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Pokémon Do Psychic-Type Pokemon Dream of Electric Sheep?

Ambyssin

am i spoopy?
Location
Etherium
Pronouns
he/him
Partner
silvally-dragon
So, I read the prologue and the first chapter. I'm sure your writing's come a long way since then, so feel free to ignore whatever I have to say if it doesn't apply anymore. :P

It was a bold strategy to go with a total absence of dialogue until Audino finds Espurr. I suppose it's about the closest you can get in prose to replicating Super's immediate intro where we're locked into the protagonist's inner monologue until they find Nuzleaf. It does feel like things meander a bit and give us Espurr's thoughts in a bit of repetitive detail. Which is unusual, since there isn't actually much in the way of environmental descriptions. The river is a river. The forest is a forest with trees. Aside from that and the noxious mystery dungeon smell, there isn't much detail to go off.

The same applies to the (expedited) tour of Serene Village. Tricky rifles off locations — which is supposed to show off her hyperactiveness — but you're essentially counting on readers to have played Super and already be familiar with what everything looks like. Which, fair enough, is probably the case, but still not the greatest idea in my opinion. Especially since it could provide you an opportunity to create some differences from the game. Maybe an extra shop or two that don't exist in the original source material?

At the very least, you offer up an early difference in Audino's discovery instead of Nuzleaf. There's mention of a disappearance, which leads me to wonder if it is Nuzleaf or someone else entirely. I can't imagine Audino's serving Dark Matter just based on her POV from the scene in the prologue, but you could always surprise us.

Did this mean they couldn’t climb trees after all? That she was safe, at least for the time being?
Didn't Espurr already realize they could levitate? Seems awfully silly she'd think they have to climb trees.
She would escape through the trees.
Espurr, cat of the jungle. Watch out for those trees!
“Oh! You’re up now. Good.”

the voice suddenly perked up with all the excitement of a pokemon kit in front of a candied berry stall
How is Espurr's mind already making pokémon-based analogies when she's only been one for less than a day?
fennekin somehow limped through the doorway on only one leg
Wouldn't she be hopping, then? :V
“My name is… A secret! But everyone just calls me Tricky, so you can too!”
"Pleased to meet you, Asecret."
“Silence, my liege!” Tricky called back in a heavy accent. “This is the most important of occasions, and it demands our full attention!”

“At this rate, taking the long way around won’t be a shortcut!”
Tricky has a questionable definition of shortcuts.
and just for a split second Espurr locked eyes with the miniature panda.
See, personally, I'm not the biggest fan of using real-world animals to describe pokémon when you're in third-person limited. Unless you're setting us up to have Espurr be from a world that has real animals and not pokémon, but then she shouldn't know she's an espurr and Tricky's a fennekin. ;>.>
It felt like… It felt like her feet weren’t her own.
"Freaking circle pads, man."
I should know, I’ve been through, like, 30 of these and come out just fine!
Press X to doubt.
A bunch of scummy layabouts who steal and pillage and trespass to their heart’s content
So, either vikings or pirates? I dunno, that sounds pretty cool to me. :V
 

SparklingEspeon

Insquisitabilitating
Pronouns
She/Her
Partner
espurr
So, I read the prologue and the first chapter. I'm sure your writing's come a long way since then, so feel free to ignore whatever I have to say if it doesn't apply anymore. :P
I... hope it has. Thanks!

I think most of the issues you outlined here come down to how I structured this story. When I began writing I made the fatal mistake of designing the first arc as a slow burn, which leads to the prologue and the first two chapters being unanimously panned when read on their own. A lot of the details in the prologue and the first chapter are things that aren't supposed to be obvious at first and then click later on, but I recognize that tends to make them read as slightly lackadaisical/boring on the first go.

but you're essentially counting on readers to have played Super and already be familiar with what everything looks like. Which, fair enough, is probably the case, but still not the greatest idea in my opinion. Especially since it could provide you an opportunity to create some differences from the game. Maybe an extra shop or two that don't exist in the original source material?
Yeah, I do kind of leave the descriptions vague a bit. Part of it is what you outlined above, which I've tried to be better about going forward. Another part is that I'm really bad with maps and I know if I go into detail Serenity Village will turn into an inconsistent, ever-shifting labyrinth Even with leaving it vague I have constantly mislabeled the east wing of town as the west one and saw no issue with this until three weeks later, so I just leave it up to the readers' imagination and hope I can get away with it :ROFLMAO:

Maybe an extra shop or two that don't exist in the original source material?
Technically this isn't practical for Serenity Village, for two reasons: 1, Kecleon does not appreciate competition. And 2, the village is very out of the way, so it doesn't make sense to set up a shop there unless you live there. There are merchants that travel in every few weeks with more exotic goods, and a few of those do pop up later on.

Tricky has a questionable definition of shortcuts.
Tricky has questionable definitions of lots of things. Madness.png

As for the animal descriptions... I'd say touche, but this world actually does have animals.

Thanks for giving it a look! I hope it wasn't too boring of a read.
 

OldschoolJohto

Don’t underestimate seeds.
Pronouns
She/Her
Partner
solrock
Hi, Espy! It’s been quite a while, but I’m here for the first full chapter!

I’ll give you some general thoughts up top and line reactions after.

EVENTS
There’s a lot happening in this chapter! We meet Tricky, and then she forcibly drags Espurr away to see the school. Along the way, we meet VP Watchog and some of their fellow classmates. Tricky and Espurr decide they have to rescue Goomy from a dungeon, which he went into because of the other students. This could be my spotty reading comprehension tonight, but I missed why it had to be Tricky and Espurr. When they get back, they get a slap on the wrist and then they’re sent back to their starting positions.

For me, the number of events pushed the boundaries of how many I can process well in a single chapter. 7k isn’t terribly long, but it felt a little long to me. Some of it is that Tricky is literally, physically driving us forward ... but it wasn’t totally clear to me what we were moving toward and why we needed to move in that direction.

CHARACTERS
I do think the next chapter should introduce at least some hints about why Tricky is like this (I guess I’ll have to find time to read on to see if it does), but at least her MO shines through very clearly here. You describe her several times as hyper(active), but she almost seems more manic to me. She’s either super unaware of others, mowing them down with constant talking, or she’s desperately insecure. She actually reminds me of a kid I teach: clearly wants attention really badly but has no idea how to get it constructively, determined to find trouble. Nobody is creating and maintaining boundaries for her. In Audino, we see that a partial explanation for that is the adults around her are too busy to give her the attention and discipline she needs. Vice Principal Watchog definitely wants to discipline but he shoots himself in the foot by being a blowhard. More importantly, he’s definitely not seeking to understand Tricky. He just wants her to sit down and behave.

Espurr is pretty blank. She seems worried about the dungeons, following rules, and her injuries. She doesn’t seem to want anything herself, though—she only reacts—and she’s astonishingly not curious about how she got there and who she is. The behavior of her classmates also made me wonder how old she is. In the prologue, I’d guessed teen or young adult, but the other students are definitely no older than 10 or 11.

I was surprised how off-screen Audino was here given her importance in the prologue. I was also surprised Tricky is the only one with an actual name. I get that her real name is “secret” ... but then the question is why she has a secret name that isn’t just Fennekin when no one else seems to. I get that you don’t want species to get mixed up, I think her name adds a lot to her character. If you’re worried about the reader losing track of who’s who, you’ve got bigger characterization problems than just names, you know?



I didn’t quote n’ pull any grammar errors. At this point, I trust someone has already pointed it out and you just haven’t had a chance to make corrections. But! LMK if that’s not the case and you do want me to highlight those for you.

I did pull some other prose/narration/sentence flow questions I had, though. One that I wondered about many times was your POV choice, so I’ll talk about that in some detail.

POV
I remember you mentioning in the Discord Server that your goal is 3rd omniscient, but it’s coming out muddled here. You definitely have a lot of character perspectives happening, but then you also have scenes labeled by POV character. (Which you don’t actually need to do even in a rotating close 3rd. Divides has 4 POV characters so far, but it’s always clear by the first few lines whose chapter or scene it is.)

Even in 3rd omniscient, you can’t jump between characters too often without jarring and/or confusing your reader. There’s more of it here than I found tenable or useful. Quite a few times, I found myself asking what an aside about a certain character was adding and whether it was necessary. You also need to be extra careful about not exposition-dumping or “telling” in 3rd omni; you definitely get more freedom to summarize and drop in extra information, but you still have to watch out for redundancy and flatness. A lot of your POV switches were just to tell us what a new character is feeling, and I didn’t find that useful. I’ll explain why in a second.

The two ways to do 3rd Omni that I know of are Objective and Subjective. Subjective is the Terry Pratchett/Douglass Adams style: the narrator is almost like a character unto itself, unnamed but with a strong personality that is distinct from any one character’s personality. Your narration style doesn’t really support that one. If anything, yours is the Objective version: the narrator becomes like a camera, observing everything that happens like a fly on the wall. And that makes sense, given your interest in film and scripts. I can’t offer you a ton of exciting examples of this sort because it’s really uncommon in contemporary published fiction, but you could check out Lord of the Flies or Joseph Conrad. But the thing with Objective 3rd Person Omni is that it’s distant. You don’t usually get individual characters’ thoughts, and you really don’t see a lot of words like felt, wondered, wanted, saw, and noticed. Rather than telling us “Tricky felt scared,” Objective 3rd Omni instead shows us Tricky cowering, trembling, sweating, and staring wide-eyed.

Because this already seems to be a story driven by characters having incomplete information and differing perceptions of each other, I really have to wonder if rotating close limited wouldn’t be a better fit. I think Goomy’s section was one of the strongest because it (mostly) embodied his internal life. The prose felt like him and his worries determine what details make it into the scene.

OTHER NOTES ON PROSE
There were several places where your prose was cluttered—long turns of phrase that could be condensed for clarity, redundant descriptions. Watch out for those. There can be times when being wordy works for comedic effect or to create a dreamy mood, but here I felt like it was slowing you down.

The last thing I noticed a lot of were epithets (“the hyper pokemon,” for example). A lot of these are telling—weak characterization or redundant or both. Other times they’re confusing or just bulky. Try to avoid using too many of them.

~\({O})/~

~Espurr~
This confused me, not just because of the POV trouble I mentioned but also because your chapter title is a character’s name, and then immediately after, you’ve got another character’s name.

just before Errand Day, too.
I thought this was interesting, but right now I know nothing about what this means.

What are you still waiting out there for? You need treatment!” she scolded the unseen pokemon in the doorway.

“Sorry, Ms. Audino,” a voice muttered from outside. “It hurts to walk….”

“Well, that’s why you don’t go jumping out of trees,” Audino retorted, pouring whatever she had gotten into several small leaf-made pouches. “Not to worry,” she continued. “You’ll have company.”

“Really?!?” the voice suddenly perked up with all the excitement of a pokemon kit in front of a candied berry stall, and a fennekin somehow limped through the doorway on only one leg.
This felt kinda harsh! I thought she was seriously injured and that Audino was being a crappy nurse. If the idea is that she’s faking her injuries, Audino’s behavior and body language needs to signal that more.

with all the excitement of a pokemon kit in front of a candied berry stall
I wondered about POV here. In close 3rd, it makes no sense for this to be part of isekai’d Espurr’s worldview. On the flip side, you refer at one point to “the miniature panda” which felt too much our world after all the references like the one above, which doesn’t make sense in 3rd Omni.

Audino supplied her with a few bags of ice.
Where did these come from? I guess they have freezers? Or is Audino ice beaming around? It struck me as an oddly human solution when Audino’s whole thing is heal pulse.

A poor ursaring is having throat troubles, and I’ve scheduled his appointment in for today.
This felt like a breach of HIPPA.

“SO-o-o-o-o-o….” the fennekin drew out her single word for as long as possible after making sure Audino had left. “What are you in for?”

“You’re new here,” she piped up just a second later.

“What’s your name?” she asked immediately after that.

“Are you…”

“Hah! There’s no way you’re Ms. Audino’s kid, are you?”

“Wait. Are you?”

“Huh? Are you? Pleaaase tell me!”

“Do I ask too many questions? Some pokemon say I do, but Mr. Farfetch’d says that the worst questions are unasked ones, so I’m going to ask as many as possible!”
I thought this did a good job of establishing Tricky’s vibe. She feels really young here—like, seven or so. However, the formatting made it unclear that it’s just Tricky talking. Some of these could be one paragraph. Regardless, when a paragraph ends and the next paragraph continues the same character’s dialogue, you leave off the end quotation marks until they’re done talking. (I guess I lied about not calling out grammar.)

unsure of how to answer the hyper pokemon’s questions
Her rapid-fire questions convey her mania better than this epithet does.

trying her best to ignore the fact that the obviously crazy pokemon in front of her had just endangered her life to meet her.
Yeah, that’s scary and unhealthy.

Espurr watched Tricky’s tail painfully cramp as she tried to wag it, sending the fox plummeting to the ground headfirst.
I don’t understand how a hurt tail prevented her from waking or caused her to fall over.

And with her left arm in the condition it was,
Wordy! We know it’s broken, so there’s no reason to avoid saying it.

Is this another one of your shenanigans?”
I don’t think shenanigans can be singular; you can’t have one of them.

The village is larger, but this is the place where everything happens! You’ve got your Café Connection, which is called that because there’s an actual phone there, your fighting technique shop – no-mon EVER shops there – and your Kecleon’s Stall!” Tricky excitedly pointed all three out as she mentioned them. “Don’t steal from Kecleon,” she added with a hushed air of finality. “Trust me.”
“No-mon” (and other similar ones) confused me and felt stilted. “One” is no one or someone seems to be about personhood to me, which is species non-specific. Parts of this dialogue also felt a bit too explain-y to be natural.

Espurr’s ears twitched, and for a minute she turned away from the fennekin eagerly awaiting her reaction to eavesdrop just a little.

“…He’s nine!
The eavesdropping came out of nowhere. I couldn’t tell for a while where the dialogue was coming from.

her face twisting up into annoyed incredulity and contempt
A lot of words here that mean too nearly the same thing.

Shelmet, the younger of the duo,
POV—Espurr wouldn’t know this. I’m also not sure it’s vital information right now.

If Deerling could have facehooved, she would have.
POV—this switch doesn’t add anything for me and it momentarily confused me. You can maybe get away with it in Subjective Omni, but I don’t think we get anything from it we couldn’t get from body language. More importantly, I don’t think deer physically can hit themselves in the face with the “palm” (bottom) of their hooves like that.

“We’re going to get in more trouble...” Espurr couldn’t fathom how the fennekin could still want to continue onwards, especially after jumping headfirst out of a tree.
This didn’t land because we haven’t actually seen them get into trouble yet. The risk doesn’t feel real.

and she grabbed Tricky behind one of the houses with her good paw without even thinking.
The wording here is really unclear.

Come on, slowpoke!”
In a world where slowpoke are people, isn’t this basically a slur? Also, I thought this was a literal slowpoke.

Espurr could see her mental smirk.
I couldn’t tell how literal this was or why it couldn’t be a regular smirk.

In the distance, someone was talking.

“I’m going in after him!”

“No! You c-can’t! We… we won’t let anything bad happen to you!”

“Like you didn’t let anything bad happen to Goomy?”

There was a scoff, followed by the clip-clop of someone backing away.

“Fine! You two go, then.”
If you’re gonna use 3rd Omni, this is a good time for it! This would be much more interesting if we could see them. Here they’re just talking heads, and that makes it dry to read.

Tricky infused her voice with extra sadness to get the specific effect she wanted.
The effect is just sounding sad, isn’t it?

Nurse Audino’s child,” everyone but Espurr replied in unison. A moment later, Espurr decided never to lock eyes with anyone ever again.
This doesn’t land because it was an earlier interaction and not the eye contact that prompted this.

all manner of trip-friendly objects
These two ideas don’t mesh for me—tripping isn’t friendly. I get that you’re being sarcastic, but it doesn’t match the tone of the rest for me.

Both Espurr and Tricky jumped a combined total of six feet apart
Hard to picture and weirdly clinical.

still catching her breath from the sudden incident.
Again, I see no reason to talk around it—we just saw what “the incident” was.

Tricky… It was taboo for anymon in Serenity Village to hold more than a minute’s worth of conversation with Tricky. (Not that he hadn’t tried. Yesterday – the first and only time he’d attempted making friends with her – she had roped him into stealing oran berries from her Pop’s berry patch. That did not end well for either of them.)
I’m confused what you’re trying to say here. He’s saying that talking to her was taboo, which is maybe too strong a word anyway, but he clearly wants her acceptance, too.

But this was just as bad, if not even worse! Pancham and Shelmet had told him to do it. If he could find the paper they had left in this dungeon from the last school field trip, write his name on it, and bring it back to them before nightfall, they said, then they would finally recognize him as one of the Big Kids and stop teasing him! It was too good to be a dream, so he’d taken the dare.
This works really well! A few nitpicks: why is it a paper of all things? Seems a little weird, especially because it wouldn’t hold up well in the elements. There are also! A lot! Of exclamation points!

giving her his best attempt at a hug.
I have to wonder if creatures without arms wouldn’t have developed other ways to show affection.

Tricky!” Goomy happily glode over to Tricky, giving her his best attempt at a hug. It was a short-lived reunion, however. The mystery dungeon actively repelled such activities with a bellowing screech that blew through the trees and nearly knocked the three of them off their feet.

“Uh-oh…” Tricky looked up at the trees, rattled. “It’s getting mad. We should go.”

It was the first thing Tricky had said that day that Espurr wholeheartedly agreed with.
I forgot Espurr was even in this scene until this point—she had little presence—which made the switch to her POV extra jarring.

In my fifteen flipping years of service… one student has been the very bane of my existence.”
This is really wild language from a vice principal. Good way to lose your job! I also wasn’t sure why you decided to underline a word?

Audino had recommended he go for a checkup multiple times in the past, but Simipour had always insisted he was just fine),
This aside didn’t feel useful. I was also confused who Simipour was until later.

Wow, what does it mean that all the characters with authority are bipedal and have hands?

Wanna remind me why you elected him Vice Principal again?” Audino muttered to Principal Simipour in a hushed voice.
Vice principals aren’t elected. They’re hired, like most other jobs.

Yes,” he conceded, a good amount of his bravado lost.
A good example of unnecessary wordiness!

I know this got really long, but I hope it was helpful! 💪

Sounds like Espurr is going to have to get used to this new setting now that she’s solidly in the school. Maybe she’ll at least have Goomy as a friend? And Tricky, whether she wants her or not.
 
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SparklingEspeon

Insquisitabilitating
Pronouns
She/Her
Partner
espurr
Hi, Espy! It’s been quite a while, but I’m here for the first full chapter!
Quag.png

This is... a bit of a long reply in hindsight, but you highlighted a lot of stuff and I had a lot to say in response. Mostly the stories of how badly I screwed up behind the scenes with this first arc, lol I'll say up-front that most of the issues highlighted I already knew about and these are my explanations for why things are that way (both mess-ups and things there on purpose), but it was still useful anyway! I'll definitely be factoring in a lot of this for any future stories/chapters I write.

---

This could be my spotty reading comprehension tonight, but I missed why it had to be Tricky and Espurr. When they get back, they get a slap on the wrist and then they’re sent back to their starting positions.
It didn't have to be them; they just volunteered for it. It was also separate from the school; Watchog would not have been okay with them going into a dungeon if he couldn't oversee it, lol.

Vice Principal Watchog definitely wants to discipline but he shoots himself in the foot by being a blowhard. More importantly, he’s definitely not seeking to understand Tricky. He just wants her to sit down and behave.
Yeah, he was, uh. Definitely that 'stick in the mud' teacher in the base game, but when I wrote this I went really overboard with him and now he's legit psycho and I just kind of ran with it.

I was also surprised Tricky is the only one with an actual name. I get that her real name is “secret” ... but then the question is why she has a secret name that isn’t just Fennekin when no one else seems to.
This was an oversight at first, but then I decided to work with it and wrote it into the lore. So... There Is A Reason

For me, the number of events pushed the boundaries of how many I can process well in a single chapter. 7k isn’t terribly long, but it felt a little long to me. Some of it is that Tricky is literally, physically driving us forward ... but it wasn’t totally clear to me what we were moving toward and why we needed to move in that direction.
I think the first two chapters end up feeling a bit directionless. Part of it is that this was a tutorial level of the game that I adapted this from, which featured Tricky's source character kinda just... dragging you around for the whole thing, but also because I was using this chapter to figure out where I wanted to go with the story at large - you're pretty much reading a super polished character experiment that's been tweaked to not look like one. So the pacing does drag a lot/feel aimless for the next two or so chapters despite all the stuff that's flying around and I'm sorry for that.

Espurr is pretty blank. She seems worried about the dungeons, following rules, and her injuries. She doesn’t seem to want anything herself, though—she only reacts—and she’s astonishingly not curious about how she got there and who she is. The behavior of her classmates also made me wonder how old she is. In the prologue, I’d guessed teen or young adult, but the other students are definitely no older than 10 or 11.
The reason for this is that I had no clue how to write Espurr in the beginning, so I made her passive and let the plot dictate her motivations for a bit. I fix this sometime during the fourth chapter and went back and painted over the older ones, but I don't know if I'll ever really get it perfect.

As for the ages, they're mostly in the ballpark of 9 - 13, but assume 13 - 15 for maturity levels. Blah Blah pokemon years I needed at least late-middle-school age maturity for the plot

I do think the next chapter should introduce at least some hints about why Tricky is like this (I guess I’ll have to find time to read on to see if it does), but at least her MO shines through very clearly here. You describe her several times as hyper(active), but she almost seems more manic to me. She’s either super unaware of others, mowing them down with constant talking, or she’s desperately insecure.
You're honestly sort of on the money; Tricky is manic. She has serious emotional issues/insecurities and is also extremely desperate to Make And Keep This Friend... to the point where she'd injure herself on purpose to do it. The reason doesn't come until much later on, but there is one and it does explain all of this behavior from her.

I remember you mentioning in the Discord Server that your goal is 3rd omniscient, but it’s coming out muddled here. You definitely have a lot of character perspectives happening, but then you also have scenes labeled by POV character. (Which you don’t actually need to do even in a rotating close 3rd. Divides has 4 POV characters so far, but it’s always clear by the first few lines whose chapter or scene it is.)
Well, my original goal was Third Omniscient - or at least what I thought was third omniscient at the time. This fic has been a learning process, lol. In the original draft of this story, the character headers didn't exist. I added them post-mortem when I got complaints about scene switches being jarring (see: the scene switch to Goomy). The result was that I'd have the scene headers, so people would assume that it was Third Limited, when in reality it was meant to be Third Omniscient with a bandaid fix. By the time this issue was brought to my attention, I was like. 21 chapters in, and there was no way I was gonna go back and fix all of that from the ground up.

As for the head-hopping/wordiness issues... those are on me and my general inexperience with prose/POV. I can't really go back and fix all of it unless I just like. straight up rewrite the whole thing (which I would love to do, believe me, but I unfortunately do not have the time/energy for 🙃), but I'll do my best to keep it in mind for the future.

I know this got really long, but I hope it was helpful!
It definitely did help! Most of these things I already knew about, and I apologize that I can't really go back and clean them out, but I'll do my best to keep them in mind moving forward.
 

Starlight Aurate

Creator of the Stars of Night
Location
Route 123
Partner
mightyena
Hey Espy! I am here for your Blacklight Prize Review. I'll review chapters 4-6 this time around! Since I pointed out some grammar stuff in my previous review and I know that I'm still not caught up, I'll refrain from pointing out grammatical errors. Feel free to let me know if you'd like me to give line-edits, and I'll be happy to!

Chapter 4

The brief look of relief at Tricky’s face at the element of surprise she had bought herself quickly faded into a look of terror once she saw what was happening right in front of her.
This sentence was wordy and it confused me at first; I had to read it a second time and read it more slowly to get what you were saying. It makes sense, but it can be cut down into multiple sentences or phrases for an easier read.

Several other dungeon wildlings – all animals – had attacked Tricky and Espurr on their way further through the caverns.
Ah, so there are animals in this 'verse, too! That's an interesting detail. I love world-building tidbits like these :D

Only then did the baffling implications of Tricky’s statement fully hit her: Mystery dungeons had stairs?
Why is this a surprising statement? Not a criticism--I'm just genuinely confused. In the next paragraph, you detail how the stairs are very different from the rough terrain they'd been on so far, but doesn't quite point out why the presence of stairs themselves are so surprising.

An excruciating moment of silence passed, in which Espurr could hear only the creature’s raspy breaths. Then the sudden scraping of claws against gemstone came from the opposite wall. The creature tore the gemstone out of the wall with its sheer strength, causing a loud crack and sending the shimmering dust all over the cavern. It repeated several more times. First the scraping against the gemstone. Then the resounding crack! of rock being torn from the cavern wall. Then the explosion of sparkles that erupted not a second later.
I love this paragraph! You do a very good job in playing on the primal horror: something that can be heard and felt, but not seen. It definitely creates an air of mystery and gives the sense that they're in real danger!

The same stones that had been mysteriously absent from the first floor. This must have been what was happening to them, Espurr realized.
I think the first sentence here is enough; since we know that the red gemstones are absent from the first floor and the Gabite is holding many of them, we can do without the second statement. Sometimes, less is more.

Espurr suddenly felt her legs get shoved out from under her and she landed face-first into the cavern dust. Espurr whirled around, fearing a dungeon wildling had gotten the slip on both her and Tricky, but she stopped once she realized she had actually tripped on an old, dusty leather bag.
Hmmm I feel like tripping on a bag would feel quite different from having your feet shoved out from underneath you.

At least the place if filled to bursting with gemstones. Maybe I’ll take a few of the red ones back out of the dungeon with me.”
Hm! Sounds like the motivation to collect red gemstones was the last thing on Gabite's mind, and it stuck with him as he delved further away from reason and eventually grew into a sort of insane obsession.

The bag settled onto Espurr’s left shoulder uncomfortably, and she laboriously adjusted to so that the straps wouldn’t dig into her bad arm as much.
Awww poor Espurr :(

Without thinking, she grabbed a big fat gemstone, and hurled it straight in Gabite’s face. It exploded into shards of sparkling dust, doing almost nothing to impede the encroaching Gabite’s attack, and then it was Espurr’s turn to cower as the feral pokemon brought its fin down upon her head-
Do these gemstones just explode on impact? Or was Gabite charging for an attack, and the crystal hitting it caused it to burst? Otherwise, it would take a LOT of force to make it explode like that.

Until suddenly, there came a rumbling from deep inside the boarded-off mine shaft, and the very two children the drilbur had been stressing over tumbled right out into their hands, both covered in sparkling dust and panting heavily.
!
Woohoo! They made it!

And Vice Principle Watchog doesn't even seem concerned for his students' safety! JJust concerned that they broke some rules.

“No-mon bullied us,” The drilbur said, his voice suddenly losing all stutter. “Except you.”

“You forced us underground!” Another piped up.

“Barged onto our property!”

“Kicked us out of our own mine-yard!”

“Bossed us around!”
Oh dang! Looks like Watchog is actually a pretty terrible guy no matter how you look at it!

“We… we knew about the monster,” Pancham said. “I was just testing you. Did you get the gems?”
DANG, Pancham, you coulda killed them!

“But I think you should stop hanging out with Tricky. Or just don’t humor her if she tries to get you to go into a mystery dungeon with her. We’ve all been there. It never ends well. And I don’t want to watch somemon else get hurt because they were reckless for her.”
Poor Tricky! Sounds like she tried making friends with the other kids and ended up pushign them away because of the amount of trouble she wound everyone up in. This does make me see Deerling in a new light, though--she actually seems concerned for Espurr's well-being and just wants what's best for her.

But Espurr had already fainted from exhaustion.
I don't think she'd faint at this point--I think it would just be falling asleep, if she managed to stay awake while sitting in the clinic up until now.

And you end with an intriguing note on Ampharos! He's interested in Espurr, and her lack of clarity about anything happening--but why? And who is he? What's he up to? I'm looking forward to finding out!

This was a good chapter! We got our answer to what happened in the mines and followed their adventure through it. Overall, I think your writing in this chapter reads more smoothly than in the previous chapters! I noticed fewer typos and I think the description came along more nicely. I definitely liked where they encountered Gabite--he truly came off as a terrifying foe! Watchog is beginning to look indisputably evil, so that's also an interesting turn that'll be neat to see. Excited to see what the next chapters have in store!

Chapter 5

If I haven't mentioned it before, I quite like the artwork you have at the beginning of your chapters!

“’That right? Well, eat a mudkip for all I care! I’ll poop wherever I darn well feel like pooping!”

Mawile looked up from her personal logs at the insult, watching a livid staraptor throw open the gem-encrusted doors that led further into the windmill and march out angrily. The staraptor made a gesture with its wings Mawile refused to record out of simple decency, then walked back out onto the bridge and let the large double doors slam behind it.
Gotta admit, I sniggered lol

let’s get down to the business
To defeat the Huns

“Oh! Silly me,” Mawile stated, hiding the smirk on her face. “It is heads. The back maw has a mind of its own sometimes. I’d be wary of making it angry, if I were you.”
I forgot how FREAKY Mawile looks and can be until moments like this happen.

Not sure if I have anything to say about the opening scene. It's all new information and new characters, if I'm not misremembering, and I'm not sure what all is going on with the Expedition Society--though I expect these answers will crop up before long!

“Mine,” Shelmet growled, throwing open the door to the principal’s office with the pointy side of his shell and letting it whack Espurr in the face. Espurr, who was sick and tired of having her face shoved into things, had half a mind to drag him out of there herself and throw him into a wall just to see how he liked it.
Yeah, Espurr, stand your ground!
Also, poor Deerling. Trying to write with your nose sounds like an awful time lol.

“Entire books have been written on the art of learning Moves,” Watchog declared for the benefit of the class. “But my opinion? The best way of learning moves is in practice. Start!!”
Oh my gosh, this teacher. Can someone say "fired" soon?
I gotta admit, he's very entertaining, to say the least, haha.

“I think I swallowed a wood chip,” Goomy complained.
Lol I just feel so sorry for Goomy.

Ampharos, two seats away, set down his menu at the sound of the word ‘students’. He then slowly raised it up again, just until he could see over the top.
lol Ampharos you need to get better about learning subtlety

The scene with Tricky in the cafe was cute! I can only imagine that something is going to go wrong--kitchens and restaurants are hectic places, even without Tricky and Goomy there.

Well, Espurr certainly figured out that Ampharos owned the map very quickly! Not a criticism, as the story needs to move along, but she certainly got there without too much time or thought.

I can't help but feel that Ampharos's invitation for Espurr and Tricky to join the Expedition Society is a bit... dubious.

The entire island was evil; a blight upon the village and she was sure of it, and she just wanted to leave before something bad happened…

…And then she looked at the Ancient Barrow itself. It would be folly not to at least take a look while she was here. It would spare her the return trip, at least.
The sudden 180 she pulls in the span of these two sentences make me suspect that there's something supernatural going on here, and that it may be affecting Espurr's mind--maybe drawing her into the place, so she can't get away from it, no matter how logical it is?

“Your tail is still mine for the next three days, you hear that??” Watchog grumbled after her; still half-drunken.
Oh YIKES Watchog, you don't get drunk in front of you students! How on earth is this dude not fired?

She knew what was happening. Deerling… Watchog… Espurr was making new friends, and then she wouldn’t want to spend time with the Village Troublemaker anymore.
Okay, I can see why Tricky is upset and thinks that Espurr might be making fiends with Deerling--but she thinks Espurr wants to be friends with WATCHOG?!

And it looks like Arrchen and Mawile are stuck, cut off from meeting up with Ampharos! Ampharos is getting to Tricky and Espurr, so we'll see how this all plays out!

Chapter 6

Interesting opening of Espurr's dream! Wererrandom letters underlined and bolded to add to the surreal quality of it? It distracted me a bit at first (I read the different mismatched letters and pieced them together because I thought they might be a hidden message LOL), as it's a bit unconventional of a style to presenting a dazed/dreamlike quality. That's not necessarily a bad thing, and it certainly makes it unique! If you do want to go for convention in the futurre, adding ellipses or rdescribing more the atmospherer and feeling/lack of feeling overall might do that better.

Espurr could feel the very beginnings of air deprivation begin to take hold. This no longer seemed like a good idea. She would rather have the headache than this.
Suuuuuper nitpicky from perhaps the nitpickiest person in this field, but you could do a lot of description with the pain and panic that comes with near-drowning! You definitely capture a sense of urgency, but there's so much more you can add--the burning/bursting of lungs, the bursting head feel, seeing spots/blackness, the feeling of trying to breathe in water, etc.

Espurr thought she heard him mutter to himself when he thought she wasn’t looking. “If I’da known she could learn the entire language in a day I’da jumped on that sooner.”
I'm not sure what he's getting at here--did Espurr suddenly learn everything in one day after struggling with it for so long?

Ahhhh nevermind I see--she doesn't know how it happened, either.

Pops had a method for washing the face, but Tricky thought it was super complicated. And dunking your head underwater for a few seconds made it all nullified anyway, so Tricky did that. She shook herself off, took a few laps of the water in the bowl, gargled with that, then spat it out the window like Pops had told her never to do. She stuck her head out and let the morning breeze dry her fur off. She enjoyed that, even though she was a fire-type and could just roast it all out of her fur whenever she felt like it.
I love this paragraph so much! You do a good job of describing Tricky's defiant personality, and your prose is very good for describing her childish mindset and way of thinking.

“HewasinthecafeyesterdayandItookhisorderandhesaidtomeethimafterschoolgetsoutatthestartofsummersohecangiveusthejuniorexpeditionsocietymembershipshegot!!”
Haha, classic Tricky.

Espurr briefly wondered if he was always moody by choice and not because he actually had anything to be moody about.
There are quite a few people like that, I believe.

An entire vial-full of bluk berry ink splattered all over Watchog’s chest, leaving him covered in dripping ink.
In a sentence like this, I'd suggest using a different descriptor for "ink" the second time so that you don't have it twice in one sentence; it feels repetitive. Even something like "... leaving him covered in black/blue/purple liquid" would feel smoother.

Watchog stepped over the already-sticking puddle of berry ink, an exhaustible charcoal pen in his hand now for good measure.
I don't think "exhaustible" is the right word to use here.

Completely honest: this caught me off guard. I guess it shows that Espurr's sense of morality is stronger than her desire to succeed! A truly admirable trait.

“Well… sometimes it’s enjoyable to spend time with other pokemon for a change.”

Espurr had not meant that as a hurtful comment, only a harmless fact.
O U C H. I know they're kids, so they don't have the same idea of what's hurtful and what's not, but I can definitely see why Tricky was so wounded by this!

Oh noooooo Pancham is going to lead Tricky to her doom!

And then the door was closed in Espurr and Goomy’s.
I think you're missing a word here.

" The effort has to come from both sides, not neither.”
I think the word should be "either," not "neither."

This chapter was quite a bit sad! Seeing Tricky so beaten up and torn by Espurr choosing to play with other classmates instead of spending time with her is hard for the poor girl to bear. That being said, it's refreshing to see Espurr consistently choose what she perceives to be logical and tell Tricky the truth--hard statements like these are what allow people to grow most, I believe. I'm hoping Tricky will learn to grow from this and continue to be the fun-loving Fennekin everyone knows but with a stronger sense of responsibility.

As I said before, your writing in these four chapters has noticeably improved over what they were in the first few. I know I'm still way behind before getting caught up, but I've owed you this review for quite some time and I wanted to get it out to you sooner rather than later! And after skimming your latest chapter, I can see that your grammar has definitely improved, as well. Kudos to you for that, and hopefully I'll be back before too long to continue with this review!
 

kintsugi

golden scars
Pronouns
she/her
Partner
silvally-grass
hiya, here for Catnip! This is for Chapter 10.

I’ve always wondered why pokemon give away so much of their lives to others. Why they toil away and work themselves to the point of death for other pokemon, only to be stepped on and forgotten once those other pokemon move on to bigger things. Why pokemon whine and complain about being trampled upon when they should have seen it coming from a mile away.
I really dig the intro lines here--reading the blurbs about what you share about your work/your bingo cards/etc, I kind of struggle to reconcile those with the ~75k words I've read so far. They're both interesting stories and I think I had a more comprehensive overarching story writeup in that first chunk review, but they definitely feel different. I'm pretty certain I wouldn't get "a story about awful people doing awful things, and a gruesome cycle of evil that many deem necessary"--no one in this story really seems unredeemable quite yet, or--"dysfunctional children banding together to save their village from certain doom, and the many, many reasons the world they live in couldn't do the same"--the world certainly doesn't feel like it's beyond saving itself either. I think this paragraph is probably the closest I'd get to pointing to the kind of world that needs the innocence of a child to save it, or that precipitates on a bunch of horrible people doing horrible things.

And tone shift is hard to juggle I think, but it's weird to snap between lines about Sparkleglimmer, depressed and cynical founder of society, and then back into this chapter that's mostly the same school hijinks from before. Some of the pieces are starting to move--hey, those beheeyem are back!--but for me the structure is kind of difficult to follow.

You mentioned Harry Potter being a good model for the early parts of the fic, and I think that's actually an interesting place to analyze scope shift--arguably the main conflict of Philosopher's Stone is the house cup lol; flash forward a few hundred thousand words and it's about stopping wizard-supremacist fascism. And the seeds of the darker plot are certainly in the earlier books, but it does take its time getting there. I don't quite know the endgame of what you're planning here, but for me the main differences between the first 80k words of this and the first book in Harry Potter mostly just lies in that the seeds of the darker plot interact with the protagonists. Quirrell secretly being Voldemort, Harry's fraught relationship with Malfoy, befriending Neville and Hagrid--these are things that become huge in later arcs of the story, but they're still relevant in the near-term because they reflect on Harry/co's growth in that moment and are important to Harry/co in those stories. By comparison, things that are probably longer plothooks--HAPPI/Sparkleglimmer, whoever is petrifying the pokemon, Mawile--this just feels like a completely separate story, and one that doesn't really have a satisfying conclusion/direction after many many thousands of words to get here.

This sort of happens on a micro-level, within the chapter itself--there's a lot happening here + many scenes:
  1. Audino meets with the beheeyem
  2. Hippopotas? I legitimately am not sure if this is a new character
  3. Espurr wakes up and is reminded of Ampharos' orb
  4. They go to Town Square to get the orb, and it's Deerling Day
  5. Breakfast at Carracosta's; Umbreon and Espeon podcast
  6. Tricky and Espurr play with the orb
  7. Carracosta cooks; Tricky repeats her mistakes
  8. Mawile decides being Primarina's secretary sucks
  9. Nickit plays cards with Murkrow
  10. Nickit and Mawile agree being Primarina's secretary sucks
  11. Espurr almost Lion King's herself
  12. Eevee gets her bag back
  13. Espurr washes off; Deerling plants some more seeds of doubt
  14. The festival
  15. Espurr mentions that Deerling hates Tricky
  16. Mawile reflects on how the festival is quiet
  17. Mawile wakes up Jirachi and they talk about the petrified pokemon
  18. Audino escapes the beheeyem
  19. Watchog notices Audino is back
  20. Principal's office meeting
And at the end of the day I'm struggling for a through-line or some sort of lesson-learned for people. Chapters don't have to answer all questions but I think they should answer one or two, or at least feel like they've succeeded in building a little of their own without needing to read to the next chapter. I think the most-complete thread we get here is the Audino/beheeyem subplot--some good tension! Audino has to do a lot of thinking, the beheeyem are looming back into the spotlight. But for the rest of the scenes/characters I struggle to figure out what this is all building to, what anyone has really accomplished or what they're trying to do. A lot of the lessons feel similar to things we've seen before--Carracosta is a worried father; Tricky is eating and sprinting into a dangerous situation that risks her friend; Deerling warns Espurr that Tricky never learns. But overall I felt like the camera just cuts away to the next scene before any conclusion actually takes place, and as a result it's hard to wrap my head around what these characters accomplished (or tried to accomplish), what the actual result of this chapter was.

Which is tricky! Because there are a lot of really good ideas in this chapter. I think Deerling Day is a really creative concept and I like that it feels like a pokemon-specific version of a solstice festival. But that's sort of all I know about it--does Deerling have a special role in it? Does it mean anything to anyone? There are a few scenes that are adjacent to Deerling Day as well, but there doesn't seem to be an emotional payoff either--it more feels like those end-of-day scenes in Explorers of Sky where everyone munches dinner--the value of the scene is in the repetition of it at the end of each day, not in some sort of character relevance; I'm not sure if it translates here. Sleepy Jirachi huffing chesto berries is also a fun image! Mawile's really never going to catch a break and her subordinates are always going to be horrible at this, aren't they.

For me the Audino bits were definitely the most satisfying parts of the chapter--both because they have the most payoff and because they're really well written. There's some nice tension here and you portray the beheeyem as these creepy, menacing aliens in a very effective way. I admit I was super shocked when Audino agreed to hand over Espurr, and I liked the payoff there! The little bits of flavor about psychics and Calm Mind was a lot of fun as well.

Overall--I think you have a ton of ambitious story ideas here, and I definitely see glimmers of them! My main hangup is more in the presentation; sometimes, these ideas feel a little muddled and I struggle to follow how they're building on one another/what they're building towards--I think nominally this functions really well as a slice-of-life story about Nickit playing cards, for example, but I struggle to place it in the larger, more dramatic plot that gets teased from time to time.

I hope this made sense! I like the pieces here, really, and I'm sorry that a lot of this trended into a structural analysis--but I'm definitely interested in seeing things click together.

---

this trended a bit long for a review and I felt like it was kinda a lot of nitpicking already, so keeping the line-edits purely grammatical today:
gastradon
the pokemon species is "gastrodon" I think

“And for our celebrity fix, we have… the famed magnagate researchers who’ve been in a tizzy ever since their field of research was banned, Espeon and Umbreon!”

“Thank you for the introduction, Jellicent, although ‘tizzy’ isn’t the word I believe either of us would use to describe our current state of minds.”

“Really? Tell us more, please.”
I couldn't quite wrap my head around why there were three different format sets here--I actually think you could get away with none, since the dialogue is distinct enough to carry itself.

Espurr took one look at Tricky’s uncomfortable brainwaves and easily read between the lines.
I feel like this is new? Can she always read thoughts? This seems like it would be super useful and would come up more often, so maybe I'm misunderstanding the image here.
 

SparklingEspeon

Insquisitabilitating
Pronouns
She/Her
Partner
espurr
I really dig the intro lines here--reading the blurbs about what you share about your work/your bingo cards/etc, I kind of struggle to reconcile those with the ~75k words I've read so far. They're both interesting stories and I think I had a more comprehensive overarching story writeup in that first chunk review, but they definitely feel different. I'm pretty certain I wouldn't get "a story about awful people doing awful things, and a gruesome cycle of evil that many deem necessary"--no one in this story really seems unredeemable quite yet, or--"dysfunctional children banding together to save their village from certain doom, and the many, many reasons the world they live in couldn't do the same"--the world certainly doesn't feel like it's beyond saving itself either. I think this paragraph is probably the closest I'd get to pointing to the kind of world that needs the innocence of a child to save it, or that precipitates on a bunch of horrible people doing horrible things.

And tone shift is hard to juggle I think, but it's weird to snap between lines about Sparkleglimmer, depressed and cynical founder of society, and then back into this chapter that's mostly the same school hijinks from before. Some of the pieces are starting to move--hey, those beheeyem are back!--but for me the structure is kind of difficult to follow.
I sometimes forget people can't see my outlineFailmander.png

But yeah, this story is meant to go from small village drama to big global epic, so much of that nastiness is going to go in the third fourth fifth (of six) arcs. This second arc is meant to be the transition period between that, so the global stuff becomes more prominent going forward. As for the structure stuff, I promise it gets less jarring and easier to follow from here - Deerling's Day is the last chapter I wrote before I realized how stupid/confusing meshing six different plots into one chapter and making it super long is.

I don't quite know the endgame of what you're planning here, but for me the main differences between the first 80k words of this and the first book in Harry Potter mostly just lies in that the seeds of the darker plot interact with the protagonists. Quirrell secretly being Voldemort, Harry's fraught relationship with Malfoy, befriending Neville and Hagrid--these are things that become huge in later arcs of the story, but they're still relevant in the near-term because they reflect on Harry/co's growth in that moment and are important to Harry/co in those stories. By comparison, things that are probably longer plothooks--HAPPI/Sparkleglimmer, whoever is petrifying the pokemon, Mawile--this just feels like a completely separate story, and one that doesn't really have a satisfying conclusion/direction after many many thousands of words to get here.

There technically is supposed to be two stories by design here, but they shouldn't be clashing ;-;
It's half the game and half on me tbh - the game takes you through Happy Village Fun Time for half of it and then throws you into a dark Save The World plot without warning for the other half. My compromise was to have them as two separate groups of characters with their plots in tandem, but I can see how they clash a bit/the ES half doesn't really track well. However! This is the last chapter that's all over the place plot-wise. It's compartmentalized a good bit more from here, and the Expedition Society half gets more time to shine and stuff... and hopefully a conclusion of some kind. Once I get there with my edits. There's a merger for the two stories at the beginning the next arc, so they don't stay separate too much longer!

I feel like this is new? Can she always read thoughts? This seems like it would be super useful and would come up more often, so maybe I'm misunderstanding the image here.
It's technically new? I've been going back and doing maintenance edits/overhauls, and since you pointed it out last time I've been paying attention to slotting that into the older chapters more. It's supposed to be more of a "feeling base emotions" thing than it is direct mind-reading, though.

That said... This was one of the chapters I edited already, and one of things I also paid special attention to was showing that Tricky is making efforts to get better even if she's not 'there' yet, so if that isn't showing, then I need to go back and fix it... again :V

Context: One of the things I edited in for Chapter Eight was Espurr and Tricky officially forming a team and Tricky making a resolve to not be as crazy as she was in the first arc, so IDK if having that helps any?

Which is tricky! Because there are a lot of really good ideas in this chapter. I think Deerling Day is a really creative concept and I like that it feels like a pokemon-specific version of a solstice festival. But that's sort of all I know about it--does Deerling have a special role in it? Does it mean anything to anyone?
I mainly intended for the festival to be a cool worldbuilding/aesthetic backdrop thing here and some details that are for waaay later, but I'll see what I can do about this. I'm mainly not trying to bloat the chapter even more, since I know it's already stupid long.

And at the end of the day I'm struggling for a through-line or some sort of lesson-learned for people. Chapters don't have to answer all questions but I think they should answer one or two, or at least feel like they've succeeded in building a little of their own without needing to read to the next chapter. I think the most-complete thread we get here is the Audino/beheeyem subplot--some good tension! Audino has to do a lot of thinking, the beheeyem are looming back into the spotlight. But for the rest of the scenes/characters I struggle to figure out what this is all building to, what anyone has really accomplished or what they're trying to do. A lot of the lessons feel similar to things we've seen before--Carracosta is a worried father; Tricky is eating and sprinting into a dangerous situation that risks her friend; Deerling warns Espurr that Tricky never learns. But overall I felt like the camera just cuts away to the next scene before any conclusion actually takes place, and as a result it's hard to wrap my head around what these characters accomplished (or tried to accomplish), what the actual result of this chapter was.
Overall--I think you have a ton of ambitious story ideas here, and I definitely see glimmers of them! My main hangup is more in the presentation; sometimes, these ideas feel a little muddled and I struggle to follow how they're building on one another/what they're building towards--I think nominally this functions really well as a slice-of-life story about Nickit playing cards, for example, but I struggle to place it in the larger, more dramatic plot that gets teased from time to time.
Most of this chapter is honestly just setup for the rest of the arc. I treated it like the second season pilot of a TV show - the job of the first chapter being to re-establish the main characters/conflicts, and set bigger ones up for later. ...Which probably wasn't the best approach, but I can't do much about it now. A lot of the payoffs are also by arc, not by chapter - Too many things about this fic are a long term gambit and I basically designed the whole arc to be read at once. So as much as I really hate to say that this will look better in hindsight... I think it will? I've taken notes for the third arc, though.

I couldn't quite wrap my head around why there were three different format sets here--I actually think you could get away with none, since the dialogue is distinct enough to carry itself.
Thaaat's me being paranoid about the entire interview being indistinguishable lol

I hope this made sense! I like the pieces here, really, and I'm sorry that a lot of this trended into a structural analysis--but I'm definitely interested in seeing things click together.
No problem! I know I screwed up a lot structurally in the early chapters and I Promise this is the last of that, but I'm glad you liked what was written, even if the way it was set up didn't quite track well.
 

zion of arcadia

too much of my own quietness is with me
Pronouns
she/her
Partner
marowak-alola
I can’t believe I’ve never reviewed your story before. Hmmst’ve. Let’s fix that.

Is the voice talking to Espurr at the beginning Mew? Or maybe the VoL? I’m sure we’ll find out eventually, but that’s curious and curiouser. There’s something almost wistful about the way they speak to her.

Since you mention you’re aware of prose/structural issues in the early chapters and don’t want to go back and rewrite, I won’t point them out. I’ll try to mostly focus on genre conventions and first impressions of the prologue/first chapter instead. Since I know you love music, I listened to the TRON legacy OST while reading this (the title put me in the mood for some sci fi stuff, heh).

Espurr was probably one of my favorite characters from Super, the other being Nuzleaf. And I agree the way they were treated in the narrative was disappointing. Lots of wasted potential. I’ve always felt Super suffered a little from having too many characters.

(And the least important, her mind argued, to the chagrin of her body)
Right away this sentence suggests Espurr is a more cerebral character who puts figuring out her surroundings ahead of satisfying the physical limitations of her body. I’ve always enjoyed this aspect of psychic type pokemon; they’re so powerful, but would lose a thumb war to pretty much any other type (or, well, you get what I mean).

She then came up with the rather clever plan of tearing a largish leaf from the bush right next to her and scooping up water in that.
Another demonstration that Espurr’s a problem solver.

I would’ve thought Espurr wasn’t originally human. But the text suggests she isn’t used to the new length of her legs. Although maybe she forcibly devolved back into an Espurr? Hmmm.

At first, it seemed like the opening was pretty standard for Super. But then Nuzleaf never showed up, which is intriguing.

Curled up in a tree branch just large enough to not risk falling from in her sleep, Espurr dreamt horrible dreams of a black void of nothingness. An In Between of nothing but horribly impossible black, and she dreamt of nothing. Because there was nothing to dream of. Nothing to remember, and nothing to fill her dreams. In her addled state, with her mind blank and black as her in between, she somehow understood that. And briefly, in the absence of her dreams, came something else.
i see you, eh? I like the clever use of formatting here to generate a sense of unease.

This is probably a good time to talk about the title, referencing Philip K Dick’s famous novel, which in turn was loosely adapted into the famous Blade Runner. Now the tags don’t really talk at all about this being science fiction, but it is interesting to note that Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep is inspired by Hubbard’s Fear (this is less known, so I won’t spoil the twists), and all of them deal with classic noir elements of good and evil, as well as revenge, paranoia, and alienation.

While it’s hard to say for sure whether or not this is true noir, I do think the opening so far already touches on both paranoia and alienation. And depending on how Espurr’s amnesia is handled, if she remembers more as the story progresses, it could set us up for some classic mind screws. More PMD writers should take advantage of how memory loss/manipulation can set the scene for cool twists.

The use of fog is well implemented from a horror genre perspective. Fog obscures and distorts vision, which often translates in horror as distorting reality; Silent Hill is especially known for using fog in such a way. People are often far more afraid of the things they can’t see. Espurr’s dream seems to mimic a similar theme, describing the dream as ‘horrible’ because there’s nothing there (arguably, because she’s been blinded? It could be possible that there was something, she simply couldn’t see/sense it).

I really like the way you utilize tension while Espurr is hiding from the Beheeyem. The whole, are they gone?, reprieve, poke head over, see them there waiting, is a classic horror convention.

The poor pokemon only had enough time to look in its general direction before she was hit with a strong blast of the foul-smelling gust. It knocked Espurr far off-course, her paws barely missing the branch by a hair’s length before she began the heart-wrenching journey towards the ground.
This might’ve been a good moment to further establish the mind vs physical limitations dichotomy. Instead of having Espurr knocked off course by the plot wind, having her fall short because her body isn’t all that athletic might’ve been a nice way to show how she’s smart and a critical thinker, but can’t always necessarily execute her plans as intended due to the failures of her body.

It was the full moon, so the night was suitably light, and her herb stores were running low again.
The full moon is another common horror convention. It often plays into superstitions regarding mental illness (hence the word ‘lunacy’) and hysteria. I wonder if that’s intentional.

Mystery dungeons being what they were, Audino had returned once every month at the full moon (she was superstitious) and found the exact same bush with the exact same clutches of herbs growing around it awaiting her.
The full moon seems to have some purpose at least. Nice world building with the mystery dungeons. It’s always fun to see the cool customs people imagine surrounding them, especially if they can do so in a way that doesn’t feel game-y.

Swapping out Nuzleaf for Audino is another major change. I’m assuming the MC won’t show up at all, although now I’m not quite so sure. Also, is the wind a reference to the divine wind that kicks players out of dungeons? Huh. I think that’s the first time I’ve seen that incorporated into a story. It doesn’t feel out of place, either. Then again, I’ve always thought mystery dungeons are at their most interesting when treated akin to eldritch abominations.

Random poem this prologue reminds me of:

And finally giving in, I give him my gleaming soul
And as he eats my gleaming soul, I am one with him
And stare out his eyepits and I see nothing but white
And then I see nothing but fog and the white I had seen before was nothing but fog
And there is nothing but fog out the eyes of monsters.

--the last five lines of Monsters, by Dorothea Lasky

Oh, the first chapter is much lighter in tone. Makes sense. I like how both Fennekin and Espurr fell out of a tree, resulting in injuries, but for vastly different reasons.

Hahaha, Tricky is hilarious. You do a great job capturing the partner pokemon’s obnoxious personality. The way you characterize Deerling gives her more nuance as well. She comes off more, hmmm, condescending compared to the game. It fits. Honestly impressed with how you wrote entirely new scenarios that eschew the game’s start while still capturing the voices of the Lively Town inhabitants perfectly (Watchog is another good example; his reaction to Tricky had me laughing out loud). I feel like that’s surprisingly rare in adaptations.

Aw, even though Espurr barely knows them, she’s worried Deerling and Shelmet might run into similar trouble. We love protagonists with empathy over here.

“I am not freaking out over nothing, Pancham!” Deerling exploded at him. “You know that! You all know that! We can’t leave him in there; we can’t have a repeat!”
Oh, huh, that’s an interesting tidbit. I wonder what happened there? There’s definitely a bunch of mysteries being slipped into the opening chapter. And again, nice integration of the Foreboding Forest mission while changing enough details so that it feels fresh and new.

Tricky rattling off exposition about the dungeons felt a little unnecessary. I was able to figure out most of it myself. The way Goomy introduces concepts such as the Wraith was a much more naturalistic means of exposition.

Oh, you know what else the band of kids coupled with the horror elements reminds me of, somewhat? Stephen King novels. I just sort of had that brain blast during the Goomy segment, and it totally fits. The Foreboding Forest even feels like something that could come straight out of Maine, lol.

Resolving the Goomy conflict within the first chapter was a smart decision. I vaguely recall you mentioning on Discord that you want chapters to have an episodic feel to them, and I think you definitely succeed here. It introduces and resolves an A plot while furthering the overarching mystery of the ‘season’ (the Beheeyem). Really all it’s missing is a true B plot to nail the episodic structure.

This was a good first chapter. It definitely has that pilot feel to it, and I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for pilot episodes myself. Definitely going to try and circle back around to this story when I can. Have a good day! :)
 

cynsh

full-time quilava
Pronouns
he/him
Partner
quilava
Ho ho! I'm your secret santa. And I can also bank this review for the blitz! It's like two birds with one stone. Two pidgey with one... gravelerock... anyway.

I read your prologue and first two chapters last time I reviewed, so this one will cover chapters 3-5. Since this is Christmas, spirit of giving etc, I hoped to read to the end of Act I, but your fic is longer than I realised >_<

Chapter 3

Mawile considered sleep a natural detriment to the activities of the mind, and with the help of chesto berries she had easily built up enough stamina to regulate her sleep to one short period a week. While the other Expedition Society members thought this habit was unhealthy, they couldn’t deny Mawile’s much faster work-rate, and she never had to worry about missing the morning role-call.
Unhealthy? More like completely insane. I'm amazed that Mawile can do any work at all without sleep six days a week. Chesto berries must be powerful stuff.
Until the audio recording finally synced up, and Ampharos realized he was listening to a discordant symphony of nighttime sounds instead of hearing the chatter of several children. Baffled, he sped it up.
It's hard to tell what kind of device Ampharos is using here. I read the passage back a couple of times but couldn't find any meaningful description of the 'gadget'. What size is it? Is it touchscreen? What is he actually seeing? Etc.
All around her, she could hear tiny, hushed voices wavering all around the void, indistinct sentences and phrases flitting past her ears before she could truly understand them. One was louder than the rest.
I can't recall reading any story that has attempted a message in the text like this before. For that, you have my kudos for originality. But there are two... problems, if you like, that this raised to me.
1) Since I was looking out for underlined letters the whole time, less of my attention was on the actual passage. This was manageable since nothing important seemed to be revealed. But then I wonder what the real point of this dream sequence was, if it just existed to create the message, which was roughly 'something is watching Espurr and she's in danger'.
2) It inevitably raises questions to me about the nature of the whole story. What it is that I'm reading. Is there a creature controlling what words I'm actually seeing? Is there a meta-narrative happening in the background of everything? I sincerely doubt it tbh, but I can't help wondering

“What’s the difference?” She asked. “Why can’t a mango berry cause the same reaction as a mago berry?”
Don't think I've ever seen a story approach berries in this way. It's kinda strange though if all the berries that sound like actual fruits exist alongside the real fruit. Razz berries and raspberries... pinap berries and... pineapple berries?

“Psst. Over here!” Tricky quietly beckoned Espurr behind a largish rock, east of Watchog and the stuttering drilbur. Espurr cast a look towards Watchog to make sure he wasn’t keeping an eye on them, then quickly followed.
Watchog must be incredibly unobservant for escaping him to be so easy. Or the room is almost pitch black, but nothing in this passage suggests that.
She cast her eyes to the torch flickering to their right, pouring all her concentration into nudging it. If it was anything like that nut…

Sure enough, after a while, she saw it begin to move. The light dramatically shifted as Espurr’s spirits rose and the torch wavered in midair, illuminating everymon’s faces for one swift second; and then Espurr let it drop and the light was snuffed out.
Again, this scene would be much more interesting if I knew what the torch actually was. As it is I have no idea if it's like an open flame, some sort of gemstone or what.

This chapter had some good moments for sure. What frustrated me the most was something I think I mentioned in my review of your previous chapters, long long ago, but it came to mind again. Espurr doesn't seem proactive enough. Most of the time she's just going along with Tricky. In the scene where Pancham's telling her to go to the dungeon, for example, Tricky basically dictates what she does. Sure, there's some internal regret from Espurr, but that's not really enough. Needs to be more from her. I still don't really know what she's about.

Chapter 4

Did all dungeons have these?

“All dungeons have those,” Tricky said dismissively, once Espurr had asked.
I liked this wordplay.
“What was that?” Tricky whimpered, much of her bravado suddenly lost.
It doesn't happen too much, but be careful not to... overdescribe things in prose. We can see that Tricky's bravado has gone, and it being spelled out to us ruins a lot of the impact.
Espurr was lucky to hear the scampering between the gabite’s thunderous footsteps and terrible roars, and was able to shield her eyes just in time to avoid being blinded by the ember that soared through the crystals and exploded against the back of Gabite’s head.
The gemstone soared free at the last second, whizzing through the air and knocking Gabite’s right foot off its mark. Suddenly sent tumbling to its side, Gabite could only brace for impact as its body clashed against its massive pile of loot. Espurr and Tricky could only stand back and watch in horror as the mountain of gemstones clicked and, and then buried Gabite under an avalanche of shiny red rocks.
I liked Espurr's unusual strategy for fighting, but the whole time I was perplexed by how the emeras... behaved. It seems kinda absurd that using an ember on them is enough to make them break apart with such force that chunks of them can hit other pokemon and really hurt them. Like, are these crystals just really huge? Or really sharp and heavy? The combination of breaking easily yet seemingly being very hard don't match up.
The bag Espurr had been carrying suddenly began to tremble, and there were several muffled shattering sounds from within. Espurr winced at the sound. Those were the gems.
C'mon Espurr, I get you're an understated character but my eyes flew out of my skull when I read this. No reaction to gems mysteriously shattering on their own, other than a wince?
I did like the subsequent explanation though, as I was just as baffled as to what had happened.

I think this was my favourite chapter of the three. It had the most action, most focused narrative. A lot of the dungeon experience was typical early-PMD-story fare, but I don't begrudge you that. I've already spent too long over this review--apologies for being so brief 😅

Chapter 5

only the looming presence of the windmills’ massive vanes.
Well. I learned a new word today.

Archen didn’t have the patience to sit, and didn’t even consider the notion until he noticed he was getting several looks from the few other occupants of the waiting room. One of the windmill’s goliath weathervanes slowly turned over the windows and blotted out all light in the room. When the vane had finished its journey over the window, Archen was sitting near Mawile, with little evidence he had been loitering around in the first place.
This is... a strange passage. The idea that one of the vanes could block out all the light in the room could only work if it was right up against the window - which I don't think is how windmills are usually placed. And the whole passage is, for lack of a better word, just a bit pointless. Archen didn't want to sit down, until he realised that everyone else was, so he did.

“Did you know it’s customary on the Grass Continent to just do your ‘business’ wherever you please?” Mayor Honchkrow asked, after ten seconds of silence had elapsed.
What? Are they savages in the Grass Continent?

Now, now, nothing wrong with maps,” Honchkrow corrected himself. “I love a good map. They make great napkins.
I really liked Honchkrow's cameo here. You got across his slightly rude, no-nonsence manner very well. This was my pick of his dialogue.
“The Expedition Society is not under my jurisdiction,” Mawile’s maw rasped out, raspy and guttural from years of non-use. And if you were ever to meet the ‘mon with that power, you wouldn’t be so arrogant in his presence.

Honchkrow jumped in his seat at the sound of Mawile’s second voice.

“Oh! Silly me,” Mawile stated, hiding the smirk on her face. “It is heads. The back maw has a mind of its own sometimes. I’d be wary of making it angry, if I were you.”
Excellent dialogue again. I personally don't interpret Mawile's back-head as having its own voice, rather just being a mad chompy thing, but hey, I can see it adding another dimension to her character.
One thing was for sure: She wasn’t going into any more dungeons again.
Another prose thing. 'Any more dungeons again' could be shortened by removing either 'more' or 'again'. This kind of excessive word use happens a few times, so just watch out for it.
“Sometimes it’s enjoyable to spend time with other pokemon for a change,” Espurr told her. Tricky looked somewhat dejected.
Damn, brutal from Espurr. Unnecessarily brutal, really. She could have just said they were having a chat.
“Deerling came in and asked me only a minute ago. Writing with your nose can’t be easy, so I said yes.
I mean, that sounds impossible. Though if Deerling has hooves that just exacerbates her problem.
The fact that a number of the kids aren't able to write at all makes me question why any of them should have to. Why not just do all tests aurally? Given that you seem to be sticking to canon on pokemon designs, surely only the bipedal pokemon would be able to hold a pen somewhat naturally. On a broader note it makes me wonder why writing is such an important part of this world at all, as it seems. Typical PMD-universe issues I guess.

Once more, Tricky launched an Ember straight at Espurr. And this time, it didn’t miss its target. Espurr was sent flying, landing a good few feet back against the edge of the blackboard tree.
How exactly would an ember send you flying? It's just a bit of fire, no? Seems more realistic for Espurr to stumble backwards, patting down her fur, or something.
Watchog looked like he wanted to correct a certain honorific, but bit it back for the sake of the class.
Hahaha, excellent. There's a number of subtle quips like this scattered throughout.
A single thought plagued Espurr’s mind as she was carried up into the clinic: What an idiot she had been.
I don't really get this. All Espurr did was try and use an attack. It was hardly her fault that it blew up so spectacularly.
Also, from a pacing perspective, I don't get why this sort of scene only happened now, rather than when Espurr was in an actual mystery dungeon, facing real danger. Sure the gem smashing was fun, but...

“Yeah, I’ll do it.” Watchog muttered. “Happy now? Cheater.”
What did Espurr do to deserve being called a cheater? This seemed like a significant remark for Watchog's character. Previously he'd been authoritative and harsh, but not usually without reason. Here he just looks like an asshole.

Probably the chapter I enjoyed the least, for the simple reason that... well, nothing much happened. There were some details that are significant, like Tricky being revealed to have a second name, her meeting Ampharos, Espurr's failed attack, the stone Lapras that greeted Mawile and Archen. On the last one, I actually forgot about it until I looked back over the chapter just now, which may say something for my attention span, but also, I think, sums up the bloadedness of this chapter. A number of scenes could have been cut or summarised or even shortened without anything of importance being lost. It's not like the writing in any of these scenes are bad - it's consistently good. But good writing is only a fraction of what makes a story.

Overall thoughts? As I said, your writing is good. The characters are all vibrant and well-characterised. Descriptions, where they're given, are solid. What's lacking for me is the plot. At risk of repeating my last review again, I don't think the frequent cuts between Serene Village and Mawile & Archen are a good fit. What Mawile and Archen are dealing with is so much more severe and tonally completely different from the kids. Plus, when their only cameos are in these sporadic scenes, it's hard to feel very attached to them.

And maybe some of this impatience is on me. I've read lots of PMD stories, including adaptations of Super. I know how it goes. Nothing you've done so far has really thrown me for a loop, with the exception perhaps of the dream scene. I want to get out of the comfy school environment and on to real stakes, real character conflicts, just - realness!

If you're going to return to edit these chapters eventually, my main guidance would be simple: cut things. Think about what each scene is attempting to tell the reader. Think about what the reader will be thinking, what they'll be looking forward to as they read. I dunno.

Hope this helps. :) 🎄
 

SparklingEspeon

Insquisitabilitating
Pronouns
She/Her
Partner
espurr
Oh, you know what else the band of kids coupled with the horror elements reminds me of, somewhat? Stephen King novels. I just sort of had that brain blast during the Goomy segment, and it totally fits. The Foreboding Forest even feels like something that could come straight out of Maine, lol.
OMG Yaasss

I borrowed, like, a crap-ton of stuff from Stephen King, because it just. Fits IMO? But yeah, I was totally going for that Stephen King vibe and I'm so glad someone finally noticed!

Swapping out Nuzleaf for Audino is another major change. I’m assuming the MC won’t show up at all, although now I’m not quite so sure.
:)

Also, is the wind a reference to the divine wind that kicks players out of dungeons? Huh. I think that’s the first time I’ve seen that incorporated into a story. It doesn’t feel out of place, either. Then again, I’ve always thought mystery dungeons are at their most interesting when treated akin to eldritch abominations.
Well, it's far from divine, but yep! Same wind! I'm sad more people haven't tried doing this, so I'm going to take as much advantage of it as I can :wigglyyell:
And same tbh, Mystery Dungeons are eldritch and should be treated as such

Hahaha, Tricky is hilarious. You do a great job capturing the partner pokemon’s obnoxious personality. The way you characterize Deerling gives her more nuance as well. She comes off more, hmmm, condescending compared to the game. It fits. Honestly impressed with how you wrote entirely new scenarios that eschew the game’s start while still capturing the voices of the Lively Town inhabitants perfectly (Watchog is another good example; his reaction to Tricky had me laughing out loud). I feel like that’s surprisingly rare in adaptations.
That's really good to hear! I paid special attention to that because I didn't want them to come off as lifeless/OOC, but I was kind of in the dark about if I'd succeeded for a bit. As for Deerling... I won't say anything, but that's definitely on purpose.

This was a good first chapter. It definitely has that pilot feel to it, and I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for pilot episodes myself. Definitely going to try and circle back around to this story when I can. Have a good day! :)
I'm glad you liked it! I hope the rest of the story is up to the standard the first one set:quag:

---

I hoped to read to the end of Act I, but your fic is longer than I realised >_<
Yeah, no worries. That's a lot to get through lol

C'mon Espurr, I get you're an understated character but my eyes flew out of my skull when I read this. No reaction to gems mysteriously shattering on their own, other than a wince?
Whoops; I keep forgetting to go back and nick that
"Cringed" or "Wilted" is much, much closer to what I was envisioning than "wince". I'll see to fix that.

What? Are they savages in the Grass Continent?
Well. The main idea was that the Grass Continent isn't developed enough for most of its members to be living outside of the forest/forest-like towns. The culture doesn't trend towards luxuries like plumbing systems because they don't actually have them on Grass. Pokemon in the towns are cleaner, though. I can't just drop it because this is a semi-important detail for later! D: Still have to write this in a way that doesn't come off as "Uhh", I suppose >.<

As for the rest there's too much to quote, I'll just put it in bullet points:

- Concerning the plot, this story is essentially designed to be read by arc, not chapter - like those TV shows with 10 episode seasons that are designed to be binged. I'm realizing now this wasn't the greatest decision for a web serial, but it's the main reason I think the plot isn't hitting very hard for these five chapters - everything flying around now is one big setup, and the payoffs begin to start in the next chapter. This is the only arc that's completely like that.
- My main defense for Espurr not being very proactive in these first few chapters is that she's not supposed to be: She's Tricky's foil, who isn't very keen on going into dungeons, and eventually they fall out over it. However... since this was my first time writing something this large scale and I admittedly had no clue how to write Espurr in the beginning, I likely handled this very clumsily/didn't get it through right. I'll see if I can restructure some of the chapters to remedy that - might take care of the bloat too.
- I can promise that the dream is a very important returning setpiece, not something I just threw in because "woo spooky".
- I unfortunately can't do much to alter the Mawile/Archen stuff at this point. It's akin to the B plot of a TV show, and mostly setup for more comprehensive Expedition Society stuff in the second part :V

Either way, I should probably stop ranting now, lol. I'll definitely look into seeing what I can do to combat some of the stuff you pointed out, since those are common issues that others have gone into as well. Not sure how much I can change, though. Thanks for reading, even if it wasn't the best read!
 

K_S

Nrml and grnd type fan, with a dash of psn n bug
Electric sheep review

Well this is one way to be dropped into a mystery dungeon setting. Without Mew, or whatever Legend is there to soften the transition/landing between expected and no… It does show the horror of what is basically child abduction, mind wiping, and the like. Thanks for sharing this piece and these were the edits I saw as I was working. Hopefully it helps. I look forward to reading further of Espurr and Audnido’s flight from the creature’s hunting them.

Slowly coming to. Espurr blinked her eyes open wearily.

That’s a lot of “ly” words knocking about first two lines in and so many ways to rehaul “slowly coming to” to get rid of that double ly opening.

Espurr woke in bits and pieces…

Returning to the world of the coherent…


Or even just plug the first line right into the next paragraph…

“the first thing Espurr noticed, as she as she woke, blinking her eyes open weaily, was that…

I’d actually recommend the third option of merging the first sentence into the main body of the paragraph because… well the idea is repeated. We get a sense of grudging acknowledgement of the world and getting sensation data in bits and pieces, which shows the “slowly waking” that the beginning line you’ve set up is trying to emphasize.



Paragraph break down

The first thing she noticed was that she was laying on her back, (because you can’t really do much save lay on our back I’d drop the laying part, just say she’s on her back)

and there was a scent in the air she didn’t like.
(instead of saying … there was a scent… why not describe it? Did it smell like mold, weeks old dirty socks, wet dog, there’s a wide spectrum of unpleasant smells to draw from and plug in)

The second(since she complained about the back and scent wouldn’t this be the third?) thing she noticed was the rushing of the river that she must undoubtably(drop, excessive… or replace. How did she know she was next to it? Water spray wetting her fur, really loud splashing?) have been right next to.

The third thing(
adjust count?) she noticed -

The water getting scene… While I understand you’re establishing tone with Espurr I’d recommend altering the “Like seriously parched. As in her throat was going to die if she didn’t have any water”. Since her throat’s part of her, and if we were going for teen melodrama, I’d recommend stating that “she was going to die” rather than an organ in her body.

The structure of the whole, “the x thing, she noticed” could be altered, yes, it’s a list, but altering how it is written will keep it fresh. Instead of going about “The first thing she noticed, the second thing she noticed, ect” you could spice it up.

EX:

The first thing she noticed,

The second (dropping the she noticed) she heard/whatever sense you want to use to point out the water.

The last.

There’s other ways to tackle this but the above is the easiest and requires the least effort.

Alright, so we’re establishing the lack of knowledge Espurr has over her own body. Clumsiness, calling paws hands, not working, fingers wrong, smaller. It’s nice you showed it in bits and pieces. I’d quibble over the word “hoist” while it meant “to lift” there’s also the added part of “with lifts and pulleys”. There’s also a lot of “water” in the section preceding as well as this paragraph. How about swapping “but getting water took priority” with “but getting a drink” instead?

Ever seen brother bear? I’m getting brother bear vibes from the leaf solution…

She stared at it (her reflection) blankly, trying to decide what to make of it.

Too many it’s “Its” I’d rec adding a description so we know what “it” is.

The real shock, in Espurr’s mind(drop), came when she tried to recall her name. ‘Espurr’ kept coming up when she asked herself what she was, but… that wasn’t her name. In fact, everything that seemed to be floating in the back of her mind;(drop) all her memories, thoughts, fear, doubts… They all slipped away like mirages once she tried to recall them. And the scariest thing was that she never would have noticed if she hadn’t taken a good, hard look at the depths of her mind!

Alright,, we’e got a mind centric section here. Because of that I’d actually drop the first “in Espurr’s mind”, it’s a shock in mind and out of it to have your name dug out and… not replaced with anything. With the next line because we have them slipping away I’d recommend dropping the floating about bit. They’re getting lost, what they were doing before that seems irrelevant to the horror of them getting lost. Now tabbing in how that felt, was it like a straw slucking up the thoughts, reaching for something but getting nothing, akin to like looking into a pit and that stomach flopping vertigo before a fall? That might be something worth elaborating on. The last line is very tonally different than the previous. We have the terror of memories getting wiped and then the tail end of it… sounds almost like a scolding. I think the good hard look might be the issue and I’d almost recommend dropping the whole line. The previous section works fine without it. Or a retool starting on that span I mentioned. Also as the next paragraph has Espurr realizing her mind’s a blank slate it makes the above seem doubly superfluous.

Consider she’s standing still doesn’t that mean the 3 cone heads found her?

The shade of the canopy cast a foreboding darkness over them, leaving them silhouettes.

A lot of thems in one line. Also could be used to mean Espurr too. I’d recommend changing the first to “everything” or “the intruders” or something to that effect. Though going with the second option lets you leave the second “them” without making any other changes.


She wisely stood up and backed herself against the bush, in case she fell into the lake unawares.

While standing up can be a wise move, I don’t think standing can alter the intelligence of anything? I’d drop the “wisely” and if you wish to make it a wise move rehaul the sentence to make it work better. Also, wasn’t it a river a second ago, not a lake?

How were they ugly? And what’s a “binker”, and how can you see a shadow ball in a black spark illuminated room?

Espurr didn’t know how far she ran or for how long, but she didn’t stop, no matter how many times she tripped on her new, shorter legs, until she couldn’t hear the distant beeping and the swish of brushed-apart foliage behind her.

You’ve got a lot of ideas going on in this, and it’s a run on to boot. I’d rec breaking it down, one sentence per idea.

EX: Espurr didn’t know how far she ran or how long but she didn’t stop. No matter how many times she tripped on her new, shorter legs. She ran until she couldn’t hear the distant beeping-

There’s other ways to field this but this routes the easiest.


Unsure as to what had woken her up, she attempted to hone her hearing.

How does honing of hearing work?

…And saw the flash of a light. Espurr snapped awake in horror.

When had she fallen back to sleep?


She watched it blow off, violently rattling the branches of a few trees as it went.


Since it’s highly difficult to see the wind “blow off” I’d recommend focusing on the physical effects, the branches, her fur shifting, ecetera. You’ve got samplings of those ideas in this paragraph and you could just drop the “blow off” section if you want minimal changes needed.





The espurr reached Audino, violently shivering both(drop) from intense cold and sheer terror.

You have two ideas, cold and terror, an “and” between them makes the “both” superfluous.


There was no more time to waste. (Any longer: drop), Audino knew, (and: drop unneeded) the approaching pokemon would be the least of their worries. (add: if they lingered)

“There was no time” and “Any longer” back to back is a bit repetitive. I’d recommend just dropping the “any” section. You can drop the “and” as well. Add on a “if they lingered” at the end and the thought is complete.
 

IFBench

Rescue Team Member
Location
Pokemon Paradise
Partner
saltriv
I'm here to review the prologue and chapter 1 of this!

First of all, I need to say, it's very interesting having Espurr replace the PSMD protagonist! That's sure to have plenty of ripple effects. It's also quite interesting that she doesn't remember being human. Seems the Beeheeyem in this managed to get that memory, too.

Speaking of Espurr, your portrayal of her in this is very good! She feels a lot like how she is in the game, but also having quite a bit more depth than in Super. Having her be disgusted at needing to drink with her tongue was a nice touch early on that showed that Espurr isn't exactly like in canon.

The Beeheeyem are just as terrifying as canon in here, if not even more so. You did an excellent job at painting them as a powerful and dangerous presence by having them use the stone attack right away.

The scene where Espurr was in the tree was very tense, trying to avoid the Beeheeyem while the dungeon winds start to blow. Nicely done.

Very interesting having Audino save Espurr, instead of Nuzleaf. That'll likely also cause a lot of changes down the line, and it'll be interesting having Espurr live with one of the school staff.

I quite like the lore about mystery dungeons in Audino's narration. It establishes rather well how mystery dungeons work in this world and how dangerous they are, and it flows well with the rest of the section.

Overall, the prologue is an excellent introduction to the fic, and entices the reader to keep reading.

The Super partner, or Tricky as they are in this, is an absolute blast, just as much as in canon. You capture her personality perfectly. I could see almost everything that she says being something that the Super partner would say in the game. I absolutely love the rapid-fire questions she says near the beginning of the chapter. That was really good.

The other characters, like Watchog, feel really in-character as well. He'd absolutely reprimand Tricky on calling him just Watchog before he actually tried to help Espurr.

The line about not stealing from Kecleon was a nice touch. I also really like how Espurr worries about Shelmet and Deerling being attacked by the Beeheeyem literally right after meeting the two. That really shows how empathetic she is, and how fearful she is of the Beeheeyem.

The section right outside of Foreboding Forest sets up a lot of intrigue. What happens when a Pokemon is in a mystery dungeon for too long? Why does Deerling seem to have a grudge against Tricky? And just what does Deerling mean by a repeat? You leave just enough clues to piece together an approximation of what might have happened, but not enough to truly know exactly what occured, and I really like that!

You do an excellent job at showing just how scared Goomy is, and paint Foreboding Forest as very fitting to its name.

Heh. Seems like even the other teachers don't like Watchog.

Simipour to the rescue, saving Tricky from detention for the rest of her time in school!

Interesting. Seems Simipour knows about the Beeheeyem.

More intrigue given, with there apparently having been disappearances before.

That bit in the school clinic was a nice way to end the chapter. I quite like how Espurr thought over some of the things that had happened and that she had learned before she went to sleep. Well done.

Overall, a very good chapter that introduces a lot of the cast, sets up the world a bit more, and leaves a lot of questions.

I'll try to review the rest later. I look forward to reading more!
 

zion of arcadia

too much of my own quietness is with me
Pronouns
she/her
Partner
marowak-alola

~\({O})/~

2.

The Dazzling Debut of the Dashing Wanderer!

Hullo, hullo again!

I enjoyed this chapter despite the flaws other people have already mentioned. Tricky's character in particular does a lot to carry it, as she seems to have the most agency out of the children (partially because the focus is on her, of course, but the point stands). I especially loved the oran picking detention scene, and the way the personalities of all the characters bounce off each other, with Goomy and Tricky as standouts. I actually don't mind Espurr's reactiveness, as she's in a situation that naturally calls for reaction over action, and she's also framed as a more cerebral character. As the chapters progress and she gains more footing in the new world, I expect this to change, and even if it didn't, she's balanced out by the likes of Tricky and Ampharos (and Mawile and Archen) who move the plots forward instead.

Watchog's bumbling authoritarianism is still quite humorous to me too, although I do agree with observations made that you perhaps went a little overboard. It also has the unfortunate repercussion of making the rest of the teachers look lax, and you could chalk all this down to perspective--similar to how in, say, Charlie Brown, all the adults are portrayed as unintelligible, yammering feet--but the POV seems too objective to pull off that sort of unreliable narration trick.

We also get another subtle reference at the existence of someone else, perhaps the human MC from the games, having been in the village at one point? The scene with the scarves suggests some sort of tragedy occurred, and given Nuzleaf is nowhere to be found, I'm pretty curious as to what happened. Maybe an accident on Revelation Mountain? Curious. It threads a new, non-game based mystery through the Serene Village portion, while Mawile's segment already starts the stone mystery.

Now's a good time to touch on the nature of subplots, I think. You characterize Mawile's segment as being the B-plot to the "episode". The problem with this is that it conflicts with what the Serene Village portion is trying to be--a story about a group of villagers in a rural part of the world going about their lives. A more fitting B-plot would've been to follow, say, Deerling and Pancham as they deal with some other problem in the village (or put more focus on Ampharos, since he's physically in the area). Something like Game of Thrones, even at its best, did have B-plots in completely different locations, as it was meant to be a grand political story, and the conflict between different nations (and the inhabitants of those nations) was one of the primary draws of the shows. Even then, GoT was often criticized of table setting-->table setting-->major event (episode 9, penultimate episode)-->fallout (finale). You yourself admit you want this story to set out self-contained and then transition into a world wide epic scale, and having the second episode already explore that world wide scale in the B-plot, while the A-plot remains self-contained, creates a jarring sense of dissonance. Hope that makes sense! Keep up the good work!

Listened to the Ad Astra soundtrack while reading. :)

A poem for your hard work:

Bored children floated with faces drained of blood.
The girls in the tax-free shops stood frozen
amid promises of a beautiful life abroad.
Louis Armstrong sang in some upper corner,
a trickle of ignored joy.
Outside, in an unintelligible darkness
that stretched to include the rubies of strip malls,
winged behemoths prowled looking for the gates
where they could bury their koala-bear noses
and suck our dimming dynamos dry.

--Second stanza of "FLIGHT TO LIMBO" by John Updike
 
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