- Jun 11, 2010
- Reaction score
hiiiiiiii I haven't dropped a review since ~chapter fourteen, which is far too long. On the plus side, your chapters do a great job of somehow reintroducing me to all of the fallout without actually saying it outright, which is fantastic. Oh, and I really missed your style. Something about how all these viewpoints are so unique while still keeping the central thread of the story makes this an absolute treasure to read.
Anyway. Bingeread this + a bunch of other things during an airport layover, so the details are a bit fuzzy, but my general thoughts: the one negative thing I had to say, really, was that it becomes difficult for you to focus on the characters as heavily as you used to. Ie in the beginning, when it was just Sai, Senori, and Kuoira, you could really do miles each chapter in terms of character development and stuff. (Kuiora and Sai's exchange after fighting Bugsy sticks out to me in particular as being a fantastic way of setting up two characters in a way that I haven't really seen in journeyfic). But, as you start having more and more characters, it becomes especially clear when you start ping-ponging between focuses, which was exacerbated a bit more given that we can tell what the focus is because it's usually the viewpoint character (except Kuoira -- even her chapters are focused on Ezrem now, haha). What this basically amounts to is that Rennio and Kuoira feel shafted (Rennio is this big blobby Elekid in my mind that has "timid" written around him somewhere), and then Ezrem, Senori, and Atis basically take turns fighting over whose the big focus ("I don't want to be on this team any more!" // "Oh yeah, I have officially abandoned my home, and now it's symbolically official too!" // "Well I can't fly ever again and also backstories and now I'm forgiven* even though I kind of accidentally killed my trainer and manipulated anyone remotely close to me!" // "Yeah while I'm still ditching this team!"). I can kind of see what you were going for here -- there's so much shit falling apart that the narrative reflects that, but at the same time, each individual problem basically means nothing because there's always a bigger fish/problem. Ezrem's no longer a total asshole, but that was overshadowed by the gym battle -- Senori's evolution should've been huge, I think, but it felt overshadowed by the fact that we were going to lose Atis forever, which was in turn overshadowed by the fact that Ezrem is no longer able to fly.
*this was a beautiful line btw
And then on top of all of that is Sai, somewhere. I'm 95% sure that his tragedy is supposed to be the biggest, most pressing one at all (logic tells me this, at least), but there's very little in the narrative itself to suggest that. I feel like at least some of this is intentional -- there's a reason, after all, that you've chosen to tell Sai's story through a bunch of different voices, none of which are Sai's, and this is a fascinating way at watching someone fall apart from the outside. However, when even the narrators neglect to mention Sai in anything more than passing in favor of discussing the other half million things wrong at the moment, it's hard to figure out if he's still relevant at all.
Oh, and I'm not sure what the last part of the most recent chapter was -- did Sai drug Atis or something?
Anyway. All that being said, I still loved this. I loved how you made me hate Ezrem and then pity him and then kind of hate him again in the span of a few chapters. Imparting depth through voice is one of your strongest skills, and you use it so well here.
Besides Rennio and probs Saithe entire crew feels so goddamn real.
Also, in terms of us both having Johto trainers with sentret and trying to explore the idea of a species designed around scouting, you have pulled this off 100000x better than my wildest dreams for Iris. The writing during that gym battle was so fucking on point. Other awesome parts include everything involving Ezrem (his math joke after the gym battle lols), Atis's situation actually making Sai make good on his promise, more things with Ezrem, and seriously, how and when did Ezrem become my favorite character ack.
Anyway. Lovely bunch of chapters here. Stay strong.
So balancing character development seems to be the main issue. Oh dear, didn't expect that one. XD If I understand right, when you say their problems don't matter in the end, they seem to matter to you if your review if anything to go by, but in the grand scheme of the story it seems like they're trying to one-up each other. Is that right? I'm not really sure how to fix that to be honest or to work with that in other stories. The fic is coming to a head with the climax approaching, and it makes sense to me that everyone's arcs need to wrap up. It may be that the fic is on the shorter side so everything has to be packed close to each other maybe? I have no idea. Without rambling more my question has to be to go about doing major events like this without spreading them out and making the flow of the story go up and down more wildly that it already is.
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