Posted Apr 03 2013 - 11:36 PM
Hey there Nohiki! As part of the ECC's charity review initiative, I'm here to give this here story a review. While I won't go into as much detail as a formal ECC review - I have a bad tendency to get a little over-critical in those - here's a quick rundown of my reviews: I like to hit up prose and style first, and plot and content afterwards. With that said, let's dive in!
So, like I said, prose. I'll be honest, this is the part that needs more work, so my apologies for starting off on a critical note. While you haven't got any deal-breakers in your prose - nothing left me confused, nothing was overly difficult to read - there's some issues that, I'll be honest, kind of hampered my enjoyment of the story. The biggest thing that comes to mind is that you have some tense troubles as you write; for a quick example, look at this:
For the bolded part, you've slipped into the present tense for the narration, while the majority of the narration (and all of the action here) is in the past tense. While switching between tenses in a writing isn't impossible, it usually needs some more significant divisions - when it happens mid-paragraph, it throws the reader off. You also run into a few other tense troubles (eg. "Sparks blossomed all over her chest with a pain she didn't feel since the Landing."), so I'd recommend watching out for that in your future writings.
With more sobs, the So-Taran started dragging herself towards the rocky hill, desperately holding on to one of the lightstones. With any luck, the villagers will be able to see her and either they send help, or at the very least she might be able to warn them before she passes away.
The other thing I'd like point out that I really noticed was that you seem to rely on simple color descriptions a bit much - I saw a lot of "blue insect", "blue warrior", etc. To some extent I can't blame you (this is Bionicle, after all), but personally I find it kind of jarring when I see the same description or phrase used too often in a work.
All that said, as I mentioned above, you haven't got any really major issues in your prose like unclear sentences or syntactic troubles, which really can sink a story. And though I noted above that you relied a bit much on certain descriptions, you've made a strong effort to keep things descriptive, which is always important - if there's no detail in the writing, the reader winds up floundering about with no mental image of what's going on. I also enjoyed some of the vocab you used to match their more 'mechanical' status (eg. 'equipped' - have to admit I'm not a fan of "they were just about to terminate me", but that's just a personal preference.)
Anyways, moving on - plot! You've got an interesting concept here - a kind of alternative version of the universe we're used to, with both common points and very foreign ones. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about the "exposition note" at the end of the starting chapter - to be honest, it's a little clunky, but given that you wanted to get to the plot right away, and given that without quickly establishing the ground rules for this world it'd be very easy for a reader to get lost wondering what in the world is going on here (are they supposed to be Matoran? Where's this taking place? And so on) I think it works. But it is a little dry - maybe try working a bit more into the narration instead.
That said, I actually rather enjoyed this premise. It's fun seeing an alternative twist on the traditional ideas for the series, and the links that there are (writings that seem suggestive of the Great Beings, parallels to the Toa and Matoran, etc.) definitely serve to pique my interest. You've also built up some interesting little details for the species in terms of how they differ by dint of being mostly mechanical - things like the chips in their helmets and the like, and the conversion to a "Toa" involving what appears to be some transfer of consciousness. Similarly, you've worked in some details on the culture and history of the Tarans, which serve to spice things up.
At present, the plot's pretty much just out of the starting gate - arrival, Ariaka finding her new role, introduction of mysterious antagonists - but there are promises of more to come, which is always a good thing. I'm particularly curious as to if there's any in-universe reason behind the parallels to Mata Nui - if this is the Great Beings' doing, why? And if not them, then who? Keeping the reader curious about the world is a definite way to keep them hooked, so it's good you've got me thinking these things.
And though this is more an incidental thing - it is nice to see a Bionicle fic with both the protagonist and deuteragonist female. I do wish there'd been a little more buildup to their friendship, though - the time skip sort of glosses over how the two went from sort of snappy survivors of the landing to bosom friends. Of course, there's always time to fill in backstory bit by bit.
To sum things up, then, though the prose could use some work, you've got a promising foundation here. Though there are risks to taking the 'alternative' approach for a setting, you've peppered in enough details and quirks to keep me interested. At present, things haven't advanced very far, but in the future I think there's a lot of places this story could go. Of course, it's up to you to take it there.