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December 4th, 2011 (9:19 PM).
Waiting for the rain
Doctor Drakken's lair
Cutlerine, was that a Thunderbirds reference?
Firstly, I've been looking to review this fic for quite some time. It always seemed to be floating around the front page at the same time mine did, and the title intrigued me so. Reading through this, I'm surprised it hasn't got more reviews and attention; it's very enjoyable, I'll say that for starters. Let me just add my voice to Cutlerine's and urge you to disregard the first reviewer that told you you'd picked the wrong subject matter or some rubbish to that end. That was a totally unvalidated criticism. For the record, I believe your choice of themes and subject in this fic was marvellous and refreshing. Many authors have taken it upon themselves to tackle the 'dark side' of Pokemon, but it rarely works, simply because it's presented very heavy-handedly and takes itself far too seriously. What I like about this fic in particular is that you've managed to keep it on the lighter side of darkness. While we certainly see the grotty, scungy underbelly of the Pokemon world, the tone and delivery of your writing makes sure that it is reined in before the brink, where other, more foolhardy authors have tumbled to their deaths in the bottomless abyss of Gothic Sue and Angstbomb.
, tl;dr: good job on not doing that.
Now, I'm a bit late to the game here, and there's a good bit of material to cover, so I'm afraid I'm not going to be able to go into very many specifics. I'll touch on surface features first, as those seem to be the least of your worries. Firstly, the aforementioned spacing issues. I'm not entirely sure how those came around, but not for a second do I imagine they're anything more than a recurring accident of some kind. Whether it's an issue with your word processor or whatever, I don't know, but it does make reading your chapters a bit difficult at times. People say to make sure you proofread your chapter before you upload it, but I believe in doing it
you're uploading it - just making sure it looks all right on the forum. I go through each chapter while it's in the Post Reply box, making sure it all makes sense, is free of errors, and has correct formatting where it's needed. It helps to prevent embarrassing mistakes, because sometimes a chapter which seems fine on Word or OpenOffice just goes pear-shaped in vBulletin. I dunno. Anyway, that was a bit difficult.'
Other than that, your fic seems solid in terms of grammar and spelling. I saw a few floaty commas and sentences that didn't quite sound right, but they were minor issues and didn't interfere with my enjoyment of the fic, so I'm not sure they'd be worth mentioning even if I could find them again to point out. What
get a bit annoying, however, is all the swearing. I have no problem with profanity in fics, but the big clumps of asterisks get annoying pretty soon, if only because I have to guess at what's being said from context. Basically, you are allowed to bypass the forum censors in the fanfiction section, but you have to place a warning at the top of the thread/post if you have uncensored expletives. So I'd suggest un-starring those to make it easier on the eyes.
Back to the actual content of the fic, however: I like your characters. For the most part, they are believable and realisting. Shaun is a bit of a stereotype, I admit, although I'm not quite sure where he fits. In my experience of goths/punks and the like - you know, people who pierce everything and wear lots of scary tattoos, jewellery etc - they tend to have no experience whatsoever with actually surviving on the streets and being 'tough'. Someone like Shaun, I thought, would get the living crap beaten out of him on a daily basis by the toughs he supposedly hangs out with. I mean, I'll be the first to admit I have no real knowledge on the subject, but by his description, Shaun kind of struck me as one of the sorts who dressed/acted like that for attention rather than being an actual 'hard man'. So there was a bit of dissonance there for me, but again, I don't make a point of hanging out with those kinds of people, so I don't really know. As a note, chain-smoking Shaun reminds me vaguely of Atticus from Mokepon. Just saying.
I like Alexander as a rival character. He seemed pretty legit in terms of his behaviour and speech. I like rich kid characters, as they can go bad - like Andrew and the others - or otherwise, like Alex seems to be looking to turn out. The look he shared with Shaun while Andrew was rampaging was a nice touch, I thought.
The idea of sending druggie teenagers out on a Pokemon journey as a form of rehabilitation is an interesting one, for sure. I'm not sure how realistic it seems. I've heard of similar rehab-type projects in the real world, but it seems like it'd be too much of a responsibility for someone like Shaun. He seems to be doing okay for the most part, but that's only because he seems to genuinely be an okay person, in a way. Some kids would be quite happy to take the Pokemon, sell it or otherwise dump it, and make a break, regardless of the tracker on them. They might think it'd give them a better chance than simply taking the jail time. Still, it's a novel concept and one I'd like to see played out to the end.
I'm not sure if there's too much more I can say. Shaun's incompetence with Pokemon is beginning to wear a little on my nerves, so it was nice to see him starting to work some things out with the Pokedex and all. I'm enjoying the narrative, and I'm looking forward to what comes next. Just work on ye spacing issue, and we should be fine.
(Also, I think the word Cutlerine was looking for - re: distention - would be 'dissension', as in 'dissent'. js)
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