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Mandamon

20200406 - Fall of the Imperium Ch 6 - 2897 words - Sub 17

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Well this is unprecedented! I've checked with the mods, and am taking two slots this week as I'm intending to publish this book in a few months and really need to get feedback on the whole thing. And of course I review and edit the chapters before I post, which meant the second one bloomed up past 6000 words. *grimace* Sorry. The two together are still less than 10K, however...

SUB 17
Chapter 6, Which introduces Ri's POV. This is a bit of a shorter, gathering chapter after last week, and before the longer one next week. I think I've cleared up most of the issues from last time. Let me know what you think!

Previously:
S/E/I arrive in the other facet with their news of the Elg. The Eff and court are there, E has problems with trust, and E/I learn about their folks. The Eff faints shortly thereafter. E battles the voices inside her as they travel to the Ari, and attacks S. In the Ari enclave, I struggles with his image, we learn of the Ari, and E and I use each other's houses for the first time.
M arrives with the society to the Imp and is attacked by Elg. People die and Man finds himself with more and more responsibility as they attempt to figure out what's going on. They learn the Eff is also killed, and M makes clever use of a portal to save his life.

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Overall

I struggled with this chapter. I'm not certain what its purpose was. It didn't seem to really advance the narrative, except to introduce characters from book two. But I didn't feel like it introduced them dynamically at all, and there were too many of them named (even though I've read all preceding books and should know them!). Likewise, I still feel like the interactions between O and R are not romantic in the slightest. If it's just sex, cool. Yup. That I could see. But the cuddling seems very out of place. 

Does this chapter need to be here? Could elements of it be put into other chapters? I've been a big fan of R since the first book, but here she seems more like a device to introduce worldbuilding and other characters, rather than a character in her own right.

Looking forward to the next chapter though!

As I go

- wait, is this our first R chapter? Is it picking back up from book two? I'm disoriented. WRS??

- pg 3: I find myself trying to find something to grab onto in this chapter. There's not enough...substance? to invest me in the POV (and I have always loved R!) and I'm confused as to some of the people in this group, where they've just come from (book 2? Did they just jump from book 2?) and where they are. There's too much new, I think, and the plot is pushing us to a new place but I need a minute with at least R, and some emotions maybe, maybe a memory, before I can really sink into this chapter and POV

- pg 5: “My apprentice, where is he?” he asked. <-- okay here is where I start to connect. I've always felt drawn to the apprentices, like this was their narrative first and foremost. Here, where they start to worry about the people I feel are the main characters, is where I start to connect.

- pg 6: I LOLed at the ankle line

- pg 7: The random thoughts about wanting to be with O, from R, continue to seem very random. I do not get a sense of attraction between these two at all. It was strained from what I remember from book 2, as well. I just have a hard time believing they are a couple. They act more like mentor/mentee than anything else

 

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Hello!

These are my first Reading Excuses reviews, so I printed out the guidelines and relied heavily on them for this review. I hope my critiques are helpful. ^_^

I like how nonhuman the characters are described and kept being reiterated. A lot of times I feel that nonhuman characters are introduced differently than humans but then become more human-like (in attitude or appearance) later in the novel. The consistency in the characters looks kept me very intrigued and I kept trying to imagine exactly what they looked like. It was fun. 

On page 1 of CH. 6, there is a comment of the monsters being deadly upon contact, how do the characters know this? This chapter makes it seem like these are monsters the characters are meeting for the first time, so I don't know how they would intuitively know they are deadly upon contact unless they see or die themselves.

As a completely new and blind reader, I gotta say that I think HD is shady af in this chapter. I don't know why, but I just felt like I couldn't trust this character. I want to know more.

 

Also please help me with "Non-maji". How do you pronounce it? I keep pronouncing it like "No-maj" from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them. 

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Thanks @CherishLarain! Glad to be your first review!

I'm happy the nonhumans came across well. There are a lot of them in this book!

6 hours ago, CherishLarain said:

there is a comment of the monsters being deadly upon contact, how do the characters know this?

This is actually something from the previous book, so you wouldn't know about it.

6 hours ago, CherishLarain said:

As a completely new and blind reader, I gotta say that I think HD is shady af in this chapter.

Ha! HD is pretty harmless, but I can see how that would come across for a first time reader.

6 hours ago, CherishLarain said:

Also please help me with "Non-maji"

basically like "magi."

19 hours ago, kais said:

I struggled with this chapter. I'm not certain what its purpose was. It didn't seem to really advance the narrative, except to introduce characters from book two. But I didn't feel like it introduced them dynamically at all,

Thanks @kais! Yep, looking back on this, I think this was mainly a re-introduction, but the next chapter will serve better for that.

19 hours ago, kais said:

Likewise, I still feel like the interactions between O and R are not romantic in the slightest.

Hmm...I'll have to see what the consensus is on this. O&R are an interesting couple...

19 hours ago, kais said:

Does this chapter need to be here?

I think I may just roll this into the next chapter and shorten it a lot.

19 hours ago, kais said:

wait, is this our first R chapter? Is it picking back up from book two?

yep...6 chapters in.

Going over to the next chapter...

 

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I have mixed feelings about this chapter. It is one of those regroup and catch your breath  chapters, which would work if the last big action scene from R's POV had been in this book, but where it is the first time we are seeing from R's POV in book 3, it doesn't quite work that well. It does very little to move the story forward. All it adds is a little romantic emotion between R an O and explains why HD leaves the group. In a different context, I think the chapter would be okay, or if the end of book 2 were part of book 3, I'd be more okay with it. 

 

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Thanks @shatteredsmooth! Seems a consensus on this one. I'll probably shorted it a lot and suck it up into the next chapter.

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 Not much to add I'm afraid. I agree that this chapter is a bit jarring but since it has to be the reintroduction for this group of characters in a new book that may be inevitable.

My only catch not previously mentioned is 2/3 in, the sentence starting, "My apprentice...." the comma and then 'he' seems redundant.

Thanks for sharing!

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I'm running a little behind, but, as per usual, I did not read everyone else's comments before I jumped in.

Thoughts as I go:

Pg 1, "Ri stumbled out of H.D.’s portal.": It's Master A! I am instantly excited because Masters O.C and H.D. are two of my favorite characters. 

Pg 1, "Seconds ago": Noted: timeline shift, going into the past.

Pg 1, "O had stepped through the portal": Yay!!!

Pg 2, "She flexed her hands, trying to bleed tension away.": Oh man, I'd be panicking like crazy. Ri does have adventuring experience, though, unlike myself. 

Pg 2, "It took up the entire egg-shaped room,": Are they in an art gallery?

Pg 3, "but the Specie L would feel it for a ten-day or more.": This is more of me wondering worldbuilding stuff, but I assume that each of the different species heal at slightly different rates.

Pg 3, "<The Symphony,>": This reminds me of synesthesia. I feel like no one is panicking except for me. I mean, timeline-wise, their leader is dead and their capital and home under attack...I feel like there would be a whole lot more of, "What in Brahms' beard just happened!?"

Pg 4, "Even so. She felt more relaxed" ---> "Even so, she felt more relaxed"

Pg 5, "<This is my masterwork.>": Just another reason for me to love H.D.! She's an artist like me! 

Pg 5, "He must be with the other apprentices": Re is on an adventure... :/

Pg 6, " there would be time to find them later." There's no time for those still in City I with all of the Elg!!! I agree with resting and regrouping, but this is no vacation. 

Pg 6, " to touch the Elg?": Oooh, yes, so that we can exterminate those nasty little buggers.

Pg 6, " he was going to show some ankle doing that": I'm sure Ri would like that ;)

Pg 6, "neither was anything else the creatures touched." Had they touched plants at the end of Facets? If I didn't know what I know from the previous chapters, I might assume they dissolve any organic matter.

Pg 7, "Me, I am not as loose with my apprentices as some [masters] are": Oooh, ouch. 

Pg 7, "pushed away the heat of her anger": Emperor Palpatine would be disappointed...."Let the hate flow through you."

Pg 7, "Ri swiped a hand through the air and H.D. jumped at the gesture": I have to wonder if Ri just yelled some random word, like "POTATOES" or something. 

Pg 8, "We also need to know how to fight them": I agree with everything Ri is saying. 

Overall: 

I have slight tonal whiplash from the last chapter, but I think that is because I expected this chapter to start out much more high energy since they had just come from a deadly encounter. I am excited to have Ri, Or, and H.D. back!

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Thanks @Snakenaps!

14 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

I feel like no one is panicking except for me. I mean, timeline-wise, their leader is dead and their capital and home under attack..

Yes, this is a good point to add in some emotion and panic. That might be a good way to add something more to this chapter.

14 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

Just another reason for me to love H.D.! She's an artist like me! 

Cool!

14 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

Re is on an adventure... :/

Uh...Yah. Just wait.

14 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

here's no time for those still in City I with all of the Elg!!! I agree with resting and regrouping, but this is no vacation. 

Yep. Need to increase urgency here.

14 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

Had they touched plants at the end of Facets? If I didn't know what I know from the previous chapters, I might assume they dissolve any organic matter.

This comes up in a few chapters.

14 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

"pushed away the heat of her anger": Emperor Palpatine would be disappointed...."Let the hate flow through you."

Lol!

14 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

I have to wonder if Ri just yelled some random word, like "POTATOES" or something. 

Ha! Yeah, I was imagining something like that as well.

14 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

I have slight tonal whiplash from the last chapter, but I think that is because I expected this chapter to start out much more high energy since they had just come from a deadly encounter.

Yes, there are some issues with this chapter. I really want to keep the worldbuilding elements, but It's not really working as is. I may need to move it around or shorten and combine with next chapter.

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Comments.

(page 1)

- It feels a little odd to be here, in the immediately aftermath of the attack on the eff, as late as Chapter 6 in the story. Am I right in saying that this is the first time we hear Elg mentioned? I can't remember if S, I and E know that name. They must do. That's my WRS. This opening, even in the first couple of lines, feels more urgent and intense that Man's POV, and conveys a lot of information very quickly, whereas Man's POV conveys less information less immediately. I know you've reordered the POVs before. I don't know, this one just very quickly struck me as more compelling than Man's.

- "someone after my own n" - awesome line. <3 O.

- R thinks banal of O, but she seems to be thinking the same thing about the colours, really. Seems a bit hypocritical.

(page 2)

- sending LBLs separately again. Minor stuff.

(page 3)

- trying to process what happened" - She's been processing for two pages. This thought seems late to the party.

- “Not all at once,” R said. She waved her hands at the three L. “One a time. What do you want? We’re new here.”" - WHOA!! Hang on a minute. HD brought them here, so HD must know where this is, and has already demonstrated that by explaining things about the room. R is being incredibly rude overriding HD, to whom this place must be personal.

(page 4)

- is a vial a glass? To me, a vial is a very particular shape associated with the storage of chemicals, poison, etc., as opposed to a drinking glass. I giggled 'vial' and got many images like this:

kinesis-kinesis-headspace-glass-vials-72665.jpg.bd7b3aa1e4cd17ee091d42d45a164120.jpg

Just seems to me that the description is inconsistent.

- a strange sense of hospitality" - offering refreshment to weary travellers does not seem strange to me. Especially given that their hosts do not know the situation.

- "answer M A’s question as to where we are" - that was over two pages ago. Completely forgotten about the question by now.

(page 5)

- "She referred to the musical instrument upon which she performed, and which she was named after" - There are two grammatical forms here of the same type, but a different form is used for each one. It's confusing to my brain. 'upon which she performed', it seems to me, logically, would be followed by 'after which she was named'. Having said that, this is a more formal form which does not appear much in the prose at all. I think maybe more 'everyday' phrasing would fit better.

- "Still, it was certainly art, no matter what one called it" - I get the point, but my first reaction was 'Well, one just called it art.'

- "looked around as if counting" - I think it's way too late for him only now to be counting to see where Re is. They've been here for what, ten minutes? Re is a talkative chap, and no shrinking violet. I think they would have noticed his absence by now. Surely, the first reaction on escaping from somewhere as a group is to do a head count?

- "R asked" - but she's making a statement here. This sounded weird to me, as a tag. it's flanked by two statements.

(page 6)

- The flow feels really jumpy around here. They were talking about one thing, then jumped to Re then jumped to the elg.

- "R almost grinned" - Eh? The tone seems to be swinging wildly here. R has been very earnest the whole time, a grin, when they've just realise Re is missing, seems inappropriate.

- "like a branch breaking in the wind" - we had the branch breaking image just recently.

- Still jumpy. We go from considering the portals back to the apprentices being missing. I know the maj are sort of arguing, but it's quite distracting and hard to focus on a line of thought.

(page 7)

- Perhaps if we were to be testing them" - another different subject, although I do expect it of Or. My issue is the narrative jumping around.

- "HD jumped at the gesture" - but surely the L must be used to meth and other races using hand gestures to emphasise their speech. This must happen a hundred times a day when the L are around other species. I did not buy this reaction. I like the idea, but HD must be well used to this.

- "dug at her eyes" - Huh? I can't picture this.

(page 8)

- "could even affect my signing" - awesome line, completely convincing of the setting and the race, feels very natural.

Overall 

This chapter started well for me, but I got rather frustrated with it as 'its' attention seemed to stay all over the place in the middle. Some of R's behaviour was off, for me, particularly her rudeness in demanding to know where they were when Cleary HD had brought them to somewhere that she knew. Secondly, in asking about accommodation only for her and O. I get she is under stress, but still, these instances felt off for me. Otherwise, as per comments.

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Thanks @Robinski! LBLs are very helpful as always.

2 hours ago, Robinski said:

It feels a little odd to be here, in the immediately aftermath of the attack on the eff, as late as Chapter 6 in the story. Am I right in saying that this is the first time we hear Elg mentioned? I can't remember if S, I and E know that name. They must do. That's my WRS. This opening, even in the first couple of lines, feels more urgent and intense that Man's POV, and conveys a lot of information very quickly, whereas Man's POV conveys less information less immediately. I know you've reordered the POVs before. I don't know, this one just very quickly struck me as more compelling than Man's.

S/E/I have mentioned the name, but that was 3 chapters ago or so.

Glad the opening works for you, though I agree the timing seems a little off. Still haven't figured exactly how to do this.

2 hours ago, Robinski said:

She's been processing for two pages. This thought seems late to the party.

Yep, can probably cut all this down considerably.

2 hours ago, Robinski said:

HD brought them here, so HD must know where this is, and has already demonstrated that by explaining things about the room. R is being incredibly rude overriding HD, to whom this place must be personal.

Ah, good catch. 

2 hours ago, Robinski said:

is a vial a glass?

That picture is pretty much exactly what I intended!

2 hours ago, Robinski said:

The flow feels really jumpy around here

Yep, I think this whole chapter is jumpy. It's most likely going to be subsumed into the next one.

2 hours ago, Robinski said:

but surely the L must be used to meth and other races using hand gestures to emphasise their speech. This must happen a hundred times a day when the L are around other species. I did not buy this reaction.

Hmmm...this was an attempt to show that they're outside the Net and so aren't seeing the "smoothing" of communications between species. May be to complex to really show.

2 hours ago, Robinski said:

This chapter started well for me, but I got rather frustrated with it as 'its' attention seemed to stay all over the place in the middle. Some of R's behaviour was off, for me, particularly her rudeness in demanding to know where they were

I'm hoping I can keep the best bits of this in an "hey here we are" intro and then maybe have a night's rest and go immediately into the next chapter. I'll have to fiddle with it on the next edit.

 

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2 hours ago, Mandamon said:
5 hours ago, Robinski said:

but surely the L must be used to meth and other races using hand gestures to emphasise their speech. This must happen a hundred times a day when the L are around other species. I did not buy this reaction.

Hmmm...this was an attempt to show that they're outside the Net and so aren't seeing the "smoothing" of communications between species. May be to complex to really show.

It's a really nice idea. I'm sure there must be a way to make it work. I would like it to work, and to still be there. Maybe just needs a lantern on it, something like: 'R waved her arm and HD started. R jerked her hand down again. I hope I've not just blurted something horribly offensive. We really do take the N's translation for granted, don't we?

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1 hour ago, Robinski said:

Maybe just needs a lantern on it,

Yep, something like that might work, if this section ends up staying in. Thanks!

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