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Enigma - Review


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#1 Offline Karzhani the Utahraptor

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Posted Nov 19 2012 - 03:02 AM

Review for Enigma

 

 

Contents

Chapter titles will be added as they are posted 

 

Prologue 

Chapter I - Scorched Earth

Chapter II - Fortitude

Chapter III - Parting

Chapter IV - Surel's Tale

Chapter V - Rising 

Chapter VI - The Enigma Signal 

Chapter VII - Black to Move 

Chapter VIII - War

Chapter IX - Pawns 

Chapter X - The Road That Time Forgot

Chapter XI - Shadows

Chapter XII - Going Solo 

Chapter XIII - Phantoms 

 

Dramatis personæ

More names will be added as they appear.

 

Spherus Magna Inhabitants and Guardians

 

Synheith, Toa of Fire, former Order of Mata Nui agent. 

Gresh, veteran Glatorian of the Air Tribe 

Likara, Toa of Water, employed as a protector of Agori trading transports. 

Kyry, Agori of the Fire Tribe, employed as a trader. 

Kiina, Glatorian of the Water Tribe 

Raanu, leader of the Agori in the united villages 

Vakama, head of the Turaga and the leader of the Matoran in the united villages 

Ackar, former Glatorian of the Fire Tribe, now retired, doing diplomatic work. 

Nuparu, Toa of Earth 

 

The Pedagogue's Forces

 

The Pedagogue, or Zanthua Prydan, former teacher and member of the Council of Elders, rogue Great Being. 

Treperath, former member of the Brotherhood of Makuta, disciple of the Pedagogue 

 

Order of Mata Nui

Tobduk, former assassin and current de facto leader of the Order 

Krakua, Toa of Sonics, Order employee and acoustics specialist 

 

Skrall

Stronius, current leader of the Skrall

Branar, high ranking officer in the Skrall military

 

Other

Verectorian Illumus, deceased Great Being, former Lord of the Illumus Clan and member of the Council of Elders

Arkalogus, chamberlain of the Illumus household.  

Surel, Glatorian formerly belonging to the Ice Tribe, now lives alone in the wilderness. 


Edited by Karzhani the Utahraptor, Nov 28 2013 - 09:25 AM.

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#2 Offline Maganar

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Posted Nov 20 2012 - 09:08 PM

NO! I just wrote almost an entire review and then had my browser autorefresh or something and it wiped all the text. I'll try to copy it over as best I can remember... Grrrr... :burnmad:Huh. I was actually fixing to do something else on the Epics forum when I realized it been a long time since I'd browsed for any fresh work. Even then, I was going to keep on going about my business when I saw your username and couldn't resist the temptation. Seriously, too much win. (Utahraptors are so much more awesome than those puny little Velociraptors the general masses are so obsessed with after Jurassic Park erroneosly labelled their raptors as such...). Anyway! The epic...I really like this opening post. It quickly lays the cards on the table and describes the mysterious circumstances that, presumably, will be the foundation for the plot. I am already intrigued. Your have an impeccable command of vocabulary and imagery; I could easily visualize each scene. ^_^ There was only one sentence that struck me as in need of improvement:

The Rahkshi staggered backwards, the Kraata letting out a dying scream, and fell.

It was difficult to follow this at first until I realized what had happened. You split apart the verbs in a compound sentence with a prepositional phrase. That's generally considered bad practice, so it would be preferable to write it as: As the Kraata let out a dying scream, the Rahkshi staggered back and fell. I've made more grevious errors in my own writing, but that won't stop me from pointing it out when I DO catch on to the mistake! :PAnyway, I'm going to follow this epic. I really like what I see. I've seen epics with similar promise die out, so don't let me down! :begging: No pressure, of course...Wow, I loaded this with smilies. Anyway, I'm done testing my luck to see if I can inadvertently get my computer to wipe away all the text. Posting...

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#3 Offline Karzhani the Utahraptor

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Posted Nov 22 2012 - 02:54 AM

Alright, just updated with Chapter 1, hope it does not fall short of your expectations! Also, grammar tends not to be my strong point haha. Thanks for the review!

Edited by Karzhani the Utahraptor, Nov 22 2012 - 02:55 AM.

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#4 Offline Maganar

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Posted Nov 26 2012 - 10:51 PM

Well, you certainly launched right into the action!Matoran/Toa that have a difficulty coming to terms with the three-word credo of their race are a largely unexplored topic. The post-end-of-line Spherus Magna setting is a great place to explore this concept considering that there is a completely new world and new set of races that the Matoran/Toa have come in contact with. These revelations make would be significantly paradigm-shattering. Not to mention, any 'guidance protocol' that the Mata Nui robot might have used to subliminally keep the Matoran and Toa adeherent to the UDD philosophy would no longer be active after its destruction.The dialogues and Synheith's mental monologues are very believable and they hold true to the culture and customs of the former MU and BM inhabitants. We're only a couple chapters in, but the essence of this writing already feels firmly set within the universe of the Bionicle storyline. They talk, behave, and live life just as anyone well-versed in the canon would expect them to. Every once in a while you tease me with a gem of line. For example, Chapter 1: "Maybe if you spent less time talking, we could avoid something like, I don't know, and ambush." Priceless. The lines convey distinct attititudes and I can see where the animosity between Tobduk and Synheith arises; they're too much alike for Synheith's comfort. Only line of dialogue I felt could have been improved: "Sounds mighty dubious to me, you sure? You sure the lightning didn't fry your brain for awhile?" The doubled "you sure" is hidden by the fact a line of non-dialogue lies between. If you try to read it conversationally, it sounds like Likara is stuttering. Minor, though. I didn't even notice myself until I was hunting through dialogue looking for good examples of just how great it is, ironically! So, no major errors. A couple commas I might have used different punctuation for, but much of that is stylistic choice. Oh, and just so you know, I'm just getting these opinions on grammar and structure out of the way in these first few replies to your review topic while you get the plot cooking in the meantime. Though, considering the pace at which you've moved the events along; I won't be able to stall on opinions about the plot for very long! Treperath's returned, you have a trap within a trap, and we've had some quick little battle sequences already. So this is probably the last review where I obsess over little nuances of grammar/style/what-have-you. I'll only bring that up again if I have something big to point out.Just one question: do you have this pre-written or are you coming up with it as you go along using something like an outline for guidance? Just curious because I was guessing it was pre-written (which is what I do) since you have the chapters coming up so quickly and they look like you've taken the time to read them over once or twice.
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#5 Offline Karzhani the Utahraptor

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Posted Nov 30 2012 - 02:36 AM

Hahah thanks for another great review! Yes, the UDD theme and Synheith's internal struggle with it is certainly intended to be a resonant theme within the story, great that you noticed. And heh, punctuation, particularly in dialogue, certainly isn't my strong point  :P

 

 

 

 

Just one question: do you have this pre-written or are you coming up with it as you go along using something like an outline for guidance?  Just curious because I was guessing it was pre-written (which is what I do) since you have the chapters coming up so quickly and they look like you've taken the time to read them over once or twice. 
 

 

 

Normally I just write as I go along, although I'm not always able to complete a chapter a day. The reason why they're coming so fast is because I'm having my school vacation now, and have nothing better to do with my time than to revisit an interest that increasingly absorbed me in 2007-09 - writing BZP Fanfiction.  :)


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#6 Offline Maganar

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Posted Jan 02 2013 - 01:30 AM

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.

 

Chapter 3:

 

 

"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!


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#7 Offline Karzhani the Utahraptor

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Posted Jan 05 2013 - 11:58 PM

Thanks for another great (and comprehensive) review! Also, funny, I too fell sick over Christmas. 

 

With regard to the connections between this and the storyline of Halo 4/Cryptum, I was wondering when people would start seeing the links.  :P The character of the Pedagogue was certainly inspired and shaped by the Didact, and in searching for the name for the villain of this story I googled synonyms for 'Didact'. You might be interested to know, however, that the sarcophagus was actually inspired by one of the Transformers IDW comics (real Transformers fans should know this) where Megatron unearths the Fallen's coffin from beneath the dirt of Cybertron. 

 

Thanks for the feedback anyway, I've just written another chapter! 


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#8 Offline Maganar

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Posted Jan 13 2013 - 12:45 PM

Things are starting to fall together know.  There's a distinct destination and we see that the Enigma Signal has been connected to the Pedagogue's quest.  Cool.

 

I think I saw a typo, but I forget now.

 

Synheith's dream sequence was neat.  I liked how it started as a memory and then began to diverge from what historically happened.  I'm also eager to see how the Skrall get involved.  We've never gotten to see the Skrall doing serious battle in the canon storyline.  We know that they had glory days as unstoppable conquerors that were comparable to the Mongol Hordes of our world, a people that had refined the art of war into a grimly effective procedure.  Yet we never actually saw anything of this.  They took Atero with overwhelming force - not something that was too exciting in terms of seeing them in action.  Then we saw them overwhelmed at Roxtus by Scarabax-dude.  There would have been awesome, epic battle sequences in canon if GregF had been given a chance to flesh out the final Battle of Bara Magna, but he had to wrap things up quickly to end the line and I'm pretty sure everyone's headcanon of that battle is dramatically different from everyone else's (GregF didn't  really say much more than it happened - the comics had a rampant lack of clarity in regards to it).  So, my point being that epic Skrall fighting would be cool.

 

An abandoned Great Being house-/strong- hold?  This could be eerie and cool.  I'll wait and see.


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#9 Offline Steelsheen

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Posted Jan 22 2013 - 10:48 PM

[color=#0040BF;][font="'trebuchet ms';"]ECC ReviewKarzahni,Let me first apologize for how late this review is in coming. I have a legitimate excuse in that my baby sister deleted my writing app on Monday and consequently, my review with it. However, I've recreated it for you, and it is nearly as long as your epic itself, I believe. ;) Let's start with characters.Synheith - a calm, calculating Toa of Fire - is certainly not stereotypical of his people. He comes across as fairly detatched most of the time - I'm not even always clear on his motivations for working for the Order. He seems to be somewhat morally ambivalent. Likara at one point says, "You only talk when something or someone is in danger, don't you? You seem more like a Toa of Ice." And I think she hit the nail on the head there. Though not always a likable hero, Synheith makes a good protagonist. The only thing I would say is that his dialogue is so inconsistent that I have to read everything he says twice. At times, he speaks librarian; sometimes he just talks high school slang. Oftentimes just reading his lines out loud will help you figure out what he would say.Likara is a chipper Toa of Water who seems to be a sort of amalgamation of Macku and Hahli. While Synheith is very three dimensional and a mould-breaker, she seems flat and stereotyped by comparison. Mostly, this is because she doesn't seem to have any flaws. Remember that a balance of flaws and virtues make a character both relatable and likable.Gresh hasn't had much conscious screen time, but he seems very much as I remember him from the movie. Nice job on that.Surel instantly struck me as an Obi-Wan Kenobi figure... with a Texas accent. Like Synheith, his mode of talking switches constantly, making it hard to understand or follow his point. However, for the old mentor/storyteller role, he does very well.And that's a good segue into a discussion of dialogue. Most of your grammatical errors and story problems come from parts where characters are talking. It can be very hard to make words on a page sound like a believable conversation, but here are a few tips, based on your specific issues. First, use slang. Not everywhere, obviously, but a contraction or a "cool" thrown in make it feel more real. That's how people talk, after all. Second, pick a mode and stick with it. Surel is a good example of this. He starts with a cowboy accent, transitions to a Harvard manner of speaking and finishes it up with "y'all". When real people talk, they have a set speech pattern, a predictable set of words that everything else is based on. You as the author have to do that for your characters, too. And finally, make sure to separate long sentences into shorter ones so people don't get confused while reading.Alright, onto the really long quoting section!From the prologue -[quote]Toa Synheith, Toa of Fire, stood, shrouded in shadows in his new residence. The only light source in the room was a single window to his left, and now the twilight rays of Spherus Magna's sun were dimming, and whatever light was left glinted off the surface of his armor.[/quote]There's some really good imagery here, but it's worded in such a way that comes off as confusing and/or ostentatious. Try to remember that emotion is best shown through simplicity. Here's one way to rephrase it:Synheith, Toa of Fire, stood shrouded in the shadows of his new residence. The only light source in the room was a single window to his left - as the twilight rays of sunlight dimmed, the dusky light glinted on the surface of his armor.[quote]The device, however, was behaving unusually - the needle jumped back and forth, not giving a consistent direction for his North.[/quote]Unless north belongs specifically to Synheith, it should read "not giving a consistent reading of north". ;)[quote]Now almost certain this was an ambush, Synheith exited the hallway with caution, Pulse Staff primed and ready, yet no foes materialized.[/quote]I thought he was sure it was an ambush before this point...[quote]The Brotherhood would never leave such an object unguarded, he thought, something's wrong"Indeed, something is"[/quote]Neither of these sentences have ending punctuation, and Synheith's line is actually two sentences, so it should look like this: The Brotherhood would never leave such an object unguarded, he thought. Something's wrong.[quote]"That would be correct," the being said , demonstrating his mind-reading capabilities once again, probably just for his own amusement. "To pay respect to a simple formality, my name is Makuta Treperath. What might yours be?"[/quote]The comma after "the being said" does not need a space placed between it and the preceding word.[quote]"In hours, this fortress will be overrun by the Order. You will surely fail in defending this Crystal from our hands"[/quote]Again, missing a period at the end.[quote]Listen little Toa - this is no mere trinket. But I suppose there are secrets you were never meant to find out, and there are places in this world your superiors don't want you to discover.[/quote]After "listen", there should be a comma, and the last sentence feels a bit too redundant.[quote]Of the dark room and of Makuta Treperath, he made no mention. Yet Treperath's words continued to resound in his mind - haunting his dreams, until a month later, Teridax gained control of the universe, and the words that the Makuta had laid out to him in the chamber became far more consequential than he had ever imagined. The storm did indeed come.[/quote]Synheith didn't seem like a rule breaker up to this point, so I must assume that his encounter with Makuta Treperath has disturbed him deeply. However, if you're trying to show that his faith in his superiors has been shaken, that doesn't really come across well because we haven't seen him interact with them before.Also, the second sentence has a break in the wrong place; it should read:"Yet Treperath's words continued to resound in his mind, haunting his dreams - until a month later, when Teridax gained control of the universe, and the words that the Makuta had laid out to him in the chamber became far more consequential than he had ever imagined."Even done this way, it's pushing the limit on how long a sentence should be. But it is all one thought and flows well, so you don't really have to change it.[quote]Back in the Southern Continent, failure to defend his city meant certain death for many unfortunate Matoran, and this cold instinct to succeed was what drove him to perform as a Toa.[/quote]It should read "back on the Southern Continent". Also, as a quick note, good use of adjectives to manipulate how the reader views the scene. I don't normally think of a need for success as being "cold", but because you used it, I now see Synheith as detached from emotion.[quote]Normally, Synheith was not an inquisitive Toa. But a line is drawn when something is done out of curiousity, and when something is done out of the possible urgency and exigency of the situation. Synheith decided the line had been crossed.And so, he turned around, exited his room, and went to search for Helryx.[/quote]I always misspell "curiosity", too. ;) Try running the whole chapter through spell check before you post it - it helps catch little things like these. The second sentence feels awkward; you might try rewording it as "But there is a fine line between an act of mere curiosity and an act born of possible exigency."From chapter 1 -[quote]The arid sands of Bara Magna burned in the midday heat. Despite what both Matoran and Agori geologists had predicted, the melding and lowering of average global temperatures had done little to alleviate the painful heat of the desert. Every now and then, a diminutive Zesk would appear from beneath the surface, scan the area for prey, and disappear back into the ground. The barren landscape continued as far as the eye could see, broken occasionally by a patch of trees or an oasis, until the flat ground gave way to massive sand dunes in the distance.[/quote]An excellent example of good scenery description - not too much, and not too little. If this were a painting, I think it would be a watercolor; not photographic, exactly, but an elegant and clear rendition.[quote]"You came just in time though," the large armored warrior continued, "I was planning to summon you for a task."[/quote]Again, this is two sentences, not one. Put in a period after "continued".[quote]This was a job for a novice Toa training to fight, not a battle hardened veteran like himself.[/quote]True to the enigma that is the English language, "battle hardened" is actually a compound word and needs a hyphen.[quote]"I never liked canyons," the Glatorian said, "always an ideal spot for an ambush."[/quote]Two sentences here; put a period in after "said" and capitalize "always".[quote]"Maybe if you spent less time talking, we could avoid something like, I don't know, an ambush." Synheith replied.[/quote]Change the period after "ambush" to a comma. And I love the sarcasm. :)[quote]"Yeah. I'm fine. My name is Synheith", he said, shaking Gresh's hand.[/quote]Oops, you got your comma stuck outside your quotations marks there.From chapter 2 -[quote]Why do beings like ourselves need to have a predetermined future, or a duty codified for us? My duties depend on exigencies, and my destiny on my own successes or mistakes. And most importantly, why unity? Why must we work with others to succeed? I defended my village for more years than I can remember; yet never needed the help of another warrior. He glanced at Gresh. Other warriors also tend to be annoying and slow things down.[/quote]This is really all one train of thought and should be one paragraph.[quote]"I saw myself flying, as if in third person, to that mountain!" he pointed towards the north, towards a tall mountain which summit was obscured by clouds "there, I saw myself enter a cave, near the top. The cave was dark, humid - and almost endless. And at the end, I saw a large coffin, and suddenly a force possessed my hand to open it - and lying within was an entity who I know. somehow, is a Great Being. He told me to free him, so that he may bring peace and the perpetual existence of Spherus Magna through his inventions. This isn't a mere dream, I'm certain the Being was communicating to me through a vision. We must look for him!"[/quote]I have a couple points for this one. First, you've got a couple simple grammatical errors, like uncapitalized letters and missing punctuation. Second, when you talk about flying in your dreams or a video game, do you specify that you view it in the third person? Do you say things like "a force possessed me"? Most people don't. Granted, if you wanted Gresh to have an unusual speech pattern, this would be okay, but up until this point, he's been perfectly normal. By contrast, his speech here has gone very librarian... Or Jedi. ;) Here's one way you might re-write it to sound more like Gresh."I saw myself flying to that mountain!" He pointed towards the north, towards a tall mountain, the summit of which was obscured by clouds. "I saw a cave, near the top and flew inside. The cave was huge - I thought it'd go on forever. And at the end, I saw a big coffin. I... I couldn't stop myself, and I opened it. The body - I knew him, somehow. I think he's a Great Being. He told me to free him, and he'll bring peace." He paused for breath. "I don't think it was just a dream. The Being was giving me a vision. We have to find him!"[quote]"Sounds mighty dubious to me, you sure?" said Likara, echoing his thoughts. She continued mischievously: "you sure the lightning didn't fry your brain for a while?"[/quote]Just a few more grammatical errors. Corrected:"Sounds mighty dubious to me; you sure?" said Likara, echoing his thoughts. She continued mischievously, "You sure the lightning didn't fry your brain for a while?"[quote]Gresh got to his feet, and fixed his eyes on Synheith, "do you believe in duty? Or in destiny?"[/quote][quote]"Sure," said Gresh, "you can escort Kyry back to the Matoran City, while me and Likara proceed to the mountain to find the Great Being."[/quote]You can either make Gresh speak elegantly or not, but it's pretty incongruous to put an incorrect "me" (it should be "Likara and I") next to "proceed". If you want Gresh to speak well, then fine. Just choose one style and stick with it.[quote]"Worth a shot," said Likara, with a hint of curiosity in her voice, "who knows what we'll find?"[/quote]Likara is actually saying two separate sentences and needs appropriate punctuation.From chapter 3 -[quote]They had opted to take a faster, but more dangerous route, in order to return to the Order Headquarters before sunset.[/quote]Just goes to show you that short cuts don't always justify the amount of time saved. ;)[quote]His voice dropped to a whisper. "In those days they say the Glatorian didn't just fight for their tribe - a mere color of one's armor, but defended powers and principles greater than us all, and fought for battles that would determine the fate of the universe."[/quote]The sentence break should be completed on both sides by a hyphen, instead of a comma after "armor".[quote]Then the Agori straightened himself and smiled. "Nothing like an dusty old legend to brighten up your day."[/quote]Haha! I love this line![quote]Woah, woah, careful!" cried Kyry...[/quote]It's actually spelled "whoa".[quote]His answer came as something quick, sharp and powerful tore through the back wheel of the vehicle, which skidded and ground to a halt as the tyre deflated.[/quote]"Tire", not "tyre".[quote]He had heard stories from the Glatorian he had talked to about the Baterra. They were fully mechanical beings, designed by the Great Beings to stop the Core War 100,000 Years ago.[/quote]"Years" does not need to be capitalized here.[quote]"Nice target practice, huh?" said the mysterious Glatorian, "beginning to think I no longer had it in me. Don't bother with those wolves, son, they're friendly with me."He walked over and petted on of the Iron Wolves on the head. The beast responded cheerily, wagging its tail, as if acknowledging its master.Then his expression turned serious. "Never seen Baterra so far south before, lad. This could mean something dreadful is going to happen. Got time to listen?" [/quote]Two sentences in the dialogue and it's rightfully all one paragraph. It should read: "Nice target practice, huh?" said the mysterious Glatorian. "Beginning to think I didn't have it in me anymore. Don't bother with those wolves, son; they're friendly with me." He walked over and petted on of the Iron Wolves on the head. The beast responded cheerily, wagging its tail, as if acknowledging its master. Then his expression turned serious. "Never seen Baterra so far south before, lad. This could mean something dreadful is going to happen. Got time to listen?" [quote]The unknown Glatorian gestured towards the Thornatus, its back tyre deflated and useless.[/quote]It still should be "tire", not "tyre". ;)[quote]I've got a nice cave, its not too far away, and there you two can sit in for the night and hear a good 'ol story from me.[/quote]A few more grammatical errors. Corrected:I've got a nice cave; it's not too far away. You two can sit in for the night and hear a good 'ol story from me.[quote]"Nope, don't understand it," said Gresh, "saw similar writing one year ago when I and Mata Nui and some friends found a big laboratory underground that belonged to the Great Beings. Maybe this place was made by them, too. Why is the writing important?"[/quote]Corrected:"Nope, don't understand it," said Gresh. "Saw similar writing a year ago when Mata Nui and some friends and I found a big laboratory underground that belonged to the Great Beings. Maybe this place was made by them, too. Why is the writing important?"From chapter 4 -[quote]Long before the Core War...[/quote](Sorry, the whole paragraph was too big to quote) This is a really inventive way of looking at the Great Beings. It has a sort of Asguardian feel - they're not people like us, but most of them watch out for us and a few visit.[quote]Over the years, his hair had slowly whitened, and his expression had hardened.[/quote]Hair?! Up until now, I though this was following a fairly canon story as far as biology goes, but I guess I was wrong.[quote]The Pedagogue leaned forward, "listen, Verectorian, this plan won't just change the government, or who the Agori pay taxes to.[/quote]Incorrect punctuation and capitalization again. Corrected:The Pedagogue leaned forward. "Listen, Verectorian; this plan won't just change the government, or who the Agori pay taxes to.[quote]Verectorian remained unswayed. "You dishonor the Code of the Great Beings," he growled, "what you are advocating is an imperialist, conquering, and repressive dictatorship."[/quote]It may just be Verectorian's style, but he sounds very redundant. Corrected:Verectorian remained unswayed. "You dishonor the Code of the Great Beings," he growled. "What you are advocating is a conquering dictatorship."[quote]Verectorian sighed, refusing to meet Arkalogus' gaze. He was not married, and it was true that in the event of his death, no one would be left to succeed his clan of Illumus. He had no siblings, and he had no children.[/quote]Wow, hair and and kids. This is not what I was expecting based on the beginning of the story. Do Glatorian and Matoran have the same family structure?[quote]"I shall let you live this time," Verectorian said, turning slowly. "go back to whatever foul place you came from. I have won."[/quote]Corrected:"I shall let you live, this time," Verectorian said, turning slowly. "Go back to whatever foul place you came from. I have won." [quote]He turned only to see the Pedagogue, standing, pointing a previously hidden energy pistol at his face, its safeties off.[/quote]The pistol's safety, not "safeties".From chapter 5 -[quote]"After the battle with Verectorian, the Pedagogue was mortally and severely wounded," replied Surel, "no one knows what happened to him, all I have is rumors, y'know?[/quote]Corrected:"After the battle with Verectorian, the Pedagogue was pretty badly wounded," replied Surel. "No one knows what happened to him. All I have to go on is rumors, y'know?[quote]Kyry turned over and whispered to him, "we have to return to the village of Fortitude to find Gresh and Likara before its too late!"[/quote]Corrected:Kyry turned and whispered to him, "We have to return to Fortitude and find Gresh and Likara before it's too late!"[quote]"What about the Pedagogue's armies?" asked Synheith, prodding further, "are they in a position to do much harm?[/quote]Corrected:"What about the Pedagogue's armies?" asked Synheith, prodding further. "Are they in a position to do much harm?" [quote]Surel stared into space for a while, then firmly concluded, "no. His original armies of sentient Baterra were mostly expelled onto Bara Magna's two moons, after that Shattering thing, and if your Mata Nui robot is back, it means that he succeeded in his mission to destroy the armies."[/quote]This gets a little confusing towards the end; I had to read it twice to understand that Verectorian had succeeded, not the Pedagogue. (Great name for him, by the way) One way to fix this - and the capitalization and punctuation - would be:Surel stared into space for a while, then firmly concluded, "No. His original armies of sentient Baterra were mostly expelled onto Bara Magna's two moons, after that Shattering thing. And if your Mata Nui robot is back, it means that Verectorian succeeded in his mission to destroy the armies."[quote]"I fought for Verectorian, and was there at his last battle," Surel's voice lowered, "saw his body tumble off the side of the mountain into the canyon, a huge hole through his helmet. Poor chap never saw it coming."[/quote]Corrected:"I fought for Verectorian, and was there at his last battle," Surel's voice lowered. "Saw his body tumble off the side of the mountain into the canyon, a huge hole through his helmet. Poor chap never saw it coming."And just so you know, "chap" feels a little awkward here, considering that Surel generally speaks American slang. "Guy" might work better.[quote]"Woah, easy, its just me," said Likara. The Toa of Water was clearly exhausted, and Synheith could tell she was trying hard to maintain the characteristic spunk in her voice. "Where's Gresh? What happened?" asked Synheith, a rare undertone of anxiety seeping into his voice, "did you find the coffin?" Likara nodded and lowered her head, "we found a sarcophagus, hidden deep in one of the mountain caves. Some being in dark armor was inside, seemingly dead. Gresh touched the being's arm, then there was a flash of light, and after my vision cleared he lay prone on the ground, and the being was standing straight in front of me, staring at me with these cold, hollow, eyes. Then there was another flash of light, as the being in black armor pressed something on his gauntlet, and he vanished."[/quote]Corrected:"Whoa, easy; it's just me," said Likara. The Toa of Water was clearly exhausted, and Synheith could tell she was trying hard to maintain the characteristic spunk in her voice. "Where's Gresh? What happened?" asked Synheith, a rare undertone of anxiety seeping into his voice. "Did you find the coffin?" Likara nodded and lowered her head. "We found a sarcophagus, hidden deep in one of the mountain caves. Some guy in dark armor was inside; he looked dead. Gresh touched the guy's arm and there was a flash of light. When my eyes stopped seeing white dots, Gresh was on the floor out cold, and the dead guy was standing in front of me, staring at me with these cold, hollow eyes. Then he pressed something on his gauntlet, light flashed again and he vanished."[quote]"Ah, my old friend Verectorian," the black armored being said, as if to empty air, "even in death, it looks like some people still respect the virtues of your family. I will make sure those people are no more."[/quote]Corrected:"Ah, my old friend Verectorian," the black armored being said, as if to empty air. "Even in death, it looks like some people still respect the virtues of your family. I will make sure those people are no more." From chapter 6 -[quote]"Quiet, Agori," replied Synheith coldly, "unless you want me to crash into the next boulder.""Can you two stop squabbling," appealed Likara, "we need to get Gresh back to the Matoran City, and warn them, before the Pedagogue decides to act!" "Looks like he already has" [/quote]Corrected:"Quiet, Agori," replied Synheith coldly. "Unless you want me to crash into the next boulder.""Can you two stop squabbling?" appealed Likara. "We need to get Gresh back to the Matoran City and warn them, before the Pedagogue decides to act!" "Looks like he already has."[quote]"You're someone from the time before time, aren't you?" she said, cautiously, "before the Core War, long before Glatorian Civilization"[/quote]Corrected:"You're someone from the time before time, aren't you?" she said, cautiously. "Before the Core War, before Glatorian civilization."From chapter 7 -[quote]"Are you hurt?" Likara asked softly, "who took you out?"[/quote]Corrected:"Are you hurt?" Likara asked softly. "Who took you out?"[quote]So you are linked to the Pedagogue, thought Synheith, and I am now more convinced than ever that the Decryption Crystal is linked to his plan of world domination. You practically gave it all away when you said it would help you "bring the world to its knees", the day I met you on Destral.[/quote]This paragraph tell me nothing I didn't already know based on Synheith's previous deductions. It's not really necessary to do a recap here.[quote]"Tobduk, we need to bring you up to speed on a few things," said Synheith, "but before that, I need to ask you - what is the Decryption Crystal? And what is it for? I have a feeling it might be linked to what the Baterra are after."He wasn't sure, at this moment, if he was putting his own selfish desire for knowledge in front of the security of the entire Matoran City, or if it was in reality the other way around. [/quote]Corrected:"Tobduk, we need to bring you up to speed on a few things," said Synheith. "But before that, I need to ask you; what is the Decryption Crystal? And what is it for? I have a feeling it might be linked to what the Baterra are after." He wasn't sure, at this moment, if he was putting his own selfish desire for knowledge in front of the security of the entire Matoran City, or if it was in reality the other way around. [quote]"You do know what its for," Synheith started speaking in a more hurried tone, "you sent me to Destral to look for it!"[/quote]Corrected:"You do know what its for." Synheith started speaking in a more hurried tone. "You sent me to Destral to look for it!"[quote]Verectorian seems to have a complex mind, mused Synheith.[/quote]Since Verectorian is long since dead, this should read as past tense:Verectorian seems to have had a complex mind, mused Synheith.[quote]"A nice story, Toa," he said in his usual confident tone, "if its true, then it looks like the Pedagogue is back, and he's made the first move."[/quote]Corrected:"A nice story, Toa," he said in his usual confident tone. "If it's true, then it looks like the Pedagogue is back, and he's made the first move." [quote]Treperath didn't hear those words as much as he felt them, resounding through his mind. Whoever was giving him this vision didn't just have the power to engulf a Makuta in a convincing illusion, but had the power to enter his thoughts, too.[/quote]Really good mental imagery here - it must be a new thing for a Makuta to feel helpless!From chapter 8 -[quote]"What could they possibly want in our basement?" Tobduk questioned, "and, come to think of it, what do they want here?[/quote]Corrected:"What could they possibly want in our basement?" Tobduk questioned. "And, come to think of it, what do they want here?[quote]"Put the Toa down and hand us the Crystal," said Tobduk slowly, as if giving instructions to a child, "we have you outgunned. Or would you prefer to experience what I did to your old friend Tridax?"[/quote]Corrected:"Put the Toa down and hand us the Crystal," said Tobduk slowly, as if giving instructions to a child. "We have you outgunned. Or would you prefer to experience what I did to your old friend Tridax?" [quote]"Guys, this is serious," Likara said, "Kyry, why are you here?" "I want to join you," Kyry said, his voice cautious, "the Makuta, with his Rahkshi destroyed my village, Fortitude. I want to him get his payback." "This isn't the time!" Likara exclaimed, "we're on a high-priority task that Tobduk needs us to complete! You're just an Agori, and we can't have you along. Just because you spent a night in a desert cave listening to Surel doesn't make you qualified to come!"[/quote]All of these have the comma-instead-of-period problem that I've brought up a couple times now.From chapter 10 -[quote]Am I a star, then? he wondered casually, do I exist on my own, in this unfair boundless world, a singularity among many others, free of any true burdens or responsibilities? Am I free to pursue my own ends, regardless of whether it fulfills the tenets of Unity, Duty and Destiny?[/quote]Again, there should be a period after "casually". Since this is a problem that turns up pretty consistently, you should watch out for it. Aside from that, this has a philosophical turn that I love, especially considering that most of the story up until this point has been action.[quote]"Why serve the virtues of Mata Nui when Mata Nui is no more?"[/quote]An excellent question. Why indeed?Overall, I'd say you have a good idea here, but your form clouds that good story. The adventures of this new world, your enginuity with the society of the Great Beings and your witty quips all suffer from a few minor grammatical errors. You have good narration and scenery, but the characters sometimes fall short. My advice is to keep working on your dialogue and really flesh out your protagonists more. Of course, if you have actually made it this far in a review that takes over 5,000 words, you have proven beyond a doubt that you are dedicated enough to turn this into the polished story it deserves to be.-HH[/color][/font]

Edited by Hahli Historian, Jan 24 2013 - 01:37 PM.

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#10 Offline Karzhani the Utahraptor

Karzhani the Utahraptor
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Posted Feb 01 2013 - 01:04 AM

Thanks for the /really/ comprehensive review, Hahli Historian! Your review is actually longer than any of the individual chapters in the epic, haha. Points about grammar and characterization have been noted. 


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Internment - Ask Makuta Returns





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