|Reviews for The Archaeologist's Assistant|
| Lyrical Ballads chapter 12 . 5/13/2013
I usually don't read Ardeth/OC stories, but I decided to give this one a try because Jonathan's name in the summary caught my eye, and I just loooove Jonathan. I'm glad I decided to check this out because it's refreshing seeing an OC who's both likeable AND historically/culturally appropriate. And I usually try to review every chapter, but there are like... twelve of them and I would be up all night if I tried to review them all, so I'm gonna settle for one overall review of the story in general.
So, first off: Perry. Perry is seriously a great character. I wasn't sure what to expect when I first started reading, since so many stories completely ignore the fact that The Mummy takes place in the 1920s, that it takes place in Egypt, and that OCs should have personalities rather than stealing lines from the other characters. This is definitely not the case with Perry, and I'm thrilled with that! I love the fact that she's Muslim. It adds some wonderful cultural authenticity to the story, especially when it's clear that you know a thing or two about Islam, and I like how her religion is a significant part of her character.
Her interaction with Jonathan in this story is the BEST, by the way. I could happily read scene upon scene with just her and Jonathan, and I wouldn't get bored at all. You've done a marvelous job with Jonathan's dialogue and his bantering relationship with Perry is so much fun to read. It makes me wish that this was a Jonathan/OC story instead of Ardeth/OC (poor Jonathan never gets the girl, ever!), but oh well. I think he and Perry have a nice friendship dynamic and it's great seeing Jonathan being managed by somebody besides his sister.
Another thing I absolutely ADORE is the use of 1920's slang. It's always great reading a historical piece and seeing authentic language being used, and this particular decade has some great slang. I am overjoyed that you're using it in this story!
Also, I love the whole running joke of characters borrowing things. Every time somebody mentions that they "borrowed" something, I laugh, because it's just so funny. It's a clear reference to the movie, but it also makes a hilarious joke throughout the story, and stuff like that really stands out to me.
My only complaint is that there's a little too much movie dialogue. I found myself skipping over most of the movie lines, since I've seen the movie waaaay too many times to count and know the lines so well that it's... kind of sad, really. I would love to see fewer movie lines and more original scenes, but it doesn't change the fact that this is a good story. I'm enjoying it so far, and I'm definitely going to keep on reading! :)
| The Queen of Water chapter 12 . 5/13/2013
Cool, I will wait for Chapter 13.
| Brunette chapter 10 . 5/13/2013
Okay, so first off, I totally read this over the weekend, but we were so busy with traveling that I decided to put it off til I was home again. And here I am!
Second off, I'm going to be sorta lazy and review them together, since I read them together, and I can't totally remember where the line is between what happened this chapter and what happened last chapter.
(And thirdly, as an aside, don't feel like you have to respond to every one of my reviews unless you WANT to. Ain't nobody got time for that. I'm also the worst review-responder in the history of ever, so you know. It makes me feel less bad, which is always a priority. ;)
Anyway, the past two chapters.
So I've been seeing where you're going with setting up a past life for Perry since like...Chapter 1, maybe? (Whenever you mention that she's claustrophobic, but "can't remember where she acquired it" or something, because I remember thinking it was odd that she'd pinpoint that. Claustrophobia is a pretty common fear. It's like...my grandma's deathly afraid of birds. And whenever she tells somebody that, she has to explain how she saw a chicken being butchered when she was little, and it flopped around with its head off, and so on. Because pretty much no one is afraid of birds. But when my father-in-law says he's afraid of heights, half the people in the room are like, "Yeah, word." Nobody asks where he got to be afraid of heights. I think some fears, like heights and tight spaces are just connected to our innate sense of danger, and just "are." So the statement about having "no idea where she would have become claustrophic" is like an automatic trigger for "past life," because there's no reason why people are clautrophobic. It doesn't have to be tied to an event. It can be, but it certainly doesn't have to be. Not like a fear of birds or even dogs or clowns. That was a really long way of saying I've been waiting to see the full manifestation of her past life for a while now). And of course, that whole exchange at sword-point with Ardeth is pretty strong confirmation that there's something ancient between them.
To be honest, I don't really go in much for the past life stuff, but you know. Sometimes (though often not) the ancient Egyptian scenes are interesting. The thing I find compelling about it in this story, however, is the fact that Perry is a fairly devout Muslim, and Muslims don't buy into reincarnation. I think it'll be interesting to see how that affects her faith and belief system; maybe she'll find sense of comfort or understanding from the Med-Jai, who clearly live some kind of hybrid lifestyle between Islam and Egyptian god cults.
I'm interested in the way Perry's whole attitude about Hamunaptra has changed. At the beginning of the story, she couldn't wait to go excavate, but now that she's there, she can feel/sense the wrongness of being there; even Rick, who as far as we can tell, isn't religious or even superstitious, says "There's something out there; something underneath that sand." So I like that Perry has a distinct feeling that they need to leave, because the movie hints (usually cheekily) that the city has a "haunted" feel and needs to be left alone. Evelyn kind of willfully ignores it; Rick makes sarcastic comments about it; Beni runs away from it; Perry is the person who seems to be addressing it seriously, and I think that's a nice contrast to everyone else.
In general, it seems like both chapters were kind of heavy on movie dialogue, which - again - they were mostly group scenes and it's difficult to avoid. I thought the scene between Perry and Ardeth was particularly good, even though I sort of doubted how well she could hold up in a sword fight against him (swords are heavy, ya'll!). It was a good moment, even if it's been done before; part of the trouble with an Ardeth romance is that he doesn't show up til right here in the movie, and it's in the middle of an action scene, and it's just hard to put a man and woman together in an action scene. I generally don't think of Ardeth as the kind of person who'd cut a woman down (I mean, hell, he can't even kill the Americans when they're the only thing between Imhotep's regeneration). But the scene worked. It did what it had to do, and it was better written than most similar scenes.
I'm interested to see what Perry will do now. She's kind of stuck. Will she just leave on her own? Will she stay? Will she actively try to prevent them from resurrecting Imhotep? What comes next for her? She seems very convicted about this whole situation, and her convictions are usually the thing that rouses her from quietly, respectfully hanging back.
So, yeah, I'm interested to see what happens next. Perry seems to be at a point where she has to act, and I'm curious to see what she decides to do.
| Angelhaggis chapter 10 . 5/11/2013
I really, really love Perry's character. She is in no ways like all the carbon-copy sisters we seem to be getting now on fanfic and I cannot wait until Ardeth makes another appearance.
| FeliciaFelicis chapter 9 . 5/10/2013
Just wanted to say that I am REALLY enjoying this story so far
especially the additional scenes
Looking forward to reading more...
| The Queen of Water chapter 9 . 5/10/2013
Cool, I will wait for Chapter 10.
| Brunette chapter 8 . 5/9/2013
ZOMG. Look at you, finding your stride with this story! This chapter was marvelous on every level. You continue to write things I've never thought of before...Like what they did with the warden, for instance. Action movies kind of casually brush over the body count, but it kind of poses a problem in a story. I love the opportunity you took here to work in this whole burial situation, because it was frankly, hilarious.
This line actually made me laugh out loud:
"I can't believe he smelled this bad *before* death."
Dark humor is the best, and the whole burial was just funny and wrong in the best kind of way. I mean, nobody's gonna miss that guy, but you DO have to do something about a dead body regardless, and Perry's religious beliefs add this vaguely funny level to the whole thing, because she's making them bury him in the cloth.
This isn't the first time Perry's religious convictions have caused her to speak up and be more assertive, and I like that part of her character, particularly in this setting where most everyone is unscrupulous at least on some level.
I was also going to say, I think you've done a good job of kind of gradually defining Jonathan and Perry's relationship away from the flirtatious context it seemed to have earlier. More and more, he seems to be kind of a burden for her. A lovable one, but still not the kind of person she would want to be romantically involved with. I think you've kind of astutely picked up on the fact that Jonathan is something of a man-child. I think that's why, in "three" (does the third one count? I think not) movies he's never given a love interest. He apparently needs some taking care of, and he's not too serious about being an adult just yet...or ever.
So yeah, that's good.
Finally, nice s/o to The Great Gatsby! I love that book, and the movie's coming out this weekend! Have you read Lyrical Ballad's Beautiful Little Fool? It's marvelous if you like The Great Gatsby. He'll, even if you don't.
Anyway, this was great! Such a good chapter!
| Brunette chapter 7 . 5/8/2013
To start with the good, I love the end of the chapter. As you already know, I think Perry and Jonathan are just darling together, and I really liked their conversation about the Med-Jai and the secrets of Hamunaptra. I think it was a compelling and plausible explanation, and I kind of like that she's talking about Ardeth without even realizing she is...you know, it's like he's "present" even though he's not yet present in the story.
I'm also really fascinated by the whole traveling through the underbelly of the city situation. In the movie, there's really no explanation for how they found their way directly under the statue, but it had to have taken a while. So I like that Perry and Jonathan's conversation is taking place with that as the backdrop. You just keep bringing up parts of the movie I've never really thought much about, and I like that!
But, ahhh...the beginning of the chapter.
Something simply must be done about this movie dialogue. It's difficult, because it's logical that Perry is there for those scenes, and it's also logical that she keeps her mouth shut.
Maybe it just needs to be better balanced? For instance, the beginning of the chapter definitely didn't need to follow the movie dialogue word-for-word, because Perry's there and she's a part of the group. Even though Jonathan is her employer, they obviously have a casual relationship, and she's acquainted with Evy, so you had a little more wiggle room there.
The next part, where the Americans surprise them - not so much. Short of removing Perry from the scene (which doesn't make sense, unless she commonly faints from claustrophobia or something...which she doesn't seem to), you just can't avoid that whole exchange. There are too many characters and not enough reasons for Perry to speak up.
Not to be all, "When *I* did this..." but when I wrote Tramps and Thieves, I tried to focus as much time as possible on the in-between scenes, like the one you had at the end of the chapter. That way when I simply couldn't avoid the movie dialogue, it at least didn't feel overwhelming to the story. The OC for that story also wasn't really likely to contribute a lot to those group scenes, so I just tried to keep her some place else, and with the characters she *was* free to talk to.
So that's my main thought. I love the end of the chapter, the beginning was fairly ho-hum. Which is such a shame, because I really enjoy this story! I don't think you're totally damned by the situation, though. I'm trying to think what happens next...that's when Imhotep's sarcophagus drops out of the ceiling, and the warden dies. Hmm. Well, I believe in your ability to handle it, and also to include fun scenes like the one at the end of this chapter, and I'll just wait and see!
| Brunette chapter 6 . 5/8/2013
Certainly another nice chapter; you're right that it's here to move things along, so you know...not the most exciting ever. I'm more interested to see what happens when they get there, since Perry will be a little more in her element at the ruins.
She's also still out of her element here, which is interesting. The American men treat her differently than Arab men, but it's kind of demeaning and probably more uncomfortable for her, since she knows the aim is getting her in bed (where most Arab men share her religion and probably aren't). So it makes sense that she's basically quiet through here.
I'm curious if Perry knows who the Med-Jai are or not. How secretive are they in their own country? Would she at least know that there was a tribe who guarded Hamunaptra? I'm interested to see how that's handled. Obviously, since it's nighttime when she sees them, it's pretty possible she doesn't know whether they're Med-Jai (if she's aware of them), or just some Bedouins. So...yeah, I'm curious to see that in later chapters.
OH, something I've been meaning to point out...I don't know Arabic. I've been meaning to look up the stuff Perry says, but so far context clues have worked for me, until this little spat between her and Beni (which was fun, by the way). You might include translations at the end of the chapters, or italicize in English and indicate in another way that they're speaking Arabic. OR, give enough context that you don't have to tell us outright what was said.
For instance, I get that "hram" must be some kind of insult or demeaning term, because Beni is insulted. That was handled well, though we might have gotten a leeeettle more indication (like maybe a malicious tone, or his eyes widening/narrowing, etc), but in general, that was a good way of incorporating Arabic without going over the reader's head. Then they have the spat. Maybe it's not important that we understand what they said, and I can get that, but the fact that it's translated out is just too intriguing. What did they say!
Regardless I always love the use of Beni's polyglot characteristic. The range of languages spoken in the movie is just fun, and it's fun pinpointing where an OC might fall on that spectrum.
So, yeah. The last two chapters were good, but I'm so ready to read something with more original scenes. First chapter! You had me at the first chapter! More of that! :)
| Brunette chapter 5 . 5/8/2013
This was a good chapter. I think you spent the time you needed on the scenes; it'a not like you ever overdo the descriptions. And this was more reminiscent of the first chapter, where we got just enough of a picture without getting stalled up in it. So, nice!
This was pretty much the movie, which is fine. Probably the most interesting thing I've found about the movie scenes is that, for probably the first time, the action is following Jonathan rather than Rick or Evy (since Perry is Jonathan's assistant rather than Rick's sister or Evy's BFF). I've really never paid attention to how often Jon is sort of on his own or doing his own thing, but it happens a lot (you know, to build the Rick/Evy relationship). I like that he has Perry at his side through all of this.
I had one point of confusion, though. It talks about Henderson shooting the hook-handed man, as happens in the movie. Then it talks about Perry forgetting to return Henderson's gun. I'm thinking there's a point of incongruity there. ;)
Anyway, I'm off to the next chapter!
| Brunette chapter 4 . 5/7/2013
Okay, so I hate to say it, but each chapter I'm able to forgive you a little bit more for the movie dialogue, because you just include SO MUCH MORE. The original dialogue is almost always interrupted by Perry, and therefore at least slightly changed. And then it's surrounded by original scenes, which are just refreshing.
I really wanted to hate Perry being good at poker because like...she's beautiful and she's "violent" and clever and all, but it really was just a fun scene. And she's a fun character. I enjoy her a lot. I like that she takes her seat and plays poker in her nightgown because she knows that's not an opportunity she'll get very often.
And, seriously, HER AND JONATHAN. They should probably just have babies. Like, whatever to this Ardeth romance notion. Their chemistry is great on so many levels, and you might be hard-pressed to show me how Perry and Ardeth could be even remotely as good of a couple (I'll give you the benefit of the doubt, you know, because Ardeth hasn't even shown up yet).
On that note, you kind of touch on Jonathan's attraction to her, and then this happens:
"But, come to think of it, maybe I should find you a boyfriend on this trip, Pyrrah."
Which is pretty contrived, because...the thing about a man is, if he wants to be sleeping with a woman, he really doesn't want somebody else to be. It's a whole competitive testosterone thing. He has a bit of a joking tone through the rest of the conversation, and I think her general reaction to his proposition makes it clear that they are so not on the same playing field romantically speaking (which is important for this relationship, because as I've mentioned a zillion times, they're too freaking adorable not to address this), but still. I think it makes sense for him to kind of play off his little attempt to get her into bed as a joke. But I think offering to find her a boyfriend takes things just a twinge too far. Men don't really do that. (The studies, man! The studies! "When Harry Met Sally" and such!)
So that's my main criticism with an otherwise completely delightful chapter. This really is a fun story, and I want to read more. I think it would be nice to get a little more description/inner thoughts here and there, but in general, it's just plain fun reading. And I really enjoy it. And I hope you get the next chapter up soon!
| Brunette chapter 3 . 5/7/2013
Alright, so this chapter was better than the last. I really, really like Perry's inclusion in the story; I think she's fun and she adds a lot, and the fact that she's fairly Egpytian/Middle Eastern in her behavior (like wearing the hijab, for example) makes the prospect of her eventually hooking up with Ardeth actually feel realistic. In so many of these rendition stories, people brush over how big of a deal Ardeth (a traditional Middle Eastern man) falling in love with some random gun-wielding American girl is. I mean, you love who you love, but there's got to be something more than an attraction going on there. And Ardeth and Perry's shared heritage could be at least a piece of that.
Some thoughts on the chapter:
"But, as they say, people make plans and god laughs"
I hate being the guy who nitpicks the grammar/spelling, because that really has very little to do with your writing unless it's so bad it's distracting (which it's not, in your story). But God should be capitalized in this instance. There. Done.
"Looking dapper, if she did say so herself."
Are you SURE this isn't Jonathan/Perry? Because for real, they're effing adorable together. I love the last scene were Jonathan wakes up from his KO. Do you know, until this moment, I seriously never noticed that Jonathan isn't up there while Evelyn's bartering for Rick's life with the warden? I've seen this movie so many times, it's embarrassing, and I've NEVER noticed that. Never.
But also, what a great scene between them. I just love those two together. They're adorable. Have I used adorable enough to describe them? Because they are. And THANK YOU for saving us the extremely boring bartering scene between Evelyn and the warden.
On the topic of ol' Gad...Perry's sordid past with the warden is interesting. It's pretty sickening that he would proposition a child that way, which...even though he seems to be a pretty grimy character, I didn't exactly get the sinister molester vibe from him. (I suppose it's not outside his character, though, either). It adds a gritty depth to Perry's past, though, and I like that element, even though it made me cringe.
However, this confused me:
"Whereas Perry was completely comfortable in the prison environment..."
But I thought she was only in the prison that one time, though...?
Also this, a bit:
"Sensing that it wasn't her place to deal with this man (even if she had found his location for the Carnahans), Perry remained hovering behind Jonathan."
This isn't very like Perry. Also, knowing her character, it would have been a good opportunity to not blatantly quote the movie for half the chapter. So it's kind of lame to have her hang back and make the exchange between Evelyn and Rick take the exact same course as the movie.
However, I wrote that before I finished the chapter, and I feel a little bit less like Perry should have stepped up to the plate to deal with Rick. It becomes clear later in the chapter that, as a Middle Eastern woman, she does not have the same rights that Evelyn does, especially in the prison, which is a heavily Middle Eastern environment. Evelyn gets to talk to people like the warden however she wants, but Perry doesn't have that privelege. She's not even allowed up to the discussion, assumedly because she's wearing a hijab.
The facets you're including to this very delicate cultural balance between native Egypt and British Egypt are amazing, and you really need to expand on them more, because they're so fascinating. You clearly know a thing or two about this, and I'd love to see more than just a passing reference to Perry's limitations in her culture, and the kind of "clause" being Jonathan's assistant has given her.
Okay, next (and currently last!) chapter...
| Brunette chapter 2 . 5/7/2013
Alright, so. I'm back.
How do I say this? This chapter was okay. It had some great moments, and some nice exchanges between characters (Jonathan and Perry, seriously - they are just all kinds of great together. I love, love, love them). But there was too much movie dialogue. I have to applaud the fact that you actually worked Perry's dialogue into the movie's fairly naturally, without forcing her to steal Evy's lines (because seriously, there's no damn point in adding a character who's going to do half of Evy's talking for her). It worked, but I did a ton of skimming. And that's lame, because you actually write very charming dialogue on your own.
I can kind of see how "movie-verse" was unavoidable for this chapter, because they're finding Evelyn right at the point where the movie kind of gets started. So I'll give some slack there. But really, avoid that movie dialogue at all costs (also, watch it, because for us weirdos who know, it's very evident you're using the script and not the movie, which means you'll *GASP* accidentally cut out some great lines, i.e. "Think of my children!" which isn't in the script, but was a totally off-the-cuff moment for the actors).
So that's my lament on that. I haven't given up hope, though. This story still has promise. And I still like Perry. Her interaction with the curator was especially good.
Unlike last chapter, though, I felt like this one was a little rushed. We needed a little bit more description going on here, or at least more of the characters' thoughts. Something. There was too much movie dialogue and not enough other stuff.
A few (very) minor points of criticism:
"he pushed his headache and nauseousness..."
I believe the word you're looking for here is "nausea." :)
"...after having robbed so many unsuspecting people in his time. Part of Perry had wanted to let the burglar get away with it..."
This might make me the lamest reviewer ever, but robbery, stealing, and burglary are so not the same things. Robbery implies that the victim was threatened, usually with a weapon (which I don't think is in dear ol' Jonathan's character). Burglary implies that the thief actually broke into the victim's house and stole something from within their home/place of business, etc. but NOT their person (which isn't what happened; Jonathan was pickpocketed). I would just replace "robbed" with "stolen" and "burglar" with "thief." Then you're good.
On another note, I loooooved this:
"...all dashed to the aid of the map as if it were a dying person..."
I love this comparison! It sort of gets labored later on in the chapter, when it's again compared to a death, and a child. But that first use of the simile was so YES. I love it.
In general, it was a good chapter. Rough, but good. The first chapter really hooked me, and this one didn't as much, because it kind of made me worry that I'm going to be dragged through another word-for-word rendition of the movie. But I still really liked it (I didn't say this earlier, but when you used the movie dialogue, I thought the narrative commentary, usually from Perry's POV, was clever/observant). There was a really rough transition from the first scene in the chapter to them arriving at the museum (maybe a page break would be a good idea?). But honestly, in general, it was still a fun read. So now I'm off to the next chapter.
| Brunette chapter 1 . 5/7/2013
What is this, and why haven't I seen it before?
Of all the copy and paste junk that's in The Mummy section, it's impossible to find anything near as refreshing as this. I'm just loving everything about it. I love the way this story gets going, and your narration. It's succinct but engaging; you give just enough to paint a picture, but not so much that it slows down the pace. Perry's introduction is good. I really like her character, which is a feat in itself in a movie rewrite like this. I feel like this has been well-researched, and you really set up the context this story is happening in.
But the real star of this chapter is your characterization of Jonathan, and his interaction with Perry. I mean, what a great character relationship. I just adore the way they talk to each other. They've got awesome chemistry (are you SURE you want this to be an Ardeth romance? ;), and I just totally believe the relationship you've set up for them.
As an aside, the concept of Jonathan having an assistant is just hilarious. Working for that guy would be sort of the best and worst at the same time, which is what we can see here.
All in all, this is marvelous, and you've got me hooked. I'm officially following, and I look forward to reading (and reviewing!) the next three chapters when my evening calms down.
Nice work! This is charming.
| Angelhaggis chapter 4 . 5/7/2013
Intrigued as to where this is going. I hope Ardeth comes in soon. :)