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20150629 - Fruits of the Gods Ch21 (4260) - Mandamon


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Chapter 21
Kisare and Belili escaped their captivity on the Aricaba plantation, along the way finding that Belili has a lock of magical hair colored brown, enabling her to use the Fruit that grows in their land to do magic.  They meet up with Hbelu, prince of the displaced Asha-Urmana people, and plan to work in his village, building a new life.  However their old master attacks with his guards.  The village fends him off, though he vows to return.  Hbelu, the elders, and Kisare and Belili hold a council, and Hbelu decides they must travel to Karduniash to activate the seeds.  Kisare discovers she has some color in her hair as well.  They start the journey to Karduniash, accompanied by Hbelu, Zikar, and Nidintu, but are soon ambushed a few days out from the village by Aricaba-Ata and Enti-Ilzi.  Belili and Kisare escape, but Hbelu is captured.  The sisters, with the advice of the scout, decide to follow the noble’s trail.  They come across a town, and dye their hair to disguise themselves as Asha-Urmana to search for Hbelu.  In the town they meet up with Gemeti, a mysterious old woman, who decides to come with them and make them into nobles.  They meet with the local Asha-Urmana, who allow the three to travel with them.  Over a few weeks, they learn about being nobles, travel with the Asha-Urmana nearer the capital, and practice their magic.  The three travel close to Karduniash, but are betrayed by a forger, and are forced to split up by the town guard.  Each sister travels a different path to enter the city.  Kisa avoids the guards and reunites with Gemeti, while Belili makes her own way into the palace.  Both of them manage to get rooms in the palace, though Belili’s are more favorable than Kisare’s.  Belili confronts and kills Ilzi, as well as gaining information about Aricaba-Ata, while Kisare is introduced by Gemeti to a high noble sympathetic to her cause.  Kisare learns more about the Dyad from the high noble, while Belili spins a story about her background to gain Marut’s favor.  At the Cherry Festival, Kisare’s eyes are opened to Noble life, and she and Belili both meet the Dyad, as well as have a confrontation with Aricaba-Ata.  The Dyad forbid them to fight, and say the group with the best present for them will  “win.”

Thanks for any comments!

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- Not sure if "forceful" is the right word to describe Beli. She's always been the more extroverted of the sisters. Perhaps "direct" might be a better word for her attitude in that scene.


- I do like that Beli is acting more like a noble, and I'm curious if that leads to conflict down the road.


- I like Kisare's reaction to the young man offering her a Cherry, and how it plays into both her insecurity and her musing about what if things had been different.


- I would have liked to have actually seen more of Kisare's conversation Ligish. We don't get to see her enter into pleasant conversation with people enough - it would be nice to actually see this dialogue.


- It's good to finally see what happened to Hbelu. That's a good way to raise the stakes. As always, I can't wait to see what happens next. 

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I agree with RDP about the conversation with Ligish although, in making it longer, you might consider introducing some note of tension between them. I remember hearing something (perhaps on WE) about 'tension on every page' - you've got that anyway, but otherwise their conversation is possibly a little too easygoing for this stage in the story.


I will disagree with RD somewhat in relation to Hbelu. I'm not sure how much that scene raised the stakes, for me anyway. Perhaps if there was something in the conversation about what was expected to happen to Hbele, like 'Oh yeah, the last Asha-Urmana presented to the Dyad got seeds planted in his ears and buried alive...'

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It only just occurred to me that it's a rather bizarre play on something you mentioned earlier on, with dead people being buried so as to feed the Fruit trees. So, I think it's fair to say that you planted the seed (lol!). No royalties required :)

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As usual, the writing here is solid, the pacing is good and the viewpoint is consistent and distinctive. Again, you'll have to take my feedback with a pinch of salt since I've only read about half a dozen of your chapters, and jumped in somewhere around the middle. 


With that in mind, the main thing that sticks out to me is the gap between the story's drama and how much I expect it, or want it to have at this late stage. It might be that you're not trying to write this kind of book, but for me, if it's a stand alone novel, two chapters from the end, I'd expect the story to be hitting the dramatic revelations and emotional peaks by now. That's not to say it undramatic - I just want more. 


Here's my running thought process:


Pg 1:


While they walked, she tried to get more information. 

Show don't tell would serve well here.


I like the presence of the two moons as the sisters are reuinited. I like the names of the moons as well.


"I think we should split up" Bel suggested, and Kisare felt her eyes widen.

I shared Kisare's reaction here. It feels like a bit of an anticlimax here - I was hoping for something more dramatic, emotional, meaningful when their paths re-converge. 


Pg 2:


 but Kisare remembered him as the one in charge of letting worms eat Fruit trees: the Master of Silkworms. 

Overexplaning here. the Master of Silkworms is enough.


 Drunken nobles chased and fondled each other, shivering in ecstasy as they drank juice and ate Fruit.

Haha. That conjures some amusing imagery. 


Displays of Fruit surrounded it and Kisare grabbed a double handful of Mulberries, stuffing five in her mouth at once and biting down.  

I feel like this is unintentionally funny. I should be sharing in Kisare's emotional state here, not smiling at the image of her stuffing fruit into her mouth. Perhaps I just have a weird sense of humour. 


Pg 3:


"Many nobles do not know the full extent of their abilities until they have lived in the capital, where Fruit is abundant."  Kisare could tell now he was speaking around a mouthful of the berries.

Too much fruit exposition for me. As mentioned previously, by this point the story's learning curve should have levelled off a bit so we can get on with the story. 


"I am Ligish, shadow to that odious man."  

That's a cool idea.


Pg 4:

I find myself skim reading the final paragraphs of Kisare's thread, hoping for something dramatic to happen.


Pg 5:

Experiencing a bit of dejavu with character stalking through the pyramid. Law of diminishing returns might apply here. 


Seems a bit convenient that Aricaba-Ata is in the room she randomly picked. 


Pg 6:


Aricaba-Ata must have kept his secret from prying eyes by shielding him and his men from casual searches. 

Feeling the presence of this exposition. 


When she finds Hbelu my reaction was 'Okay, here we go. Things are about to get dramatic.' ..but the wind fell from the sails shortly after. Nothing really happened. I felt frustrated that she just leaves him there and just sort of accepts it.


The conversation with Ata is sort of interesting but, I don't know, I want something awesome to happen - something dramatic. Maybe it will come in the final two chapters.

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