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4/13/2020 c37 OneTruthCup
Oh, for goodness sake! AGAIN?!

Ugh, continued from before, H.P.’s business endeavors were, for the most part, probably the lightest content in here. From pixie cakes to Santa, it was all pretty fun, especially given the dialogue and H.P. showing off his secret fanboy nature to . Just adorable. Plus, the iconic shades came into practice! (I think?) And I bet you’ve been waiting to use that “Test markets are for sissies,” line, for ages, huh?

Oh, and I’ll add here that the scene with Praxis was entertaining in its own way too. Again, the dialogue when Fergus and Ambrosine are in the same room is just so engaging. Praxis is fun because he’s a real nasty piece of work. I’ll admit, I was a little disappointed at first that they were taking money from him, when Fergus already took a stand on that issue chapters ago, but then I realized that, if I’m reading this autobiography and he’s mentioned as such, Praxis got the honest characterization he deserved.

Moving onto another topic, how things with Iris progressed is, again, bittersweet to me. On the one hand, I like that they genuinely came together at certain points, and that Fergus apologized for some of his behavior. For a moment, it felt like they really bonded and came to a level of understanding. But, of course, it didn’t stay that way. I can’t really blame Iris for her reaction, in some ways it’s arguably a good thing that things moved to a professional distance, and yet at the same time I still can’t help but feel for Fergus. Not so much because he “didn’t get the girl,” (because Iris isn’t a prize, and I’m not entirely convinced he loved her like that anyway) but more because his behavior, which in itself is indicative of an unhealthy mindset, puts him in an even worse place.

Speaking of, if there’s anything that can make me sympathize with a character, it’s watching them have a SERIOUSLY tough time. As if raising so many kids isn’t enough, he’s got troubles with almost all of relationships, he loses his dream job, his next child is stillborn BECAUSE of that dream job, and from there it just goes on and on, feeding into itself. It’s a heart breaking scenario, even more so because in all the ways that Fergus tries to “fill the void” he just makes everything worse for himself, building off of his own insecurities and deep seated issues.

Of course, some of the most notable issues showcased and exemplified here is Fergus's relationship with sex and illicit substances. Paper wasp genetics are all well and good until you have nothing holding you back from flagrant substance abuse, and then it’s just debilitating. Similarly, sex is perfectly healthy and natural until it turns into an addiction, and that’s what Fergus gets stuck in this chapter.

For me, it’s interesting to see you tackle this subject matter in particular. Aside from some ACTUAL autobiographies and stories about real life and heavy subject matter, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a take on these specific issues (for male OR female characters) outside of other fanfiction, and especially not for a fictional story about a magical character. And, even though Fergus is kind of playing “the girl role” here, I also appreciate that you allow a male character to be weak and vulnerable in different ways, that he can be upset about his relationships, that you explore how he experiences sexual attraction, even if it’s on the “less excited” end of the spectrum, and that him being a guy doesn’t mean he’s any less affected by the very real problems in his life. Furthermore, I like that, excluding some vagueness for the sake of discretion a few times, you don’t shy away from how ugly and dark this period in Fergus’s life is. There are times here that feel genuinely BLEAK, man. There are ups and downs, of course, but it’s not until the end that I start feeling some actual hope.

Gosh, I think the saddest part might have been H.P.’s reaction to having a stillborn. His words to Sanderson and the way he just... put the baby stuff away, quietly. The way he stared at Emery, not even a word between them, like it’s too much to say. It’s what’s left unsaid that gets to me.

Getting back to the ending though, I don’t think there’s a better way to bring things to a close than how you did here. It feels like ushering in a new era. Fergus finds strength and support from his pixies, finds a reason to BE strong for his pixies, and likewise they make a deal to strive forward with him, as much as children can promise to face an uncertain future with good intentions. In a way, I’m also proud of H.P. for sitting down with his pixies and explaining himself a bit, talking through his issues and discussing where he wants to go from that point, together as a team. Things aren’t *magically* all better, it’s still honesty a lot of work just to face the day and keep going, but Fergus is TRYING now, and by gosh if that doesn’t make me emotional.

So, overall, I really like this ending and the topics it goes over. It’s a lot to include in one chapter, but I think you did a reasonably good job of showing us the important bits, and keeping things interesting. In some cases, you gave me some closure too. Nothing is quite “finished,” but nothing too major is left on cliff hanger either.

When it comes to constructive criticism though, I do have two suggestions.

The first is smaller, but a habit that I’ve noticed you fall into a lot. Namely, you tend to write very long, very wordy, very important dialogue, typically packed together and unbroken by so much as an eye role. Now, the dialogue and situations themselves aren’t an issue; as a matter of fact, in all the recent examples where you did this, I still greatly enjoyed the conversation itself and the setting that accompanied it. However, it’s something you’ll probably want to look out for in future writing because that one lump of dialogue, almost a monologue really, can be very jarring to read, and sometimes takes away from the moment. As a reader, I have to assume that the character (most often Fergus) is either standing stock still with no change in expression or body language while effectively giving a speech, or I have to put my imagination into overdrive to picture, myself, what he’s probably doing at the same time.

Now, I know that you’re still actively trying to find a balance between mentioning body language and stuffing it down your readers’ throats (body language and subtle cues are your jam, after all) but I’d say that if any moment needs more body language to break up dialogue, it’d be the times I’m specially mentioning. If not to make it easier on the reader, than to make it twice as more enjoyable.

Case in point, in the scene where Fergus asks Emery to watch the pixies for the weekend and gives her instructions beforehand, the scene was still funny and interesting to me because I had an idea of what you were going for.

( Actually, it’s still one of my favorite moments this chapter, because I’m a sucker for that brand of humor.)

I get that You wanted to show Fergus busy, frazzled, anxious, and utterly entrenched in being a “boss” to his pixies. For the most part, I’d say all of that is more or less apparent. HOWEVER, H.P.’s style of speech felt clunky because it wasn’t broken up by anything else. I had to purposely slow things down in my head, and supplement my own “breaks” to get the result that I think you were going for. I didn’t even know where they were while having this conversation, or whether Fergus had any visible signs of being stressed. The moment needs a little space to breathe.

For example, perhaps Fergus greets Emery at the door, she gives her sarcastic comment, and then follows Fergus down the hall, watching him pick up paper and toys along the way, while telling her about the older pixies. Finally, he leads her to a messy kitchen, hastily dumps the toys on a counter, and begins cleaning up while giving more instructions to Emery, who’s surprised by the mess. With almost each instruction, there’s a short action to emphasize it, and break up the talking. When Fergus mentions singing hymns at bedtime, he hands her a huge, heavy book containing hymns. When he mentions Madigan chasing birds, maybe he sets out a first aid kit, or removes a pair of binoculars around his neck to place them around her’s. To emphasize Thane hiding things under the sink, he open the cupboard beneath the sink, allowing various items to spill onto the floor. Fergus begins cleaning them up, only to stop partway so he can flit over to the fridge to show her the meals. Finally, he closes the fridge and, as if expecting the result anyway, warns her about the “look over there trick!” He pushes his hair back, rubs at his eyes, or maybe scratches at the patchy stubble on his face that he didn’t have time to fully shave off, before leaving in a hurry.

There are a lot of actions, I’m saying, that you can use to emphasize and/or slow down one-sided dialogue to a more natural place. Even if a character really is doing nothing but standing around, you can still mention them sighing, swallowing, cracking a smile, looking away, etc. Things that I think you’d ordinarily be good at imagining.

As for my second suggestion, this one is bigger and more focused on what and how you’re choosing to show your reader. Now, I’ll preface this by acknowledging that, of course, in a story already so long, in an autobiography format where each chapter has to cover hundreds or thousands of years, I expect you to summarize some events and walk us through others. You have a life to live, after all. Can’t be chaining yourself to your notepad or computer all day.

That said, there were a few specific scenes here that had A LOT of buildup, for multiple chapters even, but were only glossed over in summary, or the story thread ended abruptly in a very unfinished sort of way. A few previous chapters might have little hints of this too, where a moment with buildup had little payoff for character development or the like, but this chapter in particular seemed to end (or introduce?) story arcs that were so, well, oddly structured. I just had to say something. To cut to the point, Rupert and Mary Black are the biggest examples I can think of now, when it comes to characters not really... finishing? Serving their purpose? in as much as I can tell without knowing if they’ll be back.

Regardless, my suggestion is that when you, say, build up the importance of a character’s influence over Fergus, you need to SHOW us some moments with them together rather than summarize, or at least give us, your readers, an idea of where their relationship will go from here, and why they’ve been built up so much.

With Rupert, he was talked up a lot, and then you open the chapter with the two making a deal. I expected that to go somewhere. Maybe Fergus learns a lesson, maybe he doesn’t, maybe he learns how to treat Keef, maybe he doesn’t, or maybe Rupert was always supposed to showcase traits that Fergus needs to keep in line if he wants to raise his pixies properly. But because you didn’t give them a goodbye scene together, a deeper conversation, or some other type of interaction, I really don’t have much to go on for why Rupert was here at all. I don’t have closure. I don’t know what Fergus took from this experience. There was no climax to the arc, and no ending. I love Rupert, and I love how you tied him into the story with his condition and his alluring, prima-donna personality, but I’d love it even more if he fulfilled a clear purpose once Fergus actually has him. I’m not even sure if this means Fergus “lost,” or if Rupert is coming back at some point. There are a lot of great elements here, but I’d suggest you watch out for things like this in your more “serious” original writing.

With Mary Black on the other hand, I’d say there’s a slightly different issue. I think I understand what sort of message you were trying to send. Whether she shows up again or not, Fergus should have never put her on a pedestal, gotten so caught up in the past, or imagined that marrying her would have magically made all his problems go away. She was never anything more than a regular person, and she played the part of a reality check. I get that, I understand it, and I can empathize with Fergus and feel how much of a blow that was. It’s still a sobering moment. However, I think you could have made it more emotionally gripping if you’d shown us the interaction fully. I’m not saying give us a graphic sex scene. Heck, you can skip over it entirely! But at least allow us to see the pillow talk. Let us get to know her, show us what Fergus saw, and let us see where it all went wrong. (As it is, I’m still confused by what exactly she took offense to, or how Fergus could have delivered any news so badly. It’d be telling, too, if I could see just how much he’s slipping that he’d screw up with a person he up until then considered so special.) As it is, for a character who was mentioned again and again, her actual appearance felt a little underwhelming. Not bad, and still something for me to remember and find interesting, but underwhelming all the same, in comparison to how she was built up.

What I’m saying is, try to be more conscious of the story threads you introduce. Even if you introduce something on the fly, if you’ve ended it properly for your readers, and try to make it clear where things are left between characters. I’m not privy to the true end, but I thought I’d mention this just in case. This is mostly a passion project I know, not something you’d try to fit into “publish-able standards,” but I thought I’d mention it so you can keep it in mind for other projects. As someone who is far from a writing guru, this is me trying to be helpful and supportive.

Anyway, I hope this finds you in good health and a happy mood, and just know that I’m excited to see more writing from you in the future. Expect some comments from me about your side blog too. It looks like a lot of great content.

Take care of yourself!
4/13/2020 c37 OneTruthCup
Well, it’s confirmed. I am a glutton for pain.

So, I’ve got a lot of thoughts on this chapter, hence the fact that I’m reviewing it before finishing the last one and Deep. Emotionally speaking, some things just take priority, ya know?

Looking at this chapter as a whole, I can see why present-day H.P. decided NOT to basically relive one of the toughest periods of his life. As far as making me tear up or deeply feel for the characters, I’d still say that the prompts “Grooming and “Shadow” hit me the hardest, but this chapter didn’t leave me a stone cold statue either. There are a lot of deeply sad moments, with some cute humor sprinkled in, and an ending that feels very hopeful to me. A nice way to cap off the arc.

Obviously, this chapter opens with Rupert, and I do have some things to say about him and how he was included in this chapter, but first and foremost I’d like to tackle Springs, and the following questions about Fergus’s trading card. One thing I can say about this chapter, there were definitely a few moments where I could see Fergus [or his editor?] holding back or “toning down” his concern towards his pixies. He doesn’t do much more than pat Springs on the head, but somehow I still got the sense that H.P. was deeply concerned about his pixie’s wellbeing. Maybe it was something in the way he simply asked after his condition, or how he reacted in the last chapter during the fight where Springs was injured. Either way, I thought it was touching, and a nice transition from the hospital to Fergus investigating his card. More and more, I’m liking the interactions between him and Ambrosine. With so much mutual history to draw from, and the way you’ve designed their unique speech patterns, it’s a small wonder why.

I will mention though, that the transition from Fergus talking to Rupert in the bathroom, and then to the hospital, was a little unclear. I had to reread it a few times before I could say, “Oh. He’s in a different place now.” It could just be me, but maybe next time mention that Fergus pinged or took the tram there. Or maybe just say, “When I got to the hospital and found Springs room...”

After that, of course, you pick up the story thread with the High Count. I can’t help but think that we’re still getting the full story with him, but either way I might’ve felt as betrayed as Fergus this chapter. I mean, no relationship is perfect, and they both come from different culture and possess different expectations for the other, but it was still a tough blow. I’ve kind of been expecting it this whole time, and now I’m EXTRA suspicious of how Fergus has only been referring to Sanders as his actual brother since meeting AB (as opposed to an fake excuse or scapegoat like before), but still. A tough blow.

Them making amends to some extent leaves me with some mixed feelings. On one hand, H.P. could use some friends, and AB has expressed personal concern and stuck by Fergus even through his destructive behavior (for more than just political reasons, I think?), but I still wonder just how much the friendship is worth, and whether it will be healthyfor either of them on the long run. So far so good, I guess...?

Related to that, somewhat,
3/16/2020 c36 OneTruthCup
Ah, a nice new chapter to boost my spirits. As with many parts of this story so far, this chapter seemed to focus a lot on new versus old, and balancing relationships.

Ancient fairy traditions clash with Anti-fairy nature and sensibilities, while upsetting younger generations of fairies. The High Count (who I’m trusting less and less which each progressing chapter) is a curious example of the former; his assertions about chimeras and his inability to join the dance makes me wonder about the true nature of Samhain. Meanwhile, Iris is an example of the latter. As the High Count mentions, she’s a sheltered fairy from a younger generation, and as such her views on old world violence and ceremonies are more condemning than supportive and understanding. Overall, they were both fun characters to see included here. (Also, maybe it’s a measure of the contrarian in me, but they’re not alone in thinking the whole tradition is off somehow. Everything just seems too organized and perfect. I was on edge 90% of the way through)

By contrasting their experiences and views with H.P., I think you gave us a good example of how Fergus is in an age not his own anymore. Things are moving on, and fairies are eager to forgo their instinctual customs for “civilized behavior.”
Fergus is eager to embrace useful advances in technology, and unusual company practices so long as they’re efficient, but at the same time H.P. is still rather attached to old fairy customs and what he considers proper Gyne/drone behavior. H.P. is the type of guy who’s best convinced by evidence, even more so if that evidenced is presented in real life.

Relatedly, I don’t think I’ve talked much about the relationship between H.P. and Iris, which is fair amount of funny, charmingly awkward, and sad. It’s increasingly funny the way Emery poorly attempts to set them up, emphasizing that although they have some common ground, they’re not necessarily right for each other.
Their clumsy socializing is endearing, both two awkward ducks coming at each other from different angles with different hang ups. They’re not my favorite pair here, either as friends or lovers, but their interactions ate still rather cute and entertaining. H.P.’s blunt, tactless speech is funny when contrasted against Iris’s usual soft, careful mannerisms.

That said, whatever their relationship eventually turns into, they’ve got some hurdles to get over. For one thing, Fergus is too immature in his behavior, and too busy recovering from his divorce with China. Past hurt is still being healed over, hence the way I think he’s leaning on AB for so much support. Fergus has good qualities as a partner, if you get that far, but when it comes to romance and long term bonds, if he doesn’t get stuck on insecurities and imagined expectations, he gets stuck on the others’ superficial qualities. He has a habit of objectifying Iris too, using her as a bargaining chip or as a plus-one as convenient. They’re both productive and hardworking, but their values don’t mesh all the way, and additionally I think Fergus has some more apologizing to do. His previous make up attempt felt half hearted and lacking in actual remorse, and while I think he has some professional respect for Iris, he also doesn’t give her feelings much thought or priority. He’d also made it clear that he’s not looking for a new romantic partner, and he’s very much invested in his own drama right now. Not a great time for sparks to fly, is what I’m saying.

On another note, although I like almost all the titles you give for each chapter, Senseless is a name so fitting that I felt I had to mention it; it’s obviously an allusion to Rupert and Keef, but also it reminds me of how certain characters consider a few things here senseless in another way. Iris sees the Samhain death as senseless and cruel, H.P. sees AB’ view of damsels as senseless and unsavory, and Rupert’s presence has a habit of making H.P. behave senselessly too.

*sighs* okay, with that said, I’ll have to continue this another time. I really wanted to review this all in one go, but that won’t be possible I’m afraid. Keep an eye out for the rest in a guest review!
1/29/2020 c35 OneTruthCup
So, I’m still going to review Frayed Knots, but I just read this and. Gah! This feels urgent. I never knew sweaty, shirtless insect people could be so compelling, but, well. Here I am, compelled by their overly macho, try-hard antics. Among other things...

First things first, hooray for more Fairy Con! I love the way they explore the area, how H.P. is on the prowl for business opportunities, and especially the way that Ambrosine is lagging behind Fergus in the beginning, the minimal interactions between the two noticeably strained. I can tell the latter is shaken up, probably mulling over what happened last chapter, although I get the impression from Fergus that he’s uncomfortable too. He tries to strike up conversation, throws some barbs to little reaction, and definitely expects resistance from Ambrosine at just about every decision. More on that later.

Overall, this chapter feels very... character driven, to me. I mean, the whole story is, really, but this chapter in particular is focused on the actions and dynamics between different characters. If it’s not about H.P. and other gynes, the world at large, or Iris, then it’s about him and his dad, him and his pixies (individually!), him and Rice, or even to a small extent him and AB. A lot of interpersonal coverage, all of it building up to different things.

Truly, It’s hard for me to narrow down what I liked most this chapter. Perhaps the most surprising event though, was the four way gyne spar. The setup, for me, was suspenseful and humorous. The gyne meetup was interesting, and I was honestly fearful when H.P. agreed to the spar, and then started making all those wagers. I was NOT expecting him to grapple well, mainly because he mentioned being a very subordinate gyne in school, and because the only important fights I’ve seen him in he’s lost. The spar and partial win, in this case, was all the more thrilling to witness. And! For not writing a lot of action scenes, this one was surprisingly well done. It was very easy for me to picture what was happening, and it didn’t feel like an unrealistic way for them to fight.

The whole scene at fairy con actually, was pretty engaging. The conversation just before they fought did feel somewhat strange, I’ll admit, in that they were having a lengthy talk at seemingly the oddest time in an oddly calm way. Maybe if you broke it up more with a mention of someone, say, stretching, or looking at the crowd? It just feels oddly sedate and separated from the context. Not just in the sense that they’re all hotshot gynes, but perhaps more so in that’s its mostly pure dialogue with no mention of anything else going on. Maybe if they’re huddled up or something, specifically mentioned of be tuning everyone else out while the bargain, that might feel more natural. Sorry if I’m being ineloquent, it’s just a notion I had while reading it.

Regardless, I was still smiling to myself over some clever dialogue or a cute moment, and the next I was internally wailing over Fergus’s gyne-like decision making. His choices I mentioned above, but to expand on my statement more...

the pixies especially were cute and funny in their support of Fergus and their energetic behavior, with Longwood and Sanderson standing out the most. Longwood, this chapter and prior ones, has felt like a complete 180 from his adult counterpart, and that’s no more apparent than in how he viewed the spar here, and how he admires the qualities of tough, dominant gynes. His nature to explore interesting things on his own, headstrong and kind of foolish, was very obvious, if also adorable. I greatly enjoyed seeing him naively rush into things, and show care for his boss, while I was also worried for his safety.
Speaking of, is Fergus able to touch and be around Longwood more now? In earlier chapters he could barely be in the same room, let alone touch him, so the head scratches and mentoring stood out to me. Is it the open space? A better mindset? All of the above?

As for Sanderson, he just about broke my heart this chapter. It was a short scene, the lack of a shirt implying to me that Sanderson had been thinking deeply of those freckled figures and their marks of success, maybe comparing his own un-freckled form in the mirror. Coupled with his comments and questions, I’m not sure who I felt for more. Sanderson, for being so confused and unhappy with himself, or H.P. for having to tell him eventually that whatever he’s hoping or striving for, he’ll never be able to change what he was born into. And that’s saddening. No other way to put it. In the end, Fergus withheld from divulging the drone/gyne talk until later, reflecting on his own experiences, but I’m doubtful that that is what Sanderson needs, particularly with such thoughts flowing though his head.
I’m reminded now of a part In “Grooming,” I believe it was. The comment was short, but Sanderson recalled starting his days as a kid by cutting his face with a knife, so that way he’d appear to have freckles. For a decade, until China caught him. And If that’s not heart wrenching enough, I’m pretty sure that confirms that although H.P. is only hearing a snippet of Sanderson’s thoughts about this now, Sanderson has been dwelling on this for a LONG time. Which, honestly, speaks of such low self esteem to me. Maybe a degree of self hatred. Even as an adult, though he seems more adjusted to being a drone at least, Sanderson only ever wants to be someone he’s not, to not just be LIKE H.P., but to BE him. He wants everything H.P. stands for, his qualities and supposed perfection, not just because he wants his boss’s approval, but maybe because he finds his “natural” self unappealing or inadequate. He’s so self destructive too, it’s like he barely cares about himself, even though he’s also constantly talking about how perfect he is. A funny little pixie.

Honestly though, Between Longwood and Sanderson, H.P.’s really getting the full parenting package huh?

Oh, Special mention to how you handled Reddinski too. He didn’t beat Big Daddy, but it was a good idea to specifically not have him fight Fergus, because that maintains the tension when it comes to all their future interactions, and the question of whether he should relocate Reddinski’s drones. For me, Reddinski is almost a picture of everything Fergus doesn’t want to be as a gyne, or maybe he’s an example that although he’s what Fergus would consider a “gyne’s gyne,” Reddinski is not necessarily a standard to hold himself to. Sure, he’s a “real” fairy, he’s beefy, attractive, maybe clever, and plenty dominate, but he’s also an abusive bully with entitlement issues and none of the decency that Fergus himself strives to embody.

Back to earlier, that kiss from Ambrosine? Adorable. Made my heart melt to read such affection between a father and son, and I don’t make that statement lightly. Angst and silliness are their own things, but being touched by something heartwarming is a rare occurrence for me.

Also, the hints about Keef are getting more and more prominent. If I go back a few chapters I can see, with the benefit of hindsight now, that you’ve been hinting at his disability for awhile. The build up, of course, only makes me more eager for the discovery in-story. More so, I’m eager to see how H.P. reacts to it, and how he handles Keef. In this chapter most of all, you’ve presented some ideas on how Fergus sees drones/gynes and what he considers natural behavior. Ideas that are... noticeably not 100% accurate. His viewpoint is understandable, yes, but I’d say also worth being challenged for the benefit of the future. And while I don’t expect his ideas to entirely reform overnight, or even by the time canon comes into play, I’m anticipating that H.P. is going to have his worldview rocked in some way soon. And that intrigues me. Fergus seems like a guy who can be flexible in some ways, but very, very obstinate in others, particularly in regards to “The Facts of Life,” and concepts that he feels he’s well versed in.

For example, I don’t think Fergus would ever argue with someone, more so a person he respects or sees as an expert, about how to best apply acrylic paint, or the finer details of interpretive dance, because those aren’t things he’s familiar with, they aren’t things he’s likely to have given much thought to before, and thus he doesn’t have a very strong opinion either way. But! If someone were to bring up the nuances of drone/Gyne dynamics, or financial instruments, or the business sense in forms of child labor, then yes! Fergus would have very strong, very defined opinions about all of those things. From your depiction of him, I’d say he’d need A LOT of thorough convincing before he changed his mind even slightly on any of those things.

And, extra tidbit I noticed: contact calls! I’m not sure if you’ve shown us that before, but it stood out to me. Nice insect flavored behavior.

So, overall, this was very enjoyable. These quirky magic bug people, more and more, leave me satisfied with their escapades. I’m looking forward to more!

Also, if this is choppy, it’s probably because I was writing this in fits and spurts all night. Just. Interjecting all over the place. Still genuine though!
1/7/2020 c34 OneTruthCup
Again? Seriously? I can’t believe this is the second time I’ve posted an unfinished review. Just terrible...

There’s a section isn’t the middle I didn’t finish, so I’m picking up there. You’ll know where it is.

Anyway, Fergus’s internal, irritated ranting over how Kalysta portrayed pixies (and how he uses it as evidence that he pleased Kalysta) was 50% funny, and 50% sad, give or take a few. The former because the whole concept is, well, ridiculous and silly in a way that mirrors ACTUAL “saucy” literature, which cracks me up (also, VERY important to know where he stands on the whole “breasts versus bottom” debate. Yes. Thought provoking. Mmhmm) and the latter because Fergus obviously has some issues to work through. Even after identifying as a pixie, a species not meant to sexually reproduce or partner up, he has to prove to HIMSELF, justify in increasingly outlandish ways even far into adulthood, that he’s not “broken,” or gross, or unlovable when, really, that should have never had to be a question in the first place. It’s understandable though.

Growing up in a society that seems to place marriage and romance on some towering pedestal, and then pressured by his dad and peers into a number of things he’s not comfortable with, it’s no wonder Fergus has grown up to outright dislike (to put it lightly) forms of intimacy. The confusion and at times even self hatred is so present in Fergus, so tangible, that I can’t help but feel for him. The way you described his sexual experiences, and nearly all of them non-consensual or with something terrible hanging over his head too, was heartbreaking.

Being asexual is its own can of worms, but I think the REAL damage, what makes it really sad, is that the problem has never actually been rooted in Fergus. He was never “wrong” for not wanting sex or desiring specific things out of his partnerships, the problem lies in how often and consistently he was hurt by those around him. Relationships meant to be wholesome, meant to be caring, and kind, and comfortable, in sync! were only ever, at best, dysfunctional, and, at worst, actually abusive. Folks like Ambrosine and China had mostly good intentions of course, and Kalysta has only ever known wisp culture, but pressuring someone into sex, whether as a “supportive” bystander, the person actually demanding sex, or even as a partner (who intentionally and unintentionally makes the other guilty for not putting out) is only ever wrong. Fergus is no walk in the park, but he never deserved to be treated that way, and those experiences have doubtless only ever soured whatever positive he might have had at various kinds of intimacy.

I also things it’s indicative, in a way, that the only two types of relationships that Fergus is comfortable with are mainly that of drone/Gyne and employer/employee; he’s “boring” by nature, but those are the only types of relationships he’s had where he was never hurt in any serious way. He’s distant at times in the drone/Gyne dynamic, of course, but that’s possibly more over a fear of losing control, or ruining a good thing. (Also, numbers...) (Even the friendship with AC is rocky at times)

Honestly though. For all that this is fanfiction about a snarky, magical side character/villain in a humor based cartoon, at times this nearly feels like an account of someone, not just coming to terms with his own sexuality, but also learning to understand HIMSELF. Beyond all the magic, and sarcasm, and high stakes conflicts, who is Fergus really? And what does he want?

That said, I also want to mention I can sympathize with Kalysta in her desire to be seen as more than just a stereotypical wisp. Like a lot of notable characters in this verse, she’s fighting an uphill battle in society just for being born who she is, viewed, at best, as an air headed pretty face. She’s far from a perfect person, but one has to respect a damsel trying to make her way in the world.

Also, Bit of a side note I couldn’t fit in reasonably anywhere else, the concept of pixie store workers getting hit on by top heavy, scantily clad damsels for, like, a discount or something, is hilarious. Straight laced, uninterested and/or oblivious characters being flirted with is almost never not funny. Doubly so because in this case I can now picture a previously unnamed pixie with an itchy trigger finger who, paranoid, slams an alarm anytime a damsel so much as glances at him or another Gyne. Fun stuff.

Anyway, I’m glad I was able to read this chapter. Some goodness to carry into the new year. Cheers!
1/7/2020 c34 OneTruthCup
This last week and then some has been pretty trying for me, “very unhappy” might even be a valid description, but reading this update has helped brighten things up more than I can describe. Thanks for posting.

Once again it’s great to see these characters, OC’s and canon ones alike, especially all together like this. I love it when big events in stories call for characters to meet up and interact, and this chapter delivered satisfyingly on that front, notably between Kalysta and H.P. of course, but also in smaller roles with characters like Iris, Emery, Bayard, Keef, Ambrosine, and Rice. Some contributed to the story more than others, but even appearances from Emery (who’s unashamedly trying to hook Fergus up even now) and the younger pixies (Keef is the one with the scent disability, isn’t he? Looking forward to more discussion/discovery on that) managed to put a sincere smile on my face. I absolutely love how all the pixies have their own personalities that shine through (dully), and seeing Fergus grudgingly put up with inconvenient caretaker things is delightful. I never knew that suckling babies could be so plot relevant and funny; the things a person uncovers...

Of course, the whole interaction between Kalysta and “Sanders” was the real draw here. I’ve been itching to see these two together again for some time now, and you didn’t disappoint. There’s so much I could ramble on about here, but I’ll try to keep things understandable and streamlined.
Firstly, Rice in the backdrop was great on two fronts: illustrating how great Fergus is at outright abusing loopholes and watching his wording, and secondly in kicking the tension up a notch. It’s hilarious how Kalysta is mentioned to enjoy similar “must tell the truth” plot devices in her own stories, but it really can make for a more interesting read when two characters have to be truthful for once (mostly, anyway).
Relatedly, the tension between the two was felt pretty on point and deserved; for characters like these tension is not only natural, but satisfying too.
And As for those bits of Kalysta’s actual writing? I must have read it a several times just because it was so funny

A minor tidbit I’ll also comment on is that list of visitors they saw at the beginning. It make sense now why we only ever hear H.P. called, well, H.P. in canon.

Lastly, the finale scene between H.P. and Ambrosine was very hard hitting. I truly didn’t know whether Fergus would win out in the argument with his father, but I could just see (read?) the moment Ambrosine realized he’d utterly lost control over the situation, and that any fights between them at this point would be drastically in H.P.’s favor. I can just picture that dominate lick, that powerful, subtly threatening whisper; empowering for Fergus, kind of frightening for Ambrosine. That said, I also think this marks a turning point in H.P.’s characterization. Perhaps not quite a “turn to darkness,” but definitely a sign that he’s going to be calling the shots now for better or worse, at least in some social circles. More and more I think his “power” is going to his head, although I can still see some good attributes and intentions here and there.
11/18/2019 c33 OneTruthCup
*looks at amount of reviews* Seriously? No offense, but what the heck readers?

Anyway though, I’m just going to go down this chapter, making comments in order. Try to forgive any potential disjointed-ness.

Happy birthday Fergus! For someone so frugal at times he really is the sort to splurge on a good party, isn’t he?

*gasp* a Jorgan appearance! I recall seeing him earlier on in Knots, but I’m not sure about here. Either way, he’s steadily growing on me via your one-shots. I like how you include him in ways where his intense nature comes off as very funny, similar to the show. His enthusiasm for things, and for being overwhelmingly tough, is kind of endearing. Also, the Gyne-drone relationship that you’ve set up for him and Binky makes their dynamic in the show all the more fun. They’re both so... gung-ho about everything. It’s hilarious! By any chance, did the two of them help cement your headcanons?

You know, I’m not sure if I ever forgot, but thanks, Ambrosine, for reminding me about all the wonderful and blatant racism lurking within you. I mean, I don’t hate you, and I get the war and all that, but c’mon!
Then again, I also see his point about bringing kids to a wild, extended party.
It’s not said outright, but I get the feeling that Fergus is neglecting his role as guardian lately. Things seem to easily go to his head, and between everything going on (cough-Anti-Bryndin-cough) I’m questioning if he’s really juggling everything the way he thinks he is. I’m sensing a shoe about to be dropped.

On another note, am I the only one who feels bad for Longwood? As if he’s not dealing with enough right now, his Not-Dad is being a really lazy, jerk-ish detective. Way to stay on top of things H.P.

Wow, what a celebration! I wouldn’t call it total debauchery, but it’s definitely wild, I’ll tell you that. Also, all these ridiculous power moves that Anti-Bryndin is pulling on AC are really going to come back to bite him, aren’t they? Either way, pretty entertaining. I like how they’re just the slightest bit tense, but still incredibly passive aggressive.

Aww, poor Rice. For a soul-swapping dog, he truly is too tender for this world.

Relatedly, Fergus will you watch your pixies? Geez!
I am very moved by his epiphany of sorts though. It didn’t make me teary eyed, but it was still a somber moment in its own way. The more the threat of death and extinction hangs over him, the more Fergus realizes just what he has to lose.

Still, that was a nice moment of platonic intimacy between him and AB. That said, I’m actually distrustful of Count AB. He’s just too... friendly. Sincere in some ways, I think, but he come from as oh so quietly conniving. I haven’t fully trusted him since their first preening session, and now I’m just waiting for some sort of betrayel. You know, a nice hard blow for Fergus to deal with on top of everything else in his life. Can’t keep things too semi-content after all!

Woah, Anti-Cosmo! Getting pretty good there, aren’t you? Last I checked Knots is slightly behind Origins, right? I’m looking forward to seeing how AC gets here. I mean, what’s even going through his head?
Also, nice detail on Fairies v Anti-fairies and their style of conversations. Definitely fits in with what I know of canon, too.

Wooh! Tattoos! I mean, I’d never get one for myself, but still. Wooh!
H.P. is literally the only character I can think of where this feels like a REALLY good parenting move, like, comparatively. Bonding between him and his pixies is wonderful, and better some supervision for Bayard than total freedom. Then again, maybe I’m just a sucker for any scene with Bayard. His dialogue is always timed very well for comedic effect, made even better by picturing his delivery with a straight face. He rides a motorcycle, has spiky hair, tattoos, hangs out with Hamilton, Newman, and Faust... it’s like he DID get the memo for pixie behavior, and he took to heart the whole cashgood idea, but then he crinkled the rest up and spat on it before leaving to do something absolutely nuts. He’s the wild child of the bunch isn’t he?

Also, “I’m not concerned about stretch marks, I told him.” Ha! Not in the usual place maybe...

Finally, It’s nice to know that even with all the questionable parenting and dysfunction, Fergus can still fumble his way through being subtly sweet to his sister. Good on him. Also, go Emery! I like her. She and Fergus have entertaining verbal sparring matches, and they’re honestly the highlight for me in some chapters. The sass and stubbornness is genetic I tell ya!

Related to Fairy-con though (and is or is that not a cool idea the writers came up with?) now I’m picturing all sorts of shenanigans.
While probably out of character, one thing I’m picturing is Hawkins finding a way around the “I don’t have a dad” thing. At some time near the event he just shows up with some random drake around Fergus’s age, and when Fergus asks “who is this?” Hawkins goes “this is Jeff. I’m paying him to participate in the father-son games with me. Don’t nark to the judges.” “...”
Granted, Hawkins is supposed to be the well behaved one, but I feel like throwing money at a problem is a go-to solution for some pixies. Not pointing any fingers, H.P...

Gosh, I really wish I had more to say here, but I’ve been somewhat spent recently and I’m pretty much just gushing out my thoughts. Either way, I had a fun time reading this. Great job!
10/24/2019 c32 OneTruthCup
Goodness gracious, this update was a blessing! This week was a little trying for me, so seeing this update really boosted my spirits. At first I was only reading it in bits and pieces here and there, but now I can properly look it over in it’s entirety, which is fun!

So! Lots of things to like here (not least of all the sheer LENGTH of this chapter). Going in order of appearance, I’ve got to say that I greatly enjoyed the bit with Iris at the beginning. It’s a mixture of sweetness and foreboding. The former because Iris really does seem like a sweetheart and it’s great to see Fergus in his element in Origins for once (super great), and the latter because Fergus just. Couldn’t. Stress. Enough. How TERRIBLE things are about to become.
So color me intrigued.
Anyway, the dialogue here felt pretty natural, both for each character and within the context, with a nice flowy, give and take conversation. While they spoke, I could also imagine their body language and such fairly easily, perhaps partly because, one again, the dialogue had a good flow, and it lent itself well to the characters speaking. Some interesting, revealing tangents, and a few bits of information which may or may not become relevant again later on, as well. Nice.

As for Reddinski, the part with him is probably my second (or third) favorite in this chapter, partly because it’s a window into Fergus’s past that he’s mostly glossed over until now, and partly because the concepts brought up related to Reddinski and Rupert set up the new arc/goal for Fergus very well. In addition to, what I’m guessing, will be some more exploration of the Gyne/drone dynamic, I also feel like the coming chapters will in some way include Fergus battling against notions of inadequacy. To me, it’s interesting that for someone so prideful and stubborn, who tries to present the image that he’s totally self assured, Fergus is a character who almost constantly feels the need to prove himself, even when it’s completely unnecessary. It’s probably related to that fear of being forgotten, which to me is another way of saying “he’s afraid of not being WORTH remembrance. ” People only forget things when it’s not important enough, so a part of H.P. probably feels that he needs to be “useful” and in people faces, showing off his success and importance, in order to be remembered.
Going back to Reddinski, am I correct in interpreting that he was sort of the equivalent of a high school bully? From the description and the cowed behavior Fergus falls into, I’m guessing Reddinski at least “showed him who’s boss” enough to be a memorable not-friend. The part where Fergus confessed all of those things especially felt like a hands-raised “pleasedonthurtme!” situation, to the point where it, funnily enough, gave me some actual second hand embarrassment. I mean, pheromones were in play of course, but the additional behavior felt more like an unpleasant, learned habit than anything.

Moving on, one fo my other favorite parts was the conversation with Emery. Some important plots points were brought up, some pressing obstacles that Fergus will have to address sooner or later, but also interesting were the differing ways the two viewed the whole marriage/sex thing. You gave both of them a stance that I could understand; both feel their own preferred relationships are the height of intimacy and fulfillment, and each one explains WHY they feel that way. I could wax on and on about this some more, but really that’s what I like here. That you gave them legitimate views without condemning one or the other.
Side note, I actually find myself relating more to Fergus than Emery here. I’m not saying I think he’s “right,” but it was fun to notice that between two magical insect people, my thinking lines up with Fergus in some of the more human ways it can. (Does that make sense?)

And that bit with Leonard was also a treat. It’s nice to see Fergus unwind and have something sweet, even if it was kind of tainted later on. I’m aware that hanging out with brownies in this world carries a very real stigma, but I swear, Fergus cares about appearances at absolutely the worst times.

Oh! And the frequent mentions of “18,000 years left?” Geez! Talk about payoff. I mean, you haven’t actually gotten to “the reveal” with Fergus and how to help with his magic usage yet, but the hints have been so clear (in a good way!) that I’ve practically been biting my nails off in suspense. The buildup in prior chapters was very well done, laying down a lot of anticipation for me, and now that parting scene has really kicked that arc, if you will, into high gear. And, we got to meet Mama Cosma! Ending on a high note, I say.

Now, I will admit that there are a few things here and there which were introduced a little abruptly, but I chalk that up mostly to you working on the world building and finer details as you go. Only so much you can predict, right?

Overall, aside from the things I mentioned, I’m also picking up a few themes here, mainly that of companionship, pros and cons and different forms of it, and of course loneliness. There’s a very clear question of how Fergus is going to handle his loneliness and whether/how he’ll go about obtaining the companionship he desires. What’s a bond worth, and does it matter who it’s with? Is opening up, becoming vulnerable, worth the potential gain? What will Fergus come to believe, and how will his beliefs affect himself and his pixies?

also,

LUCKY 37 FOR THE WIN!
10/10/2019 c10 OneTruthCup
I’m baaaaaaaaaack~

So, first off, I like the follow up with the finger snap. The dead end was funny, and Fergus’ dedication to escaping is very apparent. I think it could have used a little more buildup, but ultimately it works out because the true goal (for you) was to set up the foundation for how Fergus interacts with his nymphs. You also gave us an idea of just how important control is for Fergus. Maybe it’s because he’s a gyne, or maybe it’s just his general personality/result of life experiences, but I think that given the choice between a gilded cage and life as a freely wandering vagrant, Fergus would choose the latter option, at least if he’s a solo bachelor. Personally, I can relate to Fergus on that front. The idea of being out of options and places to go, no say in my own life, no right to privacy, and unhappy to boot, is pretty terrifying. Being unhappy is one thing, but being unhappy and NOT able to potentially fix that state of being is too terrible to describe at length. Still, I think that fear allows me to understand a little more how and why Fergus scrambles for control over his life within this chapter, and a lot of the upcoming ones. H.P. describes himself as cold and calculating, but honestly he has a lot of moments where he does impulsive things because he’s, quite simply, spiraling. When faced with a problem his first instinct is to make a plan of attack, I’d say, but if that plan and others after it don’t work, or if something throws him off enough, it seems like that’s where things get wacky.

Getting back on point, I can’t tell if Fergus was angry at Kalysta solely because of the ice cream, or because she intended to trade Sanderson off. Either way, fun stuff.

The bit where Fergus tries and fails to kill Kalysta. Wow. Always, that’s a scene with an impact. Even compared to the newer chapters, something about it just feels so intense, so strong, so rife with struggle, so... angry. The phrasing, the delivery, the buildup, the internal narrative... I got chills, man. Especially when he said “I despise you,” dead seriously. Despise carries a heavy meaning, and the context brought to mind a visceral, striking, yet still dull, tone of voice.

And the highs and lows of life in the burrow, I must say, are very apparent. Following Fergus through this feels like a harrowing roller coaster of success and defeat; you go up, heavy with anticipation and hope, and you plummet down with defeat, only to keep chugging along, because the ride’s not over yet. It’s the sort of feeling that makes time within the story feel longer, and I’m sure Fergus could appreciate the sentiment in some regards.

Also, I want to mention how cute little Sanderson is. I can just picture him tottering after Fergus all day long, oblivious to the, for lack of a better word, machinations of either Kalysta or Fergus. Reading about him growing up in the burrow is an emotional experience; I know he’s going to survive in the end, but his childhood is bitter sweet, and there are plenty of Fergus patented murder attempts and parental abandonment to be on the lookout for. It’s like jump scares in a horror game. You set up so many roadblocks in Fergus and Sanderson’s way to mere safety that, on my first read, I had the legitimate worry that you were going fake your readers out by killing/leaving behind this Sanderson, only to have Fergus give birth again and name THAT kid Sanderson too, this still in line with canon. Needless to say, I like this version better.

Also, The small moments of tenderness towards Sanderson that Fergus allows are very sweet. The perfect thing to liven me up after a round of depressing failure within this chapter. Plus, this is an important time for Fergus, as it sets up a lot of his later characteristics, and a lot of time is spent with him adjusting to reluctant parenthood (“I’m not a dad!”). If I had ONE wish, It’d be that we could see more of that adjustment period. Just. So good.

Also, as mentioned in another review, the part where they get lost in the snow is truly suspenseful. Danger, plus separation, plus the unknown, is almost always a nail biting scenario for me.

*GASP* China? Is that you? Don’t tell me I have to wait a bunch of chapters for you to be relevant again. No, wait! Come back!

Anyway, this review is somewhat shorter than normal, and a little disjointed, but I think I said a lot of what I wanted to in the last review. There are a lot of little sentences and quirky bits of dialogue that I could hold up as “good stuff” but mainly I just have positive feelings all around. I’m not sure if it ranks highly on my list of favorite chapters, but definitely a fun, noteworthy one.

And yes, I’m looking forward to more Kalysta talk once you post your next Origins’s chapter. Take your time, and have fun!
10/3/2019 c9 OneTruthCup
Chapter 9, my time with you has come at last... I spent some time thinking over this, and I believe I finally have my thoughts in order.

So, firstly, I want to compliment you on how you open this chapter. Right away it gives a sense of where Fergus’s head is at (escape), and how Tobie and the rest view their lifestyle. For them, this is just another Tuesday, and neither Kalysta nor her drakes see anything wrong with keeping Fergus in the burrow against his will. Even when Kalysta makes more overt shows of force and control, I can tell she does it, not out of maliciousness, but more out of keeping her house in order through clear cut rules and discipline (similar to later H.P., actually). Her drakes don’t react much to her shows of control besides resignation and passivity, if her actions even comes across as negative to begin with. Otherwise it’s expected, perhaps even welcome, for her to be the one calling the shots. With all that laid out (and that fairly humorous omelette scene) it’s clear what Kalysta expects of him, and that Fergus has no allies in resisting her will.

I also like a lot of the dialogue here, especially Fergus’s rampant sass. You also included some wolrdbuilding bits in some fairly non obtrusive manners, such as when Kalysta mentioned that red flag races can’t get baptized, conversations about wisp society vs fairy society, lifesmoke, and some other establishing facts that help shed some light on things.

“It was at that moment that I realized living in a wisp burrow would be beyond my worst nightmares” Well, good to know Fergus has his list of grievances in order. Seriously though, I worry I sound just like kalysta whenever I talk about my own writing. A genuine concern, I tell ya.

In other news, I’m glad you decided to, not quite INTRODUCE Kalysta in a positive light, but you at least show some other sides of her character early on. In addition to the “humanizing” interests you give her, Kalysta comes across through dialogue and subtle actions as a person who is neither villain nor hero. She has what one might call a status quo to maintain, an image to uphold around most people, of unwavering confidence and a lack of vulnerabilities, as a damsel who happily stands by her people’s customs. And yet, behind closed doors (or within hidden burrows) Kalysta has more vulnerabilities and unspoken longing than one might expect.
She forces drakes like Fergus into things because that’s all she knows, all she’s been ALLOWED to know, and while that doesn’t excuse her actions at all, it’s still obvious that she doesn’t do things out of pure evilness or sadistic leanings. Deep down, she longs for what most others want at some point; stability, companionship, and the confirmation that life indeed has happy endings and true love. Kalysta is a romantic at heart, passionate and outgoing, and she indulges that side of herself through writing, whereas otherwise she’d probably be closed off all the way. She’s a somewhat lonely person. She makes tough choices, plays her role as a wisp, and acts in ways she feels is natural. At this time in her life, I imagine it’s difficult to fully comprehend just how much Fergus hates his entire situation, because it’s just SO outside her realm of experience, judging by her demeanor and the way actually catching fairy drakes seemed treated as uncommon. At least, that’s what I get from this.

Oh, and a really nice closing of this chapter too! Grabs the reader’s attention, and it’s a fairly logical conclusion for Fergus to reach, even if I suspected on my first read that it wouldn’t work. The goal, which you follow up on in the next chapter, gives Fergus some immediate motivation and some insight into his priorities and feelings, which is good news for any reader. On my first read there was a considerable amount of suspense for me, because I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop as Fergus tried to orchestrate his grand escape.
On top of that, practicing with Sanderson obviously sets up the future dynamic/role that Fergus takes with him and the other pixies, that of instilled dutifulness, submissiveness, and servility. Personally, I feel like Fergus doesn’t fully understand how he’s affecting his pixies, or why the snapping-wing-twist combo breeds obedience. He just stumbles upon the technique, tests it for his own purposes and, because it results almost immediately in a desired pattern of behavior, he adopts it as his go to “parenting” style, for lack of a better word. Yup. Just more confirmation that Fergus isn’t getting any parent of the year awards... Not that he’d want such a label, of course.

Now, I only have two things I want to bring up. Firstly: how can wisps make pies out of drakes if everyone turns to dust upon death? Is it a matter of timing? Severing parts before actual death? It’s probably obvious, but right now I’ve got nothing.

Secondly: one teeny tiny nitpick/word of advice is that this chapter, and a few others, might have benefited from some more varied description and some added attempts at emotional resonance. Obviously this is an older chapter and this it doesn’t quite match with your current style/skill, but since I’m here I might as well explain.
Visually focused description is of course very important for any story, but maybe try to spice things up with the other five main senses too;
touch, taste, smell, and sound can all play a big role in setting the mood and even allowing for some more exposition, and, if your version of fairies rely heavily on scent, then it’d probably make sense to double down on the smells a character notices when they enter a room/something significant happens. It should probably be a go to detail that a fairy notices, as far as I can tell at least.
As for emotional resonance, maybe this is more a matter of a taste, but I think there have been times, including the chapters where Fergus is trapped in Kalysta’s burrow, where some insight into how Fergus was feeling, or otherwise being affected, could have made things more hard hitting in that moment, and down the line. Not to harp on you, ‘cause I love this fic all the same, but I’m not quite feeling the desperation to escape that Fergus must surely be experiencing. I can intellectually surmise that that’s the case based on his behavior, but it’s not something that I, as a reader, FEEL. Obviously, expressing emotion of any kind is tough with a character like Fergus, but that’s where I think utilizing the five senses can come in. Now, just a suggestion, not sure if you’ve already tried out this technique, but perhaps instead of would-be statements that express things like “It made me uncomfortable” or “I grew to hate her” you could use description of physical things to convey feeling.

Example: “as the conversation drew on, I picked at my clothes, disliking how tight and scratchy they suddenly felt. Had they always been so irritating?” OR “As I drew close, I caught a whiff of an artificial, fruity scent. The smell, which seemed increasingly difficult to escape, was so sickly sweet I nearly gagged. From then on, I always disliked certain berry scents.” In those statements, an idea is given as to how the character is feeling via the way the senses are being interpreted, and the specific words chosen. and input, in addition to visuals, can flesh out the surroundings of where a character is. The latter example implies that Kalysta is as difficult to escape as her scent, that she seems fake and sickening, and that she affected Fergus in lasting ways. Other actions that hint at distress could also have attention called to them. Nights spent lying awake deep in thought, rubbing skin raw “just to get clean,” even a shift in appetite or dress sense, things like that.
I mean, I’m not claiming to be a genius about this, AT ALL, but that’s my two scents. I’ve seen a lot of talented writers use similar techniques when it wouldn’t make sense for a character to be super self aware or transparent, and I think you’d be able to effectively utilize such techniques as well. Not sure if it’s helpful, but those are my suggestions.

Either way, I greatly enjoyed this chapter. It gives a sense that things are picking up, that SOMETHING is about to happen, and all the little details and bits of dialogue only add to my overall positive perception. Glad to read it!

And, Fun fact: I had to rewrite this review on three separate occasions because of computer problems. And yes. That IS how I justify my procrastination habits, why do you ask?
7/31/2019 c8 OneTruthCup
Ah, yes, one of my favorite chapters. *eagerly rubs hands together*

For me, this section has three main parts to it;

1st is the buildup; a lot of warning signs that understandably went ignored or misunderstood, Leonard giving a big tip-off, and, really, just a general sense of foreboding. Going into this story I already knew how Fergus would be getting his pixies, so this led to more dramatic irony and suspense for me than anything else, but, if I HADN’T known, I can tell this section would have put me on edge. Fergus’ symptoms, by the way, are pretty interesting. If you ever decide to write these sorts of “pre-pregnancy-pains” again, just know that I would be ALL ON BOARD for H.P. or one of his pixies being miserable in glorious detail. I don’t know why, but something about involuntary signs of paternity being showcased in individuals who are otherwise NOT paternal, seems funny to me.

2nd section is the actual birth. Sadly, this part, for me, is a bit of a mixed bag; on the one hand, I love the very alien, in-human features you’ve added. Birth from the head, tearing amniotic sacks with teeth, the intricacies of magic, and all so deliciously messy and gross too! Birth at any time, I think, should be painful and gross when it’s the center of a story. Unless your character is, like, a magical giraffe giving birth during a full on sprint through a field of flowers, birth should NOT be quick and pretty. It’s an ordeal, to put it lightly.
On the other hand though, I do feel like something is missing from the “payoff” here. My first time reading this, the birth of Sanderson was a major part I had been looking forward to, and it WAS exciting to some extent, but the overall satisfaction at actually reading this part was slightly underwhelming. In part, I think that’s because we move on a little too fast from it, at least in an emotional sense. Fergus is obviously distressed here, but I feel like that point could have been accentuated a little more, both in this chapter, and in a lot of other places. Of course, this is H.P, and he’s hesitant to even ADMIT to distress let alone mention it more than a few times, but from a story standpoint I, as a reader, could have used at least some more mentions of the shock he must have felt about GIVING BIRTH. FROM. HIS HEAD. Some more fearful wondering at what’s going on inside his body, maybe a shaky hand tentatively probing his dome in the aftermath once inside the burrow. Heck, maybe some nausea at the idea of it all, the feeling of being trapped, of being ill equipped to be a parent. I know that’s probably an obstacle with a character so out of touch with his emotions, and one who’s supposed to be “writing” this, but one that I feel is necessary to overcome... not that you haven’t improved after all this time, but... you know.

Finally, the 3rd section is the aftermath of the birth and meeting Kalysta. This part I like, especially because I can reference that Mature prompt and giggle over all the touching stuff H.P. left out. The sense of urgency probably could have been a little more heightened, but otherwise this was pretty gripping. The journey through the snow made me feel really concerned for Fergus and Sanderson, which is good, and I cried out in my mind when Sanderson was abandoned in the snow (gee, wonder where Sandy gets his fear of abandonment from?). Also, I’ve got to complement you on how you introduced Kalysta. Fergus’s reaction to her, coupled with her speech, vantage point, and mannerisms, all pointed to her as an antagonist that’s In Charge. She rips the reins away from Fergus, all with a smile and a “This is my right/I’ve done nothing wrong/get over it” attitude. At least, that’s what I get from this chapter. She’s a wisp, right? And he wandered in her territory, so why should she apologize or let him go?

Anyway though, despite my few nitpicks, this is still one of my favorite chapters. Sanderson and Kalysta are introduced (plus her drakes), and the immediate conflict is nicely established. Glad to read it!
7/28/2019 c7 OneTruthCup
Well, this probably isn’t the review you were expecting, but here it is anyway!

First off, can I just say I love to see Fergus struggle? He does that pretty much every chapter of this story, I know, but his time earth-side seems like a really formative set of struggles, and it’s interesting to read and think about. For the first time in his life, Fergus is solely responsible for himself and his quality of living; he doesn’t have a safety net to catch him if he slips up, and he’s in a dangerous, unfamiliar situation besides that. NOT a fun combination. All in all, these last few chapters feel like a real “coming of age” story, where Fergus undergoes a lot of humble growth amidst wacky (and sometimes somber) adventures, while also still being kind of immature by the time Sanderson comes along in the next chapter. I think they’re different kinds of growth, the one in this chapter being a stark contrast to the growth that Fergus gets from terrifying, inexplicable parenthood. Here he learns to be self sufficient with a side bonus of Real World experience. Even if he seems to be a little lost at the same time, Fergus learns more about who he is at his core, and he forms a more concrete perception of the world. For the most part, Fergus cares only for himself, and he thinks only of his own needs. With parenthood, he needs to put the needs of someone else before his own, which in itself is often easier said than done.

That said, the first two major events at this point (besides just generally trying to survive) seems to be the experience with Pip, and the time spent with the “Unwinged Angels.”

The former I have less to say about, though its arguably just as important. Not only does it seem to set up a lot of relevant information and leave Fergus with some important skills, but it also foretells, I think, of H.P’s future relationship with humans in general. Because he actually spent some time among them, I think Fergus views them more on an equal level. There’s a sense of wonder at what they’re capable of, but I doubt it treads along the same thought patterns as the Fairies and Anti-Fairies. And, he’s not afraid to use them to his advantage.

Pip, meanwhile, has an involvement that I still crack up over. When I first read this, I had a feeling Pip would be someone relevant later, even if the comment of “never saw her again” seemed to throw a wrench in the idea of her supposed importance. Lo and behold though, I finally got some glorious payoff much, MUCH later on, after this chapter.
Pip, I think, is interesting in part for her goals which seem similar and yet different from her counterpart; the same in some ways, I suppose, but bringing other types of life about in other, more down to earth ways. Literally.
Pip, looking back, is also a good catalyst for some thoughts that Fergus reflects on in later chapters. The sanctity of life, for example, seems to have been at least somewhat planted in his mind from the experience with the mother dragon and her eggs. Despite coming off as very “cold and cruel,” it’s striking to me how Fergus is sometimes more feeling, sympathetic, and affected by the death or pain of others than his emotionally charged peers. For all their passion on the surface, and their self-righteous surety, it makes one wonder who, between them, is really more uncaring.

Oh, and Pip was also a great character for two other reasons; bringing up Fergus’s experiences with damsels, and getting Fergus to interact with tree.
The first part I consider a neat aspect of Fergus’s character, although ,truthfully, I’m not sure I entirely understand his feelings on intimacy besides it sometimes being an ordeal. In this case, it seems Fergus went around kissing damsels both because of the expectations placed on him, and also because he was doing a bit of “study.” Not a lot of emotion involved, just obligation or random curiosity. There’s probably more here that I could read into, but mostly that’s what I get from this.

The tree, meanwhile, came off as kind of poetic. Fergus hasn’t started reproducing like a tree yet, but the way he treats the tree says something about him. A bitterness, almost, in that if he must be alone, the tree must also. The tree is the only one of its kind in the valley, and so Fergus too feels the same way; isolated, lonely, and without another of the same kind, self-conscious of that fact. Fergus says often he was happy at this point in his life, but moments like this bring that into question.

On another odd note, I’m feeling very sorry for Glenn, a character I doubt we’ll ever even get to see in this story, or any of your others, and yet! Curse your witchcraft!

Anyway though, this is a nice chapter. I’m really looking forward to reviewing the next one. Also, I hope you had/have a great summer. Warm regards!
2/11/2019 c6 OneTruthCup
So, I finally have a chance to PROPERLY read and review the last few chapters. Forgive me though if I don’t sound too put together.

Firstly, I of course love all the world building, the subtle nods to the show (ESPECIALLY the Cosmorella one in chapter 6, partly because I have a “thing” for historical events being misremembered/documented improperly), the hints at what’s to come, as well as a lot of the dialogue between Fergus and those he comes across. Now that we’re in the thick of the story, the dialogue to narrative ratio feels a lot more balanced to me, with the former being distinct between characters while also lending some humor.

Purely going off of these chapters, there are three side characters that really caught my eye, mostly because I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite like them, and because they serve to progress the story and bring out aspects of Fergus’s own character. There are others I could mention liking, but I’ll stick to three.

First and foremost, I enjoy Sparkle, because even though he’s a double-crossing train-wreck , he’s still entertaining, a good contrast to Fergus, and somewhat sympathetic in his own right. His dialogue is nice and distinct, and he comes off to me as a clever, sort-of charming slob, which makes him stand out from other characters here, I think.

The second character I've come to like is Apollo. He seems like a kind, reluctant oddball, and I’m only just now truly struck by how Fergus and Sparkle’s shared reaction at meeting him (or rather, lack of reaction) implies that prophecy-seeing isn’t unheard of. The prophecies themselves also make a little more sense to me now that I’m aware of future events, which I additionally admire because I think prophecies are tricky to write. Furthermore, I appreciate how Apollo harming himself brings out more of Fergus’s emotional side.
What’s particularly interesting for me about that scene is that Fergus expressed a bit of frustration at not being empathetic and caring enough to help Apollo, which makes me wonder if, at least at this time in his life, he ever wishes he was unlike himself in that regard. Has anyone ever given him grief, in one way or another, for being such a way, emotionally speaking?

Anyway, the third character I want to mention is the banshee teacher. Only there for a moment, but definitely funny, and a great way to show how the therapy course wasn’t for Fergus. Plus, Now I know where Betty and Gary get their *snappy* fashion sense and demeanor.

Aside from the aforementioned characters though, I also have to tip my hat to you for the events themselves which took place. I’m just going to rattle them off a bit here...

The fight between Fergus and his dad was of course a highlight, as was the party in how it served as a great, surprising setting for such a moment. (The part where Fergus pretty much shared his life story with who he thought to be a random stranger at a party will never get old)

Pretty much EVERYTHING to do with the “unhinged angels” was a big point of interest/ source of humor for me.

Fergus (and Sparkle’s) sense of wonder and surprise at all the earthside things.

Anti-Robin. Just Anti-Robin. No more words necessary.

How much Fergus’s traits and sense of fairness shines through, to the point where he’s called “squares” partly for that reason.

Great Sidhe before and after the brownie revolution. (Once again, the blot on history being “smudged” really gets to me)

For a reason I can’t place, the parts where you gave attention to Fergus’s odd feet were very captivating, in the sense that I’m still thinking about it enough to write this down here. There’s just something about him wearing damsel shoes, not to mention being graceful one moment only to fall on his backside not two second later, that cracks me up. If it was any other character though, I’m not sure it’d have the same effect. Plus, the description is just so un-foot like, almost a cross between a hoof and a normal foot, that I can’t get the image out of my head. It would explain at least why, in the show, HP and the pixies all seem to basically wear heels. A nice tidbit, I think.

The parting between Fergus and those he’s known up until now gave me a little bittersweet feeling, the same kind I think any “coming of age” story should have.

And finally, that last scene where the damsel and her son ignore Fergus greatly unsettles me, but in a good way. It really excentuates how the mere thought of a brownie uprising, and all it might entail, isn’t just ludicrous to the average person, but also a concept that doesn’t even cross their mind.

Gosh, I could probably mention a lot more, but I’ll make myself stop here. Things are really picking up the pace within these chapters, and, as I am blessed with foresight in regard to this story, I know it’ll only get more intense and engaging. Kudos to you for writing this!
1/15/2019 c31 28Jet Engine
So, this is what you meant by "H.P. sells his soul for trading cards." Now I get it. They're just dorks being dorks. :) I honestly have no idea where this friendship is gonna go from here, but I'm eager to find out. Anti-Bryndin is a nut, and I love him.
1/15/2019 c31 86Bookworm Gal
I like how there were sections where the narration and HP are like "I'm totally calm and rational about these developments" while we can see it is closer to "I'm overwhelmed with emotions and trying to deny it" at points. And I do think that his sister isn't quite wrong about his new relationship. Maybe it is nice and Anti-Bryndin does honestly like him, but he's not above using this new connection to subtly help out his causes.
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