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Mandamon last won the day on February 26 2013

Mandamon had the most liked content!


About Mandamon

  • Birthday May 26

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  • Member Title
    Complex and Unnecessary
  • Gender
  • Location
    North Carolina
  • Interests
    Practicing and Teaching Karate, Reading, Writing, Gaming, Tinkering

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  1. Sorry for the wait on this! I've been absolutely swamped on edits the last two weeks. Again, similar thoughts to @Silk. I think the overall focus of the book is shifting too much from the beginning. There's a big focus on gender and feminism here, but I was expecting more of a cool future society/worldbuilding from the first section. Not that they're incompatible, but I think they're shifting too much from one to another as the book progresses. Interested to see how it wraps up! Notes while reading: pg 1: still don't really see the need for all the "personal" objects. pg 3: Why did Am think A would read his diary? There's a lot in here that is touching, but a much bigger emphasis on the age of the clones, how they're treated, and gender dynamics in the first section will help this land better. pg 9 “The one I had to hold you away from screaming and kicking..." --there's a lot of repetition of past events in here, often told in dialogue. Some of this you can assume the reader remembers, and if the characters are detailed enough, the the reader will remember what they've done. pg 12: I'm struggling at bit at this point in the story to understand what it's really about. It was about the interesting worldbuilding at the beginning, and then went in to the gender discussion, and still is about that, but also about political philosophy now? it's getting a bit scattered, especially this late in the book, and needs to be focused more. pg 14: wait, doomspeakers are all transgender? I don't think I got that before. pg 15: "And I’m sure there was a part of you that knew all along..." --ok, yeah, so this ties back into the prologue. Nice tie back! pg 15: “So you hate men,” --I think this is the part I'm not getting in the story. This seems to be a new part coming up now. pg 16: "you’re a disgusting killer" --I think I'm missing the subtlety here. As far as I can tell, B is just transphobic? pg 17: It seems like there's a big shift in the narrative again at the end of this section. Now we're focusing specifically on feminism? I think the plot is getting scattered at this point, and needs some massaging from the beginning to be consistent.
  2. Similar notes, as usual, to @Silk on this one. I don't think there's enough buildup or hints for the emotional beats here. There's several large reveals in this chapter, ones that affect most of the book, and I don't think any of them land with the impact they need to. Especially the last one with M's reveal. There's a deeper core to this book about gender and who we think we are, but it sort of gets buried in the background. I think a lot of focus at the beginning on how genders are split up and how they're perceived will add a lot to this. Notes while reading: pg 1: "So that’s what the reality bubble they were in was called?" --What is this referring to? pg 2: "Like how I should come out to you as agender." --I mean, ok, but I think I need some context why a god needs to advise this? It sort of sounds like this is an authorial comment that couldn't find another place. Not that it isn't important, but it doesn't seem important here... pg 4: "I’m going to go down there and fight H." --Isn't he...in a group of people? pg 6: I don't have a lot of connection with H as a villain, so this victory doesn't really hit that hard... pg 11: This is the guy from the first interlude, right? I'm still not sure what purpose he has in the story, so I'm losing the effect, especially from a fight this drawn out. I"m glad A figured out how to change weapons, but I'm not sure what fighting or killing this person does for the story. pg 12: "That does explain how H was able to take I" --what does? I think I'm missing some connection. pg 13: "It doesn’t feel right to kill them." --I feel like thi aspect is dragging out a bit in this chapter. They're more or less in a kill or be killed situation. I don't think the warriors would have a problem attacking them. Why is A having such anxiety about this? She's killed before, was a warrior, and knows it might be required in this situation. pg 16: "the one who taught me everything when I was a soldier.” --Wait. Did we know this before? I feel like this moment should have a lot of impact, but I don't remember that fact coming up before. Or maybe that was just way back in the first part?
  3. First off, sorry for being so late. Had lots of stuff going on last week. As usual, generally agree with @Silk on this. We need more information in the interlude, and while the next chapter was cool, I'm not really sure what we actually learned from it that's helpful in the book. There's also a lot of talk about gender in here, where the technology that goes along with it seems to me to be useful for a whole lot more. Not that gender isn't an important discussion, but I feel like there are other aspects of this that could be just as important, like disability, or confidence, or age. Interested to see where it goes next. Notes while reading: pg 1: I'm confused on the first paragraph. Thy is hurting by teaching Top, but there's no qualifier. What's bad about it? pg 1: "she loved every second of it" --so she does like it? pg 1: "and that made her sad" --and now she's sad again about it. I know there's complex emotions here, but I'm not getting the explanation I need for them. pg 2: except now we're talking about N, not Top. I'm confused where this is going, and since these were minor characters in the last part, I also need some context and clues for who they are and what they did again. pg 3: Do we know who I is? The name sounds familiar but I'm honestly flailing with how many characters are in the book. pg 3: "dismantled the factories...all of those little boys" --ok, that's new. pg 4: "I’m her mother.” --ooooooooooh. Ok. I think we need that right at the beginning. pg 4: "expose and dismantle the factory" --wait, I thought that had already happened? pg 4: overall, mostly confused about this interlude. pg 6: "I’m the Calamity" --alright, heading straight into this one. I'm interested. pg 9: "So B was also originally a soldier—a boy." --I'm not sure I followed the logic here. pg 11: "how it spread from planet to planet" --does...A know about other planets? pg 12: "to change people’s bodies to fit their gender." -ok, but probably more than that, right? I mean, anything with that use has a million possible powerful medical uses. pg 13: “Your clone?” --yeah, figured that one out. pg 14: Ok, well, we learned a lot, but I'm not certain things are any clearer.
  4. As usual, I have a similar response to @Silk. I think there's a lot to be unpacked in the last chapter of the second part, especially to really get the impact from the decisions. The sacrifice wasn't contrived, but I still want more leading up to it to really make it worthwhile. I'm still not connecting with the character in the interludes, as I don't really know his purpose or the reason for his viciousness. Having one or the other would help. Notes while reading: pg 2: “How cute.” --exciting intro! I got confused here, however. Were the two stepping in front with shields what caused them to fall, or that B decided she can't kill them? pg 2: No better than what? --I think this is supposed to be in quotes? pg 2: “Not think. I know who you are. But you’ll never find out.” --Losing the thread a bit here. There's a lot happening. 1) some about men vs. women going on, but not followed up on 2) something replaced B? Literally or metaphorically? 3) Should have figured what out? 4) A died already? pg 3: "it was similar to how she had looked" --I feel like this could be delivered with a lot more surprise, or at least some emotion from A. pg 6: The sacrifice works pretty well here, but I think could have an even bigger buildup. pg 7: "We are called doomspeakers" --wait, is A one as well? Did we know that? End of part 2: Interesting! I'm wondering where the third part is going. pg 9: Should we recognize who Hex is pretending to be around Haf? pg 16: Well, Hex's POV is as disturbing as ever. I'm still not sure what he adds to the story, though.
  5. Some similar thoughts to @Silk on this. I was glad to finally get some explanation for things, but I think a lot of it got lost in the meantime. I was also confused on the base numbering, as well as what the attackers were, and all the machinations going on with B and M. I think it worked in the end, but we need some more buildup before now to make the emotional payoff work in this chapter. There were a couple new things introduced here we could have had some more information on before now. Interested to see where this is going! Notes while reading: pg 3: I don't know or remember the base numberings, so I'm not sure which is which. pg 5: There's a lot of machinations here, and I'm not sure I'm getting all of them, probably because of WRS. pg 5: "bound to any console" --Is this a thing? I'm not sure what this means. Are the soldiers all bound to the one console A was using, or does this mean each one has a console? pg 8: "Her soldiers engaged the waves of Calamity soldiers " --Not sure I get this. I thought they were monsters? Mostly they've been fish so far. If this is a big change that the monsters now seem like soldiers, this probably needs a little unpacking. pg 8: The description of the attack here doesn't really work because we haven't had a description of the attackers. pg 9: definitely need more description of what they're facing. pg 11: I thought something was weird about B. pg 13: Okay, yeah, B has been super sus the whole time to the reader, so much I was wondering what was going on with her. pg 13: "a powerful psion, on the level of the imperials that could annihilate islands with a snap of their fingers" --Do we know who these are? Have we encountered them before?
  6. Overall, I thought the first chapter here was actually a lot better on the dialogue and slow bits than the other chapters so far. It felt a lot more real, I think because the characters were reacting to events, rather that going out to do their one symbolic thing. We get a lot more about the interactions between the characters, which builds them up a lot better. The second chapter was pretty good too, with some forward movement. Interesting to see where this is going. I still think we need more with this M side plot to really get a handle on what's going on, though. I'd also love to see more on the A/A and Z/X conflict. It's a really good storyline, but we've only brushed the surface of what it means. Notes while reading: Pg 1: Might need a reminder of what happened in the last chapter. pg 1: "They were an assassin --oh, ok. I hadn't gathered that. Pg 3: good reaction scene from the soldiers pg 9: pretty easy reading through here. I think these kind of character interactions are a lot more character-forming than the sort of forced "everyone buy a token" scenes. More of this up front will help. pg 9: "a couple days later" --Is there any repercussions from H? Are they in danger for those days? pg 10: "So if H shows up" --yeah, this is what I'm talking about. Is anything else happening with him escaping? pg 12: overall, pretty good chapter. Pg 14: not following all the intrigue completely. Probably partly from reading week to week, but I also think the part with M and the D are not as clear. pg 15: a lot of late-coming stuff with B here. I think bulking this up with some hints at the beginning will help. --Ah, but that might be a ruse, I see... pg 16: "bubble in the C ocean" --okay, now I'm forgetting why they're going here or how they know it's here. --Ah, so this was the place the deserters were staying? pg 20: I feel like the mirroring with A/A and Z/X needs to be brought out some more all the way through the book. It feels like a fairly big sub-arc, and it's only touched on a few times. pg 21: Interesting! I still think we need a lot more fleshing out with the side characters earlier in the book, though.
  7. Sorry for the late reply! I've been super busy with developmental edits, and am have now just finished travel to New Zealand! So I'm maybe a little fuzzier than usual what with the jetlag. Anyway, I largely agree with @FlowerGirl above that the first half is too dialogue-heavy, and philosophy-heavy, for that matter. It's a bit hard to stay engaged. The second half has a lot more action and some good fights. I think this is where the multitude of characters makes the story suffer, because I didn't have a lot of emotion with what happened to S. I was more trying to remember from which group he was and what relation to the others. I think cutting down the number of crew a bit will help. Hopefully I'll have a less jetlagged edit next time! Notes while reading: pg 3: "Her of all people?" --Is this implying L might be trans? Or something else? pg 4: Lots of discussion of the philosophy of ruling in these first pages. pg 8: Still haven't gotten to any action yet. There's a lot of preparation through here. pg 9: Oof. Maybe a little too on the nose through here? But also, if almost everyone is there who voted, and over half voted for her not to stand down, wouldn't there be about equal cries in answer to H's rally? pg 14: Alright more action through this half. pg 15: Some good motivation to move forward here. I also think the first half can be cut down a little, and maybe more of what they're preventing H from doing in the back half. He's escaping, but do they know where?
  8. Sorry for the late response--I was neck deep in a developmental edit all week... Seems I have similar reactions to @Silk. There's some good stuff here, but the story is sort of languishing while we look specifically at character development. Can the soldiers developing be tied into their actions rather than a static thing they've bought or found? That might move things along more. Notes while reading: pg 1: Was L here before? I don't remember her being in the last couple chapters. pg 3: "I know you see them all the time as a minister." This is something I haven't been clear on so far. Are the soldiers kept in barracks or something so that they never see the city that's a short walk from where they're fighting? pg 4: “Even with a minister lifespan" --so we know how long this is? pg 7: Yes, lots of talking by this point, but not a lot happening. pg 10: Some good development with D. pg 14: A lot of talk through here and some character development, but yes, I think things can be punched up a lot to get back to some action.
  9. In general, this chapter takes a while to get where it's going, and I'm not sure I caught what was going on with the politics in the end. The dynamic between A and Am is interesting, and I'm glad they're more open with each other, but I don't really know where it's going. Is A trying to learn more about herself by talking with Am? Does she just want to help Am? Am seems to be doing well (for a soldier) on his own. Notes while reading: pg 1: "they also saw the spectacle" --any reaction from this? what did they think? pg 2: "made no progress coming to any sort of conclusion." --So there's some pretty pointed political commentary through here and then sort of a shrug at what to do about it... pg 3: "It’s harder to give people a voice than it is to take it away.” --a little more here... pg 4: "need to assist my dad in making sure the house is in order" --Am I forgetting things? Have we heard about this before? pg 5: "It was only a matter of time before they struck." --But the J's don't even know about the I's, right? pg 9: we start to get into some more meaning with the conversation with A and Am here. It's been meandering a bit until now. I liked the bit with the bookstore, but we haven't really had any concrete plot progression this chapter. pg 12: This part is more interesting. We get some surprises from what Am knows, and the fact he knows more that A. I'm not sure it really goes anywhere though. I have a feeling it means something deeper for the book, but I don't know what that is. pg 14: “How long did it take you to realize?" --Still struggling a bit here. Is A questioning that she is trans and Am is not, when they came from the same DNA? That happens with twins, so it's something we know about already. Is her goal to see that Am wants to transition too? pg 17: “Take us...To M" --Lost me here again. I don't remember who this is. I'm alright with the lead up to this point, but We have so many new names in this section I'm losing who's who. pg 18: There's a lot of lies and machinations in the last few pages and I'm not sure I followed all of them. I think some more restructuring in the first act might help to support what they're doing through here.
  10. I think you could certainly do this, but right now the roles in part 1 are I think too subtle for the reader to pick up. Even having someone mention the division will help, even if they don't yet know what it means.
  11. I think if this is going to focus on A's gender, there needs to be a whole lot more setup on that side in the first part. I didn't get that as a big theme in the story. We get some response to that here, but it would make more sense with revisions in part 1. This chapter is a bit slower as well. It sets up some things, but mostly it's a chat between C and A, with some things relevant to the plot. Again, more setup before this will lend more meaning to what's happening here. Notes while reading: pg 2: "Ash blinked. She… was a doomspeaker? " --Has she commended the monsters? pg 3: "The boy blinked." --there hasn't been any mention of him being onscreen so I was thrown out by this. pg 5: "having a fluffy cat for company" --Has she even seen a cat before? Do they have animals on the other island? pg 7: It's pretty slow through these middle pages... pg 9: So if the head guard isn't supposed to do this, how did he get everyone to come here? pg 11: This chapter gives some good setup for what's coming next, but there's a lot of downtime through the middle as well. We haven't really seen home life on the other island. A tells us what she expects, but we haven't really seen it enough for the reader to come to a conclusion.
  12. So, I think overall this works, but needs some cleanup on this part and probably some condensing on the first part. My main issues with this one was the lack of blocking on most of the action scenes, and the whole "mystery plan" in the middle. Especially with the two together, it was hard to keep track of what was going on. I think either the plan needs to be clarified and then we see something go wrong, or there needs to be a lot more description and blocking as to what's happening. And can we also get closure on who unlocked the controls and whether M and T are actually a thing or not? More observations below... Notes while reading: pg 2: Nicknames: yes, this definitely needs to be compressed into 1. I think there's three versions of T's name in the first couple pages. Plus one of the mirrors a certain main antagonist... pg 3 :"Pull us— uh, as hard" --took me a couple reads to understand "as" was a replacement for "us." pg 5: "vacuum sucked the breath from her pores" --I think we either need some indication of what they're doing here, or skip over some of this part to see the end result. We have a secret (from the reader) plan so none of the actions through here really make any sense. pg 6: I am...not sure what's going on here. M was keeping T's rescue quiet, and now they're letting the kidnapper know, but I'm not sure what the consequences are? pg 6: "whatever your name is...told me your name" --Wouldn't it be more effective then to mention his name as proof M knows it? pg 6: "This dumbbell plan of hers had to work" --still very confused on what the kidnapper and M's plans are. I think we need some hint of what's going on. pg 7: “Because of the recording I gave J?!” --I feel like I'm not in on the joke here because we don't know what's in the recording. pg 8: “I almost died.” --uh, I guess T really needs a clean suit now... pg 9: "did not own that name" --I think this just confuses matters, unless it's going to be a plot point later on. Can he have a different name? Or at least not that nickname? pg 10: "locker lid tumbled serenely out into space" --still confused here. I really think we need to know all or part of this plan. Are they not in oxygen? Are they trying to seal J somewhere? I don't know why they're doing the actions they are. pg 12: “Yeah, I need to change this suit if nothing else,” --heh, called it. pg 12: So I think the plan came together in the end, but there was a lot of things being thrown, and actions taken, and I still think some preface to it will help set us up while reading it. I don't know if "gang up on him" needs to be kept secret from the reader. I was also convinced they were going to use the sealant to actually *seal* J somewhere so he couldn't escape. pg 13: “Had some kind of doodad on him that de-magged the magnaties,” --wait, so he just...got free? Offscreen? After the whole cloak and dagger and victory of tying him down and everything? I thought he was got at this point. pg 14: Hm. Not a fan of this section. It seems like a reset so they can have another fight with the bad guy. I'd much rather hear the original plan, see something go wrong with it in execution, and not have the "oh he gets free again" section. pg "*** YOU’RE *** *** WELCOME ***" --Should we know where this comes from? The android? Q? pg 17: “Sure, I can do that.” --a bit of whiplash from this section. M doesn't think they'll work out now? Except she's going along with T again? And does she know or not who the mystery benefactor was? pg 18: Another nice crossover with TBB. pg 19: "maybe things were going to be okay, for now." --So I guess they are back on, then?
  13. I think the gender politics here will be a lot more impactful if we had any idea that was going on before. I don't think we ever knew that ministers were only women. That brings A and her clone into relief a lot more, as well as the whole transition from soldier to minister. Right now we see the soldiers being shocked, but I only figured out why a few pages later. If that's going to be a big section of this part, it needs to be vey clear going into it, so the reader has the payoff from the twist. Notes while reading: pg 1: Some long sentences in the first few paragraphs pg 1: "a good couple of hours in a straight line" --so these islands are like 4 or 5 miles apart? pg 3: "So it’s really true that soldiers on I can..." --can what? I'm not getting the change here. We saw male soldiers on the other island. pg 4: "why the label of soldier didn’t fit him" --still not sure on this myself. Because he's older? pg 4: "middle-aged minister, but a man" --wait, are all ministers female? Did we know that? pg 4: "like how minsters have mothers" --ok, starting to see what's going on here, but I don't think this was ever laid out in the first part. I think this needs to be a point the reader knows already, so that it's a surprise. Right now, we're being told completely new information. pg 6: "wonder if that really was the right way to build a society" --yeah, this all would have a lot more impact if we were shown previously what the society on the other island is like. I don't think we ever got much wordbuilding, so this revelation for the characters falls flat for the reader. pg 11: good action with the fight, but I'm more interested in why the soldiers leave civilians out there and why this society is different. pg 13: "I’m in charge like the queen" --so are these people aware of the other islands? And they know A's crew is from the other island? pg 14: I think it needs to be clearer whether these people know what's going on with the islands and how they perceive the newcomers.
  14. Was aiming to give a little insight into how food works on Hygiea, in terms of what they grow and what they import. Except tomato leaves are poisonous, right? Or at least inedible. I'll see what I think at the end and if there are spots where it could be more stand-alone Just meaning that she's recognizing and reacting to the situation before the one in command. The idea was that Moth would think it really sad and pathetic to have a family clipboard, passed down through generations, but that in this case it is fact. So, she's not actually being mean. Ok. I didn't even clock that would be a thing someone would comment on...
  15. Interesting cast of characters for this one! I'm glad we get to see some of M's associates. Overall, I think it moves just a tad slowly before we get to the hijacking and what happens, but that does let us get to know the other characters. There are a lot for something this short! So far I'm keeping them separate, though I wonder if everyone will be needed in the end. A few blocking comments and unclear references, which I've marked, but overall enjoyable! I'll wait to read the rest to give my final opinion. Notes while reading: pg 3: "She’d always been weak; weak and pretty, a lousy combination for this line of work." --Interesting intro. I wonder if not starting with one of the main characters would be an issue for people coming to this from Q&M? pg 3: "tomato leaves" --why? pg 4: okay, so this is pretty much meant for people who have read TMM and TCC? pg 5: "M remembered she had friends." --Good to see this, but it's not really mentioned in the other stories. pg 6: And of course I had to look back at TBB to see this was the same conversation. pg 7: "even schlumping in angle of front and side windows" --something missing in this sentence? pg 8: "J tried really hard not to beam." --maybe a bit out of POV? Also, this section ends on a reaction not from M, which I would expect as it's her POV. A good intro to the other students though. pg 8: "That wasn’t even her being mean" --what wasn't? I'm missing why that's mean. pg 8: "compressed would pulp" -> "compressed wood pulp? pg 9: Tho. and Tu. are the same person right? Confusing to switch back and forth with the names. pg 10: "And why was she following this ridiculous..." --glad that was addressed. I was wondering. pg 10: "floated ten minutes away" --So I'm guessing this is a rescue training exercise? pg 11: “How long can you hold your breath" --What is this in reference to? pg 12: "Speed of sound..." --I'm guessing all this is calculations and not part of the story? pg 13: Welp, guess M has had some good training with Q. pg 14: "Why was she stilling worrying about the dumb forfeit?" --I thought this was referring to S, but I think it's M thinking about herself? Took me a couple reads to get through. pg 17: Maybe a little more closure in this section? We still don't really know what's going on, and M didn't actually talk to S like she says she was going to. pg 18: "...maybe all she would have" --very long sentence. pg 20: A little confusion with the blocking here. I'm not sure where the heat shield is coming in and what Moth's doing.
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