| I am reviewing your work as a student of the Rockin' Review Academy!
Hello dehz !
I've just finished reading your short story "The final campaign" , and I really enjoyed it. Below is a breakdown of my thoughts on various aspects of your story. Please know that these are only my humble opinions. Use whatever comments and suggestions you find helpful, and ignore the rest!
Plot: Your plot twist at the end is nothing short of brilliant. The 180 degree flip left me stunned, and I found myself standing in awe of how you had managed to build up to that moment without my having the slightest clue of the truth. It is a simple ending, but it leaves the reader satisfied in a way that only a good twist can.
Up until that point, however, the plot seemed a little bit vague. I'm thinking that perhaps this was somewhat intentional since the ending is the important part, but you have to make sure that your reader stays interested enough to keep reading all the way through so that they reach your clever ending. I think if you added a bit more motive and context to the children's quest, then the reader would be more invested in it, and it would guarantee that they are as interested in the beginning of the story as the end.
Style & Voice: You have a beautiful writing style, and many of your descriptive sentences were inspired. You create some amazing imagery. I like how you start the story out from Kieth's point of view, and give the reader an image of his companions and the situation through his eyes.
However, later in the story, you switch the point of view around so that the reader is told some of the story through Faith and Mika's point of view. I found the jumping around a bit confusing, especially in such a short story, and I think this would work better if the whole story remained in Kieth's point of view. It would be more effective to get a description of his possession through his eyes because then the reader could experience the sensation first hand. It was also a bit confusing because in Mika's point of view, you have her winding up for a death blow, but then later she says she was only going to cast a defensive spell, so this seemed contradictory.
Scene/Setting: Your setting description of the dungeon was unique and vivid. It would be easy for this to become a stereotypical setting, but your metaphors make it come alive in the reader's mind. I was really impressed by your writing here.
My only suggestion as to setting would be that maybe you could mention where they are at the end of the story. For example, maybe they are back in one of the kid's living rooms. It doesn't have to be much, but a little bit of information would create a great contrast to the setting of their game.
Characters: Your characters were distinctive and each one came alive in my mind. The story is mainly action based, so it is a challenge to weave character information into the narrative, but I think you did a very good job. I also liked how their skills as fighters seemed to mirror their personalities.
I think I would consider cutting the flashback, though, where Kieth is remembering a moment with Faith. Although it adds great character background, it also breaks up the action of the story, and I think it would be better if the whole story remained in one time-frame especially because it is so short. It might work better in a novel, but here it just distracted me from the main story. See if you can infuse Faith's character with those details without directly telling the reader of that past moment. In fact, I think you already do this quite well.
Grammar/Word Choice: As I've already mentioned some of your descriptive sentences really blew me away. Your word choice was elegant and precise, and it created some very vibrant images in my mind. Here are some examples of my very favorite moments:
The torn red drapes that adorned the windows, and must once had been awe inspiring, reminded them of fresh blood gushing from the cracked walls. This sentence immediately gives the reader a strong visual, but it also imbues the scene with a dark atmosphere and tells the reader of the inherent danger of their location. It's a great metaphor.
Pushed by invisible forces, the imposing oak door at the end of the corridor opened, slamming fiercely against a rusty suit of armour that fell in a clangour of metal and lost dignity. This is another great descriptive sentence that adds thick tension to the scene at hand. I also loved your use of personification.
As I read along, I did notice a few minor grammar mistakes, so I've listed them below and offered suggestions on how I would personally fix them. Again, these are only my own observations, and I am no expert. Only you can know what is right for your story, so take those suggestions that you like, and ignore the rest.
The torn red drapes that adorned the windows, and must once had been awe inspiring... Suggestion: I think 'had' should be 'have'.
...she seemed strangely unaffected by the gloomy atmosphere, but, then again, he couldn’t remember ever seeing the quiet sorceress lose her composure. Suggestion: The comma after 'but' is incorrect since commas should never follow conjunctions except in very rare circumstances. I used to make this mistake too until my grammar instructor taught me it was wrong. However, all of your other commas are correctly placed.
Faith, on the other hand, seemed ready to jump into battle, her eyes were scanning their surroundings quickly but efficiently, her right hand unconsciously clenching around the hilt of her sword. Suggestion: This is currently a run-on sentence because you have two complete sentences connected by a comma with no conjunction. You could fix this by placing a period and starting a new sentence after 'battle' or by removing the 'were' before 'scanning'.
At the time, her answer hadn’t made any sense to him, but now, he knew what she meant; an eagle may desire a quiet existence, but, as hard as it may try, it could never become a sparrow. Suggestion: Again, no comma should be used after the second 'but'. Also, I think perhaps you should use a colon here instead of a semicolon.
To his left, Mika silently gestured for him to be quiet, while Faith thrust him in a small niche behind a pillar. Suggestion: No comma is necessary before 'while' because commas are only used in compound sentences that are connected by coordinating conjunctions. The coordinating conjunctions are: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so. I noticed you made this mistake in a few other places as well, so I thought you might find this link helpful. It has a very good explanation of this comma rule - look all the way at the bottom of the page - as well as the other comma rules, and it helped me straighten out my own comma usage.
Her trust in Mika was unshakable, and, despite every fibre of her body shouting at her to attack, she relaxed her stance and turned to the older friend, looking for guidance. Suggestion: No comma should be used after 'and'.
...he took the short blade he always carried on his side, and, with a last glance at his friends, he ran it through his own heart. Suggestion: No comma should be used after 'and'.
Overall Opinion: Overall, I think this is a good story with an excellent finish. I think if you alter this so that it is all in one point of view, it would really help the story shine. I also think if you add more details to the childrens' motivation on their quest, then the reader would be as invested as the children themselves. That will guarantee that your reader continues and reaches your stellar finish.
I hope you find this review helpful. Please feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions, comments or requests. Thank you for sharing your story with WDC community and allowing me the opportunity to review your work.
** Images For Use By Upgraded+ Only **