Below is a sort of CinemaSins-EWW-esque commentary on this story (for a large part, but not all, of it). To quote CinemaSins: Spoilers. (duh)
k, wow. DSP really
likes that Aquiline (Two) font yeesh.
(1) MC is named "Theodyne Thespacian" and you expect me to take this seriously?
^Gah, see, this is what happens when I watch Cinema Sins. I start writing these EWW-esque reviews =_=
(2) Sentence 2. "After spending the last four years inside the stale, moldy confines of Pallonia Prison for thieving, the morning breeze that blew down into the valley from the mountains made him choke."
It's long, it's wordy, it's diffuse, and it has a shitty payoff. You get to the end, think there's going to be a beautiful breath of fresh air, and end up ironically choking to death from all of the freshness?
(3) Sentence 3. "Breath sputtered and wheezed out as he tried to gain control of his lungs." For some reason the first part of the sentence feels really passive-voice-like.
Eh. Actually, I dunno. Maybe it's kind of a cool effect? Like it subverts your expectations? We'll have to see. I'm still not over "Theodyne Thespacian."
Man, I feel like I should do video reviews. But then, my video reviews would be like hours long, just hours and hours of me ranting and going on and on forever about the littlest things.
(4) [beginning of] Paragraph 3. "Theodyne nearly told the man that if the conditions were better, it wouldn’t happen. But at this stage of the game, standing outside the prison walls..."
...the fuck was there a prologue I missed? Is there a game we should know about? Yes, there is. Which means, then, the author should probably let us know about it.The guard reached into his uniform and pulled out a small leather-bound packet. “These here are your release documents. Keep them with you at all times or the city guards will lock you up again.”
♫ NOW PRISONER 24601 / YOUR TIME IS UP AND YOUR PAROLE BEGUN / YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS? ♫
Yes, that was very necessary
"He ran a finger down the telling scar. Tingles erupted under the puckered flesh where it hadn’t quite healed sufficiently."
...Oh, is that
how scars work? I've never had any wound serious enough to scar before. Someone, please tell me. Is this how scars work? ...because I know at least all that sex bullshit about scars being more sensitive is absolute bullshit, but this is a still-healing wound, right? I mean, if I remember correctly, still-healing wounds just hurt when you touch them. Either that or they itch if they've started scabbing over.
Tingly wounds, anyone?
"Resentment burned up his gullet."
...that sounds like something you need to see your doctor for. (seriously, gullet? Like your esophagus? You sure that's not just heartburn? I think that might actually be heartburn you're feeling.)
"Women and men alike had thrown themselves at his feet and in his bed."
Honestly, the "at his feet" was enough. Like don't worry, we can extrapolate so far as "in his bed." By superimposing the two, you've actually defeated yourself, because now I'm visuallizing those two actions literally. That's what you get for mixing metaphors.
"And who was he to have denied himself the pleasure?"
Ah, slight arrogance couched in self-deprecation. ...actually, that's good. That's relatable. You go, Glen Coco. Way to write.
"The pickings, once so bountiful, were going to dry up like grapes on the vine if not plucked in time."
...*sigh* knew it was too good to last. Look at you, mixing metaphors again. I mean, you can interweave metaphors; that's fine. Then you get Hannibal. But look at you, you're just mixing them willy nilly, throwing them all together and hoping the threads smooth out into a beautiful tapestry (or at least a tapestry of some sort) instead of ending up the tangled mess part of you has to know it will.
(I mean, I know I'm micro-analyzing/nit-picking here, but I don't actually have that big a quarrel with it, not so far, at least).
Whoo. Page 2
And wow, hey look, this part is actually pretty good. You create an atmosphere, establish a mood. Sure, the MC's kind of an asshole, but aren't we all? And he's spunky. Dickish, sure, but still spunky. Creates character dynamic.
(Then again, I did
just come from reading that godawful piece of shit gah I don't even want to name it fine The Price so who knows, maybe my expectations/standards have been lowered)
OH, LOOK AT YOU. NOT
MIXING YOUR METAPHORS. IN FACT, RUNNING WITH THE METAPHOR YOU DELINEATED. I'M PROVISIONALLY AND TEMPORARILY SO PROUD OF YOU (okay fine, that's a bit of a stretch, but the sentiment is kind of there)
*sigh* I could say so much more, but basically, it boils down to "melodrama." And meh, probably. Some of the meh comes from melodrama.
And holy fuck Nico is a pedophile creeper. Or he comes off that way.
It's just...the entire construction. All of the stupid melodrama. It renders the whole thing histrionic. There are sometimes these stupid non sequiturs that would only result if the speaker already have some stupidly melodramatic scenario in mind and was bound and determined to force that to play out and/or responded as if that situation were happening instead of what was actually happening. Most of the histrionic bullshit comes from the MC. That makes him hard to like and makes me sympathize with all the rest of the characters who have to deal with this psycho.
Gah. Just. Ugh. Let me list off a few more (CinemaSin-EWW-style):
UST between characters is weird and awkward.
Theo jumping to the stupid conclusion that apprenticeship = he wants to keep me as a pet (like dude, did you miss the "you'll have to work" thing?)
The name Durgin.
Pretty much any and every interaction between Theo and Nico so far. (~11%)
The name Guisseppan
The fact that Theo demands payment for that half day of work (which isn't bad in and of itself) but then feels the need to have the last word with a stupid non sequitur one-liner.
Theo being an asshole to dead people's handwriting and Nico calling it a "dry wit and cynical tongue."
Nico totally buying into the bullshit.
Theo seeing this job offer as a personal affront to the core of his being (aka a thief).
Theo acting like he's doing Nico a favor by accepting his job offer.
(point in its favor: Nico lampshades ^)
Nico being an ass to Guisseppan to get back at him for being an ass to Theo, who is an ass to everyone and does not need his poor-little-rich-boy ego stroked. This will be sure to engender good will in Guisseppan and not make him resent the fascist aristocracy.
Theo's POV describes the hard bench under padding of the "finest cloth" as if the hardness of wood is a personal affront to the core of his being.
Theo is really, really obssessed with this idea of being someone's pet (but only in the sense that he rails against it, of course).
Some bullshit about magic sounds.
Some bullshit about Theo being able to push those sounds away (with extra concentration, of course).
Awkwardly bringing up the ex.
For some reason, needing to enumerate exactly what Nico and Theo's relationship is, as if we hadn't been here the past few pages to read about the apprenticeship.
Bullshit melodrama about how Nico can drop him like he's hot (but not in the fun sexy way) and get him sent back into prison and more bullshit.
Bullshit judge of character as if he knows every aspect of Nico. And post hoc disclaimer.
Theo's heart tripping (and pounding).
Really awkward and unfounded UST right after taking about his ex.
"Odd and fanciful thoughts" racing through Theo's mind.
Magic ink that is either purple, pink, or black, depending on how the light shines on it and the time of day and perhaps the ink's particular mood at the moment (hyperbole).
Words lodging in Theo's sacrum (You can't fool me; I looked it up:
Apparently Theo's soul exists in his ass. Also, the Count's voice went there along with the words.
"Face of a fallen god" cliche.
Again, every interaction between Nico (or, "The Count") and Theo. (~13%)
"Never having any grand plans" cliche.
Theo feeling the "acute intimacy of being along with the Count."
Either really obvious Chekhov's gun or really weirdly placed emphasis.
"...between madman and genius" cliche.
^while remaining "remarkably stable"
Theo wanting to please "the Count" because he's both "intensely intelligent" as well as possessing "the curiosity of a child" while still remaining "remarkably stable." (paraphrased and slight hyperbole)
"The priests would call you a blasphemer" cliche
(Sidebar: Yes, I know I'm nit-picking. Bluntly speaking, though, without this, I doubt I'd be able to get through this...this.)
Crude "comeback" clearly inserted by author to create sexual tension so that sexing up can eventually happen.
^followed by a sensuous smile. that "lifted the corner of the Count's mouth."
"A fever spilled inside Theodyne's body." (cumming from the inside-in?)
"For the first time in his life" cliche, relating to something something sex stuff? (unbalanced for the sake of drama cliche)
Sexual tension filled dinner scene does not include a lapdance.
"Drinking is bad for thieves" cliche.
Throwaway lines all around. Man, these characaters sure like the sound of their own textual voice.
Literal pointless throwaway conversation.
"I can see your value, even if you do not" cliche.
Boo-hoo-me-no-one-wants-me by Theo. Also cliche.
Looking down into "the Count's" smiling face. What, is he suddenly looming over the Count?
Seeing things MC has only dreamed of cliche.
Discount baddie, brought up incongruously in what appeared before to be a seductive dinner scene. Also, scene still does not include a lapdance.
More sensous lips lifting at single corners.
Break to wax poetic about "the Count's" muscly muscles.
The sheer number of "the Count"'s everywhere.
Theo staring into "the Count's" lap and not giving him a lapdance.
Suddenly, shame. Why? I can think of no reason why, except I may have missed it when my eyes glazed over during their "witty" "repartee."
Suddenly, a "worthy goal" for our previously grand-goal-less MC.
More swirling desire.
"Been there, done that; don't wanna go back" in a relationship context cliche. (aka Defrosting the Ice Queen)
Taking a break to wax poetic about cascading colorful tendrils of lights that danced in intricate patterns on the ceiling like luminscent waterfalls (paraphrased).
^pausing for a paragraph in awe
^inexplicably calming cliche
^the lights danced over him as he lay down. wondering how he would sleep with such a spectacle cliche
Boo-hoo-me I've slept through worse than a beautiful awe-inspiring calming light show. And now let me wax poetic about my pain.
^Sentence fragments in an attempts to generate poetic angst.
Suddenly having absolutely no problems, not even with PTSD for retraumatizing self, and the lights moving him into "a state of toal relaxation."
Words of arcane alchemist dancing before his eyes like lights as he drifts off to sleep in complete euphoria.
Gross overuse of words in brief spans of time/space.
Nico ordering the care of a messenger passing out from exhaustion to deliver an important message only after rolling him over to find an insignia for the Gold School emblazoned somewhere mysterious on the dude under layers of mud.
"Poor, unfortunate" not followed by "souls."
Aside to give simultaneously pointed and pointless about nameless passed out messenger.
Theo apparently possesses quite extensive medical knowledge.
Any and all interaction between Nico and Theo
"A well of desparate longing filled Nico's heart" (cliche).
"...hadn't succumbed to his trials, but had risen above them and took those lessons with him into the world" cliche throwaway line.
The sheer number of cliche throwaway lines at only 16.4%
Theo is suddenly a surgeon.
"Milking the infection from the site" (why can't you just do what normal people do and use "drawing"? It makes it less awkward with all the stupid sex stuff you have floating around everywhere.)
"It was that look of total concentration that made Nico know..." (awkward passive voice)
Me needing to take a fanfic break to cleanse my palate before continuing reading this.
More stuff burning down Theo's throat.
Feelings of wrongness cliche.
Waxing didactic about how alchemy is NOT devil work and generally carrying as if attempting to debate with a pigeon.
Quiet clinks of glass against tabletop invading Nico's thoughts (and taking over and establishing itsn own dynasty?)
Boo-hoo-me poor science against religion alas and alack and generally carrying on melodramatically and self-righteously, full of righteous indignation against the iniquities of the church and the nobility who live in its pockets.
Invisible ink cliche.
//Dear god I'm only at Chapter 5? I'm not even a quarter of my way through this thing?
You know what fuck it; I'm done.
Mission Abort ~17.9%
(this is from before I read it)
Honestly, idk, man. To be blunt, I didn't really like Magpie Lord thing stuff whatever that's called all that much. As in really not at all (which is weird cuz like wow historicals of the era of well-turned calves, and lords, and depression but actually curse generated depression, curse, magic, and I dunno, stuff. You'd think I'd like it. Oh, right, the white-people-referencing-China thing bothered me. Eh, but I don't think that was a deal-breaker. Just...something about the relationship. I think I'm tired of yaoi relationships. Part of why I escaped yaoi into M/M to begin with. I mean, to be fair, a lot of the early stuff I read wasn't exactly the best of examples of not-heterosexualization of homosexual relationships, but they at least weren't so bad. And I don't even know where I'm going with this anymore. Am I even still in the parenthetical? Hold on; let me check...and yep, I am. Gah. How many lines is this? I literally have no idea where I'm going, and now I'm thinking about Captain America), and then someone made a comparison to that in one of their reviews (hey, kinda found my way back), so now I really don't know about this. Plus, I'm remembering some other godawful fantasy story involving a thief blackmailed into infiltrating whatever and stealing shit whatever and that ended rather disastrously reading-wise, so now I really don't know. Not enough to put it in maybe-later, though; I still cling to (false?) hope. Eh. *shrug* *waves helplessly*