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07-03-23- Reading Excuses- Cathy Lim- The Slayer's Magic- sub 4- Chapter 4- 2,884 words

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Hello Everyone,


Sorry to be a bit late this week. We have family in town and I thought this would be easier to send out then it was. Feedback from this chapter has been pretty good so far- we’ll see what you all think. Ha ha!



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Overall, I thought this was a good setup chapter for whatever shenanigans comes next. R and Z continue to have great chemistry, and I love that they keep trying to pick up the same boys!

Depending on the result of this, the only caution I have is to make sure it's really deserved, or you risk making Z and R unsympathetic. You can really up the snide remarks and meanness from the magical folks to both R and Z before this point to make us know they deserve it.


Notes While Reading:

pg 2: "earth magic"
--Quick question on inheritance: Did L just pass on fire magic to his two sons? Was that just chance, or is there is a reason both have fire?

pg 4: "take care of the punch"
--oh no...the old "spike the punch" gambit...

pg 6: good try/fail on the entry with the invitations.

pg 7: "but I don’t think I need it tonight.”
--Looks like Z has at least one prospect!

pg 8: "You can find me there most mornings with a pastry and a tea cup.” 
--Nice. I'm wondering what connection I has to the library.

pg 9: "“How is it that we both keep liking the same boys?” she said."

pg 9: "Since I was a little girl"
--was he in a previous chapter, or is this the first time we've seen I?

pg 10: "The laxative"
--Ah. Was wondering what they were putting in there.

pg 11: ok, good setup here. It's a little petty for them to do this, so maybe a little more meanness from the other side first to justify it?

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Hi Cathy!

I really enjoyed Chapter 4. I love Zo's voice, this mixture of caring and daring. I love how he cares about Ryn. The whole chemistry between them is fantastic. Ryn is a bit shy, but I feel this potential of how Zo is going to influence her - and that's working pretty well. The chapter is also a good set-up for more fun - spiking the punch, the laxative and I am guessing there will be a fire show as well. Makes me really look forward to the next chapter. However, I would agree with Mandamon concerning the motivation. Young people have temper and it actually works that they seem to disregard the consequences of their actions, but if they are doing this just for fun it makes them less sympathetic to the reader. So they need to be angered by the Ancestor's side, especially Zo, since he has it better than Ryn because he has magic. Maybe, you could show some slight towards him from the Ancestors.

There are also a few that marred the logic for me a bit.

Page 1 and later on. Invitations. I felt like you could add a bit more at the beginning to make Zo’s plan clearer. Regg is leaving to meet Jett and hurries up Zo, but we don’t yet know Zo has the invitation (and we never learn whether Regg knew it). From the previous chapter, we learnt that Regg got the invitation for the two of them and that Ryn wasn’t invited. So, is it that Zo is leaving his brother behind? But he thinks the following – “In fact, he couldn’t wait to get there, but for his and Ryn’s plan to work they needed to wait till Regg and Jett were already at the party.” Or can Jett bring Regg along? That was never mentioned. I don’t think Regg could get two invitations for just himself. I feel like we are missing one invitation that could allow Ryn in or an explanation how Regg managed to get in.

Page 1: “Ryette was expected any minute, then he could go over and help Ryn get ready. If he left now he would be forced to go straight to the party.” Why would Zo be forced to go straight to the party? Maybe I am missing something, and Ryn and Zo leave next houses. But if Ryette is expected any minute in Zo’s house, she is on her way – can’t he still sneak to Ryn then? Even if he meets Ryette on the way, he could try a detour and circle back to Ryn’s house. Once again, it might be the gaps I have because I haven’t read the first two chapters, but I find it a bit difficult to orient myself around geographically because of that.

Page 2: “Wes will be here tomorrow, I leave in the morning,” she said.<…>

“I want you to come with me,” she said.

“I will gladly go with you.”<…>

“Clayr says Wes has three people with earth magic accompanying him,” Rynette said. “Someone needs to stay to protect the children.”

Lar stepped back and held her shoulders. “My earth magic will erase all traces of you and the kids. I do it twice a day. No one will find them.”

First, I was confused about the magic. I was sure from the previous chapter Lar wields fire magic (“They look down on Dad because he uses his fire magic to make a living instead of hoarding its use like it’s beneath them to be useful." - quote from Ch.3) . But now he can also do earth? (Maybe, you showed/explained it in the first two chapters, or is it that each person can yield 2 types of magic? But that wasn't very clear for me either.).

Secondly, I didn’t quite get whether Lar is going or staying. I felt like I needed more explanation about this trace erasing. Are they leaving the kids behind and hiding their traces? Or is he staying to cover them. But it was said that he will gladly go. The phrase about Clayr having three people with earth magic, unfortunately, didn’t clarify it for me. (Unless there was something about it in first two chapters)

Page 2: Lar and Ryette are leaving without a word to Zo, though Lar promised Regg he would see that Zo is coming to the party.

Page 3: “Ryn pulled open a slit in her skirt, taking his bag and adding it with hers into the pocket tied at her waist.” Before you mentioned Zo had a bag full of tricks. It may be just me, but it created an image of a big bag (not a pouch) for me, so the whole hiding under the skirts felt a bit improbable.

Page 6. I found it a bit strange that the muscled guard didn’t notice his colleague living and didn’t realise it was because of these two. After all, all other people moved to him and Ryn and Zo were still standing and waiting for the thin man. Also, they got in too easily, and I didn’t feel their tension too much. Yes, you mention Ryn being stiff and the joke about the knees, but even as other people move to Mr Biceps, it is all handled very quickly, so I didn’t manage to feel the nerves, even dread as they are left there alone awaiting the thin man to return.

Page 8. All in all, I loved the appearance of Iden on the stage and the whole conversation. The lines about Zo and Ryn loving the same guys were just wonderful! The whole scene felt very vivid to me. The only problem I had was exactly Ryn’s love interest in Iden. Now I could have missed Iden’s mention earlier in the first two chapters, but in Chapter 3 you showed us Ryn’s interest in the apple farmer’s son. And for me, it was a clash, because obviously that is not Iden as Iden’s parents work for the Library. Of course, she is young, her interests may be fleeting, but so close to each other these two mentions made me confused.


Looking forward to the next submission :)


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On 7/4/2023 at 6:05 PM, Mandamon said:

Quick question on inheritance: Did L just pass on fire magic to his two sons? Was that just chance, or is there is a reason both have fire

It works like this- you inherit the patriarchal line from your father. L's father's magic was fire, so L inherited fire from his father and earth from his mother. Z's father's magic is fire, so he inherited fire from his father, but his mother's magic is healing so both him and Re inherited fire and healing. (Same goes for girls and the matriarchal line.) If you're a boy the tendency is for your patriarchal magic to be more dominant, and expected to be the child's focus. Same if you're a girl and the matriarchal line. This makes tracing your ancestry super easy just by knowing what magic someone does. That's why I changed it so R's mother is hiding her magic- because she would be super traceable just by the nature of her magics. 

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Very late but excited to get into the chapter! :)

Overall: I’m engaged with the main plot thread of spiking the punch, which is a good sign since I know I’ve been pretty hard on this story when its direction isn’t clear to me. It also does a good job of bringing R and Z together. That being said, there’s a lot here that doesn’t add to the spiking the punch quest (if it’s important info I think it can wait until we know how it fits into the larger plot). Additionally, while I know this is Z’s plan it doesn’t feel like R is really doing much here. Maybe if the chapter goes further into what happens after the punch is spiked we can see her misdirection at work.

As I go:

Pg 1-2. One of the things I keep running into with this story is that it reads as closer to chill slice of life but there are enough moving parts that it doesn’t feel like a light read. I think a lot of what the side characters are doing can be streamlined and simplified a bit, even if it requires a bit more exposition.

Pg 3. To me this feels like the real start of the chapter, and I’m feeling the stakes more than in previous chapters which is good.

Pg 7-8. R’s reaction to I is keeping my interest, but the dialogue here feels a bit expository. How does this connect to the main plot?

Pg 9. I’m conflicted about this bit because I do find these character threads engaging (surprise surprise that the romance writer likes people talking about their romantic feelings) but they feel like an unnecessary distraction from the main plot thread here.

Pg 10. I was wondering if it was a laxative they were going to add lol (maybe this was mentioned before and I missed it).

Pg 11. Even though their mission is accomplished I don’t actually think this is a good stopping point for the chapter since the real conflict (whether or not they’ll get caught) hasn’t been advanced. I’m assuming this ends up going poorly for them and I think we need to see some of how the situation resolves for this to feel more complete.

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