FangQuest, Chapter 3

 

As we begin chapter 3, in which not much happens, a bunch of people bring back a crapload of food that was evidently able to grow solely on firelight and garden fog. Then there’s a paragraph of food porn. Then, probably because a squirrel shouldn’t exactly be able to wield a battle-ax, Jacques makes a dirk out of obsidian. This really has nothing to do with what’s coming up.

After Marina and Barkfur discuss what’s obvious to the audience and should be obvious to them (i.e., the Powerstones have special powers), they eat. Then, Mibs flies around and looks for an exit. We are assured that, even though he talks not goodly, he is actually quite intelligent. Um…okay? Good to know? After he returns, he tells them where they’ll leave, complete with a completely new accent. This one looks to be either Southern or Scottish.

They go through Mibs’s tunnel and find another cavern. This one is a bit smaller than the last one, but it’s prettier. It’s decked out in white marble and carvings, with columns that resemble Greek or Roman architecture. Did we mention that Greece and Rome existed in this alternate universe? It’s true. A particularly dark chapter of history is that of the Dog-emperor Nero, and how he would feed lions to the Christians.

Also, there’s a huge-ass mosaic on the floor of Blackfang. Oh, wait, he’s just Fang, Blackfang’s ancestor. Just Blackfang’s. Not his siblings’.

You may, at this point, be wondering why I’ve started color coding the names according to the Powerstones.  Well, it’s because each character has so little personality that I doubt you’ll be able to tell them apart.  In fact, the Powerstone they have is probably the closest each of them comes to having any sort of identity.  So it’s for your sake!

Anyway, while they’re all admiring this out-of-place architecture, Jacques heads around the corner, and this stag comes out. Does it walk on two legs or four? Again, dunno. But at least we know his rack is polished.  It “was polished until it was as white as a gentle cloud.” Some awkward wording in this sentence, but the more I think about the metaphor, the more I like it. It’s creative, original, and works. Good job, author! I salute you for that one.

And I flinch at the next sentence: “Maxus?” Jacques said looking as if he had seen a ghost.

Great job, author. Way to blow a creative, original metaphor with a lame, boring, cliché one.

Coming up next time: a hint of perspective, the most dickish reunion ever, and a trial by fire.

Andy

Published in: on March 2, 2011 at 11:42 pm  Leave a Comment  
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FangQuest, Chapter 2

 

As we start the second chapter, entitled “Another Stone,” Blackfang shows the others the surprisingly lengthy note—only after which do they react with anger, which makes little sense since the note itself isn’t that infuriating.

Blast decides that this would be the perfect opportunity for some weapon porn. Honestly, it rivals any given clothing porn segment of My Immortal. I would have skipped the two pages completely, had two details (other than a squirrel easily carrying a battle-ax) caught my eye, both regarding Mibs. First of all, why does he talk in a mangled version of Brian Jacques’ “Sparra speak?” It’s even less intelligible, spelling-wise. Secondly, his anatomy confuses me. I’ve already established that I have no idea how big he is, and am just assuming he’s big enough to stand at least waist-high to the wolves instead of small enough to fit in their mouths. However, how does he wear a breastplate? And how does he hold a dagger? Okay, let’s say he holds the dagger in his talons (though that still doesn’t explain the breastplate). How does he draw it, then? Hell, does he just have hands instead of wings?

Better yet, Mark and Ken have become fully conscious again and have joined them. We now have eight characters traveling together. None of them have any form of personality—unless you count occupation, species, or funetik aksent (that’s “phonetic accent,” for those of you who are trying to figure out what the hell I just typed) as personality types. Even worse, a lot of the names are similar. I’m having problems right now telling any of the wolves apart, other than “younger wolves with ridiculous names” and “older wolves with surprisingly out-of-place names.”

They leave the forge and go to the den, placing the green stone in a hole that fits it perfectly. Somehow, they never noticed this hole before. Also, they evidently never noticed that there was somehow six feet of missing space in their house. Or that the six missing feet were because of a stairway that led to a vast series of catacombs. I don’t know what the floors are made of, but wouldn’t it be apparent somehow that there was some sort of hollow space beneath your house? Wouldn’t it let in drafts?

Inside the catacombs, they find lit torches. Because they, you know, stay lit for so long. And if someone came by to relight them, there’s no way they would have ever heard their claws clacking on that stone staircase.

Beyond that, they find a garden that has the magical properties of not needing sunlight to grow and being able to survive intense heat at close proximity. See, there’s magma that’s somehow in fountains. There also happens to be warm springs that flow into them. I’m not entirely sure what this weird, messed up garden looks like. I’m sure the heroes don’t either, since there’s a thick fog all around the garden, which is naturally obscuring their view. Wait, my mistake, they can see it perfectly.

Well, perhaps I spoke too soon about the torches. They stay lit because they’re evidently “magic” and change colors when people walk by. Color coded for your convenience, folks! This is, along with the whole “changing eye color” thing, never explained, and probably only happens because our author thought that reading a book is like watching a movie. Which it isn’t.

Then a wildcat in a cape named Ryrock the Clichéd Title comes and says something along the lines of “Hello, nice to meet you. I knew Blackfang (none of the others are worth mentioning by name) when he was young, so I’ll start this reunion by challenging two of you to violent combat!”

Marina and Barkfur (oh, look both the females in the group. Somehow significant?) do the sensible thing and ponder what the hell is going on. But only long enough for them to ponder. They jump into the fray in this awkwardly worded one-sentence paragraph:

“The huge cat fled to the garden with Barkfur and Marinia hard on his heels, the two of them were drawn to the challenge as if by an unseen force, though the big cat and the previous events of that night confused them and made them almost reconsider leaping into a foggy pit in a place they had no idea existed until just a few minutes before.”

At this point, yet another proportion/scale mystery comes into play. Evidently, a mountain lion, probably about six feet tall standing in this universe, is able to wield a sword that’s seven feet long. Seven. Really. I am not making this up. His sword is bigger than he is, and he wields it effortlessly.

While this battle rages, those on the sidelines have a little discussion with Blackfang that goes something like this.

“Hey, Blackfang, your eyes are green!”

“Nuh-uh!”

“Yeah-huh!”

“Nuh-uh!”

“Accent that looks like a bunch of typos.”

“Well, shit. They are green. Whaddya know. Probably my necklace.”

And they never do come to the conclusion why.

We switch back to the fight, which we find out isn’t a friendly little fight at all. That’s right: they’ve been trying to fucking kill each other. If you don’t believe me, it explicitly states “Marina and Barkfur went in for the kill” at one point.

Naturally, Marina and Barkfur win with absolutely no prior training. Also, Ryrock can evidently teleport. After he disappears in a swirl of fog, he leaves behind another note and two parts of a stone. Unlike Dirtsnow, Ryrock at least was probably able to write his note beforehand. Also unlike Dirtsnow, he must have some form of psychic powers, as he somehow knew beforehand Blackfang would have the green stone.

The “Slayers’ Blade” (I am not making this up) is vaguely alluded to, and the stones are given the incredibly cool-sounding (by which I mean lame-sounding) title “Powerstones” (capital P). The women both get part of the Red Powerstone, which gives the wearer strength. I’m sensing some sort of feminism subtext to this, though I can’t tell if that’s intentional or not. Also, Blackfang’s Green Powerstone apparently lets him change into any creature. I would personally choose human, so that I wouldn’t have to worry how I’m holding a sword without opposable thumbs.

Puzzlingly, the stones can evidently be split into multiple parts and still retain all their power. Why they don’t just split all the stones so that they all have all the powers is beyond me. It would make more sense, honestly.

While Mibs decides that his accent now wants to change completely so it sounds like baby-talk, Barkfur and Blackfang marvel at how the Powerstones give their eyes the power to change color. After all, Barkfur asserts, “Ryrock said they were Powerstones.” Emphasis on the word “Powerstones.” Because things that work just like colored contacts are so powerful.

Blackfang establishes himself as leader, despite the fact that we have no indication that he’s qualified, other than he was the first to get his stones. Er, Stone. Yes, the singular is what I meant.

Barkfur tells Marina that Ryrock wanted her to have one of the half-stones, even though Marina was, you know, there when they found the note, so both she and the reader already know this. Blackfang watches the exchange, ending the chapter with the very “profound” statement, “another stone, another mystery.”

Next chapter: Mibs’ accent changes yet again, an ancestry that none of Blackfang’s siblings seems to share, and a stag who can somehow hold things in his hoofs.

Published in: on February 23, 2011 at 10:43 am  Comments (3)  
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FangQuest, Chapter 1

So the first thing that happens is we’re introduced to this wolf named “Blackfang.” Not too impressive of a name, if you ask me, and one that makes little sense. Does he have a black fang or something? Because now would be a good time to describe that. So, anyway, he gets dressed. I suppose we’re supposed to assume he’s anthropomorphic, and not a literal wolf that walks on four legs.

We are then introduced to Blackfang’s older brother, whose name (Runtskull) makes Blackfang’s look good by comparison. Despite being smaller, he is older. However, it’s implied that they come from the same litter, so it makes little sense.

Anyway, Runtskull’s name. It’s explained that he appears to be a runt, but there was a smaller one, born at the same time, who is a smaller runt. So why is he named “runt,” when he wasn’t? Or does Runtskull mean he has a small head? And if so, does that indicate that he’s stupid? I don’t know, because he doesn’t seem to have any sort of personality. But anyway, are all the names just Adjective-body part? Because the next time I see a character with that stupid naming theme, I’m going to cut myself.

Runtskull says that their mother is back with food. The mother’s name, surprisingly, does not follow the pattern. However, that’s not necessarily a good thing, as the name “Dirtsnow” sounds like a euphemism for shitting outside in the winter.

After it is explained (with no purpose) that Blackfang likes snitching food and that watermelons have flesh (which I’m going to assume is, contrary to the common use of flesh to describe the outer layer of something, the fruit and not the rind), we are introduced to the father, Alpha. Alpha, as a name, actually makes sense, seeing as they’re a pack. This name was a welcome sight. Too bad I’ve seen it so many other places before. Alpha is evidently a champion knife fighter.

Barkfur (now where’d I leave that tree branch again?), another sibling of Blackfang, enters. I suppose that her name makes more sense, as she at least has bark-colored fur. She’s followed by Blast, yet another sibling, with a name that doesn’t follow a pattern and seems to be a reference to his occupation. He works in a forge, which they apparently own. Is it their business? I don’t know. It’s never explained why they have a forge. Blackfang goes off with his brother, but not before insisting that he be fetched before they ate…which I assume they would have done anyway.

Blast and Blackfang work in the forge, where we learn that Blast hammers with “taps of accuracy and potency that seemed gentle enough to caress a newborn.” I’m not entirely sure our author knows the meaning of potency, as that’s generally not the word I think of when I’m thinking about handling newborns. Of course, I don’t think of the word accuracy either, but that’s because it’s completely unrelated.

So the two impressively manage to create a dagger in an hour—sorry, nearly an hour—and then eat. The wolflets decide that they will be going to Silver Lake to meet friends for dinner. I’ll assume for the sake of the story that the friends they’re meeting (an otter, a cardinal, and a squirrel), are friends they’re going to eat with, and not just eat.

Yeah, the copyright and source are already there.  I don’t think I need to tell you who credit goes to.

Also, there happens to be a full moon. So they’re probably wolves just for today. Or probably not, actually. Werewolves still come to mind, though.

So they take off that evening, when the full moon is rising and yet somehow there’s still a sunset. Curious. Then, the colors seem to chase off clouds. Also curious, seeing as the sky was cloudless just a paragraph or two earlier. And again, there are shooting stars. Which streak into the sun. So they can see the stars while the sun is still out. Am I the only one completely confused by this description?

Anyway, this is a night they plan to remember for the rest of their lives. Because it also happens to be the night that their family is ambushed, their father killed, and their mother taken hostage. So, yeah. I can see it now. “Hey, Blackfang, remember that one night with the sunset that defied all logic?” “Yeah. For some reason, I think something else happened on that night too, but I can’t quite remember.” “Meh, must not have been that important or life-changing.” “You’re probably right. But man, that sunset!

So while some of them chat, some play with wooden cards, and the bird stares into the fire, half debating what it would be like to be a flame, half staring at his hands and wondering why they’re doing such strange things. We have no idea how big they are in relationship to one another. Are they proportional to what their real-life counterparts would be? Are they the same size? I don’t know, and it still plagues me how a squirrel and a wolf can comfortably use the same deck of cards.

One thing about this universe: they eat fish. Now, why just fish, I don’t know. Probably because the concept completely rips off of Brian Jacques (though the squirrel evidently has the decency to admit it via his name), and in the Redwall books, they eat fish. How big are these fish, relatively? Again, we don’t know.

After the meal, we are informed that they tell stories and then have a race. We don’t get to hear the stories, and we don’t see the race. I suppose they maybe count as character development, but I can’t for the life of me figure out what part of their characters they’re developing.

We then shift to a scene where we that the wolves’ surname is “Timburwolfe.” Because changing one letter of “timberwolf” and then adding an “e” at the end is so original and not retarded in any way. But I digress. Evidently, the…um…“Timburwolfes” (shudder) have two more kids, Kebolt and Markrew, who prefer to be known by the less ridiculous but more out-of-place nicknames Ken and Mark. Instead of greeting her sons, Dirtsnow shoves drinks at them while the two just stand and look at each other. Because when I’ve been gone at sea for a while and come back to see my mother, I prefer just staring at her to a warm, loving embrace. Boy, family reunions must be awkward for them.

They explain that their ship needed repairs (which was, conveniently, very nearby), immediately after which, Alpha gets shot. So that explains why the welcome was so cold—they were trying to kill their parents! Oh, wait, they weren’t. That was just an extremely misleading passage. Which, for our author’s sake, I’ll assume was done on purpose.

So the wolflets hear the scream and run back, which takes a few minutes. Evidently, even though they’re wolves and should have heightened senses, they can’t see things that are only about a mile away like we can, because they only notice that there’s been a struggle after they’ve arrived. Maybe it was just really, really hilly.

Anyway, Alpha (AKA the only character with a relatively sane name) is dead. He has evidently been “sliced, stabbed, and severely whipped with arrows protruding from his body.” Am I a horrible person for questioning whether he was sliced, stabbed, and whipped with the arrows themselves?

Dirtsnow is gone, although she has somehow managed to run inside, grab parchment, and write a good deal while they’re under attack. Mark and Ken are semi-conscious, so they’re either plot important (which, since they appear about five times combined in the first half of the book, they’re not), or because they weren’t worth killing.

Blackfang reads the note, which, coincidently happens to be for him and not for any of his older siblings. Evidently he is his mother’s only hope (okay, the line cuts off, but we know that’s what she was going to say anyway). Why him and not any of his siblings? Because he’s the protagonist. And quite possibly just like the author. Only in furry form. But I digress again.

Along with the note that quite a bit more verbose than I would have attempted while people fired arrows at me, his mother has also left him a necklace that turns his eyes green. Which is important. Somehow. Okay, I lied, it’s actually sort of pointless. But it’s cool, at least. Or it would be, if it were a movie. Which it’s not. So it’s not cool at all.

Thus concludes Chapter 1: The Green Stone. What will happen in Chapter 2? Does Blackfang do the sensible thing and chase after his mother immediately since they’re only a few minutes behind? Does the prose start making sense? Do we gain insight on any of the characters? Find out next time!

Or now. The answer to all three is no.

Published in: on February 17, 2011 at 12:10 am  Leave a Comment  
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FangQuest, Introduction

 

In honor of Brian Jacques’ recent passing, I’m going to be reviewing FangQuest, a Redwall “homage” by Daniel Jones.  Now, Daniel is actually a good friend of mine (or as good of a friend as you can be over the internet, that is), and he’s given his permission for me to do this.

Now, I’ve started FangQuest in the past, and I’ve done a bit of sporking of it, so this isn’t a fully blind readthrough like Silent Hero is (although I do make a few small edits to Silent Hero before I upload).  But I haven’t finished it, and I don’t really remember much of it (it’s not all that memorable).

So what is FangQuest?  Well, FangQuest is a self-published work of original fiction about a wolf named Blackfang and his siblings and friends and this secret society and stones of some sort.  It’s not bad on the level of Silent Hero, but it’s pretty much a Redwall ripoff that’s even blander than the Redwall novels tended to be. 

Unfortunately, I can’t provide a link to a PDF file.  I personally got it free when I joined the forums and downloaded the file to check it out, back when I thought that Daniel was still a complete tool/egomaniac (which he might have been.  I dunno).  Unfortunately, the forums are defunct and it’s no longer available for free download, so you can’t read along.  If Daniel gives his permission, perhaps there’ll be a place for you to download it.  For now, however, you’ll just have to hear my rundown of the story and assume I’m telling the truth.

The first four chapters I wrote out a while ago, so the style might be a bit different.  Also, there’s not as much wrong in general than there is with Silent Hero, so I’ll probably be a bit less angry in this one.  Just to give you fair warning and everything.

Well, chapter one will be uploaded later today.  Look forward to it!

Andy

Published in: on February 16, 2011 at 10:58 am  Leave a Comment  
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