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recovering_cynic

Reading Excuses - Nov. 8 - Recovering Cynic - Fallen Haven - Chapter 6

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Again, just looking for major critiques since there will be a lot of re-writing.

Chapter 1

Jimbo Casey is an ex-convict going in for drug testing, he fails the test and begins fleeing from the police. Kyle Endrasko is the sheriff and Jimbo's cousin. He pursues Jimbo who has driven into the back roads in rural Oklahoma. Akari is not human, but she works for an organization on earth that protects earth from outsiders. Akari and her squad of soldiers, who are human "replicants", detect an outsider about to break through from another realm. They get on a jet to intercept the breakthrough, but don't get there in time. Jimbo and Kyle's chase ends up at the breakthrough site. The monster that has broken through is killed by Akari and Co., but not before it tosses Jimbo through the breach into the realm it came from. Kyle confronts Akari and accidentally touches her unearthly sword, which renders him unconscious.

Chapter 2

Jimbo falls into a strange world and is captured and thrown into a giant prison wagon that is pulled by monstrous creatures and driven by human. The cage is full of human-sized moths.

Chapter 3

Kyle is recruited into a powerful secret organization run by a woman named Seiku that regulates interdimensional traffic on Earth. They are organizing a rescue mission to find his cousin Jimbo. Kyle volunteers to go after Jimbo and he is given an injection that allows him to understand Outsider languages. He then gets into an elevator on the way to go Outside

Chapter 4

Akari is preparing for the rescue mission and we learn some of her backstory. She has been assigned an airship, The Destrian, that has been made to look like a piece of crap to disguise its technology. She clashes with Kyle at the ship and we meet the new crew, a lizard (Salashi) named Chuuk, an Avorian (moth) named Chirea, and an Avorian mechanic named Bub who wears a power-suit.

Chapter 5

One of the moths makes Jimbo some clothing and the whole prison cage is taken to a giant city in the sky held up by chains. He is imprisoned inside a stone that contains a small realm. Jimbo is bitten by a macra snake and can now understand the language. His captor, a horrific being called Azaerl, plans to use Jimbo to invade earth. There is a small dispute between the wagonmaster and Azaerl, but Azaerl brushes the wagonmaster off. Jimbo is left chained inside the stone realm.

Chapter 6

What you are reading now.

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Again, just looking for major critiques since there will be a lot of re-writing.

First critique, you have bad timing.... Alloy of Law just came out. Will have to read that at least 3 times first.

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^lol. I'm not going to get AoL until the weekend, so I can give a short critique.

I enjoyed how your weapons and zeppelins are retrofitted or whatever you'd call it. The bits you've explained about gods is interesting, and right now I'm wondering if Earth is special from the get-go, as if it's always been special even before the betrayal, or if it's special because of the betrayal. Earth is clearly important to the other gods, and the short bit you mentioned about the human god being a betrayer makes me wonder if they want to come to earth out of greed or out of revenge.

Other than that, I'm mostly interested in how the crystals work. We've seen crystals in the sequence where Jimbo traveled through Outside, and from what I remember, someone said something to the effect of kyle's hand turning crystal weakened the goddess. I'm wondering if it's Earth's goddess, and if the crystal and it's ability to kill outsiders has something to do with the betrayal.

All in all you've got a lot of interesting information to process, and you've been good about avoiding excessive exposition – though I'd caution against doing too many "not now, there's no time to explain!" bits. Along the same vein, while i appreciate the diversity in your monsters and outsiders' design, eventually I think your style of introducing new outsiders might get old. Everytime jimbo or kyle meets a new kind, their initial reaction is just "what the hell?" I get it's still the first few chapters, and so far your introductions are maintaining a sense of wonder. I just think after a few days of insanity, the surprise would start to lose it's edge.

Edited by Hubay
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Right off the bat, I have to say that your intro bits continue to be good.

The disguised machinery is interesting, and the obvious questions raised are about who it is supposed to deceive. I anticipate we'll get an answer to this at some point.

The variety of creatures is well-imagined, and most of them are vastly different from each other, which is nice. However, I wonder about not having enough of it explained. If most of the weird shapes and abilities don't come into play in the story, then it's probably fine.

Explanations are actually a big part of my critique, starting about with this chapter (but possibly going back a slight bit). So far, nothing much has been explained either to Kyle, or even just to the reader. It is good on avoiding info dumps, but less good in a really strange story like this where I have no idea what to expect. This is especially true where Kyle is concerned. Everyone seems to think that it's important he is along, and that he survives so they can return, but nobody thinks it's important to explain some of the smallest things to him. Even things about the mission; like, for example, the fact that other zeppelins are something to be alert for. By this point, I really hope there's a good reason why nobody has given him any explanation, but whatever the reason, it seems unlikely nothing is done to help him out.

There has also been a tendency to end the chapters on dramatic moments. This can work, but right now I'm starting to worry that every chapter I get will now have the viewpoint character end in a dire situation. Sometimes it's nice to be able to pause and take a breath.

Speaking of pausing and taking a breath, Kyle is about due to go insane now, right? I mean, he was half-crushed, woke up in a hospital, found out his hand had turned to crystal, was recruited to go on a mission with some obvious aliens, had venom injected into him, watched solders cut down in front of his eyes, jumped in a zeppelin and was outfitted, discovered he was suddenly the outlaw instead of the law, survived another fight, and is now in an explosion. All in what seems like just a couple hours (time awake, of course -- he was unconscious for whatever medical happenings occurred after being crushed). I especially think that the conversion from lawman to outlaw wouldn't go as easily as is implied by the text, and would expect some huge repercussions from that any time now. In fact, I expected them once he realized what was going on.

Given that Kyle did keep his allegiances (tenuous as they are) to the people treated him like vermin, the fight scene was well done. My biggest quibble with this would be that earlier we learn the rifle will explode in five seconds. I'm guessing that the end of the fight after Kyle's rifle was damaged took only a second, but then there was time for Akari to discuss Chuuk's arm wound and (leisurely, since the fighting is done?) cut off the remaining portion. Kyle has time to notice the smell, mention it to Akari, who can then process the information and ask him about the rifle before the explosion goes off. That seems like a lot of stuff for five seconds, especially when there isn't shown any particular need to hurry.

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