karamel

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  1. Heyo! been a while since I've done a critique and honestly, I'm only doing this one because of your opening line. So good job on that! pg 1 -Im already in with the first line -still have me hooked with the following paragraph, i love it -”the witch” Is there only one or can this be “a witch”? Edit: I see what you mean now, but upon reading this at first it makes me think “there was no mention of a witch before this so there must only be one” pg 2 -”something even bigger” also great ending paragraph to this section -”in addition” another great opener after the break. Im more of a past tense enjoyer, but i didn’t mind the present tense in the first part “More focused its purpose” this wording confuses me a bit. Maybe “its” should be “the”? “More could be” more that could be? pg 3 “It certainly enough power” inclusion of was “Public-snail” I read this as one word and was very confused “To check on G” I was very excited to see where this was going, you got me hooked by the first section, but now I'm losing interest. I think that helping this random neighbor look for her wedding ring is a sharp turn from “magic requires death.” I just expected something a bit grittier. pg 5 “Limp body” ahh now we’re talking, interest returned “Because person had died” this person? “Where it’s life force” would it be more appropriate to say "their" rather than "its"? Im not sure about which is better or more accurate pg 8 “The poor crustaceans” that's creative “like a gavel” Overall I enjoyed this! I think my interest peaked with the first few pages (the beginning was the strongest imo) but I did enjoy it throughout. To answer your question about having too much before the body being found, I think yes, but only because my expectations might have been misplaced. I'm not sure where I expected this to go but it certainly wasnt "murder mystery." not a bad thing though! I really love the idea that magic is fueled by death, great concept. I think the ending could be a bit stronger, but I would continue reading this story to see where it goes regardless.
  2. Yeah, I'm probably not the *best* person for this because Im constantly contradicting myself, but I think focusing on Is and Ro's relationship and setting up a few small issues (like that the politics here are unstable and outside forces are potentially going to cause chaos) is a great starting point. I agree that if you had gone further into the details about C's invasions, you would've lost me entirely. When I mentioned that there was no change in Is, I meant that I felt like nothing had really made her want to spring into action, even though there sort of was. I think i want the opposite of what you want If we start with Is being overly confident in her situation, even going so far as to ignore the duke's implication/worrying of impending doom, then I want the chapter to end with her thinking "hmm. well sh!t. I might've been wrong." Or... not that exactly, but i wanted her confidence to be shaken. Okay, I'm going to stop myself there because i realize that im referring to the inciting incident and that this might be where you're going but over the next few chapters or so. I've rewritten this thought process like three times and its going nowhere because that's not what you're going for in the first chapter. >.< sorry! SO! Im just going to agree with @Ace of Hearts and say that the threat of upheaval needs to be more obvious and feel real. Increase the stakes. Show us what the upheaval would mean. You were spot on with the "idle gossip." It definitely has that feel. Is can think everything is under control, but the audience still needs to know what it means for things to not be under control. So that when she eventually sees the threat, it hits heavy.
  3. as i go: pg 1 -good opening line! Im in. -”edged away from where he towered” i almost want her to be more annoyed at him because this sentence makes me think Li is creepy, but that might push the sense that Is thinks she is better than him too far. But! I dont mind a character that thinks highly of themself and thinks everyone else is a fool. Like, yeah, Is-, you are better than this crusty old man, dont let him weedle info out of you. -the name confusion (people being called the same name as the place they are from) is clearer this time around -”that didnt mean she was a fool” oof good line. -you probably are tired of hearing this but i think your writing has gotten even better! pg 2 -”the younger Li-” if there was any lingering confusion on the names being places, this line wiped it clean. Good job! -”still clinging to her smile” this is good pg 3-4 -i think this still suffers from too much description about small movements and, um, I dont know if there's a word for this but descriptors that revolve around the person speaking. During Is and Li’s conversation, their voices changed a lot (i.e. “her voice dipped low, his voice lowered to match”) and Is- “held her smile” a lot. In this instance, it felt repetitive to me. Though, I might just be nitpicking on this one. I would like to add that during the first two pages I thought this was a nonissue. Your descriptions were great until I started to notice them the further we got into the conversation. pg 5 -upon rereading, i think i expected Ro- to interrupt with some juicy information, like “guess who showed up late? Duke Al, that idiot” or something, but instead Is and Ro continued to talk politics and I didnt mind it too much considering i already have an okay sense of who people are, but if I was a new reader, I think my engagement would’ve been way lower. That isnt to say I didnt enjoy Is and Ro's conversation, because i did! their dynamic was a strong point. I just think this early on in the story, it might be harder to capture the attention of someone like me. pg 8 “Dont you dare joke about” ooo, she angry. -by page 9, my interest has dwindled a lot. Maybe its because I don't know the stakes yet. Is- is so interested in figuring out a plot that I dont even know exists. Maybe if this scenario were in a later chapter I might be more interested. What would a bad relationship between them and Li- or them and Tra- mean? -i do love Ro-’s dialogue tho. I most interested in learning about him. pg 10 -”i can ask them to switch M” I like the idea of these two scheming behind walls and reluctantly working toward the same goal. Like sure, they dont like each other, but still care for each other (i think) and want the best for their family. The line at the bottom of page nine and top of ten is a great example of their difference in position and conflicting world views. So, my attention held fairly well at first during the conversation with Is and Li and remained strong when R joined. Around page 6/7 things felt a bit bogged down and my attention waned. I think you did a great job showing R and Is’s dynamic. I really got the familial sense between them and enjoyed the way they contrasted each other. I was able to keep up with all the names just fine but I wonder if I was a new reader if you would’ve lost me. I think this is fine as a first chapter if the book’s focus is politics, which I think is the selling point. That’s not typically my cup of tea, so would I (hypothetically) read on after this chapter? Hmm, maybe? Depends on where the story is going and as of right now, I don’t really know (based off of just this chapter). It definitely has a way different vibe than the previous version. Your previous first chapter felt like it would gear more towards action but now we are given a more political feel. Your questions: 1. I am trying to get across the detail of how Is- processes court conversations or what she’s observing in social situations. Does it seem like there’s too much internal dialogue because of that? Or does it come across alright? A: I dont think there's too much internal dialogue in the first half, but i think in the second half maybe there was a bit much and that's what contributed to my attention waning. Second half with Ro could probably benefit from being trimmed down. 2. Does it seem like names and background information are introduced in an absorbable way? A: I can't say exactly not being a new reader 3. Does this provide a clearer indication of Is-’s goals/motivations/concerns? Mostly the idea that she’s not trying to be stubborn and independent for its own sake, but that she’s hyper-aware of how she thinks others are perceiving her? A: Is- is way less stubborn here compared to previous versions/chapters. She seems more calculating and eager to dig up information for her father. That seems like a pretty clear goal to me. I’m not sure i got the sense that she is “hyper-aware” of how others perceive her, but she definitely is aware. 4. The old chapter 1 was sort of pushing toward the “Is- thinks Ro- is a useless jerk” concept, which was not what I was aiming for. Does this depiction of their relationship seem to work better? A: Yes, I think you did a great job with their relationship. 5. How’s this seem to work as a chapter 1? It would lead into the tournament chapter (which would have the beginning trimmed down, since we have most of the Is-Ro interactions here). There’s obviously no clear inciting incident, but is there enough of a sense of “important things are going on” to carry it through? A: Its obvious that things are going on and there's a lot to uncover behind the scenes, though how much of it interests me enough to care yet? Not as much as the previous version. I guess what im interested to know is, what here is moving the plot forward? It seems like Is- is the same at the end of this chapter that she was at the beginning. I guess she got a little more information than she had previously. This might not even be an issue, but its something to think about I guess. 6. There’s almost no magic here. If it’s coming in after the prologue (which does focus on the magic more) is that fine? In my head, it stresses the contrast between the magical events there and what “normal” life is like in the rest of Gil under the magic laws. But I’m never sure how those sorts of ideas carry over to readers. A: There is a mention of magic laws, so I dont think you have too much to worry about. I think the contrast will be good! Gotta have a good balance of politics and magic.
  4. Heh, been a bit MIA lately, but I'm starting night shift again where I should have plenty of time to critique! So, if you have a more current version of this chapter you are welcome to send it my way!
  5. I also did not read this story before, so fresh eyes here as well as i go: pg 1 -so far, the writing is good. As expected -though, the sense of urgency (being in an enemy warcamp) felt like it could have been pushed in the first paragraph. My initial thought was that V was casually repairing some machine. Unless...there is no urgency. The rest of the page goes into detail that makes me think there is no need to rush his sabotage. pg 2 -”a spike of alarm” okay, there is a sense of pressure on this page. pg 3 “They’d still be standing in the belly” i read this at first as if it had already happened. i.e. they were not in the belly any more. I had to reread to realize it was a future musing “P was young” this felt a tad repetitive as it was said on the page before. But i think it is more reinforcing rather than hindering… so negate this comment? pg 4 -im a little confused, one of the neighboring mechs blew up early and thats what caused the one V was in to fall, right? pg 5 -”two rounds gone. Four left” good tension on this page pg 6 “Choked back a devastated cry” slipping into Price of Peace territory, are we? Lol jk, I felt that the writing thus far was very different from PoP until this phrase (and a few similar others) caught my attention. pg 15 -so far, my attention has held consistently. I feel a bit like ive jumped into the middle of a book with the discussion between M and V. but not enough to take me out. -I was confused during their conversation if K and the kids were dead or not, but as i kept reading, all my questions kept getting answered -tbh, I think i was more engaged in this than I was with PoP. i cant say why though, maybe because of the content? the immediate danger of the MC? he was a likeable MC for sure. I was anticipating him to shoot M and would have been unsatisfied if he didn't. so, good job I would read on if this were a continuing story. Overall, I think this was good! I don't have many other thoughts, sorry about that. I have been getting back into reading and writing (i took a loooong break) so hopefully that will help me get back into a more helpful and critical mindset
  6. Am also late, but you can send it to me as well!
  7. okay i didn't make it by sunday, but oh well. as i go: pg 1 -having trouble remembering who Tra is. I thought this was a place. -I think its a good idea to have him be jumpy/skiddish because of his new knowledge concerning Is’s poisoning, good job on that front. Maybe focus on that a bit more? pg 2 “That it terrified him?” yeah, i like stuff like this where we learn about how he feels more pg 3 -i do think you can streamline this a lot because I dont feel fully engaged. pg 4 “He had an argument to finish” so he’s a bit stubborn eh? -when Al talks i am more interested. I cant say why. Maybe bc I have read the most from him. so i like seeing him in other people's povs pg 5 “Why should it concern you” dang he sure is feisty “He finished the rest of his drink” didnt he already finish it? I might have missed when he got another one? Edit: i went back and saw that Ta handed him back his drink “Hes not wrong you know,” R said to al.” for some reason i thought Mart was talking to R at first rather than Al -i think the tension of R wanting to start a fight is good, but im not seeing the full consequences, like I’m not against R stirring up trouble. pg 6 “Al said, interrupting” al to the rescue “Careful tra-” see, the calling people by locations confuses me. edit: i do like the idea, i can see how it works, but its just confusing to me when i dont fully understand when its actually the place and the person. -I have the most engagement with the chat between M, Al, and R pg 8 “There are things going on” i lied, more engagement here “He likely stepped in to help” i feel like this kind of talk isnt casual enough between them pg 9 “The grin that spread across” oooh mischievous Ch 15 pg 9 -i dont really remember what happened last time with Ali… so i was like, “breakfast party? Huh?” -i was also confused about what news Ali was referring to. Maybe it would be better to get to what she is upset about right away? pg 10 “Is’s attacker still unknown” this reminded me that i still dont feel like we’ve made any progress. At this rate, im expecting the book to be way longer than it probably is. Overall: I think my biggest problem here is that I can't remember the dynamics of all the places and people, so a lot of things fall flat. Like when R mentions L and T and all the other places. This is most definitely WRS. Also, because of wrs, im still failing to see the bigger picture. but maybe thats okay. i know a lot of the focus is on the family dynamics, and i think i'm expecting more action outside of that, so maybe my expectations are in the wrong place. I enjoyed R's pov more than Ali's because i dont feel like her chapter brought a whole lot to the table, but again, i think if i move my expectations then her chapter hits different. She does seem a bit desperate and helpless here, almost childish but not in a bad way, more like in an innocent way, like when a child's parents are getting a divorce and the child is like, "no why cant we all just get along!?" I'm running on four hours of sleep here so if im not making sense i apologize. Anyway, I did enjoy R's pov for the most part and i would like to see more of him and his thoughts because I do love misunderstood characters, especially the ones that seem like they don't know what they're doing when they actually do. I guess, when i think about it, we started with a prologue that introduced us to magic and chaos and death, and then a first chapter that started with a tournament where a poisoning happened, and then we kinda simmered into a lot of slow conversations and banquets. I want a better balance, i guess. R's chapter helped a bit with that i think. Ending on a better note, I really like R's chaotic, troublesome tendencies. I'm looking forward to hopefully seeing more of this and maybe eventually seeing him step up a bit more.
  8. I'm half way through this! I promise I'll try to comment by sunday!! Sorry for the delay on this one
  9. Welcome back! I look forward to reading this! Opening #1 pg 1 -”he bore no disadv” the “he” here threw me off. I think you can get away without mentioning a name right away but here, i feel caught off guard. -”now, if only.., but it was not, quite” I don't like all the commas in this sentence; it feels super muddled and unnatural. -”the most comfortable ones” compared to the other openings, this one feels very out of order. I know this line is referring to the miles but it almost makes me think, “most comfortable what?” also “unfortunately” doesnt feel entirely necessary -”making a pained expression” I’m having trouble picturing this whole action. He winked while making a pained expression?? What was he trying to do here? edit: I see now its bc of the seat and him not fitting into it right? that's why he is pained. when i see wink, i think flirting, so this read odd to me. -also idk what s-n® is -”the first thing Q did” i would’ve never known this was the POV character were it not for having skimmed some other crits pg 2 -”porter departed was to disrobe” I think there's a tense issue here. Get rid of “to” maybe? Opening 1 feels incomplete at the end. Would i keep reading? Probably not. There's nothing that makes me think “wow i need to figure out what's going on.” there’s no oomph. There were a lot of the sentences that felt a bit wordy and did not flow as well as they could have; I think I mentioned them in the lbls though. Opening #2 pg 3 -way better opening line. though, I don't read a ton of scifi so all the terms in the first sentence tripped me up. IT-, So-, and Geo 1. I wouldn’t completely abandon this piece based on that but still. -”at least his Mer-” the first pronoun here flows way better than in the other opening. -”passengers required to wear the same” were required? -”thumb-shaped N shuttlecraft’s passengers” I dont think there’s a huge problem here, but to me, this feels wordy. Also could this be taken as the passengers being thumb-shaped?? It's the shuttlecraft that's thumb-shaped right? ;p -”it was not, quite.” yeah i still don't like this phrasing. Feels unnatural. Im not sure about this, but I think "quite" is one of those words that you can cut, like really and very. Or at least use it sparingly. This is the first instance tho so its probably not the word itself, just how it's used. -”the most comfortable ones” okay this is exactly the same in opening one but for some reason, i dont mind it here. Like the last few sentences in this paragraph feel okay to me. so i guess ignore my previous gripes? “Family s-n ®” ohhhhhh the family s-n. I wasnt understanding this but it reads like “a family crest,” huh? I see now. The family android. pg 4 -”marrying the boss’s daughter” ho ho intriguing -”i may have a job” italics? -”his efficient frame” huh?? Efficient?? Lmao! I’ve never heard someone describing their frame as efficient. Like he’s in shape? -”the softly lit cabin must serve” tense error? is this present tense? Must have served? -”and that loathsome flash” i love lines like these that add character -better ending, though the Jen line felt a bit out of place. Opening #3 pg 5 -”left him stiff and aching” i stand by opening 2 being the best intro of the POV character -“The most comfortable, but the slowest” i like the previous phrasing. This phrasing feels awkward -”tunnel to the security station” i also like “security station” better than checkpoint -”once his sy-n porter” this feels way more fast paced and im not getting as good a feel for the character. I do like that it’s simpler and less wordy but we’ve lost the vital character building moments -”stepping from the shower, he regarded his eff- frame” a lot of sentences (like this one) in this version flow better, imo. In this paragraph, though, there might be too many simple sentences -second best ending. It feels more complete than the first but its not as good as #2’s. I dont feel like ive been given anything in this one that makes me want to continue reading. Overall: I agree with the others! Opening two was far better! ^ this literally sums up everything i want to say.
  10. as i go: pg 1 -i think its hard for me to be impartial since i've sort of been here since the beginning with this, but so far i like it. You’ve set the priorities straight and laid down everything where I can see it. Introducing mage healers being against the laws right away? Awesome. I know what to expect going in. there’s going to be a conflict with magic laws. That's way better than before, I think! -this first big paragraph already tells us so much without being overwhelming (though im not sure what it looks like to fresh eyes) and i love it, huge improvement. pg 3 “And funneled it into the form it was most familiar with” interesting. I like how you’re approaching the intro to magic -also way more tension than the previous version “If it wouldn't leave Al to fend” awww lil Al. this might not land as well for new readers (compared to how it landed for me). I feel like it's a little call back and I enjoy that! But being a prologue, it wouldn't hit me the same if I hadn't already read parts of this story. pg 5 “A task that would only become more difficult as more blood” hmm is this sentence providing anything? Seems like common knowledge. Orrrr not common, but like you’re describing someone walking in mud, it’ll only become harder the longer they walk in the mud. We can assume that sort of information. -i think the pacing falls a bit slow here, i notice a lot of mention of him focusing on her pulse. In fact, its mentioned like 7 times, 4 of them being on this page. You can probably cut some of that in order to keep the tension strong. pg 10 “Father.” At first, I thought Br was saying this to Dw. pg 11 “choked out one last sleep spell” i wonder if this is the best way to phrase this. Seems like you wouldn't “choke out” a spell. also, and this is a mostly personal thing, around here some of the language feels.... over the top? I do think it fits the situation, but because ive only just met these characters i dont feel the same feelings that they are. idk if im describing this correctly. it just has that melodramatic feel which i think can be pretty dangerous territory. i'll give you some examples of lines that felt melodramatic to me: -any time "desperate sob/cry" is used (in fact, "desperate" is used 10 times. idk if thats too much but im laying it out there for you decide.) -"barely holding back a sob" -"Al sobbed into—" you know what, im gonna stop here and say any time "sob" is used. I think its the word sob that feels melodramatic to me. (its used 8 times if you were wondering ) 1. it was clear to me! 2. I didn't notice any problems with pacing besides what i said in my lbls. 3. All those things seem to be addressed! you can always build on these things later as well. 4. I dont expect everything about the magic to be laid out in the first chapter. you could probably include a line or two more about the oathbands— actually, i think it sort of makes me more curious if you don't describe everything right away. its hard to truly tell what else should be included or expanded upon when im not a new reader 5. just the nameless midwife was confusing. it felt a bit jarring to have her pop up like that. she definitely annoyed me! which is good and means i was concerned for the other characters. 6. I guess i answered part of this above. but I agree that the midwife felt a bit forced in. not exactly out of place but definitely like you needed the push to get things where they need to be. she probably just needs to be introduced differently. 7. I think i was most engaged in the beginning. it felt like a strong start to me. and the magic in general.
  11. as i go: pg 1 -ooh so Al is teaching people how to fight? -“The pair two from the end” idk why but this sounds odd. My brain was having trouble with this phrasing. pg 2 -idk what they’re talking about at the top of page 2 with the bruises. this could just be me though. -I feel like the line on page one “of course it would be them” falls flat because i dont know who “them” are… is?... are? Idk. Anyway, it might work better if we have a short paragraph/sentence describing who Al is talking about directly after it. Because later when it says “Al reached the pair and found Lady T waiting” for some reason i pictured her separate from the pair, like she was not part of the training and instead watching Al because she likes him. -"D had come up with the idea of having Al” this might work better if you place it a bit sooner to clear up some confusion. Better to be up front about what's going on I think. Before this paragraph, i'm just wondering what's going on and why Al is training people. Or maybe its fine where its at and its 4 am and im not fully here -“Had kicked one of those out” hmmm this felt like odd wording. A bit too vague. pg 5 -”Al was painfully aware” yeah i got the impression he wasn't into her, like maybe he found her attractive but nothing more. pg 9 -i’ve been holding consistent interest until around when “Dw—” is mentioned because it doesnt feel relevant to me -by the time Ais— is mentioned, it feels like too many names. 1. I think around page 10 is where my interest really dwindled because it just felt like they were reminiscing and talking about non plot relevant things. you could probably shorten their talk. 2. This may be wrs but I didn't know D and Al were as close as they seemed in this chapter. T seems seductive and possibly manipulative. I dont dislike her though. She made this chapter interesting for sure! 3. I was most interested in the training/sparing and Al and D talking about Al's suitors. I think this chapter also suffers from the walking and talking dragging (though not as much as previous chapters) and I'm still craving things to move along plot wise. This was a decent chapter though! I'm just ready for the main plot to say hello.
  12. As per usual, I am a bit sleep deprived so I apologize about not making sense or being harsh. as i go: pg 1 -this conversation about the magic sort of feels like it could’ve been in the last chapter pg 3 -I like the comparisons for the magic usage but im waiting for something to happen. It feels like their conversation has gone on for longer than necessary pg 4 “What are the spells you’re undergoing” i kinda wish she would ask this question sooner. This is like the driving force of tension and should probably be more front and center. -there’s more tension at the end of page 4/beginning of page 5. We should get to this sooner in the chapter (probably) pg 6 -hmm im losing interest on this page. Lot of walking and standing and talking pg 7 -yeah interest is dwindling. there’s some good lines of dialogue but you can cut this way down without losing anything -”wielding the power of the gods” regaining interest pg 8 -”turning the gods wills to our own is” hmmm interesting. Foreshadowing? “So. wielding the power of the gods?” interest dwindling again 1. Nothing confusing. I think there's quite a bit you can cut in this chapter. Like @RedBlue said, this whole chapter is just walking and talking and you can definitely feel it. There's probably a way to make this chapter feel more story/plot relevant rather than just walking and talking. 2. It's not that the information isn't understandable, it just feels bland. I think it's the way this is all presented. The characters aren't doing anything. There's no action and I'm a bit desperate for action at this point in the story. 3. Hmmm, I'm not entirely sure about this. I'm not sure this chapter works, especially for where its at. The ending does feel hopeful and like Is might do more in coming chapters, but maybe this should come sooner. At this point, I want to see the characters make their moves and push the story along. I wanna see progress in the plot but I'm not really seeing a whole lot of that. Sorry to be a downer on this one. I do still enjoy Is-n and I like his relationship with Is. He's a good contrast to his brother. 4. I noted this in my LBLs. I liked when Is confronted her uncle about his healing and asked if others knew. Also the part about the power of the gods.
  13. as i go: pg 1 “He’d just scowled” dang, harsh G “Then back. Five times” jesus i would die pg 2 “In the gardens at home” okay so i completely missed in the first paragraph where it said Is was at her uncles estate. pg 4 -agree that the colored text should be placed much earlier. It is quite infodumpy but the info is good and i dont know if theres a way around it. Sometimes you just have to be infodumpy *shrugs* pg 5 “Mixedup sleep schedule… odd hours” omg same, except im sleeping all the time and at odd hours. Also, for some reason, this sentence made me think those odd hours were happening now and she was practicing late at night or something. But she still has to have dinner -more engagement on the pages where she practices the magic pg 6 "had he always been this tall?" okay now im picturing him like king bumi from atla lol pg 7 “How often do you usually” the ‘she’ who is saying this might be too unclear. I know its Is but there is the possibility that it could be mistaken for Da saying this -the stuff about the uncle going to get treatment is interesting. Makes me wonder what they do exactly pg 10 Ending seems kind of abrupt. its just lacking that punch to drive me forward. what you have isnt bad, but i think it could be better. Overall This chapter was good! I was definitely more interested in the parts with her uncle and less interested in her training and talking to her aunt. But I feel like the information about her training is important, so maybe just cut that part down a bit. 1. Mostly just the beginning was a bit slow going. Nothing confusing tho. 2. Nothing has changed too much in my opinions of the characters. Da seems nice. I still like Is-n. 3. Definitely when her uncle shows up and we see how well he is doing compared to before. Also the conversation about Is's mother's plans. 4.Yes, I think it would really help clear somethings up and give readers a better sense of the magic conflict. And I do agree with @Ace of Hearts that I am seeing a more clear direction of where the story is going. There is a lot less confusion in this chapter (with the main conflict) and im sad that it took us 10 chapters to get here. Im not quite sure if this should be a first chapter. I think you could make it work, but i think i'll have to get further into the story to see where it goes and then decide whats the best place to start.
  14. 1. No confusing or boring bits! I think this chapter was one of my favorites! Probably just needs to be tightened up a bit. But overall, I enjoyed it. 2. I like Is-a and had no idea he'd get a POV. I think this interaction with his brother works well. I also like seeing the king in a different light. Definitely got the "Is-a is the older brother" vibes (he is older right?) or at least, he seems more mature/wise about magic. 3. My engagement was fairly high at the beginning but started to descend near the end around page 7/8. Though, there was nothing particularly boring. I just liked the beginning more. And it felt like at the end of page 7, the conversation was dragging a bit or seemed a bit repetitive. 4. Yeah, it works for me. I like that we got back on track with the poisoning. 5. Not reaaally. I guess i didnt really connect that Isre would be living with her uncle. but now it feels a bit clearer especially since i have an understanding of who the king's brother is. as i go: pg 1 “Stop fidgeting” idk why but im liking this already “Stench of death” alright im interested pg 2 “Every effort nto to” typo *not pg 3 “A plain, wooden chair” just letting you know that when Isr asked for a chair, i was already picturing a plain wooden chair before this line was said. “Ill pass.” i already love V and Is’s dynamic pg 5 -oh V suspects Is’s mage? “It would take far more than a knife” this makes the king seem younger and foolish, which is obviously the intention, i think
  15. Wow I've sort of rambled my heart out so I am apologizing in advance if I don't make sense or give bad advice. as i go: pg 1 “R pulled A into a turn” whoa whoa whoa im diving headfirst into the deep end here. Are they dancing or are they walking out to the dance area? What's going on? -also where are they at?? -who is Mart? I mean… i can assume things but i feel like im on the outside here. Is he a previous crush Ali had? I see the joke you’re going for but i don't actually get it. -I guess R goes into Mart a bit in the next paragraph… but i still dont know who he is. edit: right, he's the Li heir. my brain just skipped over that. -also this feels like a 180 for R’s personality. Does he like Ali more than Isr? -okay so on my second read of page one, i dont mind all the talk about M. i did my first read while i was at work and i was just not fully engaged, hence my confusion. also there's all these dukes and heirs and its hard to latch onto everything. pg 2 -”tell Adr not to go flirting” see here is some gossip that i could get on board with. However, Idk who Adr is so it falls a little flat. Maybe if we saw Al and Adr interact this could work better. Idk who Li is either tho so again, my engagement isnt as high as it could be. Is Li a person or a place? Or both? “Wont want to risk even a drop of K blood” smh pg 3 “You were right, L must have wanted” im a bit confused here. I feel like i missed some interaction with Al and R. edit: okay, i remember this from three chapters ago, but only barely “It wasnt unusual for Za” agh im sorry im still having trouble with all the names. I think its because we’ve had a lot of POVs and im still learning who everyone is, especially all the minor players. “Having ignored D’s warning” but D just glanced at them? How is Al supposed to know what that means?? “Ill be staying for now” im confused >.< he says this like they were already conversing. I mustve missed something. I think its cause i dont get their relationship. I guess Z mustve thought R would go with him? pg 4 “What had he failed to do” i like this. I think you should have more of this sort of thing. It gives me a good sense of their relationship pg 5 “The best way to explain things to someone who” i like this too pg 6 “Next time” no! There is no next time! There is only now! i sense bad things coming. “He had obviously noted R’s glance” i think theres a lot of this that bogs the story down. Im always going to be more interested in the dialogue pg 7 “He took another drink...toward their right...banquet tables” yeah stuff like this can be condensed or cut. The gap between dialogue is too long i think. A lot of times i forget what was even said previously. Edit: upon my second read, it wasnt as bad. pg 8 “Who had said that he and Is werent close” oooh drama pg 9 -super intrigued in all this talk about Is because I know Al and R and Is. pg 10-16 -this talk with the king has interesting parts, but again, it feels bogged down with all the breaths, glances, etc. I like that we learn R didnt know how serious Is’s condition was and that we learn about what kind of leader R wants to be. I expect it won't go as he plans but I like it nonetheless. This whole section can definitely be cut down to make the conversation way more meaningful. Just remember that you don't have to describe every single thing they do, or every time they look away. I can pretty much imagine a lot of that on my own. Overall Good news is, I can definitely tell this POV apart from the others. R has a voice and Im into it. He’s probably the most intriguing character so far, seeing as he seemed like a jerk before but its obviously much deeper than that. I like that Is and others underestimate R when he is actually quite smart. I also like the idea of R trying to show Al the ropes of the court. I think even though I haven’t seen much of R, this chapter already puts him at the top of my list character wise. i love a misunderstood character lol. I’ve been having a rough time getting my thoughts across and thinking critically about things so… bear with me please. I'm gonna try to talk through the story and see where you lost me. This will get a bit rambly but we’re all ramblers here, right? Okay, so. A lot of my frustration with part 1 comes from the fact that I cant really see where this is going. Isr gets poisoned... and then what? I really do think the poisoning is a good hook. It's just the things that come after that make the stakes feel low. (i would like to note tho that the stakes are not low for Al, i recognize that) Anyway, onward. We watch this helpless duke try to save Isr even if he could possibly get blamed for the poisoning. Also good. He’s got a lot to lose. Or does he? What if you explained what he has to lose by helping Isr (if I help her, i could get blamed, then they wont support these roads that ive been building and i could have a whole army at my doorstep. Eff it. I’ll help her anyway) unless you already did say something like that and i just can't remember... i remember the "arrest me later" bit but not much else. Then there's a secret trial for Al with only the king and two others. Good. It was a nice intro to the magic. I want to feel al’s emotions more. I think after this is where you lost me because i cant remember what happens next… Al meets with his old teacher who is suspicious and then goes to a council meeting where I cant remember a thing. Also Isr is awake and she is in bed for like 20 years. ← wasnt meant to sound malicious lol So, the political situation. I feel like there's a lot of info or maybe it's just that it didn't stick with me because it's so early on in the story, but it definitely didn't hook me like it should have. There's a lot of characters that I had trouble keeping track of. Overall It’s just a lot of information to absorb in only a few chapters and it's hard to feel invested. It feels like there's a lot going but at the same time, it doesnt. So idk how to explain that. Okay, i thought about it. I think i get the same feeling about this as I did when i tried to watch fate/zero. the idea was exciting. the first bit was exciting. then, it was just these guys walking and talking, exposition galore. i feel like after Al's meeting with the king, a lot of talking happens but not a lot of action. I.e. the council meeting, Isr in bed, all of Al's scenes, even the dance was just talking. Nothing really happened. I might be wrong in this (i probably am) because I cant remember everything that's happened, but that's how i feel as of now. I know that this story is largely political right now, but it doesn't feel intriguing like it should. I think at least with Al you could get away with all the loads of info by having him be equally confused. R notes that Al doesn't understand how the court works and i think you could realllly lean into that in Al's POVs. He's been in seclusion for a while, right? (i cant remember if you stuck with that) He probably is having trouble remembering everyone's positions and names. That would be relatable. But also he is in a position of leadership so he should know everyone else, right? Idk. If you did stick with Al not being around for a while then suddenly showing up, then I feel like that plot point got abandoned because it isn't really mentioned much. I guess maybe i got the wrong impression with where the story was going back in the first chapter. Wait. I dont even remember why the duke is here in the first place. Was it just for that tournament? Oof. My memory has not been the best these days. So, I went back and skimmed the first chapter and it was good! You've got a solid start there! I forgot how promising the first chapter was. All in all, I'm going to say the politics ruined it for me. They were too confusing at the start. Too much for my small brain to handle right now. A lot of this is also WRS. So there's that. On the brightside, Im still interested in seeing where this goes, despite all the harsh things I've said. I hope i didn't confuse you too much and helped even in the most miniscule way. It's seven am and i've been up since 2pm yesterday