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Adamhuarts

Mew specialist
Partners
  1. custom/mew-adam
  2. custom/celebi-shiny
Decided to read Chapter 5 this morning, and it was a pleasant chapter to spend my morning on honestly. Quite a lot of stuff happened in this chapter and I struggle a bit to talk about any specific events because they're all worth talking about. I think part of my biggest appeal with Spring is that it feels like a slice of life trainer fic as the focus is a lot more on the character interactions and much less on "go new town, fight gym, go next town, rinse and repeat".

It's also nice seeing how both of the protagonists are helping each other to grow as people. Little by little they understand each other's worlds. Chris helps Una learn about the present day world while she helps him learn all kinds of things he didn't know about before either. Like how to survive an incoming grizzly bear that would've ripped him apart if he'd been alone on his journey. That was an intense short segment in particular.

We also got to learn a fair good amount about Chris' life here. The flashback between him and his mother was pretty wholesome and I'm all here for that sort of content. I wonder if they'll be reaching Blackthorn next chapter, and how Una would react to witnessing a proper gym battle for the first time.
 

zion of arcadia

too much of my own quietness is with me
Pronouns
she/her
Partners
  1. marowak-alola
First of all, curse you for your lovely banners. It’s not fair that other people have multiple artistic talents. I’m going to have to file a complaint over this.

Second, when I started writing this review, my plan was to discuss both the prologue and chapter one, as that’s what I usually like to do with any story featuring a prologue. But I found myself talking so much about genre conventions/genre blending/random literary geeky things that I wound up shelving that decision so I could give the first chapter more focus in another review (which will come… I don’t know when. Hopefully soonish lmao).

I mentioned it on Discord, but what drew me to this story was the concept of a realist fairy tale. It’s such an inherent contradiction and yet, considering contradiction is often at the heart of many fairy tales, somehow made perfect sense.

Since I’ll be babbling a lot about fairy tales, I figured I’d start by touching on the literary realism aspects. You pretty much nail this from what I can tell. The prologue features tons of tiny details that come together to make the characters feel fully-formed, with complex behaviors and motives or hints of complex behaviors and motives. My two favorite minor details were the lines about Jasmine bringing the Nakano family a fruit basket, and where Chris’s mom starts showing up to watch his battles. Such simple moments that manage to say a lot.

I really like how well you capture Jasmine, too. Her empathy and compassion, her stuttering, mild speech patterns, the way she cheered when Chris won, all of it was just so… kind and gentle, simultaneously highlighting the sad events that hover over them all like a cloud. Definitely a beautiful sort of bittersweet. Something about kindness from strangers/near-strangers also always gets to me.

Other ways in which the prologue fulfills its obligations to realism: naturalistic dialogue, events that were plausible and logical, natural character relationships to each other and their circumstances, and emphasis on character over plot and action. While complex ethical decisions weren’t ever presented to us (unless you count Jasmine not throwing, which, valid), that’s something I could see making an appearance down the line, given you tend to often bring up ethical scenarios in much of your writing.

Okay, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about fairy tales, and how two very different approaches to storytelling are being used/can be used to tell a coming of age story.

One of the things I scribbled in my notes in big bold letters while writing this was that Chris’s father is dead. A dead parent is very common in fairy tales--although usually it’s the mother who’s dead, because fairy tales were originally oral storytelling between women, often while at work (a lot of scholars think this is why looms are such a common motif), and fear of what would happen to a child if the mother passed away was very common. Not that I mind the change. Dads can die too, dads can die too! Chris coming to terms with his grief should play an important thematic role in the story.

Donald Winsicott coined the term intermediate area of experience. It’s the idea that children and adults are always in the process of trying to accept reality. Fairy tales, meanwhile, are considered a relief from the strain of relating to reality. These two concepts being opposed creates a natural dichotomy that allows us to examine certain elements in ways we might not have bothered otherwise. Double so because fairy tales are often about places of unknowing, containing contradictory ideas.

Death is the great unknown. It’s something we don’t really have an answer for, that realism doesn’t have an answer for. Fairy tales aren’t about answering the questions they raise, though--why does Rumplestiltskin want a baby? Who knows. Who cares. Chris grappling with his father’s death as he grows up over the years puts you in a position to straddle that line really well.

An area where fairy tales and realism often intersect, interestingly enough, is matters of class. Both often deal with people of the middle and lower class. Transformation is a large part of fairy tales, and not just physical transformation; a lot of time you’ll see them going from being impoverished to rich (Hansel and Gretal), or from a pauper to a princess (Cinderella). I could see that coming into play somehow in this story.

Characters in fairy tales tend to be flat, which is in direct defiance of realism’s emphasis on complex characters. I thought it was neat how you worked around that by framing the prologue from Jasmine’s POV. Chris feels less like a person and more like a force of nature throughout much of the prologue, driven by something (grief?) that gives him a stubborn, determined edge that could border on obsessive if taken to its negative conclusion. He’s The Boy with the Dead Dad, that’s all we really truly know about him, and it engulfs Jasmine’s and, ultimately, our perspective of him. The idea of him being viewed almost as a cipher through the lens of everyone else fascinates me, but I already know that won’t last beyond the prologue.

Some elements I might’ve liked to see integrated into the prologue/integrated into the story more in the future:

-Part of me wishes Chris had gone unnamed throughout the prologue. It’s not something that I would want to last beyond the prologue, but I like the idea because it fits well with the way fairy tale protagonists are often nameless, and helps drive home how little Jasmine truly knows about him.
-More use of triplicate narrative. I liked how Chris said thank you to Jasmine three times in the prologue.
-Magical clothes. I need this, somehow, someway. The vast majority of trainer characters having hats has all been in preparation for this moment.
-Intuitive logic and abstraction. I want things to just exist just because they can. I’d also like to see color used in broad strokes more often to highlight important thematic moments, particularly red, black, and gold.
-An incorporation of oral tradition and the idea of the same story being told multiple times with certain things changed.
-Use of Kant's sublime. I want beauty that moves toward terror, a combination of the grotesque and the beautiful, things that terrify and fascinate, that candy house in the woods. I want to feel enchanted.

And, umm, hmmm, I think that covers everything. A lot of what I talked about stems from Episode 67 of the Eleventh Hour Podcast, if you want to fact check me or anything. This was lovely, thanks for the great read. Keep up the good work! A poem for your wonderful efforts:

I look for you in the spaces
between bodies of trees. The quiet
keen on your lack,
your elbows are loud
in the unseeable air.

We never made the plan
for where we'd meet up
the day the oil runs out.

It's not as simple as ghosts or stars
falling from sockets.
The way autumn tilts
itself from yellow to brown.

--last three stanzas of The Thought of Writing A Whole Letter To You
By MÓNICA GOMERY
 
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WildBoots

Don’t underestimate seeds.
Pronouns
She/Her
Partners
  1. custom/moka-mark
  2. solrock
I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a review quite like this one! This was fun! Lots to think about.

First of all:
While complex ethical decisions weren’t ever presented to us (unless you count Jasmine not throwing, which, valid), that’s something I could see making an appearance down the line, given you tend to often bring up ethical scenarios in much of your writing.
Well, hello there! Review Blitz is apparently the season to learn that everyone has been stealth-reading your ish.

So! I’m not sure if you’ve read further ahead or not! But you did touch on a few things that come up later, so I might talk about those and just spoilerize them if I get too specific.

Aaand I worry a little I might be setting up false expectations for you re: fairy tales. I appreciate the analysis here, and I think some of it fits! Some of it might not. It’s less that I consciously tried to follow a structure (though I am really interested in fairy tales, so in places it might’ve happened accidentally) than it is that I was trying to name this thing I’d created. I still feel like it fits a story that features both survivalist camping skills and inexplicably becoming friends with Suicune, but not necessarily in all the ways outlined in your expectations.

One of the things I scribbled in my notes in big bold letters while writing this was that Chris’s father is dead.
the idea that children and adults are always in the process of trying to accept reality.
Haha, you found me out! Spring is partly me trying to recreate this story that meant a lot to me and my friends as kids ... and partly me constructing a framework for coping with loss and death in my own life! I think that’s part of the fairy tale vibe for me.

Magical clothes. I need this, somehow, someway. The vast majority of trainer characters having hats has all been in preparation for this moment.
Next chapter for sure! And chapter 3. And, come on, hiking boots are magical AF!

An incorporation of oral tradition and the idea of the same story being told multiple times with certain things changed.
In some ways, the entire story is retelling and reframing a story from canon, but it’ll be a while before that’s totally clear. Like, you’re gonna have to wait for me to finish a few more chapters to clear that up. I’ll be back to finish it eventually, I promise. Meanwhile, Chapters 5 and 11 will definitely scratch this itch. (And if you like myths in pokefic, I have to direct you to Kint’s envy of eden and, like, most things by Pen. In particular, The Crystal Prince and The Last Con stand out to me.)

I really like how well you capture Jasmine, too. Her empathy and compassion, her stuttering, mild speech patterns, the way she cheered when Chris won, all of it was just so… kind and gentle, simultaneously highlighting the sad events that hover over them all like a cloud. Definitely a beautiful sort of bittersweet. Something about kindness from strangers/near-strangers also always gets to me.
I love her. ❤️ If that’s your vibe, you’ll enjoy Spring. Um, Divides does not have a ton of that lolololol.

Transformation will also definitely come up though, again, not right away. And nature as both fearsome and beautiful. You’ll like Chapter 4 and the interlude.

Lovely poem, thanks for sharing!

I’ll be curious to hear what you make of Chapter 1! It’s got the oldest prose, so I won’t be shocked if you find some funky pieces. But it’ll also be interesting to revisit some of these fairy tales themes you’ve brought up. ;) Thanks so much for reading!

First of all, curse you for your lovely banners. It’s not fair that other people have multiple artistic talents. I’m going to have to file a complaint over this.
HR has been notified! (Thank you! ❤ )
 

zion of arcadia

too much of my own quietness is with me
Pronouns
she/her
Partners
  1. marowak-alola
I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a review quite like this one! This was fun! Lots to think about.

I took a pretty different tack with this review, myself. If I only focused on the story itself in a vacuum, I probably would've just gushed for 1k words haha. I had fun too! There's something innately enjoyable about sitting down and analyzing well-written stories, as well as pinpointing potential weak spots.

Well, hello there! Review Blitz is apparently the season to learn that everyone has been stealth-reading your ish.

I am ninja. :cool:

Aaand I worry a little I might be setting up false expectations for you re: fairy tales. I appreciate the analysis here, and I think some of it fits! Some of it might not. It’s less that I consciously tried to follow a structure (though I am really interested in fairy tales, so in places it might’ve happened accidentally) than it is that I was trying to name this thing I’d created.

Ah, that's understandable. Genre conventions are, at the end of the day, looking back at famous/well-known stories and analyzing common patterns. And it's not like you need to follow those patterns, of course! That's also why I wanted to make that the primary focus for the prologue, so I could move past that framework as the story progressed and became its own thing.

Haha, you found me out! Spring is partly me trying to recreate this story that meant a lot to me and my friends as kids ... and partly me constructing a framework for coping with loss and death in my own life! I think that’s part of the fairy tale vibe for me.

Ah, yes, I feel that. I find a lot of my stories tend to be about coping with loss, too. It's always interesting to see how things are viewed as children vs adults. Might also be what drew me to this story. Something something shared human experiences.

And, come on, hiking boots are magical AF!

That's what I like to hear. 🥾

(And if you like myths in pokefic, I have to direct you to Kint’s envy of eden and, like, most things by Pen. In particular, The Crystal Prince and The Last Con stand out to me.)

I have read both of their works! Very talented writers. Haven't quite caught up on everything Pen has posted, though, so I'll try to correct that.

I’ll be curious to hear what you make of Chapter 1! It’s got the oldest prose, so I won’t be shocked if you find some funky pieces. But it’ll also be interesting to revisit some of these fairy tales themes you’ve brought up. ;) Thanks so much for reading!

I usually don't talk much about old prose. You've mentioned enjoying editing, though, so if it helps I can point stuff out. And I look forward to it. You're welcome! Thanks for all your hard work!

HR has been notified! (Thank you! ❤ )

:devilish:
 

kintsugi

golden scars
Location
waiting for the fog to roll out
Pronouns
she/her
Partners
  1. silvally-grass
  2. lapras
  3. golurk
"And then a face floated towards her From out of the shadows. It was, of course, her own reflection. However, she had never seen a mirror before—or a bronzor—and she had no idea how she had grown and changed on her journey. So she mistook it for the beautiful face of her mother."
I like the through-line here of embracing the past and seeing how it shapes us still. For Una it's partially literal; for Chris, it's not. But this is a really beautiful way to capture this idea of growing up--you can't recognize yourself, but maybe you've become someone you would've loved and respected instead. Bronzor is a really nice centerpiece for the chapter, both as an ancient relic and for how it ties into the central themes of reflection, light, facing yourself. And it's hard to do, as our protagonists are slowly learning! Far easier to think that the world has changed as its own miracle and the bronzor has your mother's face than to accept that you as a person will need to grow and move forward from this (or even to extend appreciate to the growth that you've already done).

(sidebar, wild capital From here)

Cynthia's a good appearance in this, too. I think the duo desperately needed an outside hand to right the ship a little, and Cynthia's spirituality here is a good touch as a parallel/opposite to Una's. It's kind of wild how much of this was about to fall apart simply because Chris was too awkward to say anything, and Cynthia has to show up to pull things back from the brink.

Cynthia's more assured and confident than Una, and she's willing to drop the hard truths that both Una and Chris need to learn, but in stories! You capture the idea that she doesn't really give a fuck what other people think, and she has no qualms pushing out people she doesn't think she needs to impress--contrasts nicely with Chris oggling over Gary and Gary resignedly scribbling out a quick autograph; maybe the tournament won't hold all your answers, hmmm? The twist on the Sinnoh myths is nice, and I like the added touch of asking everyone permission and uh,,, respecting when they say no instead of cutting them up with a sword or holding them to one promise that their ancestor made a long long time ago.

Really lovely chapter. Always here for studies on how myths and stories can inspire us. I know that we're in Hoenn for a while, but this is a lovely story you've got here and I'm glad that it's still somewhere on the backburner.

some line-specific thoughts:
He noticed then that she was wearing the long skirt from the Mahogany hospital lost and found again. She'd been carrying it around the entire time. Chris wasn't sure whether to shake his head or smile.
yeah what kind of idiot would keep old stuff out of sentimentality
So he and Una stood without speaking—as if she were already gone, even though she was standing right there—until the cable car lurched into view.
I liked this understated moment--often we think it's the last goodbyes that really mean things, but what do we end up doing in those moments that actually matter? Sometimes they stick with us, but often the more powerful moments came way before the end.
Then she was already turning away, and Chris only managed to give her backpack a clumsy pat.
oh yes this is great
But, thinking of his own pokemon—Hero the offspring of Dad's own fearsome typhlosion and his lapras named as a nod to Mom—Chris thought he understood Gary's choices.
I think some commas are missing here
"If you want to. It's for you." Then to Chris, Cynthia added, "We've been talking about ways to honor home and homesickness. A little self-care ritual. You can do one too, if you want."
I like the casual no-fucks that Cynthia gives here. She's helping someone, Chris can be here if he doesn't annoy her, I guess.
Would she have stayed if he had asked?
bruh
"How do you know of her?"

"TV."

"I see," she said, meaning
meaning "chris what the fuck is a tee vee"
"—I mistook her for my sister. Her hair, mostly. She did not much resemble Suki once I saw her face. Of course, I knew that it could not possibly be her. Suki has been gone for a long time. But it set me to weeping all the same." She reached to touch Suki the slowpoke, who licked her hand.
hi pls can we stop naming pokemon after our friends who have left us this is really sad and ibuki needs to do laundry
Chris gawked. "You mean—?"

Una gazed back unblinkingly.
I like how there's a lot unspoken here, how Chris is surprised she'd tell anyone else. That was our secret! But you were doing a bad job with it and not helping.
"Where I come from," she said, "fire-types are rare. We have to be a bit more clever to light our campfires."
haha, is this an intentional reference to D/P having like two fire-types? i am a fan.
Cynthia crouched beside the fire pit, tilting the mirror from side to side until the glint of it struck the paper kindling. She focused the reflected light to a pinprick that quickly began to smoke and glow red. Then, all at once, the fire caught and swept its way up the kindling pile. Only then did Chris settle himself onto a boulder, feeling foolish for doubting, and leave Cynthia to tend the fire.
I wanted either more explanation or less--either Chris has seen a concave mirror before and this isn't new to him, or it's not behaving in a way that he'd expect a flat mirror to behave. I like the setup for the story though; Cynthia certainly has a flare for dramatic openings and lessons.
or an attemptedstudy
heyo dropped a space here
"No two people will interpret a story the same way, and that's alright. But here's what I think: I think each of us is a mirror. We reflect our own histories, the histories of our ancestors, the places we've been … and even who we could become. All of those reflections cast new light onto the world. Do you know what you want to reflect into the world, Una?"
<3 this is a really beautiful concept. stories are how we live on indeed.
Chris tried, "Maybe you should let her—"

Cynthia ignored him. "You are the last person alive who can reflect the light of a world that no longer exists."
I like the difference here, how Chris' gut reaction is to protect/shelter Una (because of course homeboy would support the route that involves being quite and not talking about your problems what do you MEAN), how Cynthia presses with duty. Perhaps it's not the softest option but I think it's the one that Una needed in this moment (compared to the other listening that Cynthia did earlier). Self-care is twofold; you have to figure out where you want to move to as well as away from.

Slowly, Una released her breath. "I will tell you my stories."
okay but like Una POV when
 
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WildBoots

Don’t underestimate seeds.
Pronouns
She/Her
Partners
  1. custom/moka-mark
  2. solrock
I forgot that you hadn’t done this one yet, even though you remembered that you’d forgotten and brought it up recently!

you can't recognize yourself, but maybe you've become someone you would've loved and respected instead.
Aww, yeah, it’s me talking to baby-OSJ-who-no-longer-exists by writing this fic.

(sidebar, wild capital From here)
An invader!

It's kind of wild how much of this was about to fall apart simply because Chris was too awkward to say anything,
Otherworldly social awkwardness.

maybe the tournament won't hold all your answers, hmmm?
Blasphemy.

uh,,, respecting when they say no instead of cutting them up with a sword or holding them to one promise that their ancestor made a long long time ago.
Who would ever

I know that we're in Hoenn for a while, but this is a lovely story you've got here and I'm glad that it's still somewhere on the backburner.
❤️
Confirmation: it IS still on the back burner. Part of it’s just that switching between the two is hard. It’s quite a seesaw. The other thing is that I need to re-outline some things. And work Suicune back in oops.

okay but like Una POV when
Next interlude!

I think some commas are missing here
I think you’re right. I’ll add it to the pile.

haha, is this an intentional reference to D/P having like two fire-types?
IT IS
Sinnoh is a cold, muddy swamp. 2/10

I wanted either more explanation or less--either Chris has seen a concave mirror before and this isn't new to him, or it's not behaving in a way that he'd expect a flat mirror to behave. I like the setup for the story though; Cynthia certainly has a flare for dramatic openings and lessons.
Hmm fair! I think was worried people wouldn’t buy it.

heyo dropped a space here
More for the pile.

Self-care is twofold; you have to figure out where you want to move to as well as away from.
Wise. 💚

Thanks for stopping by to give the quiet child some love.
 

Persephone

Ace Trainer
Pronouns
her/hers
Partners
  1. vulpix-alola
Ah see never reviewing ever is actually a brilliant strategy and not just being lazy. Behold my brilliance.

I forget if I stole "carol of delibird" from you or if you stole it from me. If it is the latter, this is just one step closer to my quest of getting something, anything, in the Alola Dex to be fanon. I did like your depiction of delibird as scavengers of human things. It doesn't work quite as well with the new prologue, but it's the sort of small worldbuilding detail I like.

Speaking of the prologue, I actually think I liked the old one better on a thematic level. It set up the idea of trainers dying in the snow, right before an arc that focused on very narrowly averting that. And it was just a better stand alone chapter than the new one. This works to show Chris's dedication and how much he wants to do well in the league, but that was already set up well enough by the time it mattered in my opinion. And the idea of trainers dying for fame, while not literally applicable to Chris, does foreshadow how much he's willing to sacrifice his one (1) friendship with another human so he can keep on going. A different sacrifice, but one that still hits pretty hard in the feels.

Hmm. Let's talk about battles next. Both of the ones I remember off the top of my head were aquatic battles and I did like them. Better than the usual "stand on platform and fire in thunderbolts until win" deal that most fics that make it to Cerulean employ. Especially since it had some fun Lapras action iirc. And fencing! Sort of. I mean, not during the gym battle. But adjacent to it. Dragon leaders knowing how to fence isn't something I knew I needed. Then Jolteon v. Lanturn (?) was good stuff. How to fight a water-type when you can't really do much direct harm or get into the water. Need to properly reread that one when I get the time. Chris being bad at battling in front of massive crowds also tracks. Not something that's shown often, in part because few fics actually make it to the league lol. You CHEATED by skipping badges two through seven. Unfair. Go to cheater's jail, you monster.

Cynthia! Cynthia being very, very interested in a time traveler tracks. She's also probably more likely than Sabrina to be able to actually find Celebi and/or Palkia to fix the situation. If Una still wants to. Because you know I ship them. Una deserves better than Boring Protagonist Man. Speaking of, she's easily my favorite character here. There are a few things that she has somewhat understated reactions to in my opinion - future tech and linguistic drift, among them. English from even ~1800 is very much not modern English, and there has apparently been colonialism in Johto since then that disrupted the language up even more than English has been. Also she doesn't exactly seem shocked by seeing all the languages and people on the League iirc. I guess that Ye Olde Johto didn't have the same isolationism that Ye Olde Japan did. Very modern sensibilities, that Una. Also kind of weird that she didn't freak out about future tech and have a breakdown until she saw her home city. I get that her brain had just been shot to hell, but still.

On less critical notes, I love her way of seeing the world. Cute slowpoke fren. Best flower crown. Lives in what you'd expect to be a more violent world but actually abhors the casual violence of modern society. And her language, while not actually Ye Olde English, is still formal enough to set her apart.

Sonic, of course, is the key to understanding that this fic is not what it appears to be. Is also very cute. That part is important.

Celebi misplacing a human in time is hilarious lol.
 

zion of arcadia

too much of my own quietness is with me
Pronouns
she/her
Partners
  1. marowak-alola
And, I’m back! I’ll give overall thoughts and then segue into some thoughts on prose, since you did ask me to share.

I like how the opening is just Chris surviving out in the wild. Gave me minor Hatchet vibes, haha. There’s a comfortable sort of loneliness to it.

The way Chris uses his pokemon feels smoothly integrated into the narrative as well. His names for them are also a treat: simplistic, yet thoughtful. Hero was particularly inspired, I thought. Although I did kind of giggle at Sonic, as all I could think of was the hedgehog, haha. You can’t just use the name of a mascot from another company like that, it’s illegal.

It was somewhat odd to picture delibird flying, though, considering they’re based on penguins. But they can learn to fly in-game, so I guess we’re just running with game logic here. It was also cool how you integrated their defining characteristic of giving people presents, but with a morbid twist to it. This also does a good job setting the melancholic tone and touching back on the theme of death and grief. Chris contemplating his own mortality was a somber moment.

I found it interesting how his father is mentioned in passing at several points, but the actual passing is never explicitly touched upon. Another detail I noticed is that Chris seems to draw upon words/memories of his father for strength when he feels uncertain/anxious. Once when steeling himself to traverse the rest of the ravine, and then again while waiting for the paramedics to arrive.

Another minor character detail I adored--Chris’s pride over never using the PLB leading him to briefly consider sending her off on the back of his skarmory. I found that morbidly amusing. The scene weaves character, exposition, and backstory together in a manner that really grounds the story. Your love of camping definitely shines through here, and the grounded atmosphere further highlights the moment of magic when Chris moves the girl, discovering the vivid green grass beneath. It also reinforces that Chris is really good at handling himself out in the wilderness, even if he does flail awkwardly when coming into contact with pretty comatose girls. Then again, I’d probably be a little concerned if he didn’t.

Yay, give me more cloak of potentially magical origin goodness. I was instantly reminded of little red riding hood, although there’s also the cloak of invisibility from Celtic mythology. I did a little digging, and stumbled across The Cloak of Dreams (which is now on my Kindle, lol, I love stumbling across new stuff while researching for reviews) which had this on the blurb: “... the tales and pictures accentuate the motifs and themes that run throughout Balázs’s work: wandering protagonists, mysterious woods and mountains, solitude, and magical transformation. His fairy tales express our deepest desires and the hope that, even in the midst of tragedy, we can transcend our difficulties and forge our own destinies.”

And there we go, circling back around to tragedy and transformation. The girl seems to be related to Ho-Oh somehow, at least as far as I can tell… right now, my guess is either that she’s Suicune, or she’s a friend/caretaker of Suicune.

The thought that this story will involve Chris planning on getting his final badge and constantly being waylaid by shenanigans amuses me. That said, it was genuinely sweet that he wanted to ensure the girl was okay and that she got her cloak back.

Random prose musings:

On the first day in the ravine, a carol of delibirds bombarded Chris.

I was expecting the transition into the next day to parallel this opening line. And while it does, loosely, I’d personally have preferred a tighter, cleaner repetition. Also also, there’s something slightly off putting about the chapter ultimately only spanning the course of two days. The opening implied a longer time frame. Is this me shilling for more triplicate narrative? Yes. Yes it is.

That said, a carol of delibirds is a delightful turn of phrase.

The first one's talons grazed his shoulder as it passed, tearing the fabric. He batted it away, only to be struck sidelong by a second. Two more slammed onto his backpack, jostling for purchase. Before he could shake them off or grab a pokeball, several more landed on his shoulder and pack. The combined weight pulled him backward. With a crash and a yelp, he hit the ground and slid partway down the hill through crusted-over mud.

I had a hard time putting my finger on the why of it all, exactly, but something about this scene felt oddly lacking in tension. Arguably you could apply that criticism to a lot of the chapter. It comes across as intentional, since Chris is used to dealing with pokemon and even says so, but… hmm I dunno, you can’t use verbs like bombarded and not invest more of a sense of danger into the scene, I think. The sentences just rattle off actions, and Chris’s reactions, without further detailing other senses. Like the verbiage makes it seems like it’d hurt, but I don’t really feel it, if that makes sense.

It might also be because there isn’t much in the way of build up to the actual mobbing.

The only way out is through, he imagined his dad saying.

Looking back just once more, he shouldered his pack and continued deeper into the canyon.

Really liked the contrast here, showcasing Chris’s nerves.

Old snow was scribbled over by fallen pine needles here, disappearing once more under the fresh snow.

The first part of the sentence is rather passive. Would probably have written, ‘Fallen pine scribbled over old snow’ or something along those lines.

She was very pretty, he realized. What was she doing here?

I ship it.

His heart was still pounding, but the air was still.

Something about this felt incomplete (was still hushed, perhaps? Tranquil? Silent?). Or maybe it’s just the repetition of still that thuds for me.


Okay are all Chris’s pokemon’s names going to be based off famous video game characters? Haha.

If Chris woke up a little early, his reward was a cup of tea and a few quiet moments in the kitchen with Dad—without Keiko's surliness and Kaden finger-drumming on the table. Mom taught him how to ride a bike, but Dad taught him how to make breakfast: omelet, natto, miso soup. And a proper cup of tea. After a moment, Chris resealed the bag and pocketed it. He listened to the hiss of his camp stove, staring at nothing…

I really loved all the little details in this paragraph. I did think the mention of Chris’s siblings added one detail too many. It takes some of the focus off Chris’s parents, who are the focal point of the paragraph. I would’ve just mentioned them in passing and unnamed.

Here’s a poem. I briefly considered sharing the whole thing but decided against it because it ran a little long. But there are two parts I really like so I’m going to share both. :)

Ocean, don’t be afraid.
The end of the road is so far ahead
it is already behind us.
Don’t worry. Your father is only your father
until one of you forgets. Like how the spine
won’t remember its wings
no matter how many times our knees
kiss the pavement.



& remember,
loneliness is still time spent
with the world. Here’s
the room with everyone in it.
Your dead friends passing
through you like wind
through a wind chime. Here’s a desk
with the gimp leg & a brick
to make it last. Yes, here’s a room
so warm & blood-close,
I swear, you will wake—
& mistake these walls
for skin.

--”Someday I’ll Love Ocean Vuong”, by Ocean Vuong
 
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WildBoots

Don’t underestimate seeds.
Pronouns
She/Her
Partners
  1. custom/moka-mark
  2. solrock
Some review replies! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!

Overall--far less shitpost than I expected? I'm scared. Who are you and what have you done with Persephone?

I forget if I stole "carol of delibird" from you or if you stole it from me.
I stole it from you, you mad genius.

Speaking of the prologue, I actually think I liked the old one better on a thematic level. It set up the idea of trainers dying in the snow, right before an arc that focused on very narrowly averting that.
Interesting! I think the old prologue fits this first chapter (and Zion has given me some thoughts about revising tone here), but the theme of survival really doesn't carry through to the other half of the story. But themes of loss and grief and moving through it will. Might be hard to tell when you can't see where I'm going yet though. When I've got more of the story laid down, let's touch base again, haha.

Both of the ones I remember off the top of my head were aquatic battles and I did like them.
Omg, no more water battles. My soul can't handle any more. I'm glad you liked them, though!

Go to cheater's jail, you monster.


Cynthia being very, very interested in a time traveler tracks. She's also probably more likely than Sabrina to be able to actually find Celebi and/or Palkia to fix the situation.
Haha, right? A better tool for the job.

There are a few things that she has somewhat understated reactions to in my opinion - future tech and linguistic drift, among them. English from even ~1800 is very much not modern English, and there has apparently been colonialism in Johto since then that disrupted the language up even more than English has been
I decided to minimize a lot of this because I thought it would be tedious. I can consider adding some of it back in next time I'm working on this fic, though!

Thanks for taking the time to formalize your thoughts! A real treat.

Hi, welcome back!

Gave me minor Hatchet vibes, haha.
Ooh, that checks out. I think that novel and pokemon came into my life around the same time, so they're stored in the same parts of my brain.

It was somewhat odd to picture delibird flying, though, considering they’re based on penguins. But they can learn to fly in-game, so I guess we’re just running with game logic here.
Yeah, I decided to extrapolate on the game logic: if it can fly, it must not be a true penguin. I think they've got sort of a hopping, short-distance flight ... but I let them have it. :)

I found it interesting how his father is mentioned in passing at several points, but the actual passing is never explicitly touched upon.
It does come up in detail later! Hard for our boy to talk about. And! He's about to have other things to deal with.

also reinforces that Chris is really good at handling himself out in the wilderness, even if he does flail awkwardly when coming into contact with pretty comatose girls. Then again, I’d probably be a little concerned if he didn’t.
This is a reoccurring theme for him. He's definitely competent in some ways, none of which involve other humans.

The Cloak of Dreams
Ooh, this was fascinating. Nice find.

That said, a carol of delibirds is a delightful turn of phrase.
I stole it from The Alola Pokedex!

but… hmm I dunno, you can’t use verbs like bombarded and not invest more of a sense of danger into the scene, I think. The sentences just rattle off actions, and Chris’s reactions, without further detailing other senses.
Fair! I think it suited the old prologue better. I think you're right that this opening passage wants to shift a little in a tone.

Okay are all Chris’s pokemon’s names going to be based off famous video game characters? Haha.
A few of them are, yes! He's got Sonic and Tikal (both Sonic franchise characters) and Samus. Then he's got Pocky and two pokemon named for his parents. You know, just teenage boy things.

I'm pretty shameless about naming pokemon for pop culture references. 🙃

Thanks for the prose catches. I'll address those next time I'm editing. And I'll think about what you said about sets of three, too!

Thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts here!
 

NebulaDreams

Ace Trainer
Partners
  1. luxray
Review of chapters 1-2 (including the prologue)

Hello, fellow catnipper here! I've been curious to check this out for a while now, particularly because your watercolour banners really caught my eye, and I'm glad I did because it's great stuff so far! I don't have much to offer in terms of critique, so this review will just be expanding on what I liked about it, so I thought I'd flag that up now.

For starters, it was easy for me to get immersed in your worldbuilding. This is what I'd imagine a Pokemon novelisation would read like, with a grounded take on the world that mirrors lots of elements of the games down to the whole experience of being a trainer, except of course, nature does not mess around. So far, I think you handled the issue of Pokemon intelligence well in a way that feels consistent and matches the story's tone, so I don't mind that they're closer to animals here. This, along with the rest of the worldbuilding and the verisimilitude of the story's style (alongside the references to real life iconography such as the M&Ms, the Reader's Digest magazine, etc.) reminded me of Persephone's works.

My favourite part of the fic, by far, is its atmosphere. Good god, I love the atmosphere here. I've heard about your camping experiences before and I don't know how much of that informed Spring, but another reason why the story felt so immersive was how much attention to detail you paid to the descriptions of nature and camping equipment and such. This world feels alive, and while the setting is harsh in its indifference, showing how oppressive the weather can be and how there's danger potentially lurking in every corner of the wild (the delibird encounter, the way Chris has to tread carefully around the ursaring), there's also a sense of wonder and warmth in it captured through these descriptions.

That's where the deliberate pacing of the story shines, by showing all these hoops Chris has to go through as well as the little things in the world that add comfort to it and expand on the characters, such as the cups of tea Chris enjoys, the taiyaki pastry he buys, the sights of the limestone cliffs he chances upon and his fascination with the patterns stitched in Jane's robe. Even the side characters, such as the overworked hostel manager or the odd trader who sold Chris the dried Pokemon food, have personality to them for the brief time they're there. I don't know whether or not the story would be considered slow compared to other trainer fics, but to me, the reading session flew by because of how invested I was in the setting, and there wouldn't be moments like this if it didn't stop to smell the roses.

This atmosphere is what carries the story and the characters for me so far. While Chris doesn't stick out to me that much yet and we've yet to explore Jane's character in much depth, they are relateable because of how they interact with the world and there's enough there (such as Chris' backstory, Jane's teleportation-induced trauma and the awkward dynamic they have together) that I want to read more to get to know them.

My one minor quibble so far is that the battles don't feel like they have much weight in the story yet, since it's taken for granted that the reader is already familiar with how fights work in this world. Well, on the one hand, not every battle needs to have much focus, especially not the ones where Chris is just sparring for pocket change, so I expect this will be reserved for more important fights. On the other hand, this made the prologue seem a bit emotionally detached considering the themes of grief and passing the torch that are being expressed there. Though it serves its purpose by setting up Hiro and Chris without lingering on it for too long, so again, minor quibble.

So yeah, once again, I'm glad I picked up this story! I don't know when I'll get around to reading the rest, but it will definitely be on my radar.
 

WildBoots

Don’t underestimate seeds.
Pronouns
She/Her
Partners
  1. custom/moka-mark
  2. solrock
Hi, Nebby! Thanks so much for the kind words.

So far, I think you handled the issue of Pokemon intelligence well in a way that feels consistent and matches the story's tone, so I don't mind that they're closer to animals here.
It's a consistent thing in my works, but I do think it's one of the weaker points in Spring. There are some nice, cute moments I'm proud of, but the pokemon slide off the map in places. I think Training Data and Continental Divides are better at rendering pokemon as inhuman while still giving them personalities (though a lot of them times in CD they're still mostly proxies for what the human characters are feeling). It is what it is. Like you said, it's part of the tone and mood of this world.

This, along with the rest of the worldbuilding and the verisimilitude of the story's style (alongside the references to real life iconography such as the M&Ms, the Reader's Digest magazine, etc.) reminded me of Persephone's works.
Aww, beeg compliment. <3 Yeah, I'm a big believer in specificity and brand names. I do make up my own brands in places, but the wall between our reality and the fiction is a little thin in places.

Good god, I love the atmosphere here. ... there's also a sense of wonder and warmth in it captured through these descriptions.
<3 🙏 Glad to hear it!

This atmosphere is what carries the story and the characters for me so far. While Chris doesn't stick out to me that much yet and we've yet to explore Jane's character in much depth, they are relateable because of how they interact with the world and there's enough there (such as Chris' backstory, Jane's teleportation-induced trauma and the awkward dynamic they have together) that I want to read more to get to know them.
I don't think it would be inaccurate to say that the setting is a character unto itself in this fic, more than in any of my other works. We do get a lot more from Chris and [name redacted] in the next two chapters, so that's something to look forward to, perhaps.

My one minor quibble so far is that the battles don't feel like they have much weight in the story yet, since it's taken for granted that the reader is already familiar with how fights work in this world.
Yeah, the fights aren't the star of this story! I try to keep them out of the way of the character stuff. Chapter 6 is mostly a battle, and so is Chapter ... I think 10? And there's a very short battle in chapter 4. But there are a lot more conversations. CD, on the other hand, has something like a battle in almost every chapter. (5,6,7, and 11 stand out for not having a physical conflict, lol.)

And no worries about not being sure when you'll make it back--I'm not sure when I will either! Eventually. But my permanent residence is definitely Hoenn right now, not Johto. ... Despite the name.
 
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