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It is a rare treat to read a story on the internet, fan-fiction or no, that uses appropriate and varied sentences, much less something that has the excellent flow and pacing of this piece. The atmosphere of this story is clear and interesting.

Unfortunately, the story and characters cannot compare.

Let's start off with the good. Your prose is beautiful. Sweet, merciful Celestia. Diverse, varied sentence structures, mixes of compound and complex sentences, appropriate use of dependent clauses! If my students wrote like you, I would be unemployed! Never in the reading did I even once think "oh, that's a comma splice," or "oh, that syntax is awkward." I eventually did turn up a few, mostly fragments that don't need to be fragments and a misused semicolon, but they're not glaring. The piece honestly reads like the sophisticated, polished writing of the kind of teenager I usually end up sending to the office for sexually harassing me or threatening to kill me.

If I had to pick one technical bone with you, there is a bit more purple prose than most readers can handle. Many instances of that could be attributable to your protagonist and narrator being an insufferable blowhard, but as I pointed out, that itself is a problem for most readers. In some cases, it even seems like you don't know what the words mean. One example of this is "ambient presences and sweaty bodies." When used to describe a presence, ambient always means relaxing or something similar; you cannot have an ambient presence that's sweaty busting through your door. Even when you clearly know what the terms mean, they come off as an attempt to be too fancy. "...pointing to my defenseless heap tangled up on the floor" is an example of this. If you really want to keep defenseless heap, which we rapidly learn he is not, use "pointing to me" and find some other way to connect "defenseless heap" to the rest. I will gladly furnish specific changes if asked, but I fear I'm going on too long for you as is.

Watch out especially for -ly adverbs and color words, such as your use of "maliciously" and "sable."

Still, don't take out all the big words. Your character does come off as intelligent, and taking out all the sophisticated language would ruin that. Take this passage, for example: " I noticed suddenly that much of the graffiti consisted of foul language, illegible cursive text, alternate languages, and inscriptions of the Underworldly Order. A gawked angrily at a few poorly drawn illustrations of stick figures slicing each other apart with bloody spears. What sadistic people." Aside from your typo of "A" for "I," this is a really solid description of a nasty place given by an arrogant genius with a severely flattened affect.

Another problem I noticed from a writing standpoint is the use of cliches. You specifically used the term "deer in the headlights" near the end. Some narrators will use cliches, but they're generally bad writing, and I can't tell if you mean to make your narrator come off as pathetic enough to mix cliches and purple prose.

If you would like some information on fighting pretentious language and cliches, I can recommend a college textbook for you. It has a number of "find and correct" exercises that are sophisticated enough for your level of writing, or perhaps a bit below.

So to summarize, from a technical standpoint, this piece was a treat to read. Great grammar and syntax is only marred by the occasional mistake and plenty of purple prose and cliches. I wish the content of the piece were as appealing.

I must admit, I was enticed to read this story because I thought, at first, that it was some kind of Twilight/Harry Potter dual parody by the thumbnail. The introduction of a protagonist describing themselves comes off as a bit stale, although if the intent is to characterize the protagonist as an arrogant brat, it works pretty well. It may be better to start with action and break the action with him describing himself, or to make the description less detailed. Describing himself this way sounds narcissistic.

The name Obsidian Masquerade is unusual, and not in a good way. It seems to say, "look at how special I am" and would probably make more sense if we had some indication that his parents were pretentious gothlings. It also seems to have been taken from a James Bond fanfic, if google is to be believed. Obsidian as a personal name I can forgive, especially if the aforementioned parents really were pretentious gothlings. Masquerade does not seem to be a plausible surname. Maybe he gave it to himself? Or maybe give him something a bit less... unprecedented?

Now, an "introducing myself" style intro for young-adult speculative fiction is often forgivable when it gives some specific details about why the protagonist is different, if he or she knows it. This can give us a kind of shortcut into the action. I mean, it's still not good writing, but it is forgivable. That explanation isn't present in this at all. It makes it seem like the narrator is arrogant, trying to toy with us and string us along, thinking none of us will figure out what makes him special because he's just SO MUCH SMARTER than us. He even says himself: "And I'm smarter than anyone I know."

It is possible to center on a protagonist who's this unpleasant, but typically he has to be either very handsome (in a visual work), very funny (in a written one), or not so obviously unpleasant from the start. The net effect of that arrogance without those redeeming traits is to turn off a reader. I very nearly quit reading, but frankly, I would feel bad doing so. Your prose is so beautiful; I feel like it's a crime not to explain why you need to rework the story it's describing. You have what so many of my students fight for; they would be disappointed in me if I didn't find a bone to pick with you, too.

Let's pretend for a moment that you didn't start with that cliche "introduce myself" opening. The actual moment the action begins could use some work, too. Starting with a cold open, with a protagonist about whom we know next to nothing, only works if you literally start with setting the scene or with them leaving. If you do this, you need to be very careful to describe pieces of the atmosphere either as the protagonist notices them, or before it gets awkward. You can't do this whole "did I mention it was raining" bit unless you're trying to make an unreliable narrator.

Aside from that snafu, your dark, crumbling urban setting is very nicely created. It feels dystopian, broken, and gritty. I did not realize this was possible Danny Phantom fic at first because the setting seemed so much more grimy and depressing. I can tell you're cultivating a sort of urban gothic horror feel, and that at least is very clear. When you were describing the city, it made me want to paint in nothing but grays and muted blues and purples. That's why you have such a high mark for vision in my ratings.

While we're talking about your introduction, one way to make your man character as interesting as your setting might be to have him compare where he is now to the last thing he remembered before. He's obviously surprised by where he is, but Obsidian the narrator is hiding from the reader what he already knows. This is not an endearing trait, especially not in an already arrogant character. When we know a narrator is withholding, it should be because the narrator wants us to share in the discovery he went through. For that to work, we have to feel like there's something there in the narrator that's like us. Your narrator is one big ball of ego from all appearances. You must soften him for this technique to work.

I must admit that the posters badly damaged my suspension of disbelief. I don't understand the pull they have. Was your protagonist under their spell in life? How do they get away with being so brazenly evil?

The reactions of the couple to the dead boy seem either too calm or too frightened. It's like you've hit the uncanny valley of scared. Either make them dead calm because they know what he is before he does, or make them terrified because he's a ghost. I like the detail of the woman hiding behind the man.

At that point, you lost me. The pacing here becomes a bit slow; it seems like it takes forever for them to call the authorities, and the reactions when they do seem off. I've made a lot of 911 calls, at least one of which was in a similar situation of someone dangerous being in my home. It lasted a lot longer, and it was a lot tenser. I suspect you might be implying some kind of emotional impairment due to technology or magic in the old folks, but it's not obvious and a less well-read reader is unlikely to notice it.

I don't understand this passage at all: "A few wisps of green mist separated from my side. The old man shrieked. Literally; a window shattered. Then he had a heart attack." So the cane goes through him and the man screams. Is the cane, or the scream, shattering the window? Was it something the protagonist did that killed him, or did the man die of fright? The word "literally" is what's throwing me off.

When the swat team arrives, I get really confused. He cuts his hand on glass, but then, possibly, do the bullets go through him? How doe this team know what he is? The last part of this is confusing enough that I don't even feel comfortable breaking it down line by line. I feel like a passage has been removed and it had something I needed to understand this.

Your ending is pretty solid, given the circumstances. A nice, tense cliffhanger. It's a bit cliche, ending the way a lot of teen on the run speculative fiction does, but it works.

So to sum up, you have a wonderful syntax, decent pacing in the middle, and a beautifully dark urban atmosphere. Unfortunately, I was so turned of by the unabashed arrogance of your narrator and all the hallmarks of an insufferable Gary-stu that I very nearly did not get to experience the features I liked. I honestly hope you are trying to write an unlikeable character, because if you are, you've succeeded very well. All you need to work on, then, is softening him enough to start with that your reader wants to learn more about him, and making his actions and reactions a bit easier to understand.
2 out of 2 deviants thought this was fair.


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