creepy-status. Ugh.

"Nai wants friends"- usually I hate it when people refer to themselves in the third person, which is kind of why I wanted someone to set Dobby on fire. This really works, though. *I* want Nai to have friends. And those last two paragraphs were lovely. Well done x
thats-a-moray chapter 3 . 3/7/2013
Feels great to get back to this story!

[Then he nodded slowly in carefully appearing clarity.] This sentence sounds a little bit awkward.

Simon's ultimatum seems a bit cruel and underhanded. He tells N he can choose however he likes but also subtly threatens to turn him into the authorities if he refuses to accompany Nai, which leaves N with little choice at all.

[They were never frightened or hateful with humans like other Pokemon of his. They were merely interested in them, distrustful only due to the strangeness. Or because of N? He had never asked.] This is a little confusing. The strangeness of what? And what does N have to do with it?

[For his kit, he had said when the creature had joined him, but he had never specified which.] I'm not sure what you're trying to say here.

[No matter his environment, the lad had only himself to blame. The man would not like to know that, admit it. However, it was a deep truth, one that the dragon itself could not say. Reshiram would of course, damn consequences. He could not lie; that other half of his.] This part is also a bit confusing. You go from using 'lad' to 'man' and I'm not sure if you're talking about Nai, N, or both. I'm also not sure what the 'deep truth' is. Is it that 'the lad only had himself to blame'? Who is the lad?

However, I adored Zerkrom's musings on Nai's dream. It's very true that a person can be happier just by wanting to make friends than they might be if they always strives for success. Nai's dreams may change as he grows older, but for now he's doing just fine.

I don't think there's much I can say about N that I haven't already. You're doing an excellent job of capturing his struggle.

My main criticism is that this chapter could use a lot of editing. There were a few places where I had trouble following what you were trying to say, which I've pointed out above, and also some SPaG. I'd also like to say that, even though I know it's not going away anytime soon, Nai speaking in the third person is starting to get a little annoying. Not distractingly so, but I think I would like him more if he spoke normally. I like him as he is but his speech made him difficult to warm up to.

Good chapter, keep 'em coming!

SPaG:

[The frank words would have made many other men quail but N admittedly knew very little on the justice system of the world they lived so the threat rather zoomed over his head.] I think you're missing a word here.

["People are easily able to given into fear Mr. N."] I think this should say "People are easily given to fear, Mr. N" or "People easily give into fear, Mr. N."

["Nai is going tomorrow to start to Petalburg City."] I think this should say "to start for Petalburg City."

[He hoped the child would do choose a proper path, a warm one with sunlight and friends.] There's an extra word here.
Edhla chapter 2 . 3/6/2013
Oh, look, two reviews in a row on something you wanted reviews on :D

That's an arresting beginning you have there, and although I bitched at you earlier about designating characters according to gender and wacky hair colour, I like "green as the tea"- except green tea isn't really all that green. Anyway... :)

I like how you're wavering in and out of the narrative with throwaway expressions like "kinda."

I'd lose "N was likely unaware..." you can convey that in other ways. I did like the complete missing of the hypocrisy though, and "strange child" is a great expression and one I should use more often.

"Smiling without a mouth"- what's it like, being you? I love expressions like this :D

I've got to admit that while it's probably canon, "N" trips me up every time, as it strikes me as shorthand and my brain keeps trying to convert it to another word.

"The very thought of breeding..." Bahahahaha. Well, when you think of it all like that... I can't blame him much. :D

"Dimmer aqua" I'd lose- not just because of my eye-colour thing, but because I cannot picture dim aqua- to me it's a bright colour by default and not different enough in my head from turquoise. :)

I like the level of detail you put into Pokemon and the characters here without it coming across as forced. I'm able to understand the premise and a few of the details without it feeling like an infodump. And as usual, your dialogue pleases me muchly :D
Edhla chapter 1 . 3/5/2013
Lookit how brave I'm being, Aiko. I'm finally tagging something you actually *wanted* to be reviewed, and I'm reviewing it even though I am old and boring and don't know anything at all about Pokemon. Check me out. :D

As with all your other work (that I've read :) ) this is a style I think should be patented as "Aiko." You work through so many different voices and approaches, from the simplicity of "I loved them" to some fairly complex sentences. Having said THAT, I wish to inform you that this is not vague to me.

"Teal-haired male"- this is probably just a personal thing (again because I am old and boring), but I've seen this sort of epithet (generally referring to hair colour and gender) in a LOAD of anime fics, and I'm not sure I like it, simply because of how often I see it- and because my mind's eye is weak, so I can't see a "teal-haired male." It's pretty obvious, too, that you could find a bunch of things to describe him as aside from the weird hair ;)

"I am afraid I do not follow." I don't blame 'im. That's a pretty longwinded way of saying "never judge a book by its cover", which I think does a great job of characterising both of them :)

Again, YMMV, but seeing a few said-bookisms. "Stated bitterly." "Rebutted." So on :)

"Pair of squeals"- loved this, and that you're writing with more senses than just the visual. Your descriptions really are amazingly vivid- you seem to really have this world in your head.

Not, of course, that there's a thing wrong with your dialogue, either ;) I'm a particular fan of phonetic stuff like "whassa matter." I can hear these people in my head. Except they have Australian accents. Go figure ;)

xx
ReadingBlueWolf chapter 1 . 3/2/2013
I FINALLY tagged you. I don’t think I’ve ever done it before! But I’m SUPER excited! I’m not familiar with the Black editions, but I have a friend who knows a lot about them and he’s been talking about them quite a bit lately, so I may know some things! I liked the first person in the beginning. That was a really nice way to start this off. I appreciated the little bit of background thrown into this. It wasn’t overwhelming or a lot. It was enough to give me a foundation to stand on and a basis for the story. Nicely done! Is the dragon talking to N? I was a little confused on that. “immature Zekrom,” This would end in a question mark. I really like the conversation between Zekrom and N. It’s really deep and deals with a very heavy subject. I also like how Zekrom made it clear he did not chose N because of N’s father’s wish. I had no idea they were flying until the end of that part. I think I missed something along the way. Eek! I really liked how Nai was brought into the picture. That was super cute. I figured that they would meet in the meadow like that, but I really liked how you did it. Nai is sweet and innocent. I didn’t catch how old he was, but he seems young. It’s adorable! I liked that he tumbled backward! I thought this was a very good set up to the main story. I really enjoyed it a lot!
SkyWideOpen chapter 1 . 2/9/2013
There's something inherently fascinating about a name which isn't really a name at all, especially when that name is as minimal as a single letter, N. There's just something deeply impersonal about having it stripped down so much, and for me it immediately raises all sort of interesting questions regarding his identity and past - yeah, I have a thing for names - and it ties into the dream sequence, which I *suspect* is a dream or memory of N's, being this sort of symbolic character, the everyman-saviour (or every-Pokemon-saviour) that all recan relate to. I'm aware this is probably all canon-related stuff, but I have a thing for names, alright?

Like how you've humanised the Pokemon in the way by giving Zekrom this clear personality, very befitting of the fact he's a dragon - strong, wise, thoughtful, and clearly something of a mentor. I like that N is clearly listening to Zekrom, but doesn't always go along with what he's saying (""Are you saying I am immature Zekrom," N asked with a slight curt edge to his voice." - though, just as a note, you missed a question mark here), displays quite a strong character and voice, very much befitting a hero-in-the-making - though, if I understand correctly, he's still young? If so, maybe make his voice a tad less stiff, a tad more colloquial to reflect that. Like the subtle allusions you make to daddy issues, too, despite the fact that N's father is the one who seemingly set him on this course-to-greatness. Nice tension there.

The Walkers' interaction is quite nice, very befitting of two young kid and their Pokemon, and the behaviour of the Pokemon themselves is nice to read, very playful and kinda warm. As far as ending a prologue goes, really like that you end it by hinting strongly at oh-god-everything-is-going-to-hell. I'd love if you could draw it out even more, though, expanding on their immediate "what the...?" reactions, maybe playing with sentence structure a bit - breaking up the prose to introduce the central piece of tension.

Anyway, nice start.
StormRex Lancer chapter 1 . 2/8/2013
You really described N's willing to search for the truth pretty well. Describing Zekrom's relationship with N is never easy, I mean, Pokemon's don't talk, and you pretty much able to describe how Zekrom is able to read into human's mind. Interesting concept. You have clearly played a lot of pokemon game which, sadly many people will deemed it crazy, but the upside is, you are able to write appropriate dialogues between Pokemon's and humans. Nice job! Other;'s have said it, you're a really great Pokemon author. :)
Her Royal Nonsense chapter 1 . 2/7/2013
I swear you're one of the only person who can make me read a fanfiction about Pokemon and really love it. You're a very, very talented author and don't you forget it!

Each section has its own voice and its own tone and you make it so bloody easy for the reader to tell each apart. It started incredivly strong - I was enthralled by the almost child-like tone of the narrator - its really tender and fragile. Your dialogue in the portion with N and Zekrom was fabulous (the only SPaG error I found was here, where N asks Zekrom if he thinks he is immature - you're missing the question mark but that was it!) and the ending was full of intrique and vivid imagery.

Really well done, not that I would expect anything less.
Byoshi chapter 1 . 2/6/2013
I'm not familiar with Pokemon Black, but I grew up with the franchise and know its basics, so I'm not going into this completely blind :)

Your writing on the whole reads smoothly and concisely. I struggled with a few sentences and didn't quite understand what meaning you were trying to put across, but it was nothing so major that it detracted me from the story.

I enjoyed the scene with N and Zekrom. The brooding, reminiscing tone matched the two of them flying and the whole scene read to me as something majestic and solemn. I particularly liked Zekrom's line here: ["And one thing that we have learned about creatures is that they are not always what they appear. It is a trait of the empathic to look past the flesh."] -that was brilliantly done :)

I also like how the pace changes completely once Nai and Katrina make their debut. Nai seems really sweet and I thought it was a nice touch when he referred to himself in third person :) Also, the Pikachu 'not my problem toots' deserves a mention - that made me laugh!

I like how both scenes tie in at the end to offer an interesting start to your story. I'd definitely like to read more - well done!

Byoshi
Vampcoffee chapter 1 . 2/5/2013
I expected 'father' to be a bad guy but he turns out to be alright. The opening is a little touching, emotional all that. Does a good job of showing who N is.
-And he disliked that-You don't need 'and'. Just start the sentence.
-Are you saying I am immature Zekrom- Comma before 'Zekrom'.
Zekrom speaking on the difference between him and humans is does well enough, but could be handled better. -That is incorrect human- Here, the 'human' is extraneous. Without it, Zekrom is talking down to N but with it, the line sounds clumsy.
-The base desires won out over all in the end, as they usually did for survival.- I think this sentence would better if it stopped at 'all'. The rest is redundant.
-sandpapery- Not the best adjective. Rough? Prickly? Abrasive?
I'm not really into sweet and cuddly but Nai and his pokemon are kindof adorable so good work there.
The landing was handled well, very shocking and powerful, however the last line uh... does that mean the ground is shaking? I'm not sure of what's being said.
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