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9/11/23 - Ace of Hearts - Everlasting Sunset Sub 6, 5182 words (LV)

Ace of Hearts

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Hi everyone,
I'm back with another submission of Everlasting Sunset. There's more scenes of the kids infodumping about their interests that it sounds like I should shorten based on last sub's feedback, so feel free to skim those if you get to that point with these ones too.
Also, after this chapter we're about halfway through part 1. Thanks to everyone who stuck through an early draft of a high learning curve story with all of its bumps and confusing aspects.
Have a good week! :)
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Yes, you can cut down on the infodumping at the beginning. I noted a few places. I'm still a little confused on the worldbuilding and what's known and not. It seems like they know of some advanced concepts but then are confused by math. They soldiers' weapons types also seem sort of random and some aren't as useful as others. If we're going to see a lot more of their techniques, maybe having a rundown of how the squad works would be good?

Nice ending to the chapter! I'm interested to see where that goes.


Notes while reading:

pg 1: just having leg shields seems...inadequate.

pg 2: Can they not summon something else? or more things? Why does one soldier just have the equivalent of spiky fins?

pg 4: "Simple physics"
--I mean, yes it is. Anyone who walks could figure this out.

pg 7: This section does show some good development for the team, but now I'm wondering at their weapon choice and why they have only those weapons. Have we gotten a reason for that? Some weapons seem far more useful than others.

pg 9: "I'm going to fade away any day now"
--What now? The soldiers just die after a while? Did we know this before?

pg 12: interesting worldbuilding through here, but possibly too much talk of how a regular planet works. The reader knows all this.

pg 14: "mentioning this "math""
--hmmm. I don't believe these people don't have a concept of simple math. Maybe if it's the statistics of die rolls or something, but not just...addition.

pg 15: They know of quantum physics, but not math?

pg 16: "go up these stairs into town"
--I still need a much better picture of where they are in relation to the town.

pg 19: Interesting ending! Looking forward to what's next.

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I just caught onto the naming convention – the soldiers are all crystals or metals.

P3 “A couldn’t give the full answer right now.” Maybe WRS, but I’m curious to know here why not?

P4 “‘Simple physics,’ A lied.” Ah, good. Seeing these little moments of tension is really helpful in terms of reminding me about the mystery of A still having her memories, etc.

 P5 “C monster… heading straight for shore.” This made me realize I have no idea what the area they’re defending looks like. Are they defending the whole island? How big is the space they’re defending? Are there areas they defend and other areas they just let the monsters have? Etc.

P6 “You should be able to take it alone…” I wonder how deadly these monsters really are, since the soldiers apparently barely knew how to work their stuff until A showed up a few days ago.

P7 “Sometimes the best defense…” This is a pretty significant moment since it involves La actively disobeying A, which the soldiers have all been reluctant to do. Maybe a reaction from A?

P8 “And only one is strange.” Interesting. Could we have a reaction when it first approaches instead of several lines later?

“I’m going to fade away any day now.” This is also interesting. I’d assumed they generally die to violence. 

Also wondering about what happens when this does happen. Does it mean A is down to four soldiers or is the soldier immediately replaced?

P10 “I’m going to show it to A.” L is kinda being a jerk. N is being extremely nice about having his boundaries trod on.

P11 This is the first time I realized that the C is blocking the sun. Can we get that kind of detail sooner? Ideally much sooner?

P12 “You have the time.” This feels almost like a dig. Not a problem, as long as that’s what you’re going for.

P14 “A remembered her mother mentioning this ‘math’ to her…” I’m struggling with the way this culture seems to have lost track of very fundamental concepts despite being so technologically advanced. The fact that all of the soldiers can spout this kind of stuff off and have it be a complete surprise to A makes it an even weirder experience.

P17 “I don’t see why not.” Isn’t “I want to do a thing so authorities can’t spy on me” kind of a big deal?

Solid end to the scene with a feeling of creeping tension. Is there a way to build this sense up more in the earlier scenes and chapters?

P18 “You’re trying to get me killed.” Didn’t P specifically tell the other one not to kill her?

Overall: Aside from the end, my thoughts on this submission are very similar to last time around: The “getting to know you” scenes work, but still feel mostly like they’re lacking stakes and connection to the overall narrative. The pursuit of the monster in L’s scene helped, but still doesn’t feel that connected to any of A’s larger goals or concerns.

The “canned” feeling of the soldiers’ areas of interests was even more noticeable here since they all feel so similar… but in a way, it feels deliberate, since it all comes back to the princess putting thoughts in people’s heads. I wonder, assuming she has a specific aim in mind (I’m totally assuming she has specific goals in mind), is there a way to hang a bigger lantern on it and maybe hint at what those goals might be?

I didn’t feel quite prepared for what happened at the end of the chapter. I think part of that is just confusion around P’s stated aims, but he also takes some pretty drastic action, and A has been so competent so far that her losing an encounter to the people she’s been training is a bit hard to swallow. I think if it’s going to end this way we need more preparation and tension throughout. So it becomes surprising yet inevitable, instead of just surprising ;)

Certainly interested to see where things go from here!

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Sorry for the late feedback for this one, but I was very busy. Anyway, here are the thought :) 


My comments on this one will probably be along the same lines as for the recent chapters - quite a chunk of local things happening with the bigger picture held at bay.

There is a lot going on about training, but it feels cut off from the real battling and stakes, even when the monsters come to them. I get a feeling like all that's happening in A's dominion is like in a sealed bubble, and the rest of the world, and the worldbuilding, is behind this barrier.  It also makes the unusual weaponry and methods of fighting quirky but not flowing logically from the world. (I also second the Mandamon that in some ways they look impractical - is there some sort of limit that prevents them from having more armour and weapon? Perhaps, we should know about it then.)

With that being said, I really enjoyed the second part of the chapter when we get into this opposition between soldiers and ministers. Personally for me, it was more interesting than their fighting styles, but that's just me. I loved those sentiments that are scattered throughout the conversation with N and L. When N says he's in his 7th year or how he talks about ministers hating to lose soldiers. Or like on p.12 N suggests that A has time to learn more about the particles.

The ending is striking, I loved it, but I was thinking that maybe it could be made a bit longer. I would probably cut the beginning in favour of giving a more emotional and detailed fight in the end.

More of page by page comments:

p.5: "A. checked their positions relative to the monster’s, and the octopus’ speed. - Wasn't the octopus the monster?

p.10: Like how the description of the psyglass print brings us back to what was in the prologue.

p.12: when they talk about the day and night cycle, I might be misremembering something, but until you highlighted it here, I thought they had some sort of daily cycle and slept etc, so it confused me a bit.

p.14: the explanation about the dice combinations sounded trivial. On the one hand, I understand it is exciting to the characters, but for the reader it is so basic. personally I was like - why are you telling me this, I know that, that's elementary. I think if you want to strike why it's not elementary for them, there should be a bit more? there is this bit about ministers and armies using maths and that piques my interest, like is it connected to reincarnations? But I felt like I needed to know more about the world to understand why they have maths the way they have, or dono;t have it, while having quantum physics.

p.15: loved about the other realities - more intrigue. Also, fan of anything quantum. At the same time, the things that you describe are just like with dice - basic for sf reader. And it did feel like an infodump. So you might want to think of a different way to present this angle in the story.

p.16: "A blinked, then nodded. It was getting harder and harder not to reveal who she had been." This works really well.


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