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3/18/24 - Ace of Hearts - Everlasting Sunset sub 19, VLG (5617 words)

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Hi everyone,
Thanks for all the feedback on the last submission! I think I'll keep most of the broad strokes events the same, but adjust the buildup and work on streamlining the pre-battle dialogue scenes.
I have a feeling that this one is going to also come across as a bit slow with dialogue that isn't immediately plot-relevant, so please do feel free to skim these sections once you get a gist of what they're talking about (especially since I'm over word count). I debated going in and making some more edits since I already suspect this will be an issue but honestly the amount of overhaul I'm planning for part 2 makes me think that it would be more helpful to get all the feedback first and then rewrite part 2 on a structural level.
Thanks as always! :)
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Overall, I thought the first chapter here was actually a lot better on the dialogue and slow bits than the other chapters so far. It felt a lot more real, I think because the characters were reacting to events, rather that going out to do their one symbolic thing. We get a lot more about the interactions between the characters, which builds them up a lot better.

The second chapter was pretty good too, with some forward movement. Interesting to see where this is going. I still think we need more with this M side plot to really get a handle on what's going on, though. I'd also love to see more on the A/A and Z/X conflict. It's a really good storyline, but we've only brushed the surface of what it means.


Notes while reading:

Pg 1: Might need a reminder of what happened in the last chapter.

pg 1: "They were an assassin
--oh, ok. I hadn't gathered that.

Pg 3: good reaction scene from the soldiers

pg 9: pretty easy reading through here. I think these kind of character interactions are a lot more character-forming than the sort of forced "everyone buy a token" scenes. More of this up front will help.

pg 9: "a couple days later"
--Is there any repercussions from H? Are they in danger for those days?

pg 10: "So if H shows up"
--yeah, this is what I'm talking about. Is anything else happening with him escaping?

pg 12: overall, pretty good chapter.

Pg 14: not following all the intrigue completely. Probably partly from reading week to week, but I also think the part with M and the D are not as clear.

pg 15: a lot of late-coming stuff with B here. I think bulking this up with some hints at the beginning will help.
--Ah, but that might be a ruse, I see...

pg 16: "bubble in the C ocean"
--okay, now I'm forgetting why they're going here or how they know it's here.
--Ah, so this was the place the deserters were staying?

pg 20: I feel like the mirroring with A/A and Z/X needs to be brought out some more all the way through the book. It feels like a fairly big sub-arc, and it's only touched on a few times.

pg 21: Interesting! I still think we need a lot more fleshing out with the side characters earlier in the book, though.


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“…for letting him die in my place.” Curious as to whether the soldiers feel this way.

P2 “…and she summoned her exoskeleton.” Not sure why she does this? The last chapter indicates she was hiding that she could do this, and then she doesn’t do anything with it after she summons it.

P4, on L going back to J – It’s apparently easier to move between these two places than I would have expected given how infrequently it normally happens.

P5 I was expecting there to be a scene between A and Xan here, not for A to just walk away.

“…and that he had lived for a decade less.” Wait, are soldiers cloned into being at a certain age? Did we know this already?

I do like the endcap for the scene though.

P7 “Assessing S’s wounds” sounds more like a medical examination than a coroner’s report.

That being said, I’m not convinced we learn much from this assessment? There’s the comment about it being a “distinct weapon,” but since the Ixes can have any weapon I don’t see how this proves anything?

P8 “Why did you do any of that?” Unsure who L is directing this remark to, or who is responding.

Since it’s apparently fairly easy to travel back and forth between the cities (see: L getting picked up because she wants to leave), why not just transport S’s body home for whatever appropriate funerary rites there? Or, if the point is that J doesn’t have these rites for soldiers, maybe worth calling out explicitly.

P10: these guards actively attacked people and can only be placed under house arrest? Regardless of whether or not they were conspirators, if they participated in the attack, this seems odd.

There are submarines?!

“M is at the hideout Z was using…” Aren’t these completely different nations? We had to go through tunnels to get here.

The narrative seems to have jumped very quickly to the conclusion that M is the one we’re looking for. That A is also unsure helps me suspend my disbelief a bit, but A’s also just going along with it.

Overall: Pretty much echoing @Mandamon's thoughts here—I agree that this (and actually, the last chapter to some extent, I thought) were some of the strongest/most natural character moments so far.

I’m also not totally following the intrigue with M and the deserters. It seems like we’re spending a lot of time chasing them without fully understanding what the shape of the intrigue is or why it’s happening.

I do however like the forward motion we’re getting. I’m looking forward to reading more!

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