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In Memoriam - Cenotaphs Review


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38 replies to this topic

#1 Offline Cederak

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Posted Jun 02 2012 - 12:10 PM

I promised an epic would eventually come from this. True to my word, here we are. All your comments, questions, and concerns about Cenotaphs can be voiced here. Enjoy.

 

-Ced

 

 

Episode 1: Rovaius and the Dream

Episode 2: A Chance Reflection

Episode 3: The King of Six Kingdoms

Episode 4: An Ephemeral Journey

Episode 5: Antithesis

Episode 6: Piraka by Any Other Name...

Episode 7: Brightest Midnight

Episode 8: Nexus of Depravity

Episode 9: The Last Frontier

Episode 10: A Royal Tryst With Arrogance

Episode 11: Reflections (Prelude to Disaster)

Episode 12: Dethroning in Progress

Episode 13: Inevitable Showdown

Episode 14: Live by the Sword...

Episode 15: Cascading Chaos


Edited by Cederak, Dec 24 2013 - 08:26 PM.

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#2 Offline fishers64

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Posted Jun 17 2012 - 12:07 AM

*looks at schedule* My.After reading this, I have to say it's a definite improvement over the original story. The details you've put into the story are interesting to read, and definitely improve on my understanding thereof (i.e. less "what?" moments). It seems that you took my suggestions on some matters, and for that I thank you - obviously I was pleased with the result :P. As for the second chapter, I like how you've brought out the character of Adrinor - given him realistic feelings and amnesia related to the scene at hand. Rivaius (sorry I've probably murderously misspelled those names) also emerges well with his characterization moment at the bank.

it was common knowledge that Barraki Takadox's legions controlled this region, but Kinatra and the ranch were of little importance to them.

Should be: "It was common knowledge that Barraki Takadox's legions controlled this region, but Kinatra and the ranch were of little importance to them."And so with that, I'll leave you to it. Looks great so far.

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#3 Offline Cederak

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Posted Jun 21 2012 - 11:06 AM

Thanks for reviewing, fishers64. I decided to abandon that really spread out schedule, mostly because it was a placeholder while I wrapped up a couple incomplete episodes. I'm confident now that they'll be written and edited in time to start posting this on a weekly basis. And yes, I really wanted to improve upon parts from Outlaws that people said needed some touching up or explanation. Glad to hear you enjoyed it. :)-Ced
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#4 Offline Ballom

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Posted Jun 21 2012 - 07:37 PM

Having missed the original Short Story, I was led to the Epic from your blog. However, I really enjoyed the first sections of it. Your style of narrations is quite interesting, and the first person point of view worked well, given that Adrinor's reactions seem a large part of the story. The overall introduction to our protagonist, and the manner of events unfolding, were all written quite well, and leave me anticipating the continuation of his journey. I also enjoy how it takes place in the times before the Great Cataclysm, as that seems a period often overlooked.Anyway, speaking of Adrinor, however, I do think that a few events were relatively tenuous, particularly his overall indifference to Torema's death, and his willingness to be an accomplice in it. This shows a callousness that doesn't seem to be particularly congruent with his overall depiction of a dreamer, or his shock about having to kill the Ta-Matoran guard. Still, other than this minor discrepancy, the rest of the events were very solid, with good characterization of the piraka, especially Rovaius.There were also a few other things that stood out to me. First of all, although I have no issue with your usage of the word biomechs to describe the biomechanical characters, it seemed you used it rather excessively, including in cases where it seemed redundant. For instance:

"You're going to kill more innocent biomechs?" I asked, already anticipating the answer.

Here, it seems that biomechs can be removed, as simply referring to innocents is fine. There were a couple other instances like this that I saw, so maybe some of the uses of it can be trimmed. For example, it seems that Rovaius would be the type of character to use more colloquial words such as fellows, or something to that effect, rather than biomech.

Stalgrax glared at him. "If your grammar matched your shooting, Adrinor could outgun you."

This sentence could probably rephrased as "if your shooting matched your grammar," given that whenever I've heard comparisons like this, the object of comparison that arose first in conversation is mentioned last, if that makes sense. A minor detail, but it seemed that the meaning was reversed when phrased as in the quote.Still, those are only very minor corrections. I will definitely be reading this and continuing to review as it progresses. Good work so far, Ced. :)~B~

Edited by Ballom, Jun 21 2012 - 07:38 PM.

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#5 Offline GSR

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Posted Jun 22 2012 - 12:52 AM

Caught your blog post, reminded myself of my decision to try and read/review more stories here, gave it a look.For the most part, I enjoyed it quite a bit. If I had one objection to name, it would be the pacing in terms of Ardrinor's character. While I understand there's not much point in meandering about in a nice peaceful prologue when the focus of the story is the main character's journey at first with a band of criminals and then who knows where, he really did seem to go from slight dreamer to gang member remarkably fast, especially given his initial repulsion at the gang and instinct to help protect his boss. He might have benefited from just a little more setup and a few more examples of his 'dreaming' - maybe show us something a little grander than him disliking his job and hoping to make a weapon from a Mahi horn some time.His behavior in the gang itself also feels a little contradictory at times; one line that really bugged me was his snarling of "not fast enough" to the guard. It's fairly incongruous considering how he's clearly on edge and desperate throughout the scene - comparing that apparent taunt to his near-fainting a moment later and half-apology of "neither do I" is jarring.On a more positive note, though, I quite enjoyed the gang's members' dialogue, and you seem to have a fairly solid personality in mind for each of them. In short, it's a strong start, and it'll be interesting to see where things go from here, since these two chapters are pretty clearly the tip of the iceberg.
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#6 Offline fishers64

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Posted Jun 22 2012 - 09:28 PM

Chapter 3:

My actions in Marilea had left me in something of a trance until late in the afternoon. I could remember tackling over the Ta-Matoran guard and keeping him pinned. I recalled the faint scent of raw energy leaking from my rifle's barrel in its thick, gaseous essence - a toxic fume that could kill you (and ironically carried a sweet smell) if inhaled for too long. I literally added insult to injury when I slammed my foot into the Ta-Matoran's shoulder wound my laser rifle produced. I grabbed his pistol, held it to his head, and whispered the last words he would ever hear. After that, I only had fragmented memories. Someone screamed. It could've been me, maybe even the Ta-Matoran, but it was probably a teller.

This section struck me as an overdescription. You’ve already told us this part of the narrative, so no need to reiterate it. Also, a part of it ran off badly:

I recalled the faint scent of raw energy leaking from my rifle's barrel in its thick, gaseous essence - a toxic fume that could kill you (and ironically carried a sweet smell) if inhaled for too long.

This is a run-on sentence. Energy isn’t a fume or a gas, to start with. All you have to say is “I recalled the sweet-smelling gas coming from my rifle, a toxic fume that could kill you if inhaled for too long.” instead of the awkward parenthetical.I can understand the need for a quick recap of previous events of you were jumping in from a long break, but it’s only been a few days, and readers who jump in later will just read it continuously; no need to halt the narrative to tell us what we already know.* * *The rest of the story, once you got into it, had a uniquely thrilling quality. I particularly liked this line:

"Ephemeral Wonder," Pridak groaned. "Ehlek came up with the pretentious title personally."Says the biomech who calls his fortress "Anxious Solitude." I thought to myself.

Nice way to end a chapter.Although revealing that the Barraki's rule will end in five years is kind of an uneeded giveaway - don't limit yourself on time span if you don't need to, and if you want it to end after five years of story time, it's okay to surprise us. :) And Adrinor isn't emerging as a character very well here - while I felt that these early sections established him as a young individual who is uncomfortable about killing, and this chapter reinforces that well, he isn't really a dreamer (or doesn't seem like it), and telling us this at the beginning doesn't help. He just wants freedom and isn't sure how to get it - he wants "something more, something special" than herding Mahi, but that isn't really a dream, just an ideal.The other characters are developing incredibly well though. I note the details about Pridak's cape fraying - little things that show that Pridak's hold on power may not be what it seems, and Rovious fumbling with his weapon - is his confidence a facade to hide other things? Impressive. So I'll leave you with that - good read so far. Mostly.
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#7 Offline Cederak

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Posted Jun 22 2012 - 11:27 PM

Thanks for the reviews everyone! Really appreciate the feedback. ^_^@Ballom: I agree that Adrinor can feel a little contradictory in these first few chapters. This is my first go at handling a character in first person, so dealing with his reactions and emotions is different for me than it was with third person. He's also a more different character than I've ever done, so this is uncharted territory in many aspects. Glad to hear you'll be back. :)@GSR: See Ballom response. And thanks regarding the gang's dialogue. I really wanted them to stand out, particularly Rovaius. I've come to like him quite a bit. And yes, there's plenty more twists along the way.@fishers64: I took some of your editing advice. Thank you for that. In regard to Adrinor wanting freedom, I would say it could be a dream or an ideal. I'm reminded of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, which was also in regards to freedom. A tad different, true, just something that came to mind. :PAnyway, with the epic pretty much entirely written out, just I wanted to let readers know the exact year Cenotaphs is taking place. The League is just background music to the more important story being told. And who's to say Cenotaphs ends with the League?-Ced
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#8 Offline Ballom

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Posted Jun 22 2012 - 11:36 PM

Yeah, no problem. As I said, Adrinor's been written very well other than that. And, having not much experience with first person myself, I imagine it can be daunting.Anyway, ah, the Barraki emerge. Another excellent chapter; the portrayals of Xia and Pridak's fortress were quite interesting. In particular, I enjoyed the characterization of the Barraki and, interestingly enough, actually correctly anticipated the test of Adrinor. I guess we both have similar views on how Pridak would act with those serving him. As Fischers noted, the minor touches such as his frayed cape were nice, as was the shark mention. Overall, I'm not anticipating this train scene, as it seems like it will be another interesting escapade of the group.One minor nitpick, though.

"I can't say I have," I confessed, picking up the dead cartridge. Pridak's demeanor while holding it managed to entirely betray how hot it remained and I instinctively let it fall back to the floor.

It seems that Pridak did not betray how hot it was. If anything, he concealed it, so perhaps word choice could be reconsidered here.~B~

Edited by Ballom, Jun 22 2012 - 11:37 PM.

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#9 Offline bleedingshadows94

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Posted Jun 23 2012 - 01:09 AM

This was so beautiful. Like, honestly. Your writing simultaneously makes me want to write better, but it also makes me just want to give up, because I know I won't be as good as that. XDAnyways, chapter 3 is very well written. I like how you're expanding so much on locations that have very little details about them, which allows for more things to exist as semi-canon, and not be taken as so out-of-the-water. And during the time of the Barraki's rule? That just gives me chills, it's so wonderful.The latest chapter was very well done. Character descriptions are so vivid, as well as locations, that I can see them perfectly in my head, and I get such an image, I wish it were real. You are a very talented writer, and this just proves it. I look forward to reading more. I'm very excited to see Adrinor's adventures as a hired gun for Pridak. This is so double-O seven, it's ridiculous. XD~Tobi
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#10 Offline Cederak

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Posted Jun 26 2012 - 02:30 PM

@Ballom - Fixed up that sentence. ;) And yes, with so much of Cenotaphs being inspired by a lot of westerns (new and old), I really wanted to do a train robbery. This will turn out a bit differently, but I think you'll like it.@Makuta'sdarkslave - Thank you so much. :) As much as the very critical reviews serve to improve upon my work, I'm always welcome to an entirely positive reaction like yours.-Ced
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#11 Offline Aderia

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Posted Jun 27 2012 - 03:05 PM

Well, took me long enough, but I did finally sit down to read the first three chapters of your epic.And before I forget, one thing that this review topic could really use is a glossary. My head doesn’t have enough room in it to contain all your literary genius at once :PAnyways, nitpicks first, as per usual. There weren’t many (any?) grammar/spelling issues that I spotted, props to you for that. But I did come across a few lines that bugged me.From Episode 01

The rough voiced biomech hurled an object over the counter at Torema.

Correct me if I’m wrong. Adrinor is separated from this scene by a wall and only knows what’s going on because of his sense of hearing. So how does he know an object is being hurled?

”We’re friends now, huh?” I said sarcastically.

This is more of a question, but is sarcasm the right word here?

”Yeah, you’re right,” I admitted. “I want to see the world, and I want to call the shots.”

So far, Adrinor’s been pretty unsure of himself. This line of his just kinda jumped out as a bit forward of him.Episode 02

I laughed. “Riding these Kikanalo? Seems a bit primitive, don’t you think?

The first line in this chapter stated that Adrinor spent his first day with the company in silence, and I got the feeling it was his uncertainty contributing to his silence. Then his first line of conversation with them that day was laughter?

The swirling blackness of sleep was accompanied by the ambience of midnight insects chirping and chattering to oneanother – it was serenity.

Beautiful description, right there, amongst others, but my problem with that is that your story is written in first person, and that particular line was like a step out of first person for a minute. You know, with Adrinor asleep and everything, how can he know the serenity of the chirping insects and midnight ambience?

She placed it in my general direction while she kept her eyes ahead.

‘Placing’ something in someone’s general direction while riding a Kikanalo sounds funny, IMO. I pictured it more as ‘Holding it out in my general direction’.

The Ga-Matoran at the desk grinned at Rovaius and he returned the gesture.

Again, just a question, albeit a bit skeptical, but are grins really considered gesture?

”Everybody get down!” He demanded.

I don’t like that he ‘demanded’ this. I can’t pinpoint why, but I just don’t like it. Feel free to ignore this nitpick.

“Not fast enough,” I snarled, stomping my foot onto his wounded shoulder.

Again, up til this point in the robbery, Adrinor’s been pretty unsure of himself, having major qualms. To come out of nowhere and crush an already destroyed shoulder of a perfectly innocent Matoran (much like his boss, Torema) was again, a bit forwards of him.

I had no idea what he was up to, but I was about to find out.

‘but I was about to find out’ , interrupted the flow for me, weird jump from past tense to future-esque.

No one knew at the time, but Pridak only had five more years of governing the universe before the unimaginable would occur.

^^ Same as above.

Thank you, Your Eminence,” Rovaius replied modestly, giving a short nodded.

Oops, I lied. One technical hiccup there.That’s all I got for nitpicking. If it were anyone else, I’d worry about having too many nitpicks and coming off as a butt. But it’s technically why you hired me so I’ll just leave them be ; )I’m actually sitting here with a small booklet of printouts on my lapdesk, and according to my notes that I jotted down while reading like an elitist critic, there actually wasn’t much to criticize.I think you’ve heard this whole spiel from me before, commending your expanded universe and custom species and locations, etc, etc. Just reiterating. Also, I feel like Kikanalo riding for a day would make me too sore to move *shudder*One thing that I did want to comment on was the bank robbery. The whole thing was set up very nicely, and the fact that you opened it with a quiet “Hand me the money and nobody needs to know,” made it stand out to me. But then it turned into a huge ruckus like the bank robberies Hollywood likes to depict. That part was well done too, but I just liked the subtle robbery better. I’m having a bit of trouble seeing why you bothered to set up a quiet robbery just to go through with the rough and rowdy though.As a plus, though, the ‘clear display of Pridak’s ego’, as you put it, was displayed very clearly, if I may. With his tower and banner and everything, it was all very good characterization. I definitely like how you’re filling in some of the blanks during the League Era with this epic. I never realized the League of Six Kingdoms was in power for so long. With the warlords being so dominant, I would picture the universe a bit more chaotic, although that may just be me.Anyways, Adrinor’s character at this point is a bit vague to me, but I get the feeling that’s how it’s supposed to be, seeing how far ahead you’ve planned this story. So I’ll look forwards to seeing him develop, along with the rest of your cast.I think I’ve touched on everything that I set out for, finally. So keep up the good work, and I’ll try not to fall too far behind your updates :P

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#12 Offline Cederak

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Posted Jun 27 2012 - 04:42 PM

Well, took me long enough, but I did finally sit down to read the first three chapters of your epic.And before I forget, one thing that this review topic could really use is a glossary. My head doesn’t have enough room in it to contain all your literary genius at once :PAnyways, nitpicks first, as per usual. There weren’t many (any?) grammar/spelling issues that I spotted, props to you for that. But I did come across a few lines that bugged me.From Episode 01

The rough voiced biomech hurled an object over the counter at Torema.

Correct me if I’m wrong. Adrinor is separated from this scene by a wall and only knows what’s going on because of his sense of hearing. So how does he know an object is being hurled?It's more of a guess. Informed by the next sentence, "Whatever it was, it barely made a sound when it landed on the floor."

”We’re friends now, huh?” I said sarcastically.

This is more of a question, but is sarcasm the right word here?Maybe.

”Yeah, you’re right,” I admitted. “I want to see the world, and I want to call the shots.”

So far, Adrinor’s been pretty unsure of himself. This line of his just kinda jumped out as a bit forward of him.Episode 02

I laughed. “Riding these Kikanalo? Seems a bit primitive, don’t you think?

The first line in this chapter stated that Adrinor spent his first day with the company in silence, and I got the feeling it was his uncertainty contributing to his silence. Then his first line of conversation with them that day was laughter?Uncertainty, awkwardness. Once evening came and the ride was over, it was time to break the ice. :P

The swirling blackness of sleep was accompanied by the ambience of midnight insects chirping and chattering to oneanother – it was serenity.

Beautiful description, right there, amongst others, but my problem with that is that your story is written in first person, and that particular line was like a step out of first person for a minute. You know, with Adrinor asleep and everything, how can he know the serenity of the chirping insects and midnight ambience?Sometimes sound carries over into sleep. Happens to me sometimes.

She placed it in my general direction while she kept her eyes ahead.

‘Placing’ something in someone’s general direction while riding a Kikanalo sounds funny, IMO. I pictured it more as ‘Holding it out in my general direction’.

The Ga-Matoran at the desk grinned at Rovaius and he returned the gesture.

Again, just a question, albeit a bit skeptical, but are grins really considered gesture?I would say so. :)

”Everybody get down!” He demanded.

I don’t like that he ‘demanded’ this. I can’t pinpoint why, but I just don’t like it. Feel free to ignore this nitpick.

“Not fast enough,” I snarled, stomping my foot onto his wounded shoulder.

Again, up til this point in the robbery, Adrinor’s been pretty unsure of himself, having major qualms. To come out of nowhere and crush an already destroyed shoulder of a perfectly innocent Matoran (much like his boss, Torema) was again, a bit forwards of him.

I had no idea what he was up to, but I was about to find out.

‘but I was about to find out’ , interrupted the flow for me, weird jump from past tense to future-esque.

No one knew at the time, but Pridak only had five more years of governing the universe before the unimaginable would occur.

^^ Same as above.

Thank you, Your Eminence,” Rovaius replied modestly, giving a short nodded.

Oops, I lied. One technical hiccup there.That’s all I got for nitpicking. If it were anyone else, I’d worry about having too many nitpicks and coming off as a butt. But it’s technically why you hired me so I’ll just leave them be ; )I’m actually sitting here with a small booklet of printouts on my lapdesk, and according to my notes that I jotted down while reading like an elitist critic, there actually wasn’t much to criticize.I think you’ve heard this whole spiel from me before, commending your expanded universe and custom species and locations, etc, etc. Just reiterating. Also, I feel like Kikanalo riding for a day would make me too sore to move *shudder*One thing that I did want to comment on was the bank robbery. The whole thing was set up very nicely, and the fact that you opened it with a quiet “Hand me the money and nobody needs to know,” made it stand out to me. But then it turned into a huge ruckus like the bank robberies Hollywood likes to depict. That part was well done too, but I just liked the subtle robbery better. I’m having a bit of trouble seeing why you bothered to set up a quiet robbery just to go through with the rough and rowdy though.Cenotaphs was inspired by western films. The bank robbery "Hollywood likes to depict" was something I really wanted to do. :biggrin:As a plus, though, the ‘clear display of Pridak’s ego’, as you put it, was displayed very clearly, if I may. With his tower and banner and everything, it was all very good characterization. I definitely like how you’re filling in some of the blanks during the League Era with this epic. I never realized the League of Six Kingdoms was in power for so long. With the warlords being so dominant, I would picture the universe a bit more chaotic, although that may just be me.Anyways, Adrinor’s character at this point is a bit vague to me, but I get the feeling that’s how it’s supposed to be, seeing how far ahead you’ve planned this story. So I’ll look forwards to seeing him develop, along with the rest of your cast.I think I’ve touched on everything that I set out for, finally. So keep up the good work, and I’ll try not to fall too far behind your updates :P

Thanks for the review, Aderia. I wanted to touch on a few things you brought up (as written in blue above), and I apparently have a few things that need to be edited as well. Issues aside, I'll assume your generally positive commentary means you're enjoying the ride so far. ^_^-Ced

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#13 Offline Ballom

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Posted Jul 07 2012 - 10:10 PM

Another good chapter. As with the earlier chapters, you manage to set up cliffhangers of sorts quite well, leaving me eager for the next installment.Anyway, the scene with Elendra and the Skakdi seemed remarkably realistic in terms of the characters actions and emotions described. Not to say that the rest of it wasn't realistic, but this short part in particular struck me as very well-written, with the flirting to catch the Skakdi off-guard, and so on. Speaking of Elendra, her shooting prowess was a little over-the-top in this chapter. It seems that every time she shoots an opponent immediately takes a mortal headshot. However, given that you described the aquatic guard beings as having such armor, I would think they would take at least another hit or two each to kill. The battle didn't really have much tension because it could more or less be summed up as "Elendra kicks everyone's butt." Maybe toning that down just a little?Oh, and one line in particular stuck out to me:

Elendra followed up by firing her revolvers as fast as she could, getting a kill with every round.

This is, along with being related to my earlier point, an example going against the idea of "Show, Don't Tell," which you otherwise do very consistently. A sentence closer to the earlier ones about boding thumping to the ground would work better.Otherwise, as I said, a good chapter. The contrast of Adrinor being generally incompetent with his weapon versus the highly experienced Elendra was good, as was the characterization of the band marching on, making them more and more sympathetic. I was a bit confused about the explanation Stalgrax gives for saving oneself in the falling train, though. Is that based on anything in particular?~B~

Edited by Ballom, Jul 12 2012 - 05:31 PM.

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#14 Offline TNTOS

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Posted Jul 14 2012 - 09:15 AM

I've been meaning to review this epic for a while now, but for mysterious reasons (read: lack of time and pure laziness :P ) have not got around to doing that until just now, even though I've been reading every chapter you post.Anyway, I've got to say that I've enjoyed this story quite a bit. The most interesting part, at least to me, is showing Zakaz prior to Spiriah messing with the Skakdi. We don't see much outside of one city, but it's interesting to see the Skakdi portrayed in a peaceful society versus the usual depiction of a war-torn people that want to kill everything.I think Trivolox could have been handled slightly better, though. I know this is his first appearance, but I personally would have preferred if he could have spoken a little bit more to show his character better, rather than having Stalgrax explain him to Adrinor. It's not a big problem, though, as I am guessing we'll see more of him later on.Besides that, I don't have much to say because the other reviewers have already said a lot. I'll definitely keep on reading, though, because the story is interesting enough to follow.-TNTOS-
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#15 Offline Cederak

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Posted Jul 25 2012 - 11:57 AM

@Ballom - Thanks. Elendra's unbelievable skill was supposed to serve as a very stark contrast to Adrinor's abilities, and I knew early on what a fine shot she'd be. Stalgrax's comment is more of me just trying to play with physics rules that don't necessarily line up with our own. Just a bit of the appeal of working with the MU.@TNTOS - Hey, glad to see you had a chance to review it. Don't expect Trivolox to do much talking throughout Cenotaphs. He's probably the most heroic entity they encounter, and one of few words at times.As an aside to all of you who have been reading Cenotaphs thus far, I can't promise you'll like the direction and decision I made going into Chapter 6.-Ced
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#16 Offline fishers64

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Posted Aug 09 2012 - 02:57 PM

To be honest, I really didn't like your glossing over of Jevelci's death the way you did. It just feels like a missed opportunity to evoke emotion - even just  telling the story of meeting her or the story of her death would be more evokative - have a greater emotional impact on the reader. Chapter 7:

I shot the weapon once and it put a nice hole in the glass. The water did the rest of the work, entering with enough force to shatter most of the glass.

Needless repetition of the word glass. You might have been able to use the word "shell" or "capsule wall" instead. Not sure why this bothers me, but it does. Otherwise, I have nothing really to complain about. I liked the Mantax floating fortress idea and the Barraki banter - your attention to detail is impressive in several areas, which I commend you for. 

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#17 Offline Janus

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Posted Aug 16 2012 - 03:34 PM

I was referred to your works by Velox and while it took me a bit to get into it, I have to say that you have great potential as an author. You've got a very intriguing storyline and an interesting world to explore. However at times I feel the characters are a little weak. Our main protagonist of Adrinor being the main exception to this--understanably as the story is told from his perspective. Now that's not to say that any of your characters are interchangeable or have no personality, but rather at times they seem like archetypes vs. characters. Not necessarily a bad thing, just something I thought I'd mention.I find the portrayal of the Pre-Pit Barraki very interesting, and I look forward to seeing more of their interactions with the main cast. I also greatly enjoy the way you've set up Rovaius' group's place in this world. They're not necessarily power players, but they're nothing to sneeze at either, which gives them an interesting and unique perspective.I did enjoy Elendra's meltdown, because that showed more character than any other interaction I've seen thus far. It spoke to me of a bundle of psychoses--which is pretty much what I imagine most of the gang is. In fact I'd like to see Adrinor's psyche a little more--not merely his observations, but guilt that I'm sure is still in him.Which actually leads into my main complaint, I understand the use of time skips, but I personally feel it robbed us of Adrinor's transformation from scared civilian to competent killer. But for all I know you're planning on doing a flashback chapter, I don't know.Overall it's an epic that I'll continue to read for as long as I'm able. Good work.-Janus
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#18 Offline Cederak

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Posted Aug 16 2012 - 10:31 PM

@fishers64: I knew the whole Jelveci situation wouldn't sit well with some readers. Going in, I looked at that part and actually said aloud, "Someone is going to say that was a poor execution." I'm not saying a writer deserves points for trying just because they stick to their guns, I'm not even sure I can fully justify the way Jelveci works into the second half of this epic. All I can say is that like every other character thus far, she has her own importance.Beyond that, looks like you're still impressed. Having given me bits of constructive criticism along the way already, I'll definitely appreciate your continued commentary in the latter half of Cenotaphs. Thanks for reading. :)@Janus: If someone would've told my 15 year old self back in my early BZP days that several years from now, Janus will give one of your epics a favorable review, I think I might've gone into shock. I must say though, you're every bit the tough audience I expected. I like that. For every "great job" or "loving this story," I could use something to reflect on, find weak spots that need improvement.Ultimately, glad to hear I've gained another reader. Thanks for the review, Janus.
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#19 Offline bleedingshadows94

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Posted Aug 20 2012 - 01:29 AM

Aw man, Episode 8 gave me chills. I'm really happy to see old faces appearing in new situations. Krekka, Sidorak, and Voporak all are great characters, and you really brought some more life into them. Obviously, this story is during different times than what we've seen, so it's nice to be able to see what they used to do.I was kind of surprised to see you decided to make the gladiators all one species, rather than a variety of species all fighting one another. I know they were all based of the Dark Hunter Gladiator, but it was just a surprise for me, since I sort of envisioned them as Roman-era gladiators, aka slaves of various origins. But your idea is also kind of cool.What really makes this story come to life, for me, is something that I like to do: read aloud. Each character has a different voice, and a different tone, and whenever I read it, I use those voices and I can really see the effects and the emotions in each character, rather than just hear my own flat voice reading each quote in my head. It takes longer to read aloud, but to me, it's worth it. <3 You have, once again, done an amazing job.~Tobi
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#20 Offline Cederak

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Posted Aug 20 2012 - 10:09 PM

@bs94: Stelt is the home of a few familiar faces, and it was really fun to bring them into the spotlight. Voporak required going into completely uncharted territory, but I wanted Krekka and Sidorak to be the characters we knew from the books and films, if only a bit younger.Interesting that you bring up the reading aloud part. I recommend that to writers sometimes when I'm doing critiques for one of the critic clubs, mostly because I like to read aloud all of the dialogue in a chapter or story before posting it. Getting a different sense of each character's voice and tone makes them feel more whole to me, not to mention if the dialogue doesn't feel natural enough when spoken aloud, I can go back and modify it.Anyway, thanks for the review! :)
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#21 Offline fishers64

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Posted Aug 20 2012 - 10:17 PM

@fishers64: I knew the whole Jelveci situation wouldn't sit well with some readers. Going in, I looked at that part and actually said aloud, "Someone is going to say that was a poor execution." I'm not saying a writer deserves points for trying just because they stick to their guns, I'm not even sure I can fully justify the way Jelveci works into the second half of this epic. All I can say is that like every other character thus far, she has her own importance.Beyond that, looks like you're still impressed. Having given me bits of constructive criticism along the way already, I'll definitely appreciate your continued commentary in the latter half of Cenotaphs. Thanks for reading. :)

You're welcome. The biggest problem with that was that you glossed over it and that Adrinor didn't seem to be changed much by it. The foreboding tone that ends the episode after that scene/time break felt like it should of been there the whole episode, with the fire and the remote island and all the deaths. I don't know...I just kind of wanted to get to Jelveci, to understand the impact she had on Adrinor, and to feel the shock of her death. I mean, if Rovius died, I would be pretty shocked, given the amount of characterisation you have given him. Why do I care about Jalveci's existence? She's barely mentioned, and has little effect on the overall story except a little shock from Adrinor that doesn't seem to affect much. He just goes on, busts fortresses and goes to Steltian parties. With that said, I do kind of agree with Janus here. What happens to the characters doesn't seem to affect them too much, and While you have a lot of character moments where characters are brought out, they don't seem to connect together, except for Adrinor in the beginning and the little moment with Jalveci mention. It's probably just me reading this on the Internet at time intervals in between the chapters, though. :)Other than that, nothing to complain about. You certainly have done your homework with the Steltian clan leader = Voporak thing and all the other canon characters you included. :)

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#22 Offline Cederak

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Posted Aug 25 2012 - 03:38 PM

@fishers: Yeah, I can understand that. There is a degree of disconnect for the gang and the world around them, making them relatively unaffected by their environment. They can roll with the punches through the best and worst, a result of being in the same line of work for thousands of years. That has allowed them to develop a "nothing really surprises me anymore" sort of take on their career and their approach to it. Adrinor becomes the variable that really changes their lives. Without spoiling too much, I can say Jelveci's death will continue to haunt the gang into the third act of the story.In regard to the canon characters, I'll admit I did a lot of BS01 work to try and make Cenotaphs fit into the canon universe as much as possible. My epics are typically huge deviations from canon, but I really wanted to see what I could do working within the boundaries of the storyline. I don't think I could ever do a story from the perspective of characters like Vakama or Tahu, but Cenotaphs was designed to be an exploration of a time we don't know a lot about. That's not to say I haven't worked to make the gang feel multi-dimensional, as the final third of the epic will attest to.
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#23 Offline Ballom

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Posted Sep 01 2012 - 11:23 PM

Well, it's been a while since I've reviewed, and due to time constraints I've only had time to read chapters 5-7 just now, but those were all good installments. I enjoyed the new plot sections, including the skirmishes on Zakaz, and onboard the Midnight, as well as the overall progression of the gang in Pridak's employment. The characterization also continued to march on, fleshing out Adrinor and Rovaius in particular, although the outburst from Elendra was also a good inclusion, as Janus mentioned. I do also agree with him that the jump over Adrinor's transition to his new job was a bit of a loss, and seeing that explored more would have been promising.Also, just to comment on the characters, I personally think Trivolox does have a legitimate argument, and seems reasonably noble in his general goals, even if he uses questionable methods to achieve them.Oh, and one nitpick:

It also looks like he studied enough Kanohi Sanok energy signatures to create an artificial gravity field.

The Garai is the Mask of Gravity; Sanok is Accuracy.Anyway, I enjoyed these chapters overall, and when I get to the next ones I'm sure they'll be of a similarly high quality. Keep it up. :)~B~

Edited by Ballom, Sep 01 2012 - 11:23 PM.

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#24 Offline Cederak

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Posted Sep 02 2012 - 02:01 PM

@Ballom: Wow, I can't believe you're the first person (myself included) to notice the Garai/Sanok slip-up. Thanks for pointing it out though, I felt a little silly that it took this long. :lol:Thanks for reading! :)
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#25 Offline Aderia

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Posted Sep 03 2012 - 05:22 PM

Cenotaphs is one of the only epics in the library that I read for the sake of reading. It may not sound like much of a compliment, but really, it is. More often than not, I'm constantly on the lookout for things to nitpick and whatnot, it's so nice to be able to sit back and enjoy the show for once. I think Rovaius said it well, "The most expensive request I make of biomechs is for their time. The least I can do is make it well spent[...]", if that makes sense here.One thing that I've noticed is that each chapter is more or less like a self-contained short story, which makes this epic unique. That being said, I never felt overwhelmed with all the action, or that the story's been aimless and disjointed. Good storytelling has been done here.The five year’s you compressed into a paragraph, back in Episode 06. At first, I was a bit thrown off by the whole thing. Five whole years, years longer than human years, passed, but there weren’t any developments in character that jumped out at me afterwards. I mean, maybe it’s the fact that they live for hundreds of thousands of years and all, I don’t know. But that’s not really important. The point is that I’m seeing more of the characters’ characters now, if that makes sense. Like, Elandra’s meltdown, or how she and Stalgrax don’t really see eye to eye, Trylac’s individuality, and also Adrinor as part of the story, not just a narrator. I’m not sure if this is me finally getting into the swing of things or what, but it’s just something I wanted to bring up and try not to be vague about.Anyways, I really have nothing to criticize. Any nitpicks or comments I may have brought up have already been covered by your other readers. Perks of being a procrastinator, huh? It looks like this review's missed the halfway mark by about a chapter and a half, but whatever. The first half of this epic has been great, here's hoping you outdo yourself for the last half.
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#26 Offline Cederak

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Posted Sep 19 2012 - 02:32 PM

@MC - Thank you, really. I must admit, I have a certain attachment to the line you quoted from Rovaius. While I can certainly see traces of myself in each member of the gang, Rovaius has more of me than Adrinor and that belief in using time well is one we share.And you pointed out the disconnect between chapters, which is also worth talking about for a moment. The word "episode" seemed the best fit for what I wanted to present the audience with, like keeping up with a miniseries. At the same time, the overarching story of the whole epic was important to me as well. Even with Adrinor at the helm, this is not his story alone. It's everyone's story because by the end, they'll have all been affected by one another in some way. And I can assure you that comment will make more sense when Cenotaphs concludes.In regard to how constant the gang remains after five years, you picked up on my reasoning there pretty well. These aren't humans, so the idea that they change over a few years was thrown out the window for me. I can think of several canon characters that remain relatively unchanged after thousands of years, much more stagnant that humans. I mentally split Cenotaphs into three acts though. The first five episodes are an introduction to the MU I'm exploring, while the second five episodes are much more focused on an exploration of the gang and Adrinor feeling more comfortable in their world. The final five episodes will be a blend of further exploring the gang, looking outward at the MU, and the importance of consequence. I think you're going to like it.Episode 10 will be "coming soon." That's honestly the most I can say right now because I still have some minor details to fill in with that episode. The rest are written and edited, so 10 is the only thing holding up episode releases right now. It will make for a smooth transition into the third act, and hopefully it won't take me another two weeks to finish writing, clean up nice and neat, and get posted.-Ced
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#27 Offline fishers64

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Posted Oct 24 2012 - 09:11 AM

The only thing have to say is that you did a terrific job ending this. I think the way that you protrayed the deaths at the end of the story showed a lot of thought...and coming back to the Mahi ranch to bring the story full-circle was brilliant. (As was the whole Dark Hunters thing...wow, I didn't think of that!)The only nitpick I have is that it didn't seem like Trylac was an Order of Mata Nui agent before you revealed him as one, but I probably just missed the hints. Good work here, and thanks for sharing this story.
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#28 Offline Cederak

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Posted Oct 24 2012 - 03:32 PM

@fishers - Thank you for the review. :) I wanted to end things in a way that was satisfying for readers while also leaving me with enough of an opening to possibly pursue a "Season 2" at some point in the future. Since I've been cranking out one epic a year for the past few years now though, I'm taking some time off from epic writing (somewhat required since I suspect my upcoming career change is going to demand a lot of my time). If I were to make a sequel to Cenotaphs, I wouldn't expect the first chapter posted any sooner than summer of 2014, so...we'll see.Regarding Trylac, I don't think I dropped many hints about his status as an Order agent, specifically showing him as a character that was quite the opposite to their ideals. I suppose it could be inferred that, being a former Hand member, since many operatives were asked to join the Order later on, Trylac was approached by them and agreed. Trivolox meanwhile, despite only having three appearances, was intended to be a slightly more obvious Order operative.-Ced
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#29 Offline Wazdakka

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Posted Nov 10 2012 - 03:40 PM

This is a fantastic read! It feels like a legitimate Bionicle book that I'd pick up at the store! I eagerly await Season 2!
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#30 Offline LockmanCapulet

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Posted Nov 14 2012 - 09:54 PM

*applause* Bravo! Excellent writing. I love the way you incorporated so many little yet important details. I especially loved the ending. Think the group'll find themselves a new recruit? ;)
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#31 Offline Cederak

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Posted Nov 17 2012 - 01:17 PM

@Wazdakka - Thank you for reading. I'm happy to hear this feels like a piece of the canon, and I worked at making it feel legitimate. Still not sure about a Season 2, but...we'll see.@LC - Thank you for reading as well. It's a real treat to see I'm still receiving reviews for this story and it's something that remains close to me. I think if a Season 2 ends up happening, they'd probably get a new recruit at some point.-Ced
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#32 Offline Chronicler of the Ages

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Posted Nov 18 2012 - 09:51 PM

Man. I'm in college now, so I couldn't read as much as I wanted when I wanted, but in 2 weeks, I finished this. 2 WEEKS. I loved every second of it. Sometimes, I had to read the descriptions of the sunset or the lands to which they traveled twice, just so I could take it all in and imagine it. Just like a real Bionicle book, the plot grabbed me and held me tight. The action was always going places, and the tension was always high. What made it different, though, was that the tension was never high enough to realize that we all reminisce, whether we are on the move, about to fall asleep, or in the act of committing to something huge.I am blown back by your writing Cederak. You have my thanks for weaving such a magnificent and entertaining work of Bionicle art. Especially while I sit in my dorm, trying to do my math.
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#33 Offline Cederak

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Posted Nov 20 2012 - 02:23 PM

@CotA: Thank you so much. It's reviews like yours that really make me happy about the work I bring here and the enjoyment it brings to others. You spent a couple weeks caught up in a borrowed universe I wanted to capture and transform into something different. So when I read what you had to say, it was one of those feel-good moments that just made me reflect on how far I've come as a writer, while also bearing in mind that the job is never done. Thanks again. :)-Ced
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#34 Offline Tanu Toa of Earth

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Posted Dec 06 2012 - 05:28 PM

Not that this is constructive in any way, but... This story is great, and it kept me entertained when I couldn't find anything else to do. Thanks. A lot.
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#35 Offline Cederak

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Posted Dec 06 2012 - 07:56 PM

[color=#000080;][font="verdana, geneva, sans-serif;"]@Tanu: Hey, thanks for at least coming in and telling me you liked the story. I always appreciate the big, over-the-top constructive posts that give me some idea of where to go next, but hearing from fans that got some entertainment value out of it, that works just as well. You're welcome. :)[/color][/font]

 

[color=#000080;][font="verdana, geneva, sans-serif;"]-Ced[/color][/font]


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#36 Offline strakkice

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Posted Dec 08 2012 - 01:31 AM

Hoo lookie here, CoTA gave his two cents, so I'm going to be put down my dollar bill. First of all, I'm just going to say that CoTA told me to read this, so I much appreciate his referral. Because......

 

This epic is truly epic. Thanks for writing this, Cederak! I spent the last month slowly devouring it, and I enjoyed every morsel of this piece. Although it was tough to believe Adrinor's passivity when the gang shot Torema, it is a petty remark before the greatness of this story. God, it was good. I felt emotion, glee, and sadness. Although I hated the tragedy of it all, reality is sometimes tragic, and I respect your ability to not back down from this reality.  And not to mention, I'm in college too (as is CoTA) so this was definitely great downtime for me. 

 

As an inspiring artist, do you mind if, sometime, I drew up fan art of the gang? I'd love to give myself visuals of these well thought out characters, and I'd show them to you, although I can understand you not using them as the words should do the work, not the image. 

 

Still, thanks for writing such a gripping tale!


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#37 Offline Cederak

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Posted Dec 08 2012 - 01:36 PM

[color=#000080;][font="verdana, geneva, sans-serif;"]@strakkice: Wow, now I'm getting reviews by referral.  :o  Thanks so much for coming in and reviewing this. To inspire so much emotion from a reader, especially so with the tragic conclusion of things, it reminds me why I love doing this. As we speak, I'm piecing together ideas for a sequel that I plan to begin writing in roughly a year. A lot in my life is about to change and I hope to draw some inspiration from the upcoming events that are sure to keep me very busy.[/color][/font]

 

 

[color=#000080;][font="verdana, geneva, sans-serif;"]I'd be happy to see some fan art of the gang. Even if it isn't necessarily treated as "official," knowing the impact Cenotaphs has created is just...so awesome. Thanks for reading. :)[/color][/font]

 

[color=#000080;][font="verdana, geneva, sans-serif;"]-Ced[/color][/font]


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#38 Offline The Dandy Automaton

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Posted Dec 13 2012 - 12:37 PM

Hey there, Cederak! As you requested here’s one ECC review on Cenotaphs from yours truly.

 

Well, first of all I think it’s only fair to say that I baulked when I first saw the length of it. That’s not a criticism, mind, given that would have to be the pettiest thing to complain about. And as they say, you can never have too much of a good thing which I think turned out to be the case here. It was a thoroughly lengthy yet enjoyable read and one which leaves me wanting for more.

 

I should warn you now: this critic will be unable to offer much criticism. Nothing that hasn’t already been said anyway. If there were any spelling or grammar mistakes in there then I missed them because I was too enraptured by the flowing, extravagant detail each chapter was filled with. The entire world you created was so wonderfully realised I had no difficulty visualising each and every scene. From Mantax’s airship Brightest Midnight to the island of Nohtal you managed to clearly portray each setting to the point where I really have nothing to complain about.

 

Next up is the plot. Yeah, It was great.

 

Wait, I have to say more than that? Okay, I really did enjoy it. Chapter 1 was a fun introduction, by chapter 2 I was hooked and by chapter 3 I wanted more but I had to get off the bus, so if the short interval as I walked home was annoying that’s got to say lengths for how much fun I found your epic. The reign of the six kingdoms was an era that was so commonly glossed over by the Bionicle canon I was surprised to see it used as a setting here, but not in the least bit disappointing. I liked how everything so easily wove into the canon and you even put your own spin on the universe to the point where I’m now going to have to check everything I write from now on to ensure I’m not accidentally stealing elements from your story.

 

The characters were perfectly realised and had their own individual personality…except for one…But I’ll get to him later. Each member of the gang was distinct and enjoyable and I was looking forward to the ways in which they interacted with each other, particularly Stalgrax and Elendra. Even the canon characters had enjoyable appearances, from the six Barraki whose individual appearances I would eagerly await to the smaller cameos such as Sidorak and Teridax.

 

Well, I know I wasn’t requested to let loose a chain of compliments so I’ll offer criticism on the few places I can. As I said, I have nothing to comment on your style, punctuation or grammar so I guess that just leaves a few minor story elements. First of all, I get the idea that Adrinor’s devotion to Rovaius bloomed almost a little too quickly. Whereas in chapter 2 he was determined not to die so soon after leaving the ranch, come chapter 3 he was perfectly willing to lay his life down when Pridak ordered him to shoot Rovaius. I can understand why he wouldn’t want to in the end, but it did just seem a little strange how swiftly his attitude to survival was. I said they were minor, didn’t I?

 

Finally there’s also the case of the five year shift about a third of the way through. It was a little unexpected, I have to admit. There really didn’t seem to have been much that happened in those five years besides Jelveci’s death, who seemed less of a character and more of just a contrived reason why Rovaius’ team didn’t recruit any more members. I gather that was obviously the point but Jelveci just didn’t feel real enough compared to all your other bright and colourful cast. Besides the typical crime committing life-style, it surprises me just how uneventful those five years were as you pass over them so quickly. The characters seem pretty much the same as well, with perhaps some exception to Adrinor who seems to have finally settled into the shoes of a mercenary. It almost felt as though only a few weeks had passed instead of years.

 

I digress though. As I said, those were only small nitpicks instead of actual problems. Your epic was a fantastic read and I thank you for having me read it, if the sheer word count was a little intimidating at first. As well as during reading it. And afterwards. :P


Edited by The Jolly Automaton, Dec 13 2012 - 12:38 PM.

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Chapter four - Desire

Coming soon!

Short Stories: The Commute ~ Rasinov ~ In Your Absence ~ Hunter's Game ~ Suchia (Coming soon)

Epics: The Best Kept Secrets (Chapter 27: The Shadow Walker coming soon) ~ The Shadow of this Red Rock


#39 Offline Cederak

Cederak
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Posted Dec 22 2012 - 03:26 PM

[color=#000080;][font="verdana, geneva, sans-serif;"]@TJA: I'm really glad you enjoyed this story. I wasn't sure who I wanted to wind up getting this assigned to, but I figured the length would be worth their while in the end. You pointed out the flaws that got mentioned above, which isn't necessarily a waste of criticism, but more of a reminder of what I need to watch out for with future work. Thanks for the detailed review. :)[/color][/font]

 

[color=#000080;][font="verdana, geneva, sans-serif;"]-Ced[/color][/font]


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