The visions began as soon as Jakan touched the rough bark. They shimmered for a moment before settling into focus. His throat tightened and his heart sped. Before him, his village burned. Bright orange wolves of flame snarled at him as they tore cottages apart. He could feel the raging heat on his cheeks, searing his beard. Over the crackling of burning timber, other sounds broke through; not the usual soft murmuring of Arrakesh, but screams and wails so chilling he reeled from them.
The scene faded. In its place he saw The Tree. The oak stood in sunlight, a black spectre, huge and forbidding. Its limbs were bare, though the rest of the forest around it wore its summer greenery. As he watched, two branches reached forward, like hands held out to him in supplication. He stared in horror, as the trunk of the tree split open. Crimson liquid bubbled and bled from it onto the earth below, snaking into the forest. Everything it touched turned black and withered away to dust.
Jakan closed his eyes tighter, clutching so hard at the tree that the bark cut into his hands. His awareness of his surroundings remained just keen enough to be conscious of the uneasiness of the villagers behind him, but he could do nothing to reassure them. The forest held him. He couldn’t move, or open his eyes.
He trembled. What was happening? Please, Arrakesh, no more. But Arrakesh, it seemed, had not finished.
Interesting. This certainly got my attention, however it left me wondering about the main character, as he seems to be lost in this opening.ReplyDelete
I'm not sure. I'm not really hooked, but I'm stuck on this phrase: bright orange wolves of flame snarled... What does this mean? Are there wolves in the fire? I got hung up on that.ReplyDelete
Yes maybe, no maybe -- I like anything that mentions wolves and fire, but I think this is a really good draft. Read it out loud and look at each phrase: the orange wolves of flame is a difficult metaphor for me. Maybe it would work better as a simile. :)ReplyDelete
I read this because the title brought to mind one of the "piggies" in in Orson Scott Card's SPEAKER FOR THE DEAD. And whereas it has potential, it didn't hook me.ReplyDelete
Yes, I like this a lot.ReplyDelete
I don't often read fantasy these days, so that's an achievement on your part.
It's strongly written, launches right into the central conflict, with a sympathetic main character IMO. I think you imply the cultural spirituality/mysticism well.
I liked wolves of flame snarling. I don't mind if they're real or metaphorical.
But then I'm a sucker for mood (and trees).
I would keep reading. I liked the atmosphere that was created. I'm not sure yet whether it would be my kind of thing but it's well-written enough that I would give it a few more pages before I decided whether I wanted to read the whole thing or not.ReplyDelete
I actually was hooked by this, even though I don't read a lot of fantasy. I would like to see more of the MC, or at least get more of a feel for him, but I guess that's what further reading would do. If you give us more insight into the MC right away, then I would read on. If I get to the third page without more characterization then I might put it down. But I'm a hard sell when it comes to fantasy, so you've done a great job hooking me with this. Oh, and I liked your wolf/fire metaphore. I hope this helps. :-)ReplyDelete
The one thing that I really liked was the wolf flame. The writing was good and there is a conflict but I would have liked to get a better feel for the MC to engage me in what is happening. I'm going with a no, but I'd give it another page or two before I set it down.ReplyDelete
Maybe this isn't fair, since I remember reading this novel... :)
But backing away, I love your choice of words/descriptions and feel bad for the character.
Tentatively yes. I liked the set up and the visions were described well. I just wasn't "feeling" what your MC was feeling (the flames, the horror, etc). I think using more active words and shorter phrases might strengthen it overall.ReplyDelete
I like the use of the tree, although I thought the writing could be tightened some, or made more personal. While he reeled from the screams and wails, I didn't when I read it.
Also, the opening line didn't grab me--there's a lot in the first paragraph, so I think it could be stronger.
A no from me, but I don't often get pulled into books with an MMC.ReplyDelete
No. The writing feels tight, if a bit overlong in description for the opening page. Jakan didn't hook me as a protagonist I would care to follow for an entire book. Visions in the first chapter tend to turn me off. I find them overused -- a means of getting information with too much ease. The writing itself looks good, but the plot fails to hook me.ReplyDelete
Yes, I would keep reading. I like visions, flashbacks, nightmares and that sort of thing. Plus I love fantasy.ReplyDelete
The beard surprised me. Most fantasy MC's are young, late teens.
No, sorry. It's well written but visions just don't hook me. Personal presence.ReplyDelete
I've seen this before. I still think you could use some more action. Try again, please?ReplyDelete
Nice imagery and pacing, but it's not my genre.
Hmm, I don't think this is a yes for me. There are some great images but the rhythms seemed off a little, particularly in the first paragraph. To me the third was a more compelling entry point--the villagers depending on our MC raises the stakes. I'd want to see a little more about the world he lives in so I could know how bad this image really is before receiving it; I wonder if there's a more active scene that could come before this one so we're not getting dark portent before getting basic establishment of place.ReplyDelete
The writing is strong, but I couldn't establish a reason to care, even though the vision was chilling. I, too, got stuck on "wolves of flame" -- which is a vibrant image, but didn't seem to fit somehow.ReplyDelete
However, because the writing is strong, the images are vivid and there's a hint of great misfortune that this one poor man must avert (because it looks like everyone depends on him to do exactly that), I'd read on (desperately hoping to get a clue about what's going on soon).
I'm sold on the concept (was a dryad in a former life O:)), but can definitely see others' point about starting with a more active scene.ReplyDelete
Love the title, but the story didn't hook me. Might read a bit further because I love fantasy.ReplyDelete
The visuals were captivating. I enjoy this genre, and the piece appealed to me.
I liked the first and last paragraph more than the second. It was a little confusing why the tree was bleeding. Is this still a vision of his? How does it relate to him or his village?
Overall, I'm hooked.