Ok, this is acually kind of funny. Actually, from my perspective, it wasn't funny at all. But it explains why I didn't comment for twice as long as I'd meant.
I'd plan to review the new chapters upon the start of my high school winter break - the first day actually off being the 21st (we had a really late break this year). Unfortunately, I woke up that day feeling as if someone had knocked me out, beaten me up, and stuffed in a trashcan for the night. It ended up being the flu. Consequently, I spent my Christmas coughing up my dinner rather than opening presents (I only actually vommitted once... but it was so violent it even shot out my nose. There's no disgusting feeling like blowing your nose several minutes later only to find out it was chicken stuck up in there rather than boogers. Super-mega-EWW!) Then I was out of town the first few days after recovery. So still no more reading. I only got through one more chapter during the flu. I need to give you credit for one thing: you made me laugh even when I was that under the weather. Gresh's line about opening the sarcophagus set me off (actually it was more of a painful hacking cough than laughter, but close enough under the circumstances).
Now, as for my actual opinion on what you've written while I was busy feeling like a sumo wrestler had been jumping up and down on me...
First thought: Wow. This has rapidly taken on an epic scope. You've woven a serious riddle of a plot.
No, but seriously, this is really impressive. I mentioned before that the attitudes of characters and the way it comes out through the dialogue was pretty great. It still is and it continues to drive this thing forward with a likable momentum. But that's no longer even half of it. Every chapter introduces a new mystery and we still only have hints at the bigger picture. There's only cryptic half-answers and yet you're still mercilessly introducing new *coughcough* enigmatic anomalies that beg to be explained. You no longer have my attention; you have me enthralled.
Let's do the breakdown.
"Woah, woah, careful!" cried Kyry as Synheith, for a moment disoriented by the sight of the symbol, swerved and narrowly avoided a grove of trees in the middle of the valley. The sky was darkening now, and storm clouds were gathering behind them. It rarely rained in the Bara Magna desert, sometimes only once a year, and to Synheith the storm clouds seemed pretty ominous.
"That's weird," Kyry remarked, "what are a bunch of trees doing alone in the middle of a desert wasteland?"
You tipped me off immediately "grove of trees in the middle of the valley." I was like: Oh gee, Baterra any second now! Good little bit of subtle foreshadowing there that gets progressively more obvious as you proceed from one sentence to the next.
Likara shrugged. "Maybe it has instructions on how to open the coffin"
"Doubt it. I don't think there's any special procedure to do that. You just, you know, open it."
*hackingcough* I don't even think you meant to be funny with that. But this is what I'm talking about with the characters and their dialogue. It had me laughing (or as close to it as I could get at the time) because the characters felt legitimate enough that I could laugh at their shenanigans. Speaking of shenanigans...
Treperath. I don't know what you have to do with that symbol, but I'm sure by stopping you I will see it no longer.
Gah. I had to read that several times to make sense of it. Perhaps it would have been better off as: Treperath. I don't know what you have to do with that symbol, but I'm sure that I'll never see it again once I've stopped you. Or something of the like. But preferably not what's written.
Chapter 4: Epic scope time. Woah.
This is where you've taken a very bold step. Everything beyond this point makes a very intimate and significant impact upon the storyline of the entire Bionicle saga for all your fans (so far just me if reviews are anything to go by, but whatever). You are saying you are not afraid of your writing potentially altering the course of history in this universe. I immensely respect this level of confidence you are displaying in your work here.
You turned the Shattering itself into a heroic gambit. Bravo. That is crazy! But I like it.
Gee, I guess Romans aren't the only ones bearing gifts that you have to watch out for. Those Great Beings will give you military aid and provisional support when they actually mean to blow up your planet. Nuts.
Chapter 5: I was so caught up in the Pedagogue and the Ring of Vitality and all... I'd almost forgotten about the Decryption Crystal by this point. Though that might have had something to do with the flu. Hard to tell.
"Verectorian sat at the end of a long oak table, and sighed heavily."
Wait, the Great Beings have oak trees? That's mighty darn specific for what, as far as we know, is an alternate universe. Oak trees are Earth plants last I checked. Not Spherus Magna. I kind of had a tongue-in-cheek moment upon reading that, but it doesn't distract from what's actually going on too much. But try to refrain from such references to very "Earth"-ly things in the future.
Other than that, this chapter is pretty great. I was starting to worry (with the Ring of Vitality and everything) that you might be making the mistake of implying the Great Beings were fully aware they were bestowing sentience upon the MU inhabitants. In Yesterday Quest, GregF made it pretty clear this was a big accident and the MU beings were never supposed to be sentient. You clear up that potential disparity here by having Arkalogus explain that it seems that Ring of Vitality is having an extended effect that is altering the inhabitant with the Mata Nui robot. You simultaneuosly avoided a plot hole and explained a plot hole of GregF's own work (I mean, random sentience arising out of nowhere? Sentience arising where it wasn't intended to be is a classic scifi theme but the protocols that the inhabitants were supposed to execute seemed rather mundane for warranting programming capable of auto-developing sentient thought. You just gave a reason for this all). Smooth work there. And Verectorian, the only GB in much of a position to understand the plight of the now-sentient MU people, kicks the bucket. This explains why the remaining GBs don't expect sentience and have stuff like Marendar all planned up. Nice. The Illumus family credo becoming the code of the Matoran was a wonderful reveal.
Oh, and just one other thing: "Synheith realized that he was, unwittingly, demonstrating remarkable concern for the green-armored warrior." You can't unwittingly realize something. You just can't. That's a paradox. I think you mean to say Syheith realized that he had been doing so moments moments prior and that it had been unwittingly performed at that time... but it's a stretch. Maybe you could say that he "realized he had been inadvertently demonstrating an unexpectedly remarkable concern." I dunno. Don't want to ponder it too much right now. I just want to get on to more discussion of the awesome aspects!
Chapter 6: Enigma signal! Woah, creepy.
Nice job with Tobduk's irritability. That would make sense for someone who feed off of fury. His impatience with Krakua is right in league with what one would expect. The Pegagogue returns! Now we're all doomed.
Chapter 7: Hm... I feel like a building that screams "We're in charge!" isn't exactly in line with the clandestine nature of the OoMN, but I suppose that was only before the Destiny War. Afterwards, I guess that makes sense. But I was still a little surprised to hear that you had them taking center stage by setting up shop with a giant fortress in the center of Matoran City.
Tobduk laughed. "Whoever makes the first move doesn't always win the game, Toa. If that were true, chess would be a lot easier."
This is awesome. I think it just became my new motto or something. This is just... this is a profound line, and funny, too! I laughed so hard when I read it. Even more than on the "ladies' man" one.
Antroz has such a sense of thoughtfulness, thought Treperath, even if we Makuta have violent tendencies, I'm sure he'd never amount to anything bad.
Wow. And this is the "Variey is the spice of destruction" guy. Wow. Antroz, you fell a looooong way.
The Pedagogue taught him to reach for higher things, to have an ambition beyond what the Brotherhood - or Teridax - mandated for him. It was in this way he cemented his destiny.
Interesting. So the Pedagogue offered Treperath something that Synheith has never managed to obtain - a purpose in life, a motivation, an impetus, a... destiny. Very intriguing.
Ok, done with the review (Now it's question time!).
So, um... am I drawing random connecting lines where they shouldn't exist, or does this take a little bit of inspiration from a different Greg's writing - Greg Bear? The guy who wrote (sorry, is writing, I guess) the Forerunner saga for the Halo series, among numerous other superawesome works of scifi? He's one of my favorite authors, so maybe I'm just hallucinating and inserting connections where they don't exist, but you have to admit I've got a pretty substantial list of similarities here:
The Pedagogue has a name mighty similar to that of The Didact - both mean "one who teaches in a demanding and authoritative manner"
Those combat suits sound a lot like Forerunner armor
Forerunners always wear their armor - period / You claim GBs wear their armor 24/7 during wartime
Pedagogue is in a sarcophagus and Didact is in a Cryptum, aka Forerunner crypt
The Code sounds something similar to the Mantle
GB Council = Forerunner council
Illumus Family Stronghold reminds me of the home of Bornstellar Makes Eternal's family residence on the planet of the Builders
The Pedagogue acts like The Didact
I'm still willing to pass it off as coincidence on account of the fact that Great Beings as planet-smashing/-building entities are will inherently bear similarities to the star system-building Forerunners of Halo... but you have to give it to me if I've really dug up your inspiration. If you were inspired. All this occurred to me in retrospect after reading it. The level of mind-blowing you reached with this reminded me of the level of mind-blowing I got from reading Cryptum... so I started drawing connections out of curiosity. Even if you gained inspiration, that does nothing to detract from my opinion of this. Taking inspiration and making something of your own with it is one of the greatest tools for wonderful plots.
Anyway, I love this epic and the broad scale it has taken on. You have envisioned a fantastic world where the Great Beings ruled and a dark and dreary conflict as an ancient menace rises back up. The characters are (I'm repeating myself here, bah) likable thanks to their well-written dialogue and occasional humorous lines. Keep writing. Minus little errors I pointed out above, this is every bit as unstoppable as the Pedagogue himself. Keep writing, just make sure you have a clear outline developed so that you will be able to resolve all these different mysteries. Verectorian does seem to have a maze of a mind, just as Synheith said. As long as you, the writer, don't get lost in that maze, this is bound for greatness.
This has got to be the longest review I've ever written. It has to be. So, yeah, I'm actually done writing this whole thing. Whew!