Review Request: The Revelation

Wondering if anyone would be willing to take a peak at my webnovel, The Revelation. Both advice and a review in general are fine, because I'm sorely lacking on both. If possible I'd prefer there to some balance between the two.


I'm willing to do a review in exchange for this, although it won't be until later in the week (having issues with my medication, which makes me a bit uneasy about the quality of anything I put out at the moment). Please note though that while I've offered advice in the past, I have little experience reviewing things.


Edit: A bit of a warning--The Revelation is a horror story/modern fantasy hybrid meant for mature audiences. The opening chapter has some graphic imagery, but it's nothing compared to what will come later.


Sure, sounds like fun.


I poked around at the website and I'd advise you make navigation a bit easier. A table of contents you can access to directly from the main page would be a great start.


So on to the traditional question: which story do you want to review. I've got almost 6 books at this point- three primaries and three sequels, all set in the same universe but otherwise unrelated to one another. Like Discworld.


The first is rather Arthurian in nature- heavy focus on love, revenge, justice and varying degrees of suffering. Currently doing its sequel- which is a royal pain... I will never write another story where the main character has anything resembling social anxiety or depression... it's draining just to imagine how they think...


The second is more Tristan and Isolde inspired- love, (misplaced) loyalty and family are the big themes here. Mostly having to do with how they conflict with one another.


The third is... well, more inspired by oldschool camp scifi adventures than any literary achievement. With what I loved about such shows as Sliders, Quantum Leap and 6 Million Dollar Man, back when I was a kid.


And all of them share themes of loss and the sacrifices one must make for power.


Added a direct link to the Table of Contents to the main menu, but I'm not sure why you think my site is hard to navigate. Could you clarify?


I think I'll do the third, given my lack of experience. It sounds like it'd be easier to handle, and I have to admit the old-school Sci-Fi feel appeals to me the most out of those.


Hello. Your story sounds like something I'm familiar with. I'm up for a review swap if you're interested. The link to my story is in my signature. Just a warning. Mine is very graphic at times and it's very long and ongoing. If you want to check it out and decide if it's something you can read, just let me know.


...Also, I'm not expecting a review of the whole darn thing. Again, It's long. You can read as much as you want or enough to satisfy what you need for a review ;)


Sure, Scott, I'll do yours right after I read Tana's.


... Everyone picks this one. Are 80s style episodic stories really this popular? Whelp, have fun.


https://pricestory.wordpress.com/2016/07/30/blue-steel-series/


As to your website- it takes a bit to figure out that there's a hidden menu on the left hand side, given that most formats have an always-visible menu that's usually drop down. Once found, it's simple enough, but that is a bit annoying.


I took a quick glance at your website's homepage out of curiosity and a couple things stood out. Everything's black and white, there's ZERO differentiation between links/buttons and normal text. There's also no hover indicator on your nav menu links. Now, it's easy to figure out that they're meant to be links, but they're lacking the normal indicators (different color, button styling, underline, etc). Even a simple hover style would improve it.


I couldn't get the hidden menu TanaNari mentioned to open, perhaps that's a mobile thing? I'm using desktop Chrome.


Again, it's not really a big deal -- if I was already trying to read your story, nothing I mentioned would stop me.


Archive:


I'm in the process of redesigning my site, due to the old theme being confusing. That's why everything seems to be off and inconsistent with Tana's comments--they're not relevant anymore. I'm about to install another theme right now--the current one is far too simplistic for my tastes.


@ Carcharocles, Sounds good to me. I'm currently reading another work as well, but after that review I'll start reading yours ;)


@TanaNari, I've posted a review of Blue Steel. I only read 8 chapters so far, but if you don't mind me spoiling much of the review, well, you just earned a follower.


http://webfictionguide.com/listings/price/review-by-carcharocles/


Well, I come in through the main page anyway, so I saw it before you. Incidentally, will have your review up sometime today. And one bit of quick writing advice- it'd be a cleaner read if you double-spaced your paragraphs.


Also: trippiest dream sequence I've read in a while. Kudos.


Thanks Tana! And I hope the review is to your satisfaction, since it's really the first I've done.


As for your advice--I thought about doing it while reading Blue Steel, so I do agree with it. So I've now double spaced all the paragraphs, and took the time to edit some errors that I'd missed before while doing so--including one VERY frustrating one in one chapter in particular (I can't believe I goofed like that.)


Thanks TanaNari!


Yeah, I didn't see the pacing issues, but that's a holdover from the first draft that I will probably end up addressing before I continue on to the next chapter.


As for the hybrids, there's an explanation of why they're there and why that community takes them as normal, but I was having a lot of trouble fitting it into the prose without info-dumping. As for WHY they are there, it has to do with the origins of the story, which started out as something completely different (and more humorous.)


Still, thanks for your review! It's highlighted problems I both knew and didn't, and at least convinced me I'm not a complete hack (just an amateur, which I already knew).


As for the paleontology bit and the bit on marine biology, it's a bit of a Chekov's skill that will show up in just a few chapters.


Yeah, that's one of the big mistakes new writers make. Cramming too many contradictory ideas into the same story. The trick I used to get around it (works for me, at least) is to know what the climactic chapter looks like before writing the first chapter. God did that save me a lot of messes.


It also helps to remember advice I got from way back when... "If it's not important enough to explain in the story, it's not important enough to exist in the story". Which is helpful in a number of ways. But the more explaining needs be done, the more you have to wonder if a given thing is even worth including- and that's a good thing.


Of course, then you got the opposite problem to worry about- following a formula with no originality to be found... but that's another subject entirely...


Clarify, since I suck at picking up subtleties online: is my story unoriginal, or am I just stepping into unfamiliar territory?


And just to point out, I've dropped hints at why the hybrids are there throughout the chapters (the comment about Carter's father being made from Roderigo's grandfather's blood is one that sticks in my mind); their existence helps explain the backstory of the setting and sets up a third party that has yet to reveal itself (but has been hinted at, albeit subtly). As for knowing what the climactic chapter looks like, I definitely do--a not-so-secret thing is that this is not my first take on this story, the history of which is found in the About Deathscape link on my site (woo boy, at least I'm happy it doesn't suck as bad as my first attempt at writing this; actually a big problem that may be causing the jumping around in pacing is I'm diluting the overly-long, way-too-drawn-out first attempt. Probably diluted it too much.)


All in all, I'm disappointed that the review was only 2-1/2 stars (I knew I had problems, was hoping for three, but eh, you get what you get), but relieved that it was filled with plenty of things to work on. That one person who marked it as helpful? That's me. :)


Oh, no, the "unorginality" thing is what happens when going to far in pruning away the unnecessary and/or unusual. You don't have that problem, it's just something to consider in the future.


And I'm okay with the hybrids existing, but it comes across like they exist in an otherwise normal world (sans the magic that apparently isn't known to the rest of the world)- and that they've been around so long that nobody finds their existence to be in any way odd. It's like... is there no prejudice in this setting, has nobody tried to do scientific studies on these demihumans, does their neurology, medical needs, and psychology differ from standard humans in any way?


I guess it's one of those scifi vs fantasy divides... but the biggest question isn't *that* they exist, or even *how* they exist... it's *why doesn't anyone in the setting seem to care* that they exist.


Humans as a species don't do well with the different and the unknown. Our instincts are either to learn everything about it, or destroy it. Your story seems to ignore that instinct.


Lol, sorry, thought you were addressing that comment to me. That's a good thing, that you aren't.


Actually, Hybrids have only been around for less than 100 years at the point of the story, and they aren't widespread or common (just a few tens of thousands of them exist); the setting's history is largely parallel to ours, and there's a bit of backstory on why Hybrids have the rights they do. As for why no one in this particular setting (Calusa Shores) don't care they exist, most of the people encountered have been around them a while at this point. Outside of the areas they tend to congregate in prejudice does exist, and there will be some occasions of it later in the story (and a lot of it upfront in later tales).


So it's not ignored, it's just not been addressed yet. Just consider that most of the people encountered so far are "used" to them.


I also didn't mean to make it seem like I thought you hated them--you made it clear that explaining them would work if done right. I always intended to do that, I just haven't done it yet due to the aforementioned info-dump issue.


Right. So they're a new species. As a general rule, at least in the Western World, they'd probably be given basic human rights by default ability to prove sapience (plus human ancestry- so if nothing else they'd be treated as deformed humans- and we don't generally treat people born with birth defects as nonhuman)... but they are *still a new species*, with core biological differences to humans...


Dietary needs is an excellent start. Foods like chocolate and caffeine- something of staples in the human diet- can be *fatal* to felines. And apparently grapes cause liver failure in dogs (no data on if it does the same to cats). They also don't do well with milk, garlic or tuna. Two of which, a lot of people who don't know anything about cats often feed to cats.


http://www.petmd.com/cat/emergency/poisoning-toxicity/e_ct_human_food_poisoning


And other differences in biology. Sense of smell. Preference for smells humans dislike (musky, even moldy, scents). Distaste for things humans do like (citrus).


http://www.cat-training.com/smells-that-cats-hate


Then comes eyesight- which cats are significantly different from humans (they have vastly superior night vision, we have superior color vision and visual range).


http://www.businessinsider.com/pictures-of-how-cats-see-the-world-2013-10


Cats have muscles connected to their ears which let them twitch and point in the direction of sounds, in much the same way that humans will turn their heads toward sounds.


These are some of the many things that showcase the gap between human and nonhuman beyond "has fur and a tail", and could help show readers that this is a design decision with meaning.


It's interesting you point those things out--I've taken many of them into consideration. There's actually four distinct subsets of hybrids, each with their own mixtures of human and feline features. Devon Carter, for instance, wears glasses because he lacks a properly formed fovea centralis, leaving him rather nearsighted; this trait was not inherited by his daughters, however. Ash Bauer--a character shown later--must eat a diet high in taurine and low in grains. There's a reason his daughters are shown eating eggs in their intro.


Hybrids in general have something of an in-between on vision compared to both humans and felines--they have improved day vision and visual range, and decreased night vision, but they still have far superior night vision than humans (which will come into play later in the story, actually.) There are also subsets that absolutely must avoid vegetables (inability to properly digest them--takes a specialized digestive tract) and a subset that can become severely anemic upon eating garlic and onions. As for smells... I haven't really considered that, but I'll figure out a way to work that in--definitely would be interesting, and would play well with one of Fiona's personality quirks (outright revolting taste in food.)


As for chocolate, that's mostly a liver issue in cats (their livers don't produce the enzyme to break down one of its major chemicals), and since hybrids genetically are more human than feline, it wouldn't be too difficult to imagine their livers being more human than cat. Which is why Pepper is seen eating Pocky in one chapter and requesting chocolate milk in another (which doesn't bother her, as the genes she inherited from Roderigo's grandfather don't cause lactose intolerance); she doesn't have a problem processing theobromine or caffeine.


One thing on Samantha Carter: there is a chapter that references her enjoying Japan due to the attention she gets. Japan has a culture fixated on the cute--being a hybrid, she attracts a lot of attention there, which is why she considers going there to give a speech on a microprocessor architecture "vacation."