I've started reading this story and, three chapters in, I'm quite intrigued. A your compositions hew away from the narrative of canonical (Legendary? Whatever.) KotOR and KotOR II and into more original character territory, I feel my ability to offer suggestions is less bounded by the need to conform to those games' characterization and storyline. So hopefully I will be more useful here.
Narrative: I'm very much enjoying the story. The state of the galaxy at the onset is quite dismal. With DS Revan and DS Exile, the bad guys "won" except somehow Atton Rand broke away and is now trying to save Jedi. He picks up a half-starved Jedi Padawan on Dantooine who's invested her presumably single point of skill (to use the video game term) into possibly the most useless power. I'm already pulling for the scrappy underdogs and wanting to read what happens next! I'm also intrigued that Atton didn't answer the question of how he found her in Chapter 2. We also don't know who the master is, if she exists, so the hidden agendas here add to the suspense as well. Anyway, I will stop espousing praise lest it get to your head, but from what I've read of the narrative, it's a gripping plot that I am excited to read more of.
On the whole, it's well written as usual, though for you personally, I would offer that you could set your personal bar higher in this area. One suggestion I might make is watching the number of filler words in the prose like "some" and "just." The former occurs 640 times and the latter occurs 412 times in the novel, which seems a mite high. (As a single point of comparison, I'm at just over 100K words in Convergence and use those two words each about 200 times fewer). Used intermittently, they can add flavor; too much of any one seasoning generally ruins a dish. Similarly, my perception is a large number of verbs are simplistic and more conversational -- put, get, been etc.. For example "and put his face in his hands" could have been written "and buried his face in his hands." " when she came to within a stone’s throw" could have been written " when she approached/encroached to within a stone’s throw" These are small polishing things overall; it is well written. Here are some specific notes on grammar things:
Chapter 1: "the feeling of a noose tightening around her gut. " This strikes me as an unusual turn of phrase given that nooses are broadly thought of as being used on necks. Chapter 1: "and the whines of vibroblades and they cleaved through exoskeleton and flesh." Second 'and' should be "as" Chapter 2: "The laigreks are—They were my pets" I would not capitalize they. "He may have felt stupid, but merely stupid was still he’d felt in six years" Missing a word or something here. "with the due." -> duo Chapter 3: "It dawned on Silbus then that he had been responding to the Miraluka’s insolence as foolishly as a whip-smelt snapped at bait" -> Possible tense confusion here?
Ah, good sir, I'm very happy to read this from you. Especially the technical concerns - for even though they're very boring, they are also necessary, and many are things that I likely would never have noticed or figured out on my own. I hope you will continue to enjoy the narrative.
Ugh, I had a long reply typed up and it disappeared when I hit "post," so you get the abbreviated version instead. Spoilers abound!
I've read Chapters 4 - 12 and am thoroughly enjoying the work still. Atton and Kaevee are good foils and you do well in building up and maintaining the suspense, even through the infodumps of 4 and 5. The only piece I thought was off narratively was Kaevee's reaction to Atris in Chapter 8, which seemed perhaps a touch too forceful for someone who I thought should be more easily cowed. A small note as well: I am not sure why Kaevee would eschew a shower for so long. One would think it would be one of the first things she would do after eating; certainly there's no reason for Atton not to rid himself of her foul stench by suggesting she avail herself of its uses. So far, the work is hitting the right blend of twists, wit, and suspense for me, though I do find Lord Silbus's segments fairly uninspiring at the moment. There's an unusual connection in his affinity for Beast Control with Kaevee's own powers, but otherwise he's a grouchy Sith professor with little to do but deliver exposition and hardly a worthy adversary in his own right. There's nothing necessarily wrong that at the moment, but I was expecting a little more from the Sith. Thankfully Visas is serving a more active presence.
I don't recall all of the handful of errors I found, but here are three main ones:
-Capitalization issues in Chapter VIII around interrupted dialogue sentences and phrases.
-You refer to Ecksee as alternately "it" and "he."
-There was an oddly-repeated phrase around the part where Atris takes up residence on the Ebon Hawk. I believe doing a search on the word chambers or left dormitory would find it in short order.
Any other interested parties, spoilers continue to abound. Narrative "here was the will of the Force here, now, when the only Jedi Master left in the galaxy refused to teach her the ways of the Jedi?" This is perhaps a little strained given that she doesn't seem to believe Atris is still a Jedi Master. (Ch XIII)
In Chapter XV, I understand that Silbus is an academic and a natural monologer, but this backstory is dreadfully long and I daresay a touch overdone. Thus far, Silbus is the weakest part of the story and this chapter is doing little to dissuade that impression. Thus far, he's snarked at his subordinates and colleagues, reminsced, and found . . . a book. As antagonists go, he's not exactly terrifying.
I have read up through XVIII and am still thoroughly enjoying it. I was unsurprised to find Mira as the one tracking them down, but I was also surprised that HK showed up and that Atton didn't recognize him. I was also surprised that their ordeal with Mira ended so quickly, but I guess I'll see what happens next.
Technical "and she’s the only one who I knew might still be alive." (tense, she was, Ch. XIII)
Narrative: -Surely they have replacement synthetic eyes by now; it's a surprise to me that the admiral uses a glass one. (Ch. 20) Secondly, no self-respecting admiral would ever bring someone a glass of water. They have aides for that. Thirdly, it's surprising that the admiral would a phrase like "radar" given that particular mechanism would be of limited value across the vast distances of space.
Technical: A continued note on recurring grammatical foibles: "There are only four of you; I can persuade them to overlook your... As the case may be, your peccadillos or murky pasts" This is one of innumerable examples where a sentence is split due to dialogue or ellipsis and is resumed with an uppercase letter. Sakaros has confirmed my inklings for me in that properly, these should be lower-case.
Narrative: It's interesting to note that Kaevee tells Mira she hates her, which is surprisingly heretical for her to vocalize aloud. I don't believe she's even admitted to hating the Sith, though I could be wrong. It's interesting to note she attempts to wield the dark side while fighting Silbus, and yet her use of it is hardly resolved, setting you up for a possible sequel. Overall, I like how you ended the story. There was a solid resolution, but enough dangling threads left yet to pick up where you started in another work. The battle was well-written; I could visualize it well and thought you finished it out appropriately. My only minor note with Chapter 30 was that you could have ended it a little more concisely.
Technical: Chapter XXIX " Before Malachor, she may have hoped that the challenge of a real battle with the Sith" may->might
MPK, I think this might be your most complete and most impressive work overall. All in all, I very much enjoyed this work and am glad you brought it to my attention. I tore through it because it was a gripping story and think overall it is of a very high quality. It fit well within the established alternate framework of dark side KotOR I and KotOR II ending yet didn't try to deluge the reader with unnecessary backstory or rely overly on familiarity with those games' plots. Overall, I like how you ended the story. There was a solid resolution, but enough dangling threads left yet to pick up where you started in another work if you choose to. The battle was well-written; I could visualize it well and thought you finished it out appropriately. Narratively, I have no major complaints, even if the last chapter was a touch overdone. Even the use of Lord Syllabus, err...Silbus the Professor whom I found a relatively dull character was fitting for his role and worked within the story. i found both Atton and Kaevee compelling protagonists with validity to their perspectives at varying times. On a technical note, the repeated use of colloquial/informal vernacular--almost to the point of tedium--and numerous capitalization errors as noted in previous reviews does cause me to rate this slightly lower in that category. Final verdict: 5/5 narrative, 4/5 technical. If you are interested in doing some cleanup, I'd be willing to FWN this for you.
Ataru, I could hardly overstate my gratitude for your reading and feedback, or my relief that you enjoyed it.
I have responses to a few of your points, for the sake of clarification or minutiae:
Things like Kaevee admitting she hates Mira, and trying to play the dark side card toward the end (particularly the way it's portrayed), those are all consequences of how little she actually knows about what it means to be a Jedi - either because she's forgotten, or she was never taught. She can't remember the Code, and she literally doesn't really know that the dark side of the Force is (hence her ineptitude when she argues with Atris on Belsavis). Up until the end, all she has to guide her actions is her feelings and her vague, half-formed faith in Providence (that is, the will of the Force).
I'm not particularly surprised about your mixed feelings about Silbus. I admit I enjoyed writing his POV a lot, probably too much. For most of the story he's mainly there for exposition about the Sith Remnant, Trayus Academy, and so on. But that was boring to write, so I figured I might as well throw in a bunch of (to me) more interesting continuity porn about his backstory going back a decade, and his relationships with various side-characters from KotOR and TSL. And then I figured since most of this is useless information, I may as well make that the point for comic relief - that Visas is the one trying to chase down the heroes and deal with real problems, while Silbus is just dicking around in his academy.
Again, the grammar and style stuff is boring, but necessary, so thank you for all that. As for the prolificity of "colloquial/informal vernacular," as you call it, I suspect at least some of that was sort of intentional, as I made an effort to alter the prose's style depending on whose POV it followed. So when the prose follows Silbus, it mimics his absurd loquaciousness, and it's more sarcastic and base when it follows Atton, and so on. This was mostly an experiment, though, and I don't think I ever really found my footing with it.
As for the FWN thing - perhaps sometime in the future. I spent about two years writing this story (if you can believe that), and I'm still just a little sick of looking at it.