Young Writers Society

Home » Literary works » Short Story » Romantic

12+

The Alchemist's Bookshop [Part 2]

by Evander


1,812 words.

Emelia stood in front of Sarah's cottage, anxiety crawling up her spine. She rung the doorbell, trying to ignore the dead flowers which comprised the garden out front. Instead, she tried to focus on anything else -- the muted teal paneling was nice, and the white curtains concealing the windows contrasted nicely with the teal paneling. In fact, if Emelia could ever escape the bookshop, then she'd want to live in a house like that one.

Emelia tried to not think about how magical folk were often discreet.

The heavy robes Emelia wore suffocated her in the summer heat, even standing under the porch's shade. She adjusted her hat, shifted her robe's collar, and tried to not think about how the bookshop was suffocating as well. At least she could control the temperature inside of the bookshop, compared to the outside world where she was left to nature's whims.

There were some spells Emelia didn't know, despite her upbringing in the bookshop. There were some spells that Emelia knew were kept under lock and key, with the key disappearing at Klaxius's death. She envied the other wizards who entered her shop, those who had a proper upbringing and learned to live in an outside environment.

Emelia was just about ready to reach for her wand to calm her thoughts -- maybe calm thoughts would lend itself to a cool body -- but then Sarah opened the door.

Sarah's style couldn't necessarily be described as peak fashion, but she definitely nestled into her own groove. The green pajamas were the same shade as the previous jacket.

"I'm so, so sorry for sleeping in," Sarah said, keeping the door open with one arm and yawning with the other. "Apologies for my PJs too-- oh, never mind. You're still wearing your wizard costume." The startled, apologetic expression on her face changed to a playful sort of tired. "Come inside, come inside!"

Emelia nervously shifted the hat again. It's not really a costume, she thought, brushing aside her insecurities and stepping inside of the cottage.

The first thing that she noticed was the AC, which blew against her face and helped her cool down. The second thing that she noticed was that the floor didn't really seem to exist. Books upon books were scattered all over the place, some stacks were piled high to the ceiling and other stacks were threatened to topple over and add to the visual cacophony.

If any couches or seating arrangements existed, then they had been buried under the stacks of books.

"Oh!" Sarah said, closing the door. "Yeah, sorry about the mess too. I've been tryin' to sort out my book collection." Her laugh teetered on the edge of embarrassment.

Emelia's heart fluttered.

She gingerly walked over to a pile in the corner and overturned the top book. "Collection? Sarah, this room alone looks like it could stock a bookstore." The cover of the book was fairly non-descript, only navy blue with gold lettering on the front which read: A Melody of Suppressed Souls. Given no other indication as to what the book was about, she started to flip through the pages. The premise was interesting enough -- magic, bards, and liches -- but it wasn't enough to tell Emelia if Sarah was magical or not.

"Oh, well, uh, owning a bookstore was a childhood dream of mine."

Emelia bit her lower lip, trying to not think of Klaxius. "If you ever get the chance, then you should try it." She then set the book back onto the stack.

Her heart beat inside of her chest like a caged animal, just wanting to be free. Anxiety raced through her veins like a cold electric current. She could hardly remember why she came to Sarah's house in the first place.

Oh.

She let her wand slide down her sleeve, and quickly cast an emotional calming spell. The relief replaced the anxiety and suddenly she was able to gather her thoughts in a proper manner. "So, what about the garden do you need help with?"

Sarah's voice switched from her light southern melody to something a bit more put-out. "Oh, right, follow me."

Emelia watched as Sarah stepped over some patches off books, drew back the curtain, and then revealed the patio with the garden.

Whatever hope that rested inside of Emelia's chest died as she got closer. She had assumed that there was some kind of witch's curse, but it was evident that it hadn't been watered and that pests had eaten away at some of the leaves. She hiked up her robes to get closer -- hoping that maybe some of the pests were gold -- but instead found the monotony of non-magical bugs.

Reaching out, she crunched one of the dead leaves in her hand. Definitely not a witch's curse. Emelia tried to stick her hand into the soil, but was only met with weeds and hard dirt. No curse at all existed.

She wiped the dusty dirt across her face and closed her eyes, extending her magical aura out across the quaint property. She found no other conflicting auras trying to override her own, just cold silence. Whatever magic that lived on this property died long ago, and it took whatever curses it may have brought with it.

Not really paying attention to her tone, she turned to the standing Sarah and quickly diagnosed the problems that the garden had. Her voice must have been clipped, because Sarah's face went from expressive to unreadable.

"Now that I have that out of the way, I guess I'll be leaving."

"Mmhmm, I guess so too."

As Emelia kicked the dirt off of her boots and stepped back through the threshold to leave, she couldn't diagnose why her mood had turned south. A dejected sense of longing had sewn itself up inside of her, and she couldn't shake it off with a spell.

-

“Emelia, right?”

Emelia shuffled the papers on her desk, waved her hand so the music would stop playing, and turned her attention back to the phone. “Yes! This is Emelia Oliva working at The Alchemist’s Bookshop! What might you need today?”

“Oh, hello, uh hi. This is Sarah. I just wanted to thank you for your help with the garden.”

Emelia leaned back in her chair and stared up at the ceiling, watching the lights dance above her. A strange sort of giddiness had found home inside of her body and she wasn’t quite sure what to do with it.

“No problem, miss! I’m always here to help a customer if they need it.” Keep it professional, she told herself. Klaxius always kept it professional.

“No need to call me ‘miss’! You’ve been to my house, Emelia. Feel free to call me Sarah.”

“Yes, uh, Sarah.”

“So, Emelia, I wanted to ask what your favorite book is?”

Emelia caught herself saying Houdini’s Charms and How to Cast Them and realized with horror that the book was an inherently magical one in nature. She quickly combed through the filing cabinets within her mind, trying to find some book that wasn’t written by a magical author. Alchemy and the Search for Gold was definitely out. With her mental cabinets failing her, she switched to scanning the shop for some sort of book to latch on to.

Well, the Gandalf cosplayer browsing in the corner certainly wasn’t of any help. And, truth be told, Emelia hadn’t read Lord of the Rings. Finally, she rest her eyes upon the rotating mini-display of books.

“Oh, uh, Coraline.”

Sarah was silent for a few moments — and in those few moments, Emelia was able to curse herself for taking too long to respond.

“Oh, really? I reread that book just about one thousand times!”

Emelia laughed. “One thousand? That’s impressive.”

The smalltalk continued for a while, Emelia relaxing back into her chair and watching as new patrons entered the store and as old patrons took books up to the reading lounge. She found herself at ease when talking to Sarah, no longer an anxious mess.

“To be honest, I thought you were some sort of gardener until I saw the state of your backyard.”

“Oh! I’m actually a hotel receptionist.” She paused, “I work the night shift, which is whyyy I sort of slept in.”

Emelia tapped the dancing aloe plant to get it to stop. “Oh, I didn’t expect that. How’s the job going for you?”

Sarah groaned. The other end of the line had this flopping sound. Emelia had to assume that Sarah probably flopped onto her bed in frustration. Like an irritated rabbit. “I’d give anythin’ for a different job. Do you realize how many times I get yelled at by people who don’t even make reservations?”

Sarah put on a high-pitched phony voice, “I’m so sorry, sir, that you forgot to make a reservation! Unfortunately, we’re all booked right now! Maybe you’ll want to check the Hilton across the street?” She switched to a deep gravelly voice. “No, no, no. I’m Albert Winerite. I demand to stay in this hotel. I’ve stayed in this hotel every January fourteenth for the past decade. You should be making the reservation for me!” The next thing Emelia heard was a muffle sort of scream. Probably into a pillow.

“Wow, Sarah, that really sounds like it sucks. Although, I work in customer service too. God forbid that I don’t have the right books in stock. Oh, I only have obscure tome of subject A but not subject B? I’m so incredibly sorry for not keeping a five hundred dollar book in stock just for you.”

“Tome?”

Emelia dragged her hand down her face, cursing herself internally for letting that slip. “Uh, yeah, I get a bunch of… academics in here.” Internally, she swapped the image of old people in robes to frazzled pre-med students — maybe some philosophy students. “They tend to be stressed.”

She had to conceal a giggle when thinking about a 40something alchemist who had barged into the shop. Everything about the woman was normal, except for the bright pink hair which stood on end and the bright orange skin. Emelia realized, on that day, that her stay in Elmset wouldn’t entirely be uneventful.

“Ha! I can imagine. Say, Emelia, are you hiring?"

The reality of the bookshop set in. Emelia could never stay in one place for long, bouncing across the world yet always chained to the damn shop. It was what Klaxius had granted.

“Oh, I wish.”

Emelia casted calm emotions.

-

“Oh, Sarah, I know I might have caught you when you were sleeping. Hopefully I don’t wake you up with this voicemail! Anyway, I remembered that you mentioned crocheting in our conversation last night? So, uh, I ordered some books about some lesser known patterns. They should be arriving by next Wednesday. Thanks for the coffee, by the way! I appreciate it.”


Note: You are not logged in, but you can still leave a comment or review. Before it shows up, a moderator will need to approve your comment (this is only a safeguard against spambots). Leave your email if you would like to be notified when your message is approved.







Is this a review?


  

Comments



User avatar
51 Reviews


Points: 5523
Reviews: 51

Donate
Wed May 16, 2018 1:05 am
View Likes
Nobunaga wrote a review...



Hello!

I can't believe how smoothly this flows! I got sucked into your voice just like last time and it's not common for me to read something that's such a vibe, you know? Honestly, you can really see the amount of care and attention to detail that was put into this. I am really falling in love with Emelia and Sarah.

Also, I love how Emelia has her little emotion charms. You don't often - if ever - see magic being used in that way. Real world implications of magic is always a concept that I adore, but I don't think I've ever read it in a book. Except maybe Harry Potter but not really. Anyway, I love what you're doing here.

I'm so interested in Emelia's background. I'm not entirely sure why she had such a turn of mood after discovering the garden's problems were not magical. Side note: I absolutely freaking love the way you wrote that scene! Because of Emelia's charms, even she couldn't fully access her emotions and it really added to this sense of disappointment and like grasping at something and barely missing it. I don't know how to say it lol but it's like that. Que bien! I think she's somewhat hoping to find this witch character. Maybe it's in relation to Klaxius' death. I don't know. It could also be she was just really hoping that Sarah would be magical. Either way, I love the set up :3

Moving on from that, I want to mention your pacing. I know that Vent already mentioned that this reads a bit too quickly, but I don't think it's because the relationship is undeveloped or lacking in the specific sense the Vent mentioned. Personally, I think the dialogue is... off...?

Well, for starters, we have no clear indication on how much time passed between the house meeting and the phone call. And I'm not seeing anything that really hits at either a long or short time period. I feel like it could be either. And that makes it all the more confusing whenever they sort of roll into a conversation as if they'd been friends for a while whenever the last time (and first time) they really met, the conversation was sort of awkward and coy(?).

I loved the phone call bit though! I just had some confusion about things that kept me from really diving into it. Still, it was really well written. I don't think I can gush enough about your work.

Oh geez, I think I'm rambling... Uh, anyway, the pacing does seem a little fast to me, but I love the way you write the relationship and how you develop it.

I'm just gonna wrap this up now lol Oh! One last thing.

"So, what about the garden do you need help with?"


This sentence reads clumsy to me. I think saying something more concise like, "What's wrong in the garden?" or something I don't know I'm not trying to write for you, you know? But that's all!

I really super enjoyed this. Literally so much! I don't think I have to say it, but please let me know when you post again! I'm not sure how you're going to wrap this up into a final part, but I'm excited to see what you create :3 And if it needs to be a little longer I don't have a problem with that either :P




Evander says...


Oh my goodness! Thank you for the review~



User avatar
376 Reviews


Points: 8968
Reviews: 376

Donate
Tue May 15, 2018 6:19 pm
View Likes
Ventomology wrote a review...



Hey hey! Sorry it took me a bit to get back to this. School. Ugh.

Technical Commentary:

Nice phone conversation! It can be pretty hard to remember to bring up action and setting when the interaction is almost purely dialogue, but you did a good job keeping the physicality of the conversation in mind.

Plot, Characterization, and Misc. Items:

1. So I think I brought it up last time, but I couldn't put my finger on the root of the problem until now. I think part of why the romance feels a little rushed is because we don't have any particularly good reasons why Emelia finds Sarah so attractive. You get into the anxiety and heart-pounding that goes along with having a crush, but not into the details that make love really convincing.

It might help a little if you pick out those moments when Emelia gets nervous and try to decide if there was some little gesture or cute thing that Sarah did. Does Emelia find the house of books endearing? Is it kind of adorable that Sarah is a bad gardener? Does Sarah have a pretty smile? I know you imply a number of these things with the situation, but pointing them out is what I think will really solidify the romantic feelings.

2. There were a lot more hints about Emelia's magical past in here! Some of them were so casual I almost missed them, too. I am curious about how you plan on tying everything together in only one more section though. It seems like a lot. That's not a bad thing, of course--I like how fleshed out Emelia's past is--but you might have to be careful.

Unless you don't plan on tying up everything. That's always an option.

3. Not sure how I feel about all the jumps in time. I understand that it can be difficult to just have one linear, unbroken timeline, but in shorts, the jumps can break up the flow and coherency of the whole because each stretch of continuous time is shorter.

Additionally, it felt like the transition between the last section and the beginning of this section was very strong, but the transitions between jumps in this section were very sudden.

Overall though, still a fun read! I can never get enough of modern fantasy, and in that aspect, you do very well.

Let me know when the next bit goes up, please! And good work!
-Vento




Evander says...


!!! Thank you so much for the review. This was incredibly helpful!



User avatar
139 Reviews


Points: 38682
Reviews: 139

Donate
Mon May 14, 2018 2:13 am
View Likes
Hattable wrote a review...



Yo, Adri!

Excited to be reading the second part to this story! Gonna hop right into things because I write reviews backwards (openings last) and it's already super long, I think.

She rung the doorbell, trying to ignore the dead flowers which comprised the garden out front.

“Rung” is... alright, I guess? I mean, it's proper. But, I think that “rang” would sound better here? Just a suggestion! They both work, but “rang” flows more nicely, to me.

Instead, she tried to focus on anything else

“Trying to ignore”, “tried to focus”. There's a lot of tries here for the sentences being adjacent. Maybe you could change the wording of one? Or just say “Instead, she focused on” then go into the house description, if that works for you.

the muted teal paneling was nice, and the white curtains concealing the windows contrasted nicely with the teal paneling.

Oh, snap, you used my suggestion. Haha--

Okay, so, the descriptions of these two contrasting parts of the cottage are good. What's not good is how the sentence sort of devolves into this repetitive redundancy? You mention the muted teal paneling, say that it's nice, then mention the curtains and say that they contrast nicely (see the repetition of “nice” in the same sentence?), and then you mention teal paneling again. We already know the paneling is teal, and this just feels like I've read myself around a circle.

You could fix this by knocking off the end and closing the sentence at “contrasted nicely with [it/them].” Or, if you do want to mention the paneling yet again (though it isn't entirely necessary to specify it when you just mentioned it and are saying something contrasts it well) you could swap out the second “teal” for “blue-green”. I think that would be pushing it, though, and I definitely lean towards the former suggestion.

In fact, if Emelia could ever escape the bookshop, then she'd want to live in a house like that one.

Foreshadowing?
“That one” feels really vague. I know that you must be avoiding “this one” so that the story isn't flung into an awkward word-tense limbo, but “that one” doesn't seem like the right phrase here either.

Emelia tried to not think about how magical folk were often discreet.

Is this in reference to the bright coloring of Sarah's house? I'm not quite clear on it. If so, then maybe a stronger nod to this would be in order, since it's not immediately obvious that you mean this. If you mean something else, then I'm not picking up on it, oops--

even standing under the porch's shade.

“Under the porch's shade” has me envisioning her underneath the porch itself, which I know you're not going for. There is a word for the covering on a porch or patio, but I can't find it. Patio cover works, but it doesn't match the feel of the story a ton. Like, it sounds very suburban. If I recall the other word (if it exists, even!!) I'll be sure to let you know what it is!

those who had a proper upbringing and learned to live in an outside environment.

I'd add “had” before “learned”, and maybe change “who” to “who'd”, but that's not really necessary. I'm just a stickler for “had”s, apparently. I've been suggesting them a lot. It reads fine without them, but I like grammar to be exactly right for each scenario, I guess.

The green pajamas were the same shade of green as the previous jacket.

First “green” can be omitted, as you go on to say it's the same shade anyway, and this just causes a sort of redundancy.

Also, this sentence gives the feel that you're going to describe more, but you immediately end the paragraph and go into character interactions. Maybe it's got to do with starting this sentence with “the”, but I'm not sure. You could try “Her pajamas [...]” and see how that goes? I think it sounds better, but this is just a suggestion!

Sarah said, keeping the door open with one arm and yawning with the other.

I don't know about you, but I definitely don't yawn with my arm. Maybe change this to “yawning into the other”?

It's not really a costume, she thought, brushing aside her insecurities and stepping inside of the cottage.

I typically write, and see, character thoughts in italics. It helps differentiate them more easily from the rest of the prose, but if this is the only instance of it, then it works fine.

If any couches or seating arrangements existed, then they had been buried under probable

Under what now? There isn't a period here to even specify that the sentence ended on an odd word, and I'm left to assume that you forgot a portion of your story.

Her laugh teetered on the edge of embarrassment.
Emelia's heart fluttered.

Maybe toss in a thing here about it fluttering at the sound of the laugh? Like, describe the laugh a bit, or how Emelia perceives it. Does she think it's a sweet laugh or a cute laugh-- we know it's “on the edge of embarrassment” already so that's covered, but uh-- Emelia's heart fluttering could be taken to be a reaction at the state of the room? When I'm like 90% sure it's in reaction to Sarah's laugh. So I just thought a bit more description on that could be beneficial.

Emelia bit her lower lip, trying to not think of Klaxius.

This feels sudden and unexplained beyond “Sarah mentions bookshop, Emelia works at bookshop, Klaxius was Emelia's mentor(?) at bookshop”. You're very vague with Klaxius throughout this story, thus far, and while it's building suspense and intrigue as to who he is//what his deal was//how he and Emelia met or related, I get the feeling that the longer this goes on, the more anti-climactic anything more detailed about him will be.

The story is also about Sarah and Emelia, and not Klaxius, so making him such a seemingly prominent figure in Emelia's mind sort of-- I don't feel like he'd ever have the room to be fleshed out much? But in Discord you don't seem to really know what you're gonna do with him, or you've just decided to not really do anything with him, so I won't press this any further, lel.

Her heart beat inside of her chest like a caged animal, just wanting to be free.

Hearts beating is normal, so I think a stronger verb would be better here. Racing doesn't feel quite right, and the next sentence describes anxiety racing, so it'd just be repetitive, but I'm sure you could come up with something. Your vocabulary is superb, and you've always got that keyboard ready for some research, so this should be a piece of cake.

Anxiety raced through her veins like a cold electric current. She could hardly remember why she came to Sarah's house in the first place.
Oh.
She let her wand slide down her sleeve, and quickly cast an emotional calming spell.

The first sentence here is great, and the transition is actually really good. No criticism here. Good, natural transition!

Sarah's voice switched from her light southern melody to something a bit more put-out. "Oh, right, follow me."

Also a good sentence! The description of how her voice changes is great. Love it.

Emelia watched as Sarah stepped over some patches off books, drew back the curtain, and then revealed the patio with the garden.

Is this the front patio? Maybe specify that it's the dead garden Emelia had seen when she arrived? May not be necessary or a great suggestion, but I thought it might help the flow a bit? Make things clearer, because as it is the patio we're seeing now and the patio that Emelia had arrived at feel disconnected but I think they're meant to be the same one?

Whatever hope that rested inside of Emelia's chest died as she got closer. She had assumed that there was some kind of witch's curse, but it was evident that it hadn't been watered and that pests had eaten away at some of the leaves.

If it's the same garden that she saw out front, then she'd have been able to make this diagnosis before Sarah even answered the door, wouldn't she? I'm starting to think my assumption that Sarah is showing her the front yard is wrong, lel--

She wiped the dusty dirt across her face and closed her eyes,

Is this part of the ritual to sense some other aura, or was wiping her face meant to be some other reaction? Not criticizing this, just trying to understand this bit!

Whatever magic that lived on this property died long ago, and it took whatever curses it may have brought with it.

I'd squeeze a “had” in here somewhere, either after “magic” or before “died”.

Not really paying attention to her tone, she turned to the standing Sarah and quickly diagnosed the problems that the garden had. Her voice must have been clipped, because Sarah's face went from expressive to unreadable.
"Now that I have that out of the way, I guess I'll be leaving."
"Mmhmm, I guess so too."

It's not quite clear what she said in her diagnosis? Like, did she just go “yeah this is dead and there's weeds” or did she drop something about magic accidentally? Giving the generic diagnosis that the garden is dead seems pointless given Sarah can clearly tell that. Maybe you should add more to this portion, actually write out Emelia's diagnosis in some short dialogue?

As Emelia kicked the dirt off of her boots and stepped back through the threshold to leave, she couldn't diagnose why her mood had turned south. A dejected sense of longing had sewn itself up inside of her, and she couldn't shake it off with a spell.

Oh, okay, so I guess I had the wrong yard in mind. They were in the backyard, then? Maybe you should specify that up where I previously noted on specifying the garden, then, haha--

Emelia leaned back in her chair and stared up at the ceiling, watching the lights dance above her. A strange sort of giddiness had found home inside of her body and she wasn’t quite sure what to do with it.

Her leaning back and staring up doesn't give me a very giddy vibe, and the description of the giddiness having found a home sort of sounds like it had done so previously whereas I'm guessing you meant for it to happen when she heard Sarah's voice on the other end of the line.

Also wanted to point out that Sarah thanks her for the help with the garden, but Emelia... didn't really do anything? She just went, looked at it, determined for herself that there was no magic, then turned to Sarah and went “yea, these flowers dead, dawg,” then left? So I'm not sure why Sarah would be thanking her for that.

The smalltalk continued for a while,

Unless you're referring to the programming language that I found upon googling this to make sure it was spelled correctly, “smalltalk” should be two words.

Emelia tapped the dancing aloe plant to get it to stop. “Oh, I didn’t expect that. How’s the job going for you?”

Dancing aloe vera plant is my favorite character, by the way.

Sarah groaned. The other end of the line had this flopping sound. Emelia had to assume that Sarah probably flopped onto her bed in frustration. Like an irritated rabbit.

I'd drop a “had” before “probably flopped”. And for the irritated rabbit line, maybe you could add “Emelia thought, with a small grin” or something, if you're wanting to play on her giddiness and feelings for Sarah (that haven't quite come to light yet in the story, but I know you're building up to).

Sarah put on a high-pitched phony voice, “I’m so sorry, sir, that you forgot to make a reservation! Unfortunately, we’re all booked right now! Maybe you’ll want to check the Hilton across the street?” She switched to a deep gravelly voice. “No, no, no. I’m Albert Winerite. I demand to stay in this hotel. I’ve stayed in this hotel every January fourteenth for the past decade. You should be making the reservation for me!” The next thing Emelia heard was a muffle sort of scream. Probably into a pillow.

Oh! Good to see this in context, haha. Reading the excerpt on its own in Discord had me thinking Sarah was trying to prank call someone, or something like that, but then as I'd read on it didn't make sense to be a prank call. Context always makes more sense. I also see you fixed the thing I pointed out before-- nice. This all reads really well.

”Wow, Sarah, that really sounds like it sucks. Although, I work in customer service too. God forbid that I don’t have the right books in stock. Oh, I only have obscure tome of subject A but not subject B? I’m so incredibly sorry for not keeping a five hundred dollar book in stock just for you.”

Robot! Robot! But now that I know you're going for that, I point it out so you know you did a good job, lel.

She had to conceal a giggle when thinking about a 40something alchemist who had barged into the shop. Everything about the woman was normal, except for the bright pink hair which stood on end and the bright orange skin. Emelia realized, on that day, that her stay in Elmset wouldn’t entirely be uneventful.

Elmset is her current location, yeah? Unless this happened between this part and the previous part, this note kind of causes a contradiction in the story? Because before, in part one, Emelia had been bored by the location, if I recall correctly. But then this says there was some encounter that had changed her mind on it being boring? So unless this encounter happened after the events of part one, then yeah--

Also, I would add “had” right before “realized, on that day”.

“Ha! I can imagine. Say, Emelia, are you hiring?
The reality of the bookshop set in. Emelia could never stay in one place for long, bouncing across the world yet always chained to the damn shop. It was what Klaxius had granted.
“Oh, I wish.”
Emelia casted calm emotions.

This is a good chunk here. It could have worked really well as the ending for this part on its own, but the voicemail that follows is a good ending too (magical crochet patterns, mayhaps?). I just realized that there hasn't been much of an explanation on how the shop travels-- if it literally moves itself from one place to another, or if it's just normal every day packing and traveling. I figure it's not the latter, as we're dealing with wizards, but it would be fun to see an explanation for this.

The hiring bit, though, wowee. Only problem with this portion is Emelia thinking of how the shop moves and that seeming to be her only problem with the thought of hiring Sarah, whereas she should also be considering that it's a magical bookstore that serves magical patrons and Sarah would probably figure it all out relatively quickly, haha.


Anyway, that's all the grammar notes for now. I hope they were helpful.

Pacing in this chapter was great, and we never switched scenes too jarringly. It was all smooth and nicely done. Flow was also good. Most of the beats in this review were regarding general character behaviors, I think, and a couple descriptions of things, but not much on flow, so yeah-- You're doing good.

Sarah is still much more lively than Emelia, but given your hint that you're deliberately making Emelia robotic, that makes sense. It does get into Emelia's dialogue a bit too much for my taste. You've got some good dialogue from Sarah, but Emelia's is a little too stale for me.

Some more worldbuilding on magic-type things would be neat, but the story seems driven more by the characters and their interactions, so it works if you keep going with this style. I think that's all, though. Love the world, love the story.


Keep up the great work!
- Hatt




Evander says...


DUUUUDE, I love this review so much. I know I sent you a message on Discord about it but like. Seriously. I've read it twice now. Uhhhh, depending on how awake I am, then I'll probably go through and edit everything in? Depends on if I get part 3 done tonight or not. But legit, thank you so much. (I've already gone through and made a few edits!)




Almost all absurdity of conduct rises from the imitation of those whom we cannot resemble.
— Samuel Johnson