A response to your review at https://www.fanfiction.net/r/13306473/
Hey, thanks for the review! This is really extensive, so I really appreciate that you’ve taken the time to write it. I’ll reply bit by bit, since there’s a lot to get through! And thank you – I always saw pokémon names as animal names, like dog or cat.
[Nitpicky, but “dispensable” sounds like an odd choice here. “Disposable” or “expendable” sound more natural, I think.]
On rereading it, you’re right! I’ll edit that in. I don’t have a beta reader, so I often fail to notice strange wording until it’s too late – thank you!
[That doesn’t seem very Rocket-esque. They’re Mafia, not death cultists. I know a lot of people like to reinvent them as a more militaristic force to facilitate epic plots like these, but I’d say it requires at least an acknowledgement that things have diverged from what we know. Why did Giovanni make the jump from organized crime to an outright power grab? How did we get from Point A to Point B?]
That’s true. I was conscious that turning Rocket into “death cultists,” as you put it, would seem OOC without explanation – but I promise there will be. Maybe I should’ve included the explanation in the prologue, but I’ll do my best to clear up what happened to make that jump ASAP.
[Also, to be clear, you are intending to say pokemon are not people?]
I am! Though pokémon are hyper-intelligent animals, the fact that they’re keenly “different” from people leads to people separating them, i.e. it’d be considered strange for a human to treat another human the way they would their pokémon, so people often make that distinction, at least in this universe.
[Both these things can’t be true. If you’re that vastly outnumbered, you can’t win by taking massive losses. You’ll run out before your enemy does. If Giovanni truly has a head for war, he should know that’s not the strategy to use for this situation.]
Point taken. I’ll try to find a way to edit that part!
[For this to work, I’d say you’d need to establish that the Rockets are outgunned but not outnumbered. If they have roughly the same numbers but more determination, a zerg rush strategy could work. But again, it’s unclear to me how Giovanni would accomplish that – how did he turn a crime gang into a massive army willing to die by the droves for him? The opening recording implies that he actually won due to some kind of psychological warfare or negotiation with Lance, which seems much more his style.]
His ability to change his grunts into an army will be elaborated on later, in the same way the jump from “mafia” to “militia” will be. Again, maybe I should’ve elaborated on that in the prologue, but I’ll try to clear it up soon. As for the “war” point, you’re right – I’ll try to make that clearer in the prologue.
[A few of your dashes, like this one, aren’t full dashes. It’d probably be a good idea to go through and edit them for consistency.]
Thanks for pointing it out – they automatically changed, I think, since I originally had them as hyphens for cutting off speech, but having them all as “em” dashes makes more sense!
[That’s a cool idea. I love it when people make pokemon actually magical, especially in otherwise down-to-earth settings like this.]
Thank you! Pokémon are interesting creatures, and I definitely want to try and keep some of the “magic” of pokémon in this story.
[Doesn’t Rocket have scientists, though? And even in real life, people have got up to some heinously unethical animal experiments.]
That’s true, but Rocket scientists have never thought to try and kill a charmander / charmeleon / charizard because they don’t think it’ll gain them anything bar a bit of knowledge they’ll probably find out in the field if it’s anything worth using. Plus, charmander / charmeleon / charizard defend their tail flame fiercely, and I like to have a bit of optimism about the common folk of the world. Hopefully they aren’t -that- cruel, at least not for any real reason.
[This is more a pet peeve than anything else, but I feel the fan nicknames for the legendaries lack gravitas … it kinda takes the magic away. I imagine the pokeworld inhabitants would have more creative names for them.]
This is one that was intentional – I have notes for more “regal” names for the trios that I’m tossing up right now, but the rather… “basic” names used by Gold are used because that’s Gold’s character – he’s not exceptionally into referring to them with great weight because it’s just not his style. I knew he’d be a lot less weighty about it before I even considered better trio names. Someone more respectful of the ancient traditions, on the other hand, would refer to them with better names, but not Gold. The pokéworld inhabitants do definitely have more creativity, though – it’s just a matter of me having to decide, haha.
[This is a very good opening. Gold is a little rambly, but I don’t mind – his diversions stay interesting because he doesn’t just talk about himself, and his speech feels real without being so meandering it’s disengaging. You’ve dropped some enticing mysteries about himself, Giovanni, and whoever his audience is.]
Thank you so much! I’m glad that his diversions remain interesting, since I was conscious while writing that I had to find a balance between detail and boring my readers. And I’m glad the beginning mysteries are enticing – I wanted those to be points of intrigue, too!
[My only real criticism is what I’ve already said about Rocket feeling OOC. You say you’re taking info from the anime and manga, so maybe it makes more sense in those canons, but just going by the games … not to take over the world? Giovanni has never seemed interested in world domination the way the other team leaders have.]
That’s true, and I’ll definitely try to clarify the change ASAP. And I swear that Rocket will never push for total domination of the world; I know that they’ve changed quite a bit from the game canon, definitely, but I’ll endeavour not to make them that OOC.
[This version of Rocket is also, itself, less interesting than the canon version. An organization of totally devoted martyr drones sounds scary, but they also have no personality. From what you’ve established here, I feel like any Rockets we encounter in this story are going to be pretty boring, one-dimensional villains. Rocket was interesting in canon precisely because its members had varied opinions, personalities, and motivations. A monolith doesn’t accomplish the same thing.]
That’s true – but hopefully that will change the more I write, as I have a (currently withheld, if just to maintain the initial mystery – which may have been in somewhat poor taste, in hindsight) reason for the “drone” behaviour that leads to it being nonexistent outside of the war.
[I’d like to know how the pokemon fit into this? …]
A lot of this will be explained later, as Rocket is fully explored, but Rocket pokémon are typically conditioned and raised in a certain way. Those that resist can be subjected to psychic suggestion by any psychics that -have- been successfully conditioned, but some of course resist completely, and are usually discarded or sold for profit.
[… What is Giovanni’s nidoqueen getting out of this that she’s willing to help him level entire cities? Pokemon are living creatures, not inanimate weapons or magic spells, and I feel you lose something if you ignore that.]
Many of the Rocket pokémon are raised / conditioned / exposed to psychic suggestion, and some are naturally more violent than the others. But most pokémon in healthy relationships with their trainers have a contractual, more typical bond, and I’ll endeavour to express that.
[Still, this looks pretty promising even as an ordinary fantasy epic. Good job! It’s hard to do an opening for this genre that’s this effective.]
Thank you! And thank you for this review – extensive reviews like this make me smile, and are really helpful for me as an unbeta’d and improving writer.