From: Joel Levy
Date: Fri, Oct 16, 2009 at 9:43 PM
Subject: Assault on Demon Wood
To: Dan Olarnick
Hi Dan: You have given me a difficult one to critique this time. Here goes.
The author has tried to cover too much in one short story. At first it seemed like a traditional post atomic war story with mutated beast men vs human survivors armed with strange crystals; much like "Planet of the Apes". Then we are shown that a slave society exists among the humans, ruled by a Mother who is partially explained and an Elder who is not explained at all.
First we meet a war lord named "Dragoon" who at first seems quite tough and smart, but you leads his troops stupidly to destruction. I liked the Grendel character. The author seems unable to decide if the beast men are heroes or buffoons in the plot.
Particularly jarring is the elder's great swordsmanship at the end, defeating three hundred beast men by himself, then killing one of his own men to keep the secret of his prowess with a blade. This whole ending makes no sense to the reader. The author obviously has a reason for the elder's action, but it fails to come across to the reader. One gets the impression that a whole lot the author writes is never explained.
The story should be rewritten with an introduction clearly explaining what led up to the present situation, how the Mother and the Elder became powerful and immortal, and why the humans are confined to the forest. I might even get rid of a few of the sub plots such as mind reading by the oppressive leaders of the hunters and gardeners. It is all just too convoluted for a short story. It reads more like the jottings of an author thinking of writing a novel.
Beginning the story with a saga like poem is an excellent idea, recalling bards and Icelandic sagas. Try to make the poem at least scan and correct the misspellings that are jarring also to the reader. Strive for more clarity and a simpler plot then resubmit the story.
Joel Weichs Levy, Associate Editor.
Subject: Odans World The Gorbs comments
On Thu Oct 12 01:57:47 2006, The following information was submitted:
name = Luke
comments = I love the story. Its unlike other books I have read. Cliffhangers, fascinating creatures and the interesting consequences allows me to continue with this. This is such a cool book.
Review of Crossing Dragons Canyon by Ashley Hibbert
Reviewer: William Avett
I really enjoyed the active writing style that placed the reader into an unusual setting in some far off land. The description of the heights leads one to interesting imagery that enhances the story progression.
However, I did have some difficulty understanding the circumstances, a monastery on one side, a ship below, a two-headed dragon on the other with blood running from its mouth. I was left with some confusion as to the purpose. What was going on? Was this a pilgrimage on a strange dragon, whose one head had evidently consumed someone?
Perhaps the author's intent was to leave the reader guessing, and this reviewer can understand that. Overall an interesting story that left this reader in inquisitive mystery.