Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language and mature content.
Well, I started this review when it was still in the Green Room, at least.Hello!It's definitely been a while since I reach a bit of Cat Steps, and please forgive me for not catching up on everything beforehand (the brief synopsis at the beginning of this really helped! Thanks for doing that!).You're definitely a skilled writer. The language was clear, and it was such an easy read. Everything was vivid and the world building is, of course, super vivid. Everything that I expect from your fiction!Anyway, my big note (having not read everything before this section) is that there really aren't any stakes for Kerani. Like, obviously she's been poisoned with the baddest of bad poisons and that's certainly dangerous, but nothing about being poisoned this way is challenging for Kerani. I understand that this is her strength. She is well practiced with managing poisons and has taken steps to better immunize herself against poisoning. There's nothing wrong with that; it isn't out of place and it makes a lot of sense.From a storytelling perspective, though, it's just not very interesting to spend 2,000+ words reading about a character overcoming a simple challenge. It's hardly even a challenge at all. Kerani realizes what she's been poisoned with very quickly, apparently before any lasting damage has been done, and then she is able to get immediately to the correct healer who gives her the correct antidote straight away, and she seems to have recovered enough to be back on her feet in a few hours. Less than a day, at least, by what other characters say to her when she wakes up.Perhaps everything is not as solved as it seems at the end of this scene, and circumstances will turn more dire for Kerani and present a true challenge for her to overcome. Even in that case, I think this scene here can be significantly reduced. There wasn't a point where I felt concerned for Kerani's safety, and 2,000 words of flat-lined tension (especially when the main character has just been dosed with a deadly poison) just doesn't serve a story as well as it could.The twist of Kerani easily overcoming one of the most deadly poisons is an interesting one, for sure, and I can see why this scene would be included. Though her health is not impacted, it does seem as if this incident has raised the tension/stakes on another task she needs to complete. That's great! But you can probably accomplish the same exact thing in almost half the space on the page.Hope that all makes sense! Thanks so much for sharing, and please keep writing!--Lauren
I looked around in the Green Room for something to review, saw this chapter, and thought I may as well check it out. So yeah, here I am....I can't find any faults in particular with this? Your summary of previous events at the chapter's opening is helpful and fantastic (and something I wouldn't mind using myself). The chapter itself hints at the generics of the underlying situation - Kerani was poisoned in an elaborate scheme by people who clearly have too much money and power in their hands - but the summary explains the incident and its reasoning nicely. The plot for this chapter is equally solid, particularly in Kerani's distrust of the palace healers and how it relates to her methods of curing herself. Political struggles are among my favorite topics, so I will admit enjoying reading of the danger posed by the power-hungry palace healers, as well as the general sense of turmoil conveyed, for instance, in the lack of guards at many places in the kingdom. It is evidently not a safe place to be, much less for someone regularly deals with assassins. Beyond that, I admire much of the rest of this piece. Kerani's camaderie with her guards is well-written; she works to keep them safe as necessary (thus cementing her status as the protagonist), and they help keep her alive. The worldbuilding is spectacular, whether in the nature of poisons or Kerani's status as a sensor (I suspect this makes her useful within her position). I also liked the conflicts between Kerani and her well-meaning, if perhaps naive, husband-to-be, and an aggressive, overbearing father.I would still like to point out that I had some issues with the chapter. Giri's dialogue confused me at times, since he would sometimes use "yer and ya" and then "your and you." Each suggests a different voice/dialect in my head, so their colliding provided me some frustration. In the meantime, I felt the setting sometimes lacked descriptions, making it hard for me to easily visualize scenes (possibly including Kerani's passing out, though I love "everything shattered", and it made more sense after I read it once or twice). On one hand, this is Chapter 3.2, and I assume that you've already covered most of these places before. Besides, Kerani is not in a state where she can easily distinguish the objects in her surroundings. It would still have been nice to have an offhanded reference to something in either of this part's settings, like something she's leaning on or staring at or so on. The last two issues are mostly nitpicking, as shown below:
I willingly obliged, curling up on one of the thick cots that felt like sleeping on lush field.
He tilted his head to the side, set of his mouth soft.
There's no reviews on this? And you posted this near the beginning of the month? I'm finally here on Review Day to drop in for a review as I'm going to attempt to make up for my absence in the rest of the month. Alright, Rosey, I can't promise I remember all the details though I re-read 3.1 as a refresher but here we go!
Poison antidotes always wiped me out for at least a day. I was able to keep watch for danger, and if pressed I could have fought off an attacker, but otherwise I stayed in bed. I hadn’t figured out if it was because I didn’t need them, so my body reacted as if I had been poisoned, or if I took too little and I wiped myself out picking up the slack.
A letter from Suraj was waiting for me when I could think again. I kept the letter in one hand while transferring the sealed bags containing blood and poisoned soaked cloth to my workbench. I debated using some of my alert powder to ensure the letter’s safety, for how my body was already weak, but I decided to save it. Suraj had too much to lose by killing me, and there didn’t seem to be any malicious attempt in the paper.
For somebody so Empire obsessed, he had very quickly forgotten how the Empire forced each province to have a sub-standard military to avoid suppressive force. Our numbers were already threatening an audit, and it was impossible for this palace to be protected. We spent our allocations on his palace, for how it was in the city and a much bigger target. He was safe. I was not. And once I married him, the non-safety would transfer to him.
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