Mandamon

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Mandamon last won the day on February 26 2013

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About Mandamon

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    Complex and Unnecessary
  • Birthday May 26

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    North Carolina
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    Practicing and Teaching Karate, Reading, Writing, Gaming, Tinkering
  1. Coincidentally, I'm playing a bard in one of the campaigns I'm in...of the College of Whispers.
  2. I said this at the bottom, but I think the various parts of these chapters need to be streamlined. There's a lot of good stuff here, but scattered between worldbuilding, romance, and an antagonist, and there's not quite enough of any of them. I'd love a chapter fully devoted to Ir. learning about magic with the king and the O, and then maybe another chapter building the romance with J, and touching on how S is pulling away. But putting it all together pulls in too many directions. Notes while reading: pg 1: "Three days had given her plenty to clean and try to forget everything. ' --what about three days? I looked back and didn't see anything at the end of the last chapter. Probably WRS. pg 3: “Why don’t you have an accent?” --I think this may need to be seeded earlier. If people don't know of the feylands, then how do they know what accent they have? pg 4: "but I know that isn’t worth the price of fifteen salaries" --glad she's finally asking this. pg 4: "Why are names so important?” --good question. pg 5: "some people don’t identify themselves by their given name. They might have a nickname that is more them than the one their parents gave them.” -- Feel like this hasn't really come up before now and is sort of a big theme in the book. We were never really given any reason for names, nor hinted that names make magic more powerful. Having some example of this earlier in the book would seed a "surprising yet inevitable" moment here. pg 7: “No need to call for the guards. I am immune to poison,” --Great move by the king. This reminds me of when my dad was teaching me chemistry, neutralized sulfuric acid, and drank it.* (*The further story is that he made me calculate the chemical formula, asked if I thought it was right, then when I said yes, poured the correct amount of base in the beaker and drank it. In retrospect, of course he also knew the answer was correct, but I'm sure my impressionable teenage eyes were as big as dinner plates.) pg 8: I think I finally figured something out. Every time the B.K. has appeared, he's acted as a mentor to Ir. His character is said to be a tyrant, but he's taking the place of the archetypal mentor, which is traditionally a good (or neutral) character. I think this is why I have so much trouble seeing the B.K. as bad. pg 9: "other name-knowers like yourself," --I still want some sort of side comment about this elsewhere. Would she have seen another one in the castle? Has P. said anything about them? pg 10: "More like a master and an apprentice" --Aha. Yep. pg 11: "In that world, was she a chef…or something more?" --I feel this doesn't land with as much impact as it could. She hasn't really been a chef the whole book. She's been a name-knower and a musician, but we haven't had a lot of scenes with her being a chef. pg 11: "adding it to his castle." --I thought it already crumbled? pg 12: "She had slowly learned that he only acted that way when something meant a lot to him but he didn’t want to show it" --I don't know if this is necessary to say. It's pretty obvious from the context. pg 13: "Chatting about food, they headed up the beach." --good development here, but I want more! There's not a lot of resolution to this section, and it doesn't move the story along to have Ir tell J what happened. If the real intent here is to deepen their relationship, we need to see some more of it. pg 15: "are too tired to riot" --too tired from what, exactly? We haven't really seen people actively rioting. pg 16: "No, an impossibility. Not with the animosity between her city and M." --hmm. I don't know if this jives with how she was just thinking they needed to move on. pg 16: I'm on the fence about the dinner scene. It does establish S's position, but I don't know if it gives enough other information to be worth keeping. pg 17: "pushed magic" --we still haven't gotten en explanation of his this works or what it looks like. pg 18: "handed me a knife to start peeling potatoes" --I still don't understand this. Do they not put wooden handles on knives? Why does she have to touch the metal at all? pg 20: "Why was she learning from O, nearly four months into her employment, and not one of these other charmcasters earlier on?" --I was about to ask this as a critiquer as well. I feel like we need some more explanation of magic earlier. pg 21: This is the fourth scene in this chapter? They've been good, but I feel like it's losing direction. Ir was learning about magic with the king and O, but then there was romance with J and dealing with S in the middle. I'm thrown around to different plot threads pg 22: and then there's yet another scene thrown on top of that about the performances. These chapters have a lot of really good parts, but they're all jumbled together. I think they can be stripped down and put back together so you have one thread at a time, and it will make these chapters a lot stronger.
  3. I have to say I wasn't really engaged by this sequence. We've just come from three chapters of fight scenes, we get one page of him wandering around trying to get information, and then another three chapters of fight scenes. By the end of it I want some context. What is his situation? What is his mission or objective? I guess people are chasing him, but why? All I know about Q is that he likes to kill people and every government seems to be after him. There is no motivation for his actions, as yet. I think there is a lot of neat scifi tech and worldbuilding buried in here, but it's not coming through on the page. Rather than a play-by-play of him fighting the Angels, I want to know what kind of society makes all these various squads of elite operatives. Is there a single government? An empire? Many? They really haven't. Q spends the whole time trouncing one of the best elite forces (so we're told), has the ability to pull whatever weapon he wants from his coat, can instantly sense anyone coming for him, and knows all about his enemies. I have no concerns about his safety. Four elite soldiers finally punched him out after he killed two, and he basically let himself be knocked out. I imagine he will immediately escape his confinement next chapter. Again, I think there are the makings of a fun pirate-y story here, but right now I have no investment in it because there's no tension. Notes while reading: pg 1: "the drug was nice" --It's a bit generic. This is a good place for a sci-fi drug name, like "Relaxxer," or "planetHaze" or something like that. pg 1: "somewhat glowing" --is it glowing or not? pg 1: "all of whom got quiet once they saw him" --Why? Because of his glowing clothes? pg 1: The beggars are a bit...standard. Like, why are there beggars here? This planet runs itself, but seems to have an employment problem if there are scads of beggars lying around. Same thing for the generic "gangsters." They aren't just going to stand around to be window dressing. I assume they have their own stories and objectives. pg 1: "His eyes weren’t as glazed over" --Is this saying all beggars are also drug addicts? Or they're all starving? pg 1: "I only had an education" --not sure what this means. pg 2: "He leaned and whispered" --I'd think the beggar would hold out for the money he's expecting then. Why does he suddenly give in? His information is his only lever to get sustenance, since he's a beggar. It's literally his only card and he just gave it up. He has nothing to lose, so guns shouldn't be a real threat. pg 2: "someone wearing beggar cloak" --first, it's missing a word, and second, are there so many beggars that wearing a cloak like a beggar makes one blend in? pg 2: "peaked" -> "peeked" pg 2: "Pieces of the man flew off" --this is a...strange way of saying he was shot. pg 3: "She was Ph." --are we supposed to know what or who this is? pg 3: "Boundless" --who? pg 3: "Which meant she was Boundless" --ah. The explanation should probably come before using the term then. pg 3: "guy in the alleyway" --ah, I was confused again. These are names, not titles. I think all of this needs to be a lot clearer that Q is identifying a small group of specialized people. pg 3: "His coat absorbed most of it, though he started to feel the heat of the plasma on his chest" --yeah, I still feel no concern that Q might be hurt. pg 4: "The spirit wailed and lunged at him, but he jumped over it " --To the last point. There are a lot of these sort of descriptions, which boil down to "this dangerous thing happened, but it was no problem for Our Hero." It takes away a lot of the tension. If it's no problem, don't even mention it. Show us the thing that have a chance of hampering the hero. pg 4: "when he noticed a white spirit trying to sneak up on him" --This is another problem. Q instantly sees everything and recognizes everyone. And those who recognize him seem to be stricken with terror. Why? pg 4: "Just like Boundless’ spirit, he could fly and go through objects." --a lot of infodumping/telling through here. pg 5: "Surprisingly, it worked" --not really. Everything he's done has worked. pg 6: "but it didn’t happen. Deciding not to question it" --Another tension killer. Q just walks away and nothing bad happens. I want him to be at least inconvenienced by these people but he's easily beaten three elite members of a well-known (evidently) special forces group. pg 6: "he had been hit into a wall" --thrown? Also, I guess this isn't over... pg 6: "He did a disarm maneuver with his other arm" --no, I take that back. Once again, he beats his opponent, even while blind and stunned. pg 6: "another one of the..." --how surprising. Shouldn't he have been expecting more by now? pg 8: "Q slipped a toxin into his fingers from his coat." --Eh? This sort of comes out of nowhere. pg 8: "took out an explosive" --I suppose he's just carrying any weapon he wants? pg 8: "the best the Sources’ had. Fortunately, he was better." --This again. Q is better than they best mercenaries money or governments can buy, by such a large margin that he can easily take out four of them? I have no concerns for his character at all by now. It's obvious he's going to survive everything. pg 9: "the head of the Angels of Death herself." --There's no tension in this. We already know he's better than her. pg 9: The long description of V doesn't add anything to the story. pg 9: "He was barely able to fight the first three." --uh...he pretty much trounced them. pg 11: "He now held his MKRs" --I though all his devices were disabled? pg 11-12: The extended plot explanation that the two angels have while Q is just standing there is very maid and butler. Why are they just giving him all this information? Why are they having a logistics discussion in the middle of a firefight? Why did Q not just shoot them while they were talking?
  4. Just need to learn how to throw my voice like a punch...
  5. To @ginger_reckoning's point, and to be a little harsh, not if they put the book down before then. Especially for a new writer or newly published name, it's very hard to balance the "wait and see" cool stuff with "yes I am actually a competent writer." So the reactions you see in this group are people who have written stuff seeing the potential problems and traps readers may come across in your work.
  6. Ha! Same. I was mentally saying "Space H. Coast to Coast" in my head every time that name came up.
  7. More poems! A Mariner's Heart "Yet I yearn not for homely shore" might scan better as "I yearn not for the homely shore" Definitely very Tolkien. It's sort of a cross between some of the tavern songs he has and the more "poetic" poems the elves have. I think I did some of these way back in the day myself, with similar results. Jack I have to say, this one's a little beyond me. It's very evocative, but I'm not quite sure what it's saying. The "Mother" line also confused me, and made me think this was Jack Frost, but then the rest of the progression through the seasons doesn't seem to make sense with that. I'm also a little unsure who "us" and "she" and "him" are, but then this might just be over my head. My favorite poems are more of the ba-DUM ba-DUM ba-DUM variety, if you get my meaning (which is why I enjoyed the first one more). The Editor Ha! Very fun. Although I also greatly admire Weird Al's genius, and this is right on target for me. Not much to say on this one. The beats are all there, and very true for editing. Seems like you've hit a similarity between authors and poker players!
  8. I think that's right? It's been a while. Also fun (for me) to think back through all the "groups" that have been on here. We've had 3-4 "core" groups since I've been on this forum, but the current one is definitely the strongest and longest lasting. (Apologies for being a ghost lately. Between recording the audiobook for Facets and dayjob stuff, I've been busy.) We don't pull punches with critiques, that's for sure. I think that's one of the defining parts of this forum. It helps you get better fast, too! Though I will say, there is a difference between being sensitive and reacting to prejudice. The latter we do not put up with, and have had a few members in the past who were encouraged to exit because of insensitive remarks. But joking around, sarcasm, and mild ribbing is fine, as long as there is respect!
  9. Not a whole lot to comment on. I think these chapters have a lot of tension, which is definitely needed at this point. However, they also show off how naive and ineffective the revolutionaries are. I still think S is one of the weakest characters, when she needs to be quite strong as an antagonist to both Ir. and the B.K. Some better foundation in what the revolution is doing or the successes it's had would be good. Notes while reading: Ch 25 pg 1: "her guard duty began" --maybe WRS, but when did she go on guard duty? --ah, explained further down the page pg 1: "sharply decreasing reserves of magic" --we still need some indication of how magic reserves work and why/how she is low pg 2: "few who wanted into the palace" --"there were few..."? --also, there seems to be quite a lot coming in, despite saying there are only a few. pg 6: "number of resignations the palace was facing" --from what? The riots? The king being from the feylands? pg 6: "However, we can’t ignore its effectiveness.”" --I mean, really the gate seems like a perfect place to put Ir. permanently. pg 8: The sidenote at the end of the chapter is nice, but I really want to see more of what the B.K.is doing with all this planning. Ch 26 pg 8: "She swung her hands back and forth, humming " --isn't she still injured from the attack? I can tell you from personal experience, she's not going to be doing anything quickly for a few days with bruised or broken ribs. pg 10: "but today he’ll be executed for the attempted murder" --I mean yes, but that's sort of the point, isn't it? Did S expect there to be no complications and for the assassination attempt to work easily on the first try? This adds to the other evidence that the revolutionaries really have idea what they're doing. S even knew Ir. was working in the castle, but sent someone in using a false name. pg 12: “I want to know why I’m here. Really here" --I think this is something that's been missing the whole book. pg 14: "Please, he didn’t deserve this" --again, these people have been through literal war, so we've been told. Not justifying G's death (though I do think they expected more than was possible), but they would likely have seen a lot of this previously. pg 16: ", but Ir only felt the absence of her sister." --she's been estranged from S for a while now. I wouldn't think that was the bigest thing on her mind.
  10. Welcome to Reading Excuses! Congrats on putting your work out there. It's definitely a big step. On to the story. It was fairly easy to read, but I wasn't really drawn in. A lot of the dialogue felt flat and/or juvenile, especially with using words like "guys." There also wasn't a lot of reaction to events that were happening. Basically a one-man ball of death takes out an entire space fleet and no one blinks an eye. We also don't have a lot of insight into the character. He seems invincible and shrugs off all danger, and also has access to the best tech. He doesn't really need me rooting for him, because he's already won. M is a little more interesting, in that she's struggling to get the job done, but she also succeeds in the end, so there's not a lot of tension. These few chapters already have a pretty solid stopping place, and it almost seems like a self-contained short story. I'd be more drawn in by a threat to (any) of the characters, or an undercurrent of tension. Right now there's not much to make me keep reading. Notes while reading: Prologue: --Almost every paragraph starts with "she" or "her." This may be a sylistic thing, but it makes reading a bit monotonous. --I scanned down into chapter 1 and this seems to be consistent with the further story. Try to vary your sentence and paragraph structure more. It will make the writing a lot more interesting. --The concept is interesting. These people are being controlled somehow, but like many prologues, it doesn't really give me a whole lot to latch on to. We don't even know the woman's name. I'm wondering what this adds to the story that can't be shown in later chapters. Much of the experience is direct sensation by the woman, which tell us how she feels, but not a whole lot about the story. Ch 1 pg 4: "were covered in a black suit made to protect him from vacuum" --so...a spacesuit? Why not say that? pg 4: "made his Grav boots increase the weight of gravity on the window." --that's...not how gravity works. It would be the force or pull of gravity. And the interaction is between the two things, in this case his boots and the window, not on the window. --Also, I'm wondering how thin the glass is (and why glass is being used at all) in order to shield against vacuum. If a person can break it by increasing gravity without squishing themself into a ball, the ship or whatever would be swiss cheese from space dust. pg 6: Most of the gadget descriptions have an infodump attached to them. pg 6: "but his coat absorbed the energy with no issue" --There's a lack of stakes so far. He can't be touched and everything he does is super effective against his opponents. I'm waiting for something challenging or exciting to happen. pg 7: "She reloaded her rifle" --wait, we've skipped POVs here. Ah...there is a single line separator. There needs to be more indication of a switch in POV> pg 8: "The two Space Hosts teleported in front of the Royal Guard and lifted them in the air with their telekinesis." --then why were they wasting time randomly firing without cover? Better yet, why didn't these two lead the charge and just teleport to wherever they needed pg 8: "a weak spot on the helmet." --like...a manufacturing defect? What is this? pg 8: "the entire Royal Guard unit laid dead at their feet." --still no sense of tension for me. pg 8: "Both of them were legends, though most people didn’t know about Q." --then how is he seen as anything, much less "the greatest criminal of all time?" pg 9: "The guy was" --there's been at least two references to "guys" which is both vague and doesn't sound very professional. pg 10: "be insulted that you just took down a unit like it was nothing " --still no stakes. pg 10: the chapter ends with an infodump about the drug. Not really pulling me into reading more. Ch 2 pg 11: A third POV in 8 pages means it's hard to make a connection with any of the characters. pg 11: "What?! Guys, what happened to him?” --Another instance of "guys." Also, most of this page is a rehash of what we went through last chapter. pg 12: "How could he take down a starfighter? Is this Q?" --I thought the Sources were making sure no one knew about him? pg 12: "The rest, find that guy" pg 13: "The Space Benders" --who are these? pg 13: "sucking him out into space." --I don't think this chapter is necessary. It doesn't give us any new information. Ch 3 pg 14: "his spacesuit protecting him from the vacuum" --As they are designed to do... pg 14: "He mentally increased the strength of gravity and broke through the window" --I guess technically that's correct, but I wouldn't trust these windows on a space vessel. pg 15: "killing each one of them with a shot to the head" --are the fighting back? Is he completely invulnerable? So far, he's not a very interesting hero, because he's never in any danger. pg 15: "This stopped being a game a long time ago." --I mean, it seems like a game to me. He's basically playing in god-mode. pg 16: "take a while" --a day? a week? five minutes? pg 18: So basically everything was successful with this job and the thieves got all the goods and everything's fine. Is there more story to this? I might just put the book down here if I was reading it. It's fairly tied up. If this is an entire book, there needs to be some sort of inciting incident by this point to pull the reader in.
  11. Overall, I think this is stronger than the previous version. I had some questions about the specifics of J's backstory, where either I was missing details or it didn't make sense. S is a very frustrating character for me, especially seeing how overall good the B.K. does at ruling. I want her to espouse some sort of reasonable objection, because right now the whole revolutionary movement is sort of a strawman. I'm with @ginger_reckoning on the part with finding T being frustrating. Especially since she seems to give the guards extra money(?) and then right after a sentence about her praying for T's safely, they just find him at home. I like that Ir. is more proactive, but maybe there needs to be a section about tracking down T as well, or at least a larger gap between finding S and finding T. Notes while reading: pg 2: "What I didn’t know their father was" "What I didn’t know WAS their father was" pg 2: "risk the lost allies when word got out." --why would he lose allies with a blind son? And how does blind equate to mentally disturbed? pg 3: "Probably hoped I’d die without a spot of blood on his hands for investors to tut over." --again, what does his son have to do with his business? pg 4: "gave me a job as a musician" --so I guess this is the B.K.'s default for people involved in political secrets? I suppose L was an officer in the Navy, and M was a secret shipping magnate? pg 4: I have no idea what relation Pem. has to Them., Far., or Dar. pg 4: "her magic was back" --did it go away? She hasn't done any naming lately has she? pg 5: Having some more experience now, a lockdown of three days doesn't seem all that bad... pg 5: "They were bent with exhaustion, no longer polished but covered in filth." --After only three days? Maybe if it was a week and they had no replacements, but it's a fully functioning castle. If nothing else, there are people to clean their armor/clothes. pg 6: "The stonework, instead of sparkling in a million shades of cream, were grey and white like ashes" --were there citywide fires or something? I would have expected a lot more destruction, then. pg 8: "The jail was close." --so wait, did she go to S&T's house or not? pg 10: "a tin lore" --what is this? Currency? pg 11: "before taking out her last lore" --why did she pay them more? She'd already gotten all the information she needed. pg 12: "prayed T was safe somewhere." "falling into her husband where he sat at the kitchen table" --Ah, well that was easy. Immediately kills the tension of "will they find him" to just go home and find him there.
  12. Overall, I think I liked the first version of this better. I still don't think the prologue is necessary, and now the first chapter is rather jumpy and I think actually dives into the action TOO fast. Taking some of the banter between the three friends, and a bit more explanation about his father and general life would be better at setting the scene before the inciting incident. Right now, the father is basically fridged and we have no idea where the sword came from or what V's character is like. The fight scenes are...fine. They are short and bloody, but I'd rather know the character of the people fighting than seeing them hack each other up. Knowing WHY someone is fighting can actually be more exciting than the physical fight. Notes while reading: Prologue pg 1: "You know we cannot. Even we are not all powerful" --can't take the blades back? I'm wondering why this is so hard... pg 2: "giving them your trinkets" --So the blades seem to be physical things. I'm not sure how hard it would be to round them up and take them all back. pg 2: “I cannot do much, however. My power, too, has waned.” --A lot of this seems to be maid and butler dialogue. I'm not sure we need it all in a prologue. We could probably get these facts sprinkled into the story and it would flow better. pg 3: "It came out as a sob. He was surprised to find his cheeks were wet with his tears." --I'm not sure why he's so emotional over getting a book. Ch 1 pg 1: "The Blade was burnished orange in color with a long, elegantly curved blade" --awkward first sentence. Maybe "The long, elegantly curved Blade was burnished orange." pg 1: "Never heard of a Smith with a dragonfly" --what does his mean? Is there a dragonfly on the blade? pg 1/2: most of this is just talking about the blade, but we don't really know anything about them. I liked the character development of the first version better. pg 2: "should have had First Meal ready" --Could probably just call breakfast breakfast. pg 2: "pulled F.d. from behind his belt" --Wait, so it does have a name? I thought it hadn't told him yet. pg 4: "Wasn’t even his son? What did she mean by that?" --hearing all this second-hand is anticlimactic. I'd prefer if V. was directly involved in finding out this information. pg 4: "All he could see was the look in his father’s eyes as he died." --he's dead? From the description, it seemed like the knife hit over near his shoulder--not something fatal. pg 5: "I will have you stuck in three blows." --what does this mean? pg 5: "V. looked down at his father’s corpse" --I think we need some more emotion from this. pg 6: "what’s going on?” He couldn’t come to grips with what was happening" --I am also sort of confused. pg 7: "V. gave her a defiant look, but he knew that this was not a time to be arguing" --Ah...I'd be arguing. His entire life was just upended. I'd think he would want a few answers before going off with this strange woman. pg 7: "piss soaked trousers --when did this happen? pg 8: "The path will not be easy, he thought," --this seems sort of like a sped-up version of WoT or LotR. I feel like we missed some introductions and a bit of plot on the way.
  13. I think this chapter gave some good information, but there are some specifics with the disease I don't quite get yet. I'm also not really sure about the A's choice to basically commit suicide? Like, why are they sabotaging the one place where they're still safe? Do the others have any idea of where they would go instead, especially since the other species seem to be carrying the disease? However, this was a better intro for Ar. than the first one I read. Notes while reading: pg 1: "It was like going glare blind on the ice" --nice analogy pg 1: "left the S struggling to catch up to the other young Kinds." --Which begs the question of why the S are the ones to care for the A. pg 2: "Idiots trying to break out of Quarantine was enough stress, thank you." --indeed! pg 2: "wrapped around his arms and neck" --is A "they" or "him?" --"made them easy to spot" --ah. "Them." pg 3: “That was easy, anything else?” --D wasn't actually looking for help when they got there, just looking for A. pg 3: "The Artist" --Is this the other A with Ar? First it sounds like D doesn't know them, then it sounds like they do. pg 3: "But it was too strange a sight for their hosts" --Also, this seems a bit weird for a collection of alien species. They're put off by a lot of fingers, but not by silicon life forms? pg 3: "approached the bench, eye level for once" --who is sitting and why does that make them eye level? Is D very short? pg 4: "wiping out the A home world only a day after colonies fifty worlds away" --one, I'm glad it's called out that this travels faster than it should and two, why does it arriving on the S homeworld matter (or any other world, for that matter) since it only affects A's? pg 4: "so far out as to not have been affected" --except it was just mentioned that the disease travels faster than light, so why would it have not affected farther colonies either? pg 5: "but at least now we can move forward" --did something change? pg 6: "It doesn't surprise me that YOUR students would use it though." --D has students? I'm surprised any stay around them that long... pg 6: "Not alone, and there's no like minds to buffer for me." --good detail pg 7: the middle part of this page is hard to follow. I think it's a retrospection on what the two had been doing, but it sort of drifts in and out of it without much signal. pg 7: "since every S carried the Z" --ah, so the other species carry it, but just don't suffer from it. "to be involved in finding a vaccine" --yeah, doesn't seem like a great idea if they're not actively working on it. pg 8: "Next time if F wanted something broken, they were going to have to work for it." --I'm not quite sure what they're doing. Are they fixing something? Making it harder to break? How will this stop the others?
  14. Similar thoughts to the others. I though the poem was good, but missed some connections between the beginning and the end. I think the first two paragraphs can be deleted or incorporated elsewhere. The prologue...didn't really do anything for me. It had a lot of things happening, but I didn't know why or what the stakes were, or even who the people were. It could probably be cut easily to get to the inciting incident for the story. Seashell: "All the shell does is act as a wall" --I think this sentence could be condensed for clarity, to something like, "A shell only acts as a wall." --in fact, that whole paragraph (stanza? I'm not good at poems) seems like it doesn't convey much. Sometimes this thing happens. Sometimes it doesn't. "I was very young when my grandmother became a seashell" --This seems like a much more effective opening to the poem. --Yes, you repeat this sentiment at the end, so it should also be at the beginning. "becoming little more than an eho board" --echo? I like the metaphor with the grandmother and Alzheimer's and the seashell. It's a good analogy. I think the first two stanzas can be deleted and some of the lines can be shortened just a little for word choice. Blue and Orange: Interesting first paragraph "millenia-old logs" --wondering what these are... "They arrived and settled into their places in the circle" --I assume she got where she was going then? "She sat proudly at the head of the council circle." --okay, so she's at the council now. "let her claws slide out an inch" --interesting. She has claws and wings? "scrape the ice below" --below what? "tail-switching" --and tails. Who/what are these people? "the gift of breathing fire" --are they...dragons? So, the prologue is interesting, but it doesn't really tell us anything. I don't even know who these people are, or why they're meeting. We don't know how many people are at the council, or if they are all the same or not. So I have to say this doesn't really give us any information and doesn't draw me into whatever the book will be about.
  15. Overall, this was a good chapter in the center of all the action! Things happened! I still have some reservations about how big the revolutionary group is and why they think the BK is doing a bad job. There's also some confusion over who the BK is fighting. Is it C? Is it the revolutionaries? Have they joined forces? I don't mind the POV switches as much, but yes, I'll also agree that W's POV is the weakest of the three. Good to know some more backstory about him though. Note while reading: pg 1: "imitation of the Fey legends" --Fey dress in all black? pg 1: "Sweat dripping down" -> "Sweat dripped down" pg 1: "They both knew that if O went out again, that the arriving air navy would catch her." --has she gone out before? Did the Navy recognize a certain dragon? How is she marked? pg 2: "Yet, there were no bodies lying on the dock. The city guard was not so inaccurate." --Not so accurate because there were no bodies? Or not so inaccurate--compared to...what? pg 2: "The drills the Revolutionaries beat into her seemed to slip away like water." --I guess they didn't beat them in enough, then. pg 3: "forcing them to raise shields." --this sounds like they're on the Enterprise. Maybe "raise their shields?" pg 3: “They’re Pem-ans.” --I think this is a really good comment, especially to contrast the reasonable thinking about what they want in a government, above. It shows they're still pretty close-minded about countries and how they should work together. pg 4: "the barking masses of two M. soldiers" --are they dog therios? What masses? pg 4: "Why had the soldiers not killed them? Why the nets? Why the chains? Surely the protests would be enough to fill the jails?" --really? She's concerned that the occupying force isn't killing her fellow citizens? Basically, this just cements the democratic revolutionary as worse off for people than the monarch. pg 6: "Intimidation tactics saved lives on both sides." --and the monarchy is already showing they're better at this than the revolutionaries. pg 7: "The direwolf runt and unicorn half-breed had found answers in each other even though life had separated them soon after. When W, broken, lost, grieving, heard of a black unicorn..." --okay, now I want a W/B.K. side story. pg 8: "The people of Bor." --wait, I thought they were Pems? Still very confused on this. pg 10: "Triangles for the air force. Squares for the army. Circles for the navy." --is this all for the revolutionaries? How big is this? I didn't there were that many of them. --Or is this an attack by Cr.? pg 10: "“Wasn’t your name-knower supposed to prevent this?” --what could she have done? She hasn't been placed anywhere where she might do some good yet. pg 11: "“His vision for this country may seem like insanity" --It's seemed pretty practical to me so far... pg 11: "had sent out a pecker formation" --this seems...humorously named... pg 13: "the general’s brilliant battle plans that had forced P. to surrender. That brought B. into the slavery it was in now." --Okay, so here P. and B. are both in the same sentence and I still don't know which each signifies. pg 14: "There was only one obstacle, and he was mortal." --Weren't they already planning to kill the BK?