Alright! Yesterday I got distracted by an event of pure idiocy on the site, but now it's finally the time for me to make my reviews of the stories.
So. While we have less stories than in the first volume, somehow it's still incredible that every story has dark themes and some sort of dark/black monster. Every story but mine. Which cracks me up, because really, let's just call the whole thing "5 dark stories by cheerful users and 1 cheerful story by the darkest user."
Anyways, let's get to it.
WARNING! THERE BE SPOILERS AHEAD! DO NOT READ IF YOU DIDN'T READ THE BOOK ITSELF YET! YE HAVE BEEN WARNED!
A Ribbon For A Cloak by @Ucui
Alright, I have to say - this story features the heaviest writing of them all. And I mean it in a bad sense. Somehow the story is not easily readable. Which, in turn, makes the whole story look much worse than it is. I only managed to really grasp the story on my second reading. And when I did, the whole thing turned up way better than I first thought. A sort of a variation on boy who cried wolf I guess?
Monster of the story - big black wolf.
Cloud Scar Hunter by @--Jack--
Quite honestly, I don't have much to say about this one. Well, there are flying ships, and the world seems to be in a fantasy-apocalyptic state, and we have a young hero with name Lance (god, you have no idea how many profane anecdotes there are about a knight by that name) and appearance that clearly shows him as the main character... The whole thing has a sort of jRPG feel, you know. After reading this you kinda expect the lad to join the army or some resistance force and go reclaim the under-cloud lands. The style is alright, and the whole thing reads easy enough.
Monster of the story - black knight... with monsters with obligatory 'wolf-like snouts'.
Daakshin by @johan_5179
This was also quite a heavy read. Not because of the style, but because of the general atmosphere. Though, style is also not too easy and filled with words you rarely see. But that does contribute to the general feeling of the story. The whole thing feels like a, I don't know, parable of sorts? And it made me remember all those poor knightly bastards seeking the Grail. In my opinion, the story is... too deep and serious. Last time you did a dark story, but spiced it up with a really nice wtf moment. This time you went full-on gothic style. I blame your education ))
Monster of the story - giant black tiger.
That Blackcraig Story by @Cenica
Okay, this one was the most unexpected for me. Also this is the second least darkish story. So, major improvement by Cenica, who this time managed her time more properly. I'd say I liked the beginning of the story the most. It has a bit of a Pratchett beat to it, and the dialogue was really good. Characters really feel alive, so that's something you should use as your strong writing point - good character interaction. Later on I kinda felt that the pacing of the story became a little off because the story started exploring the past of characters one after another... All in all, I liked the story, though I think there could be a sort of prologue to it maybe. And it does feel like something that would continue.
Monster of the story - giant black hellhound.
The Hunt by @hellstorm901
Like Jack's story, there's not much to say. The style is alright, the story is being told from the character's perspective, which marks it as a unique story in the book. But I do have to say, that the whole thing feels much more like a horror than a fantasy. So... a horror fantasy, I guess? I mean, we have all the things here - weak main character, people killed one by one, revelation (diary), fight against the monster and the final despair. Yep, that's really more like a horror.
Monster of the story - werewolf.
Siege by @Kirn
First of all: monster of the story - none! Take that, you bastards!
Now, this time I won't be able to criticize myself, because that's pretty much the style I usually write in in Russian right here. Orcs, fights, armies and some obligatory stupidity. And if a writer is doing his usual style, it's harder for him to really see bad points and mistakes in the story. I also had some troubles with articles, but in the book it should be an edited version, which is better. Quite honestly, I would like to get some feedback on this one, cause who knows, maybe my usual orcish humor does not translate well in English just like my Russian jokes )
Also, I am thinking, when I would have the time, to re-write this in Russian too.