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Old April 25th, 2006, 06:19 PM
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Negrek
Edgewalker
 
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Well, obscenely late is better than never, I suppose. Right?

Honestly, I've been meaning to review this ever since it was first published. Here we go, then...

The Ties that Bind

Quote:
Through the blood and sweat and constant toil, you have finally made it to the last, and final battle that will ultimately determine who will be the next Champion.
No comma after last. Commas replace the letter and when you're stacking descriptors; therefore, it could either be "last and final" or "last, final." Either way, though, it seems rather redundant to say last, final battle.

Quote:
Even the Elite Four were just another obstacle in the road you had to get over to accomplish your dream.
Verrry awkward, there; I had to read it a couple times to see what you meant. I think that you don't need to say anything about actually getting over the obstacles; just leave it as "Even the Elite Four were just another obstacle in the road you had to [travel, journey, etc.] to reach your dream." Cleaner, simpler, says the same thing. The problem with the sentence as is now is the syntax actually implies that it's the road that needs to be gotten over, not the obstacles, and that doesn't make much sense.

Quote:
After a spectacular double knockout that had taken out his Pokémon and yours, you are both down to your final Pokémon.
Eh, I think you could leave it as double knockout without clarification. The term seems quite self-explanatory.

Quote:
In your hand, the spheroid that contains your last contender – your final hope and light – is clutched, waiting to be summoned.
A spheroid is actually an elliptical shape, and a pokéball is spherical. If you must, just use "sphere", but is there any reason that you wouldn't use "pokéball" instead?

Quote:
Trustworthy and loyal, you know he’ll never let you down.
"Trustworthy and loyal" is a dangling participle; look closely at the sentence and you'll note that the phrase has no subject with which to connect.

Quote:
You only grin and, tapping the center of the sphere once, you throw it out into the battleground.
Ah, how tired I get of people referring to pokéballs as "spheres" (or worse, "orbs")... also note that the ball has changed shape since you last described it (spheroid, remember).

Quote:
In a bright flash of evanescent white, a draconic figure emerges.
draconian (adj): 1. Of or designating a law or code of extreme severity. 2. Exceedingly rigorous and harsh.
draconic (adj): Of or relating to a dragon.

Note that draconic can be used as a variation on draconian, but draconian may not be used in place of draconic...

Quote:
Tough and vibrant, with a long, flamed-tipped tail that is lit and pulsing, the Charizard surveys the crowd; it takes him a moment to react.
His tail is... pulsing? 0.o

Quote:
He roars once, before bolting up into the blue, noonday sky, wings spread wide, each flap taking him higher and higher, until his body is finally in front of the sun, so it’s harder for the opponents below to see him.
No comma after once; also, no comma after blue. Recall that commas replace the word "and" when separating descriptors. Would you say "the blue and noonday sky?"

Quote:
He is forced to continue his leftward course as the Venusaur moves to direct the Solar Beam to the left, trying to score a hit before the energy runs out.
The leftward course sounds odd in this sentence, because in the last sentence you said that he dived, not dodged down and left. The "leftward" therefore seems to come out of nowhere. The repetition of the word left in this sentence is also somewhat odd.

Quote:
Sharp, pointed claws rake across the Venusaur’s tough skin and fragile foliage, leaving scour marks and ripped pieces of leaf and petal in their wake.
Scouring something is scrubbing it or cleaning it, usually. His claws left scrub marks?

Quote:
You hear him grunt in satisfaction as the Venusaur cries out in pain, her cry as deep as an earthen drum.
Why not replace "cry" with something else, like "voice" or "roar?" You've already used a form of thew rod once in the sentence, so it looks somewhat strange.

Quote:
Your Charizard begins to ascend back up into the air, so he does not see the thick vine that emerges from the Venusaur’s body until it is too late.
I'd even contest for removing "into the air" and leaving it at ascend. That big chunk is unwieldy and redundant.

Quote:
With a harsh crack, the tough vine wraps around your Charizard’s ankle like a whip would, and with a tough, vengeful jerk she brings the Charizard back to her own level – face first.
I think that facefirst is generally seen as one word.

Quote:
The Stun Spore is already beginning to disperse into the air, and now you can see enough of your companion’s body to see him raise his head, open his lethal jaws, and inhale deeply –
The see-see repetition is a bit jarring here.

Quote:
They are all around him now: his arms, his legs, his torso… some are even curling about his neck, preparing to constrict, and strangle.
No comma after constrict. Also, this sentence reads that Charizard's legs, arms, and torso are around him now.

Quote:
You face flushes in anger at this, and a bunch of expletives cross your mind, but you do not say them.
Explicative is an adjective.

Quote:
You call out to your Pokémon by name (not his species name, but his true name you gave in Viridian Forest, when you and he first became acquainted).
I think it would work better as "...the true name you gave him..."

Quote:
The vines that have not been severely burned or touched by flame still hold tight around their quarry.
I think you could leave it as just "had not been severely burned." Obviously, if they haven't been touched, they aren't severely burned.

Quote:
The Venusaur is weary but alive, and it's only then you notice the Venusaur was channeling the sun’s rays into energy meant to heal and restore, though in this Venusaur’s case it merely kept her conscious with enough energy to carry on.
I'd suggest using pronouns here instead of referring to the pokémon as "the Venusaur" all the time. "The Venusuar is weary but alive, and it's only then you notice (that) she was channeling the sun's rays into energy meant to heal and restore, though in this/her case it merely kept her conscious with enough energy to carry on."

Quote:
You can see the grass-type is straining to gather each essential sun particle for the final attack that will, if it’s not stopped, bring about the end of the match – the end of your dream.
Sun particle?

Quote:
First, though, you have to get your Charizard to move.
Quote:
Green flames dance over the surprised plant-type, setting the already burned foliage alight with dragon-fire, while merciless claws dig into the already burned, tender skin in a last desperate attempt to snatch victory out of the claws of chance.
The use of "claws" here is somewhat redundant. Also, it seems somewhat inappropriate to say that you're snatching the victory from the claws of chance; how is the Champion winning by luck as opposed to skill?

Quote:
Only the feelings of self-consciousness keep you from jumping up and down in your trainer box – that and the fact your Charizard still hasn’t moved.
Quote:

The noise of the crowd lessens while the sound of your own heartbeat magnifies a hundredfold.
Eh, I think it would be better as "is magnified" as opposed to "magnifies."

Quote:

You are barely aware that the stand-by medic has noticed your distress until two Machoke flit in front of your eyes, lifting a prone body of a Charizard onto a large stretcher.
Quote:
Shaking your head in attempts to clear your mind (to dispel this waking nightmare) you finally compose yourself enough to sprint after them.
Hmm... I think it would be better as "an attempt" as opposed to "attempts."

Quote:
You are seconds behind the Machoke in entering the Pokémon Center, the scent of anti-bacterial and ammonia reaching your nose.
Antibacterial what?

Quote:

Without a backwards glance, she heads into the emergency room, leaving you to stare at the blank, white walls.
No comma after blank.

Quote:
Of all the emotions rising within you, anger and frustration erupt to the top.
Quote:
So how would she know that this is the best for him, to leave you out here?
I think that's how you'd handle that; this sentence is pretty funky.

Quote:
You fight the urge to bury your head in the polyester cushion, instead, pinching yourself to see if maybe, just maybe, you’ll wake up from this horrid nightmare.
No comma after instead. It's not an interruptor here, but a conjunction.

Quote:
How would /you/ be feeling if you didn't know whether your Pokémon was okay or not? [color]=red]y[/color]ou want to shout out in retaliation, but you don’t.
What's with the slashes, there? If you were looking for emphasis, remember that de-italicizing words in an italicized passage is the same as italicizing words in a normal faced passage. Shout-out is a noun, and what you want here is the infinitive to shout (out).

Quote:
“Listen –“ you finally say, your voice wavering, but you are cut off as the endless tirade of questions bombards you.
Quote:
The Blissey is now walking purposely forward, waving about her arms.
Hoo boy... right now the sentence doesn't read properly because of a misplaced modifier. If the Blissey is waving about her arms, then she's waving in order to communicate something about her arms. It's like saying that you were talking about school, or what have you. I don't know if that's very clear... it's something hard to explain. I would suggest reordering the sentence to read "waving her arms about." However, that's a dangling preposition. I think it is. Perhaps it's an accepted one, as I've seen things like "brandishing his sword about" before? I don't know. It's not right now, but I'm not sure if the way I would correct it is right either. So I'll shut up now.

Quote:
Three successful Egg Bombs later, you find yourself in a small guest room the Blissey has ushered you into.
See, now that's a dangling preposition. "...you find yourself ina small guest room into which the Blissey has ushered you." It looks weird at first, but I think when you read over it again/aloud you'll find that it actually sounds much better that way.

Quote:
You are sitting down on the bottom bunk bed, looking out the window when she comes in again three minutes later.
Hmmm... I believe that a bunk bed refers to the unit as a whole, including the two (or more) actual beds, each of which is referred to as a bunk. Therefore, I think it's bottom bunk, not bottom bunk bed (which by that definition would have the sentence meaning there was more than one bunk bed stacked up for some reason).

Quote:
"Umm... thank you."
'Nother dot. ;

Quote:
Still, you poke at the egg salad, and sigh, looking at the window just in time to see a small flock of Pidgey fly past.
No comma after salad.

Quote:
As a few minutes go by, you think you can hear singing, gentle and soft, coming from just outside your door, but you aren’t too sure.
Quote:
Only when you have no more tears to shed and a voice to scream do they tell you how he died.
This sentence actually says that you lack tears but have gained your voice. You need some sort of negative here to show that your voice has been lost along with your voice. For example, "...no more tears to shed and have lost your voice to scream." is bad, but conveys the right idea, at least.

Quote:
Once, when you and he were traveling through a dense forest, you fell ill, so much so you could barely move around anywhere. It was your Charizard ( who was naught but a Charmander at the time) who made sure that there was always a fire to keep you warm at night.
Just quoted the second sentence to point out that there's a rogue space between the first parenthesis and "who."

Quote:
You have lots of money now, so you could have bought him a large, grandiose tomb, befitting of his noble line, and let him be buried up in Mt. Silver, where only Champions, former Champions, the Elite Four, and other privileged few have access to.
The "other priviledged few" at the end doesn't really seem to work in this sentence. It seems to suggest that there's another specific group that has right to be buried there, instead of just a few notable people without any defining characteristics other than they're important. I don't know if that makes any sense; again, it's something hard to explain. I would suggest, "...the Elite Four, and a few other priviledged people..." This looks somewhat clumsy, however.

Quote:
You walk slowly, inhaling in the clean air, tinged with the fresh smell of the berry trees that your parents grow here.
Quote:
It’s so peaceful out here… you think, pulling out a small bag from your pocket.
Should the first part be italicized, there?

Whew. All done with that.

I really must congratulate you on this one. This is, I believe, the only second-person piece I've seen that really seems to work. You manage to be so general with the main character, and yet evoke real emotion with them. I think what really allows this piece to take off is the way that it leaves the character so undefined. This allows virtually anyone to take on the role of "you" and yet feel genuinely engaged, as though they really were experiencing what the character is. It allows the reader to bring their own character and personality to the table, instead of trying to force themselves into one too rigidly defined by the author. You deal with such universal themes that readers can easily identify with them and with the character's response to them. This piece is not limited by age, gender, or, to a fair extent personality--anyone and everyone can see themselves in the role of the character and feel a real part of the story. Great job on keeping the character's identity hazy and undefined; I think that the way the piece allows readers to sort of fill in the blanks with themselves is what really allows this to take off and have a real impact.

The stuff within parentheses was very interesting to me as well. I never really understood what the role of them was... at times the information within the brackets seemed like thoughts, but at others it seemed like it was some sort of narrator speaking directly to the reader, especially when imparting knowledge that the character could never know. In any case, they were implemented very well, usually breaking up the flow of the piece in just the right spots to create tension and put emphasis where it was needed. The voice or whatever it was didn't really seem to take on a character of its own, which seemed sort of "right" to me. It remained more a writing effect than a direct character or whatever, again helping the main character feel uncrowded and not locked into any too narrowly-defined personality.

What is really outstanding about this one-shot, however, is its structure. The rise-and-fall is immaculate, with tension built and released at just the right points, everything flowing along smoothly and delivered eloquently. Nothing ever feels rushed or dragged out unnecessarily; the brief comedic interlude in the middle keeps the melancholy from becoming overpowering. The battle at the beginning is one of the best that I've seen in quite a while--the action is executed in an easy, natural way, never dragging as is the case with many battle scenes, with the choreography right on the mark. The description is relevant and does not bog down the story. In the end, this story just has atmosphere--all the elements come together just right to create a real sense of immersion in the story and, consequently, a strong feeling of emotion.

The ending, though, is what I like best. The last section, with the little snapshots of memory carefully woven in, is poignant and highly effective. I have to admit to not liking the last sentence overly much (I think that it sort of detracts from the second-to-last sentence, which is an awesome closer), but the ending just rocked. The juxtaposition in the last section is masterfully executed and keeps the pacing, once again, just right. The last few lines seem to land with a lot of impact, and end the piece on just the right, sort of bittersweet note. I have to admit, there are not a lot of pieces of writing that can make me feel really emotional, but this one really did it for me. Everything just seemed to come together right.

So in short, bravo. Amazing work. This is truly deserving of "Fanfic of the Month."

Last edited by Negrek; May 2nd, 2006 at 08:17 PM.