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Mandamon

20190603 - Facets of the Nether Ch 17 - 5070 words - Sub 16

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Hello all!
We're back to M, and then to E this week. We'll be back to S next time, so don't worry. Things are starting to come together. As usual, all comments are welcome. We're getting to the end...only four more submissions after this!

Previously: E coaxed S out of his room after a strange chime went off. The maji are interested in S's new house. R got some information from a source, and M wants to restart the Society. R reveals the location of the Coalition's headquarters, but can't get there, and everyone is called to the Assembly, where the Coalition unveils an ancient being. E and R discuss the revelation, S visits the Eff in a private audience, and M continues recruiting. Re manages to meet with the coalition, learns E and I's true species, and confronts E. E trades herself for I and S takes I in.
The rest of the cast gathers at the wall, and meet the Eff. They learn some new things, then the chime stops as something comes through the wall. We go back to E, who discovers the Coalition's headquarters, and meets some new, strange friends. Back to S and Co at the wall, who finally find out what the chime was all about. We drop in on M, who showed the new two-house recruits what's he'd been doing. Meanwhile, S and I go through the wall with WW, and find out what's on the other side. E learns about her species from the others, and fends off an assualt. Re observes one of the LC attack the Eff, but discovers a way to create a portal to their base. Meanwhile, S and I explore the new facet with WW, and meet the ruler of that facet.

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Wait, I'm first? How did that happen? Wooo!

 

Overall

Well I was grumpy with the M start because we had such good tension going, but then it was short and gave good information so I'm fine with it. The E part felt a little... too much? I think I have growing concerns over the 'insanity' part of this and the wildnes., It seems too unfocused and more like a caricature than a real state of mind. I think picking something real world to model after might give it more credibility and more impact. Right now E seems to have left realism and gone into straight fantasy, but your books have always walked that sci fi/fantasy line so I'm having a hard time with it.

Action wise it was good. I was hoping for more escaping though!

 

As I go

- epigraph: a lot of redundancy on the word 'stories'

- pg 2: it's very hard to be invested in this when so many exciting things have been happening! I want to get back to the Ari

- pg 4: oh the Earth question is being answered. Okay, interested

pg 8: would like more general description of where they are and E reacting to it. How does she feel?

- pg 9: wait, so is Z also a magus? Confused about this section.

 

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For the most part, I liked this chapter. I read through it without really stopping to comment. I was happy to finally have some concrete information about the dissolution and to see more of E. I'm also glad to see E finally finding an opportunity to escape, even if it is cut short. 

E hearing the other Ari's voice threw me a little because if she did hear it in the other chapter, it was much more subtle and less of a presence. I like the idea of her being able to talk to it and get information from it, but it also seemed to have a really strong hold on her personality, and it seemed she gave into it really easily. 

I also wasn't sure why the different Ari were fighting about that one assignment, though I could see E taking it as a chance to escape, but she wasn't thinking down those lines. She'd kind of been consumed by the other Ari's thoughts, which didn't feel right. She wasn't putting up enough of a fight.

Though I did like how she fought with the coalition after. 

Earlier, there was one point where P said "We have had the chance to observe many of the maji's systems." This and what he said after it made it sound like he could see the notes or the houses even though he wasn't a maji. 

I did have a hard time keeping track of who was who near the end, but that might just be me, not a flaw of the story. 

You ended on a point that is definitely going to make me want to keep reading. 

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On 6/4/2019 at 11:41 PM, kais said:

Well I was grumpy with the M start because we had such good tension going, but then it was short and gave good information so I'm fine with it.

Yay! I'm very pleased with how M's sections are being received, as his section was completely pantsed.

On 6/4/2019 at 11:41 PM, kais said:

The E part felt a little... too much? I think I have growing concerns over the 'insanity' part of this and the wildnes.

I'm hoping that by correcting this in the last chapter and before, I an apply those same corrections here.

On 6/4/2019 at 11:41 PM, kais said:

I was hoping for more escaping though!

Just wait!

On 6/4/2019 at 11:41 PM, kais said:

oh the Earth question is being answered. Okay, interested

I actually have a possible second series or prequel bouncing around my head that would deal with this!

On 6/4/2019 at 11:41 PM, kais said:

wait, so is Z also a magus? Confused about this section.

Er, yeah, he's a majus. He used to be Councilor for healing before R. Several people had problems with this so I think I need to accentuate this more.

11 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

E hearing the other Ari's voice threw me a little because if she did hear it in the other chapter, it was much more subtle and less of a presence. I like the idea of her being able to talk to it and get information from it, but it also seemed to have a really strong hold on her personality, and it seemed she gave into it really easily. 

Good point. I can elaborate.

11 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

I also wasn't sure why the different Ari were fighting about that one assignment, though I could see E taking it as a chance to escape, but she wasn't thinking down those lines. She'd kind of been consumed by the other Ari's thoughts, which didn't feel right. She wasn't putting up enough of a fight.

Yeah, I realized this when I was proofreading. I didn't telegraph this enough. The two other Ari started out fighting, but then saw the opportunity to escape and turned it into a show fight to sow confusion.

Thanks so much, @kais and @shatteredsmooth!

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On 03/06/2019 at 11:44 AM, Mandamon said:

We're getting to the end...only four more submissions after this!

Huh, interesting. I thought we might have seen a bigger conflict by now. I'm not sure I'm feeling the threat of the LC on the scale that I was expecting at the climax of the book. We shall see.

(page 1)

- "And our help be toward inviting..." - I tripped over this several times. not even sure I've got the full meaning yet.

(page 2)

- "possibly just one" - this goes back to my first comment above. Whilst I know that Dis is a threat, I don't feel that--this late in the book--it's looming large enough. I just wonder, if it's only a 10D away (as I think M is implying) if we wouldn't be seeing holes in the ground open up, and bits falling off the wall of the N, etc. I know the tone has been sounding, but that is a warning. I just wonder if the stakes my not be ramped up more by this point? On the other hand, maybe I'm wrong. I'll reserve judgement: but I would just like to have a stronger feeling of impending doom at this point.

- "What exactly would this thing do" - using 'will' would give a much stronger sense of immediacy, I think.

(page 3)

- "He was getting too old for this" - LOL. Presumably Bruce Willis will play him in the movie, or Mel Gibson (joking, waaaaay joking).

- "None are over fifty thousand" - Oooooh. That is very interesting.

(page 4)

- "G's furry muzzle opened, his lips making an “O” shape" - Too cute, the teddy bear's making a confused face ;) 

- "his middle fingers meeting more often than they should" - this is a great idea, nice touch, but I don't know what to take from it, I'm not sure what it means. Are they swearing?

- "all professionals near the top of their fields" - I think this should be singular.

- "device will siphon off their energy to protect us against the coming D" - I don't buy this. How can now person's energy deflect the 'end of the world'? Even a 3HM.

(page 5)

- "Come on, come on" - comma between repetitions, as with repetition of a single word.

- Back in E's POV, it took me most of the page to remember what she did last time (and that I enjoyed it). I wonder if it needs a call out early in this section, or if it's just my WRS.

- "the others moved past her" - I felt she was behind them.

(page 6)

- "She lifted a gloved finger from where it pressed against a device on her wrist and E felt something loosen" - I don't follow. I'm not able to picture this gesture, or the mechanics of it loosening something.

(page 7)

- "long and bounding in the light pull" - this phrasing confused me. I thought it was about illumination levels at first.

- "it was the better part of a lightening" - I can't remember how long this is. About an hour? Forty minutes? That's a long walk.

- "Many had been killed... it had not reduced their numbers" - This is not possible, it must have, but those numbers have been built up again. Even one death reduces the numbers.

(page 8)

- "She was the only one to wear them" - I don't understand why this is. Ah, okay.

(page 9)

- "When, and if, the time becomes right" - Excellent!! I love that, at best the Ar seem to be chaotic neutral, and yet their goals appear to align with E's. This is great conflict/challenge to reader perceptions. Love it. It's almost a kind of Dirty Dozen vide, suddenly :D 

- "They fell silent for the rest of the way, as they walked through populated areas of the caverns" - suggested for flow.

- "to keep away dispel the sense of vastness" - suggest for flow/elegance.

- "larger-than-average cave, with a false ceiling, four times her height" - no comma required, imo.

- "Aris' prison" - it's the collective possessive, so apostrophe at the end.

- "Dark cloaked figures were spread scattered around the room" - This sounds to me like the individual were all squished and dismembered.

(page 11)

- "Should we wish, the Imp" - need a comma hear, imo. I read straight through the pause.

- "Then everything changed" - This word is weak in this context, I think. I tells me the very least possible, I think.

- The voice in E's head is convincing to me, because it has an airtight rationale earned in E's previous section where she 'subsumed' the other Ari. (Forgive me for pointing out the comparison, @hawkedup, but there is such a big difference between the voice earning it's presence and the reader not being given the basis for a voice appaearing in a character's head.)

(page 15)

- "pitiful excuses of their species" - I'd say 'excuses for their species'.

(page 17)

- "unraveling like the song" - I don't follow: what song?

- Two instances of 'even as' in the same paragraph is awkward.

- I don't really understand what happened at the end here. How did the Ari end up fighting Na? Did Zh release En in order that she could attack Na, because the other LCs were against him? Are the Ari trying to escape? I didn't see the translation points, and I don't really understand the motivations at the end here.

Overall 

Most of this chapter worked fine for me. I enjoyed M's section, with certain reservations. En's section was slow in places,  and I had some confusion in places. I like the overall course of it though. I just wonder if maybe it could be streamline in places.

<R>

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58 minutes ago, Robinski said:

Huh, interesting. I thought we might have seen a bigger conflict by now. I'm not sure I'm feeling the threat of the LC on the scale that I was expecting at the climax of the book. We shall see.

 

58 minutes ago, Robinski said:

"possibly just one" - this goes back to my first comment above. Whilst I know that Dis is a threat, I don't feel that--this late in the book--it's looming large enough. I just wonder, if it's only a 10D away (as I think M is implying) if we wouldn't be seeing holes in the ground open up, and bits falling off the wall of the N,

Very interested to see what you think of the last few chapters. I promise there is something coming, but also, I'm regarding this as the first half of a larger arc continuing into the third book, which I'm going to start on as soon as I finish this edit of book 2.

 

1 hour ago, Robinski said:

I don't buy this. How can now person's energy deflect the 'end of the world'? Even a 3HM.

Yeah, I think I need to fiddle with this. It's left over from extreme pantsing and it still feels a little shoehorned.

1 hour ago, Robinski said:

The voice in E's head is convincing to me, because it has an airtight rationale earned in E's previous section where she 'subsumed' the other Ari. (Forgive me for pointing out the comparison, @hawkedup, but there is such a big difference between the voice earning it's presence and the reader not being given the basis for a voice appaearing in a character's head.)

Glad this is working for you.

1 hour ago, Robinski said:

I don't really understand what happened at the end here. How did the Ari end up fighting Na? Did Zh release En in order that she could attack Na, because the other LCs were against him? Are the Ari trying to escape? I didn't see the translation points, and I don't really understand the motivations at the end here.

Noted. I need to clean this up.

1 hour ago, Robinski said:

I had some confusion in places. I like the overall course of it though. I just wonder if maybe it could be streamline in places.

Sounds like a first draft! Thanks for all the comments @Robinski!

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6 hours ago, Robinski said:

(Forgive me for pointing out the comparison, @hawkedup, but there is such a big difference between the voice earning it's presence and the reader not being given the basis for a voice appaearing in a character's head.)

No forgiveness necessary. You're correct and I'm glad you did point it out. I haven't read the early chapters of this book (hence why I'm not critiquing) but just from this one chapter I see exactly what you mean. @Mandamon did work to earn the trope first.

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It wasn't as bad as last time, but I was very confused. 

 

As I go:

Again, I am vehemently not on board with M of all people non-jokingly advocating for the unwilling enslavement and non-consensual assault of another thinking, sentient being. "Should we make more magical sentient AIs? Is it ethical to do so," he muses, whilst simultaneously describing how he's going to break the fabric of reality to rip a thinking creature from its home and use it as a glorified battery.  

It's really stretching my suspension of disbelief here that all of these people are just agreeing that they should basically summon a timelord and then egregiously violate him in order to stave off, like, the 2012 Mayan calendar apocalypse. Because, from what I gather of the in-world state of the things M's mentioning, that's what it is. Stories, nut-bar conspiracy theories, and ancient legends are what M's talking about. And everyone's on-board, with basically no problems, uniformly despite their differences, based on just two cryptic meetings, a basement full of junk, and the decades-old goodwill generated by a super-secret secret society. It's starting to sound silly to me.  I feel like up until this M sub-plot, everything I've heard in-world about the Diss, about 3-house mages, and about their "we don't hurt people with magic" society would lead to this plan of M's being laughed off by pretty much everyone. His proof doesn't even prove his point, it just proves that something weird happened with the Meth 50,000 years ago. Arg! I am frustrated.  

Wait... He's the villain, isn't he? I didn't think he was the villain in his short, but all this plan is missing is some sharks and some lasers, and it's a mustachioed villain's doomsday infinite power plan. I feel like the twist is going to be that M precipitates the very thing he's endeavoring to prevent, and it'll be some kind of irony/symmetry with the LC -- violence, destruction, slavery, and death in the name of "peace" and "security." 

 

Ahh, I knew this chapter was missing something, and that was Walking To A Meeting. ;) With E this time. I am a little unclear why the manacles and the collars are short circuiting each other, and I can't quite remember if E had the both on at an earlier point. Did they put them both on her at the beginning when she turned herself in?

I'm completely baffled as to why the fight breaks out once at the meeting, and who is on which side.  

I'm unclear on the politics that they're speaking about before the fight, but it didn't seem like that was all that important to me. I am honestly not particularly interested in why the LC are doing anything. I find them fairly one-dimensional, and they've not really done much to make me think they're anything other than a bunch of bad guys for the good guys to beat up. 

N is feeling a little bit of a plot device at the end to me. Is there some kind of background on the knife that i'm missing because I haven't read the rest of the series?  I feel like from what I've read here in the subs, that magical objects like the knife aren't really a thing in this world. Systems, yes, but those have been mentioned extensively and been explained in detail so that they seem to have substantial, real-feeling limits, and the knife just feels like it popped up out of nowhere with the random ability to do +5 damage to Ari with no costs associated to it. Did N have it last book and was just keeping it in a pocket somewhere? It feels awfully convenient.

Additionally, all this Grace being able to interfere with anything N seems to want it to feels weird to me. I don't feel like I've seen enough Grace stuff happening to really believe what N is doing is possible. Like, with the pixie story, and the other instances of Grace, all the changes were very much centered on the caster. Making the caster more likely to strike true, making the caster harder for others to hit, augmenting the second house in in a grace+other two-house mage. The last section had N mostly using grace to increase evasion, and to make it more likely his strikes hit their target, I feel like I'm remembering, so it didn't bother me so much.  This, he's actively interfering with E's casting and I've not really seen anything like this in the mage powers up to this point, so I'm really skeptical of it. Isn't it awfully convenient that he can do all this stuff that none of the good guys are prepared to counter, even the other Grace wielders and the ones with the supposedly non-magic powers nobody's seen in thousands of years... 

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3 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

I feel like the twist is going to be that M precipitates the very thing he's endeavoring to prevent, and it'll be some kind of irony/symmetry with the LC -- violence, destruction, slavery, and death in the name of "peace" and "security." 

You're...actually not far off. Does that make it better? Anyway, I'll see what you think of the last few chapters.

3 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

Ahh, I knew this chapter was missing something, and that was Walking To A Meeting. ;)

Lol!! At least I have a brand...

3 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

I'm completely baffled as to why the fight breaks out once at the meeting, and who is on which side.  

Yep, need to clear this up.

3 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

Is there some kind of background on the knife that i'm missing because I haven't read the rest of the series?

Not really...It's consistent with some of the other tech the LC has used, but I can call this one out more.

3 hours ago, industrialistDragon said:

Additionally, all this Grace being able to interfere with anything N seems to want it to feels weird to me.

Hmmm...I've hinted at this in the last book and here and there, but never overtly. Looks like I need to bring it out more.

Thanks @industrialistDragon!

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16 hours ago, Mandamon said:

You're...actually not far off. Does that make it better?

...Some, but not a ton. I feel like this was a pretty abrupt face-heel turn and I am reacting to the lack of foundations for it. I really expected more reactions from the members he gathered, more walkouts, more pushback as the ridiculousness and unethical nature of M's plan comes to light. Surely not every two-house mage is an amoral, Machiavellian, conspiracy nut? For me, M is still coasting on his good-guy image from last book, right up until the point where here reveals his doomsday plan. The lack of in-world reactions plus the dissonance between the M i knew from the previous books (which is still in effect for much of the "putting the band back together" sections here) and the M that would contemplate a doomsday plan like that was too much. It still is. I'd like more hints earlier that M's gone off the rails since we saw him last, building to this nutbar scheme. 

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