I’ve linked to my listing on the WebFiction Guide before, but now there’s something new. Someone has reviewed “Court of the Abominatrix”!
Is it considered bad form to review a review? Not that it matters either way; I get so little attention these days that any mention of me at all is pretty much an invitation. That’s what they say about the devil, right? Anyway…
He briefly mentions the site as a whole, then tosses a few sentences at Magekiller before diving into CotA. Oddly enough, no mention is made of the work that comprises the bulk of the library (the December stuff and Crusade, of course!), which is what makes me want to address some of his later comments.
Essentially he says that the stories are plot driven with good pacing, but don’t have deep characterization. If you want character-driven stuff, then look elsewhere. Well now… people who are just now discovering my writing are probably just nodding their heads in agreement. Hell, even I’m nodding my head in agreement, because he’s right… IF you’re only reading CotA and Magekiller. But the very long-term fans are probably saying “What the F^CK is this guy smoking!?” Characterization is sort of what I’m known for. Well, that and profanity. And claws and tentacles. And guns.
I’m not going to disagree, though. The characterization in CotA is a bit on the sparse side, and that is only partially intentional. CotA is an experimental format and, despite the length of time it has been going on, it is very much a short story. My short stories tend to be light on characterization compared to the novels I’ve got stashed away. And the extra-short chapters forced a trade-off between getting to the action sooner or giving the characters more depth. I chose action, and I stand by that.
As for Magekiller, I don’t know which stories he read, so I can only speak for the collection as a whole (such as it is). Sheridyn was intentionally presented in the early stories (The intro and Treeline) as a one-dimensional badass reminiscent of the Punisher. My intention was to add depth with subsequent stories (like Town Without Pity) until finally I launched into a longer-form story arc (of which The Tower was the beginning). So yeah, based on a partial reading of a series that barely got started, the characterization is under-done. But there’s plenty of claws and tentacles and that’s almost as good, right?
He made a few other points about CotA that weren’t criticisms, but since I’m having fun reviewing his review I figure I’ll just keep on going. He makes a slight implication concerning the lack of female characters and the nature of the ones that do make an appearance. Rest assured, ladies and gentlemen, that Dark Icon is not a misogynist. I am a misanthropist; there’s a difference. The unusually dark view of females in this story arises from the nature of the setting and the antagonist… neither of which has been explained yet. The monsters are female for a very important reason. Hopefully someone has guessed what it is by now, but if not, all will be explained very soon.
And I, too, thought there were way too many characters in the story. I also agree that things started getting less confusing once the killing started. The characters are all distinct, but some of them don’t seem to belong. That’s the nature of plot-driven stories like this one. There is an ending, and there are characters that must be alive to reach it. But there must also be killing. So, by necessity, there must be characters who, from the beginning, are fated to die horribly merely for your (and my!) entertainment. Normally I do a much better job of fitting these red-shirts into the story, but as I said before, this is a rather odd format and it takes a bit of adjustment. So I’ll admit and agree that characterization took a big hit with the short chapters. I’ll also add that there is ONE character that is “odd” and doesn’t seem to belong very much on purpose. ;)
At this point, I think my review of the review is longer than the original review. So I’ll quit and let you add your own comments. And hey, maybe you can go add a CotA review of your own (assuming the site allows it; I haven’t actually checked.)