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Robinski

Robinski - 190806 - TCC Chapter 05 - 4273 words (L)

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Hey all,
 
Chapter 5. Tagged accordingly.
 
Chapter Recap:
 
01 - In small town in British Columbia, Q and M close out the Not-All-That-Curious Case of the Stolen Art;
02 - Q and M decide on what to do next, all the options seem to have some issue or other. Q's ex-father calls;
03 - After some political machinations, we meet EM (the administrator) and TT (the scientist) who at Gen Ex in Yellowknife, NWT;
04 - T is coerced by M into releasing the MTs. They are meant to kill her, but it does not go to plan for M. Now he has a problem
 
Any an all comment greatly appreciated. I'm really sorry I haven't responded to last week's and I am so far behind on critiquing too. Bah, sorry!
 
Cheers, Robinski
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Got a bunch done on the plane, and now's the first chance I got to comment with an internet connection!

Another good chapter. I think there's some more action in it this time around. Things have been a little slow with Q&M wandering around Canada--there was more action on the E/T/M side. But this chapter starts to get things going. I also like that there's more background about both Q & M. Nice to see them developing in character.


Notes while reading:
pg 3: "technique approaching tenderness—most unsettling"
--I mean, they are designed to serve people. Why would an android not be able to massage and help relax people?

pg 3: "had made him look shifty during his questioning by C’s sheriff the next morning,"
--wait, what? What is he being questioned for? And how does he know it made him look shifty if it's not happening until the next morning?

pg 4: "R arrived today"
--I think this is where the jump in timelines gets confusing. R is the security guard M found in the last chapter, right? Except he's already contacted Q&M in the chapter before that.

pg 4: “I don’t know how you’re not taller"
--was this talk about her parents taken from the last chapter or am I having flashbacks to the first time I read this?

pg 6: "It sounded like a really good dinner"
--lol

pg 7: "he had his own missing person, two in fact."
--There's more development of Q's life in this chapter than I remember. Good.

pg 8: "a man called M took the boy away"
--Oho! I know that part's new. Very nice twist.

pg 9: "Creston ideal" -> "Creston was ideal"

pg 9: "It served the North American Federation right for dispensing with driving licenses."
--nice worldbuilding touch.

pg 10: a bit of a drag in tension on all the driving descriptions.

pg 12: "It’ll keep schedule, right?”
--what will keep schedule?

pg 14: “She’s feisty; I like her,”
--lol (Also good on more background for M, above)


 

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Overall

I remain confused over the whole Old Man thing, and the connection to Mort. Is that from book one? I think I have heavy WRS right now. I do miss Q's bi-ness, so I don't know if that's something you removed or it just didn't make it in this pass. Some thoughts on it are below. 

I liked the general premise of this chapter, but it felt a little wobbly, like the chapter was escaping from its jell-o mold in places. I think it needs some tightening and a few logic checks, but otherwise it progressed the narrative nicely and I did enjoy it. M, as always remains a delight.

 

As I go

- pg 4: do we know who Old Man is??? I thought it was Q's dad but... the antagonist mentions him too so now I think I've missed something entirely

- pg 8: Q wondered if M was a friend or sweetheart; wife or daughter. Is Q still bi? Because if so, I don't think he'd hetero default like this

- pg 13: I think something is missing in the scene where they get to the airport and get into the woman's truck. I feel like it happened too quickly, like there was a logic jump I missed, but I can't quite put my finger on it. How did they know their client was in that plane? I think that's what I need to know, and maybe feel a bit more emotion about it too, from Q

- pg 14: If Q is still bi, then I think we should get a smidge more detail on the 'strapping sheriff' since we did get he was 'strapping.' A bit of his clothing, perhaps, to balance with our car driving lady

- pg 17: so The Old Man is the ex-father-in-law, but is The Old Man referred to by M the same then? Yes?

 

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Over all: A little slow to get started, but the action was good. I'm seriously confused about what and who I'm supposed to already know. Was something cut? 

 

As I go:

I am having some serious WRS with the beginning of this sub. I have forgotten what's going on and why Q is sore, and it felt like I was missing a bit of ... something for about two pages. Did this get cut a lot? It felt choppy, but that might be the fact that I can't remember what this chapter connects back to.  Why is he being questioned by police again? Did I just forget I read like half a chapter? 

I like the dialogue around breakfast, but I still feel like I'm missing something. ... Something like... argh.. something to connect this chapter back to the rest? I don't know. I feel like I've opened a book to the middle and don't know the context of what I'm reading. This section also makes me think Q is being a little coy with the readers, almost, for the way he dodges around without answering very much. I know he's being uncomfortable with M's line of questions, but I almost feel like the lack-of-information is directed at me. I don't know.. Maybe the evasion is running a little long? Or maybe i'm still trying to re-remember where this-all fits in with the rest. 

And then it goes into 3 pages of pretty straightforward travel recitation. I don't mind some, and the bucolic quality does make M's lines near the end pop really well... but 3 pages feels like a lot, especially with the rest of this chapter in the mix before it. We're down on page 11 before the action of the chapter even starts to get going. it's good action, and I want to get to it sooner! 

The truck ride is great. I'm a little unclear why they switched vehicles, but the ride itself is just a hoot.

K... the K cop... Am I supposed to know him? The story is acting like I've seen him before and I think this is the first mention.... Oh! Was there a section last time with them being questioned and it's not in here at all anymore I don't think? Okay, I think what I'm picking up on then is artifacts linking back to that part that's not there anymore. Maybe? This section is acting like we already knew and met K-cop prior to this, and there are bits and pieces referencing things that I can't recall at all  in this version (Q self-diagnosing the muscle soreness, mentioning the questioning), so that would totally explain my lost and disconnected feeling if there's a section that got the axe but wasn't scrubbed out of this current part. 

 

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I'm having a hard time finding the right words to say what I want about this chapter, so bear with me. I'll try to make sense. 

I almost feel like I am reading two completely different books. I know that the stuff from the other POVs will be related to Q's case in some way, but right now, all I have to go by is my trust in you as a writer and a few snippets here and there describing the election / campaigning. Both before and after those chapters, when you described the election stuff, I felt like you were throwing a spot light on it. Before the POV switch, I felt like you were saying "reader, you must pay attention to this, it is important and you will learn why, but I'm not going to tell you yet." After, it was "Reader, do you get it now?" And both times, something about it felt forced, though I'm not sure there is a way to make it not feel forced. And right now, as far as I can see, this is the only thread connecting the two, the only obvious hint, other than the fact that these chapters are happening in the same book, that these stories will cross paths at all. 

I love your writing, so I trust you to make the connection happen in a meaningful way as the book goes on, but if I had never read your work before, I'm not 100% sure if I would want to keep reading or not because the narratives feel so jarringly different and disconnected. However, since this is a 2nd book in a series, I'd guess anyone reading it would be invested enough in the characters and/or trusting enough in you as a writer to keep reading. 

Maybe part of my problem is that I came in expecting Q & M to be the main characters, but so far, the other POV characters have had all the action and high stakes. We opened with Q & M wrapping up a case, then they had lots of quiet time to pick a new one and talk to each other and eat food that really made me hungry. It's not until the end of this chapter that things that to get moving for them. 

 

On 8/7/2019 at 7:34 PM, kais said:

I remain confused over the whole Old Man thing, and the connection to Mort. Is that from book one?

I am also a little confused about this. I haven't read book 1, and I feel like I am supposed to know certain things but I don't know what they are.

On 8/8/2019 at 6:17 PM, industrialistDragon said:

I feel like I've opened a book to the middle and don't know the context of what I'm reading.

I had this feeling too. Part of it, at least for me, was because so little happened with Q & M before a whole lot happened to other people, but that isn't all of it. 

 

As I read:

Page 4

You are making me want breakfast.

"R arrived today, and Q knew..." I completely forgot who R was. However, this might not have happened if I read the whole book over the course of a day or two.

Page 9:

"Creston ideal for practising with real drivers, being remote enough that most people still had U-drive cars." Something about this sentence is confusing me.

On the end of 9 going to 10, I feel like the narrative is throwing a big light on the election, begging me to understand that everything I just read from the other POVs will be connected to Q, even though I have absolutely no clue how. 

Page 11

Because of all the description of election related things, when I saw the flashing lights, I thought for sure Q and M were driving into the scene we had just left from the other POVs. 

Confession: I may have skimmed the time/date stamp at the begining of each chapter. Maybe that would have been enough to tell me whether or not they actually could be driving into that scene.

I was almost disappointment and felt a little mislead when they didn't. 

Page 17

"He’s called the Old Man because he is one hundred and sixty-three years old. He was born in nineteen thirty-six. He’s a truly despicable human being." I liked how this not only gave me a sense of how old the character was, but also really grounded the setting for me. 

Aside from that disconnected feeling, I did enjoy the chapters. I love M, and thought their agreement to swap information about each other was fantastic! 

I'm looking forward to reading more and seeing how it all comes together. 

 

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I'm sorry it took my so long to get to this!

This is the first chapter where Q and M really felt like independent people. I liked that we got to see their differences more and I'm really starting to like M. She reminds me of Lift from Edgedancer and I get a little smile every time she does something M-esque. 

I also like that the chapter has actual forward motion. I finally feel like I'm in the story and the story is moving. The problem with that is that it's only starting to happen on page 80, and this sense of progression keeps getting interrupted. 

Which brings me to my biggest issue with the chapter and the novel so far. I feel like the world building is getting its own way, which is strange because we are still talking about Earth and not one too far removed from present day. When I read a Dresden book I feel For instance, there's a bunch of tech being described and most of it is pretty easy to wrap your head around if you've read any sort of SF in the past, but it's at the point where as soon as I get to the description of the tech my eye immediately starts skimming. The tech will either do what the plot needs it to do or it won't be mentioned again. And therein lies my issue. I feel like I'm getting a lot of information that isn't directly pertinent to the book I'm reading. In 80 pages I feel like I've really only gotten 5-10 pages of truly important information and most of that is muddied or muddled.

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