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16+ Mature Content

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by Rosendorn


Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for mature content.

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Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:13 am
Vervain wrote a review...



And away we go! This will probably be my shortest review today, because I couldn't find a lot to point out, but we'll probably end up talking about the main plot here at the end.

So let's start with the fun stuff -- stuff I loved about this part!

The first two paragraphs are stunning (well, all of it is stunning, but they're extra stunning). The description and how isolated Kerani feels because of the poison and how the castle behaves and feels around her when she's not at peak performance really gives the whole thing an air of separation. It makes me think, because Kerani is super connected to her people and her family lands and her castle, but it's apparent that not all of them share her dedication or even consider her necessary -- obvious from a political standpoint, and really intriguing from a character standpoint.

I’d take it in their place, if that’s what it took.
Kerani is so dedicated and it just amazes me.

I would have much preferred to tell Father I would stay overnight. My body didn’t feel right, yet. My skin felt too tight, joints too loose— and I felt weak. Even though I could sense again, nothing felt properly connected, yet. Fever still raged just under the surface, temporarily kept at bay.
I love this description too! Antidotes can obviously knock you out just as bad as a poison, and knowing what I know, it's absolutely amazing that Kerani's fever broke so quickly and she's started to recover from the double-hit of poison and antidote. It shows that she's really working at peak magical and physical performance (emotional is definitely another story lol).

The undertow of servants blending together in an ebb and flow of normalcy, the odd patches of worry there had been an attack. Everyone was on edge but it didn’t press down on me like it normally did; there wasn’t the concern of wild horses who had just been leapt on, wondering if they would be next.

Everyone seemed to know I was the target.
Kerani is so interesting because by the nature of the magic of this world she gets an inner look at the workings of emotions in everyone around her, and it really gives such a cool insight into how she perceives her world. Like, there's the possibility that she can't feel the wild concern and terror, or it's just plain not there because people know that they're not in danger -- she is.

“They were strong enough to take out a whole squad of Rats. I knew they were good. I didn’t realize how good.”
Yes! The escalation from street conflict/drug-running conflict to political conflict is so good. I want to see so much of this!

Onto some grammar points, which as you know will mainly be me pointing out a few nitpicks here and there.

whoever targeted me had taken the best.
Confusing phrasing -- maybe "whoever targeted me had picked/chosen the best" or "had settled for no less than the best" instead?

Giri appeared within moments, taking one look at me and ordering me to bed.
I think I point these out a lot, but this could stand to be two sentences. ("Giri appeared... He took one look at me.") It also gives you a chance to drop a half-line or even a couple words' description of Giri.

Knocking back the full vile [vial]
Simple typo (but I imagine the vial is pretty vile lol).

You switch between using Aydin and Ayden in this chapter -- maybe take a look at that.

More things:
Ihit hadn’t ever described this because he wasn’t a sensor— but here I was, feeling everything more intensely.
Yes autistic characters <3 <3 <3 You know I love autistic characters, and Kerani's portrayal is so realistic to experience that it's waycool. One thing I'd love more is a more visceral gut reaction of the feeling, something that the reader can feel in their spine instead of just reading it. It might be difficult but I think it would do this section a heck of a lot of good.

And here's where we'll talk about the plot:

I hadn’t heard news in weeks. There was still nothing from the farmers. Bahij hadn’t gotten a messenger through, even with Rat help— not like they wanted to provide much, between his loose lips and their own self interests.
It's been 10k since the last thorough mention of the attack at the palace. I know that the current chapter plot is "Kerani gets betrothed and an attack happens here", but right now it feels like your previous Big Events haven't been carrying over to the main story.

Like, the main story right now is just Kerani vs. Poison -- obviously vs. the people who are behind the poisonings and the attacks, but what happened to her Rat informers? What happened to the attack at the palace? We've had a chapter, basically, of cooldown and her being poisoned at her betrothal party, and while I think some cooldown was necessary for the tension and the attack at the party is an awesome way to bring the conflict ever closer and closer to our main character, I want to see a lot more of what we started with. I feel like there's a thread running through all of this, but we skip almost episodically from chapter to chapter, and it doesn't feel like the stakes are tied together. We could basically divide them into Chapter 1 Conflict, Chapter 2 Conflict, etc.

I hope that because this is mentioned here, we're about to pull that beginning conflict -- what drew the reader into the story -- into the main thread as well. While obviously not every single word has to further the main plot, that's initially what I had started to read, and if you wait too long to bring it back to the forefront, the reader may have forgotten some important details to the story.

Obviously Kerani's been torn away from the city because of her betrothal and her father's paranoia, but I'm just thinking out loud here. You know I adore Cat Steps, I'm just having a hard time with the episodic Plot Chunks you have right now because I just want it to be a single (or many-headed) fluid Plot.

Keep writing!




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Sun Jul 01, 2018 6:07 pm
erilea wrote a review...



Hey, Rosendorn! This is Lupa for a review on Review Day (for the first time in forever, apparently).

1)

...but this time they seemed to be any other stone.


This is a minor detail: the plural pronoun "they" refers to the tunnels, while the seemingly singular noun "stone" appears to refer to the walls of the tunnels. You could say, "...but this time they seemed to be built of any old stone."

Also,
The wards and emergency stores were almost completely invisible to me unless I searched for them, and normally they were at my call within a moment.


You use "and" here, but I think "but" would be a more effect conjunction, especially since you're showing contrast.

2)
I willingly obliged, curling up on one of the thick cots that felt like sleeping on lush field. The beds were not that soft. My word was more self-reasoning than answer to an unspoken question of what had brought me here. “Snakesblood.”


Here, Kerani goes from discussing the softness of the cots to answering the "unspoken question". This is a bit of an abrupt transition, which could be an effect of the poison, but it's a little jarring.

3)
“If you need a third stage, you need to go to the monks.”


I get that this is describing the antidote, but I was wondering why anyone would need a third stage of the poison, especially after I read the next paragraph. Adding "antidote" after "third stage" would make it clearer as to which stage you're talking about.

4)
My temples throbbed, Father’s impatience and anger turning to demands to end his moods.


How does the latter part of the sentence relate to Kerani having a headache? And what does "to end his moods" exactly mean? This sentence is overall quite confusing, so you might want to revise it. ;)

I love Kerani's character already! She reminds me of another assassin I've read about--her attitude with the poison was hilarious. I can't wait to see more of Cat Steps on YWS! Keep writing and happy Review Day to you!

XOX,
Lupa22




Rosendorn says...


Thanks for the review!

As for your fourth point, that's a magic thing that's clarified in previous chapters: the world is built with empathy, so somebody can create a physical reaction in somebody else based on their emotions. It's happened multiple times where Father has made Kerani have a headache because he wants to see her.



erilea says...


Ah. No problem! :D



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Sun Jun 24, 2018 2:47 am
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mellifera wrote a review...



Hey Rosey! I'm back again, as promised :D Happy to be back and reading more!

Just going to dive right into it then-

I'd read about Snakesblood before, with its chief symptom being isolation.


So correct me if I'm wrong, you mean isolation to her magic and being able to sense things, right? Would this have affected her being able to sense Nitika drawing her a bath in the last chapter? (even though I'm the one who mentioned that in the first place lol)
or, after reading further, if this just a sensory isolation where her senses like smell, taste, hear, etc are just being cut off?

I willingly obliged, curling up on one of the thick cots that felt like sleeping on lush field. The beds were not that soft.


I'm a little confused by this- is the poison affecting how soft the beds feel? Because this feels like it's contradicting itself, but if it's just a side effect of the poison that's understandable. Just a suggestion if this is the case, maybe add in Kerani frowning or just a general nod to how the beds have never been that soft before?

and kept my mouth shut as it stat in my stomach.


sat*...?

sweat already beginning to make itself known on my forehead.


This might just be me, so take it as you will, but I don't really like this way of describing sweating? I don't know if it bothers me because it makes sweat almost personified or what it is exactly that rubs me the wrong way about this description, but I just don't like it.

Blankets over top of me


Another sentence that bothers me, but I think it's just because it's missing a word or two (The blankets laying over on top or something comparable might make more sense).

I could hear my heart beating relentlessly, the compass letting me know I was alive.


To counter all the sentences that bothered me, I actually really like describing a heart as a compass. I can't say for sure why, but it's an interesting comparison without venturing into the realm of something like purple prose or too flowery.

Familiarity was my other anchor, Aydin and Sakari bolstered me.


So Aydin and Sakari followed her, is that correct? If so, I might have mentioned them before just now, but I didn't realise they were there until they interact with Kerani after the fever breaks.

Their energy didn't rush through my fingers like my own, giving me a heated spear to hold in a raging storm.


Okay? Uh, this doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. It sounds like this is trying to describe two different things, how Aydin and Sakari's energy don't rush through Kerani's fingers, and how Kerani's gives her a comforting handle(?), but they don't really connect to each other in a coherent way.

I hated fevers breaking more than I hated being sick; when sick, at least, I could forget what it felt like.


Is there a break in time that I missed, or did Kerani just recover really fast? You had mentioned Ihit taking three days to recover, so it seemed odd that she would recover that quickly, though I'm wondering if this has something to do with her resistance to the poison? Unless, like I said, I missed a break in time.

"I'm impressed with ya. Was expecting you to be here a day, maybe more."


OH oops. Nevermind then xD I'll leave that in just in case it's helpful at all.

-I felt like this chapter was a bit of a rollercoaster in terms of Kerani's emotions/health? I mean, she's doing okay at the beginning of the chapter, there the section in the middle where she's very Not Fine, but then she recovers and she's okay again (although I know you said she feels weak, she just seems to have sprung back pretty quick, especially considering how bad Snakesblood is made out to be, regardless of her normal poison immunity/immunity-like thing). I don't know, maybe I just read too fast and it felt shorter than it was. It just felt like it was set up for whole potentials of issues with her being temporarily incapacitated, but it just kind of...skips over that? I don't know if I'm putting my thoughts out the way I'm thinking them, so I'm sorry if this doesn't sound quite right.

-In another note, I really like Sakari and Aydin, so I'm glad to see them back! I like most of the cast so far and their dynamics though, so I guess I couldn't really complain no matter who was with Kerani at the time xD (except maybe Bahij and her father...hmmm.)

Gosh, I swear this chapter is shorter. Is it, or am I just that tired? xD


That's all I have for today! I hope that can help you out some :) If you have any questions, you know where to find me.

I hope you have a wonderful day!




Rosendorn says...


Thanks for the review!

It's about 500 words shorter, and I might need to use up those 500 words to get the concepts across XD This was helpful in that it identified the ebb and flow's reason wasn't explained well enough, so I think I'll be taking this section to better explain magic, specifically guard magic.

I'm still not going to be spelling every little thing out, but after a couple of reviews saying the same thing, I'm going to be highlighting it because apparently that's the only way what I'm trying to establish will get across XD




Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.
— Plato