Book Jacket

 

rank 66
word count 31899
date submitted 28.01.2012
date updated 06.09.2013
genres: Fiction, Literary Fiction, Fantasy,...
classification: moderate
incomplete

The Keeper of the Sightless Eye

David Southam

Deceived by a witch, a warband called the Iron Wolves find themselves outlawed, hunting for answers while their world turns against them.

 

Witches, demons and monsters run rife across Werwold. On a quest for their queen, a warband named the Iron Wolves seek an artifact from an ancient magi ruin. But when a scarred, silent monk and his young female companion cross their path, the warband soon find themselves outlaws, with the world turned against them. Caught in a war beyond their imagining - a war in which choosing the wrong side could see their world turned to ashes - the renegade warband seek the truth behind the lies, unaware of the true terror that waits for them within the Sightless Eye.

The Keeper of the Sightless Eye is the first Iron Wolves novel, set in a world inspired by the history, folklore and culture of Medieval Europe.

Brace yourself for horror. Prepare yourself for war.

 
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tags

adventure, armour, arms, battle, beast, beastmen, blood, chivalry, combat, conspiracy, daemons, danger, dark, death, demon, demons, destruction, drago...

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111 comments

 

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Andrea Beauvais wrote 504 days ago

Good afternoon!

We've all been there - caught with no choice but to walk through a dark forest when you really should be safe at home. You detail the experience so carefully and I feel like I'm right there on the back of the cart watching the whole thing. I always get ten times more terrified when I see an animal close by acting strange or frightened (they have much better instincts than we do!).

WOW! Now, this is how you write a good suspense. I'm feeling "thrilled" by this story so far. Hmm.. perhaps I can steal some style tricks from you! Love the way this is written so far, especially in the dialogue with "b-beg for your p-p-protection." That's something I need to incorporate into the scary scenes of my book.

Overall, your writing is easy enough to read quickly (in that you get right to the point) and dangerous enough to feel worthwhile. I love a book that can freak me out a little bit (like reading Dracula in the dark for the first time).

This is a story that I wouldn't read to my kids because it is too scary. It seems to be like the exorcism of a town. At the same time, I WOULD read it to my kids because I know they would just sneak it behind my back - it's that damn good. This is another book that if it doesn't turn into a blockbuster book then you should try to sell it as a movie script... scary movies are lacking these days and could use a great story like this.

Cool word ... "werzidire" - How did you come up with it?

In a way, your story is reminding me of a scary movie or video game where ghastly beasts are on the prowl but the townspeople aren't quite sure about it yet. It is always a good mix when there are believers and non-believers (obviously the non-believers always get killed!). I like the religious/cute little farmer man getting eaten alive in the first scene - lots of bang for your buck. You definitely don't wait long for the action to happen. I could use tips from you on how to get there with my book!!

FRAN MACILVEY wrote 761 days ago

Wow, what an amazing story you tell, David!

Before we get to comparing notes about satyrs and Loremasters, I have to say I do not read this kind of stuff so I approached your book with some trepidation.

But as I read on, I found a lively, well observed tale, brimming with refreshing turns of phrase, great images, wonderful descriptions. I kept looking for something I could shake at and mutter, "For goodness' sake..." but it never happened. You may write about things I find barely credible, but if anyone could persuade me, it would be you. Also, you craft your words, which I appreciate.

This should really be in the bookshops, if only to persuade those of us who never read "this sort of thing" to take another look. Highly rated!

Fran Macilvey, "Trapped" :-))

Lourdes wrote 771 days ago

David,
The only thought on my mind after reading the first chapter, was imagining the"hush" in the theatre, as people hold their breath and try to figure out what just happened.
This is without a doubt, the most exciting book i've read on Authonomy, and i'm not really a fantasy girl. Can't wait to read the rest.
Best of luck, you got six from me and a place on my shelf.
Maria
The Path to Survival

brerandall wrote 765 days ago

David!! I wish I had started reading this sooner! It's so good. I apologize for not really having any constructive criticism for you. The pace is excellent, the characters great, I really love the vernacular. The dialogue is realistic and flows well. I love what you've got going on here! Excellent world you've created.
Six stars!

Cheers,
Bre
Memoria

Cariad wrote 777 days ago

Oooh. This is very exciting. I was right there in the woods with the poor farmer, and it had the same feel to it as the best fairytales of old, that seem to tap in to some well known story mode. Only read one chapter, so will carry on and comment again after, but I'm definitely putting it on my 'waiting for a shelving list' so will give you some stars while I carry on reading.
Cariad.

Sam Barclay wrote 124 days ago

Hi David,

I did a chapter one review on this over a month ago...thought I'd come back to it...I just want you to know that I still think it is an excellent read. Well done!

hockgtjoa wrote 167 days ago

There is a wonderful momentum to this, but those names! One must take notes and keep track. It is as if the orcs each had names. I love this stuff even though there are too many suits and cards. I wondered if the author sometimes had a similar problem. Sometimes the Vorrid/Gore is the "demon" and sometimes it appears there is another who has that name in its own right. Will back tomorrow.

hockgtjoa wrote 167 days ago

There is a wonderful momentum to this, but those names! One must take notes and keep track. It is as if the orcs each had names. I love this stuff even though there are too many suits and cards. I wondered if the author sometimes had a similar problem. Sometimes the Vorrid/Gore is the "demon" and sometimes it appears there is another who has that name in its own right. Will back tomorrow.

Sam Barclay wrote 170 days ago

Hi David,

Just enjoyed reading Chapter One. This is a rich, complex fantasy world which you estabilish. This has the potential to be a great story. I can see why it is so highly ranked on this site. What follows are some specific comments. Please feel free to disregard if they are of no use, but they are intended to help. Here goes:

P2 'lord' should it start with a capital 'L'? You have 'Lady Erelyn' on the next paragraph.
P3 'any one' or 'anyone'?
Liked the beast who 'had been at him'
Dialogue is very sharp and helps to drive the plot.
Loved also the idea of 'werzidires'
Demon on your doorstep is a grt line
Excellent last line to close the chapter.

Overall, no major issues. I feel sure that the vast majority of readers would want to read into Chapter Two, so job done!

I know everyone is very busy, but if you could take a look at the first chapter of 'Dax' I would be extremely grateful to you.

5 stars.

Cheers, Sam

tracy t wrote 192 days ago

Hi David
I really enjoyed this, a great fantasy read.
Tracy

m. b. whitlock wrote 313 days ago

David:

I am really enjoying this story so far. You have so many great elements – mysterious evil, a wide cast of heroes/challengers with different strengths and weaknesses, a solid setting and visceral action.

The Prologue was very effective. I knew something bad was going to happen the moment I learned Galmer had stayed too long at the market and was worried he would not the survive the night's journey home. It is so sad he died because he wanted to sell a few more turnips! But I didn't know what bad thing was going to occur or when. The way you steadily built up the suspense was great. Galmer kept talking himself out of being terrified. So when the bat-like creatures did arrive it was thrilling. Very cool stuff. I also liked how you interwove details about the culture of your world in this chapter.

I really liked this part:

"A screech to his left sent him sprinting in the opposite direction, into the woods. Branches whipped and clawed his face. Roots seemed to grasp at his feet. His shoulder smashed into the trunk of a sturdy oak, and the tree’s root caught his toes to cast him sprawling to the earth."

Chapter 1, Hoof and Horn, had a very different tone. Instead of staying in the head of a single common character we are thrust into the crowded keep of a world in crisis . You introduce so many characters in this chapter, it was a little difficult to distinguish them all.

I think a bit more atmosphere and history at the beginning would help. In the section below you tell us about Heldorian but we are not given any background on Povelstone.

"The town of Povelstone stood upon a plateau, close to the Bay of Blades. To the north lay the ruined city of Heldorian, from whence the magi had waged war centuries ago, and which had turned to rubble, dust and buried bones during the War of the Wizard Kings."

Some visuals of the surroundings would give us a frame of reference for where we are. You could describe little details of life on the brink of chaos. Then when the Iron Wolves show up and Thundrij learns his wife and son may be dead it will have more impact. Just a suggestion. :)

I thought the part below was particularly good:

"She noted that most of them wore an iron disc somewhere upon their armour or attire, bearing the engraved image of the head and mane of a howling wolf. Many of the younger men didn't though. Perhaps they hadn't earned them yet."

We learned about the Iron Wolves as well as a little about Sarabeth's character.

I was so pleased you included a falconer (and falcon)! Wingtip is already one of my favorite characters. :) Great information about your world's culture here too:

"‘Ah,’ said Raegard, ‘that gentleman is Calder Holt, our falconer and chief scout. The fine specimen perched on his arm is our twenty-sixth member, Wingtip. She's a scarro falcon from Escarion, and she will let us know of any trouble we might face onthe road before we reach it. I'm sure you will get to know the rest of the lads as we travel, but rest assured that you are in safe company.’"

I really like what's happening in this next section but I think it might work better if you described Wingtip's aberrant behavior, showed us what she's doing that's strange, instead of telling us that 'somehow' Calder Holt knew she was upset. Holt could also have a line here. He could tell the others that Wingtip is acting weird. He would obviously notice it before anyone else.

"Despite being a very intelligent bird, Wingtip could not talk, but somehow the falconer gleaned from her behaviour that a threat was ahead of them."

Really good raw and gruesome descriptions here:

"The foremost satyr straightened as the Iron Wolves entered the clearing, the horizontal slits of its eyes surveying them as it lowered a half-chewed human leg from its bloody, goatish maw."

Very exciting work.

Best.

m. b. whitlock

riantorr wrote 488 days ago

We have all been there, trying to sell too many turnips, caught late for coming home! Work smart, not hard fellow writers! Love the title.
Rian Torr
New London Masquerade

Andrea Beauvais wrote 504 days ago

Good afternoon!

We've all been there - caught with no choice but to walk through a dark forest when you really should be safe at home. You detail the experience so carefully and I feel like I'm right there on the back of the cart watching the whole thing. I always get ten times more terrified when I see an animal close by acting strange or frightened (they have much better instincts than we do!).

WOW! Now, this is how you write a good suspense. I'm feeling "thrilled" by this story so far. Hmm.. perhaps I can steal some style tricks from you! Love the way this is written so far, especially in the dialogue with "b-beg for your p-p-protection." That's something I need to incorporate into the scary scenes of my book.

Overall, your writing is easy enough to read quickly (in that you get right to the point) and dangerous enough to feel worthwhile. I love a book that can freak me out a little bit (like reading Dracula in the dark for the first time).

This is a story that I wouldn't read to my kids because it is too scary. It seems to be like the exorcism of a town. At the same time, I WOULD read it to my kids because I know they would just sneak it behind my back - it's that damn good. This is another book that if it doesn't turn into a blockbuster book then you should try to sell it as a movie script... scary movies are lacking these days and could use a great story like this.

Cool word ... "werzidire" - How did you come up with it?

In a way, your story is reminding me of a scary movie or video game where ghastly beasts are on the prowl but the townspeople aren't quite sure about it yet. It is always a good mix when there are believers and non-believers (obviously the non-believers always get killed!). I like the religious/cute little farmer man getting eaten alive in the first scene - lots of bang for your buck. You definitely don't wait long for the action to happen. I could use tips from you on how to get there with my book!!

tarasimone wrote 539 days ago

This was a great read. I was kept on edge almost all the way through, and would love to find out how it's all wrapped up in conclusion!

Love the 'mute' monk, think it works very interestingly. So many little hooks and side stories that keep interest and create mystery.

Enjoyed the descriptions, the dialogue and the pace... felt they all worked together to bring together a great work.

High stars!
Tara Adams
Wife to Brett, Dark Matter

Ch1
The gentleman gestured reverently toward a fat, pompous-looking man at the head of the table, who had a large, cooked bird lying on a platter before him. Viscount Thundrij tilted his head in acknowledgement of the visitors, before resuming his attack on a greasy leg of chicken
In my humble opinion a chicken is not a particularly large cooked bird...:)

Ch2
he is known by many upon the surface as the hammer of the dwarves
Should this be a proper noun?

Ch3
The vine stretched and smoked, its strength tested almost to its limits, before Sarabeth cast a final coil around the demon's body.
At this stage the Vorrid is laying down I think, is the casting of the vine also magical that it can pass under its body?

Ch4
fell to the floor like an oversized domino.
domino feels a little out of place in this world...

The rest of the wolves joined the toast
Wolves?

You silly arse!’ Howler sniped. ‘Monks don’t drink ale!
It took me a moment to realise Howler wasn't addressing the monk.

Steven Stucky wrote 559 days ago

David,
You have done a great job with your descriptions. "like a wolf torn lamb" and "rabbit from a fox hole".
Your writing skill and storytelling is top notch. I like that you placed a value on time in library and on
the taking of a book. What you posted ended with the curiosity of the reader. Very good work.
Steven
Fly at the Horizon

Dekkle wrote 560 days ago

Hi David,
I came across this by accident, and am really glad that I did. I'm a fantasy geek and you've hit that nail completely on the head. You have the fantasy, the adventure, the contrast of good and evil down very well - the only thing that I'm upset about is that there are only 5 chapters to read!!!
I'm giving you 6 stars and adding you to my WL - this deserves some backing. Hopefully you'll be uploading more to read, then I'll make some space on my shelf. It's really epic so far.
Best of luck,
Dekkle.

Abby Vandiver wrote 564 days ago

You should certainly rewrite your pitch because it doesn not do your story justice. I think it a bad idea to copy and past a part of the book in our pitch. In yours, you didn't pick a paragraph that was interesting (although it was well used withing the story). That said, you writie very well. The first chapter was awesome. It set a mood, and visual imagerie that is what storytelling is all about. The rest of the story had an easy flow and kept the reader's attention.

Great job. Many stars.

Abby

ELAdams wrote 666 days ago

This had me from the start. The prologue is engaging, drawing the reader into the world you've created, and the intriguing storyline kept me reading up until the end of the uploaded chapters. This is extremely well written, with a good balance of description and dialogue throughout and some gripping action scenes. I could honestly find nothing to criticise in your writing; you immerse the reader in the world without any excessive backstory to hinder the action, and the scenes are very well-paced. The dialogue is convincing with the medieval setting, and the writing is fluent and polished.

This is brilliant, compulsive reading - you've created an original and vivid fantasy world that kept me entranced up until the end. I can see why this has so many backers; I'll be giving it six stars and keeping it watchlisted until I can find room on my shelf!

Emma, 'The Puppet Spell'

C.A. Simonsen wrote 679 days ago

Great stuff, David. I've got your book on my watchlist and promise to read more of it soon. Even the title is inviting. High stars. Keep up the good work.
- C.A. Simonsen

Tarzan For Real wrote 719 days ago

You had me at a witch, a monk, and a renegade. Throw in Tyrion Lannister or a re-incarnation of the dwarf's razor sharp wit and this would really kick ass. But seriously, writing is top notch, the world you created quite good, and the characters on a "Game Of Thrones" level good. I will read on and provide a more thorough review.--JL "The Devil Of Black Bayou"

Karataratakas wrote 728 days ago

So sorry it took so long to write my comment--but on the bright side I'll be backing the book once I've finished typing :).

Your style, pace and voice are excellent and the structure so far is likewise. The plot is compelling--I wish there was more, as I'm keen to learn more about the queen, and to know how Sarabeth and Nayul are going to go about destroying her, and convincing the iron wolves to do the same. Sarabeth and Nayul, incidentally, are very well written and compelling characters, and while for now the members of the wolves seem a little industinguishable, I imagine there'll be time for more character development later in the novel.

All around an excellent fantasy piece, would gladly read more of it!

Amy Smith wrote 728 days ago

This is a great premise with a gripping prologue. You have a good cast of characters and i particularly like Sarabeth. She has something about her that sets her apart and i was intrigued to find out more.
The dialogue is good and the writing polished to a high standard.
How i did find the first few lines of the prologue a little slow going and it was confusing when characters were mentioned whom the reader had not yet been introduced to. Also although Sarabeth intrigued me, it wasn't enough to persuade me to read more than a couple of chapters. For me the thing that really pulls me into a book is a gripping plot with an mc who sticks in my head and whom i want to follow throughout the plot. Although the action here is gripping and excellently described, i just didn't get that sense with Sarabeth, maybe i need to read more to gain a better sense of who she is as she seems to be a character with multiple layers that are revealed slowly.
However, it is clear why many have enjoyed this and i cannot fault your descriptions of the battle.
I sincerely wish you the best of luck with this.
Amyy :)

ILoveHorses wrote 731 days ago

Hello David,
Sometimes I rate books based on how much horse-related content there is. You have a mule in Chapter 1, and your Chapter 3 is titled Hoof and Horn and really delves into equine matters. During my next pass, I will count how many times a horse or horses are mentioned in your story and assess you accordingly based on that. The story itself is fantastic--I plan to ride it all the way to the Editor's Desk next month. Keep the faith, and thank you for giving horses the attention they demand.

Sincerely,
ILoveHorses

Joy Eastman wrote 733 days ago

David
A well written fantasy tale with vivid descriptive prose. Though not my kind of book I thoroughly enjoyed reading the first couple of chapters. The book is well deserved of many stars. Thank you for allowing us to take part in this fantasy world. You will go far with this one.
Blessings, Joy God's Gracious Gift

liberscriptus wrote 734 days ago

I read what you have posted, and I think you have a wonderfully imagined and grippingly vivid story here! It's fast-paced without leaving the audience in the dust, and you do a great job of transporting the reader into a fantastical yet believable world.

The narrative is well-written, and I didn't notice any blatant typos or grammatical errors (although I wasn't really looking for line edits) other than one minor inconsistency: I think you should capitalize "wolves" when referring to the Iron Wolves, since it's a name. Your dialogue is also somewhat stiff in some places. Although it could be because of the archaic lilt with which these medieval characters speak, I just feel as though it seems more natural in some places than others. The parts that really bugged me were the parts where you insert definitions and explanations into the dialogue (for example, when Grolaf is talking about the blood-gold). I know a lot of fantasy books use this technique, but it always seems forced and unnatural. Simply including that information in the narration - or even the characters' internal thoughts - would be better, in my opinion.

Other than that, I think you have a very well crafted story here, and you do a great job of creating suspense. I can see this finding many fans both in and out of the fantasy-loving community. Good luck with this!

Cheers,
M.
Astral Sea: The Pandora Project

Tom Bye wrote 736 days ago

Hello David-
The keeper of the sightless eye-

I was very much impressed with this book, after reading the five chapters posted.
It is an out and out fantasy adventure and in itself very original-
You have a good way of creating a picture that lingers in the mind's eye-
this book will do very well for it's intended market-

tom bye
book - from hugs to kisses-

Philthy wrote 739 days ago

Hi David,
I owe you an apology. About a month ago, you had given me some great, helpful feedback. I had intended on reading yours, but haven’t done so and realized I’d never put yours on my WL! I’m here now. So sorry it’s taken this long to get here. Below are my findings/comments. They are of course my humblest opinions, so please take them for whatever they’re worth and feel free to disregard what you don’t agree with.
Prologue
“as a dark shape” since you’ve already referenced a dark shape and it’s the same dark shape (or at least that’s how I read it), “the dark shape” would be more appropriate here.
“saw the creature on the track” might drop “on the track” here since you’ve already set the figure on the track and haven’t yet moved it.
I would make “soon he could hear Bessy screaming in the dark” a new sentence, as this is a long, almost tedious sentence for the tenseness of the situation.
If he sees the figure in the light, shouldn’t he be able to see something a little more distinct about it? After all, he already saw the creature above and (presumably) out of the light when it dropped in front of them. Why mention that he sees it in the light if you’re not going to mention something distinguishable about it, even if what is distinguishable is a small thing?
“Never before had he heard an animal scream like that.” Might it be possible to describe this through simile, as it gets a bit into telling? Granted, if it’s something “he had never heard before,” this might be tough to pull off, but a simile could be done. I might be nitpicking too much, though.
I see later that this is a holy pendant. Might call it a holy pendant here and just a pendant later for clarification.
“piercing screech” is a little redundant, as “screech” means to make a harsh, shrill cry and “piercing” and “shrill” are synonymous.
“A piercing screech” You might consider parsing out some of the longer sentences in this paragraph into shorter ones to reflect the fast-paced tension that’s occurring.
“Galmer wailed with fear” Delete “with fear” as it’s already clear that he’s wailing in fear, since you haven’t established that there is any pain (yet). It will tighten the sentence and keep it to showing vs. telling.
“Still half-kneeling” While it might be implied that he’s already half-kneeling, you haven’t exactly established that yet, only that he’s trying to get to his feet. As far as the reader knows, he could still be lying on the ground. For that reason, I’d drop “still” here.
I must admit, I have no idea what chittering means. It doesn’t show up as a recognizable word in my spell check and I can’t find it in my dictionaries. Is it British slang or something I’m not familiar with? I’ve heard of chitter, which is a verb and means to chatter, but never chittering as an adjective.
If the creature had nostrils, it had a nose. A nose is simply the part of the face that contains nostrils and the organs for smelling. It does not necessarily need to include a bridge.
A great start, David. This reminds me of the prologue in my story (so of course I’m going to love it ;)). Excellent descriptions and storytelling. Highly starred and I’ll be glad to add it to my shelf when space becomes available.
Sorry again for my delay in getting to this!
All the best,
Phil
(Deshay of the Woods)

Charlotte12 wrote 740 days ago

Hi there,
I like the prologue a lot. The writing is clean and very well done. The action sequences flow well and clearly show what is happening in the story.
Below are a few things I thought I would mention. These are only suggestions for you to think about so feel free to ignore anything you don't agree with.

'...awful, chittering growl': I am not sure about using 'awful' here, as it really doesn't tell us much about the actual sound you're writing about. I'm assuming that a 'chittering growl' is menacing and awful, so you might consider dropping it. Instead, perhaps you could describe what chittering sounds like since I actually have no idea. :) 'hideous head' is another example. You already describe the beast and it's clear it is hideous, so it just seems redundant. I might suggest dropping 'hideous' or find a better descriptive word, like 'sloping head' or 'pointed head' or something that further describes the beast.

'...twisted hybrid of a man...' I like this description a lot. It's very descriptive, producing a clear image. Though I think 'hybrid' might be a little too modern a term to use for the era.

One last suggestion: you might consider making, '...the sounds of feeding filled the night,' into its own sentence, maybe on a line of its own in order to give it more punch. I have no idea how 'correct' that is, but I thought I would mention it. It's a great line and should be better emphasized in order to end the prologue with more bite.

Anyway, those are small things. Over all, I really like this and wish I had more time to read. In the meantime, I will star and back the book.

Best regards,
Dyane
The Purple Morrow
The Eagle's Gift

Ivan Amberlake wrote 740 days ago

The Keeper of the Sightless Eye
David Southam

I read the Prologue and Chapter 1 and I can say, this is a terrific start. The prologue is nicely done; the tension is supreme. Chapter 1 proved to be a great read too. I especially love the names of your characters and place names. On the whole, very impressed.

Six-stars and best wishes to you! :)

Ivan
The Haunted
The Beholder

fayha wrote 740 days ago

This is not my usual genre but I am loving what I have read so far. In chapter 2 'The demon comes' you totally took my imagination. A total fantasy world wonderfully created. I love your use of words ( werzidires) brilliant. Highly starred on my watchlist.

Cara Gold wrote 741 days ago

{The Keeper of the Sightless Eye} – David Southam
Prologue:
Wow, what an action-packed, fast-paced opening to the story! You build the tension and atmosphere well, and the writing is smooth and polished. I like the slight infusion of background information regarding the ‘Black Witch’ – you give a taster of your fabulous imagination, without overwhelming the reader by all sorts of unnecessary details. Really felt like I was right there in the scene - great job.

A few humble suggestions hope you’ll find useful!
I’d merge two sentences to read ‘He had stayed too long at the market in Ratten Row, and berated himself for being such a fool.’ – smoother maybe?

I’d have ‘but the stories…’ as a sentence on its own and rearrange as follows: “But nonetheless, the stories put the spooks into people.” I thought shorter and snappier, and changing the word order results in more emphasis placed in ‘spooks into people’ – this is the last thought we as readers are left with!

I’d say; ‘He jumped as the sound of a branch snapping assaulted his hearing.” – more active maybe? Also I like the word assaulted, or maybe something else like ‘pierced’ to create more of an ominous mood.

I’d say ‘The mule hesitated’ to eliminate the passive voice of ‘was hesitant’ – this could also go in a new para.

I’d say ‘Then his shoulder smashed into the trunk of a sturdy oak, and a grunt of pain tore from his lips. The tree’s root caught his toes, casting him mercilessly down to the earth and leaving him sprawled upon the ground.’

All the best, look forward to reading more!
Cara
The Awakening: Dawn of Destruction

Hege Nabo wrote 742 days ago

I like it, although the pace keeps me from feeling like I know the characters. I've only read the first three chapters though, so bear that in mind =) Loved the first chapter, creepy the way I like it! The second keeps the pace up for sure, but it felt a little like I was in a role-playing game and got my assignment to do a Quest. Not a bad thing, just perhaps could be spiced up with a deeper feel for the characters.

I saw a commenter below mentioned "hells". I like it because it says there are more than the one usual and as long as that's what you intend you should keep it.

Good luck!
Hege
The Silver Bell

Diane60 wrote 742 days ago

David,
enjoyed all 5 chapters.
you have the beginnings of a wonderful adventure. The characters are intriguing and setting aptly hazy and spooky.
wish you continued success with it
:)
Diane

jlbwye wrote 743 days ago

Keeper of the Sightless Eye. My heart leapt with horror on reading your long pitch - until I re-read it, and saw that Bessy was an animal. But please see below.
I take notes as I read, but dont pretend to be an expert. I tend to notice nits - hope you dont mind?

Ch.1. Prologue. You have three sentences beginning with 'He' in that first paragraph. Do you mean fighting the reins?
'The cries of terror and agony ended quickly, to be replaced by a wet and brutal sound; the hunter was feeding.' Evokes a truly horrible feeling in my breast. But I dont think you should include this sentence in your pitch -it's too close, and the recollection distracts me - but it is only my opinion.
You dont need the 'seemed to' when the roots grasped at his feet.
That's some Prologue!

Ch.2. (Auth). Glancing down, I see an awful lot of paragraphs starting with 'The'. And there are no fewer than nine adjectives in the two short sentences where a woman accompanies the monk! Maybe even for literary fantasy, that's a tad too much!?
But your writing is vivid and colourful and despite the confusion of numerous new characters, I find myself drawn in.
I dont think you need to repeat the information about the monk.

A bit of a thumpy chapter conclusion when the fat lord fainted and they vacate the hall - would sweep out be better? I cant believe you mean to introduce a hint of humour here?

Ch.3. Your words dont have the same dramatic impact as in the Prologue, but the plot moves swiftly onwards, and although the character introductions are somewhat formalised, they stand vividly in my mind's eye.
You've changed the spelling of Greaves?Grieves? And I thought there was only one girl? But perhaps I havent read carefully enough.

I seem to have found so many nits - but they're all easily remedied, and I am enjoying your story, which gallops along in colourful fashion. Your descriptions are strong.
But the account of the battle is a bit disjointed. Would it flow better for the reader if you told it from one viewpoint, instead of the many?

Oh-ho - threatening torture, and reneging promises... can I still identify with Sarabeth...?

So many questions! I hope this helps, and thankyou for the read.

Jane (Breath of Africa)

armonia wrote 747 days ago

I like this a lot. I am reading at work which means I go back and forth from reading to work to reading to work and still doing that I could easily follow your story. Which is important to me because this is how I do most my reading. The prologue had me hooked. I will definitely continue reading.

CarolinaAl wrote 747 days ago

I read your first three chapters.

General comments: A gripping start. Sarabeth and Nayul are unique and compelling central characters. Good world building. Vivid visuals. Strong tension. Crisp pacing.

Specific comment on the first chapter:
1) 'His legs wobbled and his body shook as he stood slowly and raised his head.' Technically, 'his' refers to the creature. Is that what you intended?

Specific comments on the second chapter:
1) Hyphenate 'powerfully built.'
2) Consider reducing the number of exclamation marks by half. Overuse diminishes their effectiveness.
3) ' ... and those are the men that serve under me.' 'That' should be 'who.' Use 'who' when refering to people.
4) Servalt sighed bitterly before he replied 'You have a deal.' Comma after 'replied.' 'Before he replied' is a dialogue tag (tells who said something). When a dialogue tag precedes dialogue, the dialogue tag is punctuated with a comma.

Specific comments on the third chapter:
1) The first paragraph in this chapter is written from Sarabeth's point of view. The second paragraph is written from Raegard's point of view. The third paragraph is back to Sarabeth's point of view. For maximum reader enjoyment, it's best to stick with just one point of view per scene.
2) ' ... and took note of the girl that stood at their rear.' 'That' should be 'who.' Use 'who' when refering to people.

I hope these comments help you further polish your all important opening chapters. These are just my opinions. Use what works for you and discard the rest.

Would you please take a look at "Savannah Oak" and let me know how I might improve it?

Have a marvelous day, David.

Al

Wanttobeawriter wrote 747 days ago

THE KEEPER OF THE SIGHTLESS EYE
This is a book with an exciting (and scary) beginning. You have a great writing style for this type of story; able to describe peple and settings with enough features a reader knows how things look in this fantasy world; not so much detail you bog down your story. Makes this a good read. Highly rated and added to my shelf. Wanttobeawriter: Who Killed the President?

Greenleaf wrote 748 days ago

Hi David,

I had your book on my watchlist and somehow removed it before I had a chance to read it. Then, I saw your forum post saying that you were looking for any errors. I've read the chapters you have posted. This is really good. Great writing, interesting characters, and almost flawless. I found only one possible typo (What in the hells is a satyr?). I think hells should be hell. The only other item I thought to comment on is an inconsistency in your speech tags, meaning sometimes you place the name first, and sometimes you place the name last. Here are a few examples: asked Servalt/Dunwald answered/Sarabeth replied/said Raegard. I hope this helps.

Susan/Greenleaf (Chameleon)

Artist, Twin, Ballerina wrote 748 days ago

I adore the prologue. And by that I mean I don't adore what happens in it (as it is very scary), but I love the way it is written and how thrilling it is. It reminds me of the opening of Jurassic Park the movie, when one of the raptor capturers is pulled into the cage and killed. We get a taste of what is to come and are pulled in by a very dramatic event but an unimportant character is sacrificed early on. I can picture it all very distinctly, and I believe it would make a wonderful movie.

Chapter one plunges us right into the plot. The characters are somewhat introduced, and we can tell a little about their attitudes.

I like to take notes on specifics, like grammar/sentence structure, but I have come away from this MS with no notes!

Wonderful imagination and powerful writing!
-Cassandra Porter
LOVE, DEATH, OR THE GIFT OF HAPPINESS

Dean Lombardo wrote 751 days ago


Hi David,
I read the first two and a half chapters, counting the prologue. You are a very talented writer and storyteller. As an impatient reader, I appeciated the seamless flow of the story (starting with the grabber of an opening paragraph), the short chapters, the motley cast of mostly courageous characters, and the building tension. Six stars for now, and I will place this on my shelf at the first opportunity as that is where the books I want to read more of go.
Not a criticism but a question: In the opening scene, is the merchant Galmer so frightened that he is unable to act in any way to try to stop the slaughter of his beloved mule? I'd like to think that if my dog or any animal I'd grown close to were being slaughtered I might develop some courage to at least throw a stone or, in Galmer's case, a gourd? at the predator.
Great story, and good luck with it.

Dean Lombardo

Paul J wrote 753 days ago

Enjoyed what I read. nicely done.

Paul J

Derek O'Brien wrote 755 days ago

David,

I've just finished reading your chapters, and am quite positive about what you have here. The opening chapter with Galmer is engaging, and realistically presented, especially for a character in a magical/supernatural environment. Overall, the descriptions are just the right length, the balance between dialogue and action keeps the pace going, and making it easy for me to picture the action happening in a movie.
You are adept at providing background information on your world without overloading the reader with too much information. I also like that the dialogue is for the most part down to earth, not totally faux-Shakespearean.
I’m not normally into pure fantasy realms, but this was appealing and attention-grabbing enough for me to want to keep reading, and I like the mix of established creatures like satyrs as well as the imagined ones, and it's a nice touch to have different people calling them different things.
And your character interaction is a highlight as well, particularly between Sarabeth and Nayul, and Raegard with everyone else :-). I also want to see more of Sketch in future chapters.
All in all, very good work here, and I'm looking forward to reading where your story goes...

Tindalld666 wrote 755 days ago

This is really good. The pace and flow is excellent. I found myself having to keep reading so as to find out what was happening next.
Keep it up.
Definately six stars and on my shelf.

Ted Cross wrote 755 days ago

Chapter 2 makes me a little worried about your pacing. The writing is still easy to read and without errors. However the story begins to feel a tad rushed here, and this makes the dialogue supporting it also feel rushed and therefore not quite authentic to my ears. Over the course of two paragraphs you had what to me would have been a full chapter worth of material (as well as the cliffhanger), i.e. where the lord bellows out his disbelief only the next second to have a small horde of armed men barge in and instantly show proof that the threat is real. I'd love to see the dialogue between the council and their visitors be more realistic, drawn out and unrushed, with the intrusion of the armed man as a cliffhanger at the end perhaps. Again, this is all just one person's opinion.

Ted Cross wrote 755 days ago

Just finished chapter one. Your writing is smooth and error free so far, and the subject matter is of course one that I love, even if weres have never been my favorite type of fantasy creature. I was jolted to a halt while reading only twice, when you used the words 'werzidires' and 'coriaceous'. I had to look them up. The first must be your invention. It's not a word that flows over the tongue, and I kept wanting to see it as a bad misspelling of 'wizards'. I can see using words that your readers have never seen in lit fic, but I'd be careful about using them in genre fiction, but that's just my opinion. Moving on to the second chapter now.

RSLF wrote 756 days ago

I've read the first two chapters and enjoyed them. They were polished too, I couldn't pick up on any typos or grammar/punctuation errors. I only really had one issue with what I read. You have very good imagery, but I think sometimes you might go a little overboard with it, which is a very easy trap to fall into with fantasy (I probably do it a lot myself). Personally I quite like it because I enjoy seeing/hearing things the way the author intended, but at the same time it sort of has a negative impact on how...mature and professional the book feels to me. Anyway an example of this:

Galmer screamed like his slaughtered mule as a coriaceous canopy of wings imprisoned him and savage claws ensnared his flesh. (I have to admit I don't even know what coriaceous means! To me this sentence would be more effective if it you removed the words "coriaceous" and "savage". And maybe use a more boring word in place of "ensnared". "Ripped" for instance).

One other point: Cloven fists? Is such a thing really possible? I can't imagine it.

I would like to continue reading this book and I will be shelving it. Good luck.

S Carter

DOMUS INTER

Dan Holmes wrote 756 days ago

I love the new Cover!

katemb wrote 757 days ago

A really fast paced opener. I love the werzidires and think your pitch is strong, especially the Prepare yourself for War line.

Got to pick you up on having coriaceous and voracious in the same paragraph at the end though. I can't decide if it's too much or just wonderfully OTT.

Sure this one will go far,
Best,
Kate

Kayla H wrote 757 days ago

Here is my half of our read-swap.
All of what I read was very well written and edited. The dialogue sounds natural. The descriptions aren’t overdone. Very nice.
The Prologue:
Very suspenseful start. You do a very good job of building the tension.
I do have a question about one word choice “an awful, chittering growl.” The word “chittering” doesn’t sound very frightening—it kind of reminds me of the sound a raccoon would make. Not the sound of some huge, terrifying creature. Just a thought.
Chapter one:
I love the idea of the warrior monks and the Iron Wolves.
I was also quite intrigued by Sarabeth’s choice of payment: a book and time in the library—wonderful.
You have all of these awesome place and character names and then…Sarabeth. It might be just me, but that name struck me as not fitting in with the rest. Maybe there’s a reason for that?
You’ve definitely got me wanting to read more.

giggy wrote 757 days ago

David-Fantasy and demons etc isn't usually high on my read list, but this is adicting! Its fast paced and holds ones interest with very vivid descriptions. I gave it a 6 star and its on my watchlist. You have an extraordinary imagination.

giggy

Marc Jones wrote 758 days ago

One of the best prologues I have read on authonomy. It builds the right level of suspense, and then the action kicks in when the black creature strikes. You manage to grab the attention of the reader with so few words, and we all know how difficult this can be to achieve, so well done for pulling this off.

This isn't my genre, but I found it surprisingly enjoyable, so it has earned another backing.

The best of luck with your future efforts, and I hope to see you on the desk soon.

Marc

Christine May wrote 759 days ago

How I hoped that Galmer would be spared, you get right to the point, all action well described. I feel the fear and see the scene.
Look forward to the next chapter.
Christine
"Five short stories with a twist"

M. E. Harrow wrote 759 days ago

David. You have created a world as good as Krynn with as much action and suspense as any great fantasy. What I really enjoyed was your names. I don't know how you do it, but names like weridires, Grolaf and Gernaf are genius as well as your use of words such as Gore that leave no doubt in the mind what that creature is. This talent was perfected by JK Rowling and really adds an extra dimesion to your world.
Well done and highly rated for ease of reading and good pacing, without bogging down on useful but uninteresting details.

flnaturelover wrote 760 days ago

As for the first chapter...YUCK! You pushed my yuck button big time....exactly what you wanted to accomplish. I don't read about werewolves, etc...I'm reading this because you contacted me but I'm glad for it. Your writing flows and the pace is perfect. I can appreciate the difficulty of writing a piece like this, which you would have to know inside out with a lot of preliminary work I assume. You handle it wonderfully, smoothly and professionally to say the least. I hope you make it to the editor's desk; I will be happy to help you get there. Backed. C.S.Poulsen

luvfiction wrote 760 days ago

David,

Though I don't read the likes of this, you hooked me right on. This should be in book stores. Great writing, excitement, and description. I will back you. I will appreciate a look at A Scorched Family.

Norma Davis

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