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June 11 2012 – Asmodemon – Maiden of Thorns Chapter 15


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I love the sense of danger, it's very exciting! I like the continuous theme of pain and disarray.

I think it's great that you put

hands around the "hands reaching and clawing, wrapping around Dais’s throat
at the end of the page because it makes me want to read faster and turn to the next page.

I'm thinking about how you've described the scene and I think it's good that you haven't described it in more detail. I feel as disoriented as Dais and the story is working great. I also like the cliffhanger

And then the air exploded.

I like the sentence

...dark of hair but not of complexion
...I’ll save my father, I’ll get him out of this city and back home to mom
Good that you remind the reader about the character's goals.
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Time for some feedbacking! \o/

First things first though. As this is chapter 15 and i have not read the previous chapters I'm making a lot of assumptions when reading this chapter. For instance i am guessing that the sonic explosion powers have already been explained as well as that state of the city and how Dais dad got captured.

Overall I really liked the story. There were a few parts the got me confused which I will talk more about later but the text was well put together and well paced. I could easily picture the alliance guards standing in the alleyway with the two sound guys walking up the street on the other side of the corner. Even if I have no idea how the magic works you describe the effects well enough that it never gets confusing even for someone who jumped in 14 chapters too late ^^

I felt the dialogue was easy to follow and the different characters felt far enough from each other making it easy to keep them apart. That said there where also a few lines that i didn't feel added anything to the conversation or didn't go anywhere so lets start there.

-page 4-

“First smart thing you’ve said all day.”

“I thought it was all week?” The first quipped.

“Alliance mucky-mucks don’t want all these people going south,” the second man

continued. “Can’t blame them though – can you imagine them going on the islands instead?”

Here I felt that the quip didn't add much to the dialogue. There is no reaction to it making it just fall flat. Now it could be that it is meant to show that the second man is more focused on his task and as such ignores the quip. Though I'm assuming that the two men are not recurring characters, in which case that line could simply be removed.

-page 5-

Acer had a faint smile on his face. “There’s fight in this boy left, sergeant, I saw his

defiance even as he lay dying at my feet. I haven’t seen that kind of spirit since coming to this

city – have you? Worth saving, I say. I don’t think he’ll squander this gift. Will you?”

The final "Will you?" of the text above i feel could have been removed to improved the flow as Dais reply could follow after Acers statement.

There is another thing with the quote above that bothers me, though this is purely on a aesthetic level so this is more a personal preference issue than anything else.

-page 5-

Worth saving, I say.

-page 5-

“That wise Acer, sir? You’re not getting any older handing out your life like that,”

said one of the soldiers, a grizzled man, his face set in a perpetual scowl.

Both of the quotes -- the first question of the second quote -- just feels off to me. I know its just that they have omitted a word. First sentence could have used a "that's" at the start and the second an "is". To me this kind of sticks out I'm sorry that I cant get more specific on why it sticks out but it just does. Perhaps it just works better when spoken aloud with the tone and accent of the speaker being heard which isn't really as present in text form -- though i honestly don't know.

There are a few other things I'm not sure about -- though these might simply be things explained earlier but i thought i would being them up anyway. If it's just something explained earlier please ignore them.

-page 1-

Dais wanted to tell them to stay back, opening his mouth to do just that, when another

person fell over him, hands reaching and clawing, wrapping around Dais’s throat

When I first read this I thought it was someone who had jumped down after him but now that i reread it sounds like its one of the crowd that jumps him. I also wonder about who the first person who fell over him was suppose to be. The man he fell on? or someone else?

-page 3-

His body moved slowly, but using both legs and one arm, he crawled

Here I just wonder what happened to his other arm, as i cant seem to find any indication that anything had happened to it.

-page 4-

Dais gaped when the hand left his shoulder. A young man, dark of hair, but not of

complexion, drew back from him with a satisfied look on his face.

Here i am just assuming that the complexion is important to note -- and might even indicate that he is not from the region. Otherwise i think you could get away with shortening that line.

And the next quote shall be my final one, promise ^^

-page 5-

“They’ve both got their Paths wide open, sergeant,” Acer replied. The young man

frowned. “I’ve never seen such a storm, but they’re both walking it.”

You have already stated that Acer is a young man so instead of breaking up the flow it might work to remove the descriptor to speed it up a bit. something like: ... sergeant," Acer replied and continued with a frown "I've..."

Might be a bad example as it lenghtens it a bit though but i hope you get what i mean ^^;

A few more random things of little note:

The Acer did make me stumble at first as it makes me think of computers -- Acer being a brand name, perhaps not the most well known but just thought I would mention it.

For a moment I though it was Acer that saved Dais from his perusers at the end before you make it known who it was. The reason I thought this I think was in part due to jumping in at chapter 15 and also the fact that you mention him just before the Dais get pulled into the building.

I also found a few places that I thought the punctuation was a bit of but I don't know if that type of feedback is something you want as that would be venturing into tiny details. Let me know though and ill make a new post dedicated to that if you want.

Looking forward to chapter 16! ^^

Best Regards

The Sad Dragon

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Page 1

- I'm having a little trouble picturing his fall/jump. How does he land on top of the person if he caught the person with only his right arm? Isn't the crowd pretty dense? Do people see him and move out of the way? If anything, I'd imagine, he might knock the person down, but he'd spin toward his left and away from the person. Small thing.

Page 2

- Description where there shouldn't be any. Example, the dagger's light brown sheath. I doubt he's thinking about the color of his sheath in the middle of this action scene. Also the character that really jumped off the page, description wise, was the guy Dais killed.

Page 3

- Dais sure can't keep a grip on his dagger! I keep expecting him to be stabbed by it, or at least lose it in the crowd somehow.

- There were times throughout that I stumbled because of alliteration or just awkward sentence structure, but rather than listing them I think if you just read it aloud to yourself, you can fix these spots pretty easily.

Page 4

- What is this noise, and if it's so loud as to knock out an entire street of people, how come he can still hear anything at all, much less the conversation? Or is this one of those things that's explained earlier (or later)?

Page 5

- I kept wondering why he was the only one who seemed to be making any effort to survive, and I'm really glad you had Acer notice it, too, and reward him for it.

- Are these subsequent booms further away? I mean, I know they have to be, but nothing in the text outright expresses this.

- Like, SD, I also felt like the missing words in the dialogue were distracting, but it might simply be that I need to read more for the dialect to click.

Page 6

- After he's healed, he just lays there and doesn't say or do anything? I felt there was a missed opportunity here for at least some sort of exchange between them. Or at least a reason why he doesn't do anything once healed. Perhaps the effects don't take place right away? Except that they do... Hm...

Page 7

- So Acer heals him, and then just... lets him run off? I took the "I don’t think he’ll squander this gift. Will you?” to mean that Acer was saying to recruit Dais and therefore use Dais' gift, but perhaps I misread?

- This last action sequence is very well done. I can see it happening perfectly. Why does she keep him from falling only to take him to the ground anyway?

Page 8

- Does the assailant land on his back or his front? Does Rosalin turn him over or does she lean down and open his eye because his face is planted?

I look forward to reading future and past chapters!

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Having had the opportunity to read all fifteen chapters at once, I thought I would give more of an overview, rather than a chapter-by-chapter description. First, let me say that I like the book, the concept, and your writing style very much. I'm eager to read more.

So much for the praise... ;) Now for the critique...

-Chapters 1-7 were very exciting to read, and I wanted to keep reading. Chapters 8-14 started to slow down a lot, the characters didn't do as much, and when there was action, it was overly described. The description was good, but there was so much of it that I started to lose track of where everything was.

-Watch your punctuation on quotes ending a question. Quite a few times, someone's question has ended with ("X," he asked). Some of it might be the style of delivery, but make sure dialogue with questions end with ("X?," he asked).

Serissa is said to look similar to Rosalin's sister, Sericea. I got so confused by this, I had to go back to chapters two and three to figure out who had which name. For any similar characters, make sure the names don't start with the same first letter (unless there's some hidden reason for this, like she is actually Rosalin's sister, in which case, the hint is too obvious).

I think my general problem with the book is the goal, or goals. I love the prologue, which sets up a world with several magical styles, and some good explanations of the world's inhabitants. The next few chapters expand this a lot, with Rosalin, and Rosen, and Dais. Black Rose's awakening had me primed to see her do some real damage now that she's awake. But then the story sort of hits a big hole in the road. Everyone ends up at a city that no one can leave, Rosalin is looking for her home, but has no idea where it is, Dais seems content to hunt birds and run from gangs of thugs, and Black Rose is fighting a battle where it's not very clear who the opponents are. The only place there is movement is the secondary character of Dais' father's caravan, who are, I presume, tunneling under the city walls to get away. That and Rosen, who wants to do something, but is unfortunately trapped in Rosalin's head.

The purpose of the book in the prologue seems to have been to defeat the Shifter Tyrants that were threatening in some manner. Now we find out that there is another army, and people, the Imperials, who have taken over, and the Tyrants have been killed. We're not sure what the Imperials are doing yet, so there's nothing driving the story forward.

The meeting of the story lines in Chapter 11 did not have the resolving payoff I thought it should have. Maybe it was too early or people didn't do enough?

Hemlock: he seems to be thrown in there without a lot of explanation, except that he's one of the vaunted shifters we heard about in the prologue. I know we haven't had another Black Rose chapter, so I'm hoping for more revelation in chapter 16 or 17.

A bit about the later chapters:

Chapter 13: Speaking of running from gangs of thugs, Chapter 13 as a whole seems to be a repeat. More of Dais running from people. Are they connected with Amelanchier? If not, they don't seem to have a purpose except to chase Dais into Chapter 15.

Chapter 14: Rosalin seems determined to find her home, and says so often, but is instead lollygagging with Serissa, who seems an obvious bad influence. Most of this Chapter seemed like a repeat of #13. Main characters engage in brawling with local undesirables. It doesn't add much to the story.

Also, it's hard for me to remember that, with all her fighting abilities, Rosalin still only has the knowledge of a younger child -- what was it, 8 years old? It might be worthwhile to try to work in the occasional reminder for this here and there, as it is kind of easy to lose track of.

I quite agree. I was confused by her adult viewpoint right after she and Rosen got together, but by this point in the story, (even reading straight through), I had forgotten the fact and am wondering why she is so immature.

Chapter 15:

A very rewarding chapter. Finally, we're back to seeing the Paths being used, and the city seems to be falling as an obstacle. This moment didn't come soon enough. I really enjoyed this chapter and it flowed more like the early ones (1-7) did. I'm glad Rosalin is showing some ambition and action by rescuing Dais. I'm ready for them to go off to find their respective lost things.

I have to say I'm still a little unsure on who's fighting who for what reason, though. Is the invading army the one led by Black Rose? I know the characters wouldn't know that, but you could drop some hints for the reader.

From the beginning to Chapter 15, I like your writing style, descriptions, and the world you've built. I also like the magic system. I would take a good look at the middle chapters and try to cut down a little. We're 50 thousand words into this book, and the characters are really just getting started. Assuming the Shifters are defeated, I now have less of an idea of the plot than I did in the beginning!

The characters haven't really even stated their goals yet, and I would assume we're about a quarter of the way through. At this point, the reader should have at least a hint of the direction of the book, if not a set goal. I may be missing it, but I can't tell you what it is.

So all that said, I'm ready for the next chapter!

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I know I said I wanted to get back to Dias' viewpoint, and that his was my favorite of the viewpoints. However, I got to this chapter and read it to discover that the big break left us with... Dias landing in a riot, and the original pursuers not being seen again in the chapter. There are a few hints of them in Dias' reactions (fear they are chasing him), but mostly it just peters out. After reading this chapter, and reflecting on the previous Dias chapter, I agree that they do seem kind of repetitive, and I also wonder if you could minimize the first chapter's chase and put it on the beginning of this chapter, adding 500-800 words to get Dias to the point where he jumped. Alternatively, you might just have him on the ledge, recognize that his pursuers are still back there, and then he jumps.

Of course, that assumes nothing in the previous chase chapter becomes important later on.

Unless I'm forgetting something, I think this is the first time we've really seen magic in the city. Prior to this chapter, I had figured the city was easy pickings, despite them bracing for a siege, due to the magic being brought from the other side. However, that makes me wonder what else the magic could be doing in the city, as well as why the previous chapters didn't at least hint at it. (Of course, I could have just naively missed the hints). I would kind of expect a group that has enough magic users to have one of them helping a random street urchin to have set up some way to use them for more benefits to the people, if only to keep them from dying and making the city into a cesspit of rampant diseases.

Another aspect of this chapter that caught my attention was Dias and his knife. I didn't recall it being present earlier (and I know how these things can slip in during a draft as well). It might also be a side-effect of having a few weeks between each chapter with Dias in it.

I also thought Dias shouldn't be able to hear the conversation after such a concussion. It does add a bit of world building, but I think it could be covered after he is healed.

He was losing strength, that last concussion broke something in him and he felt what strength he had fading.

A couple things about this sentence. I'm sure you've already spotted the repetition, but I got confused about the concussion part, because the previous paragraph talked about his confusion in the after effects of the fall and the blasts. I read it as him having a concussion, not there being another large booming sound, which fit right in on first read. However, it felt like using too modern of a word, and then I realized what you actually meant. Just something to note, really.

Dias' healing seems kind of random. It's good that Acer is immediately called on it and had an explanation, but it would also be nice if he had some sort of plan for Dias, or at least some instructions, rather than just an admonition to use it wisely. I especially like the idea that he might take on another responsibility that makes his efforts to rescue his father more difficult. I also hope we get to see Acer again, though his screen time is short enough I won't be disappointed if we don't.

I recall Dias thinking about his father throughout the book, and how his plan is to rescue his father. I don't recall much thought about his mother. You might want to even that up a little bit, making sure his goals include both of them.

Finally, Dias and Rosalin meet again. Although I can understand why their narrative paths didn't stick together last time, I hope they are spending more time together after this, both from a selfish reader point of view (conforming to my expectations), and because I have a feeling the story needs to pick up the pace a little, and it might be easier to do with two of the three main characters in the same location.

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