Dan E. fatigue? Perish the thought!<br><br>Actually, I liked this one best of the four I've seen. <br><br>From the first paragraph, I was drawn to it--to its simple, honest start. A boy rekindling a fire. I could easily relate to that. That he was a boy traveling among a group of men on horseback meant to me that this was a unique fellow, who would be apart from the rest, who would need some manner of special care. It also implied a loneliness that I think bore out well in the course of the rest of the story.<br><br>Raven is a likeable character. I sympathized with the humanity of his situation--chosen for a destiny he did not understand, that he did not want, and that might very well kill him. <br><br>Orlèan was less so, more enigmatic. I couldn't fully put a finger on him, or his motivations. Thematically, I supposed he played an Obiwan protecting a different sort of boy wonder until they could reach this world's equivalent of Star Wars' Corusant. However, I couldn't help but wonder if his motivations were somewhat less pure. <br><br>As far as the troops guarding them, they could have been interchangeable clones, since they all seemed to have the same attitudes and speech patterns. Similar things could be said for the two Mandaroy they meet; if one weren't a woman, I'd have thought they were clones, too.<br><br>The villain's characterization was not so well done, as we never get to see his motivations, but his menace to their situation was clear enough. He was bad, he was from... beyond (Beneath? Below? Beside? One of those prepositions, anyway.), and he was doing them harm. <br><br>The plot of this one, really, was simple enough: Try to get Raven through the Gloaming. In so doing, he learns a better understanding of the world, and with that knowledge, they survive and his character will be that much stronger for the next time. To that end, I thought things were going swimmingly. They had problems, but they were relating to it on very human levels--until they met with the Mandaroy. <br><br>At that point I felt the story stumbled. All of the narrative energy that was built to that point was lost by the lengthy infodump political discussion. The events mentioned in that passage had little or no bearing on the situation at hand. It put the whole of the story on hold, stopping the action. Plus, it threw a bunch of names at me that I can't remember anyway, which annoys me, rather than drawing me in. Moreover, once the action recommenced, I was still distanced from the plot, rather than feeling like a part of the story. I felt myself not caring whether the demon thingy would get them or not (except maybe for Raven--I still wanted him to come out ok).<br><br>I thought the creation of a new mountain was impressive. That was not the kind of result I was expecting, and kudos for that. I like to be surprised. Furthermore, Raven did it by making a conscious choice based on new-found knowledge developed from actions in the story. That's aces in my book. However, I really didn't see how sticking a mountain in the way stopped the bad guy/thing. Wouldn't it have just rode around the new mountain and came at them again?<br><br>You have a gift for vocabulary, Dan. I don't know where in the mother's red [bleep] it came from, but I'm glad you have it. :) Also, I loved the boy mumbling with the swollen jaw. Excellent! If you can just get all your characters sounding unique, you'll really be on to something.<br><br>This was a pretty good story. Raven was a great character, and I'd like to see more of him.<br><br>How long will it be before we can see all these plot streams start to come together?<br><br>Nate
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