Okies, time for another game! Anyone who hasn't read Three Hundred Thousand Tears yet, I definitely recommend checking it out. Here's the link to the last thread
So, @mizal @castorgreatpoetguy @ninjapitka @TurnipBandit @Bill_Ingersoll @Cricket @Serpent @ghost11
It's ninja's turn to choose a game for us all to read. As always, how long we all have to read it depends on the length of the game, but if anybody doesn't manage to read and review the game before the next book club starts, they can always go back and review it later. The topics are always open.
Also, if anybody else wants to join, just let me know and I'll add your name to the list of people I tag at the beginning of every thread. ^_^
Awesome! Another 6/8, so I guss I'll give a week or so for this story too. Great suggestion. Looks very promising. ^_^
Now that MHD and I have officially submitted our stories in the best-of-2019 contest, my sense of fair play tells me I shouldn't add any further comments on Edithe Zilonis.
But I will say: good choice, as far the book club choice.
Sounds a bit like Cormac McCarthy without the clout.
After reading and reviewing a lot of the stories on the site, I’ve gotten to the point where I can tell by the first page the rating number I’m most likely going to end up on. Obviously the number changes depending on the actual story, but you can get a deep feel for the storygame’s quality by the opening page. I was blown away after reading the first page of this story. It’s intriguing, engaging, and visually appealing. Just by reading the first page, I knew this game was going to be a 6 or higher.
It’s hard not to comment on the beautiful images, so I’ll make this brief. They’re wonderful and invite a greater experience to the story. The style of the artwork is perfectly fitting to the story’s tone and characters. Simply put, they’re bitchin’.
To the actual writing itself. First person stories are always a nice surprise on the site. Second person POV can get mundane at times and can easily trap the author into starting every sentence with the same ol’ “you do this, you feel that”. The style and POV fits the story well, although I did take issue with some of the sentence structure. I’m not sure if MHD was going for a poetic flow, but there’s a ton of commas where they shouldn’t be. They appear so frequently that I came to the assumption it was done on purpose. Here’s an example: “It was unfortunate for everyone, because I just cleaned up a corpse and would not be getting paid, I assumed.” The dialogue punctuation is near perfect and that makes me think the extra commas were, in fact, purposely placed.
The tone of the story is very unique. I think I mentioned this in the Forums, but it slightly reminds me of Neil Gaiman. It’s creepy and yet light-hearted. We’re reading about dead people and romanticizing about them. Stuff that should be chilling, but the writing and images play to a fun story. It’s almost contradictory to explain, but a pleasant delight to read.
In my first paragraph, I mentioned knowing a story’s rating by the first page. I thought this would be a 6 or higher and I ended up giving it an 8. Obviously the lack of branching and meaningful choices hurts it a bit, but I enjoyed every other quality Edithe Zilonis provided.
I'd like to join to force myself to read and review more stories. I've already Edithe Zilonis extensively and I can say without doubt that it was very good. MHD has a very bubbly touch in her writing that I thoroughly enjoyed, in addition to the obviously well-thought-out story. Anyway, here is the review I wrote when I read it.
This is a fantastic spin on the traditional murder mystery with magical and mystical elements woven into the narration in a manner so splendid that I never thought to question them at any point in the story. Because of the way the narration is presented, the protagonist speaking with the dead felt frighteningly natural; I never felt the need to have this strange ability explained to me. Which brings me to my next point, exposition. When dealing with fantastical abilities and events, over-explaining them often makes them lose a certain mysterious charm which in turn causes them to be tedious and boring. This is not the case here. Just enough information about the mystical and occult elements in the story is given to make me wonder and theorize about them thus making them interesting to me, and yet they are not laid bare in front of me so that I might lose interest on account of the mystery being explained to me as if I were a preschooler.
The characters I found to be endearing and quite likeable, particularly the undertaker. The dedication and love he showed for his work, as well as the involvement and receptiveness he continually shows to his charges are quite enjoyable as a reader. Edithe comes out as a strong and determined young woman with a golden heart and a gentle soul, which is always good and welcome. The undertaker’s sister’s brief appearances are also worthy of note, and I personally quite liked the vengeful spirit/regretful estranged sibling character that she represents.
This may not be a traditional CYOA, and as far as I could tell it has only two endings (though I may be wrong), with the various decisions you make along the way mainly dictating what information you received and how. This may sound like a complaint, but it most certainly isn’t. This kind of narration perhaps benefits much more out of having a more or less structured path. The author was clearly trying to tell a specific, concise tale and adding multiple paths and endings in an effort to make it more in line with the norm here would have likely caused the story and its intricacies to suffer as a result.
I did feel that the story ended rather abruptly, with the realization about the murderer’s state of being, the confrontation with him and the actual ending all happening in quick succession. Personally, I would have liked to learn more about the murderer and his motives. Was he Edithe’s father? Why did he kill Edithe and the sister?
In any event, this is a very good story with excellent illustrations that really do a wonderful job of setting the tone for the entire story and conveying both the physical appearance and personality of the characters they describe. All in all, this is a fun and interesting story that everyone should take the time to read from start to finish. Several times, if possible.
Thank you all for taking the time to read/review Edithe Zilonis. I appreciate the lovely reviews and reactions good or absolutely revolted! I poured a lot of my heart into the writing and illustrations, and I was so delighted when the story was featured.
Here are a couple doodles of what the Undertaker might look like, depending on whether you imagined him/her as more masculine or feminine!
I noticed the lack of pronouns too, but I just imagined the undertaker was a dude anyway since statistically there are more male necrophiliacs than female ones.
Glad to see we're still all adhering to the CYStian tradition of assuming gender around here.
(Apologies for cutting this review so close. I've been a bit under the weather recently.)
So, I really did like this story. I had a few complaints about it but it was definitely a great read.
So my complaints basically amount to a few grammatical issues, something of a lack of meaningful choices, and the murder mystery aspect of it seemed a bit weak. But I wrote all of those complaints out in my review, so rehashing them here seems a bit unnecessary. However, if anyone would like me to go into more detail on it in this thread feel free to ask me.
So onto the positives. I absolutely adored Edithe. She was funny, stubborn, and had enough emotional range to feel like a real character. She also was a great contrast to the Undertaker, and I felt like the two of them made a great pair. I liked how even when she was ready to move on and accept her death, it was the Undertaker that was driven to find her murderer. It showed that despite his/her stoic demeanor he/she really did care a lot both about Edithe and about the people of Blackwood, despite the low opinion others hold of him. The Undertaker was also very well written. They were a fairly stoic individual, but they also clearly cared deeply for Edithe and all the deceased that come into their shop. I really enjoyed seeing their thought process and the deep feelings that they felt for the dead. And I mean that in a non creepy way.
(Also, I kept reading Edithe Zilonis' name as "Edi the Zilonis" and kept picturing her as an alien. I just thought that was a bit funny.)
There were some moments in the story that really made me think. Especially the talks about death and fate. It was all very interesting to read. I really liked the idea of the dead having to accept their fate before they could move on. I found it a bit interesting that people were given the option to basically choose whether they wanted to go back to Earth and haunt the world as a ghost, or go to Heaven. I'm still a bit unsure of what happens if the "Judges" decide you are supposed to go to Hell. Do you still get to choose to be a ghost or are you just sent to Hell? In the end I suppose it doesn't matter much but I found these questions and plot points to be very intriguing.
I also really liked the illustrations. I feel like it's hard to write a review of this story without mentioning that. I didn't feel they were really necessary seeing as how you explained the appearances of the characters very well, but they did add to my enjoyment of the story. I looked forward to turning the page and seeing what you were going to show next. They were all very well done and I could tell you worked hard on them so great work on that.
Overall I felt this was a very good story. I do think that this story might not be for everyone, but it doesn't have to be. You created a unique piece of work that was very enjoyable both to read and admire. I really hope to see more from you MadHattersDaughter, both in the form of artwork and stories. You really do have a lot of talent.