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Review of Karma  
Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: 18+ | (3.5)
I liked this piece, in particular for the scifi/fantasy environment, and for Evin who displays a decent amount of personality, which I expect will expand further as the narrative progresses.
something to work on is the environments, sometimes they're sufficiently described and something they're not, leaving me occasionally confused. Since this is a foreign environment, you need to give the readers enough information to situate themselves when the scene or immediate surroundings change. The pacing for the chapter was generally pretty good, but some of the events felt either under-utilized or purposeless. His visit to the arcade felt like it served no purpose to the reader; it isn't explored, nothing occurs there and there's nothing particularly interesting about it on a conceptual level. You could remove it entirely without adversely affecting the story, except for maybe pacing. His meeting with the elf, conversely, feels important but perfunctory, and I would have liked for the time spent at the arcade invested here instead, developing the elf's character, so he amounts to more than arrogant, and the scene itself so there was more meat to their interaction.
2
2
Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
The prose is solid and you do an excellent job of gradually ratcheting the tension through the chapter. I also enjoyed the inclusion of the voices, which breath life into a fairly common narrative archetype and increased my interest significantly. For critiques, I would say you use similies ineffectively and have a few habitual inefficiencies in your prose ('drew a heavy sigh' versus 'sighed heavily.') These aside, there are mostly small refinements throughout. 4 stars. Some thoughts that aren't necessarily critiques is that Levi's age is extremely nebulous throughout, and while you don't have to be specific I couldn't get a grasp on his generall age from his behavior. This is probably somewhere due to the schizophrenia, but I don't know how much and as a result don't know if his
maturity vacillates too-much to accurately infer his general ag


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
3
3
Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: E | (3.0)
There were some style choices I really disliked (the choice to use descriptions as designators, and then to repeat those designators throughout.) The main technical critique I have is the wordiness of your prose, which while not egregious was prevalent with unnecessary dialogue tags, and often stating an action or emotion that dialogue would convey effectively. from a more theoretical standpoint, the main critique is that the chapter doesn't introduce or explore any narrative or inter-personal conflict, which leads to it not being particularly because there's no meat to the events taking place. It mostly details a sequence of events and characters the reader have no emotional investment in, and which don't inspire a desire in the readers for something to occur, I.E some mystery resolved, justice meted out etc. And I should clarify that by 'conflict' I do not mean hack and slash, and sorcery, but something the readers want resolved, a discussion or something they can actively route for and against, something that builds involvement. There are some minor conflicts like Jay being disgruntled over the boys joining their expedition, but they are transitory and superficial in the sense that they wouldn't benefit the story to explore or deconstruct. Another minor critique is that Jay, Bian and Rosa are never permitted to just interact, their dialogue and interactions are entirely subject to the narrative, which doesn't allow you to display or explore their friendship, which prevents it from coming alive because their interactions are always in service to propelling the narrative and neer extend beyond that purpose. This isn't something you would want to dive fully into in the first chapter, but you would still want to touch on it, take a detour from the narrative progression to just have them interact as friends. This would build investment in them as characters, their dynamic (when a meaningful one develops) and through that the story.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
4
4
Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: E | (3.0)
Hmm, I'm not that good at synopsises myself but I can give it a try.

From personal experience, the best advice I can give is that writing is still just writing. The same basic guidelines still apply: try to avoid cliche phrases and use powerful, energetic prose.

Now, taking your current blurb I have some suggestions.

Instead of "she brought some truths with her" try "she carried two truths with her." The specific "two" rather than the vague "some" makes the sentence sound more confident (which in turn builds energy, though you do have the echoing "T's" then.) As for the "brought" I switched it to "carried" to avoid a third T.

The next sentence is really clunky as well, but I can't figure out a better way to say it, "A woman’s value depends on how useful she is to her man and his family." I considered just cutting the "and his family" but that thought might be an important link to her Chinese culture. The other thing I considered was just straight saying what you, "a woman's value depends on her man." but that lacks weight and its intent might be confused. Maybe something like this,

"When Susie arrived from China two years ago, she carried two truths with her; A woman will only be as valuable, as she is to her man: and that spirits will try to deceive you into believing they're human so they can steal your soul."
The problem with this is that the second truth is clunky and makes for a real long sentence. the benefits are that the first semi-colon/colon makes the "woman value" a lot stronger. Maybe we could break it up some.
"...as she is to her man, and that spirits exist. They will deceive you into believing they're human and then steal your soul before you ever learn the truth." I don't particularly like the "and then" here because it makes everything after it feel "added on" rather than important to the sentence.

For the start of the next paragraph, instead of "she soon finds out things may be very different in Chicago." Just say it without all the waffling, "She soon discovers that things are quite different in Chicago." (Again because confident prose is more energetic and compelling.)

For the next sentence, you introduce us randomly to "Simon" which is confusing at first. We get the gist of him quickly enough, but he is still initially jarring. The rest of the sentence, mostly the latter, half also reads a little off. I don't know if it's just "behave as she please" of it "dress daringly" is also culpable. Either way, I suggest something a little more like, "the New Woman's right to act, dress and dance freely." I choose " Act" over "behave" because it's both shorter/harder (which tends to make a word naturally more energetic" but also because it's meaning is strong. A person "Acts" of their own volition whereas "behave" as a "socially accepted" undertone.

The next sentence is good, "Susie thinks the loyalty he demands in return is a small price-" The next part is a little run-on and comes across as a little cheesy. some of it is the name "Blood" which just feels out of place (and a little cheesy because it seems like the name of a mafioso who's trying too hard to be intimidating.) I also don't know what a "speakeasy" is.
A better way to construct it would be to separate his questions with a hard break.
"And asks here something.
"What do you feel?"
"What do you think?"
Something unfortunate about these questions, though, is that we have no idea what they mean. We have no context. The fact that she feels Simons demands are a "small price" also dilutes the power of these statements.

For the next paragraph, I suggest breaking it up more, "But Simon will never allow her to forget what she owes him/that he owns her." (you have a small typo there with "what she owns him".) "Soon enough, Susie finds herself fighting off her love for Blood even as the realisation blooms that she has value beyond her use to people."

The final sentence is mostly good.

I don't know if this will help you at all, though I hope it does. Synopsises are just hard to write, especially when I have little to no grasp on the emotions and story I'm trying to convey.

Either way, I hope you find use in this and wish you nothing but the very best of luck. :)


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
5
5
Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: E | (3.5)
All in all, this was an interesting piece. But there were a couple things that I noted, first, the opening ran-on a little bit. "With the moonlight at its brightest, the open field and the wilderness at the far distance look bathed in shades of blue, and even the strong night howler blowing across the little girl's face as she walks the field as if in a trance." I get that you're trying to set the scene and its works for the most part. The points where it doesn't are the last phrase about the wind (which doesn't make sense and seems to be missing an action of some sort) and the comment about a blue moon. On a really clear night/bright moon, everything is cast in a white/silver light, not blue. these are actually some of my favourite nights because you can literally see for hundreds of feet with the same clarity as in the day.

The next things concerns this phrase, "Being reminded of a woman in the heat of the battle,..." nothing in the piece thus far has hinted at them being in "the heat of battle" quite the contrary. So this comment is confusing.

finally, you have a small typo here, "she speaks in a language we do not cared to understand." The "Cared" needs to be "care."

I hope you find my review useful and wish you nothing but the very best of luck. :)
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Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
As requested, here's my review/ I'm just going to be writing my thoughts as I come across them, so some of them might be invalidated later on. If that's the case, feel free to ignore them. :)

So, starting with your opening sentence, you have, "The scent of blood was in the air,..." This is a passive phrasing when you really want something active. Something like, "The scent of blood filled the air..." "filled" isn't the strongest verb but it's still probably better than a passive phrase. I personally like, "The scent of blood choked the air,..." "choked" is a violent, threatening word (which adds to the atmosphere of danger) while also starting off your story with a powerful action.

Beyond the passive wording those, this is a good opening sentence.

This is another passive phrase and one easily switched to active, " A woman was rushing through this dense forest,..." just exchange "was rushing" to "rushed."

Your whole opening paragraph is heavily passive. Whenever possible try to use active prose because it increases the impact of the words, making them more immediate and powerful.

This sentence is needlessly wordy, "The woman suddenly twisted her body, looking backwards." What you're saying here is that "she looked backwards." and "she looked backwards" conveys the exact same image as "the woman suddenly twisted her body, looking backwards."

As a quick tip helping verbs (any adjective that ends in LY) are generally considered weak. the reason for this is because there's almost always a single strong verb that conveys or that they're just unnecessary. Take this sentence for example. What modification does the suddenly add to the sentence? A sudden motion is a sharp or unexpected motion, but all movements are unexpected unless you foreshadow them in some way. Second, this is a high-stress scene, so any action would natively be sharp and forceful. What that means is that both modifications that "suddenly" added are already present in the scene just by virtue of its contents. This is the case for most helping verbs.

This next sentence in passive again, "The blade of a crude knife aimed for her head was swiftly deflected by a metal bracer on her arm." It also leads me to believe that the "suddenly" in the previous sentence was intended to connect her turning about with the knife coming at her. If that's the case, then I would suggest combing these two sentence (which is permissible because they are connected.) Something maybe like, "She twisted about, deflecting a spinning knife with the metal bracer on her left arm, and continued forward." (These are just suggestions and by no means intended as the perfect sentence. I endeavour only to show you the patterns and syntax of a more active sentence so you can develop your own solution. Take "continued." Continued is a good action, but it's not energetic. It's more a staying action. Something like "lunged" or "surged" might improve the sentence because they're words with definite, energetic and explosion actions."

Two things for this sentence, "..a platoon of monsters on the hunt." First, the opening of this sentence in passive. A quick solution would be, "A platoon of monsters crashed through the forest behind her." Second, I would consider exchanging "platoon" for a different word. Platoon is a military term referring a group of soldiers which gives the impression that these monsters are a literal platoon of soldiers. This might be what you intended, though, due to them throwing knives.

The first part of this sentence is good, "Kicking off the ground, she went into a sprint once more." but the second half use a weak verb when a plethora of stronger words are readily available. Try this, "She dove into a renewed sprint." Other possible words are "lurched, leapt, charged" etc. I exchanged "once more" for "renewed" just because it cuts a word.

Two things for this sentence, "The trees began to thin and soon she was in a clearing, a grassy plain. " First, it's passive again (I apologise if I sound like a broken record.) Instead of "and soon she was in..." Try "and soon she burst into..."
Second, the words "clearing" and "plain" are no synonymous. A clearing is a small clear space in a forest. A plain is a huge, flat tract of land. Even if they were synonymous, though, having both would be pointlessly iterative.

I have two small suggestions for this next sentence, "She turned around, and brandished a long spear like weapon taken from her back." First, "turned around" is much like "continued" up above. It's a perfectly acceptable action, but it's also kind of inert unless the scene modifies it somehow. I would suggest changing it for some like more exciting like "spun" or "twisted." This is purely personal preference, however. Second, I think this sentence flows better if you change the "and brandished" to "brandishing." My reasoning for this is that "she turned around" is a very short action without a huge amount of weight. By linking it to the subsequent phrase, you broaden her action, giving it more meat. (if that makes sense.) Again, that just personal preference. (Also, "spear like" shoulder be "spear-like")

You might be able to remove this sentence, "Deep in the dense forest this weapon's effectiveness was severely hampered." Most readers will consider this thought on their, so you probably don't need if for that reason. A reason you might want to keep it though, is because her previous comment "this seems like enough space..." gives the indication she plans something larger and the comment about the spear/unname weapon clarifies that she has no such intention.

So, two things for this sentence, "They were ugly creatures, bipedal beings with green skin that were of short stature." First, you can remove the second "were" with a little rearranging. "They were short, ugly creatures, bipedal beings with green skin" or "they were short, ugly creatures with two legs and green skin."
Second, you described them as a stampede up above, but that now seems incongruous with the reality of goblins. When I think of the word stampeded, I think of huge creatures that trample everything in their paths. Goblins can't trample anything really, they would have to bend and race around everything.

This sentence is mostly unnecessary, "Goblins, is what they were known as." I would just migrate the "goblins" over one period and connect it to the previous sentence with a colon. Delete the rest.
Result in something like, "They were short, ugly creatures, bipedal beings with green skin: Goblins."

(Also, I just realized something. If Goblins existed in our world, they would inhabit Australia because in popular mythology they always come from "down under" :D)

You have two separate actions/descriptions in this phrase when only one is necessary to convey your point, "...holding clubs and swords that they swung around with reckless abandon." Instead of holding, just say "Swing their rough clubs and sword with abandon." (the word "reckless" is already inherent to the "with abandon."

It might benefit the reader if you were to describe her weapon. Is is a spear with a long, sword-like tip (also known as a glaive I believe) or more axe like?

I would exchange "get" for "land" here, "before the new few foes could get a single hit in she spun."

This sentence makes cements the incongruity of stampeding goblins, "They outnumbered her, but they were weak and clumsy." If they're weak then they can't stampede properly.

This sentence contradicts what follows, "In the midst of this battle a thumping noise caught her attention." In the next sentence, you have her killing the final goblin so it's hard for this to be the "midst of battle" which refers to the middle of a conflict rather than the tail end of one.
Also, start a new paragraph with the large goblins arrival to give his appearance greater impact.

The whole remainer of the paragraph is a little clunky, but it also lacks impact. I'm just going to combine my suggests for ease.
You have...
"Just as the last goblin had fallen a much larger monster emerged. It too was a goblin, only it's size was ridiculous. Twelve feet tall, with limbs as thick as logs. Barely able to stand on her feet, the woman stood her ground as the large goblin closed the distance between the two of them. It swung a large club at her side, she used her weapon to guard it, yet the force was too much. Unable to fully block the attack, she was blown backwards. Her weapon flew from her hands, and she violently rolled across the grassy plain before finally stopping."
My (light) suggestions,

"She staggered back as the last goblin flew and braced her shuddering limbs with her spear" (By interrupting the smooth transition from one conflict to the next, you give the large Goblins arrival more tension and danger while also singling it out)"A thundering step sounded in the battlefield's silence, followed by the crack of tree limbs" (Here, I foreshadow the big guys arrival to let the tension and threat build. This lets the reader anticipate so his appearance will give a small jolt of satisfaction.) "She turned back the forest, bracing herself as the new monster emerged." (Here, you will surely note, I used turned instead of a more energetic action. This was intentional because it builds into the theme of her exhaustion. It's lack of energy now becomes a sign of exhaustion, which in turn compounds her peril.) "It was also goblin, but it towered over the rabble that lay dead around her and moved on tree-trunk limbs. She braced herself, holding her weapon out before her and waited. The monstrosity charged and swung at her with a club larger than she was. She twisted, holding her weapon out to block, but its club slammed into her and crashed through, flinging her across the field. She slammed into the ground, losing her weapon, and rolled onward." (Rolled onward is a weak action for what should be a violent series of blows, but I just didn't like how careened flowed in that situation.)

For this sentence, "The woman lunged straight towards her foe..." "straight towards" is inherent in "lunged." I would remove.

You don't need the "from her sleep" here, "The sound of a man's voice fully roused the sleeping woman from her sleep."

This sentence is wordy, clunky and passive, "She was laying on a sheet which had been stained by the gore she was covered in." Try, "She lay on a sheet stained with the gore of her battle."

You have an errant capitalised "the" here, "Oh, The name's Gregor Stone by the way."

I would remove this "she said" here, "'I want the ability to change things. To help people.' She said" Because you already have a speech designator before this bit of dialogue with "she decided."

You might be able to reword this for a more streamlined approach, "the leather that was bound to the metal pole." Try " the leather wrapped metal pole/handle."

I don't know how many people would recognise a naginata by name, but you might want to consider just naming it immediately just to save yourself from having to write the clunky "her weapon" every time.

You don't need this "coming" so I would just remove it, "I've got some men that wouldn't take too kindly to their job being taken coming."

This is a new person speaking, it has to start its own paragraph, "Gregor called out to her while he was still unloading boxes. "There's a well down this street and to the left, by the way."

This bit of detail feels irrelevant and is kind of boring, "The capital was an enormous city that was shaped like a square, with its perimeter made of towering stone walls." I would probably just cut this. Know the city has walls, we will assume it's huge and we have no interest in its shape unless that shape is interesting (like a triangle or something unusual.)

So that's about it. I stopped commenting on the passive phrases and what not because it would just be more of the same. You have a couple telling phrase that I would like to see removed, and a few unnecessary words/iterative phrase but for the most part it's just the passive wording that you need to work on. It chills out a little as the story progress, but it's still prevalent throughout.

Beyond that, the world you started to show us is interesting and the characters you've presented us with are likeable. You've introduced conflict and objectives and hinted at a potentially awesome protagonist. Most importantly, it sparked my interest and actually involved me in the story. I don't know if you have subsequent chapters up, but I would probably read them.

One thing to consider, though, is to be careful to distinguish yourself from all the RPG animes.

I hope you find my review useful and wish you nothing but the very best of luck. :)











*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
7
7
Review of Time  
Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: E | (2.0)
This lacked the rhythm and flow it needed for the conclusion to truly have the impact you wanted.
8
8
Review of The Business Man  
Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: ASR | (4.0)
This is a very good, energetic and tense excerpt. The one technical error I found was, " to Henley and farther from him." At first read, I thought that "Henley" and the "him" were one and the same. Even now I'm not entirely sure they're not. If they are different, I suggest exchanging the "him" for something a little more specific like "my pursuer." (Don't use my pursuer though because that's kind of terrible.)

I hope you find my review useful and wish you nothing but the very best of luck. :)
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Review of The Lakefront  
Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: E | (4.5)
I thoroughly enjoyed this piece. You had great rhythm throughout, strong emotion, and a good story.

My one grievance is with the line, "Little trees dot the ground..." which I don't really understand. Initially, I took it to mean freshly sprouted trees (because of the randomness inherent to the word "dot") but that didn't seem possible in an environment as nearly manicured as this. The other option was them have been planted for aesthetic purposes, but why then would they dot the ground instead of be strategically placed?
This is all probably far too technical for poetry (especially since the line flows so beautifully) but it still distracted me as I read it.

I hope you find my review useful and wish you nothing but the very best of luck. :)
10
10
Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: E | (2.5)
Hello, I'm just going to write my thoughts as I stumble across them. If they're invalidated later on then feel free to ignore my rambling nonsense. :)

All right, starting off with your first couple sentences, you have, "Bang. Bang. Bang. Talia Drake jolted awake, panting from the recurring nightmare that haunted her dreams." First, it is considered incorrect grammar to exclude the exclamation point from a shouted piece of dialogue or loud noise. I know you said not to worry about grammar but I wanted to make sure you knew that rule.
Second, you first real sentence, "Talia Drake jolted awake, panting from the recurring nightmare that haunted her dreams." Is a little iterative on itself because a nightmare (unless we're speaking proverbially) can only occur when someone is dreaming. Everything after "nightmare" is basically unnecessary fluff.

This, "He let out a sigh,..." sentence is a POV slip. Up until this point, we've been viewing everything from Talia's POV.

I assume that this block of exposition and backstory, "Their father was not only their only real parental figure but their best friend..." is relevant to the story, but it's coming too soon to effectively serve its purpose. We have no attachment to him or either of the characters you've presented up with at this point, so this backstory just feels tedious.

So, you have Talia freaking out over their father's absence, but never any mention of why his disappearance is frightening for them. All we get is, "he's gone" and we have no idea what that means. Did he leave on his own? If so why are they freaking out like this? Was he captured (unlikely because he left a note) then why aren't they calling the police? They seem too well aware of his absence, like it was something they expected, for her to be freaking out like she is.This isn't the time to be mysterious, you need to explain what's going on here.

All right, that's about it for the specific stuff.
On the whole, I think this needs a lot of work. You have a heavy reliance on Telling to convey your story which dilutes most of the energy these characters might have had (think of it like a joke, it's not as funny if you have to explain it.) Then you don't seem to have any hook for either the end or the beginning. The opening sentences are active, but someone waking up from a nightmare is far to common of a trope to serve as a hook. After that, you diffuse any momentum you built with their father's disappearance by explaining it away in the last couple paragraphs.
Beyond that, you have a couple rare instances of echo words, first with eyes near the beginning and then with "barely" a little later on.

I hope you find my review useful (and not too depressing) and wish you nothing but the very best of luck. :)


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
11
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Review of Serpent lies...  
Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: E | (4.0)
This was good as a whole, but the first couples read a little rough to me. Part of it was that rhythm seemed to vacillate a little and some of it was the overuse of "night." Rhyming your words can help a piece vastly, but not if it always the same word, because then it just sounds repetitive.
12
12
Review of Princess Diaries  
Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hello, I'm just going to be writing down my thoughts as I stumble across them so they might very well be invalidated later on. If that's the case, then feel free to ignore my rambling nonsense. :)

You have a good opening paragraph, its start immediately and presents a clear voice.

You also have a great concluding hook.

On the whole, I found this quite humorous and enjoyable. The strongest point for this piece is far and away your protagonist's voice/personality which makes everything feel alive. the fact that you spit through three or four charged topics in the space of a thousand words is also quite interesting. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it could become one if you overdo it.
13
13
Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Hello, I'm just going to be writing down thoughts as I stumble across them. If some of my opinions are invalidated later on then feel free to ignore them.

So, starting with your open two sentences, you have active prose and an elegant description. This is a good start. One thing to consider though is that it's generally advised to present your opening hook immediately. I don't personally feel that is necessary, but it's still something to consider.

This sentence is a little clunky, "They all devoutly pointed to a chalkboard that bore the soot from an immeasurable amount of lessons." I might try,
"They all devoutly faced a chalkboard covered with the soot from countless lessons." Replacing "pointed to" with "faced" just saves a word. Replacing "that bore" with "covered with" exchanges a glue word (that) for the more active "covered" and replacing "an immeasurable amount of lessons" with "countless" just cuts a lot of unnecessary words. The "countless" might echo "lessons" a little, though, due to the double S's.

You have a possible discrepancy here, "saw that it was nearly twenty past six in the AM." I don't know where in the world this is taking place or what its surroundings are, but six in the morning seems very early for the sun to have developed an orange hue.

Another discrepancy here, "he had pulled over to the blinded window." If the windows are blinded then there wouldn't be enough sunlight leaking through to make everything glow.

This sentence feels inconsistent with what you just said, "Dante snorted, almost sure that his contempt was lost." Contempt means that Dante looks down on Andrew, but up till now everything you've written has painted Andrew in a positive light. You also say that his predilection for listening earned him Dante's respect. Basically, I'd change contempt to something else.

All right back to the time thing, if this school is surrounded by other buildings (which is how it seems at the moment) then the sun would have to be fairly well above the horizon line for it to shine into the school. Probably too high for six A.M.

A good solid conclusion with enough of a hook to tease my interest.

The only general thing I noticed was a few too many passive sentences for my liking. But most of them were written adeptly enough that I couldn't really "hear" them.



*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
14
14
Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
Hey, it's me. I know it's been awhile and I sincerely apologise for that. I haven't had much time to review and what time I did have had to go to the people I'm exchanging reviews with. Without further ado, let's begin.

So starting off with this sentence, "'I killed two men today.' Willam said proudly." I don't like how easily William overcomes the fact that he just killed two men. Even though they were assailing him, that's still a traumatic experience. At the very least he shouldn't feel proud about it. I know his pride derives more from conducting himself bravely, but that's not what his words say. He's proud that he killed two men.
I don't think he has to be a shambling wreck because of it, he was trained for this, but he can't just accept it blithely.

This next thought it really nit-picky, but this sentence might need to change, "...cool calculus of wisdom to bring them freedom..." My problem with this is that calculus wasn't "discovered" until the mid-17th century (timelines may vary in your world) so I don't know if it would have been discovered yet or be inducted into common parlance. Like I said, it's a very nit-picky thing and may not even be an actual discrepancy. I just thought I'd mention it.

For this sentence, "while he pulled at the buttons of his padded armor..." Armor was never held in place by buttons, it was usually held in place by straps or maybe ties.

So a couple of things for this paragraph, but mostly this sentence, "She was very proud of my son. It was a fierce sort of pride and it surprised William's mother." I think you switched the "her" out for a "my." Beyond that, this is a POV slip which is considered a transgression. You can only switch POV after a hard break.

This paragraph, "" All I wanted as a girl was a comfortable,..." reads less like somebody speaking and more like an author describing a scene. Go for fewer details and simpler, less-artistic descriptions. Another reason for this is that as a back-country girl and a farmer's wife she would have a far smaller vocabulary and simpler vernacular.

So two things here, one relevant and one somewhat random, "May, tell us how you met Jonn...." So first, I assume that this is William's mother (the fact that you're using her given name instead of "william's mother" makes it a little confusing) but you never explain how or why she came here. The last we heard of her, she was still back at the farm.
Second, this whole segment feels just like exposition without true relevance. Neither of William's parents feel overly important to the plot right now, and certainly not enough to merit a history of their meeting and romance. A history of two people's first meeting works IRL because more often than not you are deeply invested in those people already, we are not invested in William's parents at this moment. They are periphery characters and we've barely had any interaction with them to boot.

All right, the timelines getting very confusing at this point, "and when I looked again upon the riders face, only then, I realised it was William." She is still telling about the past and we have no idea at what point it is. We don't know if William's been born yet or for how long she and John have been married, or if at all. The bit of dialogue I have above make it feel like a vision, but you never gave an introduction to a vision or any kind so it just adds to the confusion.

You have a typo here, ""Alas, that's all gone now" I replied...." I have no idea who's speaking.

You vacillate on the spelling of the bird's name, "Imperious" from "Imperialis."

This is the first mention of any rum whatsoever, "May thought the rum she was drinking..."

That's it for the specifics. All my general comments from previous chapters are still relevant. One new thing I noted was a habit to forget the possessive apostrophe. Comb through this chapter, and probably all of them, and add the missing apostrophes.
15
15
Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: 18+ | (3.5)
Hey, I'll just be writing down my thoughts as I come across them so some of my opinions might be invalidated later on. If that's the case, then feel free to ignore them.

So, starting with your opening you get off to a great start. The opening paragraphs are energetic and present a hook that grabs the readers attention. This sentence, however, "The event that nearly caused the human race to nearly go extinct in the course of twenty-four hours." is incomplete. It explains what the Dreaming is, but since the subject of the sentence doesn't actually do anything it's not a complete sentence. This need to be connected to the previous sentence through dashes or maybe a colon.

Next, this sentence is passive and can be easily switched to active, "I’ve read a lot about it because I was always curious about the event." Maybe try something more like, "I’ve read a lot about it because it always intrigued me..."

I think this needs to be "texts,""If you read any of the text written on it..."

This is a passive phrasing, "While humans were being eaten..." and for a sentence that conveys something as important and exciting as dormant gods reawakening I think you need something active. The option that immediate leaps to my mind (though I don't particularly like it) is "yet, its arrival woke something: an ancient pantheon of gods..." Just putz with it a little and I'm sure you'll find and exciting way to phrase it.

this is another incomplete sentence, " Lastly, man once more able to wield magic." you need a verb. Passive would be "lastly, man was once more..." but I always suggest trying to find more active sentences.

I don't know what you're saying here, "Let me digress." because digress means to go off topic. Is he saying "bear with me" or something else?

For this sentence do you mean "clothes" or "colors?" "My robes have no clothes to represent either my magical discipline or my god."

All right, you have a great concluding hook but the chapter leading up til that point read a little slow. I think it's because most of this chapter was exposition which, while somewhat necessary to the final hook and story, also reads slowly. Adding to this is that you also have a fairly high amount of passive sentences which saps the energy from the prose and read blandly.
All in all, though, and interesting concept that has potential.

I hope you find my review useful and wish you nothing but the very best of luck.



16
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Review of Sky Below  
Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: E | (3.5)
You had good rhymes and great imagery but you don't really tell a story. Without context, these words lose most of their meaning. You probably didn't set out to tell a story (which is fine) but I like to feel a sense of purpose when I read poetry and this doesn't seem to have it.

I hope you find my review useful and wish you the very best of luck! :)
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Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)
Hello, I have returned!

So, starting with the first sentence, you have the phrase, "lived and worked at a mansion not far from the Drummond." Here, the "not far from" is wordy and (more importantly) roundabout. What you're trying to say is he "lived and worked at a mansion near the Drummond" so say that. It's generally better to tell the readers what is rather than what is not.

You don't need the "suddenly" here, "The doors suddenly burst open..." because the word "burst" already has an inherent violence and suddeness.

You don't want to start a new paragraph with the same person talking as before because that will lead the reader to think somebody new is speaking, ""Smith, please go and retrieve a bottle..." I initial thought this was Jonn.

You need to start a new paragraph here because somebody new is speaking, "with an unopened bottle in one hand. "My Lord?" he said."

So two things here, "Jonn watched as Ian stood from behind his desk, he had grown old." First, I would remove the "from" from the "from behind his desk." You don't need it. Second, the "he had grown old" is a separate thought without relation to the beginning of the sentence. Break this into two sentences.

This sentence feels a little off, "then find me someone in charge of the military..." if he's mayor then why doesn't he know the generals living in his city? Also, you don't need the second part of this sentence about sending them to the Major, it's all inherent in the "find me someone..."

You have a lot of unnecessary telling going on in this chapter, "The Lord Mayor was frail but his mind was young." Most of it relates to the Major. You spend a lot of time telling the readers that he is old and frail, but you could just as easily show it through your description of him. Instead of telling us he's weak, tell us he shuffles/moves slowly. Instead of telling us he had grown old, leave it at just his white beard. The same goes for here, instead of telling us he's still smart, show it to us with a physical action. Perhaps something like, "his sharp eyes flicked to Jonn. 'How did you come by this knowledge?'"

This sentence is unnecessary, "Jonn decided to wait on that." because you just said he withheld the information. His reasoning for withholding the information would probably do well here, though.

This phrase, "'It would have been better if Admiral Peter..." can be easily simplified to, "I wish Admiral Peter..."

I don't know exactly who's speaking here, ""Now, Father, I think I should tell you some of my secrets" I think this paragraph, the previous and the one after, all are the Mayor speaking buts it's really hard to say with them being separated into new paragraphs.

This is a passive sentence with an easy fix, "All the lower city was before him." to "the lower city stretched out before him." or something to the effect.

You have a tense break here, "Roaring Falls that are the beginning of the Great River" this should be "that were the beginning..."

So I feel like I missed a chapter. At the end of the previous one they had found the prince or a nobleman of some kind and were returning to the city. But here, there's no mention of these events?

Beyond that, this chapter had a general feel of wordiness. It was rarely and easily identifiable problem like my first comment, it was more a feel of you taking longer to convey a point than what would be optimal. Think of it like that last phrase (than what would be optimal) it feels a little clunky and long winded but there's no obvious words to cut.

Lastly, there's still the slight problem of referring to your characters by three and four names. :)

I hope you find my review useful and wish you nothing but the very best of luck! :)


18
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Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: ASR | (3.0)
Hey, I'm just going to be writing down thoughts as I come across them so some of my comments might be invalidated later on. If that's the case, then ignore them. :)

Lets start with this phrase, "But here in this place of hopelessness, of fear, and even torment,..." Up till now, your opening paragraph has been really solid with a good opening hook while also setting the world we will be exploring. This sentence is more of the same and the only quibble I have is for the word "even." Even is a moderator word, its purpose in this sentence is to diminish the impact of what you're saying, but in diminishing it you also weaken it. The sentence would be strong (IMO) if you just removed the even, you don't need it and to have it in there diminishes the direness of this world.

Next is the phrase, "That is exactly why I wandered through the dark world,..." Here, I would remove the "exactly." Having it in here does nothing to change the sentence while also slowing the momentum. It is also an "LY" word, which are generally considered weak.
The second this is about the phrase, "...through the dark world..." Up till now, you've referred to the dark world with the more personal "this" and I liked that because it crafted a subtly more intimate relationship between the reader and the world. That's just my opinion, though.

This phrase is passive, "I was thinking only of getting to my mission," and I think you can easily switch it to, "I thought only of..." and thus make it active.

I also have a comment about the prologue in general. You make of several descriptive phrases, like where you explain what/who Ardon is. The information you convey is mostly fine (apart from the Ardon which felt a little irrelevant) but the thing about the phrase is that they're intrusive. They interrupt the natural flow of events to explain something. One or two every so often is fine, but when you have numerous in a small area they cause the story read somewhat jaggedly because you're constantly pulling the reader out of the story. Does that make sense? That happens here.

You don't need the "however" here, "By choice, and by calling however," because you said former in the previous sentence. I would remove it because "however" is an interrupter and will naturally interupt the flow of the prose.

I think this sentence can be written a little more active, "My focus was on one thing, and one thing only..." Something like, "I focused on one thing, and one thing alone." Or maybe something like, "My focused rested on a single objective." These are just ideas I'm throwing out, you can probably come up with something better.

"Just" is another of the "moderating" words, "until the sun had just started sinking into the landscape behind me." which are general considered weak. you want to speak confidently without moderating your words because that dilutes their power and impact. I would remove it here and just write, "until the sun started sinking..."

I have two things for this sentence, "Then, slowly, I started to inch my way closer to the enemy camp." the first is that "inch" is already a slow movement so you don't need the "slowly" at all. (In my experience, most LY words are generally unnecessary because they can either be replaced by a strong verb like inched or are simply unnecessary because the context of the sentence conveys the detail naturally.)
Second, words like "started" and "began" are delaying words. They delay the action unnecessarily most of the time. That's the case here. The phrase, "I inched my way..." is simply stronger and more immediate than "I started to inch."

I know this is a fantasy world, but it still strikes me as kind of strange that dogs would bury their dead, " I always wished I could bury every victim...." You don't have to change it, I only really mentioned it because burying the dead is a human custom.

I don't know if you have a dog, but their paws don't really crash, " I heard the sound of heavy paws crashing through the forest" Moreover, if they were going out to hunt, they would do so quietly so as not to disturb any potential prey.
(I see you mention their volume a little bit below. I'm going to leave my comment in because it does bear thinking about.)

So there were two general things that I noticed, and they tend to go hand in hand, and those were that you wrote this almost entirely with passive sentences and a lot of telling. Both of these are considered "weak" and the first of them is fairly easily fixed. Just have something or someone in the sentence do something instead of telling us they did it. Take the bit where you said the dogs were alive. You would get the same result by having them do something or anything. Have them jump or bark at their captives. Have them scratch at the walls or try to reach the reeds overhead. All of these things will show the reader that they're alive without you having to tell them.
Telling's a little bit harder to fix because it tends to require a new sentence. You have to show the readers through your descriptions and the actions that take place. Something things need to be told, but that generally only because the knowledge needs to be immediately evident.

These are the two main reasons I'm not particularly interested in continuing to read this story, but some of it is undoubtedly that this isn't my preferred reading. That being said, this was far from bad, it just needs alot of polishing to reach its full potential.

I hope you find my review useful and wish you nothing but the very best of luck! :)
Happy Holidays! :D





*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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Review of I've been dead?  
Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: E | (3.5)
An interesting thought, but there's not really enough to sink into, (which is one of the reasons I don't particularly care for Haikus.)
20
20
Review of Rainstorm  
Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: E | (4.0)
I liked this. You had good rhythm and a nice word selection. You also managed to tell a story, which is something I always like to see, even in poetry.

There are some slight changes that might benefit the rhythm I think.

First, in the sentence, "to wash the dirt out of their eyes." the phrase "out of" is just a little wordy and clunky. I think this would read better by substituting that for "from." "To was the dirt from their eyes."

Next is the sentence, "When you opened up your skies." I think you can remove the "up" here without compromising comprehensibility and improving flow.

None of those suggestions have any backing besides my internal ear and should be completely ignored if you disagree with them in any way.

I hope you find my review useful and wish you nothing but the very best of luck. :)
Happy Holidays! :D
21
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Review of i was here  
Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: E | (2.5)

I really liked the rhythm and the word choice for this poem, but I couldn't really make sense out of it. The chaos and disconnect from phrase to phrase might be intentional, but it was still had to comprehend.
I do have one suggestion. I would remove the "cry out" from the "I have heard the voice of Freedom." I don't think it necessary to convey your point and I think that the simplicity of "I have heard the voice of Freedom" will ring a little stronger. But that's just my personal opinion.

I hope you find my review useful and wish you nothing but the very best of luck! :)
Happy Holidays!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
22
22
Review of Scars  
Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: E | (4.0)
This is pretty good. You had solid rhythm throughout and good rhymes as well. Your political affiliations might have shown a little bit, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. I especially like the mention of the time near the end. It's a small thing, but it finishes the story you started near the beginning.
23
23
Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
Hey, It's me again. Apologies for taking so long to get back to this.

Let's start with the sentence, "Somewhat smaller than his palm, he held it's body up to his ear and heard the pleasant ticking of the mechanism." Here there is a grammar error. The phrase, "somewhat smaller... etc" applies to the clock but the noun of the sentence is William because he's doing the action. The problem comes from the fact that you never "officially" designate what the "somewhat" is applied to so it automatically refers to the subject of the sentence by default. You don't have to change (because I did understand your meaning) but I would suggest doing so just so that everything is grammatically correct.

Also, you can rewrite "the pleasant ticking of the mechanism" to "the mechanism's pleasant ticking" and thus remove two glue words.

The second he in this sentence is unnecessary, "He noted the indicated time was twelve noon and he closed the silver lid."

For this sentence, "A long, sturdy chain clasped to the watch surprised William by wrapping itself around William's wrist in snake-like fashion, with a slight tug it let go" I would suggest exchanging the "Williams" for Him and His respectively. The first one is mostly personal preference but the second use of his name echoes the first and feels a little distant in this situation. It's a little hard to explain, but using a pronoun will connect the reader a little more to the character on a superficial level.

The phrase, ", with a slight tug it let go." needs to be its own sentence or to be connected to the previous sentence by an "and" because it's a distinct action.

This might be because I haven't read the previous chapter in over a week, but I don't know what James is responding to here, ""Nonsense!" said James to William."

Marine Chronometer should probably be capped because it is the proper name you've given it as the author.

This phrase, "William did not know what to say so he put..." reads a little clunky to me (probably because of the many glue words, and that's why they're considered "bad") but the only thing I could concoct on the fly was, "Uncertain of what to say, William pocketed..." "what to say" can also be exchanged with, "how to react" if you feel that sounds better. Those are just quick suggestions though and I expect you'll come up with something far better. All that being said, you don't have to change the sentence, there's no technical errors in it that I noticed. Secondly, you call it "handcrafted" but gave no previous indication of it or dropped any reason for why William would know it,s handcrafted. So that is a small POV break.

Also, a quick writing tip. It's generally considered better to use a specific/more active or defined word in most situations. For the previously mentioned sentence, you have, "put in his pocket" but "put" is one of those "general" words that word but are mostly flavorless. A possibly better/more active or specific would like "slipped" or "ensconced" (if you want to push the boundaries a little bit) would probably be better. Something else you can get away with considering your style is "housed" "William housed the beautiful masterpiece in his pocket."

"Precisely" is one of those words like "obviously" that are kind of unnecessary in basic prose. There is very little difference between writing, "Precisely one hour later William..." and "an hour later..." The time you would want to use "precisely" are the times when that precision has an impact on the story (like a character trait of some kind.) If that's not the case then the "precisely" will strike the reader as a little unbelievable (how often do you reach anywhere, even places you intended to reach at a specific time, at a precise time?) The other reason I mentioned it (and the main one) is that switching to an "an" removes an "LY" word. It's a really small quibble, though.

This phrase, "William, they sent him off with a box of small cakes and an extra lunch for the journey." would probably be better suited as two distinct sentences (ending at the William) or connected by a semicolon. The reason I say this is because the second thought completely stands on its own so I automatically read it as such. Whether separating them will make it flow better I can;t immediately say.

In this phrase, "but he did think..." the "did think" can be abbreviated to "thought."

I think I've mentioned this before but just to be safe, "The Wizard said, and he looked over to William for a response." As the author you want to stick to a single name when you refer to a character. Up till now, you've referred to William's uncle as James. Also, for this sentence, you don't need the "said" because we know who's speaking. You can simply write, "James looked over to William for a response" you can also remove the "over" if you so wish.

For these sentences, "Clearly, this was not the response the Wizard was looking for. A scowl covered his face." the first sentence is both telling and completely unnecessary. His simple, displeased, reaction conveys that this was not the response he expected so you can just remove the first sentence and your meaning will remain intact.

Quick grammar correction, you only begin or end dialogue with a comma when the dialogue begins or ends with a dialogue indicator or modifier. So, for this sentence,""No," a startled William paused a moment to think this over." there would be no comma because the following sentence doesn't interact with the dialogue. If you used a said, or a whispered of some kind then you would use the comma.

You have an extra, "to" in this sentence, "Why to go to the ends of the world?"

This is mostly me poking fun at you, but do you know how heavy books can get? "I search for knowledge, the greatest treasure of all and the easiest to carry." You don't have to change this, its just a thought that struck me as I was reading it :P. (And yes I know that gold is probably heavier than paper.)

Misspelled "you" here, "Can ou read and write?"

As this is the proper name by which he will be referring to James, the Sir will always be prefaced/bracketed by commas, "'Yes Sir.'"

This phrase is passive, "The staff was unnaturally warm" and can be easily converted into active by making the staff do something with heat such as, "the staff warmed William's hands..." or "the felt staff felt warm..." (this second one is still a little passive but is probably fine.)

This is good description, "forest of hardwoods closed in around them..." but it would be better if you named some hardwood trees, especially if they were trees most people would have a general idea about like Hickory, cherry, ash and whatnot.


I'm far from an expert on birds and this might be really nit-picky but the phrase, "Flocks of birds filled the trees..." kind of struck me. If you think about it, birds travel in flocks (if they lived in flocks they would exhaust the echo system) so the concept of multiple flocks just sitting around struck me as a little off. It's a really nit-picky thing though and absolutely ungrounded in any factual knowledge but I thought it would be best to mention it anyway.

This is where I get a little meta with my critique this description, "They entered a shady clearing surrounded by tall undergrowth. A large blue lake appeared on their left with a large meadow before it filled with wildflowers. A life-size statue of a man was at the water's edge. Sculpted as a monk, kneeling, it held a cup in both hands" is extremely generic with a few exceptions. The clearing is shaded (like 50% of clearings) the water is blue (like most water is) etc etc. What I'm trying to say here is that even though you're describing it, none of this is particularly interesting because it's stuff I've already read a dozen times before. There are two interesting details in the mix though, the tall undergrowth (which is an unusual visual image and thus interesting) and the statue (which the read immediately focuses on as important to the forthcoming scene. Now, besides two details I'll mention in a bit, there's nothing wrong with this. But the scene would be far improved if the details you gave to the reader were all interesting and sparked their imagination. You can do this by envisioning strange and magical objects to populate this or to describe an unusual detail like having a swarm of butterflies stir at they arrive.
Now for the real problems. First, if it was shaded then I don't think the undergrowth would have grown all that tall. Sunlight is necessary for something to grow really tall and if this glade is shaded then the greenery isn't getting as much sun as it would need to. Second, a clearing is generally a small space encircled by trees so to have a field nearby almost breaks the meaning of the word. I'm uncertain if you actually need to change it but I was worth mentioning. (Quick idea, you might be able to show whether the clearing is shaded or not by the height of the undergrowth. If you say it's tall that would indicate it's a sunny clearing, but if it's short it would indicate that it's shaded. That might be a little too vague for most readers, though.)

"Surrounded by marsh lands it is hard to find..." You gave no indication that they were traveling through any kind of marsh up till now, it has all been forest even in the description of the clearing.

I'm probably being a little nit-picky again but, if they're surrounded by a marsh and standing in a clearing fully of high undergrowth would there really be any grass here? " tied the animals near some grass."

For this phrase, "he fired his pistol at the nearest man opening a hole in his chest killing him instantly" you wording is a little bit wordy and a tad melodramatic. The simple fact that he fired into the man's chest will tell most readers that the shot man is dead, so something like, "he fired his pistol into the nearest man's chest."

This is another unnecessary sentence, "The man fell to the ground and did not move." for the same reason as before. If somebody's been shot dead in the face then he's not getting up and you don't need to say as much :P.

Starting a new paragraph between two pieces of dialogue by the same person feels a little bit strange to me, ""No, never."

"Is this legal?" It makes me think somebody new is speaking. You do it again at the end I think.

So I have two general comments. the first is about the initial fight scene at the end, specifically William's first encounter. You spend most of the time explaining the two combatants' thoughts and actions and it saps the moment of the excitement that should accompany the battle. You say that the pirate confronts William arrogantly (which is good because that's hard to convey through action) but then you go on to say that he was quickly in trouble. This bit would be far stronger if you lead off with his arrogance and then physically show him being bested. The same goes for William's second fight, though to a lesser extent. You tell the readers that William's good with a sword instead of showing it and then you tell them that he's growing tired instead of showing it. Both of these things will be far stronger, and far more compelling, if you show them transpiring. If they see William being awesome with a sword they will have far greater confidence in his abilities than if you told them. Showing the fight will also make it far more tense.

The second thing (and the main reason I rated this chapter so poorly) is that the first half is fairly boring. All it is is them preparing to leave, traveling, and then arriving but nothing of importance really seems to happen during that time. William gets a special watch (which is cool) gets told to call James "Sir" and gets to handle a magic staff. This makes the first half of the chapter feel like filler so you don't just throw the readers into an action sequence and then end the chapter afterward. Why does it feel like this? It's because of the various things that happen in the first half only one really seems to have potential impact on the story: the watch.
Lastly, I mention this above but I want to reiterate it because it was a recurring problem. When referring to some directly (by any name or title) the name/title will be prefaced by a comma or bracketed in commas if the sentence continues on afterwards.

I hope you find my review useful and wish you nothing but the very best of luck. :)
Happy Holidays! :D










*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
24
24
Review of Angels in Winter  
Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
Hello, I'll just be writing stuff as I come across it so some of my comments might be invalidated later on.

Your first couple opening lines are a little clunky. They don't flow easily from on to the next because they're all stand-alone sentences.

For this sentence, "They all battled against the numbing cold of deep winter." I don't believe you need the "against" as it is inherent in the word "battled."

This sentence also reads a little clunky, "They all battled against the numbing cold of deep winter." You can probably join this to the previous sentence for better flow.

I believe this "which" needs to be a who because you're referring to a living person, "which happened to be the seated soldier.

Up till now, Craig has referred to Bartholemew as "father" and I would keep it as such, "Sorry to disappoint you, Reverend,..."

This sentence, "The Grand Chairman does not discriminate." breaks the tense of your story. Up till now, it's been written in the past tense but this is present tense.

On the whole, this was fairly well written but it lacked a hook to spark my interest, both in the beginning and throughout. This was a pleasant read but nothing in it really made me want to read more.
Beyond that, the one general comment I have is that you might want to refer to Craig by his name throughout. By using titles like "the soldiers" or "the newcomer" you disassociate the reader from your character a little. Names help build intimacy, which in turn builds empathy and reader investment.

I hope you find my review useful and wish you nothing but the very best of luck. :)



*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
25
25
Review of I Am Vitruvian  
Review by TristenKozinski
Rated: E | (4.0)
You have good momentum and solid rhymes for the most part (with square and near being the only strained set.) You also had strong imagery and a compelling story.
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