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The Deserter - Chapter 2, Part 1 (OUTDATED)

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Mon Apr 04, 2011 5:06 pm
ultraviolet says...


EDIT: I switched around chapter orders, so if this is different than you remember, that's because it is. Also, Canislupis's review was for how it was, so you can ignore that.

A/N: I have to finish editing the first chapter, but anything that didn't make sense in there should be explained in the summary, at least enough to understand this chapter as it goes with it. If you still have questions, though, ask away.

Summary: Adah Edric, a banished princess, is working at a girls' academy when her brother Nicholas, the new king, finds her and requests she come back to work as his military adviser. When she says no, he threatens the career of her friend, Gavin.

Chapter 2

In the morning, I return everything the school borrowed me to the dresser in my room, then pull on the only clothes I came with - brown pants, a plain long sleeve shirt, a plaid vest, and soft boots. I haven’t grown much in the two years I’ve been here, so they’re only a little snug. As a final touch, I fasten on a string necklace that has an underdeveloped pinecone for a pendant. Gavin gave it to me.
I pack my few other things in a beige carpetbag no bigger than a large purse. It has more room than I need.
I travel down the back stairs, careful for no one to see me. I don’t need any hard goodbyes, anyone telling me to stay, and certainly not anyone questioning why I’m leaving. The answer’s too close to why I came. They can assume I’m an Adair - someone forced to work the streets due to poverty. Those leave without warning all the time. No one knows where they go.
Outside, I skip through maintenance paths to the main building. It’s stopped raining, but everything’s still saturated with moisture. With high canopied trees and sprawling undergrowth crossing over the cobblestone paths, that’s not surprising. It can sometimes take the greater part of the day for the dew to evaporate.
At the door to the main building, I pause. Do I really want to do this? No. But I have to. If I don’t, he won’t allow Gavin into the military. And I can’t let that happen. I owe it to him to come back. And, despite my reluctance to admit it, there’s a part of me that’s excited for coming back. Not just to see Gavin again or be his training partner - though that’s a miracle in and of itself - but because I miss the cool weather and the dry woods. I miss my bow and arrows. I miss home. I just don’t miss the people.
Taking a deep breath, I push through the door. The main building is like the cafeteria in that it’s large - much larger than it appears from the outside - and also in its frequent use. Students congregate here regularly for lectures, announcements, dances, tutoring sessions, and a number of clubs that meet weekly. None of which I’ve had any part in. Right now, it’s empty save for a man standing by the entrance whose brown hair has tastefully bleached tips that no other dignified person could pull off.
The man sees me then departs, and I follow him. The air out by the drive is muggy, as though the fat drops of rain hang suspended and I’m plowing through them with each step. Passing palm trees, we both climb in a small black limousine, where the air conditioning becomes our savior.
Speaking for the first time, the man, who sits facing me, says, “We’ve never met. My name is Vanadis,” and daringly holds out his hand.
Not hesitating, I take it. “Adah Edric.”
You can tell he’s impressed with my disregard of snobbish royal customs - that is, shaking a commoners hand. I’m impressed he gave me the option.
And though yes, we’ve never met, never spoken to each other, I know him - know of him. He was my brother’s escort - meaning little more than babysitter. But he had a reputation of being too bold and behaving as others dared not. And while my parents adored him, I was never allowed near him for fear I’d learn bad habits. Apparently now I’m mature enough to handle his influence.
The rest of the short one mile ride to the port, neither of us says anything, but I can feel his eyes on me, though I look away, out the window. Not necessarily out of embarrassment, but because I somehow feel he has the right to look me over.
When we arrive at the port, Vanadis ushers me through the sweating men and fishing equipment to the next to last dock. It’s also the largest. The ship stationed there is massive and sleek, and it makes the other boats look like battered canoes. The Amhainian royal crest is printed along its side - a vulture and a flag. The inside’s no less lavish - richly carpeted and wallpapered corridors lead to countless rooms that no doubt hold their own splendor. I walk past them all as Vanadis leads me to a hatch in the back of the ship. Through there is a room I hesitate to enter.
Inside, a team of beauticians descend on me, stripping me, soaking me, shaving me. I know the drill. I allow them to ravage my body - perfecting it - as I remain docile, unattached to the process. After all, a returning princess must look as flawless as she did when she left.
Once my skin is smooth, my hair silky, and my nails uniform, I expect them to leave me to myself. But instead, makeup cases come out, hair irons and pins, body paint. All the things I detest and shouldn’t have to put up with.
“Stop.” They ignore me. “Stop,” I say. They’re so absorbed in their work, it takes three more times before they hear me, and even then they continue. I stand up and back away from their brushes and glosses. “I told you to stop. I don’t want you to do this.”
“We have to, miss,” says a woman wielding a mascara wand. “We were given specific instructions.”
“By who?” I’m not a doll they can just dress up. They did their job. They made me clean. Now they can leave.
“Vanadis, miss.” She visibly retracts, and I flinch. It’s not her fault.
I look around. He must have slipped away while I was in my bath.
“Where is he?”
She looks a little heartened at my lighter tone. “Taking care of official business, miss.”
“Can someone get him?”
I’m a little surprised when she pushes a button on the wall and he appears almost immediately. I forgot what it’s like to have everyone so eager to please.
Catching his eyes, I say, “Why am I being made up?” With him, I don’t hold back any venom - he seems the kind that can take it.
“What, the pampered princess doesn’t want a makeover?”
I narrow my eyes, raise my eyebrows.
“Well, do you really want to look like that at your feast?” He seems to be refraining from calling me nasty things. “Which reminds me, here’s your dress, fresh from the tailors.” I notice for the first time that he’s holding a white garment bag.
“Wait, what feast?”
“Your feast. Didn’t they tell you?” His voice is still condescending, but less so? More pitying, perhaps. I hate pity.
“Why are they throwing me a feast?” I already know, though. And it makes blood rush to my face.
He chooses his words carefully. “To celebrate your returning.”
“You mean to broadcast the fact that I was sent away in the first place.”
“Look,” Vanadis says, suddenly stern. “If it were up to me, we wouldn’t be doing this. It’s going to be hard enough to build you a decent reputation as it is.” He leans close so that only I can hear him. “But your brother ordered this personally. You’re just coming back. Even under normal circumstances, your brother is not one to cross, you should know as well as I.” He steps back and speaks normally again. “Now, are you ready to sit down and be beautified?”
Scowling, I return to my seat. As they primp me, I can’t help but know he’s right. This isn’t the time or place to anger Nick. And the fact that Vanadis realizes his intent, it speaks more about him than any rumor I’ve heard.
When the beauticians decide I am at my optimum exquisiteness, I step into the dress Vanadis brought - a sleeveless gown, light green, decked in lace and embroidery - which shows the feast was obviously not a spur of a moment type of thing. It was planned all along. Peach heels lend me three inches in height.
Vanadis circles me, lips pursed. The beauticians may be responsible for my appearance, but as my escort it’s he who has the final say in anything that is done to me. Wordlessly, he pulls the fabric tighter over my chest.
“A little loose - we had expected you to develop more in this area - but it can be easily altered.” With a snap of his fingers, I am hastily forced to shed the dress, and one of the manicurists transfers it to the tailor.
Now naked, I am given a robe and told to stand quietly while my accessories are given a final approval. Just as the last clip is discarded, the boat slows, swaying from the low speeds. Soon, it stops altogether and I am guided outside to an awaiting train car.
I ride in that for a few hours, growing tenser as the scenery rockets by, the familiar landscape that I‘ve longed for. The rolling hills. The thick forests. The wide farmland. The sky, unadulterated from rain clouds and leafy trees and thick mists. Just clear, crisp nature. Everything I was forced to leave behind.
I never wanted to go. Maybe if I had known the consequences, I would have kept my mouth shut. But I didn’t - I never imagined them. Never knew how far my father was willing to go to set an example.
Vanadis comes in and we go to another car, where the beauticians are waiting along with my dress, which now unsurprisingly fits my body. Finishing touches are applied and I’m fed pieces of fruit and nuts, one at a time, so as not to mess up my lip gloss, which is reapplied after I take a drink of water. It’s not much, but enough to hold me over until the feast - where, of course, I’ll be too busy making a speech and dancing with revolting men to eat much of anything.
For the rest of the ride, I just stand around, nerves magnifying with each jostle of the tracks. We should be home soon.
Home. I close my eyes and try to imagine it. The only thing that comes to mind is Gavin in the woods, hunting. I wonder if he’s changed at all. He must’ve. Gotten older, stronger, smarter. All of the things we were supposed to do together, back before I spoke up.
As the train decelerates, Vanadis returns to my car, carrying a small box in one hand and some sort of white wire in the other. He drops the wire in my hand, and I see it’s attached to an ear bud.
“Put that in,” he says. “I’m going to read you your speech as you give it, and make sure you don‘t make a fool of yourself. There’s a tiny microphone attached, if you need anything.”
The thoughtfulness of it is so touching.
“Thanks,” I say, partly sarcastic, and slide the bud in my ear, concealing the wire behind my ironed-in curls.
“And this is from me,” he says, passing the box to me.
I wait for an explanation, but he gives none, so I open it. Inside is a shiny piece of plastic paper and a small bottle of solvent. You put the plastic on your skin, dump the solvent on it, and black ink on the other side falls from the plastic and absorbs into your skin - it gives you a tattoo. Vanadis has a lot of nerve giving that to me. If I was found having it, I’d be put in solitary punishment for a week, maybe longer. I don’t want to know what they’d do to him.
I pick up the smooth plastic and rub it with my fingers, then turn it over to a side with writing on it.
Don’t make them suffer like that.
It takes a moment for the words to set in, and then tears threaten my eyes, but I blink them back - I don’t cry in front of people. I also don’t want the beauticians back to correct whatever damage it might do.
I read it out loud - a whisper, really - and Vanadis says, “Do you remember what that’s from?”
How could I forget? I think. I want to say it. But I can’t. All I can do is nod, and we both understand.
I return the paper to the box and set it on my seat. Vanadis picks it up and says, “I’ll make sure it’s brought to your room.”
That snaps me back into reality. The train’s stopped, and it’s time for us to leave. I breathe deeply to compose myself before I disembark.

Any critiques are welcome, but, like with the last chapter, reviews on pacing, character development, dialogue, readability, and how the emotions are conveyed (which I don't think is very well, but you be the judge of that) are conveyed, are preferred. Also, I'd like to know: what does the MC seem like to you? Because I'm not sure I'm writing her well enough.
Last edited by ultraviolet on Mon Jun 20, 2011 6:59 pm, edited 5 times in total.
"Blah blah blah. You feel trapped in your life. Here is what I am hearing: happiness isn't worth any inconvenience."


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Mon Apr 04, 2011 5:59 pm
canislupis says...

Hi ultraviolet!

I looove reviewing things first. It makes me feel fast... and more important. Anyway, I still like your story. I think I'll go over what you wanted to know about first:

Pacing: This was a little too long, I think. More on that later, though.

Character development: Good news and bad news. The good is that you have an excellent chance for development here--we get a little window to see how she was before she became all bitter and cold. The problem I had was that you aren't capitalizing on it enough. You wrote it as if she was her older self, looking back on her younger stuff (the "I guess the sense of fear most people had" thing, etc.). While doing this deprives you of the ability to show us how she ]really was without the older one's jadedness, we should at least have gotten more of an idea about her character. Is she contemptuous of her own prior innocence, or more nostalgic, or sarcastic, even? I'd definitely give us more of a sense here.

The second option (which I would lean towards) would be to write it as the younger self. Make it immediate, and get us really inside her head. Right now I feel like I'm also an observer. But if I felt like I was with her when she was a child, I think I'd be more connected. Have more simpathy for her. Especially when she's older--if we're connected to her as a child, it makes it easier for you to keep her uncommunitative and still have us empathize with her, since we'll be able to see further past the facade she puts on it public. At the moment, what I really got from reading was that she was a very imaginative and slightly bored child--always looking for mysteries, and excited by things that are new. Which was good, but I'd like to see you both expand on it and stop pushing it down our throats. This is going to sound odd, specially in light of what I just said, but I thought that part was too forced, and too obvious. She needs to have a bit more depth, I think--make her character a little more complex. I hope that makes sense; I can never tell.

Dialogue: I thought it was fine! Better than mine sometimes is, actually. >.> There were a few awkward bits, but they were mostly in the tags--either they were too complicated, or I had a hard time picturing them. All in all, nothing not easily fixed in a grammar run-through.

Readability: Excellent, generally. There were a couple of places that I stumbled, when the descriptions were awkward. Again, nothing too bad.

Flashback: Here's where my main comment is. I'm not sure the point of this, too be honest. Are there going to be a series of flashbacks? Is the escape stair going to be important later? If not, why is this here?

IMO, flashbacks work best when used one of two ways--either by using small flashes as the character actually remembers them, or by using it as a second story, maybe alternating chapters. It seems like you've gone for the second method, but I'm not sure it's working. For one thing, you have to have enough plot in her history which makes it interesting, and have relevance to the actual plot line as it happens, but not so much that we have to know what happened in order to know what's happening.

For example, here, all that really happens is that she meets Gavin and they find a staircase. Which isn't very much, especially for how long it is. The big problem with flashbacks is that they really jarr you out of the story--it has to be worth it, otherwise we'll just start getting attached to each plot line, then jolted back again, and get whiplash. As soon as I'm liking reading about the old princess, I have to hear about the young one again, and vice versa. So I really think either shortening it extensively or making it a bigger part of the story would be in order.

As for the suspense, one idea I had would be to wait until she returns to the castle or wherver--a few short paragraphs maybe, and then have the sight of it spark her memory. Right now, the reason it kills the build-up is because it's basically an info-drop. Before, we had no idea who she was. No idea where she was returning to. And I think, at least for me, that just telling us is a bad idea--In fact, I was disappointed that it was in the summary, since I felt like it was a spoiler. :D Build up to it slowly--with her return and how the others treat her, let us figure it out.

IMO once again, I would keep us with the original storyline, and show us the flashbacks in short bursts, worked into the plot. For example, when she actually sees the castle, maybe have her remember the ladder? Or when she sees Gavin, think about how he changes?

Actually, I think this about sums up everything I had to say. You're good at picking things to ask about. :D

Oh, one more thing about the last part! In the summary, you say she goes back because Gavin's career is threatened. But I didn't really get the sense of that, and I think that's why so many people commented on it--this Nick seems very manipulative, so maybe add a bit more on his part? Perhaps he could goad her a little bit more about being responsible for his carreer, etc. so that we have a better idea of her motivation. Also this suggests that she cares about him an awful lot, which makes me wonder at her character a little more--is she really just so loyal/have a strict sense of morals that she'd do that? Is there some sort of romance involved? What else would she do for him?

Last thing: I know it's really early, but I'm not seeing any conflict; in the next few chapters I'll really want to see something tense happening. :D

Ok! Hope this helps, and good luck once again! I loved reading this, and definitely am looking forward to the next bit.

See you!


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Mon Apr 04, 2011 11:07 pm
ultraviolet says...

I switched the chapter order, so this is no longer the flashback. Canis, if you have time would you maybe review this part? If not, that's totally fine. Thanks for the other review. :)
"Blah blah blah. You feel trapped in your life. Here is what I am hearing: happiness isn't worth any inconvenience."


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Tue Apr 05, 2011 9:38 pm
canislupis says...

Hello again! This may be a little short; hope that's ok.

Now, I was pleasantly surprised reading this; with the first chapter, I was expecting something futuristic/almost fantasy. Then with the flashback it seemed almost like historical fiction, and now I'm definitely getting a Hunger Games vibe. Anyway, I like this. The writing feels a little rougher to me, but not too bad, and I have a better feel for the character now. I also definitely like the idea of switching them around--it lets you keep the suspense a little longer, get a better idea for what's happening before hand.

Actually, I want to talk a bit about the Hunger Games thing first. I liked those books, and I think your idea is good and unique enough that using a style like Collins' will work very well for you. But the reason those books worked so well (at least for me) is how readable they are--literally, I could not put them down. It wasn't that the writing was stunning or that the character was so immediately intriguing. Rather, I think it was because she had huge, simple conflicts right from the beginning. Her characters, instead of being whiny, tried to solve things, and she managed to portray horrible situations in a way that seemed almost normal. Then there was the romance--just enough to be interesting without an overdose or gushy/cheesiness.

Only some of that applies to the story so far, but it's definitely something to keep in mind; so far, the only conflicts are about her return and how that's awkward/she doesn't like her brother. In fact, in some places it started to drag a little. What kept it interesting were the little snippets of mystery--the tattoo thing, the hint of some kind of betrayal. Which is why I want you to capitalize on them a lot more. More conflict or at least the threat of conflict, basically.

For example, how is she feeling overall? You mentioned this, I know. Her emotions are being conveyed accurately, IMO. That's not the problem--the problem is that we're only seeing her reactions: first she's undecided, sometimes nervous, sometimes angry at being made-up, etc. I'm not saying that reactions aren't one of the best ways of developing characters; but there isn't really anything unique about what she's feeling--it's the fleeting emotions, but not her. In other words, we're seeing the ripples on the pond, but not the current of who she is. (I'm feeling poetic. XD) What she's feeling will definitely change how she reacts, and I'd like to see a little more of this.

As for how well her personality is conveyed: I think that ties in here, as well. I felt like I did have a good idea, but now that I'm trying to come up with a description, I'm finding it hard. I think that's because her emotions felt like they were bouncing around so much--consistency was somewhat of an issue. Others may disagree with me, and so far I'm not bothered by it much (definitely not enough to stop reading) but definitely something to think about later on, yes?

Another complaint I had was the beginning. This isn't the first chapter, so it's not as important, but you could (and really, probably should) delete the first four paragraphs, or at least reorganize the info later on in the chapter so we get to the action early and don't skim. Your ending, on the other hand, was excellent--you need a little momentum there as well, to push us forward into the next chapter, and that's exactly what we got--just enough of a mystery to arouse our suspicions and make us want to read more.

Ok... as usual, I can't tell how helpful this is, but I hope it is. :D Once again, good job! I love the way the plot is progressing, and can't wait to read more. I'm going in to hiding/dormancy for the next few months, but if you post another chapter, I'd be happy to read/give another review (if you don't mind waiting... *coughs*). Good luck!


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Tue Apr 05, 2011 11:01 pm
Shearwater says...

Whoo! I'm here to review!

Okay, so here we go...

I liked it. Done. :D

Kidding, of course. Now, I really do like the development of your story here. It's actually very good and you have definitely caught my attention now. I shall be a follower! Yay!
Okay, back to the review.
As far as development goes, you're glazing the top of the cake quite well but it's not finished and we can't exactly eat it, or swallow it. As in, you're giving us some information but not enough detail to actually 'get' what you're trying to say. You have this banished princess and we have no idea why she was banished. We have this brother but no idea what exactly happened to her parents. We have this Vanadis guy who seems to know things about her but we don't know what he knows and their relationship seems a bit weird. So basically, you have a very good plot but you will now need to focus on the details and give us some explanations because otherwise, us readers will be mad. >.>
Stop hiding things! lolol

As for characters, I actually love this main character. Something about her is very real and she stick in my head and even though she doesn't say much or do much (for now) her impression is strong and I feel like she's a very strong character or will be so I'm excited for her and I'm awaiting to see what kind of problems she will face and how she will conquer them.

I like this Vanadis guy too but he's very mysterious so I feel disconnected to him. Which is fine, I like this type of character. It makes me guessing whether he's a good guy for a bad guy. For now, I wish for him and the princess to be a team and fight evil together. :3
The thing that you might have to work on would to be express his and the princess relationship a little more or give us some details behind her story, I guess.

Now, my overall impression of this is quite positive so yeah. There isn't much else to add. I don't really feel like nitpicking into the very tiny details of this. I actually did think this was taking place back during a different time period so you might want to explain the time period a little more or drop hints of it. Normally, we don't really have banished princesses and such during these times. I dunno, maybe I missed something...

Anyway, this was good. I did like it and it only needs a bit of brushing up here and there. I'll still be awaiting the next segment of this so I can hopefully provide a more detailed review of everything. ^^

I don't know if I helped very much but hopefully you were able to pick up at least a cent or two from here. ^^
Let me know if you need anything else!

There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.
-W. Somerset Maugham

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Wed Apr 06, 2011 1:10 am
ultraviolet says...

Thanks for the reviews, guys! They're actually very helpful. So you know (and I'm not sure if this changes anything) the way I wrote this chapter, it was never meant to be split. It's a miracle I found such an easy place to do so. Maybe in the chapter segment say if it works together to qualify as one unifying piece?

The things you mentioned, I know I need work on, so thanks for going a little more in what the problems are. I know things are wrong, but often find it very hard to figure out exactly why, so kudos for that. :)

One last thing (and yes, I do tend to ramble which I hope doesn't convey in my writing xP ): The Hunger Games was actually a huge inspiration for this, and the fact that it was brought up in reviews in each chapter kind of worries me. Especially with something that's coming up a while later, I'm afraid I'll start to copy her and the way things happen. So, if you feel at all like this has stopped being solely something of my own creation and starts to enter her domain, would you mind pointing it out? I desperately don't want to copy this, but it's kinda hard to find the line between originality and not.

So... yeah. If you're still reading this, you have far more patience than me. xD

loveness, ultraviolet <3
"Blah blah blah. You feel trapped in your life. Here is what I am hearing: happiness isn't worth any inconvenience."


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Wed Apr 06, 2011 4:02 pm
Azila says...

Hi! I'm not really sure if I'll be able to say anything helpful after the thorough reviews you've already had on this, but I shall try my best. Also, I'm not really reading their reviews, I just skimmed them--so I apologize in advance if I repeat things

I like this. I think you do an excellent job of setting a mood. I get a really good sense of what your world feels like, which isn't something easy to portray. It's all in the way characters relate to each other, the etiquettes and what is expected of them. I also get a definite sense of the classes and what is expected of the characters in that regard. I also think you've done really well with portraying the emotions. I don't know that much about your MC, but I already feel like I understand her fairly well because I can relate to her and I feel like I can have a pretty good sense of what she is going through. I'm also excited to see where this all goes plot-wise. I think you've got a great set-up.

First, I'll mention the Hunger Games thing. I definitely see the inspiration. In all fairness, whenever I see you I think of the Hunger Games (I wonder why...) so that's not exactly fair, since it's a preconception that I have before I even start reading. But once I do start, it gets a lot more apparent. Firstly, your character is quite similar to Katniss, and the whole situation with Gavin reminds me a lot of Gale. I don't really mind the paralel with Katniss, though, since your character seems to have enough that sets her apart. The Gale/Gavin thing is a little bothersome, but not bad. The bit where it got a little too much for me was when she is being groomed. That was very reminiscent of the Hunger Games. A little too much so, methinks.

There is nothing wrong with taking inspiration from other books, and this isn't quite plagiarism, but it just feels a little bit like a fanfic. I think you should try and switch stuff up a bit. You can take the general mood/metaphor of things, but try not to take the things literally. If you want to talk about ideas for this, I'd be happy to help you brainstorm.

The one place where I think your emotional descriptions faltered a little was when she was being beautified. One second, she felt resigned and sort of like she was ignoring the whole thing and just letting it happen, and then the next moment she was screaming for them to stop. That seemed a little sudden--maybe show some more of the thought process that would lead up to that switch? Also, I don't really see how they could keep on beautifying her if she really didn't want them to. I mean, couldn't she just squirm a lot so they couldn't paint her? Couldn't she run to the far side of the room? I'm not quite sure I understand that.

Another thing I'd like to bring up is that your MC feels very bitter. I know there is stuff that you are hiding from us (and, unlike Pinky, I think that's fine) but I'd like to know a little more about what makes her so bitter. In the Hunger Games, Katniss was bitter but it was obvious why--she had lived her whole life in utter poverty and in constant fear of being sent off to a humiliating, gruesome death. But here, I'm not so sure what makes your MC bitter. I know there are probably things about her that I won't figure out 'till later, but I'd like to know more about this so I can understand her/relate to her better.

Anyhow, I think that's pretty much it. The novel still feels like mostly intro at this point--you're still setting things up. I'm excited to see what you do with it.

I hope this helps! As always PM/wallpost me if you feel like it.


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Sun Apr 10, 2011 11:33 am
borntobeawriter says...

Violet, so sorry for the delay!

Okay, well! Where to start after such great reviews!

I'm on the fence here, between what Pink and Azila said. I like the fact that there are mysteries to solve, but it's also bothering me because, in itself, not much is happening. Because you aren't telling us or showing more of her past, and where all this comes from, well, we're only seeing the present and not much is happening.

What I mean is, I would love to see a little more conflict, a little more happening. Was she embarrassed to be naked in front of Vanadis, or is this something completely normal for her? Why DID she suddenly snap and start demanding his presence. What is it about him that suddenly subdued her? I mean, does she give a rat's a** about the people she's going to? If not, why bother to be presentable?

She seemed like she had a good head on her shoulders, so why duck at the mention of her brother's wrath?

Also, hunger games. Really, the only part that clued me in was the potential Vanadis/Gavin episode, (And Gavin sounds like Gale lol). But when I read Azila's review, I remembered the beautician part as well.

MIght I make a suggestion? If you know where your story is headed, sit down and write it all down.

1- visit from brother.
2- Getting pampered
3- Receiving tattoo...

And so on. Then, write down everything you remember from HG. Note the similarities and the disimilarities and work on that. Try to shy away from it all. Because, some people might not have liked HG and would not reread something that is quite similar. Personally, I really enjoyed the 1st, not the 2nd so much and I refuse to read the 3rd (Yes, I know how it ends).

Anywho, I hope this review helped. I really enjoy Vanadis' quiet and mysterious personality. The fact that he shook her hand makes me wonder what kind of person he is, and what the tattoo means.

So far, you're crafting an interesting story, let me know when you post more!

Tanya :D

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Sun May 01, 2011 12:32 am
Snoink says...

I am not looking forward to finishing this novel. It is so good! :D

Just a couple of things! I'm not going to do an overall thing again, because the same comments apply, really, however I would like to go a little bit deeper into your work and point out some inconsistencies in what I see, if they exist. So yay! Ready? Set?! GO!

that is, shaking a commoners hand.

You should have an apostrophe in there! I know, grammatical nitpick. But that's the only one I care to point out, so yay!

And while my parents adored him, I was never allowed near him for fear I’d learn bad habits. Apparently now I’m mature enough to handle his influence.

It seems really odd to me that she is not reflecting on her parents at all during this thought. Obviously, at least the king is dead (or I am assuming he is out of power because her brother is working as the king now) so maybe the reason why she can see him now and not then is not because of the fear of bad habits that she would pick up, but rather because of the change of power and the fact that her brother is in charge and not her. I don't know. Her thought here seems a little self-absorbed, considering that she is pretty aware of everything usually. Out of character, I guess you can say!

The rest of the short one mile ride to the port, neither of us says anything, but I can feel his eyes on me, though I look away, out the window. Not necessarily out of embarrassment, but because I somehow feel he has the right to look me over.

I think it would be really neat if you could stop here and expand the description a little more. I would really like to learn Vanadis's character, since he seems so interesting, so this seems to be the perfect opportunity here! :D

Once my skin is smooth, my hair silky, and my nails uniform, I expect them to leave me to myself. But instead, makeup cases come out, hair irons and pins, body paint. All the things I detest and shouldn’t have to put up with.

I... had a rather big problem with this. I am not sure if this is because I haven't read the story enough or because of an oversight, so I am just going to comment on this now. It seems really odd to me that they would care about her appearance or dolling her up right now. I've been reading a lot of Greek mythology lately (wooo, interesting classes!) so when I heard that she was going to be a military leader of sorts, Athena immediately came into mind. Which means, I was thinking of her virginity and power over men and her masculine traits, lol. So maybe I'm approaching this wrong, but she's going to be a military leader. And the military is seen as a rather masculine thing (or at least in this society). So, why even bother to doll her up? Her brother doesn't seem the stupid sort, so it can't be that. So, my guess is either that the military isn't considered that masculine, her brother doesn't really seem to care about her being an actual military leader (more like a woman to protect), or something else entirely... not sure what that would be. But it just seemed a little weird, if you know what I mean.

Vanadis has a lot of nerve giving that to me. If I was found having it, I’d be put in solitary punishment for a week, maybe longer. I don’t want to know what they’d do to him.

I really, really want to find out why this tattoo thing is so bad.

And! Onward ho! :D
Ubi caritas est vera, Deus ibi est.

"The mark of your ignorance is the depth of your belief in injustice and tragedy. What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls the butterfly." ~ Richard Bach

Moth and Myth <- My comic! :D

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Mon May 02, 2011 7:26 pm
Sins says...

Me again. :P

For starters, thanks for the summary! It gives me a good idea of what exactly happened in the first chapter.
>.< My last review was a little long and rambly, so I'm hoping this one won't be as bad. Also, the things that I noticed here are quite similar to what I noticed in the first chapter, so I want to avoid repeating everything... Basically, I have no idea how this review is going to end up.

One thing that I'm still struggling a bit with in this is the mystery of it all. This chapter has left me with even more questions, and because not all my questions from the first chapter have been answered in this, the questions are piling up. Punk explained this in a good way actually:

...you're giving us some information but not enough detail to actually 'get' what you're trying to say.

It's like you're giving us a sum that has numbers, but no symbols and no answer. 2 2 8 = ... Is it add? Subtract? Multiply? Whaaat is ittt? D: (That's my whacked up version of a simile) but do you get the idea? It's annoying because we know some details, but not enough to help us figure anything out. I guess this could be more of a personal thing, and some people will like the amount of mystery (I so didn't just type history instead of mystery) you have, but me, I'm not overly keen. It's just that I can't really 'get into this' as much as I'd like to because I don't know enough about what's actually going on... Err, make sense?

reviews on pacing, character development, dialogue, readability, and how the emotions are conveyed (which I don't think is very well, but you be the judge of that) are conveyed, are preferred. Also, I'd like to know: what does the MC seem like to you? Because I'm not sure I'm writing her well enough.


It's definitely improved since the first chapter. There was the odd jumpy feeling here and there, but honestly, nothing worth worrying about at all. So yeah, all in all, it was good.

Character Development

Hmmmm... 75% of me gives a thumbs up for this, and 25% of me thinks you could do even better. One of the things I mentioned about the last chapter was that I didn't feel very connected to your MC. In this chapter though, I can see a definite improvement. I can kind of say what kind of person she is now, I think. She's quite a strong girl, she doesn't show her emotions, she's smart and she's quite brave, I think. So yeah, you're definitely on the right tracks! :D

As for the other 25% of me--the mean part of me, I do think you could take it that one step further. She still seems a bit cold and bitter to me. I mean, I guess that could simply be her character, but like Azila said, there' no clear reason why she's like it. This ties into what I said about he mystery in this, I guess. Because we don't know much about Adah, it's hard to really think about how she's feeling and such. One thing we don't know is what 'normal' is like for her. That comes into what I said before about throwing us right into the action in the first review though, I guess. Basically, I really want you to show us some more of, well, Adah and her past, I guess. Sorry that was a bit unclear...


This will be another pointless one! It all seems fine to me. ^^


An interesting one... On one hand, it's not that easy to read because it's hard to read about a situation I don't, well, I don't know much about. I've already gone over that with you though, so I won't put you through the pain again. On t he other hand, your grammar and such is excellent, so it's not a struggle to read what you're saying. One thing I will comment on though when it comes to the whole grammatical side of things is that I've noticed you use a number of short sentences. They were a weeny bit distracting in the first chapter, but it's getting a bit too much now they're in this chapter as well. It's like. Everything. Is a big. Big. Deal. It can get annoying. Very annoying. Sometimes, that is. xD

Short sentences work awesomely for creating tension and such, but using too much of them can get a little distracting for your readers. Also, in this kind of story, the short sentences almost make everything that happen seem extremely important. I ate a bagel. A great, enormous bagel. Round and fat. No one understands. No one understands my bagel. You didn't have that in here, thank God, but do you see how short sentences and fancy words can make something seem a lot bigger and more important than they are?

In general though, your readability has improved by quite a bit, so good job!

This has ended up being a rather long, rambly review, so I'm sorry for that. I hope you can at least get one decent thing from this though. Awesome job!

Keep writing,

xoxo Skins

Spoiler! :
Oh, and as for you being worried that this is too similar to The Hunger Games, if it's any consolation, I've never read any of it before in my life. You won't see me comparing. :P
I didn't know what to put here so I put this.

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Mon May 02, 2011 11:48 pm
silentpages says...

I've come to review the second part of this! ^^

"I don’t need any hard goodbyes, anyone telling me to stay, and certainly not anyone questioning why I’m leaving." Who would say goodbye to her? From what she was saying before, it sounds like she's pretty much ignored. I'm not saying she should be completely friendless, but maybe give us some examples of the people who would miss her, and perhaps she thinks about what their reactions would be at her leaving.

"They can assume I’m an Adair - someone forced to work the streets due to poverty." Except she's not on the streets. Maybe instead of phrasing it that way, you could just say that they have to do the lowest of low jobs, or something?

Nice description and imagery... "I miss home. I just don’t miss the people" I like that line, even though it's not completely true. She misses Gavin.

I'm still having trouble figuring out the setting of this. Olden days? Present day? Futuristic? Post-apocolyptic future that's reverted to many of the ways of the past? At this point I don't have a clue. Which makes it hard to review, because at this point I'm not sure what things are out of place and what was intentional (Bow and arrows sounds old, and dances and clubs sound more modern). I'd put in a few more hints for the readers.

"And while my parents adored him, I was never allowed near him for fear I’d learn bad habits." So, they weren't as worried about her brother? Why not? If he's supposed to become the heir or whatever, shouldn't they be even more worried about what habits he'll pick up? Also... "Apparently now I’m mature enough to handle his influence." How would they know that? SHE RAN AWAY. That just screams 'I'm mature now!'

Again, 'beauticians' feels more modern, and there are hair irons and stuff... I really just have no idea what time period this is supposed to be. For now I'll assume it's the 'future reverting to ways of the past' scenario. Anyway, as I think someone else mentioned, this is giving me a major 'Hunger Games' vibe, especially with the beauticians... I know that's probably not your fault (all 'beautifying' scenes are bound to feel similar, after all) but maybe it wouldn't be bad to read through those parts of the Hunger Games and make sure you're not writing them too similar? Just a disclaimer, I haven't read them recently myself...

"I narrow my eyes, raise my eyebrows." I attempted to do this. It's kind of possible... Sort of. But not really, I don't think, unless I'm just impaired. Generally, narrowing your eyes lowers the brows, and raising the brows widens the eyes... I think.

"He seems to be refraining from calling me nasty things." Why? At this point, she hasn't done much. She shook his hand, they rode in silence, and now she's just stated that she's not happy about the make-up. Unless he's got temper-control issues, I would think he'd just be mildly annoyed at this point, not on the verge of insulting her.

"... and I’m fed pieces of fruit and nuts, one at a time, so as not to mess up my lip gloss, which is reapplied after I take a drink of water." :/ Again... I haven't read it in a while, but I'm having flashbacks to the Hunger Games... Maybe I'm just delusional, now that I've been thinking about it... And maybe this is just standard protocol for lip gloss wearers... *shrug*

After reading through the whole thing, I glanced through other comments and saw that I wasn't the first to think of the Hunger Games, and you even admitted that you'd been worrying about it a little... At this point, I think you might be okay, just as long as you start working to make it as unique as possible. Because at this point, I think any fans of the Hunger Games are going to be flashing back to it. Maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea to get a copy of the books in your hands and go through jotting down similarities (AFTER you finish the rough draft, or you might get screwed up even more, blending plotlines, etc.)
Some of the main things that struck me as similar, off the top of my head, were all the 'Beautifying' scenes... Gavin/Gail in the forest, and they hunt together. This MC seems very similar to Katniss so far. Strong, not willing to put up with crap, but she goes along with things when she has to. She hunts with a bow and arrow. She's spoken up about something that made everyone gasp and be nervous around her. I actually don't really like Katniss, but that's neither here nor there. You're going to want to make some distinguishing differences from the very beginning, especially when it comes to your characters, or the readers are going to start getting confused.

I thought dialogue was good. It was easy to read, but it may be moving a little slow for people who aren't into all the beauty make-over stuff (although I did like the foreshadowing you did with the tattoo, alluding to the past and all that).

As for your MC... Like I listed before. Strong. Doesn't want to put up with crap, but sometimes she's forced to... And very... Very like Katniss. :/ But like I said before, that might just be because I'm thinking about it now, and am coming up with more similarities than there would be otherwise. She feels a little harsh with people, but it may be justified. She likes to be by herself (another thing she has in common with K)... Does she really like being by herself, or has she been forced into it this whole time? Basically, I think you could make her pop a little more...

Again, a good start. I like your imagery and description... Keep writing. :)
"Pay Attention. Pay Close Attention to everything, everything you see. Notice what no one else notices, and you'll know what no one else knows. What you get is what you get. What you do with what you get is more the point. -- Loris Harrow, City of Ember (Movie)

The same boiling water that softens the potato hardens the egg. It's about what you're made of, not the circumstances.
— Unknown